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.)  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Deluxe Edition

This article takes on a different light with the news of Chris Cornell's passing last night.  Such somber news.  His was the best rock voice of our generation.  Let's all remember his music today.
Filmed in the early 90’s just before the Seattle music scene was to gain worldwide attention, Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy Singles - starring Matt Damon, Bridget Fonda, Kyra Sedgwick, Bill Pullman and others as Seattle twentysomethings - focused on the music scene and introduced many to bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains just as they were taking over mainstream music with the so-called “grunge” movement. 
The cult classic film was released in 1992 and to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Epic Soundtrax/Legacy Recordings is releasing a remastered and expanded edition of its acclaimed, multi-platinum soundtrack.  The Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Deluxe Edition is out tomorrow and comes in a 2-LP or 2-CD set that is loaded with features such as extensive liner notes from Cameron Crowe, tons of photos and previously unreleased recordings from Chris Cornell, Mudhoney, Paul Westerberg (including an acoustic performance of “Dyslexic Heart”) and Mike McCready.  Also included, for the first time, is “Touch Me I’m Dick”, the song performed by the fictional band Citizen Dick - led by Matt Dillon’s character Cliff Poncier along with members of Pearl Jam.  Additionally, Chris Cornell’s 1992 EP Poncier is included and features an early rendition of “Spoonman” of which Crowe says in his liner notes that the song was “originally a novelty, later an anthem”.  Best of all, the live performances in the film from Alice In Chains – “Would?” and “It Ain’t Like That” and Soundgarden’s scorching single, “Birth Ritual” appear on CD for the first time as well. 
The original soundtrack - which also included music from Smashing Pumpkins, Mother Love Bone and Screaming Trees – and the film itself were an important and lasting document of the emerging Seattle music scene and this new reissued version of the Singles soundtrack completes Cameron Crowe’s vision and is a must have for fans. 
Watch Alice In Chains – “Would?” here:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Matthew Ryan – Hustle Up Starlings

Veteran Pittsburgh-based singer-songwriter Matthew Ryan recently released his thirteenth album, Hustle Up Starlings.  The excellent new album seamlessly veers from beautifully melancholic piano-led balladry to shimmering, atmospheric guitar-rock and was produced by and features contributions from Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem; who is the perfect fit for Ryan’s rich, gravely and worn-in voice and poetic lyrics.   
Since his impressive 1997 debut album, May Day (A&M Records) Matthew Ryan has been criminally underrated and has flown just under the radar but this new album is his strongest yet and should convert new listeners and please old fans equally.          
Stream Hustle Up Starlings here: