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PREMIERE: Fair Visions dream of a pleasant afternoon outdoors on "Lay Out in the Sun"

Listening to “Lay Out in the Sun,” the latest single by New York post-punk band Fair Visions, feels like a daydream had while staring out the window of a cramped three-bedroom apartment. Tightly compressed drums and hazy, analogue keys vibe alongside easygoing acoustic strumming, as singer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Work envisions a sunny afternoon in greener pastures, “away from everyone.” Avoiding getting caught in the claustrophobia of bedroom pop, the song expands outwards, providing a verdant, minimalist synth solo and lush chorus harmonies, pining lyrically for a new start, a contrast to the perpetually overcast nature of quotidian routines. While most of the city remains anxiously stuck indoors, Fair Visions encourages us to dream, if only for a moment, about a better life that’s just over the horizon — give it a listen the next time you find yourself requiring a brief escape. —Connor Beckett McInerney

 

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Sludge abounds on Spacer's noise-friendly "Red Wolf"

The saturated image of a fleeing canine adorns the cover of Red Wolf, a recent release by New York experimental rock trio Spacer, a fitting image given the effort’s skittish, sometimes wandering internal monologue and its fight-or-flight inducing guitar work. Through sludgey drop tunings with a slight psych influence, Spacer impress on listeners a sense of indefinable external danger, or at the very least a mild malaise, over the course of six tracks, replete with an impressionistic approach to lyricism and distorted, heavy shredding. Visceral and anxiety-inducing, it’s evocative of Boris’ Akuma No Uta, the type of record for those seeking an experimental, noisy release from the city’s current quietude. Stream it below.

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Scree's experimental instrumentation shines through on "Live from The Owl"

Brooklyn-based post-rock / jazz trio Scree best hone their sound in a live setting — their set opening for Ben Seretan this past February was, in my opinion, one of the more transcendent performances i’ve seen in recent years. Live at The Owl captures much of the unbridled, experimental aspects that make the group such a joy to listen to, brimming with noodling interplay between upbeat bass and live guitar, shuffling freeform percussion, and well-timed discordant segues that introduce a cerebral, melancholic break from melody. Unfortunately not present on the LP are guitarist Ryan Beckley’s inter-track spoken word interludes (which offered a nice reprieve from the band's swirling, blue-toned sound in concert); until the dust settles on New York’s indefinite concert postponement and you can enjoy Scree IRL, stream this masterful instrumental effort below. —Connor Beckett McInerney, Photo by Jason Burger

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Clown, Baby's vintage synthpop delights on new EP "In My Car"

NJ electropop outfit Clown, Baby make easily danceable tunes with an 80s slant, albeit with an ear for the charmingly irreverent. Over the course of new EP In my car, the band details the merits of choosing a proletarian ride over showboating muscle cars (“toyota corolla”), the virtues of love bites (“eightdog”), and the undeniable attraction of apathetic heart-throbs (“baditude”), all presented with plush, playful synth leads and relaxed, almost lounge-like vocal performances. While the release plays into a number of songwriting tropes from an era of big hair and teenage hedonism, the extended play resonates instead as a joyful, groove focused effort, evocative of both the B-52’s campy jams and the off-kilter stylings of early Metronomy — stream it below if you’re looking for a good time. Photo by Bobby Greco.

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niecesandnephews recalls the experience sweet and sad on “Come By"

Lush electronics, memories which have just started to fade, and an abiding, comforting acoustic guitar bolster “Come By,” the latest single by niecesandnephews, but the song finds its greatest strength in the human voice. Composer-producer-songwriter Mario Gutierrez’s baritone register, in collaboration with Sara Sommerer, provides narration of events both past and present, unfurling a tale of lost love among a sea of bright instrumentation, almost as if he’s telling a long, sad story of indeterminate ending. Better yet, his choice pairing of folk textures with synthetic accents presents receding recollections of the past in appropriately hazy fashion — Gutierrez said the track itself details how, in recalling bygone romance, that “the vision is generally unclear, but we wish to just have that moment to show we can bring, but that time doesn’t come.” As such, it’s recommended listening for your next nostalgia trip, or for fans of Bon Iver circa 22, A Million era — stream it below.

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