Pressing Concerns: Samuel S.C., Galore, Gloop, Hobby

Come one, come all, to this: the final Pressing Concerns of 2022. Counting this post, I’ve written about 218 albums and EPs over the course of this year alone—and that’s not counting the many albums and EPs that weren’t formally reviewed but made appearances on the site’s respective year-end lists. I’m proud of that. This final edition features a compilation of recordings from the initial run of 90s indie rock group Samuel S.C. (then known as Samuel), as well as new EPs from Galore, Gloop, and Hobby.

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.

Samuel S.C. – 94-95

Release date: November 3rd (digital)/February 17th (vinyl)
Record label: ORG
Genre: 90s indie rock, indie punk, emo
Formats: Vinyl, digital
Pull Track: Sideways Looker

In the mid-90s, Samuel emerged from State College, Pennsylvania and released three EPs and singles (including a split release with Texas Is the Reason) on labels like Art Monk Construction, City of Romance, and Simba–and then that was it. At least until earlier this year, when Samuel announced a reunion as a four-piece (minus original member Josh Deutsch), a new, more searchable name in Samuel S.C., and an all-new record slated for next February. The new one, High Places, is set to be released alongside a vinyl reissue of the seven songs from Samuel’s original run, the digital version of which came out last month.

94-95 collects the brief but worthwhile Samuel 90s recordings, and makes a good argument for the band (which includes Rosy Overdrive favorite James Marinelli on guitar and backing vocals) receiving more attention in the context of 90s indie rock. If Samuel didn’t get the attention of some of the bigger independent bands of the 1990s, it could be because of (well, aside from the obvious fact that they never made a full album) their straddling of three or four different lanes. The Samuel of these songs falls somewhere between the punk-er side of Merge- and Matador-based critical-darling indie rock groups and the rockier side of Jade Tree Records emo bands, and lead vocalist Vanessa Downing’s confident, scorching singing gives them feet in the Dischord Records and Kill Rock Stars camps as well.

“Sideways Looker” is pop songwriting run through an emo-punk filter with its chiming lead guitar, the anthemic “Empty & Then Some” features some nice dueling vocals from Downing and Marinelli–and both are just as loud and amp-cranked as the rest of the record. 94-95 doesn’t take its foot off the gas, resulting in an album that has the energy of an early Superchunk or Sleater-Kinney album. Those are lofty reference points, to be sure, but merely being able to make this comparison feels like proof that Samuel S.C. and ORG Music were justified in unearthing these songs. (Bandcamp link)

Galore – Blush

Release date: December 16th
Record label: Safe Suburban Home/Paisley Shirt
Genre: Jangle pop, indie pop
Formats: Cassette, digital
Pull Track: Ladders

San Francisco’s Galore debuted in 2020 with a self-titled debut album that put the band on the scrappy, ramshackle side of jangle pop, evoking Flying Nun Records with their lo-fi, catchy indie pop songs. The five-song Blush cassette EP, co-released by Paisley Shirt Records (Flowertown, Red Pants) in the U.S. and Safe Suburban Home (R.E. Seraphin, Teenage Tom Petties) in the U.K., is their first new music since Galore, and it finds the quartet making music that’s no less catchy, if a bit more laid-back, than their last record. There’s a haziness to the songs in Blush–the occasional murkiness of the recording style contrasts with the bright melodies and shades of synths and strings that pop up throughout the EP’s five tracks.

Blush begins with “New Living”, an excellent piece of guitar pop that feels dreamy while still being sharp in its rhythm section. The biggest pure pop success on the EP comes right in the middle with “Ladders”, a mid-tempo, jangly tune with a vintage, hooky college rock refrain that Galore nevertheless use sparingly. The second half of Blush is a bit less accessible, comprised of the dramatic, violin-aided “Fire” and the reverb-y noise pop closing track “Second Moon”. “Less accessible” is relative here–“Fire” still features jangly guitars and some nice melodies, and there’s a pop song hidden beneath the business of “Second Moon”. Blush tries on some new clothes and retains the best of its core sound–what more could you want from a five-song jangle pop EP? (Bandcamp link)

Gloop – Maze Maker

Release date: December 22nd
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Noise rock, post-punk, punk blues
Formats: Cassette, digital
Pull Track: I Never Really Knew

Gloop are a trio of Baltimore weirdos who have been putting out a steady stream of noise rock EPs and albums since around 2017. Late December’s Maze Maker cassette EP is their second release of 2022, following August’s Television Fire. Their latest offering is only four songs, but the band (Max Detrich, Dominic Gianninoto, and Blake Douglas, the latter of which has since left the group) stake out a position in the world of blues-damaged noise punk pretty much from the EP’s get-go. Gloop cite names like Jon Spencer and Captain Beefheart as inspiration for Maze Maker, and these songs join a long and storied lineage of bands distorting Americana and rock and roll into dark, captivating areas (The Jesus Lizard, Butthole Surfers, U.S. Maple, The Grifters).

Maze Maker comes out firing on all cylinders with opening track “I Never Really Knew”, which giddily deploys a Stones-y riff and an insistent drumbeat for Gianninoto to howl over gamely. The pleasingly distorted, twitchy “Rubber” and the mostly-spoken word sprint of “Canned Meat” are similarly lean pieces of deep-fried noise rock, filling out the midsection of the EP until we get to “Drunk & Undead”, Maze Maker’s big finish. The closing track stretches out to four and a half minutes, with Gloop lumbering across a slowed-down but still splintered blues rock instrumental before things start to fall apart (in a good way) towards the end. If Maze Maker ends up being the final 2022 release I cover on Pressing Concerns in terms of release date, we certainly didn’t go out with a whimper. (Bandcamp link)

Hobby – Nombre Parfait

Release date: December 16th
Record label: Hidden Bay
Genre: 90s indie rock, jangle pop
Formats: Cassette, digital
Pull Track: Jay

Nombre Parfait is the third record from Paris’ Hobby, following a self-titled EP that came out in December 2020 and a split release with pre-Hobby group Deaf Parade the year before. The six-song Nombre Parfait cassette finds the band, now a quartet, putting forth a catchy, compelling version of 90s-inspired indie rock, reminding me of a scruffier, more “slacker rock”-indebted version of fellow Parisian college rock revivalists EggS. Like their forebearers a few decades ago, Hobby condense post-punk, The Velvet Underground, and friendly but offbeat New Zealand and C86 guitar pop into something barebones and familiar, but inspired.

Nombre Parfait is still a well-constructed EP, “slacker” sheen aside–it’s full of pleasing guitar pop anthems. The band (vocalist/guitarist/songwriters Volkan Ergen and Manolo Freitas, bassist Matin Mahieu, and drummer Florentin Convert) open the record with the triumphant, full-sounding “Jay”, and breezier tracks like “Life Hack” and “Safety Rules” are catchy both in terms of vocal melody and in guitar play. Hobby switch from English to French lyrics throughout Nombre Parfait; the majority of songs are in the former, although the (relatively) melancholic “Au bord du réel” is a second-half highlight. Nombre Parfait is the work of a band with a clear knack for making energetic, complete, and fun guitar pop. (Bandcamp link

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