The Mallard (Photo: Marcus Alcino)

The Mallard (Photo: Marcus Alcino)

Editors’ Picks is a new feature collecting music that we’ve been enjoying recently.

Ben: Hearing these new songs by The Mallard leak out one at a time, and knowing that the band has already called it quits, is starting to feel like the beginning of a death by a thousand cuts. It stings all the more because “Crystals & Candles” is the best song I’ve heard yet from this group yet, a linear, dare I say it?, pop-inclined track that sounds like a band approaching the peak, not teetering on the precipice. Finding Meaning In Deference is out July 29 on the always reliable Castle Face Records.

The Mallard – “Crystals & Candles”

Nicole: This past week a new side project of Synthetic ID, Wild Moth and The Hunting Party posted their first demos, calling themselves Fossor House. Their approach pulls elements of their full-time bands, like the melodic guitar of Wild Moth and the jumpy tempos of Synthetic ID, mixed with more of a 90s post-punk overall style; almost like a darker, slowed down Rites of Spring. You can’t have high standards for demo tracks usually, but the quality on these are more than decent, and so I have listened to these over and over this entire week. I can even excuse the unsettling segment of feedback midway through “Monument” — assuming that in a studio these guitars would sound colossal.

Jason: I’ve been stuck on Golden Void since Ben interviewed frontman Isaiah Mitchell last Fall, rarely letting their self-titled debut out of my regular rotation, catching them live on two separate occasions (at Kowloon Walled City’s record release party in January and at our Noise Pop Happy Hour at Bender’s in March), and dodging through the brutal 4/20 crowds in the Haight to grab a copy of their Record Store Day 7-inch, “Rise to the Out of Reach” b/w “Smiling Raven”. The SF-based quartet was recently one of the numerous bands to benefit from Converse’s infiltration of our fair city, recording a live take of the two 7-inch tracks as part of the sneaker pioneer’s Rubber Tracks video series and, like everything else Mitchell and company have released, I’ve been unable to pull myself away from its intoxicating psychedelic beauty.

Anna: If you’re anything like me, pairing music with your everyday workload might be somewhat of a challenge. There’s a fine line between music that fuels the productivity levels and music that’s enjoyable but ultimately distracting. And lately, I find myself turning to Lemon Jelly more often than not to help pull me through that pesky to-do list. Any Lemon Jelly will do, really, but I find that the following three methods work best: (1) Listen to the entirety of ’64–’95 (including “Go” featuring William Shatner); (2) Play Lemon Jelly radio on Rdio, which plays all the band’s releases on shuffle; and (3) Put “Nice Weather for Ducks” (from Lost Horizons) on repeat. Is this electronic duo back from hiatus yet?

Zack: I spent my Wednesday night at Hemlock Tavern watching the folk-rock of Mississippi’s Water Liars. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really listening — the band’s Two Gallants-esque vocal shredding and loud/soft dynamic had triggered an old memory of Silver Darling, a now sadly extinct band from Sacramento. SD released two recordings from 2007-2008, each of which were unified statements from a band that played with a maturity and depth-of-feeling rarely seen on early recordings. In 2008, they dropped their debut LP Your Ghost Fits My Skin, a 15-track album that moves from harsh, booming wails (“Death: You Have To Believe”) to whisper-delicate ballads (“Rosewood Country Face”). A truly excellent singer, vocalist Kevin Lee’s distinctly southern twang wraps every song with a darkly emotive, mysterious quality. I don’t know what happened to the band, they broke up I assume, but I do know that revisiting this gorgeously forlorn band won’t leave you disappointed.