Unwed Sailor - The Faithful Anchor (20th Anniversary Edition)November 19, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR081
Spartan Records proudly presents 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. Engineered and mixed by Dan Burton (Early Day Miners) in Bloomington, IN, the record features Matt Johnson (Roadside Monument) on drums, Nic Tse on guitar, and band visionary Johnathon Ford as the producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist. This special edition has been remastered for vinyl from the original mixes and features two out-of-print bonus tracks from The Magic Hedge 7" inch, originally released on Swiss label Tricycle-Evolutif in 2002. These were recorded during the original The Faithful Anchor sessions and capture the same urgency and sonic vibrancy as the rest of the release. Please 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.
Mountain Time - Saint Francis, ZookeeperAugust 27, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR080
Spartan Records proudly presents Saint Francis, Zookeeper, a retrospective release celebrating Chris Simpson's (Mineral, The Gloria Record) lost years. The culmination of countless days and nights of recording. The gathering of friends (and friends of friends) in one big room, all reaching for banjos and organs and sleigh bells and trumpets, crowding around microphones or sitting on the floor and clapping their hands. It’s a pair of headphones taped around your head. It’s pianos played so loud you can hear them in the drum mics. It’s the sound of a band in a bubble (their minds are in trouble but their hearts they are clear). Saint Francis, Zookeeper is the story as it stands thus far: the first two Zookeeper records, remastered for vinyl, plus three never before heard songs. These songs were born with things to do. They came from Chris, but they belong to everyone—to anyone who wants them, to anyone who needs them, to anyone for whom these songs have become a part of their story (or have let their own story become a part of these songs). Zookeeper was a street choir in a strange parade. Saint Francis, Zookeeper is an invitation to that parade. Pick up a guitar or a tambourine. Put on your walking shoes and your favorite hat. Sing it on out with us. Welcome to the family.
Unwed Sailor - Truth or ConsequencesMay 14, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR077
The journey of Unwed Sailor began in Seattle, WA in 1998, shortly after Johnathon Ford departed critically praised bands Roadside Monument and Pedro the Lion. While working within those projects, Ford began writing instrumental music after listening to Tortoise, Pullman, and seeing bands like Physics perform live. After recruiting Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes), and Melissa Palladino (Danielson Famile) to play on the now classic Firecracker EP, Unwed Sailor was born. Two decades and seventeen releases later, Ford has continued to rely on the band as a device for personal exploration and emotive narration. Unwed Sailor now joins forces with Spartan Records for the release of their latest moody and cinematic journey, Truth or Consequences, a sonic examination of particular memories or moments in Johnathon Ford's life, with each song serving as a unique snapshot of an overarching narrative. Truth or Consequences is shaped around familiar musical DNA. 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.
Demons - PrivationApril 30, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR069
As a new year ushers in new nightmares, art counters with menacing mechanisms for catharsis and a spillways for aggravation. Norfolk, VA's Demons return with their blistering second full length, Privation, a distorted and aggressive contribution to a collective ringing of alarms amidst destructive times. Drawing from the spirit of band's like Metz, Gulch, Converge, Propagandhi, the Demons crew punishingly delivers ten tracks of raw and confrontational fury, motivated from within a spiraling sociopolitical landscape that evokes critical self-reflection and frustration. On Privation, Demons has found even more synchronization, with a set of songs that are self-described as "more focused," "a little more punk rock," and "just better." While a seemingly simplistic account, the description holds true in all the best ways. Fans of the previous full-length and EPs will find solace in a continuation of form with Privation, but with the dials all turned further clockwise -- louder, faster, tighter, and more urgent.
Assertion - IntermissionApril 9, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR079
As the dust settled on an impressive list of former endeavors, it was an unlikely series of human connections that sparked the inception of Assertion. After years of self-described music industry PTSD and disenchantment, drummer William Goldsmith (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft, Foo Fighters), guitarist/vocalist Justin Tamminga, bassist Bryan Gorder united through a series of serendipitous events. Best described adjectively, the band's debut LP, Intermission, is real, propulsive, and earnest -- a cathartic experience that proudly does not nestle nicely alongside current bands -- or really many releases at all from the last couple decades. Intermission conjures more connections to the heady grit and soaring grind of the 90's. Driving guitars anchored by a frenetic rhythm section. A haunting vocal delivery concealing a heartfelt sentiment. Track-by-track, the record builds into a dark and heavy crescendo but unpredictably retreats into delicate and fragile moments in masterful ways.
The Farewell Bend - In PassingJanuary 29, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR074
Spartan Records proudly announces the re-issue of The Farewell Bend's 90's classic In Passing -- a supergroup trio featuring members of the seminal midwest emo bands Boys Life (Brandon Butler, John Rejba) and Giants Chair (Paul Ackerman). Kansas City bred, The Farewell Bend builds upon the sum of its critically acclaimed parts and delivers a record self-described as an assault on the mundane pop rock of the time. "This is not a happy, smile pop, shit record," says frontman Brandon Butler, "it rocks you." Guitar-driven and hammeringly propulsive, In Passing evokes the more aggressive moments of the nineties movement without comprising accessible melodies and palatability. Remastered by Paul Malinowski (Shiner) and now available again on vinyl for the first time in over 20 years, the new pressing also includes the bonus track "Service Engine Soon" previously available on the band's 1998 split 7" with Shiner. All hail the Midwest sound!
VAR - Live at OrgelsmidjanJanuary 15, 2021 · Spartan Records · SPAR078
Spartan Records partners once again with Iceland's VAR for the release of an exclusive, live four song EP. After the release of the band's debut full length, The Never-Ending Year, and amidst the global pandemic, opportunities to perform the record live were nonexistent. "We felt like we had to do something to give people at least a little taste of us playing these songs live," says Júlíus Björgvinsson (vocals/guitar/keys), "VAR has always been about playing live, and we always give everything we have to make the tension between us and the audience both peaceful and powerful." After some discussion, the next best option in lieu of live performance was a series of live performance videos, filmed at the organ workshop where the band practices. "We got our producer Eiður to do the sound for the videos and when he sent us the audio files, Arnór brought that idea of releasing a live EP. We were happy with the sound he got from the session and how far it is from how the album sounds. It’s powerful, it’s raw and it’s honest. And that is VAR."
Reader - Behind the Empty HouseDecember 11, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR076
“Behind the Empty House” and its companion piece “Two Pines” span a transitional spectrum for Reader. In the afterglow of their first full-length Engrams, Reader reconvened to focus, once again, on the seminal axioms to which their creative process is owed: intention and evolution. Still present are the tangled conversations between glassy guitars over the methodic rumble of bass and drums. However here Reader lets their hair down, experimenting with a broader sonic palette and unorthodox composition styles. Clocking in at almost five minutes apiece, these songs take lesser-traveled roads to even lesser-explored destinations. Eerily foreshadowing this year’s forced reclusion, "Behind the Empty House" and "Two Pines" lyrically explore themes of isolation and introspection through a mercurial lens. “Behind the Empty House,” tells a labyrinthine narrative alluding to invisible enemies and macabre hallucinations, while "Two Pines" regales of a fragmented self, influenced heavily by James Wright’s heartbreaking poem “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota.”
Lights & Motion - The Great Wide OpenOctober 30, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR073
It's been three years since we last heard a full-length album from Lights & Motion, following Dear Avalanche that came out in 2017. The new album The Great Wide Open was produced, recorded and mixed by Christoffer Franzen at Studio Evelyn in Gothenburg, Sweden and mastered for vinyl by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters in Los Angeles (M83, Paramore). The album features vocalists on two songs (Johan Hasselblom on “Wolves” and Frida Sundemo on “I See You”) and now available for the first time ever on vinyl, this limited release includes the new exclusive bonus track "Eyes Looking Up."
Giants Chair - The Streets EPJune 5, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR072
In 2017, in what can only be described as a fate, the clouds opened, the bugle horns sounded, and the three original members of GIANTS CHAIR re-united to record new songs twenty years after they had originally disbanded. These two songs would be the spark that led to the band's new album Prefabylon and to what is yet to come. Now these songs, "The Streets" and "Featureless Horizon," are widely available at digital outlets everywhere and on limited edition cassette for the first time ever.
Dearist - Live at Cadman Studios EPMay 22, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR071
Recorded before the lockdown, Dearist's new Live at Cadman Studios EP is a treat for music fans missing the gig scene. The band recorded a live session back in 2019 with John Hutchins at Cadman Studios in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Dearist, who thrive on playing for an audience, wanted to give something back to fans at this tough time. Following on from the well-received 2018 release of the album Sonder, the five-piece aren't resting on their laurels, there is new music on the horizon with band members busy locked away with their home set-ups creating demos.
Mountain Time - Music For Looking AnimalsJune 26, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR070
In the aftermath of the dissolution of adored emo / indie rock bands Mineral and The Gloria Record, songwriter Chris Simpson took a step back from making music for the first time since his mid-teens. This period became a critical time of exploration which fueled a longing for simplification, both personally and creatively. It was during this period that a more refined approach to his creative process was born. Mountain Time, both a reference to timeliness (or lack thereof) and a childhood amongst the natural beauty of Colorado evolved from Simpson’s previous solo effort Zookeeper as the most fitting moniker for the latest project. With the transition, while the process and approach of creating Music for Looking Animals became more autonomous, the drive and ultimate desire to create remained rooted within many of the same wells of inspiration that fueled previous incarnations of Simpson’s songwriting. For Simpson, much of what the record is externalizing are larger questions embedded within the natural passing of time. While Music for Looking Animals is an attempt at simplification, it is hardly minimal in terms of lyrical and musical depth.