Direction. Motion. Progress. These words aren’t typically used to describe a rock band, but it’s the best way to break down Wizard of the Eye, the new album from Busses. The Philadelphia trio’s latest expands on the genre-slashing ambitions of its debut, charting new destinations on the post-rock spectrum. Dave Brett, Jason Bachman and Nick Apice continue to hone their collective gift for writing complex yet concise arrangements. Paint-pealing guitars and cavernous drums remain trademarks, but a heightened attention to dynamics defines these songs, and a reflective haze softens the edges.

It’s tempting to say Busses is experimenting with different textures, but the 10 tracks on Wizard of the Eye don’t sound like experiments. Decisive shifts in mood provide a kaleidoscopic backdrop for harmonies that are rich and layered. Even the most fragmented compositions feel meticulously plotted and carefully arranged, yet never overlabored. Nautical themes are folded into a jagged frame on “Bubbles,” which opens with restless bass-driven post-punk streaked with ear-splitting howls before simmering into gentle chords spread over a soothing rustle. “Rain” and “Big Surprise” are underpinned by lush horns that thicken and elevate the melodies, broadening the group’s tonal palette.

At the helm is singer-guitarist Brett, whose elastic voice reflects the band’s range. On the drifting, weightless reverie “Overload,” he works in a delicate, tentative whisper, a giant leap from the ecstatic release he delivers on the powerful title track. Thick and intricate countermelody comes from bassist and keyboardist Bachman, who locks in effortlessly with Apice’s polyrhythmic drumming, rooted in an unwavering pulse that also breathes organically. Busses wring multi-faceted ideas from a few key components, but ultimately this is music to get lost in. Brett sums it up best on the terrestrial drone of “Radio”: “These are the words, and here are the chords/This is how it goes.”

-Areif Sless-Kitain, July 2014

Celestial Shore

The whispers about Celestial Shore's debut full-length, 10x, began with the release of the balmy I'm-so-done-with-you song "Valerie" on Stereogum earlier this year. Sound traveled: the Brooklyn trio joined Hometapes and 10x will be released September 3rd in partnership with Local Singles (the new label begun by Brad Oberhofer). In nine songs, Celestial Shore deconstructs city life, the history of pop music, and their own jazz educations into something both heartbreakingly raw and mystically timeless. In between the lines, the band exalts the vibrant scene they call home: the album was mixed by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, includes Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez on vocals, and features cover art by Prince Rama.

The Interest Group

The Interest Group is a project which began as a recording partnership between its founding songwriters/producers, Marissa Lesnick and Yohsuke Araki in fall of 2011. While the musical style is malleable, the songs are still tied together by their voice, production technique, and sensibilities grounded in and around pop music. In their polarized aesthetics converge; equal parts grandiose pop of the 60’s and introverted sonic soundscapes of the 70’s onward.



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