Sandrider Stream New Single Aviary/Baleen; 7″ Due Next Month on Alternative Tentacles

I didn’t have to get any further than ‘recorded when they did Enveletration‘ to know I was on board for the new Sandrider single, and if you want the actual truth, I wasn’t much past seeing the band’s name in the subject of the email and the word ‘new’ before I understood I’d be spending a few bucks.

Sandrider released a top-tenner for me earlier this year in the aforementioned Enveletration (review here), and actually, if you’re up for something a little more extreme, Sandrider guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski‘s counterintuitively-named-and-that’s-the-point solo unit Nuclear Dudes released a leaves-marks burner called Boss Blades (review here) that sounds half like the panicked side of my brain when I have to be around humans and half like it was just taking a break from scraping the highway to doom itself into your cortex.

Wrapping 2023 with two more Sandrider tracks suits me just fine. You might recognize parts of “Aviary” from songs that did make it to the record, and that’s kind of fun, and the drums in the middle just rule. “Baleen” is the more intense of the two and like a lot of Weisnewski‘s stuff this year I find it deeply relatable. Whales are fucking weird. And baleen, if you’ve ever seen the stuff, is creepy. I end up reading a lot of fact books about sea creatures these days. It’s a blue whale’s planet. We’re just fucking it up for them.

Anyway, the corresponding subject matter makes me wonder how long he’s been a parent, though I don’t actually know if dude has kids or not. Would be weird if I did. But on Enveletration, I’m pretty sure “Alia” is a daughter ode and I don’t know that it is but I really want the line in LP-closer “Grouper” to be about restless, angry fathers staring at their phones. Relevant to my current fucking moment, I tell you.

So yeah, seeing as I woke up last night with the realization that the singular is shenanigans would be shenanigan, and here’s Sandrider with some prime free range shenanigans, I’m calling it fate. The vinyl is in January, on Alternative Tentacles, which the PR wire reminds was once upon a time Akimbo‘s label.

Info and audio from Bandcamp:

Sandrider Aviary baleen

Just a handful of months after releasing their meteorically heavy LP Enveletration (Satanik Royalty Records), Seattle loud-rock trio SANDRIDER has teamed up with Alternative Tentacles to release a two-song 7” in January 2024. Engineered by Matt Bayles (SOUNDGARDEN, MASTODON, BOTCH) at Seattle’s Litho Studios during the Enveletration sessions, the two tracks “AVIARY” and “BALEEN” offer a concise snapshot of what Sandrider does best: pulling together lead-heavy riffs and cathartic wails into songs that are somehow fun and infectiously catchy while also being messy and relatable angry. Much like their Seattle grunge/punk-rock predecessors, their sound is paired seamlessly with modern hopelessness as much as it is crushing beers and reading Dune.

This cheeky duality of Sandrider is also captured perfectly in the subject matter of the EP’s two tracks: The explosive first track, “Aviary,” portrays the modern hellscape of social media as sinister, soulless mama bird, willfully vomiting disinformation into the eager mouths of enthusiastically consenting participants. “PLEASE MOTHER, FEED THEM YOUR BILE. DOUSE THE BABES WITH YOUR WHOLESOME RETCH,” vocalist/guitarist Jon Weisnewski wails over massive, frenetic riffs, rounded out by bassist Jesse Roberts’ warm low end and drummer Nat Damm’s ultra-hard, punch-like beats. The song concludes in a frenzy of danceable beats, with Weisnewski doing his best Painkiller-era Halford screams as he commands you to flood the whole damn thing – drown those who wish to destroy us. As pissed off as the song is, you’ll feel triumphant by the end anyway.

Side B’s “Baleen” on the other hand (while ironically the angrier-sounding song of the two), is about a lighter thought that keeps Weisnewski up at night: Do you ever think about how fucking weird whales are? They’re enormous floating creatures that can’t handle gravity, and they hang out in the deepest oceans. Yet they can’t breathe underwater, so they have to stay near the top and come up for air all the time. Seems inconvenient. And you’d think that the biggest mammal that ever lived would be a brutal carnivore, right? But no. They eat the tiniest creatures, through a bunch of hair in their mouths. What the fuck? Anyway, ponder on that while you bang your head along with Sandrider’s signature primal, hypnotizingly heavy riffs.

While the Aviary/Baleen 7” is Sandrider’s debut for Alternative Tentacles, Weisnewski and Damm have a long history with the label, having previously been signed to AT with their former band, AKIMBO. After forming Sandrider in 2007, the band released three full-length albums and a split with KINSKI via the now-defunct Seattle label Good To Die before signing to Satanik Royalty Records for the release of 2023’s Enveletration. The trio are thrilled that they get to release records with their local Seattle friends as well as the punk-rock legends in Alternative Tentacles.

Weisnewski comments:
“I’m so excited to work with Alternative Tentacles again. I have so much appreciation for Jello and the label finding and investing in artists that continually push expectations. They’re often unsafe, in that they champion artists over mainstream commercial appeal, and at the same time that consistency has built a fucking amazing legacy. Sandrider is just so humbled and appreciative that they would extend the offer to us. We’re over the moon about it.”

AVIARY/BALEEN was recorded by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, ISIS, The Sword) at Studio Litho & ExEx Audio October 2021.
Mixed by Matt Bayles at The Red Room March 2022.
Additional recording by Jeff McNulty at The Kill Room November 2021. Mastered by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering April 2022.
Paintings by Jesse Roberts.
Layout by Nat Damm.
Photos by Invisible Hour.

Nat Damm – drums
Jesse Roberts – bass, vocals
Jon Weisnewski – guitar, vocals

Sandrider, Aviary/Baleen (2024)

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