White Reaper

Louisville trio turned touring foursome White Reaper are a band I should’ve taken notice of far earlier than I did. Releasing their self-titled EP on Polyvinyl earlier this year, White Reaper are one of those bands that absolute requires you to get the full effect. Only when watching the quartet rip through songs at a breakneck pace do you understand why their 6 song EP just barely clocks in at 15 minutes. It’s punk in intensity without actually strictly adhering to that genre label. No doubt drawing influence from the more melodically inclined of the UK punk bands like the Buzzcocks and The Clash, White Reaper are furious, ferocious rock ‘n roll-ers but their EP expands on that image in a way that perfectly illustrate just why White Reaper can’t be pigeonholed with labels like when “Half Bad”  and “Ohh (Yeah)” (to a less extent) pair the band’s traditional rock set-up with synths.

“Conspirator” is a definite album standout and not just because it happens to be one of the longest tracks on the EP. It also features White Reaper at their most incendiary  – a fearless sprint that’s unrelenting in intensity from start to finish. “Conspirator” maneuvers with a savage grace that’s borderline animal; it’s the most abrasive the band allow themselves to get while managing to be strangely accessible. The band are in excellent form, tight without coming off as too clean, brash but not sloppy. “Conspirator” is the perfect encapsulation of the band’s rambunctious live energy.

White Reaper’s self-titled EP is out now on Polyvinyl and available on limited edition pink 12″, tape, CD and/or digital.

Logan Hyde

Looks like Logan Hyde, most notable for his guitar work for Youth Lagoon, is prepping a solo project. “My Only Friend”, the first single from Hyde’s debut album Innocence due out next year, is a psychedelic-tinged slice of pop. Considering Youth Lagoon’s psych rock turn on sophomore record Wondrous Bughouse last year, it’s not surprising that Hyde would draw from the influence but Hyde’s jaunt isn’t just a continuation of his work on that album.

The strangest, most striking thing about Hyde’s solo turn in “My Only Friend” is how much space he allows there to be. While there’s concurrent melodies, Hyde gives the track significant room to breathe. Everything, from the melodic lines, the harmonies, even Hyde’s little cosmic flourishes, is marked by astonishing fluidity. So much so that the track’s build from sparse, vocal-centered jangle to its involved multi-layered climax while not exactly predictable does proceed with both a sense of coherence and a clarity of ideas.

With “My Only Friend”, Logan Hyde demonstrates he’s got a hell of a lot to offer with his solo project and hopefully Innocence will show just how much.

Posted By Dante at

FILED: Listen

Conveyor

Brooklyn experimental pop rock quartet Conveyor are known for many things: intricate, interlocking rhythms, a delightfully quirky stage presence, a healthy reverence for the early rock n’ roll style like Buddy Holly & Crickets; but one thing Conveyor aren’t known for is being soft. And yet that’s exactly what the foursome bring to the table with their latest  4 song ANI MAG EP. Since the release of their debut full length self-titled album back in 2012, Conveyor have essentially embarked on a musical journey rather unlike what you’d expect from an up and coming band. Releasing, late last year, a 7″ which explored their musical id in fuzzy, garage-inspired wall of sound as well as a soundtrack of sorts of for George Lucas’ THX 1138.

The ANI MAG EP essentially functions as an acoustic detour for the band. While not entirely giving up their rhythmic complexity or vibrant melodies, strips back those layers and offers a candid look at the band’s creative process. “Wry Thing” is a shuffling amble that gives a glimpse into Conveyor’s rarely displayed emotionally resonant core. TJ Masters’ voice is incredibly well-suited for this down tempo turn; careful and caressing even as his lyrics hint at a potentially darker turn. Conveyor have always been one of those bands in which each and every part of a song’s composition aids not only in conveying the full idea of a song but in how exactly the listener consumes it and stripped free of all accoutrements, that fact has never been more obvious.

There’s a layer of subtext beneath both the lyrics themselves and Masters’ genteel delivery that you almost hope to be flushed out. And yet, “Wry Thing”, in its in ANI MAG configuration, never quite offers that. Instead of expanding upon its mysteries, it merely floats them out into the universe at a safe distant for consumption/pondering. Even in its sort of less-is-more experiments, Conveyor manages a deft emotional layering that’s as impressive as it is frustrating and so absolutely characteristically Conveyor.

Conveyor’s ANI MAG EP is out now and available exclusively as a digital download here.

Radiation City

After releasing what is without a doubt their strongest record last year in sophomore effort Animals in the Median, Portland synth pop quintet Radiation City went right back to it (with a little help from their fans via Kickstarter) to work on a third album. While they’re more or less putting the finishing touches on the John Vanderslice produced album, they’ve decided to sate the curious/ravenous with a bit of a taster of their efforts: first with a nearly three minute snippet megamix and now with b-side “Stutter”.

With “Stutter”, Radiation City are very much in their element; still casually incorporating their various influences and inspirations in a way that’s reflective of pop but not quite so easily defined.  “Stutter” essentially exists in two parts divided pretty much by the handing off of lead vocals – from Cameron Spies’ sparsely accompanied parlando to Lizzy Ellison’s Little Dragon-esque melisma. They fivesome manage to cover quite a bit of ground in the track’s four and a half minute duration; manipulating the track’s momentum a number of times to keep things interesting and relying on an understated EDM feel. It’s the rare Radiation City track where you’re not entirely sure what each member is up to in the track’s context but there’s no doubt a hell of a lot going on that the band manages to downplay surprisingly well.

While it’s not entirely indicative of just what Radiation City will be pursuing on the new album, it is a good indicator that the spirit of exploration is still alive and well with the band as they offer up a track that references familiar tones but otherwise experiments with new sounds.

Dyev

With “Good Laugh” and “It’s Time They Know” released earlier this year, Wilmington’s Dyev unleashed a distinctive brand of exuberant, kaleidoscopic experimental pop that managed to capture bedroom-pop intimacy and hit-seeking production. Despite its manifold construction and evolution, Dyev’s tracks were surprisingly easy to follow. “Graphiti”, his latest track, more or less continues his ability for balancing frenetically charged melodies with a casual pacing. But where the energy levels in previous tracks seems buoyant and fun, “Graphiti” surges forward with a sense of foreboding and malaise. And despite the pervasive sense of doom, “Graphiti” still contains some absolutely ear-catching moments of pop songcraft soaring over the big beat percussion and intricately needling layers.

Posted By Dante at

FILED: Dyev, Listen