Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 Songs: On Repeat

Smug Brothers – “Meet A Changing World” (The Dayton indie rock institution led by Kyle Melton released their new album, Woodpecker Paradise this week on CD and as a name-your-price download via Gas Daddy Go Records.  Their Dayton-bred lo-fi aesthetic is given a boost by engineer Darryl Robbins of the Motel Beds and the album was recorded live by its members for the first time adding in a sense of urgency and energy usually reserved for their live show.  The catchy, arena-worthy guitar melodies of the standout single heard here is the perfect summation of the excellent new album.)    


Ball Of Flame Shoot Fire – “San Remo” (The experimental Brooklyn art-rock band released their fourth album, ‘Tis Only Wine this week.  The band’s three singer-songwriters, Jess Tambellini, Tim Good and Winston Cook-Wilson blend their off-kilter pop sense with theatrical vocals, free-form jazz-inspired horns, tumbling rhythms and strange 80’s synth outbursts for a highly unique and very melodic yet avant-garde sound.)   
Stream the standout single, “San Remo” with its spooky synths and female backing vocals here:


Pelican – “The Cliff (Vocal Version)” (Chicago post-metal instrumentalists return with a new EP, The Cliff, out now on Southern Lord.  The 4-song EP takes its name from the standout single from their 2013 album Forever Becoming which is reprised in its original form and includes intriguing remixes by Justin Broadrick of Godflesh and from Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer of ISIS/Palms.  Also included is the explosive new song, “The Wait”, taken from the Forever Becoming sessions and a version of “The Cliff” with added vocals from Allen Epley of Shiner and The Life And Times – only the second time in their 14 year existence that they have had vocals in one of their songs.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

3 Songs: On Repeat

The Amazing – “Picture You” (Led by vocalist/guitarist Christoffer Gunrup and ex-Dungen guitarist Reine Fiske, the Swedish quintet spins lush, dreamy and atmospheric prog-leaning folk-rock on their new album, Picture You, out now via Partisan Records.  Their crafty panoramic pastoral psych-folk sound recalls everyone from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to Fleet Foxes and Tame Impala.  The soaring, dynamic two-part single and title track heard here is the perfect introduction.)

Colleen Green “TV” (The L.A. singer/songwriter ditches the bedroom and hits the studio for the first time and with a backing band featuring JEFF the Brotherhood's Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet's Casey Weissbuch on her third album, I Want To Grow Up, out now via Hardly Art.  The result is an infectiously catchy batch of Veruca Salt and Juliana Hatfield-like 90’s alt-rock and punk-infused power-pop songs that after turning 30, are also her most personal and cathartic yet.)


All Eyes West – “Lie In Wait” (Out now on Jump Start Records is Doomer, the stellar sophomore album from Chicago’s All Eyes West.  The album was produced by the legendary J. Robbins and features Tucker Rule of Thursday on drums.  On it the trio creates a roaring punk-rock riot with the anthemic catchiness of the Foo Fighters and the propulsive charge of Drive Like Yehu for a retro yet modern take on punk-informed rock.)  

Stream the pummeling opening track here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

3 Songs: On Repeat

Martin Sexton – “You (My Mind Is Woo)” (Inspired by long drives and the mixtapes used to keep us sane during those drives, the soulful singer/songwriter with the dynamic voice has created an excellent eclectic collection of jazz-leaning folk and doo wop-inspired rock on his long-awaited eighth studio album, Mixtape of the Open Road, out now via his Kitchen Table Records imprint.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, check out the sweet and soaring standout single below.)

The Fireworks – “Runaround” (On the heels of their two successful singles and self-titled EP, the London-based band, consisting of Emma Hall (Pocketbooks), Matthew Rimell (Big Pink Cake), visual artist Isabel Albiol, and Shaun Charman (The Wedding Present/ThePopguns), released their highly-anticipated debut album, Switch Me On this week via Shelflife Records.  With alternately fuzzy and shimmering guitars, infectiously danceable rhythms and instantly catchy classic pop melodies they create an explosion of punk-fuelled pop on their very promising debut.)


QUARTERBACKS – “Center” (The New Paltz, NY based trio led by songwriter Dean Engle released their impressive self-titled debut album this week on hometown label Team Love Records.  They combine their love of jangly twee-pop and K Records with urgent and energetic punk rock, banging out nineteen songs dripping with love and loss all in under twenty-two minutes.  The songs may breeze by but the memorable melodies remain long after you have hit the repeat button a few times.)   


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

3 Songs: On Repeat

Two Gallants – “We Are Undone” (The blues-punk duo Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel return with their fifth album, We Are Undone, out now via ATO Records.  Recorded in one month’s time with producer Karl Derfler (Tom Waits) the album opens with the noisy, damaged slide guitar-enhanced blues groove of the standout single and title track heard here and captures the immediacy and energy of the quick recording session.)

Bob Dylan – (One musical legend takes on another as Dylan has recorded and released an album of songs originally made famous by Frank Sinatra.  With the aptly-tilted Shadows In The Night, out now on Columbia Records, Bob pays homage to the crooner by imparting the songs with his own unique voice and haunting and bluesy arrangements.)

Stream the wispy pedal steel-led and twilight-lit standout track, “Full Moon And Empty Hearts” at Dylan’s site here:

Belle And Sebastian – “Nobody’s Empire” (The Scottish indie-pop group returns with their long-awaited ninth album, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, out now on Matador.  The pretty, chiming piano-led first single heard here opens the album which was produced and mixed by Ben H. Allen III (Animal Collective) and blends in touches of danceable synth-led rhythms and melodies to their signature bookish, 60’s pop sound.  Also, Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls contributes guest vocals.)


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

3 Songs: On Repeat

Natalie Prass – “Bird Of Prey” (Out this week, the emerging Nashville singer-songwriter teamed up with retro-minded producer Matthew E. White and Spacebomb Records for her excellent eponymous debut album.  Alongside lush Motown-indebted horn and string filled arrangements Prass provides her powerful yet vulnerable and soulful vocals along with her effortless charm that recalls both Dusty Springfield and classic-era Country & Western.)

The Dodos – “Goodbyes And Endings” (The San Francisco duo of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber return with their sixth album Individ, out now on Polyvinyl.  On the new album they strip away all of the excess added to their last few albums and return to the virtuosic and visceral roots of their much beloved album, Visiter.  Tricky poly-rhythmic drumming and forceful acoustic guitars match in intensity with their catchy vocal melodies for a welcome return to form.)     

Sleater-Kinney – “Surface Envy” (After a decade-long hiatus the trio of Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss are back with a new album, No Cities To Love – their eighth - out now via Sub Pop.  The surge of stair-stepping guitars and soaring vocals of the anthemic standout single here is the perfect announcement of their triumphant return.  Not even one month in and this is already a great year!)  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top 10 Albums Of 2014

Top 10 Albums of 2014 (in alphabetical order)
Death VesselIsland Intervals (Sub Pop)
Empty Moon The Shark (High Dive Records)
The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace Is There (Tiny Engines)
Pillar Point Pillar Point (Polyvinyl Records)
Shabazz PalacesLese Majesty (Sub Pop)
Shy BoysShy Boys (High Dive Records)
Somos Temple Of Plenty (Tiny Engines)
Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso (Partisan)
Tweedy Sukierae (Anti-)
Jack WhiteLazzaretto (Third Man Records)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat – featuring a track from The Armory Wars

The Armory Wars – “Stay” (Following their two well-received EPs, the Atlanta based indie rock band recently released Rediscover, their highly-anticipated and very promising debut album.  Led by dual vocalists Sean Wheeler and Marc Harris, the five piece band creates highly energetic and infectiously catchy radio-ready pop and punk-infused rock anthems.  The passionate standout single here is highlighted by buzzing noise-addled guitars, emotionally-charged vocals and swirling Circa Survive-like melodies.)


Owen – “Judas” (Under his longtime moniker Owen, Mike Kinsella – of Cap'n Jazz, American Football, and Owls - recently released a new album of cover songs, titled Other People’s Songs via Polyvinyl Records.  He distinctly transforms some punk rock classics from The Promise Ring, The Smoking Popes, All, and Against Me! into his own lush acoustic-based style that is bolstered by touches of piano, strings and female vocals from guest Sarah Mitchell.  Here he takes on Depeche Mode’s “Judas” with stirring strings and cyclical guitars lending it a warm, organic atmosphere and uncovering the beauty hidden beneath the burgeoning electronics of the ethereal original.)

The City On Film – “ (Bob Nanna of Braid, Hey Mercedes and Lifted Bells has had a busy 2014, Braid released No Coast, their excellent long-awaited return in July and now Nanna has released a new album, La Vella, under his solo moniker The City On Film via Topshelf Records.  Prior albums as The City On Film have found Bob more subdued, as an outlet for his quieter songs but La Vella rocks with as much intensity as his parent band with his signature voice and phrasing and penchant for catchy, off-kilter melodies taking the spotlight.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat – Remastered & Reissued Edition

Songs: Ohia – “Blue Chicago Moon (Demo)” (Jason Molina’s last album under the Songs: Ohia moniker was 2002’s excellent Didn’t It Rain with its fuller yet still skeleton-sparse arrangements and his most personal lyrics.  The album with its live recording and contributions from Jim and Jennie of bluegrass band Jim & Jennie & The Pinetops started to show signs of what would become Magnolia Eclectic Co.  This week Secretly Canadian has reissued the album with a second disc of demos and rarities from the sessions.  Check out the home demo version of album standout “Blue Chicago Moon” here.)   

Flake Music – “Spanaway Hits” (Before James Mercer formed The Shins there was Flake Music and Sub Pop - in conjunction with Mercer’s Aural Apothecary imprint - has recently reissued a remixed and remastered edition of the New Mexico-based band’s 1997 debut album, When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return, for all to enjoy.  The jangly guitars, strange synths and spiky rhythms along with Mercer’s distinct voice and knack for quirky melodies are present, showing what was to come with the The Shins, Broken Bells, etc.)     

Cursive – “Am I Not Yours?” (Saddle Creek Records has remastered and reissued The Ugly Organ, one of Cursive’s finest moments.  Led by frontman Tim Kasher’s highly meta references and confessional lyrics alongside the standout singles “Art Is Hard” and “The Recluse” the album was praised by critics and fans alike in 2003.  The second disc included in the deluxe reissue features eight bonus tracks taken from their stellar cello-centric era – courtesy of Greta Cohn - including four tracks from the 8 Teeth To Eat You EP that have never been released on vinyl.)    

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat - featuring a new track from Lindsay Mac

Lindsay Mac – “Remember” (After getting her start as a classically-trained cellist, Cambridge, MA-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Mac went on to perform quirky folk-pop.  Now with her new album, Animal Again, she has transformed herself into an electro-pop ingénue.  With her famous cello now almost non-existent, it allows her dynamic and soulful voice, inspiring lyrics and catchy, honey-sweet melodies to grab the spotlight and shine alongside the exuberantly danceable rhythms and lushly arranged 80’s-inspired synth-pop symphonies that were co-written with producer J Declan.  Check out the super-catchy debut single here with its bubbly rhythm, colorful synths and joyous melodies.)        

Young Tongue – “RXNLA” (The Austin-based five-piece - previously known as The Baker Family - recently released their debut album, Death Rattle as a joint venture between the Austin indie labels Punctum and Raw Paw Records.  Led by the husband and wife duo of Stu and Liz Baker along with Nathan Ribner, Darryl Schomberg II, and Travis Larrew, they create a dazzling contrasting blend of dark, angular post-punk and lush dream-pop.  Standout track “RXNLA” is built upon forceful acoustic guitar strums, plucky piano and the clever call and response vocal trade-offs between Stu and Liz.  Catch them on tour now with Mr. Gnome.)

The New Basement Tapes – “Liberty Street” (Sparked by the recent discovery of lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 during the period that generated the recording of his original Basement Tapes, producer T-Bone Burnett put together an all-star band featuring Elvis Costello, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes to write and record new music to the lyrics.  The excellent collaborative album, Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes out now via Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records - is full of each artist’s personality while still retaining Dylan’s singular vision.  The standout single here - co-written and led by Jim James – is a rollicking romp that recalls the close-knit harmonies of The Band but updated with warbly guitar solos and surging MMJ-like synths for the best of both worlds.)  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat – featuring an exclusive stream from Fractal Control

Fractal Control – “Starved For Change” (Hailing from Youngstown, Ohio, the politically-minded instrumental metalcore band led by Mike Louttit recently released their very promising debut album, Disconnection Equals Freedom.  The album was inspired by Peter Joseph’s film, Zeitgeist: The Movie and deals with corruption and justice and is led by the dynamic standout track heard here.  It trades off between effortless moments of complex yet pummeling prog-rock fuelled force and highly-melodic sections that soar with fancy, fluid fretwork for an engaging and unique sound that recalls like-minded acts Animals As Leaders and Scale The Summit.) 

My Goodness – “Young Turks” (The Seattle garage rock trio takes on Rod Stewart’s 80’s classic with all of their visceral heavy blues-rock grooves and howling vocals intact.  The band which consists of vocalist/guitarist Joel Schneider and drummer Andy Lum recently recruited the Blood Brothers’ Cody Votolato to play bass.  They also recently released their stunning debut album Shiver + Shake which is led by the outstanding single, “Cold Feet Killer” and was produced by the late, legendary Seattle producer Rick Parashar, who has also produced for Pearl Jam and Temple Of The Dog among others.)

Foo Fighters – “The Feast And The Famine” (To coincide with the HBO mini-series of the same name, in which they recorded in 8 different musically-rich U.S. cities, the Foo Fighters have recently released their eighth and most recent studio album, Sonic Highways out now via Roswell/RCA Records.  One of the sessions and episodes focused on D.C.’s historic punk scene and Inner Ear Studios.  The result is the standout single heard here - a signature arena-worthy anthem highlighted by its choppy offbeat rhythm and wiry guitar tone that was inspired by area punk legends Fugazi and Jawbox.)     

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat

Haerts – “Call My Name” (Vocalist Nini Fabi - a Stevie Nicks-like siren - leads the NYC-based synth-driven indie-pop group whose hotly-anticipated self-titled debut album is out now on Columbia Records.  The 80’s-inspired single here is bathed in swaths of gauzy synths and a soaring, super-catchy vocal melody that is both blissful and aching.  Catch them on their co-headlining tour alongside the like-minded Mikky Ekko.)    

Bent Knee – “Being Human” (The wildly dynamic Boston-based six-piece art-rock band released their stellar sophomore album Shiny Eyed Babies this week.  They blend together soaring Bjork-like vocal outbursts, strange synths and psychedelic prog-rock tendencies with avant-garde chamber-pop and jazz for a totally unique, mind-blowing and genre-defiant sound.)

Project 86 – “Spirit Of Shiloh” (The veteran Chrsitian rock band - led by vocalist Andrew Schwab’s distinct growl - released their ninth album, Knives To The Future this week via their own Team Black Recordings label with the help of a successful Indiegogo campaign.  The new album is filled with their explosive brand of heavy and emotional hardcore-fuelled anthems that continue with the lyrical themes of their last album, Wait For The Siren; as a soldier, post-battle battles his past and future.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat

Liars – “Poison Bender” (Art-punk trio Liars released their new I’m No Gold EP this week via Mute.  The EP leans heavily towards remixes of the jumpy, exuberant title track – taken from their excellent most recent album, Mess -  by the Liars themselves and a pumped up mix from Mute founder Daniel Miller.  Also included are two new tracks including the droning and propulsive yet feather-light standout track heard here.)

Modest Mouse – “White Lies, Yellow Teeth” (Isaac Brock’s label, Glacial Pace has just reissued Modest Mouse’s first two full-lengths on vinyl.  Additionally, a 7” with two previously unreleased tracks from those sessions were released alongside each respective album.  The song heard here – with its signature scratchy guitars and ramshackle rhythm - was taken from the same sessions that birthed their seminal 1996 album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About.)

Deerhoof – “Exit Only” (For La Isla Bonita, their thirteenth (!) studio album - out now via Polyvinyl Records - the band added fresh touches of “riot grrl” and Ramones-inspired punk and more direct pop-leaning melodies to their already off-kilter art-rock sound.  The lead single here, mixes Spanish lyrics, thick, fuzzed-out guitars and a driving yet stuttering drum beat as a punk-fuelled shot in the arm for the indie rock vets.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Stream It From The Mountain: Empty Moon - "The Shark"

Empty Moon is the new solo project of Brendan Hangauer, formerly of Lawrence, KS indie rock band Fourth Of July; his debut album, The Shark is out today via High Dive Records.  The new moniker and album are a result of his move from the Midwest to the Golden State of California and the fuller, sun-streaked arrangements and lush production from Jason Quever of Papercuts sets this project apart from his three albums as Fourth Of July.  Another difference is that lyrically the themes are grander in scope, as Hangauer chose not to focus on personal relationships as the primary theme this time around.  Also, former bandmate Adrianne Verhoeven (The Anniversary, Extra Classic) returns to provide her distinct vocals on a few of the tracks.

The nine-song album is led by the standout single, “75 Degrees” with its plinking piano notes that fall somewhere between doo-wop and honky-tonk and “The Shark”, the album’s title track which hews closest to his previous output with a lovelorn, raise-your-glass-in-the-air sing-along chorus alongside rafters-reaching reverb-rich piano and a forceful acoustic guitar rhythm.  Other standout tracks include the philosophical “Dear Life”, which weaves five different situations into one storyline alongside cyclical acoustic guitars and swaying swells of vintage organ and the strummy guitars, calliope-like melody and droning organ of “Golden Mean” which provides the perfect background for the contrast of Brendan’s deep, rich baritone and Dri’s lighter signature swoon.    

Stream The Shark here:

For more info:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Free Friday: SPC ECO - "Nocturnal" single and video

SPC ECO, the London-based electro dream-pop duo of producer and multi-instrumentalist Dean Garcia, formerly of 90's shoegazers Curve and his daughter Rose Berlin recently released their stunning album Sirens And Satellites via Saint Marie Records.

Today as a special Halloween treat, they have released the epic new track "Nocturnal" with its Portishead-like noir-ish qualities as a free download on their Bandcamp page along with an accompanying video.  The appropriately haunting and hypnotic film was produced by the A-B Collective.

Stream and Download "Nocturnal" here:

Watch the video here:

For more info:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat

VLMA – “Thumb Bucket” (VLMA, the Maryland-based grunge-pop trio just released a self-titled cassette with Fleeting Youth Records which holds their first two EPs.  The songs were recorded entirely on analog equipment – the same type that Nirvana used to record Bleach - which helped them to capture their effortlessly catchy and 90’s nostalgia-inducing brand of fuzzed-out grunge-punk.)

Rancid – “Collision Course” (The 90’s punk pioneers triumphantly return with Honor Is All We Know, their eighth album and first album in over five years.  Out now on Hellcat/Epitaph Records, the stellar new album - produced by Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph CEO Brett Gurewitz -puts Tim and crew at the top of the punk food chain once again with another set of pummeling ska-tinged punk anthems.  The standout single here with its propulsive rhythm and unhinged guitar outbursts is an example of what the band does better than anyone else.)    

Pianos Become The Teeth – “Repine” (For Keep You, their third album and debut for Epitaph Records, the Baltimore-based post-hardcore band added in  more melancholic melodicism and unbridled emotion to their already textural sound while subtracting some of the overt heaviness and distortion for their best and most experimental album yet.  The ethereal strings, catchy refrain and driving, tom-heavy rhythm of the atmospheric first single here is the perfect introduction.)  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat

Afternoons – “Say Yes” (The L.A.-based indie-pop 6-piece released their long-awaited debut album, Say Yes, this week via eenie meenie Records.  The album was produced by Aaron Espinoza of Earlimart who captured their infectious, danceable and arena-worthy synth-driven sound that recalls Fun. along with their penchant for sunny, sing-along melodies that bring to mind likeminded L.A. band the Little Ones.  Check out the exuberant title track here.)   

Cold War Kids – “Hot Coals” (The scrappy veteran indie rock band released their fifth album, Hold My Home this week via Downtown Records.  Produced by guitarist Dan Gallucci, formerly of Modest Mouse, the new album offers up even more anthemic and soulful hooks alongside a much brighter production along with the addition of drummer Joe Plummer, also of Modest Mouse and The Shins.)     

Jessie Ware – “Say You Love Me” (The minimalist R&B songstress returns with her highly-anticipated sophomore album Tough Love, out now via Interscope Records.  She reaches new heights on the album as her soulful voice soars above thicker beats and church choirs and this powerful, emotionally-charged standout single co-written by Ed Sheeran is the perfect example of the broadened and bold new sound found on the stellar new album.)      

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble

The best and most definitive Primus lineup - featuring drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander, guitarist Larry Lalonde and bassist/vocalist Les Claypool - has returned to release their strangest album yet and first full-length album since 1995.  Out today via ATO Records is Primus & The Chocolate Factory, where Les and crew pays homage to and re-imagines the soundtrack to the iconic 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, as only they could, putting an even darker twist on the already quirky songs to make them their own.  The mysterious Fungi Ensemble provides all of the ancillary ornamentation such as the vibraphone, marimba and strings that make the score so unique.           
In addition, Primus is set to bring the album to life on tour complete with an elaborate stage show, Primus-branded chocolate bars and demented Oompa Loompas.     

Check out the stomping rhythm and psychedelic guitar freakouts on “Golden Ticket” here: 

Listen to their lovingly odd take on the soundtrack’s most well-known song “Pure Imagination” here: 

For tour dates and more info:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat – featuring an MP3 PREMIERE from Lac La Belle

Lac La Belle – “The Border” (The Detroit folk duo of multi-instrumentalists and songwriters Jennie Knaggs and Nick Schillace released their excellent third album, A Friend Too Long last week.  Led by some fancy Fahey-like fretwork and Knagg’s lilting vocals, their rootsy brand of organic Americana is infused with catchy pop-leaning melodies, stomping percussion and some Appalachian hoots and hollers for good measure.  The album was recorded during the chilling “Polar Vortex” earlier this year with a full band treatment for the first time and the result is a timeless yet modern set of songs and their fullest and most complete album yet.  Check out the flickering guitars and yearning lyrical sentiment of the standout single below.)   


Stars – “Turn It Up” (The Canadian art-rock vets return with their seventh album, No One Is Lost, out now via ATO Records.  The album was recorded above a dance club and the throbbing beats below greatly influenced their danceable, synth-smeared and shiny indie-pop.  Check out the soaring synths, bright horns and playful playground-like chants of the anthemic standout single here.)

Jen Wood – “Run With The Wild Ones” (The Seattle songstress – also known for singing on The Postal Service album – released her new album, Wilderness this week as a joint venture between Radar Light & New Granada Records.  The highly melodic yet experimental album features electronic elements like Gameboy/Chiptune melodies that were composed by Andy Myers of Stenobot and Supercommuter and it was written on piano as opposed to guitar - a first for the songwriter - for her best and most diverse album yet.)        


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat

Minus The Bear – "Cat Calls & Ill Means" (Seattle indie rock vets return with Lost Loves a new album out now on Dangerbird Records collecting unreleased songs from sessions dating from 2006 to 2013 that didn’t quite flow with their respective albums.  The standout single here - taken from the critically-adored Planet Of Ice sessions - is built upon a buzzing bass line and filled with their signature synths, fancy fretwork and ear-worming melodies.  The result is a strong and cohesive album that is a Pisces Iscariot-like testament to their craft.)

Field Report – “Marigolden” (The Milwaukee-based indie-folk quartet led by the rich, earthy voice of singer-songwriter Chris Porterfield released their stunning second album, Marigolden this week via Partisan Records.  The new album progresses their wistful and organic folk sound to add electronic elements and beautiful female vocals from Tamara Lindeman of Weather Station for a sophomore slump-busting album that shouldn’t go unnoticed.)     

Night School – “Birthday” (The new Oakland-based trio led by singer Alexandra Morte of Whirr and Camera Shy perfectly blends lovely 60’s doo-wop harmonies with fuzzy shoegaze guitars, synths and gritty garage-punk on their very promising 4-song debut EP, Heart Beat out now via Graveface Records.)  

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Weezer – “Everything Will Be Alright In The End”

After celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their seminal debut album earlier this year, Weezer return with Everything Will Be Alright In The End, their ninth studio album, out now via Republic Records. 

Led by the standout first single, “Back To The Shack”; Ric Ocasek returns to the producer’s chair and lyrically Rivers Cuomo makes tongue-in-cheek meta-references to the band’s heyday in’94 as the new album rocks with some of The Blue Album’s crunchy riffs and fun, arena-sized power-pop hooks as a welcome return to form.  Additionally, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino duets on the playful surf-pop standout “Go Away” and the chugging Middle Eastern-tinged “Cleopatra” revives some of Pinkerton’s emotional exuberance. 

With Everything Will Be Alright In The End, Weezer delivers an album thick with nostalgia and knowingly, enough of the band’s best attributes so that the goofy songs like “Beverly Hills” and albums like Raditude can be more easily forgiven and the band can be celebrated once again with their best post-90’s album.        

Stream “Cleopatra” here:

For more info:

Friday, October 03, 2014

Free Friday: Earl Boykins – “Everybody Like Dogs” EP

Earlier this week the New Paltz, NY based jangle-punk band Earl Boykins released their new EP Everybody Likes Dogs on limited edition cassette via Forged Artifacts.  To celebrate, they have the digital version of the 5-song EP up on Bandcamp as a pay-what-you-want download.
Led by the standout single, “Lance Armstrong” with its driving rhythm, bright melodies and elastic 90’s guitar tone; this very promising new collection of songs streamlines the fuzzed-out noise-addled hardcore outbursts of their debut EP, FRIENDS - released earlier this year – and allows the band’s infectious pop chops to come to the forefront alongside jangly guitars and cleaner production that only heightens the anticipation for a full-length release. 

Stream/Download the Everybody Likes Dogs EP here:

For more info:

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

3 Songs: On Repeat

Soft Swells – “Floodlights” (Led by singer-songwriter Tim Williams, Soft Swells has swollen to become a fully formed band and the anthemic synth-smeared surf-inspired and folk-drenched indie-rock on their hotly-anticipated sophomore album, Floodlights – out now on Modern Outsider – is much bigger, bolder and better as a result.)  

The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Terrified” (The beloved Canadian indie-folk trio released their long-awaited third album, Mended With Gold this week via Saddle Creek Records.  The new album deals with loss and heartbreak and its painful and sometimes joyful aftermath.  The standout first single here with its foreboding piano and biting lyrics that contrast nicely with soaring vocal harmonies and a driving rhythm is the perfect re-introduction.)      

Lunchbox – “Tom, What’s Wrong?” (Now a duo, Tim Brown and Donna McKean recently returned with Lunchbox Loves You, their first album in over ten years.  Released on Jigsaw Records, the excellent new album is a sugar rush of fuzzed-out 60’s bubblegum-inspired dreampop with jangly guitars, bursts of bright horns and strings and insanely catchy melodies reminiscent of the 60’s-indebted indie-pop Apples In Stereo and Dressy Bessy released in the 90’s.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Free Friday: Kicklighter – “The Fascinating Thinking Machine”

Kicklighter is the Tallahassee-based band led by Everett Young.  The Fascinating Thinking Machine, their debut album was self-released earlier this year as a pay-what-you-want download via the band’s Bandcamp page.  Young, who has a PhD in political psychology picked up the guitar four years ago at the age of 45 after some uncertainty in the job market and has hit the ground running, now giving lessons to other aspiring musicians.  On the album he plays the guitar, keyboards and harmonica and the sound he creates is a throwback to smart 80’s-leaning pop-rock that brings to mind acts like Tears For Fears yet with touches of 70’s classic rock, 60’s pop and acoustic folk for good measure.    

“Until You See The Sun” opens the album with shadowy cinematic synth flourishes, treble-thin guitars and a rolling rhythm that propels the song until the sing-along chorus hits like a ray of sunshine for a standout moment.   A loping bass line and steady acoustic guitars drive the earnest folk-pop tune “Building A Robot” which showcases Young’s smooth vocal style.  Next, “The Sultan Of Brunei” adds some laid back 70’s soft rock flavor with glassy keys and an arrangement of French horn, trumpet and flugelhorn to the catchy call-and-response vocal melodies.  Another standout, “When Howie Dressed Me Down” features a jittery New Wave-inspired rhythm, glimmering synths and a melodic guitar solo.  The eleven-track album’s centerpiece is ‘The Professor” which sets Young’s personal journey to his music career alongside a bouncy island rhythm that sounds like James Taylor fronting the Talking Heads.         
Everett Young and Kicklighter have created an inspiring pure pop pleasure with their promising debut album The Fascinating Thinking Machine.     

Stream/Download The Fascinating Thinking Machine here: 

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