In Bear Country
Puddle Splasher Announce New Album /// Separate States Out July 8th
We're pleased to announce Puddle Splasher's debut album, Separate States, due out on July 8th. Pre-Orders are available now for CD and Cassette at http://bit.ly/SeparateStates.
Often, pop music conjures images of songs so straight and crisp, so under control, that it cannot be classified otherwise. That’s why it’s so rare when wild, reckless music is considered “pop” no matter how memorable the melody, and perhaps why dubbing Puddle Splasher’s first full-length a “rock” record seems insufficient. Indeed, Separate States feels like a proper pop record, with melodies that loop lazily around the listener—that is, until the buzzing chords and plodding drums complicate the designation. This division is illustrated nicely in opener “Summer Sigh,” as well as on “Decent Thoughts,” a song whose clean, electric chords mimic an acoustic’s sticky jingle—and whose choruses smolder with almost aggressively fuzzy guitars. In fact, for every murky, stomping monster (like “Not a Word,” on which singer and guitarist Andy Altadonna howls the lyrics like a lonely wolf), lighter tracks speckle the record, like the breezy “No Leaves,” with its airy organ and tempo, or the sun-streaked “I’m Hurting Me.” The songs on Separate States seem to display two distinct concepts at once: Rock music that’s thick and rich, and pop music so light and simple, so accessible, that its weight seems somehow weightless. And, perhaps, it’s this themes that reveals the most meaningful secret to Puddle Splasher’s sound: That which appears separated is always closer than it seems. It’s why rock music can never be pop, and why the best rock music can be nothing but.
Welcome Apologies, I Have None /// New Album Out This Summer
Thrilled to welcome our new friends to the family - Apologies, I Have None. We'll release their new record this summer with the help of our friends at Holy Roar in the UK and Uncle M in Europe.
Apologies, I Have None have no specific message to convey, no agenda, and no story to speak of. Instead, the London, UK based post-punk four-piece explores the tolls of declining mental health on relationships and the human experience as a whole. Combining a grim outlook with layers of both rich imagery and brutally simplistic reality, Apologies, I Have None’s music paints a beautiful, harrowing picture of a misunderstood and too-often ignored struggle faced by so many in the modern world.
Apologies, I Have None released their debut full-length, London, in 2012 and have been hard at work ever since. Choosing to spend much of their time off the road at guitarist Simon Small’s recording studio, the group has been able to stay prolific without compromising quality. They released Black Everything in 2014 and a split with Luca Brasi in 2016.
Toeing the line between post-punk and melodic hardcore, Apologies, I Have None will please fans of The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me, Balance & Composure, and The Menzingers.
Half Hearted Hero - Isn't Real LP /// May 27, 2016
We're thrilled to have Half Hearted Hero back with their new album! Isn't Real is the band's best material to date and we'll have it out on May 27th. Listen to the first single "All of Me" at Alternative Press and judge for yourself. Pre-Order your copy now at our webstore
When a band spends a decade on the DIY circuit, playing an unrelenting barrage of shows in basements, backyards, and bars, it’s not unusual for its members to hit a wall. It’s a familiar story - burnout grabs hold, cracking the group’s foundation and leading to disbandment. But in rare cases, something magical happens.
New Bedford, MA’s Half Hearted Hero refuses to fold under the weight of the responsibilities and pressures that come with adulthood. Instead, determined to continue, they started over. Employing a from-the-ground-up retooling of their approach, the band focused on the spontaneity and excitement so many artists lose over time. These qualities can be the difference between a good band and a great band, and Half Hearted Hero has expertly tapped into that with 2016’s Isn’t Real.
Isn’t Real is a true album, tied together by a consistent energy and voice. In an era of singles and short attention spans, it’s remarkable to find such a commitment to the album as a work of art in and of itself. Stylistically, Isn’t Real marks a shift for the band. Where 2013’s Whatever and 2011’sRunning Water were more aggressive, relying on speed and heaviness, Isn’t Real displays the band in a more refined manner. There are still high-energy passages full of driving drums and huge distorted guitars that suggest influences from Bayside and Polar Bear Club, take album opener Throw It Away, for example. As Isn’t Real progresses, nods to bands like Saves The Day and Motion City Soundtrack emerge. Same Old Same, All of Me and What Lightstand as fantastic examples of this.
Not many artists can continue to capture the youthful energy that comes with being a new band. Half Hearted Hero has done the impossible, not only in song, but also in spirit. Here’s to their new legs.
Welcome Puddle Splasher // New EP Missed Connection
Our friends Puddle Splasher are the newest addition to our family and we could not be more excited to have them on board! We're releasing their new EP, Missed Connection, digitally on November 6th.
There’s something to be said about bands that, after a release or two, have finally found their sound. But then there are bands like New Jersey’s Puddle Splasher that never needed to find it; instead, they fine-tune their sound, focus or stretch it, and ultimately master it. On Missed Connections, their second EP (and first with Animal Style Records), singer and guitarist Andy Altadonna croons with the confidence and swooning charisma of frontmen in bands as big as Radiohead or Coldplay. His voice leans into smooth, clean guitars on the opener “Rotting Heart,” a song pinstriped by strokes of acoustic guitar and stippled by Aaron Skutnik’s bass line. But on “Behind the Wheel,” guitar seems to sashay, its tone dusty during the verses; his voice stooped beneath these chords until it lunges out into the first chorus. Never does it—or any of Missed Connections—become conventional or expected, nor do any of the songs lose their catchiness. In fact, the catchiest, peppiest song on the record, “Forget My Name,” also has some of its most acidic lyrics. Here, the guitars cut across Dante Fotino’s drumbeat as it bounces with frantic energy—like a puppy that snaps at hands in his excitement—all while Altadonna sings, “But there’s twenty-five names that I don’t care to know / It pains me inside out / Have they all forget my name?” It’s contradictions like these that make Puddle Splasher’s second offering so fascinating, but they are the byproduct of a band that truly understands its identity. Instead of becoming complacent and comfortable, though Missed Connections reveals Puddle Splasher as a better version of itself—and, ironically enough, a band that has discovered much about themselves in the process.
Welcome Muncie Girls To The Family /// New LP in 2016
We're so thrilled to welcome Muncie Girls as the newest addition to the family! With the help of Specialist Subject and Uncle M we're going to release the band's incredible new full length in February 2016. More news on that to follow!
Born in punk shows and dive bars to three driven teenagers in 2012, Muncie Girls embodies the classic punk rock story in a modern context. Fueled by discontent and anxiety, the Exeter trio eloquently addresses modern living as a self-aware young adult. The result is an ambitious and poignant rebellion against social norms that touches on everything from politics to interpersonal relationships.
After an impressively prolific start, releasing EPs and splits every year since their formation, Muncie Girls is finally gearing up for the release of their first full-length via Animal Style in 2016. The album’s title, a reference to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, perfectly compliments the themes found on the album – coping, healing, and shedding restraints. Musically, the album is a dynamic and emotional exploration of punk and indie rock. The album's bouncy catchiness is sure to be a hit with fans of Hop Along, Lemuria, Latterman, and RVIVR, but one of the defining characteristics of Muncie Girls is their ability to explore outside their immediate influences.
Ultimately, what sets Muncie Girls apart is bassist and lead vocalist Lande Hekt’s unique perspective and its impact on her understated lyricism. Hekt’s dry, unembellished writing style is, in many ways, reminiscent of classic American literature – a trait exceptionally unusual for a punk rock band from Exeter.