Monday, December 14, 2009

US/THEM group year-end recap -- with media links

It's that time of year again, when everyone's making their lists of which artists have been naughty or nice. Submitted for your consideration, here's a rundown of releases we've handled at US/THEM group this year. It's been an incredible time since our launch in May 2009, and next year is already lining up to be equally impressive.

Below are this year's releases, with media links. Please get in touch if you missed out on any of these.

06/09 - Post Honeymoon - Post Honeymoon

07/21 - RX Bandits - Mandala

08/18 - Cast Spells - Bright Works and Baton

08/25 - Bygones - by-

08/25 - Zechs Marquise - Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare

10/06 - The Happy Hollows - Spells

10/13 - Yoga - Megafauna

11/10 - Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Xenophanes

11/10 - Mr. Gnome - Heave Yer Skeleton

12/01 - Good Old War/Cast Spells - Split EP

Post Honeymoon - Post Honeymoon (Two Thumbs Down)

The newlywed band of vocalist/keyboardist Rachel Shindelman and drummer/bassist/vocalist Nick Kraska had originally played together in popular synth-punk outfits Bang! Bang! (Morphius Records) and New Black (Thick/Southern). Following the demise of their former bands and their ensuing marriage, Nick and Rachel formed Post Honeymoon and began winning over Windy City audiences with their stripped-down and dark, churning rock.

Post Honeymoon "Night Guard" (MP3)

Post Honeymoon "First World Problems" (MP3)

RX Bandits - Mandala (Sargent House)

Southern California's multifaceted prog-psych-rock quartet's latest album is the culmination of a decade-long musical transformation. With this recording, RX Bandits have truly struck the essence of their merging of genres into a complete and masterfully detailed mosaic.

RX Bandits "My Lonesome Only Friend" (MP3) (VIDEO - Live on Fuel TV)

Cast Spells - Bright Works and Baton (Sargent House)

The solo debut EP from Maps & Atlases frontman Dave Davison is a lush and intimate affair that swaps the mathy structures of his other band. This 6-song release showcases much of Davison's talents as a pop songwriter as well as a guitar virtuoso.

Cast Spells Full EP stream

Bygones - by- (Sargent House)

A sinewy, wired mass of riffs and shifting rhythms in a collaboration between drummer Zach Hill (Hella, et al.) and guitarist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos). The duo fits more riffs and ideas into one song than most bands put on an entire album.

Bygones "Click On That (Smash The Plastic Death) (MP3)

Zechs Marquise - Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)

The Mars Volta sibling band featuring TMV multi-instrumentalist Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and bassist Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez shares that band's penchant for expansive passages. However, Zechs Marquise takes a hazier, psych-laden approach to its songs, as evident on its 15-track debut album Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare released via Rodriguez Lopez Productions.

Zechs Marquise "Chase Scene" (MP3)

Zechs Marquise "Sirenum Scopuli" (MP3)

The Happy Hollows - Spells (self-released)

Darlings of the L.A. underground, The Happy Hollows are quickly become one of the most celebrated indie rock bands in existence. Their debut album, Spells has already landed on many best of the year lists and the trio's sold out shows prove that this is a major band to watch in 2010. Vocalist/guitarist Sarah Negahdari is wildly charismatic and talented and the rhythm section's agile musicianship continues to put all who encounter the Happy Hollows under their spell.

The Happy Hollows "Faces" (MP3)

The Happy Hollows "High Wire" (MP3)

Yoga - Megafauna (Holy Mountain)

Sweden's mysterious group Yoga has been called a Black Metal version of Throbbing Gristle. The heavy, nightmarish acid-flashback sound of its debut album Megafauna released just in time for Halloween, proving a perfect soundtrack for dark horror. The album was released on the intrepid tastemaker label, Holy Mountain (Wooden Shjips, OM, Six Organs of Admittance).

Yoga "Seventh Mind" (M3U)

Yoga "Encante" (M3U)

Yoga "Fourth Eye" (M3U)

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Xenophanes (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)

Renown guitarist and musical mastermind Omar Rodriguez Lopez makes his debut as lead vocalist on his most melodic and revealing album to date. Xenophanes takes bold steps for the Grammy-winning guitar legend -- and we don't use the word "legend" lightly, Rolling Stone hails him among their "Greatest Guitarists of All Time." The hyper-prolific musician takes many bold steps with this album indicating just how much more greatness is yet to come.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez "Mundo De Ciegos" (MP3) (VIDEO)

Mr. Gnome - Heave Yer Skeleton (El Marko Records)

Cleveland duo holed up at Josh Homme's Pink Duck Studios to record and Butch Vig's Smart Studios to mix their masterpiece sophomore album, Heave Yer Skeleton. The soulful, feminine power of vocalist/guitarist Nicole Barille garners comparisons to both Chan Marshall and Karen O, whereas the dynamic drumming and piano playing of Sam Meister add dashes Death From Above 1979 and Blonde Redhead.

Mr. Gnome "Slow Side" (MP3)

Mr. Gnome "Spain" (VIDEO)

Mr. Gnome "Vampires" (MP3)

Good Old War/Cast Spells - Split EP (Sargent House)

The soaring harmonies of Good Old War won over countless fans following the trio's Sargent House debut album, Only Way to Be Alone in 2008. While touring nearly constantly in 2009, Good Old War managed to record two new tracks for this EP released in support of the band's tour with Cast Spells. Dave Davison's solo endeavor Cast Spells also contributes 2 new songs for this brilliantly paired release.

Good Old War "Texas Blues" (MP3)

Cast Spells "All Brass" (MP3)

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