Syndicate Lounge Archive

Unwed Sailor

The instrumental post-rock ambience of Unwed Sailor has been guided by the vision of Johnathon Ford. Born in Oklahoma, Ford had been a member of Roadside Monument and Pedro the Lion. He formed Unwed Sailor in Seattle in 1998 and has since been based in other cities including Chicago, Washington, D.C., Tulsa and New Orleans.

GT

Birmingham power trio given to insistent but agile rhythms and psychedelic interpretations of standard rock muscle, \\GT// self-released two excellent EPs in 2013. Spurred by the enthusiasm of Alabama label and recording studio Communicating Vessels, who signed on to produce and release the band’s debut LP, the trio doubled down to make their best work yet—the thrilling, anthemic, addictive eight-song debut, Beats Misplaced.

It’s a rock ‘n’ roll thrill ride, full of pumping beats and plangent guitars, howled vocals and hooks that past. For these eight tunes, the blues commingle with noise rock, and a righteous boogie pulsates beneath shoegaze distortion. Think Japandroids or No Age being born…

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Widowspeak

Widowspeak remain purveyors of mood. Whether painting an image of a basement apartment with blinds closed or conjuring the sweeping openness of a desert, they’re an outfit ever preoccupied with the influence of place and the passage of time on personal experience: the way vivid memories can feel like movies or dreams.
On their newest album for Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks, Widowspeak use familiar aesthetics as a narrative device, a purposeful nostalgic backdrop for songs that ask, “How did we get here?” Sonically, they exist somewhere in the overlap between somber indie rock, dream pop, slow-core and their own invented genre, “cowboy grunge.” At the heart of the band, there is a palpable duality, a push and pull between the delicate and the deliberate: the contrast of lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton’s strikingly beautiful voice and poignant melodies with the terrestrial reality of being a four-piece rock band. These songs sound like the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. Expect the Best sees Widowspeak finding their greatest balance between opposing forces: darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm.
The album was written while Hamilton was living in Tacoma,…

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Thee Commons

Since banding together in 2012, psychedelic cumbia-punk trio Thee Commons have made waves in and around their hometown of East LA. Featuring los hermanos Pacheco and one of several lively session bassists, these romp ‘n’ rollers have managed not only to marry two unlikely genres — world’s apart — in perfect pastiche harmony but also to spread their new vivacious, infectious sound as far south as Tijuana, México and as far east as Phoenix, Arizona. Altogether, Thee Commons have played well over a hundred shows, gaining in the process hundreds more in fans — those eager for something new to call their own. They have performed at several of Southern California’s prestigious venues, including The Echoplex of Echo Park — which they’ve headlined — The Regent Theatre of Downtown Los Angeles, and the Observatory of Santa Ana, and have opened up for such acts as Chicano Batman, Bomba Estereo, and even unofficially — by way of an impromptu guerilla-style street show — for The Pixies. Their “DIT” (do it together) hard work ethic has yielded them a debut 7-inch vinyl EP paradoxically titled Sunburn at Midnight — self-released spring 2013 — and a fragmented compilation entitled Rock is Dead:…

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Welcome to Monotonia – Sunseeker

Welcome to Monotonia - Sunseeker

MusicBham’s very own Channing Estell was lucky enough to catch up with Sun Seeker, a crowd-favorite at this year’s Sloss Music & Arts Festival, and they are this week’s feature interview from Welcome to Monotonia. Sun Seeker’s Ep, Biddeford, is “Cosmic American Music” produced by Third Man Records. They return to Birmingham on Wednesday, September 13 to play Syndicate Lounge.

Birmingham Alabama is bursting at the seams with incredible talent, from an amazing visual arts community to some of the best music in the Southeastern region.  We have all the talent but not a whole lot of resources to find out about it.
Welcome to Monotonia is a Birmingham web series designed to expose the pure raw talent of  both the local and traveling artist and musicians who perform in our city!
Directed & Edited by: Daniel Isaiah Hargett
Produced by: Greg Henderson
Executive Producer: Josh Matthews & Music Bham
Audio Engineer: Daniel Brian Rhodes
Featuring: Channing Estell, Lizzie Thrasher & Sun Seeker
Consulting Producer: Marsha Oglesby
Intern: Sophie Crowe
Special Thanks to: Betsy Kiser & Red Mountain Entertainment, Good Grit Magazine & Third Man Records

 

Also featured here is their latest video for “Won’t Keep Me Up…

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Inter Arma

INTER ARMA’s music resists generalization and categorization, but if there’s one thing that’s consistently true, it’s that the VA quintet possesses an unparalleled sense of scope. Few artists today accurately convey the complexity that INTER ARMA (Latin for “in times of war”) does the band creates terrible and often hauntingly beautiful portraits of humanity through music that is deeply organic yet still mystical and modern. INTER ARMA are just as committed to the live circuit as they are to their records: the band has performed extensively throughout Europe and the US, sharing the stage with the likes of Kylesa, Baroness, Cough, Royal Thunder, Black Tusk, Ulcerate, Russian Circles, Windhand, and dozens of others. INTER ARMA’s raw, uninhibited approach merges doom metal, psychedelic sludge, black metal, prog and more, and over the course of the last ten years, has established the band as a uniquely innovative force in contemporary extreme metal.
Founded in Richmond in 2006, the versatile and genre-defying five-piece released their debut full-length Sundown via Forcefield Records in 2010, and like all great artists, had a well-defined sound right from the start. Sundown found INTER ARMA widespread critical acclaim, and, combined with the band’s relentless touring schedule and DIY…

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A Giant Dog

Toy, the fourth LP from A Giant Dog and their second for Merge, captures the Austin quintet at the height of their powers. A solid year of road-dogging and woodshedding has made the band tighter than ever, the charging dynamo of Andrew Cashen and Andy Bauer’s guitars in lockstep with the primal chug of the rhythm section, Graham Low on bass and Daniel Blanchard on drums, in the latter’s recorded debut. Singer Sabrina Ellis turns in another masterful performance, in equal parts brash, defiant, vulnerable, and raw.

Lyrically, Sabrina and Andrew have a gift for making their personal frustrations and fuck-ups, fears, lusts, and addictions feel universal. While they have always given voice to the weirdos and creeps, they dig even deeper on Toy. “I feel I’ve revealed more in this album than ever before,” Sabrina confesses.

The band recorded Toy with Grammy-winning engineer Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, The White Stripes, Reigning Sound), with Cashen producing it. “Andrew as producer makes a lot of sense,” Sabrina says. “He composes the songs and knows better than anyone what they should sound like in the end. With him at the helm, we’ve arrived at a raw, truthful, risky, and rangy album.”

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Downtown Boys

The United States’ myriad inequalities, hatreds and phobias are painfully evident in 2017, offering proof that the age-old dichotomy of “political bands” versus “apolitical bands” simply doesn’t exist. Either you are comfortable and unfazed by the current reigning power structures, or you choose (or have no choice but) to use your music as a vehicle for the dismantling of oppression and the creation of something better. No matter what your songs are about, you are choosing a side.
The position of Providence, RI’s Downtown Boys has been clear since they started storming through basements and DIY spaces with their radically-minded, indefatigable rock music: they are here to topple the white-cis-het hegemony and draft a new history. In the words of vocalist and lyricist Victoria Ruiz, they are “five unique and individual people who believe in the spectrum of people, experiences and emotions.” On their self-titled 2014 EP on Sister Polygon Records (run by their like-minded friends in Priests), they offered songs like “Slumlord Sal,” which strikes out against abusive landlords. Its accompanying video relays the idea that cops can be literally smacked out of their oppressive mindsets and into an exuberantly queer dance party. This is how Downtown Boys began,…

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Jacuzzi Boys

The year, 2007. The Boys, Jacuzzi. Hatched inside a vulture’s nest, Jacuzzi Boys emerged from deep within the Florida wilds, three radioactive chicks cawing for their piece of electric rock pie.

With No Seasons (Florida’s Dying) they freaked their way through the swamps, a psycho stomp of a record, all hallucinations and hand claps. Glazin’ (Hardly Art) found a more polished sound. They installed AC units inside their mobile homes, found a way to turn neon into ice cubes. Now, with their third full-length, the self-titled Jacuzzi Boys, they’re going grand, building limestone monuments to those that boogied before them, while writing hypnotic ear worms by the light of a cigarette. Gone is the swamp-thing snarl. In it’s place, the indestructible cool of the casino slot-jockey with nothing to lose.

Recorded at Key Club Recording Co. in Benton Harbor, Michigan—same as 2011’s Glazin’—the new record takes full advantage of expert engineers Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins’ sonic sandlot, with Kramer in charge of mastering. The end result? A smashing set of tunes as dazzling as a sparkler.

It’s like that movie you once saw. The one with the boy and the girl and the plastic lounger on the beach. “Be My Prism”…

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Feature

Feature

Who is Ben Smolin?


Who is Ben Smolin? Ben is a local musician and performance artist. To be more descriptive, he does “a lot of weird performance art and really weird music.” Weird. That may speak to what, but not who. I don’t pretend to know anyone well enough to speak to who they are. I feel in order to do that, you have to truly know someone or atleast get to know them. We sought after Ben to learn more about who he is, but we were declined an interview, forcing us to speak to what he is.

First, let’s go back to the declined interview. Have you began to form any opinions yet? I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t necessarily expect the response that we got, especially given that Ben messaged us about his upcoming show this weekend at Syndiate Lounge. But I guess I wasn’t necessarily surprised by it either. “Of course,” I thought, “this makes perfect sense.”

Let me back up to the first time I saw Ben Smolin perform live. People don’t know what to think when they see him the first time. “Weird,” is probably one of the first things that…

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