July 26, 2010

Today's Hotness: Soars, The Grownup Noise, Sleepies

>> We were surprised to see that rising dream-pop concern Soars is based out of the Lehigh Valley in our native Pennsylvania, because the only products of that area of which we are familiar are the decidedly not-dream-pop acts The Original Sins/Brother JT and Weston. And the last time we were in the Bethlehem/Allentown area we were staying in a hotel packed with kids in town for a hardcore festival. So we dashed off a communiquĕ to our source in Bethlehem, and he assured me that, indeed, things are happening there, good things, shoegazey, psychedelic things. After berating our source for not apprising us earlier, we sat down with Soars' pending self-titled full-length. We can report that it is wonderful -- better than even the very nice preview track "Throw Yourself Apart," posted below, indicates. Across the record there's substantial nuance both in dynamics and style, including a throw-back Gothic gloom that we don't hear many of Soars' musical peers referencing these days. Soars will be released by La Société Expéditionnaire Oct. 5 on CD and colored vinyl. The quartet has a half-dozen live engagements confirmed, and we're posting them below.

Soars -- "Throw Yourself Apart" -- Soars
[right click and save as]
[pre-order Soars from La Société Expéditionnaire right here, eventually]

08.10 -- Gooskies -- Pittsburgh, PA
08.11 -- Ball Hall -- Chicago, IL
08.13 -- Glasslands -- Brooklyn, NY
09.30 -- The Burners -- Bethlehem, PA
10.01 -- Glasslands -- Brooklyn, NY
10.20 -- CMJ Showcase -- New York, NY

>> We were minding our own business a year ago seeing favorites Varsity Drag along when we realized we were witnessing a pretty impressive performance by an opener with which we were completely unfamiliar. The band was The Grownup Noise, they were (are) local, and they were kicking off a national tour. We exchanged raised eyebrows of approval with Mr. Piantigini, and made mention of the set right here. The Grownup Noise's music is a little more singer-songwritery than what we typically go for, but we find it compelling nonetheless, and stand by our assessment from exactly one year ago today, except for maybe the Buckner part: "The band blends the voice of Richard Buckner, the cello work from Built To Spill and indie hooks filtered through a cracking pop sense, which for some reason made us think of Paul Simon." Coincidentally, The Grownup Noise are about to head out on tour -- its fifth -- again, and bassist Adam Sankowski has shared with us the quartet's pending EP Shall We?, which it will be promoting while the finishing touches are applied to the band's next full-length (both the EP and full-length were recorded with Scott Solter, who has also worked on records you've heard by Spoon and Okkervil River). Shall We? is replete with light, bright and mostly piano-led indie pop. We're a fan of all five songs, particularly "Six Foot Solemn Oath" and its vocal interplay between fronter Paul Hansen and cellist Katie Franich. But below we're posting the solo, guitar-centric ballad "Outside," which conveys a resonant poignancy and solitude, and also features a memorable phrase we've always loved from All About Chad's "I Can't Sleep." The Grownup Noise kick off its tour with a local gig July 31 at Lizard Lounge, and we expect you'll be able to buy the new EP from them that evening. Full tour dates are posted at the band's MySpazz.

The Grownup Noise's "Outside"

>> Garagey pop-punk trio Sleepies got in touch this month to introduce themselves, and we've listened to their recent self-titled set quite a bit. What we keep returning to over and over is the raucous closer "Housewife." The song commences with a shouted count-off and then unleashes a scritchy torrent of uptempo rock that reminds us of very early Superchunk a touch. The chorus is a shouter, a real beer-hall anthem. Sleepies was released by the band in May, and you can buy the set directly from them right here. The trio was cool enough to permit us to offer "Housewife," surely its strongest calling card, so check it out below. Sleepies has two hometown shows on the books: Aug. 4 at Death By Audio and Aug. 13 at The Acheron, both in Brooklyn.

Sleepies' "Housewife"

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