Order of the Toad

Order of the Toad | Spirit Man | 3hive.com
Order of the Toad | Spirit Man | 3hive.com

Glasgow band Order of the Toad are back with their third album Spirit Man, which is twelve songs of jangly, garage-pop goodness.

Check out the single “Golden Rod” and “Salt of The Earth” as well (below) for a taste.

Spirit Man is out now on Gringo Records and Hidden Bay. Enjoy.

Easy Prey

Easy Prey | Unrest | 3hive.com
Easy Prey | Unrest | 3hive.com

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the members of Austin band Easy Prey are pissed off. At least that’s the vibe I get while listening to their debut LP Unrest (which I have been listening to almost non-stop for the past few days). If my frustrations and anxieties about all the BS going on around all of us – every day – were a band, I think it would sound a lot like Easy Prey.

Unrest was written during the lockdowns of 2020 and “heavily influenced by the circumstances of 2020 – experiencing mass unemployment and civil strife while the ruling class thrived.”

Unrest is a masterclass on what makes a great post-hardcore album — it’s heavy, it’s loud, it’s punishing and it doesn’t let up — ever — during its 10 song, 30 minute span. Check out “Other People” below for a taste.

For me listening to Unrest has been a bit of a cathartic experience, where for 30 minutes these guys are pissed off for me, which provides a small — but much needed — sense of relief. Thanks for that Easy Prey!

Unrest is out now via Hellminded Records. I highly, highly recommend it.

CLAMM

CLAMM | Care | 3hive.com
CLAMM | Care | 3hive.com

Melbourne trio CLAMM, are taking no prisoners with their pummeling brand of heavy-ass punk rock on their new album Care. Just give “Scheme” and “Bit Much” a spin (below) to see what I mean.

From the album PR, CLAMM are “explore(ing) the confusion of what it is to be a young person trying to live an honourable life in this fucked up world. Their songs are about trying to navigate systems of power and oppression while retaining a healthy sense of self and mental health. Community, creativity, and catharsis are what they hope to achieve through their music.” Is there a better reason to make music in this stupid world than that?

Care is out now via Meat Machine (UK, Europe and Asia) and Chapter Music (everywhere else). Enjoy.

Wombo

Wombo | Fairy Rust | 3hive.com
Wombo | Fairy Rust | 3hive.com

Fairy Rust is Louisville 3-piece, Wombo’s latest album. It’s a rhythm-heavy effort with the bass guitar pretty much running the show throughout – which to this listener’s ears is FANTASTIC!

The album was written over the past two years and draws inspiration from fairytales by The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. The group’s Bandcamp page states, Fairy Rust… contemplates the spaces in-between, a meeting of the physicality of the land with the fluidity of the imagination….”.

On slow building “Below The House” (stream below), the vocals and guitar seem to chase the bass and drums around until the last minute or so when the guitar just erupts – this is a very solid way to write, record and mix a song. I love it.

There are several times during the album that Wombo reminds me of Primus. Don’t get it twisted, Wombo doesn’t sound anything like Primus, but their “each instrument shines on it’s own” (my statement, not their’s) without taking anything away from the cohesiveness of the song itself, and the amount of punch they produce as a trio just takes me to Primus. Listen to “Queens of Keesh” (below) for an example of what I’m rambling about. Maybe I am completely nuts? I don’t care, I am writing this post, not you.:)

Fairy Rust is an incredible album and up there as one of my favorite releases of the year. It is out now and available on wax and digitally via Fire Talk Records. Buy the record. Go see them live. ENJOY THE GOOD MUSIC.

Worthitpurchase

Worthitpurchase | Truthtelling | 3hive.com
Worthitpurchase | Truthtelling | 3hive.com

Worthitpurchase are the trio of Nicole Rowe, Omar Akrouche and Eric Van Thyne. Their experimental electro-pop sound (think The Microphones, mingled with the smallest amount of Postal Service) is quite compelling throughout on their sophomore LP, Truthtelling. Give album standouts “Anne Hedonic” and “Deadbeat “ (below) a taste.

Truthtelling is a solid album that deserves your attention.

Truthtelling is out now and whichever format (analog or digital) you prefer via Anxiety Blanket and Citrus City. Enjoy.

Automatic

Automatic | Excess | 3hive.com

With their second album, Excess, Automatic has proved that they are adept at both timing and rhythmic composition, as each song builds eagerly and each accompanying instrumental layer is carefully interwoven. While the lyrics reflect the presence of excess in a capitalistic sense, there is no excess present in Automatic’s musical arrangements. Everything is meticulously crafted, and the production on this album is outstanding. Most of the songs on the album begin with electrifying, charged introductions comprised of just bass and drums, with the exception of “Teen Beat,” in which isolated vocals precede any instruments. Each song swiftly transitions into synth-doused verses that, while reminiscent of the 1980’s, feel fresh rather than recycled. 

The lyrics in Excess delve into the grotesque nature of corporate culture and, as a whole, provide an overarching critique of capitalism in general. In “Skyscraper,” a personal favorite of mine, the lyrics are “Up here where the sun has a beautiful shine /  To light up perverted American minds / The white hand of luxury, so cool and refined / No trace of the miserable people outside.” Automatic effectively riffs about the inefficacy of a system where climbing the ladder distances one from the brutal reality that exists around them- that a win, essentially, is always someone else’s loss. The somewhat impersonal nature of the lyrics reflects the lack of compassion in a culture that values personal success at the expense of others. But the thing about Excess is that one doesn’t need a complete understanding of the lyrics to appreciate the album; it is as danceable as it is clever.

In many ways, this album reminds me of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, if LCD Soundsystem was a female-fronted band from Los Angeles. Excess channels Sound of Silver in its lyrical richness, production, quippiness, and dance-punk style that feels New Order-esque. Automatic’s vocal and instrumental approach is more subdued than James Murphy’s in Sound of Silver, but it works well, as it compliments the album’s commentary on the hollow pursuit of consumerism (like in “NRG”, which has the refrain “You don’t have a choice, so your body is a product / Was any of it real, all the things that you wanted?”). 

Automatic has opened for IDLES, Parquet Courts, Tame Impala, and, come September, is set to open for Osees, but this album has proved that they have what it takes to climb a ladder that’s all their own, which, hopefully, will take them into the upper-echelons of the alternative scene where they can get the recognition they deserve. Excess is out now via Stones Throw Records and is currently available on vinyl at 3hive Record Lounge. In addition to “Skyscraper,” be sure to give both “NRG” and “Venus Hour” a listen.

-Tyler Slade

Wu-Lu

Wu-Lu/3hive.com

South London’s multi-talented Wu-Lu is about to release his debut album LOGGERHEAD with Warp Records. His newest single from it — “Scrambled Tricks” — is a grimy, beat-driven, post/punk rock-adjacent(?) track that has me stoked for the album drop.

Check out the fear of clowns inducing video for “Scrambled Tricks” below and be sure to mark your calendars for July 8 to get your hands on this bad boy. Enjoy

Air Vent Dweller

Air Vent Dweller | Air Vent Dweller | 3hive.com
Air Vent Dweller | Air Vent Dweller | 3hive.com

SLC’s Air Vent Dweller is the solo project of one Charlie Pell. His new, self-titled EP is 6 tracks of synth-fried, punk rock goodness — kind of like a lo-fi Atom And His Package.

Check out the short and sweet “Fork and Spoon” below, then head to Charlie’s Bandcamp page and buy this EP. DO IT!

UPHERE! Comp Vol. 2

UPHERE! Records | Compilation Vol. 2 | 3hive.com
UPHERE! Records | Compilation Vol. 2 | 3hive.com

Provo UT’s UPHERE! Records are releasing their new label comp filled with previously unreleased nuggets from bands like Backhand, Nicole Canaan, The Plastic Cherries and Homephone to name a few. All the profits go to help refugees in Ukraine, 50% to Save The Children and 50% to The Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. This is a KILLER compilation and it’s for a VERY good cause.

Preorders are going on now at UPHERE!’s Bandcamp page, the cassettes ship to you on April 20, 2022.

To wet your whistle and encourage you to buy, check out The Plastic Cherries’ “Aquafina (Tape Mix)” below. Now get out your wallets and buy this cassette and support this very important cause.

BUY THIS COMP!

BODEGA

BODEGA | Broken Equipment | 3hive.com
BODEGA | Broken Equipment | 3hive.com

In an attempt to separate themselves a bit from the lazily used descriptor “post-punk”, New York’s BODEGA drew inspiration for their new album – Broken Equipment – from the likes of hip hop, indie-pop and classic rock. They achieved their goal, Broken Equipment is packed with thumping beats, jangly guitars and plenty of vocal melodies, along with the heavy punch to the gut BODEGA fans expect from a BODEGA record. Check out “Thrown”, “Doers” and “Pillar On The Bridge of You” below for a sample. Broken Equipment is solid from start to finish, I highly recommend it.

Broken Equipment is out on Friday, March 11 via What’s Your Rupture?. We have it available on vinyl at the 3hive Record Lounge and it’s available in most formats from BODEGA’s Bandcamp page as well. Enjoy.