Friday, September 04, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat

Benchmarks – “Six One Way” (The Nashville-based indie rock/emo-punk hybrids led by Todd Farrell Jr. recently released their sophomore album, Summer, Slowly.  The excellent new album deftly places poignant and relevant lyrical themes of change - both personal and social - alongside contrastingly fun-loving and anthemic punk rock melodies with dual guitar leads and sing-along choruses.  Check out the timely, social media-inspired message of the standout single, “Six One Way”, here.)   

In Parrallel – “Deep Dark” (Nashville’s In Parallel consists of former members of Celebrity and Hopesfall; who hit the sweet spot between atmospheric space-rock and shoegaze-inspired post-punk on their new EP, Fashioner, out today on Wiretap Records. The 5-song EP – led by the driving and moody single heard here - was mixed by Ken Andrews of Failure and follows their stunning 2018 debut EP, Broken Codes.)

Rufus Wainwright – “Damsel In Distress” (The eclectic singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright recently released his long-awaited, ninth pop album, UNFOLLOW THE RULES via BMG.  Boasting swooning melodies and grand arrangements, the new album – his first in over eight years – delivers both catchy folk-pop tunes and dreamy piano-led balladry that focuses on aspects of marriage, family life and growing older with grace, charm and the sly humor we’ve come to expect from the troubadour.  Watch Wainwright’s CBS Saturday Sessions performance of standout track, “Damsel In Distress” below.)

Monday, August 24, 2020

PREMIERE: Sock-Tight – “Got Dapples, Yay” | Record Store Day 2020 – ORG Music

The original date in April for Record Store Day 2020 was cancelled in due to COVID-19 - which seems like a lifetime ago - but Record Store Day is set to soldier on and will spread the wealth over three separate dates to allow for social distancing; it will now be held on this Saturday, August 29; September 26 and October 24.
Once again ORG Music is offering up 9 tasty platters of vinyl including releases from Mia Doi Todd, Marion Brown and Jimmy Sweeney, among others.  Listed below are my top 3 choices from the ORG Music offerings for Record Store Day this year, including an exclusive premiere of the track, “Got Dapples, Yay”” from punk rock legend Mike Watt’s new collaborative project, Sock-Tight.   
Sock-Tight – “Got Dapples, Yay” (Sock-Tight is the experimental project of longtime friends, collaborators and punk rock royalty; bassist Mike Watt and visual artist/vocalist Raymond Pettibon.  Their debut album, Smudge, will be released for Record Store Day #1 on August 29.  Watt lays down a bed of his signature bass spiels, allowing Pettibon’s humorous avant-leaning musings to bloom alongside funky beats and jazzy saxophone skronks from guests including, Steve McKay of the Stooges and Vince Meghrouni.  The gatefold jacket includes four pieces of Pettibon’s artwork and is pressed onto either black or randomly inserted blue vinyl, due out August 29.) 
Stream the neurotic nursery rhyme-like track “Got Dapples, Yay”, featuring call and response vocals from Pettibon and guest Aida Ruilova and saxophone by Steve McKay, here:

Infectious Grooves – (The funk-metal offshoot of Suicidal Tendencies - led by ST’s Mike Muir and bassist Robert Trujillo of Metallica - returns with a new 4-song EP titled, Take You On A Ride, out October 24. Pressed onto transparent orange 12” vinyl and mastered at 45RPM, the EP features a new track, “Take You On A Ride” as well as 3 originally recorded in 1995.)

Würm – (Würm is the punk band formed in 1973 by legendary Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski before he co-founded Black Flag. This RSD exclusive 7” inch – limited to 1,000 copies worldwide - offers their first new recordings in over 40 years, with tracks, “Poison” and “Zero Sum”. The standout A-side opens and ends with a Doors-like psychedelic passage before launching into a satisfying Sabbath-like stoner-punk groove. Available September 26.)

Friday, August 14, 2020

Stream It From The Mountain: The Slackers – “Nobody’s Listening” + “Sleep Outside”

Long-running NYC-based ska/reggae institution The Slackers recently released a new two-song 12” single via Pirates Press Records.  For 30 years, vocalist/keyboardist Vic Ruggiero, saxophonist David Hillyard and crew have created an infectiously danceable blend of jazz, reggae, rock and ska and these two new tracks live up to the standard they’ve set.  Lead track “Nobody’s Listening” is a 50’s rock and reggae hybrid with a start-stop rhythm.  “Sleep Outside” blends nostalgia and a timely political message alongside a bouncy beat and catchy melody.  Both songs were recorded live at Ernesto’s in the Netherlands.     
Pirates Press Records continues their innovative streak, offering The Slackers’ “Nobody’s Listening” and “Sleep Outside” on 12” vinyl with the songs on one side and a fantastic UV digitally-printed design of the album art on the B-side.      
Stream “Nobody’s Listening” / “Sleep Outside” here:

Watch a quarantine performance of “Nobody’s Listening” here:

Friday, August 07, 2020

Stream It From The Mountain: Bob Nanna – Celebration States

Bob Nanna of Braid, Hey Mecedes, Lifted Bells, etc. recently released his first proper solo album under his own name.  Celebrations States – out now on New Granada Records – is an acoustic album recorded on what would have been his wedding anniversary.  Lyrically, Nanna documents every range of emotion including the messy lows and hopeful highs of his post-divorce life with unflinchingly honest detail laced with glimmers of humor and hope.
Standouts include the one-two gut punch of the melancholic album opener, “Do You Want To Buy A Guitar?” and the self-depreciating single, “Mr. Albatross”.  Likewise “Instant Chemistry” is a late album surge of self-discovery and newfound love that gives the cathartic album a sense of closure.   
Though painfully raw and honest, Celebration States is relatable and worth celebrating as one of Bob Nanna’s best accomplishments in his storied musical career.   
Stream Celebration States here:

Friday, July 31, 2020

REISSUE: that dog. – Totally Crushed Out & Retreat From The Sun

that dog. was one of my absolute favorite bands of the 90’s.  The criminally-underrated yet highly-influential L.A. band fused fuzzy punk rock energy and ridiculously catchy alt-pop hooks with gorgeous three-part harmonies and beautiful string-led arrangements into pure pop perfection. 
 Led by principle songwriter Anna Waronker along with sisters Rachel and Petra Haden and Tony Maxwell, that dog released three albums starting in 1993 with their self-titled debut, their excellent 1995 sophomore album Totally Crushed Out and the gleaming pop-leaning 1997 swan song, Retreat From The Sun.   Just last year, a reunited trio of Anna, Rachel and Tony (sadly, sans Petra) released a new album titled, Old LP, to great acclaim.  
Sadly, their 90’s discography had never been released on vinyl - save for a UK import version of the self-titled album and a self-released picture disc of alternate takes of Retreat From The Sun.  But Third Man Records has come to the rescue, recently releasing vinyl versions of Totally Crushed Out – celebrating its 25th anniversary! - and Retreat From The Sun.  Both albums are pressed onto 180gm black vinyl and are the cure for collectors and for your pang for 90’s nostalgia. 
Here are 3 Songs from  that dog, one each from the two reissued albums and one from their latest album, Old LP.  Enjoy!
“He’s Kissing Christian” (taken from Totally Crushed Out):

“Never Say Never” (taken from Retreat From The Sun):

“Just The Way” (taken from Old LP):

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Bush – Live In Tampa – Blu-Ray/DVD/CD

With live shows and live venues cancelling and closing up due to the current state of affairs, music fans are looking for any live music fix they can get.  To that end, 90’s alt-rock lifers, Bush recently released a live Blu-Ray/DVD/CD set titled, Live In Tampa, via Cleopatra Records/MVD.  Filmed in 4K UHD utilizing 15 multi cameras, the performance was filmed last year at the MidFlorida Amphitheater in Tampa, during their successful Altimate Tour with fellow 90’s alt-rockers Live and Our Lady Peace.   
Live In Tampa features a 12-song set packed with hits including, “Machinehead”, “Swallowed”, “Little Things”, “Chemicals Between Us” and “Comedown”.  They also perform the heavy, standout track, “Bullet Holes”, which was included on both the John Wick 3 soundtrack and their recently released studio album, The Kingdom.      
Frontman Gavin Rossdale remains an engaging and energetic performer and is locked in with his band featuring, lead guitarist Chris Traynor, bassist Corey Britz and drummer Nik Hughes, in this beautifully shot 90-minute performance.  Completing the package is an interview with Rossdale. 
Watch the trailer here:

Listen to “Chemicals Between Us” from Live In Tampa here:

Friday, July 17, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat

Koney – “Combos” (K.C. musician Connor Ervin (also of Shy Boys) has chosen a new moniker – Koney – for his solo project, formerly known as The ACBs.  His self-titled debut album as Koney is being rolled out digitally over the next few months with plans to release physical versions via High Dive Records later this year.   Ervin’s hushed voice and catchy, swooning melodies are surrounded by warbly synths and 70’s lounge charm.  Check out the slinky R&B rhythm of the album opener below.  Currently, you can preorder the digital version of the album for only $1!)

Danzig – “One Night” (The King of Goth Punk covers the King of Rock n Roll.  Danzig recently released a full length album of Elvis Presley covers, aptly-titled, Danzig Sings Elvis, via evilive/Cleopatra Records.  Glenn’s inimitable baritone is the spotlightas he takes on lesser known Presley tunes, and is assisted by longtime collaborator, Tommy Victor of Prong with the arrangements that give a little goth gloom to the bluesy ballads; creating his own bran d of doom-wop.)

The National Parks –“Waiting For Lightning” (The Utah –based folk-pop band recently released their fourth album, Wildflower.  Pair their close-knit, complementary male/female vocals and sharp pop hooks with the heartfelt, inspiring lyrical themes and uplifting, upbeat melodies; for the perfect sing-along salve for the current state of affairs.)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Stream It From The Mountain: Unwed Sailor – Look Alive

As Unwed Sailor, Johnathon Ford (Pedro the Lion/Roadside Monument) has been churning out bass guitar led propulsive post-rock instrumentals for over two decades.  His latest album, Look Alive, is out now on limited cassette and digital via Steadfast Records and on vinyl from Old Bear Records.   
On Look Alive, Ford is joined by guitarist David Swatzell and drummer Matthew Putman; together they have created their most melodically-stirring album yet with moody melodies, elements of 90’s alt-rock and swathes of synths sparkling against a dense shoegaze-inspired background.  The opening track, “Glaring” is a danceable slice of modern New Romantic pop.  Another standout, “Camino Reel” features a fuzzed out bass groove that recalls Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. 
Stream Look Alive here:

Friday, June 12, 2020

REISSUE: Rush – Permanent Waves – 40th Anniversary

Rush, the preeminent prog-rock trio, recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their iconic album, Permanent Waves, with a deluxe reissue, out now via Mercury/Anthem/UMe. 
Permanent Waves was a bit of a turning point for the Canadian band, as they stepped away from the epic, lengthy suites they were best known for and streamlined their sound with tighter arrangements, shorter song lengths and catchier melodies.  Led by the singles - the dynamic reggae-inspired “The Spirit Of Radio” and instant classic, “Freewill”, as well as the propulsive standout, “Natural Selection”; the album showcased another side of the band that would propel them for years to come.
The 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available now on 3LP or 2CD edition or as a Super Deluxe Edition that includes all of the above and more.  In addition to the 2015 remastering of the original album, the deluxe editions are highlighted by twelve previously unreleased live recordings from the Permanent Waves World Tour in 1980.  Standouts include, “Jacob’s Ladder” and “By-Tor & The Snow Dog” which features a drum solo from the late Neil Peart, and a full side dedicated to the opus, “Cygnus X-1” and “Cygnus X-1 Book II”.  The beautiful package also features an updated design and cover art by Hugh Syme and a 12x12 lyric booklet with tons of unreleased illustrations and photos.
Additionally, the Super Deluxe edition package includes a 20-page 5”x7” notepad as a collectible item, reproduced from a newly discovered piece of Le Studio letterhead. Two tour programs are also included in this package: the official 1980 World Tour program and the very rare, unofficial The Words & Pictures Vol II UK-only tour program. The super deluxe edition box set is rounded out with a 40-page hard cover book with unreleased photos and exclusive liner notes, 3 collectible band member replica backstage laminates, a 24”x36” poster and 3 Neil Peart handwritten lyric sheets.
It’s a testament to Geddy, Alex and Neil that 40 years later, songs like the aptly-titled “The Spirit Of Radio” and “Freewill” from Permanent Waves have been in rotation on rock radio since their release.  This box set will help to ensure their “spirit” lives on for another 40 years!
Check out 3 Songs from the 40th Anniversary Reissue of Permanent Waves here:
“By-Tor & The Snow Dog: (Live in London, 1980 / Audio):

“Natural Science” (Live in Manchester, 1980 / Audio):

“The Spirit Of Radio” (Live In Manchester, 1980 / Audio):

Friday, May 29, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat - Extended Edition

Damien Jurado – “Ochoa” (The Seattle singer-songwriter continues his prolific tear with his third album in as many years – and fifteenth overall - with the release of What’s New, Tomboy?, out now via Mama Bird Recording Co.  Assisted by multi-instrumentalist Josh Gordon – who provides some expressive bass lines among other things – Jurado weaves stories like no other, blending classic pop and folk to perfection once again.)

Broken Social Scene – “Superconnected” (The Canadian indie rock institution played the Third Man Records’ Blue Room Stage in June of 2018 and the celebratory 5-song set was recorded, mixed and mastered live, in real time, direct to vinyl.  The set list includes fan favorite “Cause = Time”, “Stay Happy” from their most recent album, 2017’s Hug Of Thunder and the bittersweet standout track, “Superconnected”, heard here.) 

Fake Names – “First Everlasting” (Fake Names is a new supergroup consisting of punk rock royalty; with guitarists Brian Baker of Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, and Bad Religion and Michael Hampton of S.O.A., Embrace, and One Last Wish, along with vocalist Dennis Lyxzén of Refused and drummer Johnny Temple of Girls Against Boys and Soulside.  Together they create a power-pop fuelled brand of punk rock heavy on harmonies and hooks on their stunning self-titled debut album, out now on Epitaph Records.)

The Garden – “Clench To Stay Awake” (The Nevada-based duo consisting of twin brothers Wyatt & Fletcher Shears recently released their album titled, Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, via Epitaph Records.  The brothers Shears create a garden of sounds that includes everything from throat-shredding hardcore punk, spastic electronica, hip-hop and glimmers of alt-pop.  Check out the explosive and empowering opening track here.)

Friday, May 15, 2020

REISSUE: Redd Kross – Phaseshifter & Show World

Redd Kross was formed in the late 70’s by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald.  What started out as a teenage punk band grew into a power-pop powerhouse.  The band released their seventh album titled, Beyond The Door, last year to great acclaim.  This year marks forty years as a band and to celebrate, Third Man Records has just reissued their excellent 90’s albums, Phaseshifter and Show World on vinyl for the very first time in the U.S.
I was first introduced to Redd Kross and their 1993 major label debut, Phaseshifter, during their unforgettable live performance of standout single, “Jimmy’s Fantasy” on MTV’s short-lived Jon Stewart Show.  Their punk-informed power-pop had boatloads of killer melodies and elements of 60’s psych-pop which they honed to pop perfection on the criminally-underrated 1997 album, Show World. 
Pick up the 180g vinyl reissues of Phaseshifter and Show World via Third Man Records here:
Check out 3 Songs from Redd Kross below!
“Jimmy’s Fantasy” (taken from Phaseshifter and starring actor Jason Lee):

“Mess Around” (taken from):
“Lady In The Front Row” (taken from Phaseshifter):

Friday, April 03, 2020

Stream It From The Mountain: Fullbloods – Soft And Virtual Touch

Fullbloods is the indie-pop project of K.C.-based songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Ross Brown (also of Shy Boys).  Brown’s third album, Soft And Virtual Touch is out today on High Dive Records; available digitally, on black vinyl and limited edition blue cassette.
The lushly-layered “headphones-worthy” album - filled with blissful pop melodies with weird 70’s-inspired synths and elements of prog-pop - is led by the smooth, 70’s-indebted standout, “Worry Entertainment” and the bubbly single, “Present By Proxy”; both of which feature the Cuíca, a distinctly unique Portuquse percussion instrument. 
Grab your headphones and escape this crazy world for while with Fullbloods new album!
Stream Soft And Vitual Touch here:       

Friday, March 27, 2020

REISSUE: Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair - 35th Anniversary

80’s pop-rock duo Tears For Fears recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of their breakthrough sophomore album Songs From The Big Chair.  Led by the absolutely massive and still inescapable singles, “Shout”, Everybody Wants To Rule The World and “Head Over Heels”, Songs From The Big Chair is one of the absolute best pop albums of the 80’s.  To celebrate the occasion, Mercury/UMe has recently released the album on picture disc vinyl and a reissue of the out of print 5CD/1DVD Super Deluxe box set, originally released in 2014 for the 30th anniversary.   

The Super Deluxe version is the definitive edition of this highly-influential album as it is loaded with extras.  Disc one is comprised of the original album, remastered in 2014 as well as nine B-sides from the era including standouts, “The Marauders”, “The Conflict” and the piano version of “The Working Hour”.  Disc two is made up of single and radio edits of the songs as well as an audio interview with Curt and Roland.  Disc three features remixes and extended version of the songs including the Urban mix of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and Dub and Acapella versions of “Shout”.  Disc four is worth the price of admission with fourteen unreleased recordings including early mixes and versions of the songs recorded with Richard Skinner and six songs recorded live at Massey Hall.  Disc five includes both a new 5.1 audio mix (mixed by Steven Wilson)  and the 2014 stereo mix of Songs From The Big Chair that make these already huge songs sound even clearer and more incredible.  The sixth and final disc is a DVD with an interview with producer Chris Hughes, the “Scenes From The Big Chair” documentary, BBC TV appearances and the music videos that helped make Tears For Fears stars in the MTV age.  Completing the package is a replica tour program and a booklet filled with rare photos and new interviews with Roland and Curt.   
Songs From The Big Chair, with its huge pop hooks and layered, nuanced sound proved that Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith were ahead of their time and after 35 years, these songs live on and will live on for another 35 years with this incredible box set. 
Revisit the very 80’s video for “Head Over Heels” now newly remastered in HD here:

Friday, March 20, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat

Aaron Beckham – “Jagged Coast” (After releasing a couple of records of alt-country and folk music on his own, L.A. singer-songwriter and filmmaker Aaron Beckham recently released a new EP titled, Songs From The Triangle Room via Devil In The Woods.  The eight-song EP – produced by Jason Lytle of Grandaddy - acts as the perfect introduction and a greatest hits compilation of sorts, as it collects both new material and older songs that were re-recorded specifically for this release)  

Her Silo – “I Should Be Ashes” (Her Silo is the moniker used by Seattle indie-rock singer-songwriter Jessica Lambert, who recently released her very promising debut album, Don’t Forget The Heart That’s Beating.  The album was produced by indie-folk artist Joshua James who performs on the album as well and reveals Lambert as an emerging voice with her melancholic yet colorful folk-leaning alternative rock that recalls Cat Power at times.  Lyrically, she paints poetic pictures of anxiety and loneliness that are relatable with catchy melodies that will get stuck in your head.)

Pluralone – “Was Never There” (Pluralone is the solo recording moniker of former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.  The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was supposed to tour - in support of his debut album, To Be One With You - with Pearl Jam this Spring but the tour was canceled due to the current global pandemic.  The album, which features guests performances from Jack Irons, Flea and Eric Avery of Jane’s Addiction, was released last fall on ORG Music and is a layered and gorgeous dream-pop trip; the perfect, transcendent soundtrack for your self-quarantined new reality.)

Friday, March 13, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat

Monophonics – “Chances” (After last year’s great solo debut, neo-soul vocal powerhouse Kelly Finnigan returns today with his Bay Area based band Monophonics, and their fourth album, It’s Only Us, via Colemine Records.  Alongside a powerful message of unity in these trying times, the new album goes heavy on classic soul and psych-rock with elements of funk for a timeless sounding album and their best, most meaningful effort yet.)

Caroline Rose – “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever?” (New York singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Rose once again changes up her sound with her fourth album, Superstar, out now on New West Records. Where her last album was giddy with 90’s pop melodies and elements of punk and surf-rock, Superstar is just as energetic but focuses on shiny 80’s synths and super-danceable rhythms.  Lyrically, Rose develops a concept about fame, fortune and the good, bad and ugly therein with her usual snappy wit and knack for an infectious melody.)       

Jupe Jupe – “How Could We Both Be In Love” (Seattle synthpoppers Jupe Jupe recently released a new EP, titled, Nightfall.  The 5-song EP – recorded and mixed by Matt Bayles - is melancholic yet made to make you move with driving beats and vocal melodies that switch between soaring and swooning with ease.  Check out the standout track here, with its 80’s dance club ready beat and swirling saxophone solos; visions of Depeche Mode, the Cure and MTV’s 120 Minutes will dance in your head.)      

Thursday, March 05, 2020

SHOW ALERT: Dashboard Confessional and The Get Up Kids @ Newport Music Hall 3/6

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Dashboard Confessional and to celebrate, Chris Carraba recently released the career-spanning compilation, The Best Ones Of The Best Ones, which features twenty tracks taken from all seven studio albums, the So Impossible and The Drowning EPs, and the band’s legend-making MTV Unplugged performance. 
Additionally, the band has embarked on a massive tour where they will perform breakout album, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most and fan-favorite A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar in their entirety on select nights.  Dashboard Confessional and emo-era favorites The Get Up Kids - who recently released their new album, Problems, last year to great acclaim – will make a stop at Newport Music Hall in Columbus on Friday, March 6.
Here are 3 Songs from Dashboard Confessional and The Get Up Kids to get you ready for the show!
Dashboard Confessional – “Screaming Infidelities (Live in Hartford, Connecticut, 2001)”:

Dashboard Confessional - “The Sharp Hint of New Tears” taken from the MTV Unplugged performance:

The Get Up Kids – “Satellite” taken from Problems, out now on Polyvinyl Records:

Monday, March 02, 2020

Stream It From The Mountain: Thighmaster – Between The Knees And Squeeze

Thighmaster is an enigmatic new Lawrence, KS-based garage-pop band led by Maxfield Yoder of Dean Monkey & the Dropouts and Plains.  Their debut release titled, Between The Knees And Squeeze, is out now on High Dive Records. 
The 7-song collection with titles such as, “Jane Fonda You” and The Good, The Bad, The Boxflex” evokes neon leotards, jazzercise on VHS and late night infomercials.  Musically, Yoder and crew blend hip-shaking post-punk rhythms, dream pop bliss and surf rock jangle for an impressive debut.   
Stream Between The Knees And Squeeze here:

Friday, February 28, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat

Hughes Family Band – “Death Of Me” (The Milwaukee-based band - featuring members of Iron Pizza, Sex Scenes, Bad Wig and Appleseed - foregoes their punk rock pedigree to create honky tonkin’ country-leaning rock and roll on their debut 7” single, out now on Good Land Records.  Led by the impressive A-side here, their brand of horn-laced country rock recalls Rolling Stones and the rollicking 70’s bar bands and is a lot of fun.  I can’t wait to hear more from the Hughes Family!)

Ghosty – “Prodigal Sun” (After a long seven year wait, Ghosty, the Lawrence, Kansas indie-pop trio led by Andrew Connor has finally returned with new music in the form of a 3-song EP titled, Prodigal Sun, out today.  The songs were recorded in 2014, feature the assistance of guitartist/keyboardist Ross Brown of Shy Boys and Fullbloods, and were meant to follow up their excellent self-titled album released the year prior but never saw the light until now.  Listen to the standout title track here with its bright synth melodies and danceable beat, here.)

Black Market Brass – “War Room” (The Minneapolis-based instrumental Afrobeat/funk hybrids return today with their stunning sophomore album, Undying Thirst, via Colemine Records.  Boasting 11 members, they create a towering wall of sound with lyrical horn melodies, complex yet funky strutting grooves, psychedelic guitar freakouts and strange electronics bursting through the cracks.  Their take on the West African sound of the 70’s is laced with a bit of a punk rock spirit and is infectiously danceable.)

Monday, February 24, 2020

REISSUE: Neneh Cherry - Raw Like Sushi (30th Anniversary)

Last year, 80’s pop singer Neneh Cherry’s debut album, Raw Like Sushi turned 30 year old.  To celebrate, Virgin/UMe recently reissued the highly-influential album as a deluxe 3LP or 3CD set that has been remastered at Abbey Road.    
At the end of the 80’s and at the dawn of the 90’s, Neneh Cherry created a fresh, amalgamated pop sound that dipped equally into R&B, dance and hip-hop with her debut album - Raw Like Sushi – that spawned five hit singles, led by the incredible smash hit, “Buffalo Stance”.  Other hit singles include, “Manchild” (produced by Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack), “Heart” and “Kisses On The Wind”.  The 2 discs of bonus tracks are highlighted by 5 remixes of “Buffalo Stance” and remixes of “Manchild” by Massive Attack and Smith N Mighty.  
The deluxe box set also includes a 48-page 12x12 book loaded with photos from the era and new interviews and liner notes that help to shine a light on the album’s worldwide appeal and lasting legacy. 
To order of for more info:
Watch the video for “Buffalo Stance” here:

Stream the bonus track, “Heart (Club Mix)” here:

Friday, February 21, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat – featuring a video premiere from Dayton’s The Nautical Theme!

The Nautical Theme – “Break My Fall” (Dayton-based duo, The Nautical Theme are set to release their sophomore album, Lows And Highs, next month.  In anticipation, they’ve released the lush lead single, “Break My Fall” and I am pleased to premiere the video for the standout track, below.  The new album sees vocalist/keyboardist Tesia Mallory and vocalist/guitarist Matt Shetler broaden their stunning harmony-rich folk-pop sound with fuller, more dynamic arrangements that include live drums for the first time.)   

The Flaming Lips – “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton” (Last year marked the 20th anniversary of The Flaming Lip’s album, The Soft Bulletin.  To celebrate the occasion, Warner Records and the band recently released a live performance of the album in its entirety that was recorded in 2016 at Red Rocks with The Colorado Symphony and conducted by André de Riddler.  Alongside a full 68-piece orchestra and 57-person choir, the veteran band with psych-pop leanings transforms the album’s songs into majestic new beings.  Check out the cinematic and syrupy sweet strings that balance the fuzzed-out bass on “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton”, taken from the live album, here.)

Ethan Gruska – "Enough For Now (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)” (L.A. singer-songwriter Ethan Gruska used to play in The Belle Brigade alongside his sister Barbara who now is a touring member of Foo Fighters.  Gruska makes his stellar solo debut with En Garde, out now on Warner Records.  He is joined by several guests on the album including Moses Sumney, Lianne La Havas and Phoebe Bridgers - on the standout track heard here – but its Ethan’s breathy vocal style and sophisticated synth-driven jazz and R&B-informed brand of pop music that shines the brightest.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Stream It From The Mountain: Restless Habs – Taking The Fast Way Down

After releasing 6 EPs over the last 11 years, Cleveland indie-punk veterans, Restless Habs,  finally released their long-awaited debut album, Taking The Fast Way Down, last week on Steadfast Records.   
The wait was worth it, as the trio - featuring Ken Blaze and Peter Woodward of Cleveland pop-core legends the Unknown and drummer Anthony Panico (ex-Sleepwalker Defense) - create an incredibly ear-worming brand of melodic Midwestern pop-punk with an emphasis on volume and sing-along choruses.  Standouts include the aptly-titled tracks, “Casual And Reckless” and “Anthem” with their driving rhythms and bombastic, nostalgia-laced hooks. 
The album is available digitally and on limited edition CD, cassette and 140gm vinyl, including an opaque white colorway limited to 100 copies. 
To order, please visit:
Stream Taking The Fast Way Down here:

Friday, February 14, 2020

3 Songs: On Repeat

Ebony Tusks – “HDF” (Ebony Tusks is the emerging Lawrence, KS based trio, consisting of DJ/producer Daniel Smith and vocalist/producers Geese Giesecke and Marty Hilliard.  Their recently released single, “HDF” is a booming slice of hard core hip-hop with minimalist electronics and sharp, unnerving commentary.  The single  - featuring the instrumental on the B-side - is available on 7” vinyl from High Dive Records and cassette from Intelligent Sound.  Look for their debut album later in 2020!)

Christopher Paul Stelling – “Trouble Don’t Follow Me” (CPS, the NYC folk-rock troubadour is joined in the studio by Ben Harper, who produced his new album, Best Of Luck, out now on Anti Records.  Much like the bombastic blues-rock of standout track, "Hear Me Calling" and the soulful and anthemic single, heard here; Harper helps Stelling to expand his sound further and the result is upbeat and hopeful despite dealing with heavier lyrical themes and easily his best effort yet.)       

Andy Shauf – “Things I Do” (The Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist recently released his highly-anticipated fourth album, The Neon Skyline, out now on Anti Records.  Shauf lends his stellar storytelling to a concept album that follows a night in a downtrodden guy’s life with every subtle detail of the ups and downs chronicled as only Shauf can.  Musically, he blends breezy folk with soft rock touchstones such as woodwinds and organs that evoke the lamp-lit lounge of the album’s title.)     

Friday, February 07, 2020

REISSUE: Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York 25th Anniversary

Late last year, Nirvana’s legendary MTV Unplugged In New York album celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Originally released in 1994 and recorded just five months before Kurt Cobain’s death, the album quickly became a way to mourn and pay tribute to the troubled yet iconic songwriter.  In honor, Geffen/Ume released an expanded and remastered reissue of the album as a 2LP set pressed onto 180g vinyl housed in a gatefold jacket with silver foil embossing in November. 
The set is highlighted by the inclusion of five rehearsal performances previously only available on the DVD release, including, “Polly”, “Plateau” and “Pennyroyal Tea”, as well as plenty of between song banter, for an intimate peek behind the curtain.  Additionally, a download of the expanded album is included on an album cover sticker. 
For more info or to order:
To celebrate, here are 3 Songs from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged In New York album:     
“Come As You Are (Live On MTV Unplugged, 1993 / Rehearsal)”:

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Live On MTV Unplugged Unedited)”:

“Lake Of Fire (Live On MTV Unplugged, 1993 / Unedited)”: