Welcome to Section Sign Records!
Based out of Burlington Vermont, SSR is an ever-evolving, musically diverse independent DIY record label working to expand accessibility while enabling choice artists to control as much of the creative/production process as possible.
Alpenglow's CHAPEL EP out now!! Secure your copy today!
Purchase SSR's inaugural release, Pours s/t LP here:
Check out an article in VT's Seven Days on SSR, Pours' s/t debut, and Alpenglow's forthcoming EP!!
In last week's column we wrote a quick bit on the debut self-titled record from Pours, the collaboration of ex-Parmaga front man Bryan Parmelee and drummer Chris Shar, the latter formerly of Man Man and Santigold. In a related story, from perusing various things written about the band lately, I'm pretty sure it's against rock-scribe law to refer to Shar without mentioning that he was once in those bands. Either that or his legal name is actually Chris Shar Formerly of Man Man and Santigold. But I digress.
To refresh your memory, our take on the new record — which is available on vinyl and in cuh-razy colors! — was this: It's a good 'un. Deep critical insight, I know. But I'm saving the more serious discussion of the album's merits for a full review in the coming weeks, once I've had a chance to fully digest. A lot is going on in those eight songs. However, one thing that went unmentioned was the label releasing the album. So let's rectify that oversight, shall we?
Pours is is not only the band's debut, it's the debut release from Burlington'sSection Sign Records. The new DIY indie imprint is the brainchild of Britt Shorter, who is probably best known for being a talented local rock photographer. Shorter actually founded the label last year. But because releasing a record properly takes time — often way more than you'd expect, as the Pours guys will gladly tell you — we're only now starting to see the SSR catalog come to life. And if the early returns are any indication, the label will bear watching.
Next up for SSR is the sophomore EP, Chapel, from indie-folk wunderkindsAlpenglow. That record — also planned for vinyl, no word on crazy colors — is a follow-up to the band's sparkling debut EP, Solitude, which was one of the 10 best local records of 2013 as named by, well, me. I suspect Chapel, which was recorded in, yes, a chapel in Middlebury and features some truly gorgeous natural reverb, will fare similarly well when it comes out later this summer.
Shorter recently sent over a sneak-peek video for "Brothers in Crime," the EP's lead single and closing track. Our pals over at Brooklyn Vegan will premiere the video this week, so be sure to look for that. In the meantime, here's yet another profound critical insight: whoa.
My only gripe with Alpenglow is that, for all their beautiful, swooning harmonies and elegant arrangements, I couldn't help thinking they were a little too much the product of their influences. Occasionally, the oft-made comparisons — by myself and others — to bands such as Fleet Foxes and theLow Anthem were a bit too spot-on. But that's a forgivable and, frankly, natural transgression for a young band. We're all products of our influences. One mark of a maturing artist is how he or she begins to transcend those informative inspirations. Based on the new single — admittedly a small sample size, but I've noticed it seeing them live, too — it appears Alpenglow are doing just that.
The slow-burning "Brothers in Crime" represents a step forward for a prodigiously talented group. All the familiar accoutrements are there: the expansive, intricate arrangements, the soaring falsetto vocals, those pretty harmonies. But rather than sounding like an outtake of Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, the new single casts Alpenglow as a singular artistic entity. "Potential" is a word that gets tossed around too casually. But it seems Alpenglow are finding theirs. And the band's new EP speaks to the potential brimming within their new imprint, Section Sign Records.
Alpenglow are currently on tour. But they'll be back in Vermont for a unique performance at Signal Kitchen on Friday, July 19. More on that next week.
----Daniel Bolles, Seven Days (@danielbolles)