We’re excited to welcome the wound-up art punks in San Francisco’s Rip Room to the Spartan Family! After successfully self-releasing and touring on two EPs, the three piece reunited with storied engineer Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses, Melvins, Bikini Kill, Sebadoh). The result is the charismatic and alluringly unpredictable debut full-length record, Alight and Resound, twelve pulsing songs that harken back to better musical times while somehow embracing the relevance of the moment. Think Unwound, Sleater-Kinney, and Fugazi.
While we patiently await for the release of the album, you're
invited to a
free download of the new song "Complication." It's
everything that's great about the band, so we hope you enjoy it. Stay
tuned for more details soon!
We’re proud to present the 20th Anniversary Edition of Unwed Sailor's post-rock instrumental classic, The Faithful Anchor. Two decades ago, this landmark release helped define modern instrumental music with its emotive storytelling, cinematic arcs, and dynamic arrangements. This special edition has been remastered from the original mixes and features two out-of-print bonus tracks from "The Magic Hedge" 7" originally released in 2002. As a part of the release, we’re pressing the album on brilliant limited edition vinyl for the first time since 2007 and pre-orders are available now. Three variants are available and all pre-orders include an instant download of the newly re-mastered version of the title track. Look for the album at digital outlets everywhere on November 19th with vinyl shipping in February and stay tuned for more information about this monumental release as we celebrate Unwed Sailor, a generational band whose impact, resonance, and influence has remained steadfast for over twenty years.
As we continue to tell the story of Mountain Time’s Saint Francis, Zookeeper we called upon ringleader Chris Simpson to discuss this fascinating time in his life and the lives of so many -- and in doing so, we were reminded of a simple fact -- change is a constant. No matter what plans we scheme or what goals we're steadfast in achieving...no matter how "in the moment" we are, the ever-changing breeze of life can whisk us away at any moment and point us in a new and sometimes uncertain direction. Read how change has impacted Chris' life and musical journey and watch part 5 of our ongoing The Story of Saint Francis, Zookeeper mini-doc below.
One of the hallmarks of life is change. It is inevitable in even the most ordinary circumstances. In my own and many others creative lives, it is even more paramount. The work of creation and expression involves constantly searching for new horizons. New ideas and new challenges. New images and symbols and connections. Several of the key players in the Zookeeper years eventually moved to other cities and states answering the various calls of their own hearts and lives. I went on a solo tour in Europe and lost my passport at the end, opting to lose myself there for a while as well. Meanwhile, Seth and Alex embarked on a four month exploration of the US by station wagon with only their guitars, tents and sleeping bags—the dreams and visions in their heads their only guides. We would all come back together in Austin at some point to work on another record that never saw completion, but the writing seemed to be on the wall for Zookeeper. My self-medication turned full blown drug addictions made it impossible for me to effectively lead the charge forward for some years creatively and we all ended up in different parts of the country by 2010 or 2011. The rest of the work we had started in those years lay dormant until recently. Monika and I were married in January of 2008. Seth served as our wedding officiant, and Alex put together a band to play a heart rending version of our favorite song, The Innocence Mission’s "Look For Me As You Go By" as we walked down the aisle. In 2011 we started adding to the family, and now are six where once there were two. When I returned to Zookeeper, for 2014’s Pink Chalk, it was largely on my own with the help of friend (and since collaborator/producer) Doug Walseth. The tide had turned in all of our lives and a new chapter seemed to be being written before our eyes. It's difficult to express how truly lucky I feel to have led Zookeeper and the voyage we undertook together. It is something that has shaped and will no doubt continue to shape my life and work for years to come. Zookeeper cracked open a shell that I had lived comfortably in for most of my life, letting the light and the world in in a way that felt almost too wonderful and terrifying to comprehend. It woke me up to the marriage of opposites that has always existed inside of myself. That exists inside each of us. The darkness and the light, the sweet and the bitter, the sacred and the profane, the chaos and the calm, the hero and the tyrant, the lost and found.
- Chris Simpson, 9/15/21
Saint Francis, Zookeeper is available now at streaming outlets everywhere and limited edition 2xLP is available for pre-order now.
Mountain Time's Saint Francis, Zookeeper retrospective is available now! The release celebrates Chris Simpson's (Mineral, The Gloria Record) lost years -- the first two Zookeeper records, remastered, plus three never before heard songs. All told, the album features 18 songs with a runtime of over 90 minutes. Listen everywhere you get music here and pre-order the limited edition 2xLP (shipping in November) to get an instant download. And when you order from the Spartan store, you'll also receive an exclusive download of Delivery Room, an unreleased nine song album featuring home demos recorded over the course of 2004-2005. Watch a special message from Chris about Saint Francis, Zookeeper and more here.
I wrote "Neon Heart" in 2004. At the time I had just started playing and writing on the piano more intently. The way music and chord structures opened up to me on the piano felt invigorating and I could sit and play it for hours just to hear the sound. I remember Neon Heart especially because its birth was accompanied by an intense labor and delivery. Sometimes songs come in a flash, that always feels like the most magical or special way for things to happen. Other times a song lingers in gestation over the course of months or years and gets formed and fleshed out, coming into focus very gradually. Neon Heart was another sort, where the song comes all at once but the process stretches over two or three days. I viscerally remember the song because I remember those days. I remember how sad it felt to sit inside the song for that long. I remember walking around in an almost fugue state—not always sitting at the piano working, but even, when doing other things, in some very real sense, still working on the song. It’s almost like an out of body experience. You’re still going to work and waiting tables and taking the dogs to the dog park, but the only thing that’s really happening, experientially, is the writing of the song. I was learning to surrender to the process in those days. In a way it felt more like the song working on me than the other way around. I remember coming out the other end, feeling as though I’d really been through something. I remember the deep sense of peace and satisfaction that came when the song was completed. The feeling that I had really seen something, really said something with it
We tried to record it a number of times over those early years in a
variety of different spirits. This version started its life as a home
demo recorded in my living room at the piano shortly after the song was
completed. It has a lot of the sort of time stamps that I love. You can
hear me running up and down the stairs to stop the tape after the vocal
take. The sound of the dogs scratching and jingling their collars. A
cheap delay pedal I was obsessed with at the time and was running
everything through at different times in the mix (note the unmuting and
delaying of the click track to simulate a clock ticking in response to a
I had completely forgotten about these demos until Seth Woods and Alex Dupree and I started meeting virtually to discuss digging into the recently digitized archives of all the old Zookeeper reels, and Seth (who has long served as Zookeeper’s de facto archivist) eagerly sent me a folder labeled “11th Street Demos.” I knew I wanted to give the Zookeeper EP and the Becoming All Things LP a vinyl pressing and liked the idea of combining them into a single 2xLP collection. When we started mapping out the times for the side splits it became clear that we’d have some room to work with for bonus material and we eventually agreed on the instrumental bookends being added to the sequence of the Becoming All Things LP—the Zookeeper reels have a number of these instrumental interludes captured on them (I even had "Substratum Dream Of A Flagpole Skater" as an outro in an early sequence of the Becoming All Things LP). Discovering there was still some space in the middle for something else, we quickly gravitated to the Neon Heart home demo. It had an elegance and simplicity that was endearing. I became curious about the idea of adding something new to the track—a modest modern accompaniment of some sort to bring it into the present. I sent it to Ariana Bina, who has been playing violin with Mountain Time and features prominently on the Music For Looking Animals LP. She added a few violin parts, creating an eerie stitch in time across it.
The song is about time, really. About the death of innocence. The experience of first noticing or being able to see the passage (ravages?) of time in your own life, in the world and the people around you. Which is an awakening and an unmooring at the same time. It was a heavy thing to conjure but it holds the seeds of healing and light that always accompany seeing. - Chris Simpson / Mountain Time
My neon heart’s got burned out bars
That used to flicker on and off but now have just gone dark
And it doesn’t say what it used to say no more
My neon heart
This kid got lost right up the block
We searched for weeks around the clock
I saw him down the line
With arms that looked like a Mekong minefield, 1969
His mom stopped making herself up
Her face got old as time
The neighbors we just drove right by
Thanked God we had our pride
Were careful not to look her way
Or meet those ancient eyes
Last call falls hard outside this bar
And floods the streets with broken lives
That pay too high a price
For a dream that seemed so real we thought
It never could have died
But now I see how wrong we were
To think we’d sail right by
Cause the proof we need is everywhere
It bears us out in tides
And ties us to each other in the same lifeboat tonight
And the clock it knows there is only one direction we can wind
This proof, oh all this proof it needs
A miracle tonight..
We’re excited to announce Mountain Time’s Saint Francis, Zookeeper, the new retrospective release celebrating Chris Simpson's (Mineral, The Gloria Record) lost years. The album features the first two Zookeeper releases remastered for vinyl plus three never before heard songs and it will be available digitally on August 27th with vinyl shipping early-mid November.
Listen to the previously unreleased song “Neon Heart” at American Songwriter and pre-order the album
on limited edition 2xLP / digital. When you pre-order the album at the
Spartan store, you’ll also receive an exclusive download of Delivery Room, an unreleased ten song albumcfeaturing home demos recorded over the course of 2004-2005.
is playing their first show in over a year and to celebrate,
we’re premiering the new music video for “Play Acting Virtue.” It was
shot at the last show the band played back in March of 2020 with Dead Kennedys and D.O.A.at the The NorVA in Norfolk, VA. Watch it below and pick up the band’s new album Privationeverywhere now.
long-awaited new album, the moody and cinematic Truth or
Consequences, is available everywhere now! Heavily present, driving,
and stacked bass lines; wandering and evolving song structures; soaring
crescendos and moody diminuendos; and of course, a gripping sense of
sonic storytelling. Enjoy it now everywhere you listen to music!
new album Privation is available everywhere now! It’s bombastic,
brash, and it’s got something to say…all the things a good, loud, punk
rock record should be. Listen now wherever you get music and hang tight
for the limited edition vinyl which will be shipping soon!
Assertion's long-awaited debut album Intermission is out everywhere this Friday and we’re so excited that
we couldn’t help but share another song from the record. Listen to the
premiere of the new song “Deeper In The Shallow” at
BrooklynVegan and pre-order the album to get an instant download of three songs now!
We are excited to premiere Unwed Sailor's music video for "Ajo" today! The video was filmed in the wilderness of central Oklahoma in less than ideal temperatures and filming conditions and the result is a mystical, rainy and fog-filled wonderland. Watch the video below and pre-order the band's new album Truth or Consequences to get an instant download of two songs now!
We’re thrilled to share VAR's new Audiotree session. The four song session was filmed at Orgelsmidjan, Iceland's only functioning pipe organ workshop, which also serves as the band’s practice space — and though we’re a bit biased, it's one of the most beautiful, transcendent live performances that we've seen during these unique and crazy times. These songs appear on the band's new Live at Orgelsmidjan EP which is available everywhere now.