ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT - "Darling The Dawn" - April 21, 2023
Few musicians have as special and important of a role in their genre's current landscape as Efrim Menuck, best known as original founder and mastermind behind Godspeed You! Black Emperor, one on the great post-rock acts, and true pioneers of the 2nd wave of the genre. ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT sees Menuck pair his drone and ambient expertise with Ariel Engle, member of indie-rock darlings Broken Social Scene, on vocals. "Darling The Dawn" is the duo's debut album, and while it is far from upbeat, it is certainly a bit more peaceful and chipper than most of Menuck's past work, as if Engle is helping pull him from the echo-chamber abyss in which he usually resides. Keep in mind, I absolutely adore Menuck's sprawling discography under various names, but what we have here is something foreign to both artists. They didn't hesitate to surround themselves with other acclaimed producers and instrumentalists, also, which certainly helps round out the sound and dexterity of the project overall. As one could have guessed, the track list oscillates between long, slow-burning epics and shorter, punchier anthems that keep the album fresh each go around. There is plenty to unpack lyrically and musically here, and I'll leave it for you to discover. Needless to say I'm enthralled to see these two working together and am even more excited to see what they have in store for the future.
Favorite Tracks: "A Sparrows' Life" ; "Waiting For The Light To Quit" ; "Anchor"
One Wayne G - Mac DeMarco
On January 14, 2023, Mac DeMarco released Five Easy Hot Dogs, his first album in nearly four years. This album was completely different from anything DeMarco has made in the past, with the album being a collection of instrumental songs. Many fans weren’t satisfied with it, but assumed that it would be the last thing DeMarco would release for a while. That was until last Friday, when DeMarco dropped a new album out of the blue. If Five Easy Hot Dogs was completely different than any other Mac release, then One Wayne G is an album from a different universe. This album consists of 199 songs with a nearly nine hour runtime. Almost all the songs don’t have names, just the dates they were made. These are some of the songs DeMarco made over a five year period between 2018-2023. Out of the 199 songs, only 18 have names and lyrics. The others are almost all instrumentals. This album is interesting, as fans have clamored for DeMarco to release his unused cuts, and he’s finally put them all out. The songs are great for studying or to put on in the background. Over the five year period, you can see how DeMarco changed his sound. The 2018-2019 period is what led to Here Comes The Cowboy. In the 2020-2021 period, DeMarco tried new groovy tunes and dealt with the pandemic happening. 2020 had the most songs DeMarco made in the years this album covered. The 2022-2023 period led right into the sound we would hear in Five Easy Hot Dogs. Seeing the dates make the album interesting, because at multiple points you can see DeMarco make a heavy instrumental piece and then not make music for four months. If you’re a big Mac Demarco fan, I’d recommend trying to listen to this to see how he creates. If you’re an average Mac DeMarco fan, just listen to the 18 songs with titles. They’re much like his other demos, but they’re still a pretty fun listen.
Favorites: Hard to pick from the 181 instrumentals, but for the songs I’ll go “20221102 The Truth”, “20191009 I Like Her”, and “20210217 Scarecrow.”
- Logan Hurston
The St Pierre Snake Invasion - Galore - April 21, 2023
Combining elements of post-hardcore, math rock, noise-rock, and a classic punk ethos with cerebral and dark lyricism, The St Pierre Snake Invasion may have just released their best album to date. The largely unknown English quintet is making some serious noise with Galore, but still remains one of the most underrated acts in the underground scene at the moment. Few albums can straddle the line between being terrifyingly dark and infectiously groovy, and the groups affinity for unique time signatures and anti-melodies make Galore a true spectacle.
Favorite Tracks: "Submechano" ; "Galore" ; "Apex Prey"
- Will Lewis
Beach Fossils - Run To The Moon - April 25, 2023
The third single to be recently released by the Brooklyn dream pop band, Run To The Moon provides a promising glimpse into Beach Fossils’ first studio album since 2017. Frontman Dustin Payseur’s trademark, breathy vocals complement the reverb-ridden guitars that have defined Beach Fossils’ sound for over a decade. It is stripped-down, back-to-basics dream pop that any listener should be able to appreciate. As is the norm with the band, it is partly produced by Payseur himself, and his skills become more sophisticated as time goes on. This track feels neatly orchestrated between the tight drums, jangly guitar, and surprising slide guitar that seems to fit right in to create a mature and developed sound that you would expect after a six-year absence in the studio. Their new album, Bunny, will be fully released on June 2nd, and could very well become part of the soundtrack of the summer.
- Luke Allen