Spoils System: Smoke Signals: Black vinyl LP

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Black Vinyl

'Smoke Signals', the debut album from SPOILS SYSTEM (ex-Joshua; Doghouse Records)

Weighted Blanket Statement
Still Don't Believe In Me
Far Along
Identify (feat'g Janet Morgan)
Smoke Signals


Based out of the Hudson Valley in New York State, the quartet of Sean Hansen (guitar, vocals), Dan Coutant (vocals, guitar, keys), David Fateman (bass) and Mark Frankel (drums) are known as Spoils System. Their debut full length is Smoke Signals (a split release between Florida's New Granada Records and the band's own imprint Cynical Trials).

Dan and Sean's gift for writing melodic and often beautifully discordant indie rock was first displayed in the mid-to-late '90s "emo" outfit Joshua (Doghouse Records). After three albums, a handful of EPs and handpicked US/EU support slots with The Get Up Kids and At the Drive-In, the group quietly disbanded in 2002 to pursue other projects throughout the coming years.

Both living their lives as audio engineers, Coutant and Hansen eventually reconnected to form Spoils System as a creative outlet when the world shut down in 2020. Home recordings were molded into songs as the two passed ideas back and forth over the web. They enlisted old friend and acclaimed producer J. Robbins (Clutch, The Sword, The Promise Ring, Braid, Jets to Brazil) to mix the bulk of the album's 10 songs, while also recruiting producer/composer Alap Momin (Dälek) to mix the group's dancier offerings (“Clunker”, “YOU” and “Smoke Signals”) and Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla handling the mixing board on “Glower”. Janet Morgan (Channels) was enlisted for guest lead vocals on “Identify”. The subsequent album is Smoke Signals, a euphonic blend of psych-rock, chamber pop, indie rock, and soul that distills the countless musical influences that have been collected by the two over their vast careers.  

The singles, "Clunker" and "YOU", released as in-progress album teasers in 2022, showcase the band's range, combining rhythmic complexity and expansive sonic textures with Beatle-esque vocal melodies.