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HOMESHAKE // Fresh Air  •   Album Review, Indie / Alternative

For fans of: Mac DeMarco, Alex Calder, Mild High Club

Fresh Air, the third album from Montreal-based Homeshake dives deeper into the rainy-day melancholy former Mac DeMarco guitarist Peter Sagar and company are renowned for crafting so well. This time around, they expand on the synth strolls and melodic bass lines boasted on 2015’s Midnight Snack.

0004833687_10Homeshake, as featured on their Bandcamp

“Serious” plays with an abrasive siren-like sound in the chorus, showing Sagar’s ambition to incorporate unconventional sounds to further Homeshake’s songwriting capacities. Sagar’s signature falsetto comes out to shine on tracks like “Not U,” his falsetto refrain on the hook blissfully complementing the woozy, sonically dense instrumentation.

What separates Fresh Air from its predecessors is the sheer density of these 14 tracks. The rich low-end groovy synths anchor the record to R&B framework, but the higher synths, guitars and advancement in production techniques provide refuge for Sagar and his croon to find room to breathe. Though Fresh Air boasts Homeshake’s most complex and well-produced work yet, “TV Volume” and “So She” recall Homeshake’s first full-length- the former toying with wah-kissed guitar trills littered through In The Shower, while the latter basks in a single chord strummed amble.

With that said, Fresh Air feels like significantly less of a musical jump than Midnight Snack was from 2014’s In The Shower. However, this shouldn’t be perceived as negative. The most stark connection to previous material is “Getting Down Pt. II,” a gloomy groove where Sagar calls back the main melodies from “He’s On Fire” from Midnight Snack.

The perma-stoned bliss and suave lyricism that Sagar seems to have mastered makes Homeshake a recommended listen for someone who needs some “fresh air,” or perhaps maybe just a deep breath. Fresh Air finds itself straddling between stimulating and sedating, but nothing urges, nothing pushes, everything is organic and unforced. The opening lines of “This Way” serve as a fitting mantra for Fresh Air: “Come in and sit and stay a while, you can relax, it’s me.”

The Regrettes // Feel Your Feelings Fool  •   Album Review, Indie / Alternative

High school garage punks the Regrettes released their newest album “Feel Your Feelings Fool” in late January. And honestly, it’s chock full of anti-Valentine’s Day anthems. The first song on the release “I Don’t Like You” kicks off the 15-track album with assertive punk-influenced vocals and shameless lyrics, including “You say hello, I want to die.”

“Feel Your Feelings Fool” discusses a variety of different relationships and the emotions that come with those relationships. From platonic friendship, to unrequited love, to self-love, the Regrettes cover it all, which is what makes the album a perfectly defiant soundtrack to Valentine’s Day loathing.

The 15-year old lead singer of the Regrettes Lydia Night manages to sing in the vein of seasoned artists like Courtney Barnett and Adult Mom. Her attitude is downright gritty and honest, and she refuses to hold back. The second track on “Feel Your Feelings Fool,” “A Living Human Girl,” was released late last year as a single and received enough attention to land the band a gig during the Echo Park Rising festival. “A Living Human Girl” is for every young woman who might feel unable to take ownership of normal bodily functions. “I can be brave and I can be bold, no matter what you have to say,” Night shouts.

dsfThe Regrettes as featured on Stereogum

The thread of feminism and patriarchal expectations is followed throughout “Feel Your Feelings Fool,” and is most clearly displayed in the intro of “Ladylike/WHATTA BITCH,” when Night softly chants:

“Be soft, be shy, read a book and learn to cook. Be nice, be dumb, clean the floors and wash your pores. Be light, be small, wear a dress below your knees not less. Be insecure, be a wife, cater to a man for the rest of your life.”

Night continues the song by telling a third-person story of rejecting a boy at school. The story feels just enough like high school gossip to discuss the immaturity that arrives with finding love. On the track, “How It Should Be,” Night sings, “I don’t want you because I don’t need you.” “Feel Your Feelings Fool” is about finding your footing in relationships, and determining what is important and what—or who—can be tossed out. “Going through the motions feels like drowning in the ocean,” Night sings in “Bronze.”

Whether you’re comfortable with being alone this Valentine’s Day or sucking down Smirnoff with a straw, “Feel Your Feelings Fool” is the perfect way to cope with a variety of confusing emotions. Whether you’re dealing with being newly single, losing a close friend or feeling weird about how proud you are of your hairy legs, put your headphones in and listen to the comforting sounds of someone dealing with similar issues. My personal favorite track off the album? “Seashore.”

This review was originally published by the Nevada Sagebrush.

Show Spotlight // Surf Curse, Snack, Royal Noble @ the Holland Project  •   Indie / Alternative, Show Spotlights

Reno’s favorite DIY band Surf Curse returned home from L.A. with a new album in tow. Nothing Yet is Surf Curse’s second full-length album released in January 2017. Nothing Yet is stylistically similar to previous releases Buds and Sad Boys, but not in a way that caused fans to cringe in disappointment. The album is fraught with Surf Curse’s famous surf-punk riffs and catchy lyrics.

Surf Curse headlined a sold-out show at the Holland Project on Feb. 4, 2017 with local bands Snack and Royal Noble. Snack hit the stage first, playing favorites including “Leave Me Babe,” and “Yellow Fever.” Bella Crawford and Liz Ramos first hit Reno’s music scene almost a year ago when they played at the Holland Project’s Young Blood Showcase, which features up-and-coming artists under 21 years old. Within the past year, the duo have rapidly gained a following in Reno through their honest lyrics, fun stage presence and bratty surf-punk.

32614586291_bceaf075a2_oBella Crawford of Reno’s Snack. Photo courtesy of the Holland Project’s Flickr

32358146890_6cbe225ef9_oLiz Ramos of Snack. Photo courtesy of the Holland Project’s Flickr.

Justin of Royal Noble followed Snack in his typical unassuming fashion. Royal Noble has played shows with Surf Curse as far back as 2012, when a lesser-known Mac Demarco hit the Holland Project stage.

32738052265_318c481e1f_oJustin Craperi of Royal Noble, courtesy of the Holland Project’s Flickr

As Royal Noble played on the first Saturday of February, more and more people joined the audience. Soon enough, the show was sold-out. As Royal Noble finished their well-received set, the crowd started buzzing. While everyone had just seen Surf Curse back in December, it would be the first time hearing parts of the new album, Nothing Yet, live.

32738009295_03a4ec469b_oJacob Rubeck of L.A.-based Surf Curse. Photo courtesy of the Holland Project’s Flickr.

Surf Curse played a variety of old hits–“Freaks,” and “Ponyboy”–intermixed with new hits from Nothing Yet. “All is Lost,” “Christine F” were among the new tracks that had everyone dancing in a crowded bunch at the Holland Project. As always, Surf Curse played an enthusiastic set that left the crowd eager for another song to dance to. Until next time, “surf’s up” Surf Curse.

Special thank you to the amazing photographers down at the Holland Project.