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NYC Artist on the Rise: Vassals lands Pianos residency

Vassals, a band that has studied at the altar of classic pop songwriting, is back with a new track (called ‘Informers’ - streaming below) that celebrates the possibilities of a warm guitar, a touching story, and what sounds like a drugged out zither.

The song shuffles its rhythms at a level on par with the most bouncy of Vampire Weekend’s tracks (but without even a touch of Cape Cod), while its story seems to take you in one direction only: awkward, adolescent love. The new song is the leading track from their upcoming record slated for later this year. I’m hoping this signals plenty of loud, raunchy guitar solos to come...

You'll have many opportunities to see these guys live in August, since they are having a residency at Pianos on every Wednesday of the month starting from 08.08 - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)

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From the NYC digital submissions: Rebecca Brandt

Can't get out to the water this weekend? Consider popping on Rebecca Brandt's immersive new single, 'Staying Silent.’ Should be all you need to push yourself into the deep end. 

Molded in the style of fellow femme composers like Juliana Barwick and Zola Jesus, Rebecca's latest record 'Numbers & Shapes' is a colorful tapestry of sound collage every bit as epic as much of the film scores she’s composed over the past several years. Not for the faint of heart, tracks like the hard-hitting 'Run' and 'The Clock Breaks at Three' should give you an idea of what to expect from time spent with this runaway personality. 

Sream the new record on her bandcamp and please leave her a message telling her she needs to play live soon! - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)

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Blonds streams debut on Stereogum + plays The Rock Shop on 08.28

Blonds - Deli NYC artist of the month a few weeks ago - are about to release their debut album "The Bad Ones," which Stereogum is streaming in its entirety. With its beautiful mellow female vocals, slowed down groovy loops, Morriconian references, and occasional sonic bursts, this is a record that will appeal to many and make its ways in many "active" bedrooms. Don't miss the release party at THe Rock Shop on August 28. Check out the recent stunning single "Time" streaming below.

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TEEN release video of "Electric" + tours with Hospitality

We highlighted Brooklyn girl quartet TEEN (good luck Googling it! Facebook profile is here) few times since its inception, and they are now getting a good amount of buzz thanks to new material and an upcoming album entitled "In Limbo" which is scheduled to be released in September. The band also just announced a tour with delicious indie pop fellow Brooklynites Hospitality in October, and released this video of the single "Electric." See them live at their release parties at Le Baron in Manhattan (08.29) and Glasslands in Brooklyn (09.05).

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Album Review: Grace & Lies - Family Band

“And I told you there was nothing I have to hide…” Kim Krans declares in the bewitchingly insomniatic track “Night Song,” the opener to Grace & Lies (No Quarter), the collaboration with her husband Jonny Ollsin aptly named Family Band. Its crushing static and hypnotic guitar line serves as a bone-chilling invitation inside the group’s second full-length album, and is an obvious standout to the collection. In “Ride,” an acoustic finger-picked guitar opens the songs, while Krans’ words “let a story be told in full, boy you write the ending kind, the prettiest words you can find” play out like a letter. The interplay between the acoustic and electric guitar develop an interesting dynamic - the acoustic pattern playing off the electric which resonates with ever increasing ferocity as it progresses ultimately reaching a climax where the drums make a late appearance pushing the torment over the edge causing the musical unit to burst with epic force.

The album has the ability to shift gears while also remaining on a steady course. For “Again,” the track produced by Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen for and episode of Shaking Through, a steady backbeat of percussion opens the door for Krans latest narrative. While the percussion is always present in its background serving as a foundation in the song, the guitar contributes in a prominent fashion. The music morphs to accompany her vocals. At each lyrical turn, a new or augmented element emerges adding anticipation to each line, and on the following song and the album’s title track, a simple throbbing bass and harmonized backing vocals elevate as if a communal sacrifice is being made. Krans has the listener’s complete attention as the guitar stirs and her voice pushes the boundaries of the powerful mantra-like words.

Overall, the album is moody with its sparse instrumentation that lays as a backdrop for Krans’ meditative, siren-esque vocals. It’s introverted, but longs to be heard. And it should be.  

Family Band will be performing songs from Grace & Lies live in its rightful setting tonight at their Philly album release show in the Side Chapel of The First Unitarian Church. You can also purchase the album HERE. - Michael Colavita

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