Friday, July 21, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Shattered Sun – “Burn It Down” (The Texas-based six-piece metal band returns with The Evolution Of Anger, their sophomore album, out today via Victory Records.  The band is managed by Chuck Billy, vocalist of thrash metal pioneers Testament, and they take 80’s thrash riffs and add to it prog-rock intricacies, a passionate punk-fuelled anger and enough anthemic melody to create a fresh take on the heavy metal genre, while totally avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump.)    

Dasher – “Sodium” (Kylee Kimbrough leads her band Dasher from behind the drum kit and her playing and scorched, screamed vocals are violent, visceral and cathartic, matching the intensity of the music on their debut album, Sodium, out now on Jagjaguwar.  Kimbrough and crew create a heavy brand of sneering punk rock that incorporates elements of 90’s noise-punk, psych-rock and post-punk’s sense of rhythm and melancholy for a very impressive debut.)      

Offa Rex – “The Old Churchyard” (Offa Rex is the new collaborative folk project from English singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists, their debut album, The Queen Of Hearts was recently released on Nonesuch Records.  Led by Chaney’s gorgeous and malleable voice, the 11-song album – produced by Tucker Martine and Colin Meloy - consists of new arrangements of traditional English, Irish and Scottish folk songs that are woven with harpsichord and the same psychedelic folk-rock elements you’ve come to expect from The Decemberists yet entirely new.)

Stanton Moore – “Java” (Drummer extraordinaire, Stanton Moore of New Orleans funk band Galactic is set to release With You In Mind: The Songs of Allen Toussaint today via Cool Green Recordings / Mascot Label Group.  As a trio with keyboardist David “Tork” Torkanowsky and bassist James Singleton, Moore pays loving tribute to the late New Orleans jazz legend Allen Toussaint, reimaging his songs in their own unique and funky style.  Some of the guests on the album include Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, Trombone Shorty, Maceo Parker and Cyril Neville.)

Stream the lively instrumental “Java” here:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fourth Of July – On The Plains (Tenth Anniversary Vinyl Reissue)

Ten years ago, the Lawrence, KS-based band Fourth Of July emerged with their near perfect debut album titled, On The Plains.  The band was led by Brendan Hangauer along with his brothers Kelly and Patrick Hangauer and rounded out by Brian Costello, Steve Swyers and Adrianne Verhoeven (now DeLanda) of The Anniversary and Extra Classic.  Together they created a jangly and folksy brand of anthemic indie rock with conversational and confessional lyrics that struck a chord with listeners instantly.  It was one of my favorite albums of that year and continues to be to this day.  In the ensuing years, Fourth Of July released two more excellent albums – 2010’s Before Our Hearts Explode and Empty Moon in 2013 - before Brenden went solo, recording under the moniker, Empty Moon. 
Originally released via Lawrence-based Range Life Records, Fourth Of July’s On The Plains is being released on vinyl for the very first time through K.C. label High Dive Records, to celebrate its tenth anniversary.  Out now, the album is available in a very limited bone with orange splatter colorway and on classic black here:

Stream On The Plains here: 

Friday, July 14, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Bloodclot – “Up In Arms” (Bloodclot is the new hardcore supergroup featuring hardcore lifers, John Joseph of Cro-Mags), Todd Youth formerly of Warzone, Danzig and Murphy's Law, Joey Castillo ex-Queens Of The Stone Age and Nick Oliveri ex-Queens Of The Stone Age.   Their debut album, Up In Arms is out today on Metal Blade Records and on it, the quartet creates a fast, aggressive and passionately angry brand of old school hardcore with one foot in the present and one deeply entrenched in their pioneering punk pedigree for an impressive debut.  Check them out on tour now with Negative Approach, Nails and Final Conflict.)    

Dayseeker – “Sleep In The Sea Pt II” (The SoCal post-hardcore band make their Spinefarm Records debut with their third album, Dreaming Is Sinking /// Waking Is Rising, out today.  The 12-song new album is conceptual and progressive with intricate arrangements that give equal balance to melody and crushing heaviness.  Below, check out the standout single that features guest vocals from Garrett Russell of the like-minded Silent Planet.)     

Haim – “Want You Back” (After a long, 4-year wait, the sister trio made their highly-anticipated return with their recently released sophomore album, Something To Tell You, out now via Columbia Records.  With help from producer Ariel Rechtshaid, Danielle, Este and Alana continue to perfect the lush, rhythm-driven blend of 70’s Californian folk, 90’s R&B, classic and soft rock and pop that they introduced us to on their stunning 2013 debut album.  Watch the fun video for the incredibly infectious single below.)         

Thursday, July 13, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat - Shabazz Palaces Edition

Shabazz Palaces, is the experimental hip-hop project led by Ishmael Butler, aka Butterfly of 90’s jazz-rap pioneers Digable Planets.  Along with multi-instrumentalist Tendai 'Baba' Maraire, the Seattle based duo create a totally unique brand of rap with thoughtful, challenging lyrics and highly-inventive futuristic sounds. 
Tomorrow they will release two new albums via Sub Pop Records, Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines.  The albums follow a sci-fi themed concept featuring a fictional rapper named Quazars alongside biting social commentary; dealing with relying on technology and celebrity culture and fandom.  Additionally, an illustrated version of the album will be available that provides the perfect visual accompaniment with a 32-page book illustrated by cartoonist Joshua Ray Stephens.      
Here are 3 of my favorite songs from the two new albums:
“When Cats Claw” – (Taken from Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star, the standout track features buzzing electronics and echoing, multi-tracked vocals.) 
“Shine A Light (feat. Thaddilac)” – (The single taken from Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star combines swirling, cinematic strings and a clacking beat with one of the duo’s catchiest hooks ever – sung by guest, Thaddilac.)
“Julian’s Dream (ode to a bad) [feat. The Shotgun Shot]” – (A throbbing beat and the Palaceer’s effortlessly smooth voice and flow highlight this standout taken from Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines.)

For more info:

Monday, July 10, 2017

U2 – The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Deluxe Reissue

30 years ago, U2 released The Joshua Tree, their ultimate masterpiece and the album that catapulted Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. into international rock superstars.  From the very first listen it was inevitable, as the album - produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois - opens with the 1-2-3-punch of three smash hit singles; the jangly and anthemic “Where The Streets Have No Name”, the bittersweet, ballad-esque “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and the soaring “With Or Without You”.  Other standouts include the heavy - both musically and lyrically - “Bullet The Blue Sky” and fan favorite “One Tree Hill”.  The band was inspired by America: the good and the bad, the landscapes and its rich musical history, as they incorporated those themes into The Joshua Tree with elements of gospel, soul and blues; striking a chord with listeners all over the world.    
 In celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary, the band is currently on a massive world tour in which they are playing the album in full.  Additionally, the band and Interscope Records recently released a Super Deluxe Edition of the album, available digitally and in a 7-LP or 4-CD box set.  The Super Deluxe Edition includes the 2007 remastered version of the album as well as a newly-remastered 17-track live concert recording of The Joshua Tree, recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1987.  Also included is a disc of six new remixes commissioned just for this collection including one by  longtime collaborator Flood of “Where The Streets Have No Name” and one of “Bullet The Blue Sky” by Jacknife Lee as well as remixes from Daniel Lanois, St Francis Hotel and producer Steve Lillywhite.  A disc of outtakes and B-sides including, an alternative mix of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by Steve Lillywhite from 1987 and a new, 2017 mix by Brian Eno of “One Tree Hill” titled, “One Tree Hill Reprise” round out the collection. 

Alongside the music, the Super Deluxe box set comes stunningly packaged in a sturdy box with a gold-foil embossed Joshua tree logo and an 84-page hardback book of candid and captivating unseen photography shot by The Edge during the original Mojave Desert photo session in 1986 as well as a set of eight, frame-worthy 12x12 photo prints by original album photographer, Anton Corbijn that serve as the perfect visual accompaniment to the album listening experience.   
U2’s fifth album, The Joshua Tree has withstood the test of time after three decades and this comprehensive anniversary collection is a testament to its greatness, a must-have for collectors and will ensure its legend continues for the next thirty years and beyond.   

Stream the standout B-side, “Spanish Eyes” here: 

Friday, July 07, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Title Track edition)

Daniel Martin Moore – “Turned Over To Dreams” (For his eighth album, Turned Over To Dreams - out today on Sofaburn Records – the KY-based folk-pop singer-songwriter has written six original lullabies and has reinterpreted four others, including an atmospheric guitar-based take on Johannes Brahms “Lullaby”.  The album is full of beautifully orchestrated arrangements with DMM’s silky, soothing vocals leading the way.  Listen to the sweet, twinkling, music box-like album-opening original and title track here.)

Conveyor – “No Future” (The Wisconsin-based melodic hardcore band recently released their third album, No Future via Victory Records.  The gripping new album – produced by Greg Thomas (Shai Hulud, Misery Signals, With Honor) offers a bleak view on the world but offers hope with their Christian message alongside passionate and heavy-hitting hardcore and guest vocal features from Todd Mackey of With Honor and Joshua Kellam of Life In Your Way.  Listen to the fast and furious old school hardcore-inspired title track here.)       

Rat Fancy – “Suck A Lemon I” (The L.A. trio - featuring ex-Sweater Girl Diana Barraza, Gregory Johnson and Gavin Glidewell - create a synth-streaked and fuzzed-out brand of twee indie-pop on their debut EP, Suck A Lemon, out now on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records.  The aptly-titled six-song EP is full of bittersweet bubblegum-pop led by the punky and biting standout title track heard here.  Also included on the EP is a slowed-down yet more intense version of the song, titled, “Suck A Lemon II”)     

Friday, June 30, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Beach House – “Chariot” (After thirteen years and six albums, the dream-pop duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand are set to release a comprehensive collection of B-sides and rarities, appropriately-titled, B-Sides And Rarities, out today on Sub Pop.  The 14-track set stretches back to 2005, includes songs from their 2010 iTunes Session and the more recent Depression Cherry/Thank Your Lucky Stars sessions.  One of those recent tracks is the A-side quality opening track heard here with its syrupy, rafters-reaching organ, stair-stepping synths and slow, swaying rhythm.)

Fleet Foxes – "Third of May / Ōdaigahara," (After a seemingly endless six year wait, Robin Pecknold and company return triumphantly with their highly-anticipated third album, Crack-Up, out now on Nonesuch Records.  The epic and ambitious new album does not disappoint and without going too far, the band actually stretches out their trademark harmony-rich folk sound with prog-rock complexities, elements of jazz and experimental instruments; remaining true to their beloved organic sound.)       

Jeff Tweedy – “Laminated Cat” (The Wilco frontman finally released his long-promised solo acoustic debut album, Together At Last.  Out now via dBpm Records, the 11-track set is a collection of stripped-down acoustic versions of Wilco classics such as “I’m Always In Love”, “Hummingbird” and “Sky Blue Sky” as well as a song each from his side projects Loose Fur and Golden Smog.  The sparse arrangements really serve to highlight the inherent beauty of each song.  Listen to the Loose Fur track here.)   

Royal Blood – “I Only Lie When I Love You” (The British rock duo of bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher recently released How Did We Get So Dark?, their sophomore album.  On the new album released by Warner Bros. Records, the duo creates a larger-than-life sound with mammoth rhythms, buzz-sawing bass-led grooves and a highly melodic pop sense.  Check out the cowbell-leaden standout single here.)   

Arcadea – “Army Of Electroons” (Arcadea is the new synth-driven prog-rock project led by Mastodon’s drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor along with Core Atoms (Zruda, Gaylord) and Raheem Amlani (Withered, Scarab).  Their impressive self-titled debut album was recently released on Relapse Records and is a headphones-worthy galactic world waiting to get lost in with strange sci-fi lyrical themes and an otherworldly sound that is psychedelic and metallic; organic yet electric.)    

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind 20th Anniversary Edition

I graduated high school in 1997 and Third Eye Blind’s self-titled debut album, released that spring, provided much of my soundtrack that year and beyond.  Led by singer/songwriter Stephan Jenkins, Third Eye Blind provided an infectiously catchy power-pop alternative to the post-grunge sound of the time and the album was loaded with anthemic hit singles that dominated modern rock radio, such as the still-inescapable "Semi-Charmed Life”, "How's It Going to Be", “Graduate”, "Jumper" and “Losing A Whole Year”.  The whole album - front-to-back - is extremely solid and holds up well after twenty years.      
To celebrate and to quench nostalgia, the band recently released an expanded 20th Anniversary Edition of their eponymous album via Rhino/Elektra Records that is available digitally, as a 2-CD set and a 3-LP collection.  The expanded reissue includes the multi-platinum original album and features a second disc of eight previously unreleased demos and new recordings, highlighted by the inclusion of the tracks, "Alright Caroline" and "Scattered," two recently recorded songs that were written during the original Third Eye Blind sessions but were never fully recorded in the studio until now.  Also of note are a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin”, a demo version of “Semi-Charmed Life” and "Kiss Goodnight," which later became "Ode To Maybe" from the band's 1999 sophomore album, Blue.  The only bummer is that the packaging lacks any special liner notes or additional photos.  Maybe on the 30th anniversary set?      
Additionally, the band is setting out on tour this summer in which they will perform the album in full along with a selection of other hits and fan favorites.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: EX EYE – EX EYE

EX EYE is the new instrumental jazz-metal quartet featuring renowned saxophonist Colin Stetson, drummer Greg Fox of Liturgy, Shahzad Ismaily (Secret Chiefs 3, Ceramic Dog) on synths and guitarist Toby Summerfield.  Their impressive self-titled debut album was released last week on Relapse Records.  The quartet’s experimental sound is a mind-blowing showcase of technical talent informed by jazz-inspired improvisation and avant-garde extremes with an equal penchant for abstract rhythms and aggressive metal-inspired grooves.    
“Xenolith; The Anvil” - the shortest track by far, at just shy of 4 minutes - opens the album with a punishing symbiotic groove created by Stetson’s sax and Ismaily’s synths before dissolving into caterwauling chaos for the perfect introduction to the rest of the haunting, expressive and epic album.  Experience it for yourself below.     

Monday, June 26, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat – "Mid-Century Sounds: Deep Cuts From The Desert" Edition

Recently released by Phoenix-based Fervor Records is Mid-Century Sounds: Deep Cuts From The Desert, a compilation of B-sides, deep cuts and cult classics - spanning from the 50’s to the 70’s - taken from the expansive musical archives of fellow Phoenix native, Floyd Ramsey.  Beginning in the mid-1950’s, Ramsey was a musical visionary who ran several record labels - Liberty Bell, REV, MCI, and Ramco Records - and was instrumental in launching the careers of music icons such as outlaw country pioneer Waylon Jennings, Wayne Newton, Duane Eddy (laying the groundwork for the 60’s surf rock movement), Lee Hazlewood, and Al Casey (The Wrecking Crew), among others.  Ramsey was also famous for introducing the “Phoenix Sound”, a reverb-rich sound made from recording in a giant water tank that helped put surf rock on the map.         
Spanning 29 tracks, the 140 gram 2-LP set is wonderfully packaged in a gatefold jacket with insightful liner notes for each track and comes on white (LP1) and black vinyl (LP2) and is limited to only 500 copies.  The track list features songs from Waylon Jennings, The Newton Brothers featuring a 15 year old Wayne Newton and his 17 year old brother Jerry, Louisiana piano player Tommy Strange, teen heartthrobs Nick Landers and Ritchie Hart and his Hartbeats and 60’s soul and 70’s funk from Soul Blenders.   
Listen to 3 of my favorite songs from the compilation here: 
Donnie Owens – “Boo Hoo” (A classic Country & Western/50’s rock hybrid with tongue-in-cheek humor and a hip-shaking rhythm from the 60’s country-pop artist who was also a guitarist/vocalist in Duane Eddy’s Rebels and a part of The Twang Gang alongside Eddy, Sanford Clark and Lee Hazelwood.)

Fat City – “Ain’t No Time For Stoppin’” (Fat City were a seven piece horn band in the vein of Chicago and Tower Of Power that melded jazz fusion and world music with psychedelic funk complete with bubbly horns and howling vocals.)      

The Tads – “She Is My Dream” (This twinkling, “Sleepwalking”-like ballad by the Phoenix-based late-50’s doo-wop group was recently heard in episode 504 of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black.)

For more info or to purchase the Mid-Century Sounds LP, visit:

Friday, June 23, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Algiers – “The Underside Of Power” (Out today via Matador Records is The Underside Of Power, the sophomore album from Algiers.  The trio recently added Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong and the album was produced by Portishead’s Adrian Utley, and it expands on their highly-experimental Gospel-infused brand of politically-charged art-punk by adding in hip-hop inspired beats and elements of British grime, buzzing early industrial, 60’s soul and horror film soundtracks.  The resulting music and lyrical themes are stark, revelatory and riotous; providing the perfect soundtrack for a call to arms against this dark political climate.)         

Hundredth – “Neurotic” (It is rare for an established band to change their sound as drastically as the melodic metalcore band Hundreth has on their new album, Rare. Out now on Hopeless Records, the South Carolina band – which reunited with original guitar player Alex Blackwell prior to recording - has shifted their sound to a still heavy, roaring shoegaze-influenced sound on their fourth album.  The music hits with as much visceral velocity as ever but the hardcore screams are replaced with moodier melodies and hints of hazy, dream-pop for a fresh take on the genre that suits them well.)     

Broadside – “Disconnect” (Just in time for summer, the L.A.-by-way-of Richmond, VA pop-punk purveyors have recently released Paradise, their aptly-titled sophomore album via Victory Records.  The new album showcases the band’s growth as it leans more towards the pop side of pop-punk with bright, infectiously catchy melodies and positive, inspiring lyrical vibes that reflect their recent move to L.A. and constant touring over the last two years.  In a few years, Paradise will no doubt be heralded as a gold standard in the genre.)         

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Office Culture – I Did The Best I Could

Office Culture is the new band featuring members of Brooklyn art-rock band Ball Of Flame Shoot Fire.  Led by vocalist/keyboardist Winston Cook-Wilson’s floating falsetto and unique phrasing, the band creates a smooth and sophisticated brand of synth-heavy pop-rock with elements of jazz, 70’s glam, and 80’s funk and lite rock that further blur the lines of classification on their recently released debut album, I Did The Best I Could.   
The 9-song album is led by the standout single, “Molly” with its soft twinkling synths, gurgling bass line and swooning vocal sway.  Other standouts include the jazzy swing of “Favor”, the 80’s-indebted synth stabs that highlight the soulful “Fool” and the danceable bluesy shuffle of “Cooler Heads”.      

Stream I Did The Best I Could

Friday, June 16, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Kevin Morby – “City Music” (Hot on the heels of his acclaimed 2016 album Singing Saw, City Music is Kevin Morby’s fourth solo album and is out today on Dead Oceans.  Where his last album was focused mostly on acoustic 60’s and 70’s folk, the new songs - just like a city - are bristling with energy and lively guitar work and are equally indebted to storytellers like Dylan and Lou Reed as they are to The Ramones.  Check out the simply stunning, nearly seven-minute title track with its liquid guitar lines and shuffling rhythm here.)    

The Drums – “Heart Basel” (Out today is Abysmal Thoughts - the fourth album and first for new label, Anti Records - from the indie-pop project, now solely led by Jonny Pierce.  Musically, he hits the sweet spot between dreamy, psychedelic synth-pop and surf-y, sighing 60’s guitar jangle and lyrically, it his most inwardly-looking and personal; for his best and most immediately-gripping album in years.)   

Dead Heavens – “Adderall Highway” (Dead Heavens is the new psych-rock project led by the increasingly versatile frontman Walter Schreifels - Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, Quicksand, etc – along with members of Cults, White Zombie and Youth Of Today.  Their impressive debut album Whatever Witch You Are - out today on Dine Alone Records - is a blistering blend of grungy, blues rock and heavy, psych-rock complete with dueling discordant guitar solos and hazy yet catchy vocal melodies.  Check out the appropriately-propulsive standout single here.)   

Pink Frost – “Bare Roots” (The Chicago quartet led by vocalist/guitarist Adam Lukas are set to release their long-awaited new album, New Minds, today via Under Road Records.  The four year wait proves worth it as their gargantuan fuzzed-out psych-rock riffs build up the wall so the catchy, 90’s alt-rock melodies and touches of Smashing Pumpkins-like dream-pop can bust through, for their heaviest and most anthemic set of songs yet.)      

Tombs – “November Wolves” (The New York black metal band led by Mike Hill will release The Grand Annihilation, their fourth album and debut for Metal Blade Records today.  The trio experiments by adding stark and haunting, Nick Cave-like post-punk melodies to their scorched brand of black metal for a world-conquering mixture that is both brutally heavy and highly melodic for their most forward-thinking yet accessible release to date.)    

Monday, June 12, 2017

SHOW ALERT: Damien Jurado at Warehouse 4 in Vandalia, OH 6/14

Seattle folk-pop singer-songwriter Damien Jurado is set to embark on his highly-ambitious 50 State Tour this week, beginning in Ohio and Indiana.  Since the mid-90’s, Jurado has released more than 12 albums, – including last year’s trilogy-completing Visions of Us on the Land via Secretly Canadian – and countless EPs and singles and has toured the country, playing every major market.  Now with the Woody Guthrie-inspired 50 State Tour, he will hit those smaller spots – delis, record stores, living rooms and coffee shops in the suburbs on the way to and from those major market cities, as a way to connect with fans and to “[celebrate] our country and the things that not only make us the same but also the beauty of our differences”. 
Damien Jurado is scheduled to play a total of seven shows in Ohio, including a performance on Wednesday, June 14 at Warehouse 4 coffee shop in Vandalia, a suburb of Dayton near the airport.  Toledo Americana artist Ben Stalets will open the show at Warehouse 4.    
The performances will be stripped down affairs, hearkening back to his folksier earlier days.  So of course, I hope he plays my favorite song, “Ohio”.  It would only be fitting.
For more info on Damien Jurado and the 50 State Tour:

Friday, June 09, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Rancid – “Telegraph Avenue” (The influential punk rock kings return today with the Hellcat/Epitaph Records release of Trouble Maker, their ninth album.  The excellent, timeless new album is further proof that Tim, Matt, Lars and Branden are the best at what they do and what they do is create hooky, reggae-laced punk rock.  But you already knew that and you already know that you should be listening.  So do it!)  

Phoenix – “J-Boy” (Out today on Glassnote Records is Ti Amo, the long-awaited sixth album from the French indie pop band.  The highly-anticipated 10-track album is highlighted by the infectiously danceable rhythms the band is known for and more of a focus on synths, especially glittery 80’s inspired ones alongside catchy melodies that border on soft rock and dream-pop with gauzy, velvety-smooth textures that give the romantically-inclined lyrics a boost.  Well worth the wait.) 

Junior Astronomers – “That’s Why” (Out today on Refresh Records, the N.C. indie rock quartet - led by the passionate howl of frontman Terrence Richard -  returns with Body Language, their long-awaited sophomore album.  The four years since their impressive 2013 debut have been more than kind to the band, allowing their sound to mature and they have added brighter melodies and even catchier hooks this time around; swerving the sophomore slump entirely.)       

INVSN – “The Constant War” (After reuniting Refused two years ago, frontman Dennis Lyxzén is set to release The Beautiful Stories, the new album from his project INVSN.  Out today on Dine Alone Records, the band including - Sara Almgren, Christina Karlsson, Anders Stenberg and André Sandström - creates another fiery set of politically-charged punk rock anthems streaked with touches of folk, soul and 80’s synth-pop that comes at just the right time in this troubling political environment; especially on the empowering, rhythm-driven rave-up heard here.)        

Friday, June 02, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

‘68 – “This Life Is Old, New, Borrowed and Blue” (The experimental, post-everything duo of Josh Scogin – formerly of The Chariot and Norma Jean - and Michael McClellan return with their stunning second album, Two Parts Viper, out today on Cooking Vinyl.  The dynamic new album is slightly less abrasive - highlighting their soulful blues and Nirvana influences a little more on some songs - but overall it is still just as characteristically chaotic, raw and dangerous as you would expect.)  

Marika Hackman – “Boyfriend” (The London singer-songwriter steps away from her folk rock roots on her sophomore album, I’m Not Your Man, on her new label, Sub Pop.  Out today, the new album, produced and mixed by Charlie Andrew (Alt-J), finds Hackman singing about femininity, life and love – with a witty sense of humor - backed by fellow London quartet The Big Moon, as she blends 90’s grunge rock and Britpop into her catchiest and most immediate collection of songs yet. Check out Marika Hackman and The Big Moon on a co-headline tour of North America this summer.)

Chastity Belt – (I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone, the third album from the Seattle quartet – featuring Julia Shapiro, Gretchen Grimm, Lydia Lund, and Annie Truscott - is out today via Hardly Art.  The impressive new album showcases their moody, guitar-forward brand of post-punk that blends in laid-back dream-pop textures and dissonance and melody in equal measure; perfectly summed up on the epic, noise-addled album closer heard here.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Business Of Dreams – Business Of Dreams

Business Of Dreams is the synth-driven new solo project from Corey Cunningham of Magic Bullets and Terry Malts.  His self-titled debut album was released in February and is the first release on his label Parked In Hell.  After perfecting punk and post-punk with his previous bands, with Business Of Dreams, Cunningham creates moody indie-pop with icy synths and drum machines that recalls the C86 and Factory Records era but he also includes warm, acoustic guitar-led 60’s psych-folk into the mix to great effect.    
Standouts on the 9-song album include the propulsive opener, “Repossessed” and the jangly, shimmer of “Joyride” as well as Cunningham’s take on The Servants’ 1987 classic "She Grew And She Grew". 
Stream Business Of Dreams here:

Friday, May 26, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Swarming Branch – “Diamonds In The Distance” (With sticky bubblegum-pop melodies blending with glam rock and touches of folk and psychedelia, the Columbus, OH based band has actually backed down from their experimental tendencies for their most straight-forward and infectiously catchy albums yet with their new album, Surreal Number, out today via Sofaburn Records.  The best representation of Swarming Branch’s 70’s-inspired yet synth-heavy new album is the strutting, piano-led standout single heard here.)   

Gideon – “Cursed” (The Alabama-based metallic hardcore band Gideon recently released, Cold, their highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth album and first for new label, Equal Vision Records.  Recorded again with Will Putney, the new album is both stunningly heavy and their most melodic effort yet; it also features guest vocals from Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose and Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed.  Check out the crushingly catchy standout single featuring Garris here.)

Radar State – “Spinning Wheel” (Radar State is the new collaborative punk rock project/supergroup of sorts from Josh Berwanger of The Anniversary, Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic of Get Up Kids and Adam Phillips of The Gadjits.  Their promising 3-song debut 7” will be released in September and can be pre-ordered now.  Get a taste of their poppy, emotive punk rock with the upbeat, Suptic-sung first single heard here.  It is everything you would hope it would be!)  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SHOW ALERT: Junkyard & Little Caesar at Courtyard Lounge in Englewood on Saturday, May 27

In the late 80’s, just before grunge would take over the mainstream, hair metal was all the rage.  Bands like Poison, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi dominated radio and MTV with their image-conscience brand of glam-influenced pop-metal.  Simultaneously and seemingly far away from Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Strip, in East Hollywood, another scene was shining just as bright though the bands were far more grittier and much heavier than their hairspray and makeup-covered contemporaries.  Led by Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, Little Caesar, Rhino Bucket, Junkyard and even Jane’s Addiction, the East Hollywood scene traded in raw, blues-soaked rock and roll with a punk rock attitude.     
Two of those bands – Junkyard and Little Caesar - will perform at the Courtyard Lounge in Englewood on Saturday, May 27.
Junkyard formed in ’87 but broke up shortly after in 1991 but they left their permanent mark by releasing two outstanding albums on Geffen Records.  They mixed southern rock charm (the Skynryd-esque hit single “Simple Man”) and punk rock attitude (punk legend Brian Baker of Dag Nasty and Bad Religion is a founding member) into their bluesy hard rock sound that made them an under the radar favorite.
Recently the band - led by the nasally rasp of original vocalist David Roach and drummer Patrick Muzingo - reformed and released their third album and first in over twenty-six years.  Out now on Acetate Records, Hell Or High Water is pure rock and roll debauchery with their twisted Southern Rock sound but with age, Roach’s lyrics are more reflective, recalling his wasted teenage years and acknowledging facts of life such as aging and regret.  Brian Baker even returned to help write and contribute his scorching solos to the album that is both nostalgia-inducing and timeless. 
Stream the anthemic, sing-along standout single, “Styrofoam Cup” from Hell Or High Water here:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain – Fortis Amor – Fortis Amor

Fortis Amor is the one-man progressive metal project of Seattle-via-Dayton musician Ryan Duke.  After releasing a promising EP and single, his long-gestating self-titled full-length album – most of it was written between 1998 and 2005 - was recently and finally released last Friday.  The 10-song album captures his experimental yet highly melodic and multi-layered musical style that features graceful and gorgeous acoustic guitar-led orchestral moments that dissolve into heavy and twisty tech-metal that contrast with soaring, rafters-reaching sing-along choruses that appear like light breaking through the clouds.  Along the same lines, Duke’s lyrical approach is uplifting and inspiring; featuring a Gospel-centered message that offers redemption and hope in place of anger and frustration.    
The dynamic opening track “Particles” sets the tone and the heaviest, groove-leaden track, “Reneweal” stands out and features a guest guitar solo from Jack Daniels of War of Ages and Hope For The Dying. The album closes out with the epic “Take Heart” that features a guest solo from Zack Uidl, formerly of 7 Horns 7 Eyes. 
Stream Fortis Amor here:       

Friday, May 19, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

WATERS – “Molly Is A Babe” (The Californian indie-pop quintet led by Van Pierszalowski will release their highly-anticipated third album, Something More! today via Vagrant/BMG Records.  With summer approaching, the album is jammed with sunny, instantly catchy melodies and fuzzy, festival-ready alt-rock and power-pop guitar riffs that will sound great blasting out of your speakers at high volume; especially the standout single heard here, which is the perfect anthem for the first day of the weekend or the last day of school.)      

She-Devils – “Hey Boy” (The duo of Kyle Jukka and Audrey Ann Boucher are set to release their self-titled debut album today on Secretly Canadian.  With Jukka’s sample-heavy style and Boucher’s beguiling voice, the duo creates a sensational sonic space that borrows from 80’s electro-punk and 60’s psych-pop and surf-rock with vintage electronics, a quirky pop sense and a headphones-worthy swirl of strange sounds for an impressive debut.)

Jade Jackson – “Finish Line” (Newcomer Jade Jackson creates an emotionally-rich and timeless brand of country-rock with traces of Hank Williams and Lucinda Williams’ melancholic melodies on her debut album, Gilded, out today via Anti Records.  Her mentor, Mike Ness of Social Distortion produced the album on which Jackson channels the country & western crooners of the past and blends it with a youthful, punk rock spirit with her raspy yet gorgeous voice for an album that should attract listeners from all musical corners.)