Monday, March 20, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Greg Graffin – Millport

Recently, Greg Graffin – frontman of punk legends Bad Religion - released, Millport, his third solo album via Anti Records.  Unlike Bad Religion’s fiery punk rock, Graffin’s solo albums aim to pay homage to the folk and Americana music that first influenced him. 
The new album - led by standout single “Making Time” with its flickering banjo figures and shuffling beat and the cover of Norman Blake’s “Lincoln’s Funeral Train” - is easily Graffin’s best and most fully-realized yet.  It features a backing band that is essentially Social Distortion sans frontman Mike Ness, with Jonny ‘Two Bags’ Wickersham, Brent Harding and David Hidalgo Jr. contributing and was produced by Bad Religion co-founder Brett Gurewitz.  The ten songs are led by Graffin’s distinct and deep vocals and are intertwined with a country-leaning brand of folk-rock that incorporates hints of old timey Gospel, frontporch bluegrass rhythms, warm, 70’s Californian folk-pop melodies and layers of close-knit harmonies. 
Millport sounds timeless and classic upon first listen, bringing to mind a strong nostalgia for the music it was inspired by, while sounding fresh and modern at the same time.        
Stream Millport here:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Obituary – “Turned To Stone” (The Florida death metal pioneers return today with their self-titled tenth album by way of Relapse Records.  After 30 years as a band, they remain true to their highly-influential slow and punishing groove-heavy brand of death metal.  The excellent, statement-making new album is self-titled for good reason, because they haven’t sounded this good in years; staking their claim as the true remaining leaders of the genre.)    

The Shins – “Dead Alive” (After a five year wait, James Mercer returns with his fifth Shins album titled, Heartworms, out now on Aural Apothocary/Columbia Records.  The new album finds Mercer experimenting more with reflective, personal lyrics and loads of strange, New Wave-informed synths alongside his intricately-layered arrangements of infectiously catchy, 60’s psych-inspired and folk-leaning pop-rock.)       

Grandaddy – “Evermore” (Since disbanding over 10 years ago, Grandaddy recently returned with a new album, Last Place, via 30th Century Records/Columbia.  Essentially a solo album, it was written, performed and produced by Jason Lytle and the warped analog synths, fuzzy blown-out guitars and melancholic technology-themed lyrics that have become synonymous with the band remain intact.  Look for the reunited band to tour throughout the spring.)    

Monday, March 13, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: The Whiffs – Take A Whiff EP

The Whiffs are an exciting new K.C.-based supergroup of sorts featuring bassist/vocalist Zach Campbell of Wet Ones/Rooftop Vigilantes, guitarist/vocalist Nic Allred of Nubiles, guitarist/vocalist Rory Cameron of The Conquerors and drummer Jake Cardwell of The Caves.  Not even a year after forming in the spring of 2016, the band has emerged with their promising debut EP titled, Take A Whiff, out now on High Dive Records (The Conquerors, Rooftop Vigilantes). 
Just as quickly as they formed, The Whiffs blast through 8 near-perfect songs influenced by Stiff Records-era power-pop (check out the band’s logo) while incorporating jangly 60’s pop, Ramones-like punk rock and some irresistible ear-worms that will make you want to take a second whiff immediately!   
The EP is available as a digital download and on limited edition cassette and can be ordered here:

Stream Take A Whiff here:

Friday, March 10, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

The Yugos – “Weighing The Heart” (Rising Cincinnati band The Yugos are set to release their third album, Weighing The Heart this week, making their label debut for Old Flame Records.  Recorded in part by members of former Cincy psych-poppers Pomegrantes, the new album blends wiry, jittery 70’s punk and New Wave rhythms with surf-rock riffs and ridiculously catchy dream-pop melodies for their best, most assured album yet.)  

Black Map – “Run Rabbit Run” (The Northern Californian trio - consisting of vocalist/bassist Ben Flanagan of The Trophy Fire, guitarist Mark Engles of dredg and drummer Chris Robyn of Far - are releasing their stellar sophomore album, In Droves, today via eOne Music.  Combining the best attributes of their former bands, they create a hard-hitting hybrid of alt. rock and post-hardcore that focuses equally on raging rhythms and spacey guitar atmospherics alongside soaring, anthemic vocals for a sound that feels both nostalgic yet totally modern.)

J.E. Sunde – “Prism” (The Minneapolis-based art-folk singer-songwriter’s sophomore album, Now I Feel Adored, is out today on Cartouche Records.  The album opens with a beautiful and inspiring acapella duet with Monica Martin of Phox and continues with warm, lushly arranged folk music that has traces of 70’s singer-songwriter faire and chamber pop with the spotlight on Sunde’s poetic lyrics and pliable voice.)  

Nova Collective – “Ripped Apart And Reassembled” (Nova Collective is the new instrumental prog-jazz project from bassist Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me, guitarist Richard Henshall and keyboardist  Pete Jones of Haken and drummer Matt Lynch, who has played in Cynic and with Briggs in Trioscapes.  For this project, their heavier, metal-leaning elements fade into the background just a bit to allow for their complex and twisty prog-rock tendencies and 70’s jazz-fusion as well as their classical and world music influences to take the spotlight.  The result is a cosmic roller-coaster of rhythm and instrumental prowess.)  
Watch the playthrough video of “Ripped Apart And Reassembled” here:

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Soundgarden – Ultramega OK (Expanded Reissue)

Originally recorded and released in 1988 via indie label SST Records, Soundgarden’s debut album, Ultramega OK was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance and set the scene for the grunge era that was set to explode with their distinct brand of punk-inspired metal.  Soon after, they would sign to major label, A&M Records and would take over mainstream rock with their multi-platinum selling albums Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down On The Upside.  
Now after almost thirty years since its original release, the band along with legendary engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees) has created an updated mix of Ultramega OK for release tomorrow on Sub Pop Records as an expanded reissue.  It is available on CD, cassette and double-LP including, the limited Loser Edition on blue and red colored vinyl. 
The newly remixed version of the album - led by the psychedelic-leaning opening track, “Flower’ – brings their sound into clearer and harder-hitting focus.  Also included are six early versions of album tracks that were recorded in 1987 on 8-track tape by Jack Endino and Chris Hanzsek and remixed especially for this set. 

Stream the remixed version of “Flower” here:
 Stream “Beyond The Wheel” (Early Version)” here: