Friday, March 16, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

The Decemberists – “Severed” (When a beloved band announces that they are going to tinker with their trademark sound it can be cause for alarm.  For their eighth album, I’ll Be Your Girl, out today on Capitol Records, The Decemberists have adopted an arena-worthy synth-driven sound that references New Order and Roxy Music-like glam rock.  Though the songs are more propulsive, highlighted by soaring, shimmering and pulsating synths; Meloy’s trademark literary lyrics remain as do elements of folk and country.  The experiment is a resounding success and is their most immediately catchy and upbeat album yet!)       

Hot Snakes – “Six Wave Hold-Down” (John Reis and Rick Froberg have quite the stored musical history together.  In the late 80’s they formed the post-hardcore band Pitchfork and in the 90’s, the highly-influential Drive Like Jehu.  Then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, they came together and released three blistering albums of fiery garage-punk as Hot Snakes before moving on to separate projects.  Now after a fourteen year hiatus, Hot Snakes has reunited and are set to release their long-awaited fourth album, Jericho Sirens, today on Sub Pop.    Additionally, Sub Pop recently reissued the first three Hot Snakes albums on CD and vinyl.  So, if this is your first introduction, you are welcome, and you have a lot to catch up on, so get busy!) 

Durand Jones & The Indications – “Groovy Babe” (Indiana’s Durand Jones along with his superb backing band, The Indications create a modern yet retro-minded brand of classic soul with in-the-red vocals, Gospel-soaked organ and bright horns, in the vein of Charles Bradley, Al Green and Curtis Mayfield, whose “Supafly” is sampled on the standout track heard here.  The song is taken from his self-titled debut album that was originally issued in 2016 on Cincinnati’s Colemine Records and has now been reissued today on Dead Oceans in order for it to get the attention it deserves.)    

The Crown – “We Avenge!” (Celebrating 27 years, Swedish metal masters The Crown will unleash their new album, Cobra Speed Venom, today on Metal Blade. Recorded in Studio Fredman with Fredrik Nordstrom, the new album blends their trademark old school Swedish death metal grooves and riffs with raging power metal alongside some speedy rhythms and a biting lyrical venom that lives up to the album’s title.)    

Yo La Tengo – “For You Too” (The long-running indie rock trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew return today with the release of their fifteenth album, appropriately-titled, There’s A Riot Going On.  Issued by Matador Records, the fifteen-track album was produced by the band and is gentle and moving as ever yet hypnotic, psychedelic and more experimental, with the use of loops and samples.  Matching in slow-burning intensity, the lyrics reflect the unnerving feeling present in our society today with all of the political unrest.)

Oneida – “Good Lie” (For their first album in over six years, the highly-experimental Brooklyn art-rock band recently released Romance their new album and debut for Joyful Noise Recordings. Kid Millions, Bobby Matador and Shahin Moita create heady, hypnotic soundscapes with Krautrock rhythms that burst and bloom with guitar noise, tumbling drum fills and bits of melody like on the buzzy, bouncy and slightly poppy single “Good Lie” heard here.)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Show Alert: Born Ruffians – Acoustic In-Store Performance at Omega Music 3/16

Toronto indie-pop trio Born Ruffians recently released their fifth album, Uncle, Duke & The Chief, via Yep Roc Records.  Produced by Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen), the new album may be slightly more stripped-down than their previous efforts but they double-down on the infectiously fun sing-alongs and sparkling 60’s pop melodies for their best album yet.          
In support of the excellent new album, Born Ruffians has embarked on a lengthy world tour and will make a stop tomorrow at MOTR Pub in Cincinnati on Friday, March 16.  Prior to that, the band will stop at Dayton’s Omega Music record store for a special acoustic performance and meet-and-greet at 4:30 PM. 
Stream Uncle, Duke & The Chief here:

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stream It From The Mountain: Barrett Martin Group – Transcendence

Grammy-winning producer, composer and percussionist Barrett Martin creates an unconventional brand of jazz music informed in part by his punk and 90’s grunge background.  Best known for his work with 90’s Seattle bands Screaming Trees and Mad Season, Martin has since gone on to contribute his percussion skills to many different bands and genres as an in-demand session musician, showcasing his dynamic versatility. His sixth album with his solo project, the Barrett Martin Group is titled, Transcendence and is out now on Sunyata Records.  The album was produced by Martin and mixed by longtime collaborator Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden).     
Martin leads the group with a percussion-heavy set of genre-defiant songs driven by rhythms influenced both by rock and funk grooves as well as more exotic African, Brazilian, and Cuban rhythms.  The two songs featuring Queens Of The Stone Age guitarist David Catching are among the standouts; “Wizard of The Desert” with its stuttering beat and “The Asp” with its rubbery bass line, punchy horns and propulsive guitar riff and accompanying blazing solo.  Legendary Jazz keyboardist and composer Wayne Horvitz (the funk-flavored psychedelia of “Sands Of Venus”) and REM guitarist Peter Buck (“The Grover”) also contribute alongside Martin’s ensemble featuring, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, guitarist Andy Coe, pianist/keyboardist Ryan Burns, saxophonist Hans Teuber, trumpet player Dave Carter and fellow percussionists Thione Diop and Lisette Garcia.    
The Barrett Martin Group brings the funk fueled by an impressive array of percussion-heavy exotic rhythms on their excellent new album, Transcendence.     
Stream Transcendence here:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides Of The Sky

Out now on Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings is Both Sides Of The Sky, the final album in a trilogy of album-length collections of archival studio recordings from Jimi Hendrix.  This album follows 2010’s Valleys Of Neptune and 2013’s People, Hell & Angels and was recorded during several sessions from 1968-1970.  It features 13 studio recordings – 10 that have never been released – and features guests such as Johnny Winter and Stephen Stills.    
The album opens with a lively and propulsive previously unreleased cover of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”, which is also the first studio recording with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles, who would go on to become Jimi’s backing band, Band of  Gypsys.  Stephen Stills joined the sessions and contributes lead vocals and organ to two of the tracks including a Stills original, $20 Fine” with the versatile Jimi on bass guitar and a cover version of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” that was recorded long before CSNY’s hit version.  One of the standout tracks is Hendrix’s cover of “Things I Used To Do”, the blues classic originally written by Guitar Slim, that features slide guitar from Johnny Winter and the inclusion of a verse from Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me”.  Another standout is the rollicking “Stepping Stone” with its playful guitar overdubs.  The album closes out on a high note with Cherokee Mist”, a psychedelic instrumental jam that features Jimi on sitar and layers of melodic feedback.
Stream “Mannish Boy” here:

Friday, March 09, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

David Byrne – “This Is That” (The art-pop icon returns after fourteen years with a new solo album, American Utopia, out today on Todomundo / Nonesuch Records.  On this standout single, a collaboration with Oneohtrix Point Never, Byrne remains as creative as ever, blending Chinese folk instruments with Gospel over top an echoing electronic beat.  Elsewhere, Byrne delivers big statements on current social issues as only he can, with interesting production assistance from with longtime collaborator Brian Eno as well as producers Doveman, Jack Peñate, Jam City and others for one of his best solo efforts.)    

Matthew Ryan – “Hustle Up Starlings (Unadorned)” (Hot on the heels of last year’s Hustle Up Starlings - an album that seamlessly veered from beautifully melancholic piano-led balladry to shimmering, atmospheric guitar-rock and was produced by and featured Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem - Matthew Ryan has just released Starlings Unadorned A Collection Of Acoustic Versions, Demos & Previously Unreleased Songs.  The compilation features several stripped-down, “unadorned” versions of Starlings songs that reveal Ryan’s greatest strengths: his gruff baritone voice and stellar songwriting.  Also included are three previously unreleased songs in their demo form.  Stream the beautiful and poignant unadorned version of the title track below.)      

Dick Stusso – “Getting Loose” (Dick Stusso is the moniker of Oakland singer-songwriter Nic Russo.  As Stusso, Russo opines about money and mortality as he effortlessly combines country-leaning, Roy Orbison-like rock and roll with T. Rex-esque glam-rock on his excellent sophomore album, In Heaven, out now on Hardly Art.  The album was recorded and produced in an old church by psych-rock songwriter and producer Greg Ashley and the strutting standout single heard here is the perfect introduction to Dick Stusso’s sound.)

Joey Dosik – “Game Winner” (The L.A. based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and producer with the golden voice recently released an expanded reissue of his debut EP, Game Winner, via Secretly Canadian.  Previously, Dosik has collaborated with jazz-funk outfit Vulfpeck, Nikka Costa and others and originally recorded the EP in 2015 while holed up after a knee surgery and self-released the year after.  On the EP he pays homage to both the game of basketball and classic 60’s soul music. The deluxe edition adds on four more tracks to the 6-track EP including newly-issued bonus tracks and remixes.)    

Hibou – “Fall Into” (Seattle multi-instrumentalist Peter Michel recently released the second album with his experimental project on Barsuk Records, titled, Something Familiar.  Stepping out of the bedroom and into the studio for the first time, the new album is highlighted by a bump in fidelity to better showcase the songs that have been perfectly crafted with a full sound that incorporate electronics and 80's-loving synth-pop, blissful dream-pop alongside danceable beats and memorable melodies.  Check out the lite funk and shimmering synths of the standout track heard here.)     

Stay Inside – “Your Guardsmen Swarm Like Locusts” (The multi-cultural Brooklyn post-hardcore outfit recently released their new EP, The Sea Engulfs Us and the Light Goes Out, via Old Press Records.  The emerging quartet combines heady, socially-conscious lyrics with intricate math-rock rhythms, emo-punk guitar riffs and fiery scream-along hooks that feel instantly familiar yet of their own.)  

Friday, March 02, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

The Breeders – “Wait In The Car” (It has been a decade since the Deal sisters have released an album and 25 years since the classic lineup featuring Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson released the alt-rock masterpiece Last Splash in 1993.  Today The Breeders return and remain as esoteric and eclectic yet just as melodic as ever on their new album, All Nerve.  Released on 4AD and produced again by longtime collaborator Steve Albini, the new album – led by the propulsive and insanely catchy single heard here - lives up to the lofty expectations and then some.  Hopefully, we won't have to wait as long for the next album.)  
Moaning – “Don’t Go” (The LA-based post-punk trio consisting of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie is set to release their long-awaited self-titled debut album today on Sub Pop, after forming a decade ago.  Produced by Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party), the trio creates a dark and propulsive but equally melodic brand of post-punk that sounds like New Order going shoegaze for a promising debut that could have the same impact of Interpol’s debut.)
Suuns – “Make It Real” (The highly-experimental Montreal quartet returns with their fourth album, Felt, out today on Secretly Canadian.  Produced again by John Congleton (The National, St. Vincent) the new album continues to both broaden and sharpen their unconventional hybrid of electronic and organic sounds with cosmic vocoder-led vocals, skronky saxophone solos and looser, danceable rhythms.  Check out the standout single heard here with its tom-heavy beat, siren-like synths and Brit-pop melodies.)
Soccer Mommy – “Still Clean” (Nashville singer-songwriter Sophie Allison is set to release her highly-anticipated debut album, Clean, today via Fat Possum.  The album comes on the heels of last year’s promising Collection EP that featured new songs and re-recorded songs previously released on her Bandcamp page.  Delivering on that promise, the new songs are further removed from her bedroom-pop beginnings and are more assertive and assured, led by her emotive and descriptive narratives and jangly guitars that are reminiscent of both Juliana Hatfield and Julien Baker.)
Caroline Rose - “Soul No. 5” (Taking a detour from her roots rock…er, roots, New York singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Rose blooms with a fun, genre-busting new sound that brims with electronic beats, tons of vintage organ and inspiration from early punk, surf-rock and 90’s pop on her sophomore album, LONER, out now on New West Records.  She tackles societal norms and topics with sarcastically humorous lyrics set to upbeat rhythms and ridiculously catchy melodies that you will not want to even try to get out of your head.)  
Lo Moon – “Real Love” (The LA trio – led by singer/guitarist Matt Lowell and featuring bassist Crisanta Baker and guitarist Samuel Stewart (son of the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart) - recently released their self-titled debut album on Columbia Records.  Blending sparkling, 80’s-inspired synth-pop with atmospheric dream-pop and moody soft rock, the album produced by Chris Walla (formerly of Death Cab For Cutie) and Francois Tetaz (Gotye) possesses a sound that is at the crossroads of the perfect 80’s nostalgia trip and something more modern akin to CHVRCHES.   Additionally, Adam Granduciel and Charlie Hall of The War On Drugs contribute to the recordings.  Check out the soaring standout single here.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Stream It From The Mountain: Mildlife – Phase

Mildlife, the Melbourne, Australia based band consisting of James Donald, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell, Tomas Shanahan just released their debut album titled, Phase, via Research Records.  The outstanding 6-song effort showcases the band’s genre-defiant sound that blends elements of 70’s prog-rock and jazz with vintage, cosmic synths and psychedelic dream-pop set to danceable funk-influenced rhythms for a very promising debut. 
Lead-off track and first single, “The Magnificent Moon” ebbs and flows for nearly nine minutes, is highlighted by layers of space-bound synths and driven by a locked-in groove.  Other standouts include the disco-influenced beat and squiggly synths of “Zwango Zop” and the title track, “Phase” with its mellow groove and dynamic shifts.
Stream Mildlife – Phase here:

Friday, February 23, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

S. Carey – “More I See” (This standout single highlighted by a surprisingly booming Bonham-like drum beat and a positive lyrical outlook is taken from the singer-songwriter’s third album, Hundred Acres, out today on Jagjaguwar.  Though the album is both more experimental and more minimalist - with the inclusion of some bolder beats - S. Carey still uses his soothing yet striking voice to drive his gentle yet moving folk soundscapes.  Vocalist Gordi and Rob Moose of yMusic also contribute to the beauty with their backing vocals and stunning string arrangements, respectively.)   

We Were Sharks – “Hotel Beds” (The six-piece Canadian pop-punk band are set to release Lost Touch, their long-awaited sophomore album and label debut for Victory Records, today.  Highlighted by relatable lyrics that are set to exuberantly energetic sing-along melodies, crunchy guitar riffs and super-tight rhythms; their infectious sound will give you nostalgic feels for the early 90’s heyday of pop-punk but has a modern touch that is all their own.)

High Up – “Two Weeks” (On the heels of last year’s promising debut EP, comes their debut album, You Are Here, out today on team Love Records.  The band features Todd Fink of The Faint, Matt Focht of Head Of Femur and Josh Soto and is led by the soul-soaked and powerful vocals of Christine Fink and the songwriting of her sister Orenda Fink of Azure Ray; High Up creates a punk-inspired take on classic soul music.  The energetic and danceable single heard here – with its bright bursts of brass and rolling, funk-fueled rhythm - is the perfect introduction to their sound.)       

Marie/Lepanto – “Inverness” (Prolific singer-songwriter Will Johnson of Centro-matic and South San Gabriel has collaborated with both Jason Molina and David Bazan over the years and for his latest project, Marie/Lepanto, he teams up with fellow Missourian, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster of Water Liars.  Their stellar debut album Tenkiller was released recently on Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum Records is the perfect distillation of their two distinct Southern styles with a deft mix of grungy blues-rock and country-leaning Gospel-steeped folk alongside their complimentary vocal styles.)

Legend Of The Seagullmen – “Shipswreck” (This epic and experimental nautical-themed supergroup features drummer Danny Carey of Tool, Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds, Jonah Hex director Jimmy Hayward on guitar, vocalist David Dreyer, bassist Peter Griffin of Dethlok and Zappa Meets Zappa, and Chris DiGiovanni on synths.  Banding together as the Seagullmen, they create warped sea-shanties that blend theatrical prog-metal with raging psych-rock on their long-gestating self-titled debut album out now on Dine Alone Records.)    

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SHOW ALERT: Adam Torres, Wild Pink and Speaking Suns @ Yellow Cab, Friday 2/23

Austin-by-way-of-Ohio singer-songwriter Adam Torres and Brooklyn trio Wild Pink are set to bring their co-headlining tour to the Yellow Cab in Dayton this Friday, February 23.
Adam Torres creates spacious folk-leaning songs highlighted by his distinct, high-registered voice, most recently on his 2017 EP titled, I Came To Sing The Song.  Previously he has released the critically-acclaimed 2016 album, Pearls To Swine on Fat Possum and 2015 saw a reissue on Misra Records of his cult classic debut, Nova Nostra.
Brooklyn’s Wild Pink is signed to Tiny Engines, who released their stunning self-titled debut album early last year.  The album features insightful and introspective lyrics alongside atmospheric folk-inspired indie rock for a sound that recalls American Football and American Analog Set.
Also playing is the Yellow Springs based experimental indie rock band Speaking Suns.  They released their sophomore album, Range last fall via Anyway Records.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Stream It From The Mountain: Belle Adair – Tuscumbia

It has been five long years since we last heard from the Alabama-based band, Belle Adair.  Their stunning debut album, The Brave And The Blue, was released in 2013 and their excellent eponymous debut EP made my Top 5 EPs list in 2011.  In January this year, they released their long-awaited sophomore album, Tuscumbia, via Single Lock Records.  A lot can change in five years and this new collection of songs sees the band – led by vocalist/guitarist Matthew Green, guitarist Adam Morrow, bassist Hayden Crawford, keyboardist Ben Tanner and drummer Reed Watson – adopting sparkling power-pop and jangly Byrds-like guitar tones to go along with their folk-leaning brand of indie rock.  The new album was recorded at Muscle Shoals’ legendary FAME Studios with Wilco producer/engineer Tom Schick handling the boards and is layered with room-filling vintage organ and fantastic music that lives up to the famed studio’s previous recordings. 
Standouts on the album include the laid back and shimmering opener, “Get Away”, the Byrds-ian jangle of “Long Fade Out” and the hypnotic 60’s psych-pop vibes of “Out In The Blue”.
Stream Tuscumbia here: