The band Stander, a trio, standing outside near water
Stander Credit: Corbin Howard

This year promises to be a big one for the Garrote, a new record imprint and publishing house founded in the Quad Cities by Aseethe guitarist-singer Brian Barr and photographer-videographer Josh Ford, who’s worked with bands such as Sunn O))), High on Fire, and Facs. The Garrote has a stacked release schedule for 2022, starting this month with Vulnerable, the second full-length by Chicago instrumental trio Stander. On this album guitarist Mike Boyd, bassist Derek Shlepr, and drummer Stephen Waller take the band’s dynamic, gloomy rock into sophisticated new realms, including twinkling, near-silent guitar passages and massive wall-of-sound distortion freak-outs. Stander tip the hat to veteran Chicago bands working similarly heady instrumental turf: they do the heavy, slow, yearning chords that have become Pelican’s signature, and they pile on the epic grandeur a la Russian Circles. It’s a joy to listen to Stander toy with light and darkness as they ramp up these tracks from stillness to top volume—it keeps Vulnerable full of excitement, energy, and thoughtful twists and turns.

Stander’s Vulnerable is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. The album drops 2/11.