Huge thanks to Wondering Sound for this review. Deeply humbled, check it out below:
A room loaded with label reps is the secret dream of most bands that play South by Southwest, and on Tuesday that dream came true for Line & Circle, a Los Angeles band with just a single to its name but a steady, whisper-level buzz. Their show came early in the evening, on the festival’s pokey first night, but it delivered the kind of high-wattage promise that stands as a firm rebuke to those who think South by Southwest has been lost forever to crass corporatization and big ticket stunt casting. That their music is decidedly unfashionable only makes the covert industry curiosity that much more intriguing.
The group delivers a gorgeous, crystalline reworking of the kind of unabashedly melodic jangle-pop that characterized the college rock of the mid ’80s. The closest comparison is R.E.M. circa Reckoning. Their songs are suspended in a delicate latticework of Rickenbackers, sharp enough to feel like tiny icicle palaces, elastic enough to contain vocalist Brian Cohen’s rich, weighty baritone. Unlike early R.E.M., they’re more giving with their melodic payoffs: Songs that opened stubbornly, with a tangled braid of guitar, eventually yielded to choruses that were almost heart-stoppingly beautiful, melodies taking flight cautiously but gracefully, eventually working up enough confidence to soar. The group arrived in Austin with professionals’ polish: Their set never lagged or dawdled, just cruised forward on its own easy momentum. For them to become truly popular would require a dramatic shift in indie rock’s prevailing aesthetic; there was nothing proudly haphazard nor overbearingly anthemic about their songs. It was instead eerily gorgeous guitar-pop, defined by a subtle but undeniable sense of wonder.
Many thanks to Pitchfork for premiering our new single! Check it out here, or read an excerpt below:
On the heels of the promising “Roman Ruins” single, “Mine is Mine” is Line & Circle’s most striking and forthright track to date, crisply produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast’s Crazy For You) and the Philadelphia duo of Brian McTear and Jonathan Low (the War on Drugs). With Mozz-y theatricality, Cohen moans “All of my friends are falling in love” in a way that suggests their happiness is his sadness, while the guitars wring out dour notes and the rhythm section pushes forward in a wakeful daze. Regardless of the certainty of its title, “Mine is Mine” is defined by its mixed feelings, both familiar and implacable, evoking an enviable experience Cohen could never have: skipping class to hit the record store and spending whatever he found in the couch cushions on the latest I.R.S. or 4AD release.
Check out the post here and below:
When we last checked in with jangly, R.E.M.-and-Smiths-lovin’ Los Angeles rockers Line & Circle, they had just released the video for their great single “Roman Ruins.” Now comes another great single in the same vein but with extra melancholy. It’s called “Mine Is Mine,” and you can hear it at SoundCloud.
The “Mine Is Mine” single is out now. Here, have some tour dates with that:
03/04 Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s *
03/06 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater *
03/07 San Diego, CA @ The Irenic *
03/08 Phoenix, AZ @ Last Exit *
03/10 Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall *
03/11/14 Austin, TX @ SXSW (White Iris Records showcase)
* = w/ Typhoon
L.A. quintet Line & Circle are not fast workers, but they are meticulous workers. The band — singer-guitarist Brian Cohen. keyboardist Brian Egan, guitarist Eric Neujahr, bassist Jon Engelhard (having replaced Nathan Gammill) and drummer Nick Cisik — recalls those heady days of the ’80s and ’90s when songwriters wrote anthems, not just hooks. And “Mine Is Mine,” their first single since they released “Roman Ruins” via the White Iris label in the summer of 2012, carries that air of gravitas. It’s a little U2-doing-R.E.M., or vice versa, and it stokes more than a little bit of anticipation for what else the fivesome has cooked up in recent sessions with producer Lewis Pesacov. “Mine Is Mine” came out this week as a single. (Photo by Megan McIsaac)
Many thanks to @BuzzBandsLA for having us at the Chinese New Year Festival @LAChinatown. Photo by Zane Roessell.
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