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Two Inch Astronaut – Bad Brother



Dissociative Identity Productions, if ya can’t tell, kind of has a crush on Two Inch Astronaut. With it’s homage to a past yet hardly forgotten 90’s D.C. post-hardcore scene in conjunction with a flourishing contemporary lofi-emo commonly promoted by Midwestern acts, it is not necessarily a surprise to see why we feel this way. Thus, while “Red Pancake and the Dark Energy” and “Split Dicks 7” provided a thrilling introduction, I can personally say that I know far greater things are coming from Two Inch Astronaut‘s upcoming release, Bad Brother. To quote from our previous review, Two Inch Astronaut wholeheartedly tackles the bridge between such legendary sounds as “Jawbox mixed with early Cursive“. This album, however, stands quite differently than a simple conquest of cohesion: rather, it represents a significant progression in the maturity of their sound, one which does not mind perverting traditional taboos for the sake of exploration.

The current tracks available from Big Brother, to be officially released on June 18th, 2013, are ‘Swol‘ and ‘Blood from a loyal hound‘, an appropriate selection of the nine track release as a whole. ‘Swol‘ plays out as an ingenious balancing act of thunderous post-hardcore riffs complimented by the delicate Plastic Constellations ‘esque noodle rock. Thus, never stepping back from a stoner rock like head thrash momentum, ‘Swol‘ still has the uncanny ability to keep the listener feeling oddly sentimental with sudden collapses in tempo and blunt pedal work. ‘Blood from a loyal hound‘, the fourth track and essential midpoint of the album, jumps out of the gate in a blitz of prog rock yet quickly followed by verses nearly murmured in a swinging like bass rhythm reminiscent of even later releases of Don Caballero. It’s a pleasurable balance yet perhaps what is most memorable of the track is the raw post-hardcore breakdown by the end of the track.

This final note, essentially, is perhaps what attracts me to Two Inch Astronaut and Bad Brother in particular. The fragile compromises made throughout each track to include varied genre influences is well appreciated and welcomed, yet what truly makes these tracks more than just technically glorified pieces of work are those moments of ecstasy and emotional extremism. And it is for that reason that you should pay note next Tuesday for the release of Bad Brothers. And better yet, in case you think I just happen to be lying through my teeth, catch them live, tonight, playing with Ted Nguyent and Ugh God over at the Khyber. Anyways, grab a listen and a download when the time is right. When we last wrote on the group, we had hoped they’d make their way to Philly. Guess wishes do come true. See ya tonight.

Two Inch Astronaut – Bad Brother

Cliff.DI

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Glacial Records

Glacial Records

Glacial Records



Before the Thanksgiving break, which all but cemented my slothful nature, I have to say that I have been pleased with the sorts of independent, local groups coming forward. Sure, I do love my Sargent House however it always raises my spirits to see more local, small, and independent acts coming forward and making their presence known through a vigilant commitment to patience and passion. It is largely for this reason that I wanted to go ahead and write this article in honor of Glacial Records, an upstate New York record label which has given us the likes of Winterlong and Lives of the Obscure. (both releases recently reviewed).

So why write about Glacial Records? Sure, there are plenty of small outfit labels, striving to provide a new sound to an often over saturated music industry. The first explanation I would offer is the simplest: they have done an incredible job picking out acts. Whether it was Deathfete 7″ from Lives on the Obscure or Five Songs from Winterlong, Glacial Records has proven that they not only know how to seek out and master a niche, but also how one can expand a niche to a larger sound that seems to blend genres and scenes. Believe me, I tend to never compare the sounds of Plastic Constellations with Jawbox but somehow, Glacial Records has forced the comparison through some of their acts (Oh, and there are plenty of additional amazing acts on the label, acts I hope to write about in the future. For now, however, I will stick with the two I know and love).

The biggest explanation for this article, however, is that I like their style. For several weeks, we were unable to get in contact to discuss articles and the like. It turned out that he was on the move, hopping from one location to the next and thus, one computer to the next. After living around the MICA scene, I can certainly sympathize. Thus, get used to the ad we will be trying out on the side column. It’s well deserved.

Glacial Records

– Cliff

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Lives of the Obscure – Deathfete 7″

With “Sins Like These“, who needs virtues? Ok, sorry, just me trying to be clever with the opening track title. Based out of Hudson Valley, NY, Lives of the Obscure are off of Glacial Records (with fellow label-mates Winterlong) and are attempting to warmly introduce themselves through their upcoming release, Deathfete 7″. It looks as though they have succeeded. Coming in at a little under 10 mins, Lives of the Obscure pack a remarkable amount of material into an EP bursting with nagging enthusiasm.

As stated, the EP opens with “Sins Like These“, which draws the listeners with it’s elegantly stumbling percussion and lyrical authenticity which begs the comparison of Medications. Taking a meandering pace, the song has a hauntingly charming feeling, bringing a sensation of deep, meaningless meditation. Although an odd statement, I would argue it is extremely important. Moving onto “Skin of the Sun“, Lives of the Obscure are able to pick up their pace into a rhythm almost demanded by “Sins Like These“. To me, it brings up a nostalgia towards Connor Obrest‘s the Desaparecidos, yet over all it is a nice, spanking new reboot of early 00’s post-hardcore.

Finally we move onto “Small Perspectives“, a perfectly fitting ending track to the EP. Complacent yet uplifting, apathetic yet emotional, “Small Perspectives” goes a long way to wrapping the album up with its over a min. instrumental, post-rock climax that will make your ears ring with a combination of blasting bass and humble yet proud hooks.

The release will be available via Glacial Records on vinyl and should be shipped out by November 24th, 2012 (God, I’m a sucker for vinyl). Do the smart thing, buy a copy and support a sick act. Who knows, maybe the purchase can ensure a North-East tour. One can only hope…

Lives of the Obscure – Deathfete 7″

– Cliff

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Winterlong – Five Songs

A barrage of percussion followed by a thrashing sensation of elegantly distorted guitars. It’s quite the introduction yet seems entirely fitting for the Hudson Valley, NY math rock group insistent in its commitment towards melody as well as just damn catchy hooks. Winterlong is off of Glacial Records and recently released their “Five Songs” EP. A 20 min dash through what appears a perfect resurrection of the 90’s and early 00’s, Winterlong is able to make an impression upon the listener that few groups could hope to achieve in an entire full length.

As described before, “Five Songs” begins with an impressive start with the single, “Stasis“. A contemporary group which immediately jumps to mind is the Midwest noodle rock glory that is the Plastic Constellations. Yet it cannot be so easily summarized with such a vague reference. Rather, wrapped in the shell of 3 mins, “Stasis” provides the glimpse of Winterlong as not only an extremely talented math rock group, but also one which makes genuine odes to post-hardcore and emo rock epochs of decades past. The vocals are sincere and passionate where all too often, groups feel as though wild screaming will suffice. It is a refreshing attitude which serves as a glorious beginning to the album.

Jump to the track “Arena“. Serving as the anthem of the album, if you will, the single opens with wailing guitars followed by a stead fast percussion reminiscent of Cinemachanica. While a dreary track, to be sure, it does not fail to hold onto the listeners attention with the complacent haunting vocals floating inbetween the purposefully imperfect harmonies unfolding. This in combination with it’s uncompromising bass line, and “Arena” shows a very promising side to Winterlong: one which knows when to exhilarate a crowd and when to lead one towards a trance.

The digital collation, with 5 tracks, is only $4 which makes it a worthwhile investment yet, if you want to be a real pro, the vinyl is certainly a welcomed option which only serves to further enhance “Five Songs” as a whole. Anyways, overall, this EP appears extremely exciting. As always, though, I still look forward to the live show. If this serves as the trailer, then I warmly look forward to the opportunity.

Winterlong – Five Songs

– Cliff

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Two Inch Astronaut – Split Dicks 7″

Thundering percussion followed by pounding power chords. That is what greets ya when ya catch the first couple of seconds from Two Inch Astronaut’s most recent release, Split Dicks 7″. Opening with the track, “Greatest City in the World“, the Baltimore local lofi/post-hardcore phenomena elegantly alludes to the 90’s D.C. hardcore scene with a splash of emo-rock.

While this release gives us only two songs to chew on, it is still incredible to see their sound develop from one release to the next. To be honest, I was originally going to write about “Red Pancake and the Dark Energy” but was so slow in the writing process that this release is apparently now the most recent material, making my original plans a little redundant. Still, the larger point is that from one release to the next, Two Inch Astronaut is refining a sound which takes a healthy dose of Jawbox mixed with early Cursive. And if you’re like me, that is definitely an amazing sign.

Anyways, grab a listen and a download. Hell, if you’re in the Baltimore area, get off your ass and go out to a show. Regardless, I’m extremely pleased to hear the D.C./Baltimore post-hardcore scene is still alive and well. This success is in no smart part because of Two Inch Astronaut. Thanks, and won’t you consider a stop by Philadelphia?

Two Inch Astronaut – Split Dicks 7″

– Cliff

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