Posts Tagged ‘Arbor Labor Union’

Best of 2020 (so far)

2020’s been a hell of a year, and one that doesn’t feel like definitive statements do it justice. Still, no matter how many seismic changes have occurred during the year, the music has been a source of solace and inspiration. The fact that so many artists have had their livelihoods upended gives it a slightly sour note, especially for some that may have been working years to let these statements out into the world. Keep hitting the Bandcamp revenue shares to support artists and labels directly. If you need some suggestions there’s quite a few below. Keep in mind that ‘best’ is by no means definitive, but these are some of my favorites. We all know that Run The Jewels hits hard, but someone else is gonna tell you about it better than I ever could. Still lots to look forward to musically in the second half, but the first part of the year has been a bounty to be sure.

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Arbor Labor Union

As Arbor Labor Union returns home to their Georgian roots, and home to Arrowhawk, the label where they began, they find another type of roots suit them as well. The band’s brief sojourn with Sub Pop might have escaped your grasp, if you weren’t paying attention over the last couple of years, but I’m sure it had an impact on them. The band scrubbed themselves clean and cut back their hairiness for I Hear You, but as accomplished as it was, it also lost a bit of the fun that imbued the band with their sense of joy. That fun and froth returns to New Petal Instants and the band wind up with, by all accounts, their best yet. Dipping into their instincts to jam a track into the choogle-slicked waters of the current indie-psych pocket of rock that includes Garcia Peoples, One Eleven Heavy, and Howlin’ Rain, the band finds a home in ramble n’ rollick that can’t sit still.

ALU always knew hot to land a riff, but here they don’t stick it with the precision of a champion athlete, but rather let it slide like a kid pushing the boundaries on a backyard ramp. They “pick a boogie” and let it loop, sliding and skidding on the way down to the ground with a bit of reckless flair. That sense of not playing it safe makes the album feel like its bigger than the Cosmic Americana crush its attempting to squeeze. It’s a band recapturing their spirit and coming off better for it. The group synthesizes the spirit of Southern Rock and adds to it the complexities and discipline of post-punk. While the two don’t seem to find the mesh in the marketplace, there’s every indication that ALU could crush a cover of The Soft Boys’ “Wey Way Hep Uh Hole” and make it seem like it swung with a smoked-tanned soul all along. Take away the sneer but keep the self-effacing swagger in place and that’s where New Petal Instants lands.



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Arbor Labor Union – Crushed By Fear Destroyer

Got another heater from the upcoming Arbor Labor Union LP today and it swerves slightly away from the light hearted ramble of “Flowerhead” and into thicker clouds of smoke. The song’s still stretching for the horizon though, putting a rhythm stomp on their sound, tumbling “Crushed By Fear Destroyer” into a Crazy Horse careen that begs to be let loose in the live arena. The band’s chewing on a lot of the same fodder that’s been fueling the Forsyth/Garcia People/One Eleven Heavy axis and it becomes clear by a few bars in that these guys need to hop on a set with any of the three. Arbor Labor Union have crouched in the chrysalis and come out the other side fully immersed in the new dawn of Cosmic Americana, shedding their past for a sound that’s vibrating in the tailwinds of Mighty Baby, New Riders, and Country Funk while updating the gnarl with the debris of players that came up with post-rock heroes like Tortoise humming through the wires of their discmen. Catch the new LP from Arrowhawk on 2/7.


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Arbor Labor Union – “Flowerhead”

Arbor Labor Union are making a strong showing on the Cosmic Americana spectrum with their latest for Arrowhark. The band issued a low-key LP for Sub Pop a couple of years back, but even if that one’s knocking around your shelf, don’t try to lock ‘em down just yet. Where I Hear You was doused in the tough-skinned garb of alternative fallout, but the band is now embracing a looser sound that’s got a great deal of sand in its shoes and Autumn sunshine in its veins. “Flowerhead’ sees the band in full flights of choogle, hitting on some common notes with Garcia Peoples and One Eleven Heavy, but still finding room to squeeze out their own niche in the resurgence of the shaggy shores of jam. The song’s got a vibrant energy that threatens to spill the 1080p bounds of the collage-crammed video for the standout track. The record’s on the way February 7th from Arrowhawk.



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