Bridgetown #110 Shivering Window – ‘When We Were Metal’ C44
For over a decade, Matthew Gray has found comfort in tape machines and grimy guitars, sneaking his brand of outsider pop into the subconscious of the unaware. “When We Were Metal” is Gray’s most accessible collection of songs, shimmering with the glow of hidden treasure in an abandoned attic. Dusty and worn, these are the eccentric but relatable tales of an ageless alt-rock ghost revisiting his youth in New England. Gray produces his songs in a manner befitting the cold, brisk air that hangs over a snowed out colonial town before the plows come around, finding friends in thin guitars, antique drum machines and gentle vocals wrapped in a couple coats of hiss.
Bridgetown #109 Tanner Garza – ‘There’s More To Life Than This’ C30
A prolific explorer of dark formless fields, Tanner Garza finds rhythm and pacing that gives structure to the intangible realm. His sound work is akin to the inspection of a mirror that reveals a window into nothingness. No self, no outside world. “There’s More To Life Than This” is the result of isolation, of working in hermitage not towards any one thing. Instead, it is the natural document of cycles in a personal abyss. The recurring patterns of breathing and bloodflow captured on tape loops that slowly shift like the movement of muscles in gradual growth.
Bridgetown #108 Hollow Sunshine – ‘Atascadero’ C15
Morgan Enos and Reuben Sawyer summon coastal fog into thick swirls of heavily downtuned melodic haze. Returning to Bridgetown with another set of grunge songs that draws inspiration from the duo’s tenure in doom metal as well as the Siamese Dream generation of their youth, Sawyer and Enos bathe sparkling pop songs in a syrupy sludge. Sweet and addictive, the four songs that comprise “Atascadero” offer a glimpse into an understated but diverse range of styles and feelings that stem from crushing guitar tones in simple, subtle arrangements.
Bridgetown #107 Reighnbeau – ‘Hands’ C39
Bryce Hample’s songwriting experiments as Reighnbeau have always approached traditional composition and arrangement from unconventional angles, producing music with a pure immediacy that feels familiar while escaping comparison. On “Hands,” Hample complements the hushed whisper of his trademark vocals with a blend of lush, organic instrumentation sealed off from the world within an electronic suit of glitchy, orchestral static. Glistening guitar chords swell like whalesongs and bend like wind whistling through trees while synthesized noise crunches in sync to the primal pound of drums.
Bridgetown #106 Widesky – ‘Silhouette, And The Stars Emerging’ C44
Work on Seth Chrisman’s final album under the Widesky project, “Silhouette, and the Stars Emerging” began over three years ago and was initially intended to be his debut before entering a suspended state of uncertainty. Sourced from field recordings of transportation terminals, aircraft, public spaces and fragmented radio transmissions, “Silhouette…” is a study in the nature of thresholds, transition, and locality. Chrisman augments the sonic properties of physical places with the gentle layering of muted tones plucked from their atmospheres.
Bridgetown #105 Autococoon – ‘Spirulina’ C33
Caitlin Payne Roberts has a remarkable aptitude for personifying the ocean, cosmos and metaphysical universe as interactive denizens of an alien world that exists all around us. The elaborate arrangement of her lyrical narratives flow like the brisk current of casual conversation, washing over personal experience and mercurial dreams. The crystal clear instrumentation, lush riffs, and buoyant rhythms are brushed in starlight, anchoring these emotive stories of life in the aquatic field.
Bridgetown #104 Apollo Vermouth – ‘Fractured Youth’ C30
Freezing the cathartic energy of live performance, these serene ambient pieces condense an overwhelming rush and blur of emotions floating in icy stillness. Alisa Rodriguez revisits the echoing memories of growing pains with powerful restraint, shaping and guiding them like the slow descent of fragile snowflakes piling high along the sidewalk. Dedicated to and catalyzed by the critical self-reflection that followed the tragic loss of friend Jessie Blodgett in 2013, “Fractured Youth” is a memorial to the notion that internal growth comes not with age, but with the will to do so.
Bridgetown #103 Filardo – ‘UNKNOWN Sessions’ C20
Thomas Filardo has emerged in recent years as the rare and extraordinary kind of songwriter that escapes reference and captures a snapshot of life in the modern world with a profound timelessness. These five songs effectively serve as a time capsule of a unique voice reflecting on the act of dreaming in our contemporary moment. Filardo’s words poetically illustrate the joy of finding a renewed optimism through late night patio conversations, vividly accented by simple, mature and effective instrumentation with creative collaboration from Gregory Campanile, Stephen Steinbrink and Phil Elverum.
Bridgetown #102 Paper Armies – ‘Trying’ C42
Jason Calhoun’s sophomore album for Bridgetown showcases a remarkable growth in his natural finesse for sculpting the raw elements of post-rock, ambient and other instrumental genres into deeply vivid and evocative images. Calhoun has placed a heavy emphasis on graceful piano and string melodies anchored by the ragged crumbling of subharmonic frequencies and whirling noise in the stereo field. “Trying” is the wordless saga of remaining firmly rooted in steadfast hopefulness while traversing a torn landscape draped in shadows and emotional shrapnel.
Bridgetown #101 Big Waves of Pretty – ‘It Is A Sight He Never Forgets’ C29
In less than two years, Big Waves of Pretty has proven themselves as nomadic DIY road warriors that seemingly live nowhere and everywhere all at once. Birthed on a dirt-road farm in Highland, Wisconsin, the group exists almost exclusively as an entity that writes and records on tours that stretch across the seasons. The constant shifting of circumstances the boys find themselves in lends to their distinct style of intricate drumming and interweaving guitar parts. Frantic, jutting patterns collide into a sonically expansive mutation of pop music that defies classification. The songs written and performed on their 100+ date 2013 U.S. tour form “It Is A Sight He Never Forgets,” a clever commentary on the irreverence of twentysomething youth culture, long drives on summer nights, and sitting out on the lake with your dog, boombox and best friends.
Bridgetown #56 Vehicle Blues – ‘Koz Park’ C5
A brand new one-two punch from Chicago heavyweight Gabe Holcombe. The current champion of concise bedroom shoegaze hits where it hurts without leaving a moment to breathe. Rejecting the superficial fluff, Holcombe condenses the bottled up feelings of everyone who’s ever felt alone and the optimism of returning to your feet and getting your life back into pure and focused textural pop. Downtuned despair with no downtime. The crowning moments of the Vehicle Blues discography. Packaged with a glossy 6-panel j-card featuring vintage photography from 1936 by one of Gabe’s family friends.