And So I Watch You From Afar & This Town Needs Guns

And So I Watch You From Afar

And So I Watch You From Afar have applied to their fourth album the same rigorous work ethic that has seen them touring nearly non-stop all over the world in recent years — including less common tour stops like China, Russia, India and Africa. Heirs is both the band’s most painstakingly created album as well as its most personal and meaningful. “Its central theme is about the inheritance of ideas,” the band says. “In that we’re all heirs to other peoples’ passion, which in turn inspires ourselves.”

Many new lives, new imperatives and invigorated perspectives helped shape the 10-song album borne of over 30 tracks written in prolific isolation spanning over 6 months in the band’s Belfast, Northern Ireland home. It’s a work of intense focus and adventurous abandon that reaches to the heart of artistic expression.

“We started making the album while touring in 2013,” guitarist Rory Friers explains. “We would be recording demos in our hotel rooms, back stage and we would even hire out rehearsal rooms during days off.” Being the first album with new guitarist Niall Kennedy (who joined as a touring member in 2012), the band grew increasingly productive taking half a year off from the road and working nearly every waking moment together in their rehearsal room. Friers and Kennedy, along with drummer Chris Wee and bassist Johnathan Adger amassed about 30 new songs, which were then whittled down to 15 tracks. Of those 15, only 10 songs made the final cut, carefully selecting those that best represented the ideas and feelings the band wanted to express with the album.

“Its called Heirs as a tribute to a lot of new people who came into all our lives during the writing and recording of the album — lots of nephews and Johnny had a daughter, Eisa,” Friers explains. “It seems like the songs soaked up all those feelings we had during the writing. Because making the album was such an intentionally intense and full time experience none of us where listening to much other music or even experiencing much else outside of it. So, it feels like a very pure representation of what happens when these four people decide to make music together. It was a very intense time and the record has been shaped by that.”

Album opener “Run Home” kicks things off with a flurry of hammer-on guitar notes and a chorus of voices chanting the two words of the song title as the band races toward the anthem’s explosive conclusion. Elsewhere, Wee’s maniacal double-time rolling toms, Adger’s rumbling heavily-distorted bass and murmuring guitar notes drive the perpetually buzzing (and fittingly titled) “Wasps” as reverb-drenched voices howl above the proceedings until banshee wail harmonized guitars erupt, nearly decimating everything in their path. “A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor” takes a slow build approach, starting out with melancholy chords fading in to a pulsing 3/4-time driving rhythm section and muted, scraped guitars leading to a soaring harmonized guitar leads. The album title track is also its longest at seven and a half minutes, and fittingly as explorative as all that went into the album’s creation. Staccato guitar chords lead into an impossibly complex time signature as half-time drums and bass drop in while a heavily-effected guitar lead veers throughout the tune. All of those elements converge into an anthemic melody that peaks with a simple, infectious hook in the last 1:27 that ties Heirs up concisely with its deliberate, determined power.

Heirs will be available everywhere on LP, CD and download on May 4th, 2015 via Sargent House.

This Town Needs Guns

"This Town Needs Guns sound stylish, sussed and like reformed mathcore men Minus The Bear covering seminal Mancunian miserablists The Smiths. Good, in other words." -- Kerrang

Oxford, England's TTNG has always been known for walking a tightrope line between pop melody and technical precision. But, their sophomore album, 13.0.0.0.0 finds the band blurring the lines so masterfully that their intricate, spindling guitar lines and soaring pop hooks reach unforeseen apexes. And, so it's fitting that the band titled their new album after esoteric means of counting: 13.0.0.0.0 referring to the Mayan calendar's Long Count indicating the beginning (August 11, 3114 BCE) and ending (December 21, 2012) of the current creation.

13.0.0.0.0 is their first album featuring their new vocalist Henry Tremain following the amicable departure of former lead singer Stuart Smith in 2011. This lineup shows considerable growth and cohesion with Tim Collis' signature bluegrass style finger-picking electric guitar lines weaving around brother and drummer Chris Collis' stop 'n' go syncopated rhythms as Tremain's rich vocals glide across the proceedings. But it's the band's earnest songwriting that really shines herein.

TTNG have stayed true to their sound rather than chasing pop payoff like many of their contemporaries. The result is a leaner, stronger version of themselves similar to the way kindred spirits Pinback and Grizzly Bear have honed unique identities over many years. Album opener "Cat Fantastic" kicks things off at a spritely pace with an incredibly nimble clawhammer plucking guitar melody that sounds like a hybrid of Flatt & Scruggs crossed with Robert Fripp. But, it's the warmth to Tremain's voice and the song's hooky chord progression that makes it easy to forget the depth of musicianship on display throughout. Elsewhere, ethereal vocal melodies weave together with rapid-fire guitar and bass interplay on "Havoc In The Forum" and a sliced-up sounding drum pattern on "I'll Take The Minute Snake." Tremain's vocal acrobatics in "Left Aligned" reach stunning highs while slithering bass chords, fugue-like guitar notes and rollicking drums form a sturdy base. "13.0.0.0.1" perfectly closes the album with a chiming lullaby of interwoven piano and lightly plucked guitar notes.

"13.0.0.0.0" was released worldwide on LP, CD and download via Sargent House on January 22, 2013.

Under the moniker Mylets, Henry Kohen takes on the roles of several musicians at once. The wunderkind guitarist who, at 17, became the youngest artist signed to Sargent House has since established his reputation as an awe-inspiring and agile performer, playing across North America and Europe multiple times over the past couple of years.

Dancing across multiple guitar pedals that line the stage, Kohen also sings and lays down guitar loops while simultaneously tapping out beats on a drum machine. Nothing is pre-programmed. Every note played is as organic and fallible as its performer. Kohen’s physicality and presence is captivating on stage, but what’s even more impressive is that his songwriting talent is equally as vast and varied as his multitasking skills.

Arizona is the defining work of a masterful tunesmith. Despite their complexity, the songs are never disrupted by the intricacies running beneath their hyper-infectious pop structures. Kohen operates his equipment like the conductor of a small orchestra, summoning fully realized melodies from his devices. “I put in a lot of effort to make every single word and note of each song as deliberate and concise as I could,” Kohen explains, “rather than throw out an unintelligible overflow of information.”

Album opener “Trembling Hands” is a massive, hook-heavy anthem driven by layers of churning guitars and distortion that stirs somewhere between the throaty verses of Broken-era Nine Inch Nails to the hymnal anxiety of a Cloud Nothings record. The title track follows with a cascade of syncopated guitar arpeggios setting the stage for a reverse-reverb soaked vocal harmony that chimes like something off of U2’s Unforgettable Fire. And, that’s the beauty here: Mylets appeals to every listener, not just other musicians. Kohen understates his unparalleled and highly specific skills and instead forces the emotion informing his music to the forefront. This ability is what makes the songs on Arizona command repeat listens.

Mylets first came to Sargent House’s attention with a series of self-released solo EPs, much of which were remastered and compiled on the label’s 2013 release Retcon. Around that time, Kohen relocated from Columbus, Indiana to Los Angeles, residing at the artist-friendly Sargent House all the while working intensively on prepping Arizona material for the studio. In the interim, Mylets also toured extensively on different continents with And So I Watch You From Afar, TTNG and Emma Ruth Rundle. “Because of the range of time spent writing, it was very important for me to capture the concepts of creative and personal growth within the songs on the record,” Kohen says. “I recorded the album twice under very different circumstances in 2014 and on the second round of studio time, I left with a product that I felt was as true of a representation of what was initially in my head as I could have created.”

Arizona will be available everywhere on LP, CD and download via Sargent House on April 21st, 2015.

X Suns was formed in 2009 by Keith Furtado, Trent McIntyre, and Adam Tricoli. They started playing live at the start of 2010 (as Ten Suns). In Oct. of 2011, They recorded a 5 song E.P. with Justin Armstrong at Electrokitty Studios. Soon after they changed their name to "X" Suns (X as the roman numeral for ten). After self-releasing the E.P. on CD and Digital Download in January of 2012, the band decided to enlist the skills of Skippy Tim King (of the Seattle band Patrol) as their second guitar player to beef up their live sound. They continued as a four-piece until May of 2012, when Keith Furtado decided to part ways with the band. He was replaced by Richard Burkett in August. Currently they are working on new material for their next release.

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