January 16, 2012
Today's Hotness: Arctic Splash, Black Swan Runners
>> A world in which Joey Sweeney doesn't have an active band just feels weird. Or at least it feels weird in a different way from a world in which Mr. Sweeney does have an active band. We came up listening to his songs, going to the shows of his various bands (Barnabys, The Joey Sweeney Rock Band, and so forth), and then when he got himself growed up sometime during the last decade it seemed like he had finally put music down after shelving the quasi-eponymous The Trouble With Sweeney. So we were pleased to get a tip a couple months back that Sweeney has quietly bowed another project, Arctic Splash. The Philadelphia-based quintet made its live debut just last summer, and has apparently been at work for quite some time on a debut release, which at least last fall was contemplated as a three-song 12"/download jawn. What's the stuff sound like? It's hard to say: this live clip from the band's first show captures a band at its loosest; the demo "Denim Tuxedo" (someone alert Jon Wurster...) is spare and soulful; and the acoustic demo "Baptised In Vibe" embedded atop this piece is yet more spare, but more reminiscent of Sweeney's later stuff. Long-time readers with superlative memories will recall our occasional rants about Sweeney's unheralded rock period (1994-1996, or thereabouts), and obviously we'd like to see a return to the sweaty, glasses-pushing-up-the-nose Sweeney. Arctic Splash probably won't be that, but we're still quite excited to hear the debut release. Let's get it released, Team Splash, eh?
Denim Tuxedo (Demo) by arcticsplash
>> We're also jazzed for the debut release from Black Swan Runners, a new band from former Retriever and CoCo B's guy Kevin Castillo. We've been a fan of Castillo's music since college, which if you don't know was a long time ago. And we were a bit surprised that CoCo B's didn't have more of a break-out moment with its dazzling rocker "Give Up The Money/1982," from its very solid 2007 self-titled set. Be that as it may, there is new music coming from this new entity Black Swan Runners. Although how different is the new band? The personnel listed at the BSW Facebook page is the same as the personnel in the CoCo B's bio? No matter, we don't really care, so long as the rock is good. And based on some teaser video clips, we think we've got reason to be excited when the band's debut release comes out next month. The as-yet-untitled collection is in the can, after having been mixed by Alex Newport (who we talked about at some length here) and mastered by the seemingly ubiquitous Jeff Lipton. All we know right now is that one jam might be titled "Carolina In A White Coat," and whatever the title is, the tune is awesome. There's a bit more of a synth-and-electronic-beats thing going on in this clip, but the song seems no less affecting. We haven't discerned an official release date yet, but we'll keep you apprised.