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Listen to After Talons’, the New Album from Talons’

Ten years ago, Ohio post-rockers the Six Parts Seven quietly called it quits after close to a decade of steady output. With 5 albums, 2 EPs and a handful of remixes, compilations, and demo tapes, the 8-member act became known for its hushed and knotted noodling that has continued even after its members parted ways, most notably through the work of multi-instrumentalists Keith Freund, Michael Tolan, and their Ohio imprint Bark & Hiss Records.

In the decade since, Tolan has remained an especially-prolific songwriter, with a vast output of cassette rips and Bandcamp demos as Talons’, and today, the musician has shared a new album. Titled After Talons’, the 13-track release ostensibly concludes the long-running project with the same heavy lyrics and dusty lo-fi production that he started with close to a decade ago. In the same way his now-reissued 2006 album Rustic Bullshit garnered comparisons to Mount Eerie, Justin Vernon, and Sun Kil Moon, After Talons’ documents the struggles of growing old and going gray, finding meaning in Netflix binges, Amazon survival kits, and the fading irony of reading about hardcore music in the New Yorker (which really doesn’t sound all that crazy these days anyway).

In a statement included with the release, he called it “an album about looking back because looking forward is too confusing in such a weird world. Songs about the strange melancholy of mid-30s contentment, a sadness that is only kept from descending into raw despair by having a partner to stare into the darkness with.”

With so many artists similarly struggling to come to terms with how they fit into this strange, contemporary moment in indie rock, Tolan’s contributions feel careful and heartfelt in a way that Mark Kozelek never was, as the songwriter trades snark and irony for sobering observations on getting married and having kids, working overnight just to keep his health insurance. It’s the soundtrack to hard times without much hope going forward, as car payments, student loan debt, and political outrage slowly swallow us all one way or another. Check it out below.

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