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August 2014
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
"Sea When Absent
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Sea When Absent (Lefse Records) opens like a shoegaze-y car crash. The latest album from A Sunny Day in Glasgow doesn’t bother gradually layering melodic elements; they get right to business from millisecond one, hitting you with reverberating electronic tones, orchestral violins, and the crooning vocals of Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson. It’s a weirdly aggressive move for such an intensely soulful LP, but it’s pretty emblematic of how the record works as a whole. For an album as focused at creating moments of subtle beauty, Sea When Absent doesn’t have the time to let you gradually pick up on it on your own. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is the rare type of band that takes beauty and emotional resonances and waves it around like a chair in a bar fight.
 
In the strictest possible sense, this is a shoegaze-psychedelic-electronica album with a particular emphasis on vocals. But the more you listen; the more you start to discover what a diverse series of musical influences are rattling around in there. Mixing the electronica stylings of Flying Lotus and Saltillo with the indie-pop elements of bands like Death Cab and Phantogram, the basis is a percussion of grungy electronic tones, topped with a combination of guitar and synth, adding just the right balance, while being mixed in with a cavalcade of classical instruments and outlandish effects.
 
But the crown jewel of the album is Goma and Fredrickson’s understatedly gorgeous vocals. They play off, sometimes bizarre, instrumentations perfectly, complimenting them while also adding a fulcrum of relative normalcy to Sunny Day’s outside-the-box compositions. This is what really gives the album its sense of slick melancholy, creating an ambience of stylish vulnerability in tracks like “Byebye Big Ocean (The End),” where there is a sense of crooning sorrow, while “Oh I’m A Wrecker” sees them go much farther into the indie-pop paradigm.
 
While this record maintains the complexity and delightful weirdness of past A Sunny Day in Glasgow albums, it also comes with a newfound sense of clarity, in great part due to the outside production of Jeff Zeigler (of The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile fame). Zeigler is able to successfully piece together the moving parts of this bi-continental band, with mastermind Ben Daniels orchestrating things from the other side of the world in Australia, making the album’s abrupt left turns from spacey psychedelics to grounded punk-pop a little easier to digest. The wealth of ideas rarely feels busy or forced. Sea When Absent is ultimately proof that weird doesn’t necessarily have to mean messy. 

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Leather

New Leather Album Available for Streaming & Purchase

Good morning! Did today's snow and chill snap you out of your springtime daydream? Well, throw your middle fingers to the air, and bash the hell outta something to the soundtrack of Leather's lupine new record Easy! The band quietly dropped the nine-track album last week, and the release once again loudly demonstrates why the hardcore four-piece is the real deal from Philly with no need (or desire) for hype. (And Noisey's Dan Ozzi definitely slept on these guys for his half-assed piece about the Philly punk scene.)

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Leather & Residuels Opening for The Oblivians & The Strapping Fieldhands at Underground Arts Oct. 4

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Leather Debuting New Material at KFN Jan. 25

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Leather Opening for Double Negative at Vox Populi Aug. 31

Leather may only have a handful of punishing-yet-complex recordings to their name, but there's absolutely nothing ephemeral about them and the reputation they've crafted. This Philly band's muscle-bound, crazed-circle-pit-inducing hardcore has been hailed as the heir to the throne left vacant by the Cro-Mags, and they've kept themselves uppermost in the minds of hardcore enthusiasts by staying aloof: tantalizingly doling out as few solid hints about their upcoming album as possible without their more frantic fans beating a path to their door. They're showing up tonight to the sweaty lair in the summertime that is Vox Populi with Raleigh tour-mates Double Negative, who bring with them an unparalleled pedigree (members have played in Erectus Monotone and Polvo), and Long Island's Brain Slug. With a forecast of high temperatures, savage loudness and apeshit windmilling, this show is going to be painful in all the right ways. Vox Populi, 319 N. 11th St. - 3rd Floor, 8pm, $6 - $8, All Ages - Alyssa Greenberg

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