Home Hear Submission Accomplished | 12 Fantastic Finds From The Digital Mailbox

Submission Accomplished | 12 Fantastic Finds From The Digital Mailbox

Gravity Machine, Black Bra, High on Stress and other gems for you to discover.

Thanks to the inexplicable popularity of my Submit Music page, I always have a digital backlog of albums, EPs, singles and videos awaiting my perusal. Here are the latest submissions that caught my ears and eyes. And there’s plenty of magnificence to behold: Gravity Machine’s old-school U.K. prog; Black Bra’s shivery post-punk psychedelia; High on Stress and Christopher Peifer’s scrappy indie-rock; Robert Moffatt’s searing fusion of blues, roots and Can-rock; The Top Boost’s cosmic-country nostalgia; Carver Commodore’s southern indie-pop; Dog Unit’s danceable post-rock; Brenna Lowrie’s transcendent folk; Avery Plains’ noise-pop goodness and more. Any one of them could easily be your new favourite artist. And if they are, I’ve included Bandcamp links wherever possible so you can buy the music straight from the source. Tell ’em I sent ya. And if you’ve got something I need to hear, send it my way. If I think you’re half as good as you think you are, I just might include you next time.


Gravity Machine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The band combine a vast range of influences, with the cornerstones of heavy rock, progressive rock, electronica and acoustic styles all adding to the band’s distinctive sound. Taking inspiration from Neil Peart’s Ghost Rider book (detailing the Rush drummer’s journey through grief), Niall Parker wrote a large canon of material following the loss of his wife to cancer in 2016. What started as an escape grew into a majestic set of songs detailing a transformative journey. Recognising that the wide ranges of genres and influences that the material traversed, Niall contacted Dartmoor-based super-producer Pete Miles (Martin Grech, Bring Me The Horizon, Canterbury, Architects) at Middle Farm Studios; who after hearing the demos agreed to produce the album in a series of session spanning 2018 and 2019. Performed primarily by Parker on voice, guitars, bass & keys, the resulting album features drums from Bob Shoesmith, contributions from Pete Miles, vocalist Kat Marsh (Bring Me The Horizon, Choir Noir, We Are The Ocean), bassist/engineer Chris Edney and Niall’s daughters.”

Black Bra
Black Bra

THE PRESS RELEASE:Black Bra is an experimental rock outfit based in Nashville, fronted by Beth Cameron, who is backed by band members Mile Prices on bass, Tyler Coppage on drums and Jesse Case on synthesizer. Their self-titled LP is a striking debut that confronts darkness and grief in its most liminal phases. It was born out of years of intensive therapy and explores themes of hypocrisy, death, loss, inheritance and the feeling of irrelevance in the context of the world today. The record’s soundscape is rooted in Cameron’s earlier punk work but delves into art rock and grunge territory, feeling most expansive in its quieter moments that seem to hold up the weight of the themes it explores. It’s reminiscent of PJ Harvey and Amnesiac-era Radiohead. Texturally rich and delightfully complex, Black Bra weaves personal and political strife into a cohesive narrative that shines a light on the private process of embracing the past to reach a place of being more empathetic to oneself.”

High on Stress
Hold Me In

THE PRESS RELEASE:High on Stress formed in Minneapolis in the summer of 2003 and have release five records. Their latest album Hold Me In was released following a four-year hiatus. The 12-song collection showcases singer/songwriter Nick Leet’s continuing growth as a writer of clever, melodic pop songs. These songs were forged in the crucible of sweaty live shows, hazardous driving conditions and lodging in the bad part of the bad part of town. They have had the pleasure of opening for influences Tommy Keene (Paul Westerberg, Robert Pollard) and ex-Replacements / Guns N’ Roses bassist Tommy Stinson as well as former guitarist of the Replacements, Slim Dunlap, even serving as Slim’s backing band on occasion. Over the years they have also had the opportunity to open for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne and Pat MacDonald (Timbuk3).”

Christopher Peifer
Suicide Mission

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With 25+ years writing, recording, touring, and performing, as a collaborator, bandmate, and sometimes sideman, Christopher Peifer has never been in the shadows. At long last the time is right to embark on his first full-length record as primary driving force. Suicide Mission was recorded over the past year, and deep into the turbulence of 2020 — Chris quips, “Timing, as they say, is everything (Ha!) … This is art and love in the time of coronavirus.” Chris recorded the new album at Roots Cellar Studio, in a beautiful-sounding converted barn in Cold Spring, NY, owned and run by long-time collaborator Todd Giudice. Inspired by some favorite time-tested records, like Elvis Costello’s Taking Liberties, with its catchy power-pop gems, this music is highly melodic and infectious. It was also influenced by the likes of The Replacements, Bash & Pop, Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould, The Figgs, Roy Orbison, Nick Lowe, Big Star, Sloan (and maybe a little tequila). The methodology was organic and unconventional, each song being brought in fresh to the studio, where Chris would introduce the song, just diving in, playing guitar and singing, while Todd learned the form, and created the right drum part. Basic tracks were recorded in 3 or 4 takes, and all overdubs, through first mix would occur that same day. “It’s the first time I’ve approached recording like this. I enjoyed the immediacy, spontaneity, and excitement we captured working this way; a lot of surprises and happy accidents. Sometimes I finalized arrangements, or even finished lyrics on the MetroNorth train, heading up The Hudson to the studio. I work well with deadlines, and under pressure, even when self-inflicted.”

Robert Moffatt

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Robert’s musical tastes and influences are based in rock and pop, but are varied throughout those genres, and beyond, and that diversity is reflected in his songwriting. He has consciously avoided narrowing his focus to a particular subgenre, instead allowing what wants to come out, come out. From tender acoustic songs to straight-up rockers, there’s something here for almost everybody. Having recorded with and supported other artists’ projects since the 1980s, Robert decided to use the downtime of the COVID-19 “lockdown” period to record some of his own music. Recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely at home, by one person, with no budget, in a very modest bedroom studio, the record is raw, flawed in places, but completely human.”

The Top Boost
Tell Me That You’re Mine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On their latest release Tell Me That You’re Mine, The Top Boost channel the cosmic country rock of Gram Parsons and the The Flying Burrito Brothers, the jangle of The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and the Bakersfield twang of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. This record proves that The Top Boost are capable of more than just power pop hooks and harmony. For their previous EP Dreaming, the band joined forces with Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Beck, Jellyfish, Imperial Drag). The Top Boost combine catchy melodies and vocal harmonies informed by classic ’60s groups like The Beatles, The Byrds and The Zombies. The result is a swirling blend of bubble gum pop sweetness with a wistful lyrical undertone. The Top Boost evoke memories of a bygone musical era. Their sound may call forth feelings of nostalgia, but they are too young and vital to be a nostalgia act. The Top Boost are making music that is distinctive and new. Now.”

Carver Commodore
Tell Me What You Want

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Proudly southeastern without being Southern Rock, Carver Commodore (Florence, AL) melds universal elements of indie pop and alternative rock with their own energy and charm. Origins are important and, much like The Killers’ Vegas-reflecting shimmer or The Strokes’ NYC punk-tinged pop, Carver Commodore is an active reflection and interaction with their hometown. “The thing about Florence is that it’s this beautiful blend of people burned by life in bigger cities mixed with those who grew up here and see the beauty in it,’’ says frontman Payton Pruitt. “The musical history of Muscle Shoals combined with a low cost of living empowers a creative community that can afford to do what they want to do (whether in music, art, fashion, or food) in Florence as opposed to what they have to do just to afford rent in Nashville, Seattle, LA, NYC, etc.” Formed by Pruitt and guitarist Phillip Blevins in late 2017, the band’s debut album Tell Me What You Want was released in 2019. “We’re a rock and roll band from the South. Proud to be from Alabama and call it home, but are privileged to see the rest of the world on a regular basis.”

Dog Unit
Barking To Gospel

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dog Unit sound like electronic music played by a rock band, or post-rock you can dance to. Purveyors of entrancing drone, tactile texture, slow-mo polyrhythm, and skewiff riff. Barking to Gospel was written over the past year at the band’s rehearsal studio in Hackney, and then recorded live over a weekend just before the U.K. went into lockdown. As the world ground to a halt, the band sent the raw files to Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), who agreed to mix the EP while self-isolating in upstate New York, and then the EP was mastered at Invada, the studio run by Geoff Barrow (Portishead, Beak>) in Bristol.”

Brenna Lowrie
Loss Leader

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A skilled multi-instrumentalist and expressive vocalist from Alberta, Brenna Lowrie weaves dreamy, psychedelic-leaning folk and pop compositions that are equally reminiscent and surprising, with featuring contemplative lyrics, rich arrangements, and ethereal harmonies. Loss Leader is a psych-folk EP featuring finger-picked classical guitar, synth, and haunting voices. For fans of Nick Drake, Jessica Pratt, Joni Mitchell and Bedouine.”

Avery Plains

THE PRESS RELEASE:Avery Plains is a four-piece band deeply rooted in the Groningen Underground Scene of Holland. The legendary Vera, Club For The International Underground is their home. Avery Plains consists of members that also play or played in Moonlizards, Dandruff, Meindert Talma, Sexton Creeps, Benjamin B, Audiotransparent, Vox Von Braun, Serenes and Santa Fé. In their early days Avery Plains was described as a ‘10-headed monster’, all amps on 11. That’s what you get with four guitarists. They are a four-piece now, with a noisier touch: pop-driven grittiness, boisterous. soOn is their second album.”

Lotus Eaters

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The songs that comprise Lotus Eaters were written during a period of mass transition and upheaval. The writing and recording process of this album took place preceding and following the 2016 election, when extremism and bigotry prevailed across the United States and world at large. The title Lotus Eaters is loosely derived from Greek mythology, which describes a person in a peaceful but apathetic haze from continually eating lotus fruit. A similar, escapist notion was pervasive across the U.S., and it certainly impacted each of us personally. It took a great deal of focus and fortitude to resist that inertia and move forward as a band. Songwriting has always been joyful and cathartic for each of us in different aspects: a distraction from anxiety, an outlet for depression, or a unique way to express our introverted selves in a way that feels most genuine and heartfelt — and that catharsis is what carried us through. Once we picked ourselves back up and creatively honed in, our most potent and ruminative songs began to take form. As a band, we found ourselves writing music that oscillated between dark, magnetic propulsions to dreamy, blissed-out reveries. Although we’ve tinkered with our sound before, we really started to revamp our style and framework in more experimental ways on Lotus Eaters. From incorporating spoken-word poetry and dismantling song structures to constantly swapping instruments, a newfound growth and confidence was evident in this collection of music. Lotus Eaters emanates a fervor that we want to resonate with each listener. And as turbulent as these times can be, we hope this album can be a source of comfort and inspiration for those seeking.”

In Earnest
Come Upstairs

THE PRESS RELEASE:In Earnest is fuelled by the dual songwriting of couple Sarah and Thomas in their bid to encourage open and honest conversation around mental health. Their storytelling is a personal dialogue from two perspectives; a call from one who feels too much and a response from the other who must plead for them to stay alive.”

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