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Local music news & notes: Alaska and Hemlock announce new LPs, Brain Jelly drops compilation

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On a two-month tour made possible by a DIY network of venues (mostly basements), Alaska doesn’t fear van sleeping.

SHRINE ON It’s been two years since Vegas-based hardcore band Alaska released debut full-length Everything Is Fine, and between an extensive tour last fall and a month-long jaunt this spring, the DIY group still found time to write and record a follow-up album. Singer/guitarist Joel Kirschenbaum told the Weekly that sophomore LP Shrine will begin streaming in late September, with an official release the first week of October.

“I feel like being on tour and traveling is what most of this record is about,” Kirschenbaum says. “Without that experience, I don’t think we would have the context to write the music that we did write. We tried to avoid the clichés of hardcore music or emo music. We’ve done some things we’ve never done before, and that changes your perspective on things.” After writing from December to March, the band returned to Panda Studios in Fremont, California, to record Shrine before an annual SXSW run. “We are really trying to make it more of an artistic thing. This is a musical representation of everything we’ve done in our lives this far.”

The release accompanies Alaska’s two-month string of U.S. dates (plus a few Canadian stops) that will bring the guys as far south as Gainesville, Florida, for Fest 14 (better known as “the Fest”) during Halloween Weekend. The band kicks off with a local house show September 25 and returns November 24 for a gig at 11th Street Records with New Orleans’ Woozy and Vegas’ Dark Black. alaskanv.bandcamp.com

BRAIN FOOD Independent local collective Brain Jelly Music dropped its third compilation, Brain Jelly Music Vol. 2, on August 8, a follow-up to last year’s Spread the Jelly Vol. 1 and Solid Wax Mistress. The 27-track album includes one song from each artist on the Brain Jelly roster, resulting in a varied collection of voices from the Vegas scene. Like Brain Jelly itself, Vol. 2 transcends genre, with gems from hip-hop MC Hassan (“I’m the Best”), experimental Americana rockers Fishing Season (“UFO in Mexico”), soulful singer-songwriter Kella Bo Bella (“Carmen’s Song”), bluegrass/folk artist The Rifleman (“Battle of a Cornered Bear”) and others. According to Brain Jelly’s Bandcamp page, Vol. 2 reflects “the unity of the Las Vegas music scene” and a “wide range of genres from our community.” brainjelly.bandcamp.com.

LOCKED IN Pioneering Vegas heavy-metal outfit Hemlock will release a new album, Mouth of Swine, on September 14. The 11-song LP will be the group’s first studio record in two years (Hemlock released a live album and DVD, Viva ’Lock Vegas, in 2014). The band embarks on a string of tour dates starting September 10 in Hutchinson, Kansas. hemlockworld.com.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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