Pressing Concerns: The Rishis, Sudden Voices, Melancolony, Worms in Dirt

It’s a Monday Pressing Concerns yet again, and we’ve got some good under-the-radar music to talk about today. In this edition, we’re looking at the physical release of The Rishis‘ debut album, new full-lengths from Sudden Voices and Worms in Dirt, and a new EP from Melancolony.

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.

The Rishis – August Moon (Vinyl Release)

Release date: April 21st
Record label: Cloud Recordings/Elephant 6
Genre: Folk rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital
Pull Track: Holi

The Rishis quietly self-released August Moon digitally last year, but the upcoming physical edition of their debut album is being put out by a pair of labels that carry a lot of weight for a certain kind of indie rock fan: Cloud Recordings and Elephant 6. While the core duo of Athens’ Ranjan Avasthi and Sofie Lute are (at least publicly) new faces to the Elephant 6 world, plenty of familiar names from the famous collective went into this album’s creation: John Kiran Fernandes, Scott Spillane, Andrew Rieger, James Huggins III, and Andy Gonzales, to make an incomplete list. Despite the large number of collaborators, August Moon doesn’t slot into the dense, Olivia Tremor Control-esque multi-layered psych-pop side of Elephant 6, instead coming off as a quite friendly and straightforward folk rock album, with tinges of 60s pop as well.

August Moon opens with the gently rolling “Holiday”, a country-folk tune in which pedal steel and Avasthi’s warm vocals welcome everyone into the album. Scott Spillane’s horn contributions are unmistakable, adding a new layer of emotion to songs like the mid-tempo indie rocker “Oh So Young” and the dreamy “Migrations”. Lute sings lead on only one song on the record, but she makes the most of it, absolutely belting out centerpiece ballad “Make Me Love You”. Although the second half of August Moon features one folk rock classic in “Jetstream”, it also offers up the album’s busiest number (the cavernous “Just Between You and Me”), its most 90s indie rock moment (the quite catchy “Holi”), and closing track “Uttar Pradesh”, a gorgeous instrumental that takes its name from an Indian state as a way of nodding to Avasthi’s family history. (Bandcamp link)

Sudden Voices – Sudden Voices

Release date: April 14th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Art rock, post-punk, post-rock, psych rock
Formats: Digital
Pull Track: Milk and Honey

London’s Ben Morris is hardly a new face in music, even though he has just released his first record as Sudden Voices this month. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Morris led Union Wireless, a post-rock/krautrock band that achieved some notoriety before dissipating after two albums. Morris stepped away from making records for a decade and a half, but stayed interested in music–Sudden Voices, an improvisation-based record that’s informed by fifteen years of making music just for himself, is the result. Morris and his collaborators cite a lot of the “elder statesman indie rocker” favorites as inspiration for their new album, and, impressively, quite a bit of it (CAN, Talk Talk, Bitches Brew) shines through here. Sudden Voices has a foot in multiple musical camps, keeping a sturdy indie rock foundation when it suits it, but veering into post-rock and playing with less “traditional” song structures just as naturally.

“Milk and Honey” opens Sudden Voices in a way that mirrors the entire record–starting with a steady, almost post-punk rhythm section before drifting into a psychedelic haze of synths and choral chants (for Morris, who sang in choirs regularly during his break from recorded music, this addition is more than an aesthetic one). “Happenstance” and “Way of the World” marry some interesting and prominent percussion (both analog and digital) with some of the album’s more casual-sounding instrumentals. Balance is key on Sudden Voices: “Sunrise” in the middle of the album sounds frantic; “Fixed Orbit” one song later re-steadies everything. Similarly, the post-punk energy of “That’s All We Have” later on fades into the piano-led “This Room”. (Bandcamp link)

Melancolony – Dreaming Backwards

Release date: March 25th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Dream pop, jangle pop
Formats: Digital
Pull Track: Midnight Eyes

Georgia-originating, Santa Cruz-based Justin Loudermilk makes music under the appropriate name Melancolony, a project that has been around for the majority of a decade and has resulted in a few singles and two full-length albums. The latest Melancolony release is the Dreaming Backwards EP, which came out late last month. Dreaming Backwards’ five songs showcase Loudermilk’s skills at crafting a certain nostalgic brand of indie pop–over the course of the record, Loudermilk puts together an intriguing sound that combines dream pop, sophisti-pop, college/jangle rock, and synth-based psych pop while all sounding of a piece. Melancolony’s songs are brief on Dreaming Backwards–the entire EP is over in ten minutes, and you’ll miss a good deal of it if you blink, but it’s worth tuning in actively.

The wistful “Colorless” opens Dreaming Backwards with swirling synths, earnest vocals, and extra reverb-y guitar lines. Prominent 80s drum machines kick off the more purely synthpop title track, although Loudermilk guides it to a similarly melancholic place as the EP’s first song. “Midnight Eyes” is perhaps the most overtly “indie rock” of the songs here, with the bass and acoustic guitar gliding along across a track that feels particularly inspired by guitar bands of yore (mainly of the jangly college rock and C86 variety). “Reunion 2023” is the other song that leans on prominent guitars, starting with a folky, R.E.M.-esque skeleton and building to a humble but well-crafted dream pop conclusion. (Bandcamp link)

Worms in Dirt – Some Version of a Portal

Release date: April 7th
Record label: Self-released
Genre: Indie punk, folk punk, alt-rock
Formats: Digital
Pull Track: Eucalyptus Trees

Worms in Dirt is the project of Seattle-based singer-songwriter Sam Hendricks, and her latest record under the name is a loose, spirited collection of songs that certainly has a folk punk energy, even as Hendricks gives them a full electric rock band presentation. Some Version of a Portal is the first Worms in Dirt full-length album, and the bulk of it was recorded by Hendricks herself (drums were handled by Sheldon Kreger, and there are a few random vocal, synth, and keyboard features). Some Version of a Portal has an indie punk world-consciousness (even, perhaps especially, when Hendricks steers the songs into quite personal territory) mixed with some Pacific Northwest-appropriate roaring indie rock.

The minimal electric guitar-led “Violence” opens Some Version of a Portal with the feeling of being on a swaying ship, Hendricks pacing back and forth in the lyrics before we get a final minute of guitar heroics. The pop punk of “Outhouses” features a particularly animated Hendricks in response to the music, and the heavy “Wind Slows” mixes lumbering indie rock with some odd vocal effects. Some Version of a Portal rolls out some more memorable songs from there, like the hopefully apocalyptic “Eucalyptus Trees” (“Just try to embrace the possibility / That the entire system collapses by 2050,” Hendricks imagines), the unmoored and (trying to be) unbothered “Gameboy SP”, and the decomposing “Death Poems”. (Bandcamp link)

Also notable:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: