Rad Releases ’13 – Bearcubbin

December 27, 2013

1505247_10153598234300133_790353857_nAs the countdown to the end of 2013 quickly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. Circuit Sweet will be featuring the featured artists of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.

The past 12 months truly has been an incredible year for releases, hard to follow last year in the records produced but this year has uncovered exceptional talent- most of which discovered, promoted and featured right here on this site.

In our end of year special we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favorite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.

1237139_556236917759529_1408621814_nContinuing our next rad releases are good friends of Circuit Sweet and incredibly talented band Bearcubbin‘.
Bearcubbin’! are a three piece Math Rock band from Portland, Oregon, ready to take over the world with their hectic, crazy, warped mathy masterpieces! The trio are no strangers to Circuit Sweet having been one of the first bands we interviewed and featured and one we will follow and praise for time to come. The trio consist of Chris Scott’s (of The Jezebel Spirit), Mike Byrne (of The Smashing Pumpkins) and Patrick Dougherty (also of The Jezebel Spirit), this has been another rewarding year for the three having recently teamed up with Little League Records on a collaboration that became a compilation of all of their music to date in one place, entitled the Destoyer Collection. Destroyer Collection is a collection of their first 3 EP’s and a remix EP from Irish Wonky/Hip-Hop producer Auxiliary Phoenix. With Destroyer, we see the natural evolution of the three piece’s sound, and the varied, signature stylings they so immaculately supply. You can find that feature here. This a band to keep to an eye on at all times, and one we can expect some more incredible releases from.

Top 5 Releases of 2013

1. Shelter Red – The Split Sabre

This is the 3rd full-­‐length album from Portland, Oregon’s crushing instrumental duo (Stephan Hawkes & Austin Crook). This album is by far one of the most extensively heavy and detailed album’s I have heard all year! Not a single second on this record is wasted to self-­‐indulgence, each sound moves to further the mood or movement of the song and never put the listener through a build without a payoff. Its hard for me to liken this to a collection of band names, everything I come up with doesn’t encapsulate the originality inherent in their execution of music often subjugated as heavy but short sighted. I recommend purchasing this one with all those Christmas iTunes gift cards to support the endeavors of Portland’s most creative and inspiring bands.

Key Tracks: Slow Boat to China, Man is Not an Animal

2. Duck. Little Brother, Duck! – No Spitting on Cats During Plague Time


Following closely behind the release of their second full-­‐length album, Don’t Take our Filth Away, Duck has crafted an EP so thick with the grimy noise and dissonance of their most angular work. This album sounds like the more progressive moments of King Crimson’s Red played through a jukebox co-­‐designed by Botch and Drive Like Jehu played at Volume 11 during the break of a fever. Listening closely, the song craftsmanship and hook sensibility of their previous work are heard in an augmented form showing growth and the overwhelming feeling that this band has not even begun to explore the expansive ground they are capable of conquering.

Key Tracks: There are two, both are good, promise

3. Soft Skills – A Future to Remember

This album is simply incredible! It’s honest, full of passion, heartfelt, and (without a negative connotation) emo as Fuck! It took these guys awhile to record this record because of all the other bands they are in, but the final product was simply amazing. It’s the lyrical content and guitar playing of a TTNG or Kinsella brother’s release with the vocal delivery belying the honesty of a Velvet Teen record, but all its own. The Bass, Drums, and keyboard performances as well as guest vocals and violins serve to make each song unique and a jarring surprise to find you have listened to the album twice already. This is definitely a download to make from their bandcamp and swing them a bit of cash as well.

Key Tracks: Title Tack, A Future To Remember, A Customer Service

4. Native – Orthodox

After listening to Wrestling Moves a million times, I was super excited for the follow up. The live videos they posted of the songs from this album really whetted my appetite and it was quenched in a different way than I expected. On Wrestling Moves, I felt like the drum production, especially on “Backseat Crew”, was a monstrous achievement only rivaled on These Arms are Snakes records, making sense because Chris Common did both, so my expectation for the drums going in were very high. The outcome: the drums on Orthodox don’t sound as good, neither do the vocals, but they sound more like a full band and how they come off live on Orthodox than they did on Wrestling Moves. As a holistic statement the songs on Orthodox are better crafted and more cohesive with a truer representation of the band than their earlier work, and the end verdict is that it is an incredibly enjoyable listen from start to finish. It says a lot about the greatness of a band by the fact that they are really only comparable to themselves a few others.

Key Tracks: Coin Toss, Kissing Bridge, Brass

5. TTNG –


This album definitely came out of the blue for me. I have come to understand that there are some people that are fucking rabid for the Animals album, but now comparing the two, this one definitely stands as the more hook oriented of the two, and more in my wheelhouse. The personal changeovers in the band have only served to create a more cohesive and compact band. Every song on this album is great, and the ambient tracks only serve to bolster the impact of each song and act as a pleasant palette cleanser between meaty meals. Takeaway point: get it.

Key Tracks: I’ll take the minute snake, Havoc in the forum, Left Aligned

Honorable Mentions: Sigur Ros – Kveikur

Tera Melos-­‐X’ed Out

Best Show we played this year: The best show we played in 2013 was the CD release show for Shelter Red’s The Split Sabre. We played an amazing night with them and our friends in GLDWNG. Great night with great dudes.

Best Show I’ve seen this year: The best show I’ve seen this year was probably either Maserati after the release of Maserati VII and they picked up the drummer from Cinemechanica. One of the best times I’ve seen them live. Or seeing refused for the first time during their reunion shows in the states. I literally saw Dennis Lyxzen walk on a crowd of people, incredible.

Plans for 2014:
Bearcubbin’!s plans for 2014 are to release the next full length record entitled

“Girls with Fun Haircuts”. After the release of that record we’ll be touring during the spring/summer months to support the release.

2014 will be THE year for Bearcubbin and we cannot wait for the next full length record- we love this band and you should too.


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