thermostat check – vacant magic — dimestore saints

vacant magic’s blog and label head drops off his favorite releases of 2016 so far.

via thermostat check – vacant magic — dimestore saints


Kenji // Surplus

Author: Jon Allmond

Ever since they got started last year, Austin’s Sports Day Records has been steadily growing into a great home for new up and coming artists. The debut release from fellow Austin residents, Hovvdy, gained the label plenty of much deserved attention and now. with the addition of Philly newcomer Kenji, it sounds like they’re getting ready to introduce us to another new potential favorite of the 2016.

Surplus” is the first single from Kenji’s forthcoming release I’ll Think of Something Better, and right from the jump the track perfectly strikes an addicting chord between smooth hip hop and hypnotic bedroom pop. That may not be something you thought you needed in your life but then again, sometimes opposites attract and you’ve probably never heard a track from Kenji before. With a chorus like “I must be stupid for trying this hard While also not trying at all“, “Surplus” strikes as relatable yet seemingly weightless and it’s that same laid back demeanor that is sure to put Kenji on the the radar well before his debut album drops on June 10th.

Retrospective: Middle Part // S/T

Author: Youssef Shokry

With just one self-titled EP thrust into the wide world of the internet, Harrisonburg-VA punks Middle Part waste no time in showing they are a force to be reckoned with. The three-piece outfit deftly blends elements of noise, melodic punk, and the straightforward, no-nonsense efficiency of hardcore, but this is no cherry-picked list of references.

Rather, they move seamlessly from unperturbed drum/bass lines to powerful shrieks and back again — all within the span of one song, the opener “Dip Dip”. From there, the musical changeups alternate to even more noticeable extremes, as is shown on “Fight Song,” where the reverb-drenched guitar becomes a cacophonous fury of drums all overlaid by Alice Glass-esque shrieks.

Each track — from the kick pedal and ever-heightened shredding of “Jam Sandwich” to The Argument-era Fugazi-flavored track “Like Before”, and rounded out with the furious and energetic closer “Stay Mad” — exists in a world all its own. Brought together, these five tracks form a hulking monster of spark and noise that demands to be heard.

This is punk for shows in cramped art spaces, unrelenting and yet inviting listeners in for a closer look. Middle Part are out on tour in June and they also have cassettes available over on bandcamp, so be sure to catch them wherever they might touch down.

Video Premiere: Soft Lighting // Avalanche (Prod. by A$AP P on the Boards)

It’s no secret that a lot of projects draw from the 80s for inspiration and even more seem to stay there rather than moving forward, but thankfully the same can’t be said  for Kansas City’s resident late night synthpopper, Soft Lighting. Bryan Cox has been crafting 80s infused slow jams via Teeel‘s very own Synthemesc Records since ’12 and while Soft Lighting embraces that ever popular decade of music with open arms, his music has always seen the past and present locked in an hypnotzing passion. Cascade marks the first lengthy release that we’ve heard from Soft Lighting following Portraits and if you noticed the dark undertones moving alongside glitzy lead single “Avalanche“, that would be thanks to A$AP P on the Boards and his meticulous production, which can be heard all throughout the EP. You can peep the video premiere for the track along with a full stream of Cascade below.

Cascade is available digitally for $3 via bandcamp.

Greaver // A Poisoned Well

Author: Jon Allmond

If you’ve been around the North Carolina post hardcore scene anytime within the past few years then chances are that the dynamic sounds of Durham’s Greaver aren’t unfamiliar. The group first made an introduction back in ’13 with the release of their EP, Clockwork Creatures, and despite being relatively quiet between that and their last two track release, Lineage & Legions, all of the signs in “A Poisoned Well” point to that time away being well spent. Rather than finding themselves stuck between influences or current trends, Greaver has molded their aggressive flair into a more mature force  that could only come from a band that has improved with each effort, and with their LP, The Faun, set to drop on the 26th, they’re sure to leave an impact on the scene that will be felt well beyond their NC home.

Afternoon Anorak // Reaper

Author: Jon Allmond

If you followed Cassette Rewind then you most likely know that one of my recent favorites was the forever dreamy Bay Area based four piece, No Vacation. You might also know that sadly No Vacation is no longer making music together and though that’s nothing short of a huge bummer, that hasn’t stopped members from still pursuing more music for all of us to fall in love with. The new project from Sabrina Mai, Afternoon Anorak doesn’t shy too far away from the tropical haze that permeated Summer Breakup and Amo XO but it’s also more vulnerable. Following “i hate everyone but you“, “Reaper” tells a somber story of trying to escape the truly inevitable as well as the things that just seem to be. It’s a sinking, stomach churning feeling that we all know too well and though Mai doesn’t try to sugarcoat this anxiety, there’s a faint light hiding beneath it’s dark apperance, seen in between the piercing guitar and Mai’s softspoken words, that brings solace to whatever difficult things may come.

Hotwax // Crystalline

Author: Youssef Shokry

On the track “Crystalline,” Adam Kielbach a.k.a Hotwax, weaves soft hi-hats and droplet-like keyboard tunes into a tapestry that one would find at a meditation retreat center, minus the pretension of achieving transcendence. Keilbach lulls listeners into an introductory interlude of sorts — it’s not long before his airy synth workings give way to a network of drum beats and downtempo maneuvers. You don’t immediately take notice until, suddenly, the track catches you off guard in its last moments with a flurry of hi-hats, arriving ever so delicately at its end. The underlying flow never takes abrupt turns, maintaining a rhythmic continuity on which the listener is whisked away.

Keep up with Hotwax on his bandcamp page or tumblr.


Weaves // Candy

Author: Jon Allmond

When it comes to Toronto’s Weaves, their approach to pop music as we know it can best be described as unorthodox. The infectious hooks and grand choruses are all there but as far as what holds it all together, that’s something born entirely out of their own offbeat design. Instead of moving away from the boisterous sound that populated their 2014 EP, their latest track, “Candy“, shows Weaves rushing towards it even faster and harder than before with Jasmyn Burke‘s trademark spellbinding vocals and the frantic noise/ funk love affair courtesy of Morgan Waters, Spencer Cole, and Zach Bines. If “Candy” is any indication of the sweetness to come then it’s going to be hard to try and contain our exictement until they release their self titled LP on June 17th.

Sea of Tranquility // Cadence

Author: Jon Allmond

Hailing from Hong Kong, Sea of Tranquility first caught my attention thanks to Chicago shoegaze connoisseur’s Wild Patterns. Out of the two tracks available on their soundcloud “Cadence” shines the brightest and though it’s still a demo any negative connotations of the word should be left at the door.  With pillowly vocals ready to lull you into the most serene daydream, and waves of reverb echoing throughout, “Cadence” is a perfect introduction for a band that has all the signs of a shoegaze band while they’re slowly growing to be more.



ALTARAGE // Drevicet

Author: Youssef Shokry

Looking at Spanish death metal act Altarage’s bandcamp page, one comment reads that the group’s sound is “darkness from the Basque Country,” which perfectly encapsulates the sound and style they are going for. The track “Drevicet” perfectly combines the driving thrash sound of late 80s Metallica with unforgiving double-pedal madness a la Slayer or Anthrax, all overlaid with pitch-black, otherworldly vocals and murky guitars. What distinguishes this piece of death metal from the rest of the numerous entries into the genre? Rather than drawing entirely from either thrash, speed, or black metal, Altarage finds an (un)happy medium amongst the three, creating a sense of grandiosity and purpose.