Hand Habits

Last year upstate NY experimental rock quartet Hand Habits released their debut EP Nameless Lust which featured the blistering “Wonder What”. Rather than retreat and work on new tunes for awhile, Hand Habits are following up last year’s release with their premiere physical release.  The 2 song Small Shifts EP is a split 10″ with Peg (Avi Buffalo’s Sheridan Riley) and features two of Hand Habit’s earliest songs before singer/songwriter/guitarist Meg Duffy assembled the band into its current incarnation.

“Be Yr Man” is a sleepy, sparse, dream pop reverie. Filled with a pervasive melancholy, Duffy’s vocals are languorous but crystalline, even as they’re dipped into a soupy concoction of noise that seems to highlight their trepidation. Duffy’s vocals are clear but they’re anything but anthemic. “Be Yr Man” doesn’t have the righteous fury of your garden variety heartbreak ballad – instead Duffy seems to revel in her vulnerability and doubt. It’s a display of weakness that’s far more charming than it is pitiable.

Hand Habits’ Small Shifts EP/split 10″ with Peg is out February 25th on Eschatone Records. You can pre-order it now.


Philadelphia’s Corey Rosenberg, a.k.a. Moon Bounce, returns later this month with new EP Dress Rehearsal via label newcomers Grind Select. “Shake” is the fantastically spastic lead single »

Moon Bounce has been a rather unsung hero of the experimental electronic scene for a couple of years, putting out some of the more unique and challenging music on the pop side of things, using real time vocal manipulations and dropping insanely apt parallel music videos, all while avoiding samples and building his own beats. “Shake” is the latest achievement in a wildly growing list of them.

Dress Rehearsal is out 2/25.

Zu Shapes

While the news that Baltimore duo Lands & Peoples are on a bit of an extended hiatus is certainly tragic, there is however a silver lining. The two have used the break to chase their own musical interests once more which has landed Beau Cole back to his pet project Zu Shapes. Releasing the four track cassette release Merigold back in early 2011, it’s certainly been a while since we’ve heard of Zu Shapes but unbeknownst to any of us, Cole has been working on his debut full length.

“Hoodoo You You You” is our first peak at not only the upcoming record but the song itself. You see, it’s been released in its demo form and there’s really no telling if the end product will sound anything the track in its current incarnation. But that’s no reason not to enjoy it. True to its title and Cole’s Mississippi roots there’s a little bit of delta flavor. A sort of creole spirit in its sumptuous sprawl. It’s music to host a seance to but a hell of a lot catchier. There’s a balance between spooky voodoo and experimental pop that grants the tune a sort of herky-jerky dance groove which is as delightful as it is odd. Here’s hoping there’s not too much time before the majestic weirdness of Zu Shapes full length arrives.

ali muhareb

I’m always on the hunt for insanely great bedroom-pop — the best kind of pop, of course, with dream- and psych- coming in close second and third. It only takes one listen to Portlander Ali Muhareb‘s uplifting “I Will Write A Song” to understand its measure of attention and songcraft.

I’m always intrigued by songs about writing songs. Of course there’s two competing focal points: the narrative, in this case a future promise or challenge or threat to write a song for someone, presumably a love interest, and then there’s the literal practice of writing the song… about the potential of writing a song… about the potential of writing a song… and so forth. I’m sure the paradox isn’t lost on Muhareb, who sings “I will write a song about all the things that you said, maybe then I’ll understand all the things you can’t.” Love it.

More insanely great music at self-described “anxiety laden bedroom pop musician” Ali Muhareb’s Soundcloud page »

A couple months back, Yellerkin released their debut single “Solar Laws” and I was absolutely smitten. The single was infectiously radiant, beguilingly complex, and instantly ear-catching. So of course it was the perfect song to get the video treatment in advance of their upcoming self-titled EP out next month. The video, directed by Nicolas Pesce, puts a different twist on perennial classic Where the Wild Things Are.

The story takes  a decidedly darker twist when after a bit of playful roughhousing goes awry, the boy (played by Yellerkin’s Adrian Galvin) is grieviously wounded by his monster and retaliates.  Which of course sets into motion an epic journey to right his wrong. The boy takes his monster across hill and dale, field and stream; through forests, deserts, beaches, and ghost towns all to undo the damage that he’s caused. It’s downright cinematic and features more than a couple surprises (like Galvin’s incredible dancing). It’s an awesome video that finds the perfect blend between storytelling and band featuring.
Yellerkin’s self-titled EP is out now, stream below: