Pressing Concerns: Nightshift, Dot Dash, Husbands, Evening Glass

Welcome to the last Pressing Concerns of November! This time, we look at new albums from Nightshift, Dot Dash, and Husbands, and a new EP from Evening Glass. This will be the last Pressing Concerns before Rosy Overdrive year-end season begins, but I plan to mix in a few of these in with the end-of-year list posts as well.

I’ll link the new Rosy Overdrive Discord server here again. If you’re looking for more new music, you can visit the site directory to see what else we’ve written about lately. If you’d like to support Rosy Overdrive, you can share this (or another) post, or donate here.

Nightshift – Made of the Earth

Release date: November 25th
Record label: Trouble in Mind
Genre: Post-punk, experimental rock
Formats: Cassette, digital
Pull track: Locked Out

In February of last year, Glasgow’s Nightshift released their second record and Trouble in Mind debut, Zoë. While that album clearly sounded put together by a group of musicians intimately familiar with no wave and the experimental end of post-punk music, it also had a minimalist indie pop accessibility to it. Made of the Earth is not the proper follow-up to Zoë; it features a collection of outtakes and unreleased tunes from the same era as their sophomore record. This cassette presents an alternate version of the band, not a completely different one, but the players—guitarist/vocalist/clarinet player Georgia Harris, keyboardist/vocalist Eothen Stearn, drummer/vocalist Chris White, bassist/vocalist Andrew Doig (also of Order of the Toad and Robert Sotelo), and since-departed guitarist David Campbell—feel a bit more tuned in to the weird and insular here.

Opening track “Hologram” reflects the minimalist, hypnotic post-punk of Zoë highlights like “Piece Together”, although its doggedly-repeated rhythm-based structure puts the song nearly into psychedelic territory—a side of Nightshift that is echoed one song later in the Stereolab drone-pop of “Flower”. The harmonies and strings in “Locked Out” make it one of the more outwardly beautiful songs on Made of the Earth, albeit in a downcast, un-flashy way. The other end of the spectrum is “Landlord”, in which the band decline to trade in any subtlety whatsoever, implore the listener to “know [their] rights and legislation”, and explicitly call for a rent strike (minimalist post-punk is, in fact, good for getting a clear message across, too!).

Made of the Earth surprises toward the end with the noisy “Stimuli”, whose instrumental threatens to eat itself alive in a surprisingly chaotic turn for Nightshift. Not as striking but still impressive is the pastoral, almost-Mekons-y violin post-punk of “The Painting You Live With”, in which the band close the record by amplifying the warmth in their sound. Made of the Earth is made from the same basic ingredients as Zoë, and is a good argument for, at least in Nightshift’s hands, the mutability and depths contained within them. (Bandcamp link)

Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain

Release date: November 5th
Record label: The Beautiful Music
Genre: Post-punk, jangle pop
Formats: CD, digital
Pull track: Forever Far Out

Dot Dash hail from Washington, D.C., and over the past decade or so they’ve been flying under the radar and reliably putting out records with a familiar-sounding but welcome and distinct spin on mid-1980s college rock. In short, they’re the kind of band I love to cover on Rosy Overdrive. On their seventh record, Madman in the Rain, the group (now a trio comprised of vocalist/guitarist Terry Banks, drummer Danny Ingram, and bassist Hunter Bennett) prove that they know their way around a jangly power pop hook, and the album as a whole contains a lot of melodic and upfront bass work that nails a particular subset of 1980s new wave and post-punk.

Although they may be more committed to straight guitar pop than Wire, Dot Dash earn their namesake with their evoking of the more accessible moments of that group, and also with Banks’ vocals, which feel subtly emotional in a Colin Newman-esque way. Madman in the Rain opens with a massive pop hit in “Forever Far Out”, and the Cars and Knack-referencing “Tense & Nervous” not long after rivals it with a roller-rink synth hook in the chorus. The 60s organs stabs of “Animal Stone” and the mid-tempo jangly title track reach into other eras of guitar pop to add some color to the record’s mid-section. Dot Dash sound energetic and excited to present their catchy melodies—this carries well over into the second half of Madman in the Rain, but there’s also an unmistakable theme of mortality hovering over the record’s flip side.

It peaks out a little bit in what feels like a power meditation in “Saints / Pharaohs” (“the lonely road narrows…paved with bones and marrow”) and it fully grips the final four songs, from the harsh realization that “Everything = Dust” (“A simple FYI would have sufficed,” mutters Banks) to the sleep-induced clarity of “Wokeupdreaming” (“I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m afraid of being dead”) to the cheerful sendoff of “Dead Gone”. The dozen songs on Madman in the Rain are all solid in their own right, but the way Dot Dash use them to touch on heavy, universal topics is, perhaps, the strongest demonstrator of their true devotion to this sound. To them, there’s nothing that can’t be tackled with jangly guitar pop. (Bandcamp link)

Husbands – A Diary Index

Release date: November 11th
Record label: Exit Zine
Genre: Slowcore, 90s indie rock
Formats: Cassette, digital
Pull track: Subject

Husbands are a Boston slowcore group that have been quietly releasing records over the past half-decade or so—A Diary Index is their fourth full-length album, in addition to a few EPs and singles. On their latest record, Husbands is still led by guitarist/bassist/vocalist Aiden Page, who also runs Candlepin Records (Garb, Poorly Drawn House, MX LONELY), and also features musical contributions from longtime collaborator Patrick Kenny, multi-instrumentalist Bradford Krieger (who also engineered, mixed, and mastered the album), and two different keyboardists/synth players (Logan Kramer and Katie Rose Byrne). A Diary Index is the kind of sparse, electric slowcore that fits in well with the relatively recent wave of Duster devotees, but there are a few other touchstones to Husbands’ sound.

Page’s voice isn’t buried throughout A Diary Index, letting the vocal melodies hold as much sway over the songs as the atmosphere the music conjures up, and the band (which calls themselves “slowgaze”) veers between simple and uncomplicated to beautiful wall-of-sound in a way that reminds me of Bedhead. The record starts off humbly enough, with the straightforward “Believe in Yrself” and the gorgeous piano ballad “Subject”. Songs like “Hanging Halo” and “Punchline” find Husbands with their amps cranked up a bit, although Page’s vocals and shimmery, floating guitar leads remain prominently in the mix. A Diary Index wanders between these poles through twelve tacks, favoring two-to-three-minute dispatches that flow into each other rather than trying their hand at six-plus minute “slowcore epics”—they’re brief but captivating journal entries. (Bandcamp link)

Evening Glass – Steady Motion

Release date: October 7th
Record label: Crazy Ha!
Genre: Jangle pop, folk rock
Formats: Digital
Pull track: Admiration, Envy, & Love

Steady Motion is the debut EP from Sonoma, California’s Evening Glass (and their second release total, following 2020’s “Lifelong Dream” single); like a good deal of new bands hailing from the Bay Area, the four-piece make themselves at home in the world of jangly, blissful guitar pop music. Evening Glass commit themselves to the quieter, subtler side of jangle pop throughout Steady Motion’s six tracks—lead singer and guitarist Zachary Carroll’s gentle vocals guide these songs through peaceful, pastoral instrumentals inspired both musically and lyrically by the vast, rolling ocean.

Opening track “Stomping Through the Cosmos” is not exactly a “stomp” per se, but the upbeat instrumental features prominent guitar leads and is one of the more outwardly propulsive tracks on Steady Motion. Evening Glass hone their languidity with the transfixing, rippling “On the Ocean” one song later, as well as with the dreamy ballad “Row Back” (which Carroll and Chris Miller nevertheless shade with some animated guitar play). “Admiration, Envy, & Love” has a mid-tempo, sticky guitar hook that, combined with Carroll’s sung-spoken words that strive to tackle universality in humanity in the form of a brief pop song, feels especially Flying Nun-esque. It’s true to say that a six-song jangle pop EP isn’t going to change the world, but what this particular one can do is make one take in and observe the world as it already is that much more keenly. (Bandcamp link)

Also notable:

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