Horse Jumper of Love, Slow Mass, Stick People, Lake's Mouth 9/19
Horse Jumper of Love (Boston, MA) - Indie Rock, Alternative
Memory looms large on Horse Jumper of Love’s hypnotic sophomore album, ‘So Divine,’ but it remains elusive. Throughout the record, tiny snapshots from the past float to the surface, baring themselves for brief moments before diving back into the ether. Like abstract collages, the Boston-based three-piece’s songs jumble richly detailed scenes and vivid imagery, papering over one moment with the next until each string of seemingly unrelated thoughts coalesces into a breathtaking work of art, one that reveals deep truths about ourselves and our psyches.
“A lot of these songs are about making small things into huge deals,” says guitarist/singer Dimitri Giannopoulos. “They all start with these very specific little memories that, for some reason or another, have stuck in my mind. Memories morph and change over time, though, and they become freighted with all these different meanings. We’re constantly adding to them.”
The same could be said of Horse Jumper of Love’s music. Praised by Stereogum as a “delightfully distorted mess of energy,” the band’s sound is absorbing and urgently hypnotic, with songs that develop at a glacial pace, progressing forward with almost imperceptible momentum to carve deep canyons and valleys through walls of solid rock. Giannopoulos officially launched the group with bassist John Margaris and drummer Jamie Vadala-Doran in 2013, taking their moniker from a Latin phrase that had gotten more than a little lost in translation. The band would spend the next three years refining their studio craft and live show, garnering a devoted following playing DIY gigs around New England as they climbed their way into what Pitchfork described as “the top tier of the Boston house show scene.” In 2016, they released their self-titled debut to rave reviews, with NPR praising the band’s “slow, syrupy rock songs” as “cautiously measured and patiently curious” and Audiotree hailing the “soft spoken, contemplative trio” for their “unique sonic palette and precise compositions.” In 2017, the group released a vinyl and digital re-issue of the album along with a limited edition demo anthology.
‘So Divine’ will mark the band’s first release for Run For Cover Records.
Slow Mass (Chicago, IL) - Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Anti-Pop
In the past, Slow Mass have made clangy and heartfelt post-hardcore, and they’ve been good at it. We made the Chicago band a Band To Watch in 2016, and they released their impressive debut album On Watch last year. On past records, Slow Mass have found a big, satisfying, explosive sound, one built around crashing guitar chords and unstable dynamics and searching harmonies. But on their new song “Siren,” Slow Mass ditch the crashing guitar chords and the unstable dynamics, leaving only the searching harmonies. And it might be the best thing they’ve ever done.
At the risk of being glib, “Siren” sounds like the kind of thing you might expect from a band called Slow Mass. The song comes from the On Watch sessions, but it sounds like nothing on the album. It’s a slow, glacial, gorgeous song, sung entirely over a warm and enveloping organ-drone. It still finds ways to build. Lyrically, frontman Dave Collins with disturbing dream-imagery. The song reminds me a bit of early low, or of Advance Base’s devastating 2018 album Animal Companionship. It’s the sort of song you can get lost in.
Slow Mass are releasing “Siren” on a new 7″ single called Music For Ears 1, the first in what promises to be an ongoing series. The B-side is a cover of the Wilco classic “Reservations,” and that cover is sadly not online yet. (They recorded that cover for a forthcoming benefit compilation that the podcast Better Yet assembled.) But “Siren” is reason enough to order the thing.
Stick People (Springfield, IL) - Alternative, Indie Rock
Stick People, from Taylorville, has been making quite a splash in Southtown as of late. Now a 4 piece, this group is the perfect throw back to 90’s music we all love. With loud amps, catchy riffs and tasty hooks Stick People will appeal to fans of Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr, and Nirvana. This band is also the first full band to record in the nearly new Southtown Sound studio located right behind Black Sheep. Be on the lookout for these folks because there are a lot of good things ahead of this group.
Lake's Mouth (Normal, IL) - Indie, Folk, Alternative
The name Lake's Mouth is an anagram using the first names of the band's original members, Luke Walker and Thomas Berard. The two then-roommates started the group in autumn of 2017, and being signed by Illinois State University's student-run record label (Deck Records, previously called STU Records) quickly after that gave them a push to create, release, and perform original music. Their debut EP, Lay, Bear, shows the musically diverse capabilities of the pair of young artists with profoundly personal and enigmatic compositions that the band calls New Age emo folk.
In January 2019, two more members joined the group - Isaac Soares on drums and Jakob Kocanda on bass.
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