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August 2014
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
"Sea When Absent
"
mp3
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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Unicycle Loves You @ Empty Bottle

We've been taking about the new album from Unicycle Loves You for awhile now, and finally on February 13th the band will celebrate the release of Failure. The band will be performing at Empty Bottle with Lightfoils, who are also putting out their debut ep, and The Grooks. Below is there video for "Piranha" from Failure.

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Andrew Belle @ SPACE

Andrew Belle's debut LP The Ladder was released back in 2010, and since that time each track has been featured somehow or somewhere in film or television. From "In My Veins" to "Static Waves" to "Open Your Eyes", the album was extremely well received. The downside to that is the challenge of following that up. On Feb. 28th Belle is releasing his follow-up EP, The Daylight. It is a three song ep and below you can see how excited Belle is about this release.

You can catch Andrew Belle at SPACE in Evanston on Feb. 14th.

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CD of The Month: Hidden Hosptials

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You can catch Hidden Hospitals at Panchos on Feb 3 with Channel Four, Black Arrow, and Dari.

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January 2012
Hidden Hospitals
"EP 001
"
mp3

These days Hidden Hospitals are anything but while they the kick the promotion for their debut ep "EP 001" in overdrive. The band, containing former members of Damiera and Kiss Kiss, brings a crisp and effective brand of rock oozing with blaring guitars and driving baselines. The band's first single "Swan Dive" is a soaring anthem that has turned more than a few heads. The four piece band is guided by the wide range in the vocals of David Raymond. His vocals shift effortlessly from hush swoon to forcefully scream through the ep. For a band that only played their first live show in September of last year, EP 001 is an extremely polished effort.

Kellen & Me @ Abbey Pub

Kellen & Me released his self-titled debut album back in June and it was also the debut release on Audiotree Music. The album is Americana at its core, and is a pure illustration of what music means to this musician named Kellen. Below you can stream the album and jump over to bandcamp to purchase it.

On an East Coast tour this past year Kellen stopped by Indie Ambassador to record a live session. You can catch Kellen & Me at Abbey Pub with Jennifer Hall and Ode on Feb. 16th.

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Running on Giant System

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Loyal Divide "Otto"

Loyal Divide has released a new single called "Otto". The A-side features vocals from Rachel Sarah Thomas. The track was originally part of the session for their 2011 album Bodice Ripper, but it did not make the finished product.

Loyal Divide: "Otto" (Prefix Premiere) by prefixmag

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Without Waves @ Cobra Lounge

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You can witness the rage in person at Cobra Lounge on Feb. 3rd.

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