Ever since SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE released their self-titled debut in 2014, they’ve developed a reputation for being your favorite band’s favorite band. Theirs is the music of immersion, of confrontation, the kind that makes a listener stop and wonder, “How are they even doing that?” And as the years wear on, that sense of bafflement has made room for SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE to quietly but steadily ascend, with their most recent album, 2018’s Hypnic Jerks, leaving them poised on the precipice of wider recognition.
On April 9th, 2021 SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE released their fourth album and Saddle Creek debut, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH. The album signals new chapters for the band on multiple fronts, being the first to feature their new three-piece lineup, as well as the first to be entirely self-recorded and produced. Guitarist/vocalist Zack Schwartz and bassist/vocalist Rivka Ravede are now joined by new member Corey Wichlin, a multi-instrumentalist who relocated from Chicago to the band’s home territory of Philadelphia last year. In the spring of 2020, the trio began to write their new album at a distance by emailing files back and forth. “The process of making this album was basically the exact opposite of our experience creating Hypnic Jerks,” Schwartz explains. “We had to record that in seven days, because that was the studio time we had, whereas ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH was made over the course of three, four months.”
Cleveland duo Suitor (featuring members of Small Wood House) released their debut EP Communion last October, and this past month, it was re-released with three new tracks. The EP is filled with twisty, synth-laden indie rock and post-punk, pinging between a tightly wound energy and pleasing pop sounds. Chris Corsi’s nimble guitar and synth riffs intermingle with Emma Shepard’s alluring vocal performances, lending a lingering feeling of mystique that’s enhanced even further by their lyrics. Their writing is poetic and fairly cryptic, utilizing grim imagery like a hellish pit of fire, a slaughtered calf and a dream that leaves you motionless, imbuing the record with a feeling of tense, high-stakes drama. These sentiments are paired with indie-pop tunefulness (“Communion,” “Moth”) and spidery punk (“To Water,” “Suitor”), creating these immersive worlds of tantalizing darkness. Their three new songs are placed at the tail end of the tracklist, and each one is a bright spot. “How Do I Know You’re There” offers coarse, doomy punk, while “Dagger” packs a saintly sweetness. The final track “Waitress” may be their best yet, centering on an intoxicating synth rumble and Shepard’s moody incantations. The planet might be spinning out of control and headed off a metaphorical cliff, but strangely enough, the intensity Suitor captures here will make you feel less crazy.
- Lizzie Manno - Paste Magazine