Weekly Spins

Party Punk, Ambient Electronics, and Doomey Post Rock

Jeff The Brotherhood keep things catchy and distorted.
Shark’s Teeth brings smooth vibes under electronic haze.
Alaskan live up to their name with their cold, heavy drone.

Jeff The Brotherhood
We Are The Champions
Infinity Cat Records

Armed with fuzz, percussion and super-literal lyrics, Nashville duo Jeff The Brotherhood crank out high-octane garage rock with no filler. With their first major release We Are the Champions, they show a bigger audience what those in their scene already know. They’ve been at this for some ten years, and all that time has certainly paid off. While maintaining a rough sound, the music found on this LP is remarkably dynamic and catchy. Maybe they benefit from some musical biological connection, as Jake Orall sings and plays guitar while his brother Jamin is behind the kit. Apparently Jake + Jamin = Jeff.

They pack the slightly-awkward gusto that made Weezer so great in the beginning, but things here are much more party-punked up. The redlining garage rock guitar tone is the critical element, where sometimes feedback is the only thing holding the groove together, like on the slow-jam “Endless Fire.” The brothers may not be breaking any new ground sonically, but the brimming energy and unorthodox catchiness more than makes up for that. It’s definitely the kind of music that would benefit from experiencing it live, and the fact that Warner Bros. picked these guys up gives me hope for major labels to finally move away from solely signing fiscally “safe” acts.


Shark’s Teeth

Tyler Scurlock of Sun Hotel goes solo to produce something more intimate and passive with his latest effort under the moniker Shark’s Teeth. While among bandmates the result has been gospel-inspired indie rock, on his own the result is much more minimal. His latest work Gazebo is a pristine, delicate record, held together with building ambiance and the odd guitar line. There’s a sense of elegance about this album, and not just because of album art sporting a driver inviting you to come for a limo ride.

The record is a lush experience, with flittering electronic haze and minimal vocal work, seeming to allude to leisure and faith. Often the heavily affected singing is hard to make out, making it another element to the docile atmosphere rather than a focal point. Perhaps “Suffered From” is the best example of this, where ethereal vocoded singing is rendered incomprehensible on top of faint dub drums.

There are points in the album where it can seem like you’re trapped in a never ending segue (“Living Off”), but thankfully these moments pay off when the more clearly defined songs do show their face. Tension flows into release as the first seconds of “About” and “Good Responder” rise from ambient space. It’s when explicit structure reveals itself from this record’s reverb-y fog that makes this the kind of record worth paying attention to the little sonic details. Gazebo is music for a quiet Sunday morning, or late-night reflection. It’s not a grabber, but you just may find yourself sinking into this record.


Adversity; Woe
Sick Man Getting Sick Records

Maybe Ottawa isn’t the first place you’d expect to be the genesis of 38 minutes of post-metal as intense as this, but Alaskan have done it, either because of or in spite of their surroundings. The sound on Adversity; Woe is even colder than before, and the slow-paced heavy groove never overstays its welcome. The band has found the sweet spot between all-out aggression and methodical spacing, making this the kind of experience you’ll want to stick on repeat.

Overdriven bass and all-consuming drumming back up the heavy space created by guitar, furious vocals adding more percussive power than anything melodic. In fact, there’s not a whole lot of melody on this whole record, instead creeping riffs echo heavy booms of a great doomsday bell. It’s the imagery forged by such bleak playing that takes center-stage. Even when acoustic guitar is brought in on “Interruption” the heaviness is still there, with its slow, tense performance supported by muted drums. The fact that this segue track can maintain the intensity without any distortion is testament to just how honed-in this band’s sound has become. It’s black to the core, and heavy as hell.

A ship sails towards infinity on the record’s cover, surrounded by treacherous black ocean. It’s pretty indicative of what you’re getting into – an epic journey with nowhere to cast anchor until the very end. With tools as simple as moving back and forth between two chords, the band builds cold, dark, tension and intensity more than living up to their name.