pity sex – white hot moon

white hot moon
out april 29th via run for cover records

the ann arbor, michigan quartet pity sex is a pop band masquerading as a shoegaze outfit.  beneath gloomy exteriors lie adroit guitar melodies and strong vocal hooks, a trait the band first explored on their 2013 debut feast of love and have now set out to perfect on its follow-up, white hot moon.  co-vocalists britty drake and brennan greaves again team up for listless explorations of infidelity and longing, toggling between downtrodden narratives and pointed conversations as fuzzed-out guitars buzz in the background.

the album’s twelve tracks rarely waver in tempo, a veritable locomotive engine that propels its train into the realm of 1990s nostalgia with a focus squarely on lyrical development.  drake takes more of a center stage than on previous efforts, be it commanding her own lead vocal on early stand-out “burden you” or sparring with greaves in traded stanzas on “september,” but her true apex hits on “plum,” a sparse, heartbreaking reflection on the loss of a parent that eventually gets consumed by a wall of guitars.

greaves’ performance across white hot moon isn’t too shabby either; his mumbled musings are more in-tune and focused than before, and ceding a bit more vocal duty to drake this time around allows for the attentive guitar work sprinkled throughout tunes like “orange and red” and “nothing rips through me.”

white hot moon feels very much like a continuation of its predecessor, and that’s perfectly alright.  pity sex excel at honing their craft, and astoundingly resonant pop gems like “pin a star” seem to suggest that downtrodden shoegaze is a comfort zone the band won’t need to rely on for much longer.  whether or not they will choose to completely shed their dichotomous aesthetic remains to be seen, but it’s clear that white hot moon is an incredibly focused effort that basks in a soothing analog warmth.  soak it up.

 

pity sex – “pin a star”

pity sex
photo courtesy of the artist

pity sex are slated to release their sophomore full-length, white hot moon, on april 29th via the esteemed run for cover records.  the ann arbor quartet has long displayed a propensity for crafting a distinct brand of forlorn shoegaze, and its further refinement has not gone unnoticed.  following the stellar “what might soothe you?” and “burden you,” pity sex have offered up “pin a star,” a fuzzy, particularly pop-centric single that infuses britty drake’s coos of undeniable truths with echoed sentiments from co-vocalist brennan greaves.  take a listen to “pin a star” below.

pity sex – “burden you”

pity sex
photo courtesy of the artist

ann arbor quartet pity sex has long been skilled at pairing fuzzed-out walls of sound with dreamy, vulnerable vocal dialogues, and they’ll continue to hone that craft on white hot moon.  the band’s sophomore full-length is due out april 29th via run for cover records; after teasing “what might soothe you?” all the way back in september, pity sex has returned with “burden you,” an intricately-crafted single that effortlessly toggles between the band’s two extremities with greater frequency than ever before.  it’s easily their best yet.  listen to “burden you” below.

most anticipated albums of 2016

most anticipated 2016kanye snubbed us in 2015.  frank ocean snubbed us in 2015.  rihanna snubbed us in 2015.  james blake snubbed us in 2015.  for every high-profile album that did emerge this year, there seemed to be one that was withheld; as we inch closer to 2016, we’re taking a look at fifteen albums that will hopefully see the light of day in the new year.  alphabetical order is your friend.  dig in after the jump.

———

chairliftedchairlift – the two singles chairlift released this fall indicate that the brooklyn duo’s forthcoming album moth, due out january 22nd, will be a bit darker and more ominous than its predecessors, but still more than capable of delivering a smattering of memorable hooks.

daughter banddaughter – not to disappear will most likely be the first impressionable full-length of 2016.  both “doing the right thing” and “numbers” double down on the themes of isolation and incredible sadness explored on if you leave, and the trio’s instrumentation is as lush and expansive as ever.

field divisionfield division – 2015 was a quiet year for the nashville-via-iowa duo, but we’re hoping that field division drop off their full-length follow-up to 2014’s excellent debut reverie state sometime very soon.

florist bandflorist – emy sprague’s appropriately-bucolic quartet florist popped up on our radar earlier this fall with holdly, a compact ep crammed with sharp songwriting and memorable melodies that thankfully serves as a placeholder for the birds outside sang, a full-length coming january 29th via double double whammy.

frank oceanfrank ocean – who knows where frank ocean is at?  the follow-up to his profound 2012 album channel orange is still missing-in-action, and probably will be for some time.  here’s to hoping that 2016 is the year that it finally surfaces.

james blakejames blake – radio silence was due in the spring of 2015, then the fall, and now the album is promised in the early months of 2016.  we’ll wait; hopefully it arrives in the dead of winter and provides solace for those cold, cruel months.

kanye westkanye west – yeezy season is perpetual.  kanye teased snippets of what could be on swish – “all day,” “fourfiveseconds,” “only one,” “wolves” – throughout 2015, but the album’s name could change again, and its release date certainly isn’t set in stone.  expect the internet to collectively lose it when new kanye material does drop, though.

mmryhsememoryhouse – one of the more pleasant surprises of this year has been the reemergence of memoryhouse.  the canadian dream-pop duo are prepping their sophomore album, soft hate, for a january release, and sneak peaks “dream shake” and “arizona” suggest the two have picked up right where they left off in 2012.

mick jenkinsmick jenkins – the healing component is the end game that mick jenkins has hinted at all along.  2014 delivered a very well-received mixtape in the water[s] followed by a new ep this year, wave[s], so it stands to reason that a proper full-length would come next.

pillar pointpillar point – scott reitherman will continue to hone his signature brooding electro-pop on marble mouth, out january 22nd via polyvinyl.  “dove” is already pillar point’s best work to date, accentuating both extremities of reitherman’s timbral spectrum; the rest of the album should at least be on par.

pity sexpity sex – michigan quartet pity sex effortlessly blended shoegaze with bits of pop-punk and emo on their excellent 2013 debut feast of love, and now the band is gearing up to drop white hot moon this coming spring via run for cover records.  be ready for ample amounts of forlorn looks.

the 1975the 1975 – if you want a huge pop record in 2016, you probably won’t have to look any further than the 1975.  matt healy’s manchester outfit is slated to release i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it in february, and its early singles hint at a massive, killers-esque synth-pop romp.

tychotycho – scott hansen and company have decamped to work on the follow-up to 2014’s excellent awake.  if analog synth-driven ambient soundscapes are your thing, you’ll be particularly enthused when the new tycho album drops.

vancouver sleep clinicvancouver sleep clinic – the vancouver sleep clinic camp was frustratingly dormant all year, but project architect tim bettinson has promised something substantial in 2016.  whether that something is an album or an ep remains to be seen, however.

wild nothingwild nothing – jack tatum will deliver a new wild nothing album, life of pause, february 19th via captured tracks.  it’s the band’s first record in nearly four years, and will be a welcomed addition to an already-stellar discography.

listen to a new song from pity sex

pity sex
photo courtesy of the artist

those that have been reading dimestore saints since this site’s earliest days may remember that we were quite enamored with ann arbor quartet pity sex throughout most of 2013.  their debut full-length feast of love coincided with what felt like the apex of the so-called emo revival, though the band’s penchant for gloomy shoegaze taken at punk tempos set them apart from their peers.  pity sex recently wrapped up work on their sophomore effort, white hot moon; it’s due out this coming spring via run for cover records, and today the band shared its lead single.  “what might soothe you?” finds co-vocalists brennan greaves and britty drake furthering the gloomy, hopelessly romantic dialogue drummer and lyricist sean st. charles crafted across feast of love while the underneath accompaniment veers towards the extremes, with clean passages suddenly juxtaposed by fuzzed-out guitar smears.  take a listen to “what might soothe you?” below.

listen to a new song from pity sex

pity sex stuck out in the crowd of emo-inspired bands that garnered extra attention last year, often putting shoegaze and noise-rock elements on a higher pedestal than their mid-1990s downtrodden idols.  the ann arbor quarter released a split with adventures today via run for cover records; each band contributed a cover along with a new original song, and pity sex offered up “acid reflex,” a noisy, mid-tempo number in the vein of last year’s feast of love.  the track premiered over at wondering sound yesterday, but now you can stream it right here as well.  take a listen.

pity sex – feast of love

i go through broad cycles in my musical taste that continuously encompasses bands that prefer to drench their sound with fuzzed-out guitars and melancholy lyrics.  when i reach this point on the cyclical pattern, i usually can’t get enough of these acts, spinning their wax on my turntable as much as possible and pumping them through my headphones at work.  thankfully, pity sex caught me at the perfect moment, because i can’t stop listening.

the ann arbor quartet released their debut album, feast of love, today, its ten tracks clocking in at just under thirty minutes of gorgeous shoegaze revival with a smart pop sensibility.  even though they’ve only been around for a couple of years, pity sex have made a name for themselves, utilizing last year’s dark world ep to solidify their hard-earned place in a community that is equal parts punk and indie.  while dark world was rough around the edges, the band’s full-length debut feels polished in a casual lo-fi sense; the vocals blend with the instruments, but nothing sounds too muddy.

 

guy-girl vocals have been done in indie-pop for years in various states of depression (for self-deprecation, see the pains of being pure at heart; for things more morose, see veronica falls).  while not on slumberland like these other two bands, pity sex still falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum; on album opener “wind-up,” brennan greaves warns the listener that he’s nothing special and wallows in a monotone of self-pity, but other songs like “honey pot” have an undeniable upbeat attitude that evokes something lighter from the band’s persona.

co-vocalist britty drake steals the show.  her turn on “keep” bumps the song up to one of my favorites on the album, and provides a nice complement to the low mumblings of greaves.  also worth mentioning is the lead guitar work found across feast of love.  it’s a cut above anything i would ever expect out of a contemporary noise-pop outfit like this, and makes me flash back to early dinosaur jr.

pity sex aren’t doing anything groundbreaking, nor are they trying to do so.  they don’t have to.  for a group of hardcore scene kids from michigan, feast of love isn’t a bad debut at all.

7.5/10