Friday, September 22, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Metz – “Mess Of Wires” (The Toronto noise-punk trio’s viscerally volatile sound meets its match on their third album, Strange Peace, out today on Sub Pop.  Produced and recorded live to tape by the legendary Steve Albini, the stunning new album from guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies is just as cathartic, caustic and intensely heavy but is made slightly more accessible with catchy vocal melodies emerging from the chaos; showcasing the band’s sure and steady growth.)            

Mastodon – “Toe To Toes” (Quickly on the heels of this year’s excellent Emperor Of Sand album comes a brand new EP from the metal masters titled, Cold Dark Place, out today on Reprise Records.  The 4-song EP consists of three songs – “North Side Star”, “Blue Walsh” and the title track - originally written during the Once More ‘Round The Sun sessions and the fourth, heard here, was written during the more recent Emperor Of Sand sessions.  As with Emperor, the personal lyrical themes continue, as Brent Hinds writes about a nasty breakup.  Musically, the 4 songs deliver the goods as always with powerful riffs, prog-rock tendencies and soaring vocal melodies and guitar solos.)

Circa Survive – “Rites Of Investiture” (Making their label debut for Hopeless Records, the progressive post-hardcore band’s sixth full length, The Amulet, is out today.  Anthony Green and crew continue to experiment with their genre-defiant sound, expanding it beyond all limits along with the emotive soaring vocals, twisty rhythms and atmospheric and inventive guitar lines fans have come to expect.  Check out the aggressive standout single here with its rumbling rhythm and ringing guitars.  Also be sure to catch them on their co-headlining tour with Thrice.)         

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Neil Young – Hitchhiker

From Neil Young’s personal archives comes the release of Hitchhiker, a previously unreleased 10-song album produced by David Briggs and recorded in Malibu, CA at Indigo Studio during one night in 1976.  Recently released on Reprise Records, the album is loose and raw in spirit – with banter and laughter - and built upon the simplest yet most powerful of arrangements consisting of only Young’s distinct voice and acoustic guitar playing along with some piano and harmonica.
After this session, some songs were re-recorded and released later on other albums such as Comes a Time (“Human Highway”) and Rust Never Sleeps (“Powderfinger”, “Pocahontas” and Ride My Llama”).  Listening to these stripped down original versions now gives a rare glimpse into his writing process.  Additionally, standout tracks “Hawaii” and “Give Me Strength” were never re-recorded or released.  The former is reminiscent of Hank Williams with a yodeling-like lilt to the one-word chorus and the latter is an introspective breakup song delivered with a forceful chugging guitar and an aching harmonica solo.
Given the sparse arrangements – no overdubs or studio effects - and devoid of any “Cortez The Killer”-esque guitar solos, the album lasts only a quick 33-minutes begging for an instant replay. 
For more info:      
Watch the video for “Powderfinger” from Hitchhiker here: 

Friday, September 15, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Prophets Of Rage – “Living On The 110” (On the heels of their many live performances and last year’s debut EP, the rap-rock supergroup consisting of  Tom, Brad and Tim of Rage Against The Machine, Chuck D and DJ Lord of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill, has released their statement-making self-titled debut album today via Fantasy Records.  Dubbed by the band as a “Soundtrack To The Resistance” and led by the incendiary and revolutionary singles, “Living On The 110” and “Radical Eyes”, the timely album lives up to its name and then some; providing the perfect empowering playlist for this troubled political era like no one else could.)
Watch the band perform “Living On The 110” live on The Tonight Show:

MYRKUR – “Funeral (featuring Chelsea Wolfe)” (Even after recording in a cavernous mausoleum on her last EP, the Danish black metal artist Amelie Bruun has just released her most grandiose and accomplished collection of songs yet with the release of Mareridt, her sophomore album, out today on Relapse Records.  The album title translates to “nightmare” and Bruun transcends time with her blend of dark, ancient folk and classical compositions with blistering black metal and beautiful choral vocals for a hauntingly atmospheric sound that befits the album title.  In addition, her use of strange instruments like the mandola and the Swedish key harp called the nyckelharpa add to the stark ambiance.)  
Watch Bruun & Wolfe perform “Funeral” live in a Las Vegas hotel room:

The National – “Day I Die” (The Brooklyn indie rock favorites recently returned with their long-awaited new album, Sleep Well Beast, out now on 4AD.  As ever, their music is moody and introspective but this time around a little darker in places and with heavier guitars and solos, as on the standout track, “Day I Die”, heard here.  Additionally, baritone vocalist Matt Berninger wrote the more relatable song lyrics along with his wife Carin, tackling themes of marriage, growing old, life and love.)

Death From Above – “Freeze Me” (After returning from a long hiatus with their second album in 2014 and recently dropping the “1979” from their moniker (as always intended), the duo of Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F. Keeler are back with their third album, Outrage Is Now!, out now on Warner Bros./Last Gang Records.  The unexpected new album is their most accessible with the addition of hyper-catchy, pop-leaning hooks to their raging, dance-punk sound and it is also their most socially-aware and politically-charged, lyrically.)            

Lotte Kestner – “Go To Sleep Now” (Lotte Kestner is the recording and performing moniker of Seattle-based singer-songwriter Anna-Lynne Williams, former vocalist of Trespassers William, Ormonde and collaborator with the Chemical Brothers, AFI, Damien Jurado and more.  Her latest album, Off White, was released today on Saint Marie Records and its sparse, ethereal acoustic guitar or piano-led arrangements that blend together folk and dream-pop are the perfect vessel for her knee-buckling beautiful vocals.  You may have also heard her stunning version of Beyonce’s “Halo” in HBO’s The Young Pope.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Early Riser – Currents

Early Riser is the Brooklyn-based folk-pop duo made up of singer-songwriter Kiri Oliver and cellist/vocalist Heidi Vanderlee and their long-awaited debut album, Currents was recently co-released by Anchorless Records and A-F Records.  The duo - along with bassist Zane Van Dusen (Mindtroll, Toys and Tiny Instruments) and drummer Davie Olson (Nevada Nevada, Poison Control Center) - creates an upbeat and unique sound; it is built upon piano and cello and highlighted by their close-knit harmonies, playful sense of humor, infectiously sweet melodies and positive message.  With their reliance on strings and harmonies, Early Riser recalls one of my favorite 90’s bands that dog.   
Standout tracks on the album include, the encouraging and empowering first single, “The Nevers”, the rollicking, bittersweet “Wrecking Ball For A Dead End” and “Oh, Nevermind”, which as a nice surprise, opens with a startling crash of distorted guitar before dissolving into a cello-led folk-drenched dance-along. 

Stream Currents here:

Friday, September 08, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Cricketbows – “End Of The Night” (The Dayton-based indie rock band led by Chad Wells is set to release a new EP titled, Communion today on Mosquito Hawk Records.  Produced by Buffalo Killers' Zachary Gabbard, these six new songs – the first released since their excellent 2015 debut album, Diamonds – are a highly-eclectic yet cohesive mix of 60’s and 70’s psych-rock and early 80’s college rock along with elements of blues, country, folk and 90’s alternative rock for an inspired yet unique sound all their own.)     

Chad VanGaalen – “Old Heads” (Out today on Sub Pop is Light Information, the new album from Canadian creative mind Chad VanGaalen.  As always his music is psychedelic and slightly strange and this collection of songs is highlighted by jangly guitars, weird old synths and personal lyrics shrouded in sci-fi imagery.  In addition to his quirky music, VanGaalen is also a highly sought after visual artist, animator, director, and producer.)

Mogwai – “Party In The Dark” (The Scottish post-everything art-rock mainstays recently released their ninth album titled, Every Country’s Sun via Temporary Residence Ltd.  The new album was produced by longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann and features their most anthemic and captivating collection of songs in years.  After over two decades as a band, they continue to experiment and break musical molds with the addition of guitarist Stuart Braithwaite’s rarely utilized vocals on the churning and propulsive standout single heard here.)

The War On Drugs – “Up All Night” (The Philly-based band led by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Adam Granduciel recently released their highly-anticipated fourth album, A Deeper Understanding, via their new label home, Atlantic Records.  Meticulously produced by Granduciel, they have crafted a headphones-worthy world full of full arrangements with a layered lushness that comes complete with 80’s-informed twinkling synths, subtle Krautrock-like drum machines and some lite rock nostalgia.  No offense to the excellent Lost In The Dream, but this seems like the album Granduciel has always strived for.)    

For The Win – “Us Versus Them” (The San Diego based quintet offer up a dynamic amalgamation of catchy pop-punk and heavy metallic hardcore on their stunning sophomore album, Heavy Thoughts, out now on Victory Records.  Though frontman Kyle Christensen has produced and mixed for other artists, Emmy-nominated composer and producer Brian Grider produced the new album which brims with mosh-worthy energy and an empowering and positive message.  Also, their 2014 debut album, More Than You Know, will be re-released by Victory later this year.)         

Liars – “The Grand Delusional” (Now essentially a solo project of Angus Andrew, Liars recently released their eighth album, TFCF  - which stands for Theme From Crying Fountain – on Mute Records.  In order to write and record the new album, Andrew removed himself from the bustling cities of Berlin, L.A. and NY, and moved to a remote part of his native Australia.  The resulting album is as experimental as you might expect from a Liars album; with the sound ever-evolving to include acoustic guitars, found sounds and samples and more personal songwriting that contrasts nicely with the electronic foundation.)       

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: BOTTOMFEEDERS – S/T

After sharing the stage with likeminded acts such as Ty Segall, A Place To Bury Strangers and Thee Oh Sees, the emergent New Orleans based psych-punk band BOTTOMFEEDERS recently released their self-titled debut album via Milwaukee’s Good Land Records. 
The quartet - consisting of vocalist/guitarist Chris Lyons, guitarist Bradley Morris, drummer Lucas Bogner and bassist Alex Zilinski - creates a blistering and bleary-eyed blend of punk-infused psychedelic garage-rock on their debut.  Standout tracks include the rumbling album opener, “Jungle Juis” and “Isolation” which combines scuzzy, noise-addled surf rock guitar riffs and a catchy, shouted refrain.  Despite their band name, their very promising debut proves they won’t be on the bottom for long.

Stream BOTTOMFEEDERS album here:

Friday, September 01, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat – (Extended Edition)

LCD Soundsystem – “tonite” (Today, after previously announcing retirement, James Murphy returns with AMERICAN DREAM, his fourth album as LCD Soundsystem and first for Columbia Records in conjunction with his own label, DFA.  The surprising ten-track album features the previously released singles; the subtle protest track, “call the police” and the poignant title track which are great previews for the album as a whole which is more lush and organic-sounding than his previous work yet still as acerbic and danceable as on the buoyant standout single heard here that sounds like Daft Punk, Kraftwerk and Talking Heads blended into one all-night dance party.)

Iron And Wine – “Call It Dreaming” (For his sixth album, Beast Epic, Sam Beam returns to his roots in sound and to his first label home, Sub Pop.  After years of experimentation with electronics and layers of instrumentation, the nostalgia-inducing new album is stripped-down with minimal overdubs and built upon the warm, folk foundation that made Iron & Wine a household name in the first place.  After fifteen years in the game, standouts like the single heard here, continue to prove that Beam is one of the best songwriters of our generation.)           

Grizzly Bear – “Mourning Sound” (After a five year hiatus, the artful indie-rock favorites returned with Painted Ruins, their highly-anticipated fifth album, out now on RCA Records. The new album is more rhythm-driven and continues their experimental streak with the danceable pulsating beat and bass line that drives the standout single heard here.  Droste and crew’s beautiful and bittersweet vocal melodies and complex chamber-pop arrangements remain a highlight.)      

Neck Deep – “Judgement Day” (The Wrexham, UK based pop-punk band is back with their third album, The Peace And The Panic, out now on Hopeless Records.  The new album is more personal and understandably world-weary but just as bright and upbeat as ever as the quartet continues to perfect their blend of heavy, metallic riffs and breakdowns - see “Don’t Wait” ft. Sam Carter of Architects - and touches of 90’s alt-rock and grunge - see “In Bloom” - into their incredibly infectious brand of pop-punk.)      

Kacy & Clayton – “Just Like A Summer Cloud” (The Canadian cousin duo of Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum recently returned with their third album, The Siren’s Song, out now on New West.  Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy produced the duo’s new album which is a stunningly timeless collection of 60’s and 70’s-inspired country-leaning folk-rock highlighted by Kacy’s lilting vocal twang and elements of subtle psychedelia for their best album yet.)     

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

…and you will know us by the trail of dead – Source Tags And Codes (15 Year Anniversary Reissue)

For their third album, the ambitious Austin-based post-hardcore band with the long name and incendiary live show …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead made the jump from Merge Records to the majors, releasing the critically-acclaimed Source Tags And Codes via Interscope Records in 2002.  The album was epic in scope with the perfect combination of propulsive, rhythm-driven and noise-addled hardcore punk and artful experimentation with gorgeous string sections and found sound interludes; it was hailed as an instant classic upon release and continues to be 15 years later.    
In honor of its 15th anniversary, Interscope Records along with Universal Music Enterprises has recently reissued an expanded edition of Source Tags And Codes on vinyl in a 2-LP set that includes 3 extra tracks.  Though now sold out, it was released on limited edition transparent blue vinyl but is still available on classic black.  The 2-LP set also features an etching of the alternative back cover of the previously released Japanese edition on the D-side.  The three extra tracks included in this reissue were previously released on international versions of the album including “Invocation” which now opens the album and the short, poetically ambient “Life Is Elsewhere”.  Additionally, the two-minute punk-rock rager, “Blood Rites” now closes out the album and is made available on vinyl for the first time, having originally been released on the Relative Ways EP that preceded Source Tags And Codes.      

Watch “Relative Ways” here:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Dressy Bessy – Summer Singles Vol. 1 & 2

Last year veteran Denver-based indie-poppers Dressy Bessy ended an eight year hiatus with the release of their sixth album, Kingsized.  Now to follow that up, the band led by vocalist/guitarist Tammy Ealom, recently signed with the K.C. label High Dive Records (Shy Boys, Fullbloods, Sex Snobs) and have just released a 4-song 7” titled, Summer Singles Vol. 1 & 2.
Dressy Bessy has combined bubblegum-flavored power-pop and crunchy punk-rock since emerging from the Elephant Six Collective in the late 90’s and these new singles will surely please old fans and provide the perfect introduction for new listeners.  The first track, “Hey Alice!” is an almost textbook example of their fun and colorful sound, as it is both jangly and fuzzy with handclaps and cowbell to boot.  Another standout is the closer, “Wind Me Up” with its chugging, squeaking guitar riff and sing-along call and response chorus. 

Stream Summer Singles Vol. 1 & 2 here:

Friday, August 18, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

The Districts – “Ordinary Day” (The Pennsylvania-based indie rock band recently released Popular Manipulations, their third album. Out now on Fat Possum, the eclectic yet cohesive new set of guitar-led songs recalls early 2000’s indie rock powerhouses such as Wolf Parade, Interpol and The Strokes; with quirky yet anthemic and danceable melodies.  They pay homage to their influences without sounding like a direct copy of them all while growing into a powerhouse themselves.)  

Broken Social Scene – “Skyline” (After a five year hiatus, the Canadian indie rock collective has surprisingly returned with their fifth album, Hug Of Thunder.  For the new album - out now on City Slang/Arts & Crafts – Brendan Canning, Keven Drew and crew brought in outside producer Joe Chiccarelli who reigns them in a bit, though their music is just as big and anthemic – like the aptly-titled standout, “Protest Song” – and laced with full, lush arrangements that skip between atmospheric dream-pop and guitar-led rock with layers of horns, synths and such for a most triumphant return.)

Dead Cross – “Seizure And Desist” (Dead Cross is the new noise-punk supergroup featuring Mike Patton of Faith No More, etc along with former Slayer drummer-extraordinaire Dave Lombardo and Retox members Justin Pearson and Michael Crain.  Their self-titled debut album - produced by Ross Robinson - is out now on Ipecac Recordings.  Led by Patton’s crazed and malleable vocals and abstract yet politically-charged lyrical themes, the quartet creates an intense sound that fuses fast and furious old school hardcore punk and unhinged noise-rock into an impressive debut.)