The Mantles

The Mantles

San Francisco/Oakland’s The Mantles have been charting a unique path through the Bay Area’s storied garage/pop scene since 2007. The early shows were loose & loud Velvets/Nuggets-bashing, always with weirdly catchy songs & oddball chord changes. Their first singles saw them honing their sound, building towards their excellent 2009 self-titled debut album (on Siltbreeze) and follow-up EP on Mexican Summer. Loosely aligning with artists like White Fence and Ty Segall, The Mantles thoroughly modernize and personalize the folk-rock tradition.

Now on Long Enough To Leave, The Mantles still color outside the lines but dial a cleaner, more infectious sound. SF’s Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop) recorded the new album with enough savvy to make it pop while keeping the performances idiosyncratic & affecting. Sharp ears may spot bits of early Love, New Zealand’s Flying Nun label and LA’s Paisley Underground, but The Mantles are very far from revivalists and have more song-writing and arranging skill at their disposal than many bands could hope to have.

Long Enough To Leave is both impressionistic and psychedelic – guitar melodies evoke lyrical themes in equal measure to the plaintive words of vocalist Michael Olivares, whose frank and poetic take on ordinary reality strips familiar themes of their clichés. The band plays with a musical synchronicity and clarity that enlivens tunes like album opener “Marbled Birds” and the rocking “Reason’s Run.”

“Hello” is a tough, garagey stomp that contrasts nicely with the contemplative “Long Enough To Leave” which follows it. “Raspberry Thighs,” originally released on a scarce French 7″ single, is reprised and re-recorded with dreamy clarity. “Bad Design” is a great take on a long-time live favorite, while “Brown Balloon” joins “Don’t Lie” and “Lily Never Married” in a long line of Mantles garage-pop classics.

By foregoing the theater of retro psychedelia, The Mantles end up innovating in an area of guitar music where many bands get lost fawning over fashions, styles and trends. Long Enough To Leave instead stakes their claim as writers and players of distinction, building a sturdy catalog of excellent songs and increasingly accomplished records.

Juan Wauters (of The Beets)

Montevideo, Uruguay, 1997. In a red brick building–in a modest fourth floor apartment with a view straight to the ocean–Juan Wauters bangs on a neighbor’s piano and notices the good feeling. The piano machine becomes emotion when Juan lays his knowledge on the keys. Juan calls these casual and unique occasions “The Wauters Symphonies.” Later, on a borrowed guitar, these concerns are witness to thick tears cried through songs that smiled once they realized existence. Time brought strength to Juan Wauters’ muscles. These are the tools that he uses to craft pieces that are his evolving search for that specific sound that will never come to be. The search is never ending and the crafting just adds layers to a skin that thickens. Life becomes the mere existence of those sounds that last forever. Follow the piano crafted symphonies from a head that wanders lonely.

Sanity/Nena is Juan Wauters’ first solo release on vinyl. Recorded by Gary Olson at Marlborough Farms, released by Wayward Records in an edition of 500. He will be performing with vocalist Carmelle Safdie (of The Beachniks) and visuals by Matt Volz.

The Mendition of The Quay

The Mendition of the Quay is a four-piece psych-pop group from Connecticut. The two founders, lifelong pals David Elliott (who you may have seen behind the counter at Replay Records in Hamden, CT) and Justin Martell (author of the upcoming definitive biography of pop culture icon Tiny Tim), have spent their lives scouring every record shop they could get to for 60's pop, garage and psychedelic sounds. After devouring everything from Gary Lewis & The Playboys to The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band, the members of the Quay have crafted an album that plays to their influences while still maintaining a sense of identity and originality.


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