Rapid Fire Reviews: Pile, Marco Aziel, and We Hold Hands And We Jump

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Pile – A Hairshirt of Purpose (Exploding in Sound Records)

On their fifth full-length record, A Hairshirt of Purpose, Boston post-punk outfit Pile have surpassed themselves yet again. With a brilliant spin on the iconic guitar-driven noise rock that fans of the band have come to love, the group crafts their most cohesive effort to date. Tracks like “Leaning On A Wheel” and “Hairshirt” demonstrate the teetering dichotomy of precision and discord which Pile have come to perfect. The album releases on March 31st, but you can find an exclusive stream of the new record here.

Marco Aziel – Explains Himself (self-released)

Inspired by the idea of February Album Writing Month, in which artists are tested to write and record an LP within the month of February, Marco Aziel brings to the table a delightful take on acoustic driven indie-punk that exists somewhere between Evan Weiss and the Front Bottoms. Explains Himself courts blaringly honest tracks with a lyrical delivery akin to Modern Baseball at times. The record, which is 28 minutes in length and self-recorded/produced, bounces between themes of loneliness, lust, and the mundanity of daily life, all the while boasting catchy melodies and gang vocals. The record features guest appearances from members of Dogleg, Swordfish, and Welman, among a few others. If Aziel is able to produce something as concise and polished as Explains Himself within just a month’s time, I’m eager to hear the material he will produce when given a more traditional length of time.


We Hold Hands And We Jump – S/T (self-released)

Anonymous Pittsburgh songwriter whhawj has amassed quite the discography since their 2014 debut release The Sunrise Club Goes To Sleep. On their fifth album, an incredible self-titled effort reminiscent of early Conor Oberst and Elliott Smith, whhawj features some of their most multi-faceted work to date. This record is the culmination of years of work and it truly shows. The melodies are complex and weaving, at times disorienting and at others lulling. The amount of instrumentation used by whhawj is vast this time around, creating an orchestral tone that lends itself well to the song structures on the album. If you consider yourself a fan of Alex G, Monster Bad, or the Dismemberment Plan, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not giving this LP a listen.

– AJ Boundy