Pressing Concerns: Michael Cormier-O’Leary, Gueersh, BIKE, Alien Eyelid

It’s a Monday, and we’ve got four more great new albums to talk about on Pressing Concerns. Today deals with new records from Michael Cormier-O’Leary, Gueersh, BIKE, and Alien Eyelid.

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.

Michael Cormier-O’Leary – Anything Can Be Left Behind

Release date: May 5th
Record label: Dear Life
Genre: Folk rock
Formats: CD, cassette, digital
Pull Track: Letter from Alan

Michael Cormier-O’Leary has appeared on this website quite a bit as the drummer for Philadelphia’s Friendship, not to mention as a guest contributor to a ton of Philly-area bands and artists as well. He is also a very good singer-songwriter in his own right, as his latest solo album, Anything Can Be Left Behind, demonstrates. Like his three albums before this one, it’s out on the record label he co-founded (Dear Life Records), and the dreamy folk-rock that marked his last record, 2021’s More Light!!, is present here as well. Anything Can Be Left Behind takes an interesting step forward for O’Leary, however, in its embrace of full-sounding, studio-intensive-feeling pop rock. O’Leary assembled an impressive crew (Bradford Krieger and Courtney Swain of Courtney and Brad, fellow Dear Life co-founder Frank Meadows, prolific engineer Lucas Knapp, and longtime collaborators Erika Nininger and Sam Sonnega) to record Anything Can Be Left Behind in one three-day session in southern Massachusetts, and this combination really works for realizing these songs.

Anything Can Be Left Behind opens with two immaculately-executed pieces of music, the wide-eyed quiet wonder of “Here Comes Spring” and “The Tyranny of Our Beating Hearts”, a song that intriguingly melds Cormier-O’Leary’s folk-country side with 80s sophisti-pop. Even the simple-on-its-surface “Impossible as a Postcard” is polished well with plenty of musical bells and whistles–it’s not until “Letter from Alan”, in which Cormier-O’Leary takes a page from his Friendship bandmate Peter Gill’s band, 2nd Grade, that the album loosens up a little. Anything Can Be Left Behind‘s second half follows the record’s sound to some surprising and new places–“Obtain” and “Newest Oldest Punk” are genuine rockers, the former teetering and the latter swaggering. Cormier-O’Leary hides one more excellent keys-and-country track toward the end of the record (“The Door”), but he closes the album with “Old Mike”, a song whose relative sparseness aptly makes it feel the most his previous solo material. Like the rest of the album, however, it’s about capturing one specific moment in a lifetime in motion (“For one minute, and then it’s gone / Our lives keep ending up redrawn”). (Bandcamp link)

Gueersh – Tempo Elástico

Release date: March 30th
Record label: Feitio/Transfusão Noise
Genre: Psychedelic rock
Formats: Digital
Pull Track: A Curtinha

Gueersh are a Brazilian quintet hailing from the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, and currently based in Campos de Goytacazes. The band (singer/guitarist Lívia Gomes, guitarist David Dinucci, singer/guitarist Guilherme Paz, bassist Thomaz Alves, and drummer Phill Fernandes) released their debut EP, Fogo Amigo, last year, although I believe some members of Gueersh have been playing together in some form for a while now. Tempo Elástico, the band’s debut full-length, came out at the end of March, and it’s an excellent and dynamic psychedelic rock album. A lot of this album was recorded by the band live, and its seven tracks vary pleasingly from towering, extended psych jams to friendly and brief indie rock songs, always sounding alive and fresh.

The five-minute title track opens the album by displaying both sides of Gueersh in an enticing way–it’s unhurried and contains plenty of lengthy instrumental passages, but it’s clearly a stretched-out pop song led by Gomes’ vocals for plenty of its runtime. “A Curtinha” features melancholic vocals and guitar lines–it wouldn’t sound out of place on several landmark 90s indie rock albums, a trick they pull again in “Praião”, a shimmering pop rock instrumental that could pass as vintage slowcore if it was, you know, a little slower. On the other end of Tempo Elástico’s spectrum, of course, we have the eleven-minute centerpiece of “Luz Guia” and the eight-minute closing track “Corta/Quebra”. The former is a lumbering psych-noise-rock jam that still finds plenty of beautiful moments to present in its inundation, while the latter starts as a more “typical” Gueersh-sounding song that goes off-road and drifts from our sight to end the record on a expertly-piloted note. (Bandcamp link)

BIKE – Arte Bruta

Release date: May 5th
Record label: Before Sunrise/Quadrado Mágico
Genre: Psychedelic rock
Formats: Digital
Pull Track: Santa Cabeça

Arte Bruta is BIKE’s fifth album since 2015, and the São Paulo-based band (vocalist/guitarists Julito Cavalcante and Diego Xavier, drummer Daniel Fumega, and bassist/synth player João Gôuvea) are seasoned veterans at making psychedelic music at this point. BIKE are not as prone to lengthy jam sessions as the other psychedelic band in this blog post, Gueersh, preferring to deal out their songs in two-to-three minute intervals for the most part–but that doesn’t necessarily make them more “pop” friendly. Arte Bruta’s thirteen songs still find plenty of room for swirling guitar riffs, prog-like synth odysseys, and hypnotic percussion that demonstrate that the band’s traditional Brazilian influences (“post-Tropicalia”, they refer to themselves) are as prominent as ever.

Arte Bruta’s psychedelia feels more of a subtle, Brazilian variety than your traditional American hard rock style–not that it’s not a “rock” album, as there is plenty of fuzziness, noisiness, and remarkable guitarplay throughout the record. On the record, though, BIKE are most notably concerned with crafting a widescreen, expansive vibe throughout. Sometimes that’s accomplished by letting the percussion run wild, like in “Além-Ambiente”, or laying down a killer bass groove (“O Torto Santo”). The second half of the record is where the band really jettison themselves from “normal” song structures, with the six-minute, krautrock-inspired “Santa Cabeça” surprisingly coming off as the most accessible side-B moment. Unlike the retro fetishism that (ironically) timestamps a lot of modern psych bands, BIKE’s multi-layered but comparatively simple setup makes their music feel fairly unmoored from any era. (Bandcamp link)

Alien Eyelid – Bronze Star

Release date: May 5th
Record label: Tall Texan
Genre: Alt-country, folk rock, country rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital
Pull Track: $9 Dollars

Alien Eyelid is a new band from Houston, with some members who have played with Lower Dens (guitarist Will Adams) and Buxton (drummer Justin Terrell). The band–led by vocalist/guitarist Tyler Morris and also featuring bassist/guitarist Brett Taylor and saxophonist/vocalist Mlee Marie–put together a casual but full-sounding collection of Texas alt-country on Bronze Star, their debut full-length. The record’s eight songs incorporate more traditional country songwriting, breezy, Woodsist-esque folk rock, and a few genuinely weirder turns as well. Pedal steel (provided by Will Van Horn) shades most of these tracks, whether Alien Eyelid are putting together a three-minute ballad or a six-minute psych-Americana journey.

Bronze Star eases us into the Alien Eyelid experience with “Easy Times”, an understated, mid-tempo country rock opener in which Morris sings along with lifting pedal steel, keyboards, and a chorus behind him. “Where Elgin Bends” finds Alien Eyelid winding through a five-minute, bass-heavy piece of folk rock, a mode that the band also use to slowly build up “Bull in a Ring”, the six-minute centerpiece of the record’s second side. Alien Eyelid pull off relatively straightforward country/roots rock in tracks like “$9 Dollars” and “Lemons”, which are both sharply-written tunes that hold their own against the album’s more exploratory fare (like the saxophone-and-bass number “Wicked Mind”, which is held down by a typically excellent vocal performance from Morris). No matter where Alien Eyelid end up on Bronze Star, the end result is an enjoyable listen. (Bandcamp link)

Also notable:

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