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2019 Recap // Field Mouse // Meaning

For as long as I can remember, I have been personally fascinated with album artwork and the ways we visually present and perceive the music we create and listen to. Topshelf released ten records in 2019—EPs and full lengths spanning a sonically and geographically diverse spectrum of sounds and locales, respectively. With the year coming to a close, we wanted to highlight each of them. So I opened up the artwork files and went to work creating digital collages for each, utilizing and re-purposing elements from each album’s artwork into a visual release retrospective of sorts.

We also asked each artist to provide some words on their mindset in creating the music—we left the prompt pretty open, and the responses vary a good deal! Hopefully you learn something new about an album you already enjoy or discover something ~ new to you ~ that might have gone overlooked from earlier in the year.

Thank you for taking the time to check out the music we release and the artists we work with! We had a great 2019 and are already well underway in planning our 2020 for you. Should any of these 2019 titles resonate with you, we’re currently running a 20% off sale for all 2019 releases—use the code BUBBLEMONKEY in our store or on bandcamp for the discount.

Thanks from all of us at Topshelf!! <3


TSR203: Field Mouse - Meaning words by Rachel Browne.

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A lot has happened in the three years since our last record came out. While there is far too much to say about it all in one place, we wrote this album anyway. What are the broad strokes, you ask? It's more or less about the end of the world and all of the ways that it seems to be happening, but also about making peace with former selves and growing as a person despite the feeling of global entropy. Also: strange internet versions of our friends and selves, bouts of insomnia and picking through the dreams that followed, the importance of forgiveness, and creating meaning in a world that increasingly feels like total chaos.

What is the function of art in a place like this? Is anything we make going to last? I am not sure, but here are 11 songs looking for the answer. What I do know is that art connects us to each other and to our feelings and our selves. It is a liferaft, and I hope that we can all continue to put it into the world, appreciate it, and share it indefinitely.

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2019 Recap // Queens of Jeans // If you're not afraid, I'm not afraid

For as long as I can remember, I have been personally fascinated with album artwork and the ways we visually present and perceive the music we create and listen to. Topshelf released ten records in 2019—EPs and full lengths spanning a sonically and geographically diverse spectrum of sounds and locales, respectively. With the year coming to a close, we wanted to highlight each of them. So I opened up the artwork files and went to work creating digital collages for each, utilizing and re-purposing elements from each album’s artwork into a visual release retrospective of sorts.

We also asked each artist to provide some words on their mindset in creating the music—we left the prompt pretty open, and the responses vary a good deal! Hopefully you learn something new about an album you already enjoy or discover something ~ new to you ~ that might have gone overlooked from earlier in the year.

Thank you for taking the time to check out the music we release and the artists we work with! We had a great 2019 and are already well underway in planning our 2020 for you. Should any of these 2019 titles resonate with you, we’re currently running a 20% off sale for all 2019 releases—use the code BUBBLEMONKEY in our store or on bandcamp for the discount.

Thanks from all of us at Topshelf!! <3


TSR202: Queen of Jeans - If you're not afraid, I'm not afraid words by Miriam Devora.

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A little less than two weeks before we went into the studio to record, my mom passed away. The year and a half that I spent writing the songs for this album was probably the most difficult time of my life personally. Simultaneously, it was the first time as an adult I ever really felt afraid to be myself in my country. I found myself in fear not only of losing my mom to her illness, but of losing my space within society as a queer woman, and watching space get taken away from so many others.

Much of this album is a reaction to all of these emotions stirred from these events as I tried to navigate my relationship with my partner, friends, and family without the guidance of my mom or a stable grip on what was and continues to happen in our country. My hope is that openly sharing my story and expressing myself through my vulnerabilities will help others that might feel lost right now, and that it might also help them find the strength in themselves to listen to and embrace their own stories, while also opening up and finding common ground with those around them.


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2019 Recap // Elephant Gym // Underwater

For as long as I can remember, I have been personally fascinated with album artwork and the ways we visually present and perceive the music we create and listen to. Topshelf released ten records in 2019—EPs and full lengths spanning a sonically and geographically diverse spectrum of sounds and locales, respectively. With the year coming to a close, we wanted to highlight each of them. So I opened up the artwork files and went to work creating digital collages for each, utilizing and re-purposing elements from each album’s artwork into a visual release retrospective of sorts.

We also asked each artist to provide some words on their mindset in creating the music—we left the prompt pretty open, and the responses vary a good deal! Hopefully you learn something new about an album you already enjoy or discover something ~ new to you ~ that might have gone overlooked from earlier in the year.

Thank you for taking the time to check out the music we release and the artists we work with! We had a great 2019 and are already well underway in planning our 2020 for you. Should any of these 2019 titles resonate with you, we’re currently running a 20% off sale for all 2019 releases—use the code BUBBLEMONKEY in our store or on bandcamp for the discount.

Thanks from all of us at Topshelf!! <3


TSR201: Elephant Gym - Underwater words by Tu Chia-Chin.

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A Japanese manga called The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.. This story is talking about an abnormal high school student Kusuo Saiki who was born in a ordinary family. He has many super powers whatever you can imagine since he was born. But he just want to be a normal person, that's the only thing he is unable to do. Once he teleported into the deep ocean for escaping his annoying daily life. That reminds us the experience of wearing up the earphone and push the play button. Music has the power to change the vibes immediately wherever you are.

We want to make a album which can give listeners this kind of power, help someone creating a private and peaceful space. That's the reason which inspired us to write the album Underwater.


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2019 Recap // Bellows // The Rose Gardener

For as long as I can remember, I have been personally fascinated with album artwork and the ways we visually present and perceive the music we create and listen to. Topshelf released ten records in 2019—EPs and full lengths spanning a sonically and geographically diverse spectrum of sounds and locales, respectively. With the year coming to a close, we wanted to highlight each of them. So I opened up the artwork files and went to work creating digital collages for each, utilizing and re-purposing elements from each album’s artwork into a visual release retrospective of sorts.

We also asked each artist to provide some words on their mindset in creating the music—we left the prompt pretty open, and the responses vary a good deal! Hopefully you learn something new about an album you already enjoy or discover something ~ new to you ~ that might have gone overlooked from earlier in the year.

Thank you for taking the time to check out the music we release and the artists we work with! We had a great 2019 and are already well underway in planning our 2020 for you. Should any of these 2019 titles resonate with you, we’re currently running a 20% off sale for all 2019 releases—use the code BUBBLEMONKEY in our store or on bandcamp for the discount.

Thanks from all of us at Topshelf!! <3


TSR199: Bellows - The Rose Gardener words by Oliver Kalb.

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The year of releasing an album is always a weird thing to experience because you’re sort of catching up with a previous self. My new record The Rose Gardener came out in February of this year, but it was written and recorded a whole year before that, in early 2018. After more than a year removed from the writing process, it becomes an unforeseen task of touring to find new meaning in the songs after their original dramatic subject matter isn’t such an important thing in your life. Touring new Bellows albums always feels like discovering the true nature of the songs — since I write and record mostly alone, the band only learns the songs after the album’s finished and the live arrangements are usually pretty different from the recordings, sort of like we’re covering my songs.

Our first tour on The Rose Gardener was this last March. I found that there were some songs, like “The Tower”, that felt like they achieved a new life as live songs, like they’re able to strike emotions in a live setting that are different from what they’re doing in the recording. Other songs like “Housekeeping” feel like they sometimes aren’t appropriate for every venue, like the lightness of the guitar playing and the particularity of the samples doesn’t always come across in smaller house show or DIY spaces. Right now I’m on my first full U.S. tour on the new record, and I’m still in the process of discovering how these songs go. On the previous Bellows album, Fist & Palm, we toured the songs heavily for two and a half years, and by the end of the touring it felt like every song on the album had a completely distinct quality in the live setting, almost like we’d made the album all over again as performers. I’m excited to be in the process of re-making this new Bellows record in the live world.


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2019 Recap // Us and Us Only // Two Songs

For as long as I can remember, I have been personally fascinated with album artwork and the ways we visually present and perceive the music we create and listen to. Topshelf released ten records in 2019—EPs and full lengths spanning a sonically and geographically diverse spectrum of sounds and locales, respectively. With the year coming to a close, we wanted to highlight each of them. So I opened up the artwork files and went to work creating digital collages for each, utilizing and re-purposing elements from each album’s artwork into a visual release retrospective of sorts.

We also asked each artist to provide some words on their mindset in creating the music—we left the prompt pretty open, and the responses vary a good deal! Hopefully you learn something new about an album you already enjoy or discover something ~ new to you ~ that might have gone overlooked from earlier in the year.

Thank you for taking the time to check out the music we release and the artists we work with! We had a great 2019 and are already well underway in planning our 2020 for you. Should any of these 2019 titles resonate with you, we’re currently running a 20% off sale for all 2019 releases—use the code BUBBLEMONKEY in our store or on bandcamp for the discount.

Thanks from all of us at Topshelf!! <3


TSR190: Us and Us Only - Two Songs words by Kinsey Matthews.

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After the release of Full Flower, we found ourselves with a few opportunities to perform songs from the album in a different light than how they were originally presented. Since we tend to take our time between releases, we thought that Two Songs would serve as a wonderful opportunity to revisit these songs, give them some new life, and to share them with collaborators (which has always been my favorite part of making music) like Han Offman of High Bloom/White Wreath.

"My Mouth" was written at a turning point in my life where I had been stuck in a rut for years with little to no progress to show for it and finally, there was hope and intrigue being allowed back into my life. There were new friends, new environments & feelings, but it was still difficult to process any change through any other lens than trauma and discomfort. Where the album version relies on a groove and attitude to pull through the haze of reluctance, this version gives itself fully to weariness - even though there is light on the other side.

"Veiled/Forming" further explores the same space as "My Mouth", but through more of a fog. When I find myself on the other side of significant changes in life, there are times where I finally think to take a step back and realize that I've maybe spent a short time just floating by - taking a breather without consciously doing so. You drift through the mundane tasks of everyday life; going to the mall, going through the car wash. At the end of it, I felt like a new person (new attitude, new haircut, simple things) and that I was growing. I felt veiled compared to an old self and I felt that I was forming.

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No Vacation and Okey Dokey // "Really Truly"

Out everywhere today, “Really Truly” is the dreamlike joint effort by summertime tourmates No Vacation and Okey Dokey.

Kicking off with a quaint sluggishness, “Really Truly” seems to beckon the slow-paced moods of summer before slipping into an upbeat, disjointed phrase cloaked with the calls-and-responses of No Vacation and Okey Dokey. Supple and warm synth tones pepper the song with a comforting pulse, guiding the listener through its delicate, ethereal passages to its skittering, hopeful coda.

Check out the song on your preferred streaming platform today, or scope the video below, animated by Aaron Martin of Okey Dokey. (WARNING: Video may trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy)


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Ratboys // Announce album 'Printer's Devil' and 2020 headline tour

Today we're very thrilled to announce the upcoming record, Printer's Devil, by Ratboys, out February 28, 2020. We've released a music video for the album's lead single, "Alien with a Sleep Mask On," directed by the duo coool. The video follows a team of scientists attempting to save the life of the video's protagonist, portrayed by the band's very own Julia Steiner. The song will be available on your platform of choice come Friday, November 15.


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Starting the night of the album's release, Ratboys will embark on a full US headline tour, with Ellis supporting the first leg, and Topshelf labelmates, Another Michael, on the second. Make sure to peep the dates below before tickets go on sale this Friday, November 15.

  • February 28, 2020 - Chicago, IL, US @ Lincoln Hall - get tickets
  • March 14, 2020 - Urbana, IL, US @ Rose Bowl Tavern - get tickets
  • March 15, 2020 - Kansas City, MO, US @ The Riot Room - get tickets
  • March 24, 2020 - Manitou Springs, CO, US @ Lulu's Downstairs - get tickets *
  • March 26, 2020 - Salt Lake City, UT, US @ Kilby Court - get tickets *
  • March 29, 2020 - Seattle, WA, US @ Barboza - get tickets *
  • March 30, 2020 - Portland, OR, US @ Mississippi Studios - get tickets *
  • April 02, 2020 - San Francisco, CA, US @ Bottom of the Hill - get tickets *
  • April 03, 2020 - Santa Ana, CA, US @ CONSTELLATION ROOM - get tickets *
  • April 04, 2020 - Los Angeles (LA), CA, US @ The Echo - get tickets *
  • April 05, 2020 - La Jolla, CA, US @ Che Cafe, UC San Diego - get tickets *
  • April 07, 2020 - Phoenix, AZ, US @ The Rebel Lounge - get tickets *
  • April 09, 2020 - Denver, CO, US @ Larimer Lounge - get tickets *

  • April 29, 2020 - Pontiac, MI, US @ Pike Room at the Crofoot - get tickets ^
  • April 30, 2020 - Lakewood, OH, US @ Mahall's 20 Lanes - get tickets ^
  • May 01, 2020 - Pittsburgh, PA, US @ Club Café - get tickets ^
  • May 02, 2020 - Toronto, ON, Canada @ Monarch Tavern - get tickets ^
  • May 05, 2020 - Allston, MA, US @ Great Scott - get tickets ^
  • May 07, 2020 - Brooklyn, NY, US @ Rough Trade NYC - get tickets ^
  • May 08, 2020 - Philadelphia, PA, US @ Johnny Brenda's - get tickets ^
  • May 09, 2020 - Washington, DC, US @ Songbyrd Music House - get tickets ^
  • May 10, 2020 - Richmond, VA, US @ The Camel - get tickets ^
  • May 12, 2020 - Atlanta, GA, US @ The Masquerade - get tickets ^
  • May 13, 2020 - Nashville, TN, US @ Mercy Lounge / the High Watt - get tickets ^
  • May 14, 2020 - Columbus, OH, US @ Rumba Café - get tickets ^
  • May 15, 2020 - Louisville, KY, US @ Zanzabar - get tickets ^
  • May 16, 2020 - St Louis, MO, US @ Duck Room, Blueberry Hill - get tickets ^


  • photograph by Johnny Fabrizio // design by Dave Sagan

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    LITE // "Double" Music Video

    Just a few days ahead of their US tour with Elephant Gym, LITE have shared a new music video for the song "Double," taken from their recently released album Multiple. Enjoy the video below and mark your calendars!

    LITE's Nobuyuki Takeda explains that the group's objective with "Double" was to "remove the useless to the utmost limit," effectively eliminating effects and accessory pedals to approach the truest sound of their instruments. This self-imposed limitation is meant to emphasize the physicality of the band's music, characterized by melodically disjointed, rhythmically challenging passages and unpredictable songwriting.

    "This physical sound expresses the best of our style, born from the history of playing in so many various and sometimes tough environments, and keeps only what’s necessary to express ourselves on stage," says Takeda. "When we asked ourselves how to express this physical feeling visually in a music video, we came to think naturally of dance. We chose the spirited young dancer Aoi Yamada, as we believed her contemporary dance expresses in the best way LITE’s current identity."

    As Takeda suggests, Aoi Yamada's swift, precise movements assertively capture the the song's agile twists and hairpin turns. Her physical prowess and the viscerally demanding nature of "Double" are underscored by the focus on LITE's hands, symbolic of their mastery of the finer "points" of composition.

    East coast tour dates:

    • October 24, 2019 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
    • October 25, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy
    • October 26, 2019 - Washington, DC @ DC9

    West coast tour dates with Elephant Gym:

    • October 28, 2019 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
    • October 29, 2019 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos
    • October 30, 2019 - Portland, OR @ Lola's Room
    • November 1, 2019 - Berkeley, CA @ Cornerstone
    • November 2, 2019 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlow's
    • November 3, 2019 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
    • November 4, 2019 - San Diego, CA @ Music Box
    • November 6, 2019 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge

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    Elephant Gym // "Gaze at Blue"

    Elephant Gym have surprise-dropped a new track and music video today in anticipation of their upcoming west coast tour with Topshelf labelmates LITE.

    Check out the new single today on your platform of choice, or enjoy the video below.

    Taiwanese trio Elephant Gym’s new one-off “Gaze at Blue” carefully synthesizes elements of jazz, ambient, and post-rock into a groove-replete freeform introspection. The interplay of its nimble, explorative guitar and bass bounces between unison and syncopation, coated with subtly glitched sample-clicks and the cool ambience of a droning synth. “Gaze at Blue” teases in and out of hints toward its enthralling climax, a drawn-out crescendo with no precise resolution, as if to evoke the illusory and ambiguous endpoints of freedom.


    In the upcoming weeks you'll be able to catch the band on the West Coast with LITE. And if you're based in LA, you'll be thrilled to discover that the band will play at Tyler, the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw festival. Check the dates and be stoked!

    • October 28, 2019 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
    • October 29, 2019 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos
    • October 30, 2019 - Portland, OR @ Lola's Room
    • November 1, 2019 - Berkeley, CA @ Cornerstone
    • November 2, 2019 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlow's
    • November 3, 2019 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
    • November 4, 2019 - San Diego, CA @ Music Box
    • November 6, 2019 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
    • November 9, 2019 - Los Angeles, CA, US @ Dodger Stadium

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    No Vacation // Phasing

    No Vacation's latest release Phasing is out everywhere today. Check out the band discussing the new record in today's i-D interview with Nick Fulton.

    Listen to Phasing on your platform of choice.

    Phasing is also available on vinyl and cassette.

    Phasing is the latest collection of songs from the wavy-gravy dream-pop group No Vacation, comprised of five tracks that laconically capture the band's evolution and compositional acumen. While some cuts took only a couple months to complete, others had years-long gestation periods, showing the band's awareness that patience can be a powerful artistic tool. The collaborative writing process on Phasing further demonstrates No Vacation's growth, wherein each member made contributions outside of their primary instrument. Emboldened by this experimentation, each title on Phasing features a distinct structural turn, either breaking up a song entirely in half, or deftly transitioning to an unexpected mood or phrase. The result is an instrumentally dynamic, multigenre foray that calls on the sounds of shoegaze and 90s alternative rock, even boasting string arrangements which hearken back to the Romantic Era.

    Catch the band live this fall:

    • November 09, 2019 - Pico Rivera, CA, US @ Tropicalia Festival
    • November 16, 2019 - Brooklyn, NY, US @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

    art by Sab Mai

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