"Ecstatic Sunshine...is one of the best introductions to oddball music you could hope for...guitar melodies--guitar riffs even--arc above ambient sounds and substrata rhythms, built from an effects rack rather than a laptop...and the sun reappears from the sludge in distinctly pretty guitar lines that twist and swirl into a gorgeous finish." -Baltimore City Paper
Way, the second full length by Ecstatic Sunshine, is a record of skewed minimalism and true, uplifting positivity. Recorded in the summer and fall of 2007, between trips and tours, Way is Ecstatic stretching to a point fully beyond expectations. The riffs that Ecstatic explored in the past are deconstructed and reconsidered, effected and processed into melodic noise and chiming rhythm. Way documents the most recent incarnation of this hyper drone trio, aptly described as "Full Positive Eno World + Pure Trust Branca Cloud."
Ecstatic Sunshine began as a way for founding members Matthew Papich and Dustin Wong to interweave 60's minimalism with 80's punk. Formed in Baltimore in the spring of 2005 (just before the avalanche of press began sweating the art damaged scene that was thriving around them), the two guitarists combined seemingly incompatible ideas tightly to make a new, unrecognizable force. Ecstatic began touring extensively as a treble heavy, ear splitting symmetrical thrash band. In that summer, they recorded their acclaimed debut for Carpark Records, Freckle Wars, a 30 minute album full of purist, whimsical bursts.
Since then, Ecstatic has been on a quickly changing trajectory, leaving audiences equally confused and enthralled. In the summer of 2007 they released Living, a vinyl only EP on Papich's own Wildfire Wildfire imprint. The EP documents Ecstatic's transition away from their brief and snappy roots towards a more noisy and blissful take on the tonal walls of Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham. Living quickly sold out of its limited pressing of 500 copies and has become a gem to fans of the band. 2007 also brought the addition of Kieran Gillen (electronics) and a changing sound that relies more heavily on the repetition of Terry Riley or early Steve Reich. Despite such academic influences, their live performance has been noted for its swirling energy and overwhelming volume and tone -- Ecstatic Sunshine is still a punk band at heart.
Ecstatic Sunshine is Dustin Wong, Matthew Papich, Kieran Gillen
Love And Circuits
A Cardboard Records Compilation: From Aa to Zs
CBR 008: 2 CD
We started Cardboard Records in 2005 to release music for a few of the staggering number of amazing bands we encountered touring with our band Parts & Labor. About a year and a half ago we began planning a compilation that would represent the current underground scene as a whole.
This is the result -- LOVE AND CIRCUITS -- a 2 CD, 57 band scene report culling a wide variety of punk, noise, experimental, folk, and electronic music. For your convenience, the tracks are alphabetized by band name. 77.2% of these songs are exclusive to the comp. Of special note is the contribution from Trey Told 'Em (Girl Talk and Hearts of Darknesses' new remix project) -- a mashup track of all the other 56 submissions! Download it now!
In an ideal world we'd be able to put out records for a lot more bands than we do. In an ideal world this comp would be well more than two CDs. Simply put, these are a lot, but not all, of our favorite musicians and favorite people. We hope that you find your new favorite band!
1. Aa - Who's The Boss
2. Action Beat - More Hookie
3. Best Fwends - Skate Or Live
4. Big Bear - 19
5. Bilge Pump - Rise And Fall Of The Alpha Male
6. Bipolar Bear - Gaza Striptease
7. Books On Tape - Orphann
8. Collin Mel - Bump In My Throat
9. Craig Colorusso - #43 Greg McCarthy
10. Crime In Choir - Broken Before A Frozen God
11. Crito & Doily - Magpies
12. Double Dagger - Ruby
13. Dynamite Arrows - Systems
14. Ecstatic Sunshine - Crystal In The Sky
15. Fat Day - I Smell Poop Gub
16. Fathers Day - I Have So Much Respect For Women
17. Flying - Minors
18. Fuck Buttons - Ribs Out
19. Golden Error - Hunted
20. The Good Good - Look Hello
21. Gowns - What If Not You
22. High Places - Canary
23. Ho-ag - Handsome
24. Hunting Lodge - (k)Palixio, Nature Wyzered
25. Insect Factory - Meditation (With Wind)
26. Japanther - Charlie Hustle (Free Pete Rose)
27. Jerk - Cobra
28. Justice Yeldham - 062 Tienen 080304
29. Leaders - Lightheart
1. Lovid - 40 Winks
2. Lucky Dragons - Where's Adam
3. Maps And Atlases - Songs For Ghosts To Haunt To
4. Matt And Kim - Silver Tiles
5. Monster Dudes - No New School
6. Mr. Baby - A Death In The Family
7. Necking - Swinging Ear
8. Neptune (feat. Can't) - 23
9. Numbers - Can't Remember
10. The Oh Sees - The Killer
11. Oneida - Winter Mind
12. Parts & Labor - No Night
13. Pope - Milk Faced Whitey
14. Pterodactyl - 5 Minutes In 2 Minutes
15. Raccoo-oo-oon - Garden Suns
16. Shooting Spires - Sailin' On
17. The Show Is The Rainbow - How Do You Spell Success?
18. Shy Child - Down On Yourself
19. These Are Powers - The South Angel
20. Trey Told 'Em - All Of The Other Songs Remixedmp3
21. Tunnel Of Love - P.T.K.
22. Tuxedo Killers - Don't Get Me Started
23. The USA Is A Monster - Okeepa Ceremony Acoustic
24. Vaz - Birth Of The Universe
25. Voltage - Phil Taylor
26. When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth - It's Not The Heat It's The Humidity
27. Wilderness - Beautiful Alarms (Live In Slovenia)
28. ZS - In My Dream I Shot A Monk
1. Right mp3
4. Alive And Well
5. A Million Drops
6. Hollow Yell
7. Sky For A Sea
8. Silent Alarms
10. At Last At Least
"Warshaw's gripping, soulful vocals add a triumphant air to the thunderous drums, squealing electronics and overdriven guitars."
Shooting Spires is the bedroom art-pop project of BJ Warshaw, bassist and vocalist for Parts & Labor. Retreating from the Brooklyn stalwarts and their extroverted noise-punk, his self-titled debut album is an agoraphobic mix of soaring choruses and tormented electronics, fueled on Brian Eno, Boredoms and Peter Gabriel. Warshaw showcases his ability to harness drone, noise, tweaked electronics and singed circuits: the violent hum of Sunroof! juxtaposed against hooks catchy enough for fans of TV On The Radio.
Warshaw fuses off-kilter electronic beats, oscillator blips, glitchy loops, toy keyboards, distorted guitars, saxophone, drums and found percussion. All of this is the therapeutic underscore to lyrics about failed relationships ("Embers"), redemption in the face of seemingly inescapable cycles ("Quarantine"), the persistent threat of personal and global catastrophe ("Alive And Well") and finding solace in decay ("Right").
2. Polio mp3
3. Safe Like A Train
4. Three Succeed
5. Ask Me Nicely
6. Rampage 1
8. Rampage 2
9. Blue Jay
12. Chx Bx
"A 20-minute Dungen song deserved its 10-minute flute solo. The unknown Pterodactyl repeated the same climactic six-note riff for six minutes. This was so much better than that flute solo."
-Robert Christgau, Village Voice
Pterodactyl's anxiously awaited debut LP arrives! Persevering through flooded studios and disastrous tours, the Brooklyn trio rises like a... blue jay? Fuck the metaphors; these are some of the most energetic and life-affirming rockers you're likely to hear anywhere. The songs range from incessant and infectious ("Polio") to sparse and spacious ("Three Succeed") to epic and redemptive ("Esses"). Combining a noisy post-punk palette with adventurous, arresting lead vocals and harmonies, Pterodactyl offers up a compellingly catchy, sound that is not easily forgotten.
After releasing two 7-inches, including the I Can See a River EP on Cardboard Records, Pterodactyl bought a sampler, discovered their fascination with thickly layered vocal harmonies, and set to work on what would become their debut full-length record, officially self-titled, but operationally called Blue Jay. Soon afterward, Pterodactyl were forced to move all their equipment out of New York City and make their temporary home in the basement of a house in rural Connecticut. Most of the songs on their debut record were written on weekend trips to this basement while Pterodactyl waited for a place to play back in the city. When they finally moved into a less flooded and much less spacious room with fellow brahs Parts & Labor, they put the finishing touches on the songs and recorded it all on a series of very cold days in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
"How great are Gowns? Members of Amps for Christ and Mae Shi doing this gorgeous, oscillating, smart-noise thing... they fuse noise and pop and create a new experimental music beast."
-Adam Gnade, Portland Mercury
On their debut CD, Red State, Gowns sketch out a vision of what the future of the rock band could be. Their over-the-counter psychedelia draws no lines between acoustic guitars and feedbacked pianos, processed spazzoid drum flails and a cappella harmonies. For the past two years, former Mae Shi vocalist/gunk programmer Ezra Buchla and Amps for Christ guitar-wailer Erika Anderson have brought to the American West Coast a fertile marriage of eerie folk murmur and crushed, twisted electronics. With percussionist Corey Fogel, the sound conjured by Gowns is a digitally ruptured, gospel valentine to the heartlands.
Recorded at home, in bedrooms and basements from rural South Dakota to Los Angeles, Red State tells the story of life lived in the flyover zones. Consider "White Like Heaven," written a year before South Dakota's proposed abortion ban. The confessional lyrical style and woozy, throbbing synths create the ultimate prosaic breakdown, a car crash onto the front lawn of suburban America. On "Rope", Erika's multi-tracked voice emerges like a death-bent Ronettes, haunted by a spectral wall of sound, harmonic mantras repeating in a lilting fuzz bed. "Mercy Springs" has an Earth-style low drone shattered by Buchla's raw screams and Fogel's pent-up kinetic percussion. In these songs, Gowns imagine a nation where psychedelic noise, folk, and electronics can co-exist and breed hybrids better adapted to a dystopian future.
You can't win.
1. A Great Divide mp3
2. Drastic Measures
3. A Pleasant Stay
4. New Buildings
8. Stay Afraid
9. Springtime Hibernation
10. Changing of the Guard
"Brilliant sustained noise-rock... minimalists with a monumental impact."
-Jon Pareles, The New York Times
Brooklyn trio Parts & Labor combines tumultuous noise with enormous, triumphant melodies on their latest album, Stay Afraid. Dan Friel increasingly juggles guitar alongside his trademark mutilated keyboard, while BJ Warshaw blankets everything with bass and additional electronic squall. They've picked up jackhammer drummer Christopher R. Weingarten, who hits so hard that the band was forced to double their amplifiers. Warshaw and Friel share lead vocal duties, emphasizing a lyrical element largely unexplored by the once-instrumental band.
Simultaneously uplifting and unsettling, Stay Afraid's sunny, technicolor hooks provide stark contrast to lyrics concerning media scare tactics ("Stay Afraid"), government surveillance ("Drastic Measures") or the seeming futility of protest ("Changing Of The Guard"). Album opener "A Great Divide" finds Warshaw using each verse to explore a different division between classes and social spheres. "Repair" has Friel singing through an amplified walkie-talkie about the wastefulness of disposable technology. With Stay Afraid, Parts & Labor have released their most anthemic, accessible and realized outing to date.
Parts & Labor is:
Dan Friel - keyboard/guitar/electronics/vocals
BJ Warshaw - bass/keyboard/electronics/vocals
Christopher R. Weingarten - drums
"Big Bear bursts with a frenetic energy that shifts and detours over and over again, making each track an ever-evolving post-math flurry."
-Matthew Field, CMJ
Boston quintet Big Bear are jigsaw alchemists reconstructing, recontextualizing and reinventing; making joyful noise out of ideas that sound familiar, but feel disorienting, uneasy, exciting and alive. Their self-titled debut combines the rhythms of math-indie, the atonal disjunct of 20th Century composition and the textures/timbres of highly combustible blurstrock: it's iconoclastic sunrise music that inspires jovial dance fits.
Big Bear subvert the ideas of traditional melody and harmony, using vocals as a rhythm instrument and epileptic dual-guitar labyrinths as a snaky logic puzzle. The melodic angles read like a conversation and the lyrics read like the musings of a cynical idealist attempting to re-configure the world with a mix of pessimism and affection.
Combining tumultuous noise with enormous, triumphant melodies, Parts & Labor revel in day-glo noise, charred drones, punk velocity and phoenix-like hooks. Aa delivers a next-millenial dance party, combining tons of drums, experimental electronics, and a playful art-punk sensibility. This split 7", features a song each from these two rejoicefully noisey kindred spirits.
Parts & Labor delivers a driving, electronic hoedown with "Silent Tyrants." Aa experiments with sequenced beats and rainbow bleeps, drum-circling their way home with "Summer Surgery." Cover designed and illustrated by Aa's own Aron Wahl and silk screened by Team Screen.
1. I Can See A River mp3
2. Good and Evil
3. Who Knew?
4. No Young Ones
"Hyper-rhythmic, skull-cracking hard post-punk trio, playing with laser-guided precision, telegraphing impossible changes, it was as if someone had plugged these guys into the nearest available wall socket and flipped the on switch."
-Doug Mosurak, Dusted
Addictively energetic, Pterodactyl sweats out hyper post-punk for the everykid. Matt's frantic drumming clamors over screeching guitar and monolithic bass, while Kurt and Joe's dueling vocals fight their way out of the din. Constantly veering for disaster, Pterodactyl cranks out the anthems with cheerfully reckless abandon.
I Can See A River features four skittery tunes ready-made for prehistoric flailing and stomping. Blue vinyl in a wrap-around sleeve designed lovingly by Sto and silk screened by Team Screen.