Friday, June 15, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Us, Today – “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)” (The Cincinnati-based experimental instrumental rock trio, composed of Kristin Agee on vibraphone, guitarist Joel Griggs and drummer Jeff Mellott, wil release their fourth album today, titled, Computant.  The new album heavily features synths and electronics, adding a new dimension to their already genre-defiant sound that blends together elements of avant-garde jazz, math rock and post-rock.  Check out the shape-shifting standout single with its frenetic rhythm and dynamic melodies here.)   

Yuno – “No Going Back” (The multi-cultural Jacksonville native makes his Sub Pop debut with a new six-song mini-album, Moodie, out today.  Led by the infectious summer anthem, “No Going Back” with its sunny, sing-along melodies and bouncy rhythm; Yuno creates a genre-blurring brand of bedroom-pop that incorporates everything from skate punk, synth-pop, reggae, R&B and Soundcloud rap for a very promising debut.)

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “Wonderful Day For The Race” (After recently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their breakout 1997 album, Let’s Face It, the Boston ska-core legends return today with their tenth album titled, While We’re At It.  The excellent new album tackles social issues and is filled to bursting with their infectious and danceable ska-punk anthems that are good enough to start a brand new ska revival on its own!  Check out the uplifting and inspiring standout single here.)   

The Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “Talking Straight” (The Melbourne band has been building steam the last two years with two excellent EPs – last year’s The French Press made my Top 5 EPs list - and will release their debut album, Hope Downs, on Sub Pop today.  The Aussie quintet tracked the album live in the studio and the result is a smart, slack-jawed style of indie rock with highly-melodic elements of jangle-pop, post-punk and surf-rock that delivers on the promise their first EP’s displayed.)       

Thursday, June 14, 2018

REISSUE: The Breeders – Vinyl Reissues of Pod, Last Splash, Mountain Battles & Title TK

Ohio’s 90’s alt-rock legends, The Breeders are riding high at the moment.  They are currently on a world tour in support of their highly-anticipated fifth album, All Nerve, which was released in March on 4AD.  The excellent new album sees sisters Kim and Kelley Deal reunited with the classic Last Splash-era rhythm section of bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson.  This lineup reunited in 2012 for a lengthy tour and 4AD released a comprehensive box set in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Last Splash, entitled, LSXX. 
Now in celebration of its 25th anniversary, 4AD has released The Breeders’ first four albums on vinyl.  Unbelievably, this is the first U.S. vinyl pressing for their 1990 debut, Pod and 1993’s Last Splash.  The albums, Mountain Battles and Title TK were also reissued on vinyl after being out of print since their original release in 2002 and 2008, respectively.  
So now you can relive the first time you heard icons Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly team up on Pod, feed your hunger for nostalgia with “Cannonball” and “Divine Hammer” from Last Splash and complete your Breeders collection with Mountain Battles and Title Tk, on vinyl as they were meant to be heard!     
Stream “Divine Hammer” from Last Splash here:

Friday, June 08, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

The Get Up Kids – “Maybe” (The 90’s emo-punk heroes return today with their first new material since 2011, making their label debut with Polyvinyl, with the 4-song Kicker EP.  Though obviously more mature, the new music from Matt, Jim, James, Rob and Ryan sounds just as energetic, immediately catchy and emotionally-charged as their early days.  Check out the fuzzy guitars and sing-along hooks of the standout opening track here.)

Gruff Rhys – “Frontier Man” (As we anxiously await a new Super Furry Animals album, frontman Gruff Rhys returns with his fifth solo album titled, Babelsberg.  Out today on Rough Trade, the new album is timeless yet totally of the times.  With his quirky sense of humor and melody intact, he has added stirringly sublime 60’s pop-inspired orchestral arrangements - from composer Stephen McNeff and performed by the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales - that contrast perfectly with his politically-charged lyrical themes.  Rhys will also embark on a world tour this fall with a local stop in Columbus on October 13.)  

Erin Rae – “June Bug” (The Nashville singer-songwriter filters her country-leaning folk sound through a dreamy, Jon Brion-like lens on her stunning second album, Putting On Airs, out today on Single Lock.  Rae’s descriptive personal narratives and honeyed voice are ornamented with elements of 70’s California folk-pop, syrupy strings and 60’s psychedelia; the best example being the standout single heard here.)

YOB – “Our Raw Heart” (The Oregon-based progressive doom metal trio will release their eighth album, Our Raw Heart, today via Relapse Records.  The unlikely new album almost never happened as frontman Mike Scheidt nearly died of complications from an intestinal disease.  The resulting album is scarred by life yet remains hopeful and full of the thick, slow stoner-esque grooves and enormously heavy riffs that you have come to expect.  Listen to the searing and impassioned title track here.)  

Maps & Atlases – “Fall Apart” (After a six year hiatus, the experimental Chicago indie rock band, led by frontman Dave Davison, recently released their long-awaited third album, Lightlessness Is Nothing New, via Barsuk Records.  Previously pigeonholed as math-rock, the band has continuously branched out in new directions and this dynamic new album is no exception; as this breezy and buzzing lead single finds the band showcasing a danceable, festival-ready brand of synth-pop.)         

The Sidekicks – “Don’t Feel Like Dancing” (The long-running Cleveland-born/Columbus-based indie rock band - led by Steve Ciolek - recently released their highly-anticipated fifth album, Happiness Hours, on Epitaph Records.  Produced by John Agnello, the new album continues their trend toward scruffy yet poppy, folk-leaning indie-rock but with horns and pianos added for good measure.  Ciolek says he “rarely [lets his] nostalgia have power”, but this standout track, from which the quote was taken, is sure to induce nostalgia for the indie rock sound of the 90’s Pacific Northwest variety.)     

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Stream It From The Mountain: Queen City Silver Stars – Wha Gwaan

The Cincinnati-based reggae/world music hybrids, Queen City Silver Stars, consist of members of folk-rock favorites Frontier Folk Nebraska and also have experience in the Miami University Steel Drum Band.  Together they fuse Caribbean steel pan drums and infectiously danceable Graceland-esque World Music rhythms and riffs with catchy, folk-leaning songwriting. 
After releasing two albums, their most recent release is an EP titled, Wha Gwaan, and it’s a 5-song shot of Summer sun for your ears!  Standout track, “Midwest Mind, Caribbean Soul” is effectively the band’s mission statement and the perfect introduction to the band’s sound that blends a beachy steel drum melody with country-leaning pedal steel.  Another standout, “Don’t Take Da Bait” finds the playful steel drum melody mimicked by the synth before dissolving into dubbed-out bliss.     
Stream Wha Gwaan here:

Friday, June 01, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat

Gruesome – “Inhumane” (The old school death metal revivalists return with their sophomore album, Twisted Prayers, out today on Relapse Records.  The band - featuring current and former members of Exhumed, Possessed and Malevolent Creation - pays tribute to the music of the late Chuck Schuldiner of Death.  The new album takes its cues from the 1990 album, Spiritual Healing with more emphasis on melody and groove along with less gore-influenced lyrics and more socially conscious topics.  Spiritual Healing-era guitarist James Murphy also contributes his distinct solos to two of the tracks on the 8-song album.)     

Gatherers – “The Floorboards Are Breathing” (The New Jersey post-hardcore crew is set to release their third album, We Are Alive Beyond Repair, today on Equal Vision Records.  The stellar new album reveals itself to be visceral and atmospheric with vocalist Rich Weinberger’s most poetically personal yet sneeringly ambiguous lyrics yet.  This is dark, moody post-punk inspired post-hardcore at its finest!)  

Personality Cult – “Loose Ends” (Personality Cult is the new post-punk project from LA-based musician James Clifford, who also performs as Modern Howls.  The 3-song self-titled debut EP is out today and offers another side of Clifford’s personality with nostalgic New Wave-inspired synths and danceable post-punk rhythms for a modern take on the music New Order, the Cure and Depeche Mode made in the 80’s.)    

Thursday, May 31, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Bunbury Music Festival 2018 Edition)

Bishop Briggs – “White Flag” (The London born Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter recently released her hotly-anticipated debut album, Church Of Scars on Island Records.  She will bring her soulful, blues and Gospel-soaked voice and festival-ready blend of folk, pop and electronic beats to the Bunbury stage on Friday, June 1.  Stream the sharply anthemic and empowering single here.)   

Remo Drive – “Blue Ribbon” (The Minnesota emo revivalists recently signed with Epitaph Records who quickly reissued the duo’s 2017 debut album, Greatest Hits as well as a new 3-song EP, titled Pop Music.  Remo Drive will open the last day of Bunbury on Sunday, June 3; showcasing their hybrid of Midwestern emo and power-punk.  Check out the bouncy, 90’s-esque lead track from the Pop Music EP here.) 

Lillie Mae – “Wash Me Clean” (After a lifetime of performing - including as part of Jack White’s band - the Nashville singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist released her Jack White-produced album, Forever And Then Some, last year on Third Man Records.  Mae will bring her unique brand of rootsy Americana to the Bunbury stage on Sunday, June 3.  Check out the close-knit harmonies and front-porch instrumentation of the standout single here.)  

Lift The Medium – “Number One” (The Cincinnati-based progressive rock band will perform to a hometown crowd at Bunbury on Friday, June 1.  The quartet - consisting of vocalist/guitarist Joey Vasselet, lead guitarist/vocalist Joe Bartone, drummer/pianist Jake Bartone and bassist Lj Lillie - create an intricately-arranged yet highly-melodic rock sound that incorporates elements of alternative, classic rock and metal.  Check out the powerful lead single from their 2017 sophomore album, Moment In Time here.  And maybe they will throw in one of their heralded Soundgarden covers as well…)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

INTERVIEW: Friday Giants | Bunbury 2018

credit: Chris Hughes

Emerging Cincinnati-based pop-punk band Friday Giants are set to play to a hometown crowd at the Bunbury Music Festival on Saturday, June 2.  The band – featuring vocalist Gavin Bonar, guitarists Chuck Ralenkotter and Kyle Rhodes, bassist Zac Taylor and drummer Logan Boatright - have been building steam since forming in 2013 on the strength of  their energetic live performances and ridiculously catchy and melodic pop-punk sound that incorporates heavier elements of hardcore.
In anticipation, Atlas and the Anchor spoke with vocalist Gavin Bonar about playing to a hometown crowd, their influences and more.     
First of all, how cool is it to be able to play to a hometown crowd at the Bunbury Music Festival this year?
Bunbury was one of our goals for 2018, but it was more like a 'shoot for the stars' kind of goal. We've been submitting to play it ever since we started almost 5 years ago. We never in a million years thought we'd be selected after getting rejected so many times. To know that all of our hard work in the Cincy music scene is finally paying off has been surreal to us. It came to us at a time when we felt a bit defeated. It's hard to stay relevant in the music scene with how saturated everything is now-a-days. All of us actually cried at some point during the week we received the news! Bunbury has become a staple of the Cincy Music Scene and for us to get the nod is incredibly humbling. – Gavin Bonar
As an introduction for new listeners, I would say your heavy yet highly melodic pop-punk sound reminds me of early New Found Glory and A Day To Remember. But who are some of your least obvious influences?
GB: Well, thanks! Those are some our all-time favorite bands for sure!  Green Day. We actually just played a Green Day cover show at Bogart's at an almost sold out audience. It was crazy when we sat down to listen to all of their songs and we then realized how much influence those guys had on us. We actually put up an acoustic cover on our YouTube channel recently from their new album!
What is your favorite song to play live and why?
GB: We all dig “Twenty Nothings”. It's the coolest feeling in the world when you hear more than a hundred voices yell back the chorus! The best stage we had a chance to do that at was Bogart's at Brochella last August. That was definitely one of our favorite shows of all time.
I know you just released your debut album, Twenty Nothings a little over a year ago, but where are you in the creative process for your next album?
GB: If you want to be a successful band, you can't ever stop writing music. We are all obsessed with songwriting anyways so there's always something cooking in Friday Giants kitchen. Right now, we're revisiting our old material that didn't make the cut for Twenty Nothings and we're testing out some new ideas on top of that. It's important to advance and mature your previous material but to also stay true to who you are. We've got a few tricks up our sleeves that we're doing our best to keep under wraps right now. We can't wait to release new material in the future. We know it'll be worth the time.
Many people are excited to see you but what bands are you most excited to see at Bunbury?
GB: I think most of us are having a hard time processing that we are playing the same day as Incubus. It's going to be unreal to see a band that most of grew up idolizing. We're also pretty stoked that Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and Third Eye Blind are hitting the stage the same day as us! We'd be lying if we said we all didn't cry when Blink-182 was announced for the festival too!

Be sure to check out Friday Giants at Bunbury on Saturday and stream their 2017 debut album, Twenty Somethings here:

For tickets and more info:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

SHOW ALERT: Bunbury Music Festival 2018

Now in its seventh year, the Bunbury Music Festival will take place once again this weekend in Cincinnati.  This year the headliners are dance-pop duo The Chainsmokers on Friday, 90’s alt-rock survivors Incubus on Saturday, and the legendary Jack White will close out the festival on Sunday night.  
Additionally, over 50 bands will play during the weekend including, Third Eye Blind, Blink-182, Manchester Orchestra, Remo Drive, Lecrae, Coheed And Cambria, Royal Blood, Bishop Briggs, Post Malone, Foster The People, Welshly Arms, The Front Bottoms, Dropkick Murphys, Young The Giant, Lillie Mae, Fitz and The Tantrums, Friday Giants and many more.     
For tickets and more info:
Stay tuned this week for more Bunbury-related content including, exclusive interviews and a special 3 Songs: On Repeat dedicated to Bunbury bands!

Friday, May 25, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

CHVRCHES – “My Enemy” (The Scottish synth-pop trio return with Love Is Dead, their third album, out today on Glassnote Records.  The new album was produced by slick pop-producer extraordinaire, Greg Kurstin and Lauren Mayberry and crew have created an even more pop-forward sound while remaining experimental with their already glossy sound.  The standout track heard here, is a dark duet with The National’s Matt Berninger as his booming baritone contrasts perfectly with Mayberry’s lighter, brighter voice.)

Jo Passed – “Glass” (The Vancouver-based art-rock band led by frontman Jo Hirabayashi is set to release their highly-anticipated debut album and label debut for Sub Pop.  The album titled, Their Prime, is truly one of a kind; the songs are noisy and nervy yet dreamy, sounding like Fugazi covering the White Album alongside the quirky pop sense of XTC.  Check out the wiry guitars and off-kilter post-rock rhythms of the standout single, “Glass” here.)         

Ruler – “Get To You” (After previously playing with Rocky Votolato and Cataldo, Seattle singer-songwriter Matt Batey – performing under the moniker, Ruler - will release his debut album, Winning Star Champion today on hometown label, Barsuk.  As Ruler, Batey evokes the Pacific Northwest perfectly as he slips effortlessly between blipping synth-pop and guitar-led indie-rock and addresses personal issues such as anxiety with aplomb.  Listen to the bouncy, synth-driven single here.)    

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – “Refute” (Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks recently released a new album titled, Sparkle Hard, via Matador Records.  The new album is the perfect combination of Malkmus and Mike Clark, Jake Morris and Joanna Bolme’s strengths as a band; where their jammy, prog-rock tendencies give way to acoustic folk and twangy country tunes, with room to spare for new experiments with auto-tune.  The heavily fuzzed-out punk of single, “Shiggy” with its catchy, shouted refrain is an album highlight, as is “Refute”, a country-leaning Silver Jews-esque duet with Kim Gordon, heard here.)        

Lithics – “Excuse Generator” (The Portland art-punks are set to release their sophomore album, Mating Surfaces, today on Kill Rock Stars.  Led by vocalist Aubrey Hornor and her sardonic wit along with guitarist Mason Crumley and the rhythm section of bassist Bob Desaulniers and drummer Wiley Hickson; the quartet creates a twitchy, frantically unhinged yet danceable underground post-punk and New Wave hybrid that channels the sound and aesthetic of late 70’s/early 80’s NYC but with a modern twist.  Be sure to catch Lithics on tour right now with Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks!)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Stream It From The Mountain: Lady Legs - Holy Heatwave

After forming in 2012 and releasing a couple of promising singles, the Birmingham, AL based garage-rock band Lady Legs are finally set to release, Holy Heatwave, their highly-anticipated debut album tomorrow on Communicating Vessels. 
Vocalist/guitarist John Sims, guitarist Grant Galtney, bassist Seth Brown and drummer Ellis Bernstein recorded the album live to tape in the Communicating Vessels studio with producer and label head, Jeffrey Cain (formerly of Remy Zero).  With a loose 90’s slacker vibe, they sound like Pavement playing surf-rock and yet, despite the carefree, breezy melodies and jangly guitars; the lyrics reveal personal and politically-charged themes.    
The standout opening track and lead single, “Real Thing” is an energetic and bright slice of 60’s-inspired surf-pop, as Sims tries to make a real connection in a technological world.  Other standouts include, “French Beach Music” which features an effervescent guitar jangle and pedal steel that ebbs and flows like the tide, and the title track, “Holy Heatwave” with its cascading guitars and psych-pop melodies.       
Holy Heatwave is available now digitally, on CD and limited edition red vinyl in a gatefold package from Communicating Vessels here:
Stream Holy Heatwave here: