2016 is here and HHBTM will have the busiest release schedule in the history of the label ever. It all starts out this month with the newest HHBTM signing Witching Waves. I saw this band open for Eureka California during their November 2014 tour and was instantly blown away. Gloom-era (‘81-’84) Cure meets per-major label Sonic Youth with a touch of Veronica Falls. The new album “Crystal Cafe” comes out on February 26th split between HHBTM doing the US release and our buddies Soft Power handling Europe. The record has already been covered at Gold Flake Paint, Noisey, Impose, Austin Town Hall, For the Rabbits, and tons of other outlets. LP and cassette pre-orders below. In March there is a new Eureka California album “Versus” coming out on the 25th and the band will be touring in March, April, and May in support. The band recorded the album in the UK with MJ from Hookwormsat his Suburban Home Studio in Leeds last summer while over on tour. The record sounds huge and the press is lining up really fast for this one. The pre-order comes with a bonus item. If you select the deluxe version, you get a button, a screen printed patch, and a bonus cassette of album demos and extra tracks. HHBTM is also super happy to announce that not only will the new Wedding Present album “Going, Going…” come out on the label this fall, but before that HHBTM will be issuing the Wedding Present album “Take Fountain” on LP, and the Cinerama album “Valentina” on LP. There are deluxe versions as well with “Take Fountain” coming on color vinyl with a button and turntable slipmat and “Valentina” coming on color vinyl with a button and screen printed tote bag. These two records will not ship until May, but the bonus stuff is limited to the first 100 orders. HHBTM also has t-shirts and baseball tees with the new Art Chantry designed logo.
WITCHING WAVES “Crystal Cafe” LP / Cassette
The winners want us to believe the world is beautiful, but Witching Waves has seen the world and knows this is a lie—that everything is lost and nothing is to be trusted. We saw them open for Eureka California in the UK last year and couldn’t get the songs out of our head so we’ve jumped on the second album.
Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard are Witching Waves, and they sound like exiles in their own country. And like all exiles, they know the only safety is in numbers, and the only comfort is in friends. Witching Waves come from a world of DIY and co-operation. Mark Jasper runs Sound Savers recording studio, a love of labor turned into a labor of love in one of the rapidly vanishing not-so-nice parts of London.
Every window is filled with witnesses. We watch the world go by, each of us observing and observed. You can hear them switching instruments, trying out roles.
Watching the world fall apart all around them, Witching Waves knows that being right is pointless—the television tells a hundred lies in the time it takes you to speak a single truth, and for every book you read, your neighbor reads none—but the only alternative is to participate in the slow silent psychic death that is mainstream 21st century life.
When ‘Seeing Double’ breaks down towards the end and Jasper starts screaming: See them on the street you ask them why / See them in the car you ask them why / See them on the stairs you say to them / What are you doing here why won’t you leave me alone? You know he’s not going to get any answers, but he isn’t there for answers he’s there for the screaming.
Because this music is rooted in UK DIY and the only alternative to the clean smiles of 21st century surface life is dirty frowns, you might hear the fuzz, the flattened shouts, and think you’ve heard it before, but then you notice the guitars at the end of ‘Red Light,’ how they swell & buzz like an attack of locusts, and the oceanic rise & fall of album closer ‘Flowers’ and you realize that in their endless explorations of black & white, WW has created a universe of infinite textures and shade.
Drowned In Sound calls WW’s sound ‘the satisfying juxtaposition of pop sensibility and tumult,’ but we like their sound because it leaves us pissed off, and unsatisfied—not with their music but with the world.
Witching Waves are locked in a london basement and hyperventilating, with nothing to keep them warm except their anger and their love. Listen close enough and you can hear the mildew grow. Listen even closer and you can hear it start to speak. It sounds a lot like you.
LPs & Cassettes are shipping now. LP $13, Cassette $5.00
EUREKA CALIFORNIA “Versus” CD / LP / Cassette
‘Summer’s here and the time is right for getting blackout drunk in the street.’
Eureka California’s going way too fast, and if they don’t slow down they’re gonna crash. Like peak Elvis Costello, they think if they keep the wisecracks and the puns coming fast enough they can avoid facing the truth—that death comes for everyone and nothing dies faster than dreams.
Versus, their 3rd album in 3 years, is the first one recorded in a studio (by MJ from Hookworms, in Leeds, UK) and it gives EC a power they’ve never had before. It’s incredible that two people can make such a big sound, but Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler have developed a near-telepathic ability after years of playing together, and while they’ve always been good, Versus is their first stab at greatness, soaked in television & gin & the kind of language you hear everyday but you never heard quite like this.
Endlessly self-referential and endlessly self-destructive, stuck on an endless treadmill of tension & release, of megalomania & doubt. Versus is agoraphobic fight songs, songs about loving television more than people because people always let you down and the static from the set makes more sense than the static coming out of their mouths. EC songs exist in a world where ordering a pizza is fraught with anxiety and you have to laugh to keep from dying.
‘I Will Write Mine Over Potomac’ is all loneliness and fraying nerves. ‘Fear and Loathing in the Classic City’ synthesizesDamon Albarn and Jonathan Richman. And those aren’t even the singles.
If Performer called last year’s Crunch ‘Album Of The Month, what are they going to call this one? The Big Takeover said ‘One can’t help but wonder where Eureka California will be in another year. Miles ahead of now, no doubt. That should be quite the album.’
Some of our favorite records are the ones where the band sounds like they need a vacation only they’re moving too fast to stop and so everything comes out wired & exhausted all at once—think Aladdin Sane, Get Happy, Strangeways Here We Come. And Versus fits that mold, a white-knuckle ride through a tattered psyche and a brain that just won’t shut up. It’s too smart for self-pity and too drunk to think clearly.
Eureka California sound like they’re running out of time, just like you and just like me. Only EC’s End Times sound so much glorious than ours, as we twitch and whimper at the incoming waves of radiated foam.
Albums ship middle of March. Deluxe pre-order version comes with bonus demos cassette, button, and screen printed patch. The vinyl Deluxe is also on clear green vinyl. LP regular $13 deluxe $20, CD regular $7 deluxe $14, Cassette regular $5.00 deluxe $12.00.