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Indie Rock





Subtle Smiles go on a celestial journey on self-titled debut single

It's a rare occurrence when a musical project decides to name a track after their namesake. But instead of self-promotion, consider Subtle Smiles' self-titled debut single as a definitive introduction into their hypnotic synth-pop. True to their name, the Long Beach duo—producer Brian Frederick and singer-songwriter Marley Rae—wield a low-key, yet richly textured sound that beams with scintillating intensity. "Starlight/ star bright," Rae playfully sings as frizzy synths and a lithe guitar riff proffer an unearthly atmosphere. "Subtle SMiles" should appeal to those who enjoy the dance-oriented balladry of New Order and the lavish, introspective pop of A Sunny Day in Glasgow. 

"Subtle Smiles" is featured on the duo's debut LP, Significant Other. Look out for a physical release later this summer via Donut Sounds. Juan Rodríguez

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Distant Mountains release new album Stationed Lockstep

Distant Mountains released their latest album Stationed Lockstep on March 1the first full-length album the band self-engineered and self-produced (Light Rail Studios, San Francisco). Well they’ve done a fine job. The album as a whole is a breathing piece; songs fade and blend into each other with seamless mixing and a refreshing blend of experimental, alternative rock that might please fans of Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Track “Look Back” is an opening song with the epic quality of early Arcade Fire and has some clever-funny lyrical and vocal moments. Enjoy that deep warble for a second there. Our recommendation is to hold out for Side 2: tracks “Expensive Taste,” “Solstice,” and “Junipero” blend together with a seamless spacey quality. Distant Mountains is Paul McCorkle, Scott Lord, and Ben Manning. Stay tuned into their sites for upcoming shows. - Michelle Kicherer, Associate Editor





New Amanda X Single Release Available for Streaming & Download

Amanda X not only returned to the stage this past Saturday at Everybody Hits, they also released a pair of singles. Recorded by Dan Angel and James Ryskalchick at the Dungeon, “Vivid” captures a melodic awakening as the vocals intertwine and the bass pushes the pace, ascending and then spilling over into distorted guitar. “End of Days” jumps right in, recognizing the shortcomings of getting off to a bad start; it trades off vocally, while riding a contrasting exuberance. (Photo by Scott Troyan)

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Dina Maccabee's new music is a balancing act, plays Owl Music Parlor 4.6

Dina Maccabee’s forthcoming record The Sharpening Machine is a balancing act; Maccabee juggles inclinations towards melodic singing and experimental vocal expression, while simultaneously modulating between instrumental textures both acoustic and electronic. While it can be initially perplexing to discern her overall vision, it is out of these contrasts that she creates a tension wherein shifts in structure and sound deliver a satisfying build and release. Recent single “Could You Be Right” serves as a testament to the record’s dynamic nature, changing from stumbling synth lines and a wandering vocal melody to an indie-pop, almost baroque-like march during the song’s chorus (and then back again). It’s a peak behind the curtain to Maccabee’s uniquely singular vision which will drop in full on April 5th - stream it below, and be sure to catch her at The Owl Music Parlor on April 6th with Kaethe Hostetter and Out of Sight of Land. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt)





LAIK “Unsatisfied”

LAIK has released a third single, “Unsatisfied”, from their forthcoming album, Curse My Dance Moves, which is due out April 5th.

This is the synth pop of Tyler Rice and Reuben Garza.

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