"Winter Wheat's saddest moments are leavened by a light touch — and by a voice that remains as comforting as a phone call from a faraway friend." - NPRFirst Listen
Singer/songwriter John K. Samson enlists the rhythm section from his renowned band The Weakerthans for much of his second solo album, Winter Wheat. Inspired by the search for connection and community, his hometown of Winnipeg, and our individual and collective struggles with addictions to drugs, screens, and fossil fuels - Winter Wheat is a sprawling, masterful and timely work by a writer at the peak of his powers.
Winter Wheat was produced in garages and homes through a Winnipeg winter by Samson’s partner and collaborator, Christine Fellows, and his Weakerthans co-founder and drummer/ multi-instrumentalist Jason Tait, and mixed in the spring in Toronto by Robbie Lackritz (Bahamas, Feist). The spare and thoughtful arrangements also feature Greg Smith of The Weakerthans on electric bass, Ashley Au on double and electric bass, Leanne Zacharias on cello, and Shotgun Jimmie on electric guitar.
Like the crop itself, which is planted in the fall, sprouts, goes dormant through months of snow and rises in the spring, Winter Wheat is a determined, beautiful, resilient response to difficult and extraordinary times.
On October 21st, Waterloo / Des Moines, IA based band SIRES will be releasing their debut album Soul For Sale on Station 1 Records. The collection, produced by Brandon Darner (Imagine Dragons, Holy White Hounds, Envy Corp), is a refreshing reminder that rock n’ roll can be both brash and heartbreakingly seductive.
“I explored my seven deadly sins and turned them into pop songs.” Says Singer/Guitarist Dylan Sires. “Each track was made with the intent of creating my own version of a hit song; hence "Soul for Sale” because it’s absolutely true. This album was made to be heard and if I had a soul to sell, it'd be on Amazon!”
Having achieved regional success under different monikers, Dylan Sires, Ross Klemz & Graham Howland as SIRES have delivered the defining work of their collaboration. The record is an anomaly in these modern times. Sires’ soulful croon is deeply rooted in the pre-Beatles American songbook while the music is direct and immediate.
“When we set out to make this record we, wanted to make something that was classic that had a timeless quality. Creating an album is such a gift and we did not want to take it for granted. We pined over every note, questioned every change…We took no short cuts.”
The first single, “She’s Into Me,” was inspired by a PBS documentary about the Dave Clark Five and Beyond, though the subtext is far more prurient: “The song is about using someone’s romantic interest to your advantage. Its bare bones and primordial in nature, which is where the video came from. We wanted to make a video that was part horror and part teenage wet dream.”
Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, the video is SIRES homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but is reminiscent of horror films of the 70’s and 80’s.
SIRES may show their appreciation for bygone eras on Soul for Sale, but this band is most definitely of this moment.
RIYL: The Crookes, Arctic Monkeys, Young The Giant, Them Bruins
TRY: My Everything, She’s Into Me, Deep In the Dark, Color Book
“Fuzzy anthems with earworm hooks and warped psychedelia” – Stereogum
“With riffs that hit you like a shovel to the head, Peter Landi and Dave Horn are stoking the fire of the 90s alt-rock revival” - Noisey
“Taking the tried and true alt rock formula of bands like Mudhoney and Nirvana, Glazzies exaggerate every component to the Nth degree: guitars churn like chainsaws being driven into chain-link fences; drums explode with a few megatons worth of aggression; and Landi’s vocals alternate between manic mumbling and hoarse yelps of angst. As indebted to the past as their sound may be, Glazzies keep things fresh with the kind of intensity that grabs you by the ears and shakes you out of apathy.” – Consequence of Sound
Rocky and the Chapter are back with their second EP, Aye, and their first effort as a full band following Rocky’s solo debut last year. “Go for Gold” opens the EP as the band’s mission statement, a full throttle three-guitar attack channeling Colour and the Shape-era Foo Fighters, closing with a wailing guitar solo that would make Slash proud. “Sandbrook” triumphs over despair and “Habits” should be an automatic inclusion on any romantic’s mixtape for his/her significant other, recalling the lovelorn ballads of anthem makers like the Replacements and the Gin Blossoms. “Evergreen” closes the EP in epic fashion, including some of the most righteous guitar playing this side of 2016.
With Aye, Rocky and the Chapter affirm that getting through the dark times is absolutely possible and giving up is not an option because tomorrow brings all kinds of possibilities. We hope you enjoy it!
On tour now! Contact us if you want to see a show!
RIYL: Motion City Soundtrack, Jimmy Eat World, Gaslight Anthem
TRY: #1, 2, 3
“...a sophomore effort of Cat Power-like tenderness and PJ Harvey-level intensity” – The Fader
"Marked for Death pushes boundaries, defies genre limitations, and finds the sweet spot between music that’s high-brow and highly-listenable.” - Brooklyn Vegan
Emma Ruth Rundle’s second solo album, Marked for Death, mines feelings of loss, defeat, heartache and self-destructiveness to emerge with the most honest and compelling accomplishment of an already prolific career. She shapes vast, evocative landscapes of sound, combining them with lyrics of devastating candor. Self-determination and resiliency, disguised in this case as coming to terms with overwhelming defeat, are key aspects of her personality. Transforming pain into works of great beauty makes her the compelling artist she is. A more adventurous production than her solo debut Some Heavy Ocean (2014, Sargent House), the eight compositions on Marked for Death, helmed by engineer/co-producer Sonny DiPerri, emphasize dynamics and vocal melodies, variable tuning, and a dense layering and texturing of guitars. Nevertheless, fear and self-doubt linger in the shadows of Rundle’s mind, providing an incessant counterpoint to her ambitious talent and sultry, albeit de-emphasized, allure.
Exemplified by the candid, unglamorous cover portrait, Marked For Death takes a persuasive argument for its creator’s utter helplessness in the shadow of defeat. And through a potent dose of dark, hypnotic rock every bit as satisfying as her work with Marriages and Red Sparowes, Marked for Death’s most resonant element is Emma Ruth Rundle herself, settling in to her role as singer/songwriter. Her rich voice, alternately jostled and cradled by the sounds conjured from her guitar, feels more present, perhaps even more deliberate, than ever before.
RIYL: Wye Oak, Sharon Van Etten, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey
TRY: #1, 2 ,7, 6