Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New Stuff from Quiet Slang, Japanese Breakfast, Big Ups

James Alex will be releasing a Quiet Slang LP.

Trying to Swim through the Flood

The South By Southwest music festival starts next week; and, when I signed up, I checked the little box that said I'd be willing to have showcasing artists contact me with information. Hoo boy. Let's just say it's been a lot. I'm pretty much a one-man show here with very poor organizational skills and the flood of incoming information has been sort of paralyzing. A good problem to have, I guess.


I made an effort over the last couple of days to try and make sense of what's coming in, and I'll share some of the SXSW- and non-SXSW-related stuff I find most interesting in a series of round-up posts.

Quiet Slang, "Dirty Cigarettes"

Quiet Slang is the solo, acoustic project of Beach Slang frontman James Alex. In October of last year, Alex released we were babies & we were dirtbags, a four-song, Quiet Slang EP featuring reworked versions of a pair of Beach Slang tracks ("Future Mixtape for the Art Kids," "Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas") along with covers of The Replacements' "Androgynous" and Big Star's "Thirteen."

Today, Alex announced that the first Quiet Slang LP, Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, is due from Polyvinyl on May 18th. To coincide with the announcement, Quiet Slang gives us the video for "Dirty Cigarettes." This version replaces the wall of guitars found on Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street with piano and strings. The video features Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn and Heather McIntosh of the Elephant 6 collective.

James Alex is bringing his Quiet Slang to Austin for a couple of sets at SXSW next week, and [Loud] Beach Slang will be opening for Dashboard Confessional on a tour that brings them to The Stone Pony on April 2nd.

Japanese Breakfast, "Boyish"

Japanese Breakfast's Soft Sounds from Another Planet, with its combination of shoegaze, dreampop, and general spaciness, was one of our favorite albums of 2017. Japanese Breakfast is the solo project of Michelle Zauner, but Zauner has collaborated with Adam Kolodny on several videos. Zauner and Kolodny worked together once again on the video for "Boyish," and the clip shows that Japanese Breakfast is maturing visually as well as musically.

The song has kind of a sad, 60s vibe; and its themes of insecurity and unrequited love are captured perfectly by the setting of a school dance.

One of my great regrets has to be that I still haven't managed to catch Japanese Breakfast live. A spring / summer tour makes its way to TCNJ on 3/23, Warsaw in Brooklyn (SOLD OUT) on 5/31, Philly's Union Transfer on 6/3, and Panorama Fest in NYC on 7/28. Maybe I'll check that box after all.

Soft Sounds from Another Planet is out now on Dead Oceans.

Big Ups, "PPP"

I stumbled upon a set from Big Ups at the end of a long day at Northside Festival a couple of years ago. It was a stifling hot evening at Silent Barn, and I was spent. The band's energy, though, was contagious; and I left that show pumped and a fan.

Joe Galarraga (vocals), Brendan Finn (drums), Amar Lal (guitar), and Carlos Salguero Jr. (bass) have been at it for eight years. The post-hardcore four-piece have produced two essential albums in Eighteen Hours of Static and Before A Million Universes; and, yesterday, they announced that their third LP, Two Parts Together, would be out on May 18th via Exploding In Sound.

"PPP" is the first single from that record. The song is thrashing and confrontational. It uses the image of looking into a broken crystal ball as a metaphor for the way people can create their own, biased versions of the truth: "see what you wanna see, you wanna see, you wanna see."

1 comment :

  1. Big Ups are great! One of my favorite Brooklyn bands and really nice guys too.