Thursday, April 19, 2018

Stream It From The Mountain: Mini Meltdowns – S/T EP


Mini Meltdowns is a new garage-punk trio led by Nashville-by-way-of-Milwaukee drummer Jonny Phillip who has played for the Benjamins, Limbeck, Berwanger, Trapper Scheopp, Tommy Stinson, and Paul Collins over the years.  In addition to drumming for Mini Meltdowns, Phillip shares vocal and guitar duties with Michelle Sullivan, also of Sherbert, and they are joined by former Promise Ring and current Dashboard Confessional bassist, Scott Schoenbeck. 
Together the trio creates a fun and energetic fusion of fuzzy power-pop and bouncy punk rock on their 4-song self-titled debut EP which is out tomorrow on Good Land Records.  Standout tracks include “Hospital” - led by Sullivan - a sneering yet self-depreciating smashing of mental illness and the Phillip-led fuzzed-out surf punk anthem, “Number On Me”.   
To order or for more info: http://www.goodlandrecords.com/
Stream Mini Meltdowns here:

Friday, April 13, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)


King Tuff – “Thru The Cracks” (Kyle Thomas returns today after four years with The Other, his highly-anticipated fifth album as King Tuff.  Released via Sub Pop, the new album shakes off the fuzzy garage-rock atmosphere and attitudes of his previous work for something more psychedelic, power-pop inspired and introspective.  The soaring, bittersweet melodies and guest vocals from Jenny Lewis on the standout single, heard here, make for the perfect reintroduction.) http://kingtuff.life/

A Place To Bury Strangers – “There’s Only One Of Us” (The experimental post-punk trio consisting of Oliver Ackermann, Dion Lunadon, and now official member, Lia Simone Braswell are set to release their fifth album, Pinned, today on Dead Oceans.  The new album sees the band continue to perfect their hauntingly moody, propulsive and noisy yet melodic sound led by the politically-charged single heard here with its buzz-bombing bass line, marching rhythm and catchy, dual male/female vocal melodies.) https://aptbs.lnk.to/pinned     

Gozu – “Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat” (The Boston quartet returns with their excellent new album, Revival, out today on Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records.  On the new album they balance raging riffs with pop-leaning catchiness with ease; blending stomping stoner rock grooves and prog-rock tendencies with grunge-loving melodies for their best album yet and one that rivals that of their like-minded contemporaries, Mastodon.) https://gozu.bandcamp.com/album/equilibriu    

The Moondoggies – “Soviet Barn Fire” (The Washington roots rock crew - led by vocalist/guitarist Kevin Murphy - returns after five years with their fourth album, A Love Sleeps Deep, out today on Hardly Art.   Recorded in Seattle by producer Erik Blood (Shabazz Places, Tacocat); the new album beefs up their pastoral folk sound with an emphasis on rocking riffs and a jam-band’s mentality.  Check out the raucous, barn-burning single here.) www.moondoggiesmusic.com      

The Amazing – “Rewind” (The Swedish indie-rock quintet – led by Christoffer Gunrup - recently released their fifth album, In Transit, on Partisan Records.  The new album wraps their textural, guitar-led shoegaze-inspired brand of dream-pop in jazz-inflected rhythms and gauzy, serenely atmospheric and psychedelic cinematics; creating both mood and memorable melodies.  Listen to the liquid-like guitars and breathy vocal melodies of the standout single here.) http://partisanrecords.com/artist/the-amazing/     


Friday, April 06, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Underoath – “Rapture” (The recently reunited metalcore band returns today after a lengthy hiatus with Erase Me, their long-awaited sixth album and first since 2010.  Released on Fearless Records, the new album – produced by Matt Squire and mixed by Ken Andrews - is sure to be polarizing with the inclusion of explicit language alongside personal and honest lyrical themes such as drug abuse, the band’s demise and rebirth as well as their disillusionment with the Christian religion they used to profess.  Musically, they lean in on the electronics a little more than they have previously but are just as heavy, moody and anthemic as ever.  Be sure to catch the Tampa-based band on tour this spring and summer.) http://underoath777.com/    

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “American Guilt” (The strange, shape-shifting band led by Ruban Nielson is set to release their highly-anticipated fourth album, Sex & Food, today on Jagjaguwar Records.  The new album contains their most eclectic, psychedelic and delightfully weird set of songs yet.  From the blown-out post-punk of “American Guilt” and cosmic funk of “Not In Love We’re Just High” to the deliriously danceable disco rhythms of “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays”, Nielson and crew continue to defy genres and expectations.) http://jagjaguwar.com/release/JAG322/  

MIEN– “Earth Moon” (MIEN is an exciting new project featuring Alex Maas of The Black Angels, Tom Furse of The Horrors, Rishi Dhir of Elephant Stone and John-Mark Lapham of The Earlies.  Their self-titled debut album is out today on Rocket Recordings and isn’t what you might expect from these psych-rock champions.  Though just as psychedelic, they rely on samples, loops and synths as well as electronic rhythms instead of droning, fuzzed-out guitars for a unique sound that modernizes their 60’s psych-pop influences.)     https://mien.bandcamp.com/album/mien  

Khruangbin – “Maria También” (The experimental Texas trio - consisting of bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald Johnson - released their second album, Con Todo El Mundo in January on Dead Oceans.  Their well-travelled and cross-cultural bass-driven sound is influenced by surf-rock and Tarantino soundtracks but this time around they have added elements of 60’s and 70’s Iranian funk and soul music for a languid and almost pastoral vibe complete with thin, twisty guitar lines and percussion-heavy rhythms.) https://khruangbin.bandcamp.com/album/con-todo-el-mundo-n-s-america-edition   
Stream: https://khruangbin.bandcamp.com/track/maria-tambi-n-2

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Heartworn Highways Revisited

After its initial introduction in the early 70’s by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others; the rowdy and rebellious brand of country music dubbed “outlaw country” has seen resurgence in recent years, spearheaded by artists like Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson.  In 1975 the documentary Heartworn Highways dove into the subject following pioneers of the genre on the stage, in the studio and up close and personal at home and featured interviews and performances from Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, Steve Young, Rodney Crowell, Gamble Rogers, Steve Earle, Barefoot Jerry and the Charlie Daniels Band.
To celebrate the film’s recent 40th anniversary, the original filmmaker Wayne Price has created HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED, a new film that revisits the idea of the original film with new interviews from original outlaws Guy Clark, Steve Young and David Allan Coe while highlighting the next generation of Nashville-based "outlaws", with interviews and performances by John McCauley, Jonny Fritz, Nikki Lane, Josh Hedley, Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope, Langhorne Slim, Robert Ellis, Andrew Combs, Shelly Colvin, Phil Hummer and more.   
Watch the trailer for Heartworn Highways Revisited here:

For more info or to order: www.heartwornhighways.com & https://mvdb2b.com/s/HeartwornHighwaysRevisited/MVD1116D

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

SHOW ALERT: The National Homecoming


Indie rock institution The National originally hails from Cincinnati but eventually settled in Brooklyn and found international fame.  At the end of April, they will return home with a bunch of their musician and artist friends for their inaugural Homecoming Festival. 
Curated by The National and in association with MusicNOW, the Homecoming Festival will take place at Smale Park in Cincinnati on April 28 and 29.  The National will headline each night of the weekend and will perform their acclaimed album, The Boxer in its entirety on Sunday night to close out the show.  Also appearing are Dayton’s own alt-rock legends The Breeders as well as Feist, Father John Misty, Future Islands, Moses Sumney, Alvvays, Big Thief, Julien Baker and many more.    
In addition, the Dessner brothers, as part of the 13th installment of their MusicNOW series, have curated several simultaneous classical music and art events including, the Crash Ensemble performing Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee and members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performing Andrew Norman’s The Companian Guide To Rome, as well as photography exhibitions and an installation by Icelandic multimedia artist Ragnar Kjartansson. 
For tickets and more info: https://ntlhomecoming.com/#/
Stay tuned for more coverage and interviews later this month!

Friday, March 30, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat



Jim Button & The Beholders – “Paradise” (Led by vocalist/guitarist Jim Button and featuring members of The Conquerors, El Rey-Tones and Bleachbloodz; the retro-minded K.C. based band has released two excellent digital EPs over the last six months on which they have crafted a fully-formed sound that seamlessly blends gentle, organ-drenched 60’s psych-pop, sunny surf rock and jangly heartland rock.  And now High Dive Records has combined both the Time Never Lies and Paradise EPs onto a limited cassette release, for the band’s first physical release.) https://highdiverecords.bandcamp.com/album/time-never-lies-ep-paradise-ep

Kacey Musgraves – “High Horse” (The pop-country singer-songwriter is set to release her highly-anticipated third album, Golden Hour, today on MCA Nashville.  Musgraves continues to defy genre ideals on the excellent new album by adding in synth-driven dance-funk on the disco-inspired standout single, “High Horse” heard here.  Elsewhere, her melodies are more gossamer than glossy with elements of dream-pop and indie-folk, resulting in her most ambitious and best album yet.) http://www.kaceymusgraves.com/        

Frankie Cosmos – “Jesse” (NY musician Greta Kline and her band – featuring bassist/vocalist David Maine, keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Martin, and drummer Luke Pyenson - continue to blaze a prolific path through indie-rock with the release of their third album, Vessel, out today on their new label, Sub Pop.  The 18-track album spans 33 minutes - double the running time of her debut album – and is highlighted by Kline’s passionately poetic and acutely-observational lyrics.  Musically, they layer on loads of sweet indie-pop melodies and harmonies alongside subtle synths and guitars that alternate from jangly to slightly fuzzy.) http://frankiecosmosband.com/     

Stream It From The Mountain – Smug Brothers – Stray Domino (digital single)


Dayton indie-rock institution, Smug Brothers - led by Kyle Melton and Don Thrasher - have been putting out their brand of “mid-fi” power-pop and indie rock since 2005.  Since 2013, the band also included Brian Baker and Larry Evans and released three full-lengths and a couple of EPs during that time.  Today, they make their last transmission with this lineup, with the release of the 3-song Stray Domino digital single. 
The propulsive power-punk of “Get Some Sweet” leads things off and was recorded during the sessions for their last album, 2017’s Disco Maroon.  The last two tracks; the short and sweet acoustic “The Last Time Is Now” and “Verdict” with its cascading psych-pop and marching beat date back to 2014.    
While this may be the end of Smug Brothers as we have come to know it the last six years, we are promised more is yet to come!
Stream the Stray Domino digital single here:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat – (Extended All Heavy Edition)


By The Grace of God – “A Forever Pledge” (Featuring members of Elliott, Guilt, Black Cross, Endpoint and others; the 90’s hardcore pioneers return with their first new material in over two decades.  The new 6-song EP, Above Fear is out tomorrow on State Of Mind Recordings and features their powerful yet melodic brand of hardcore punk alongside scathing political and fiery social commentary that speaks to these tumultuous times; urging action in the pit and the political arena.  A most welcome and timely return for a sorely missed band.  Check out the anthemic closing track with its hopeful message here.) https://stateofmindrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/above-fear

Zeke – “Working Man” (Seattle-based 90’s punk rock vets return tomorrow with Hellbender, their first album in over fourteen years.  Released on Relapse Records and produced by legend Jack Endino (Nirvana, High on Fire) the new album is fast, furious and the perfect soundtrack for driving, even though it will be over before you even pull out of the driveway with their short, to the point songs.  After 25 years as a band, they still crank out raging rock and roll mixed with speedy and aggressive punk rock with ageless attitude.  Check out their cover of Rush’s “Working Man” here, condensed into less than a minute and a half!  Not really, but that would be crazy!) https://zekeband.bandcamp.com/album/hellbender   

Will Haven – “El Sol” (The Sacramento noise metal masters recently returned with their long-awaited sixth album, Muerte, out now on minus HEAD Records.  Their highly-influential debut album, El Diablo was released over 20 years ago and this new album rivals its predecessor with their most visceral and chaotic set of songs yet.  From the beginning, Will Haven and the Deftones have been kindred spirits and Stephen Carpenter contributes his trademark guitars to the epic, hauntingly atmospheric closing track heard here.) https://willhaven.bandcamp.com/album/muerte   

The Sword – “Twilight Sunrise” (The retro-minded Austin metal quartet recently released their sixth album, Used Future.  Change is evident in the new album – out now on Razor & Tie - with Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists) producing and more emphasis on melody over doomy heaviness with the use of stomping Led Zeppelin-esque riffs and rhythms and Thin Lizzy-like guitar melodies.  Check out the soaring, classic rock inspired melodies and tumbling rhythm of the standout single here.) http://www.theswordofficial.com/

Iron Reagan & Gatecreeper – “Paper Shredder”/”War Has Begun” (Relapse Records recently released a split EP from two of their emerging bands - Iron Reagan and Gatecreeper.  Leading off is Iron Reagan with their caustic crossover-inspired hybrid of punk and metal that recalls D.R.I.  Closing out the EP is Arizona old school death metal revivalists Gatecreeper, who rip through three densely heavy and horrid tracks.  This new split EP is the perfect introduction for new fans.  Check out a song from each band below.) https://ironreagan.bandcamp.com/album/split-with-gatecreeper  
Stream: Iron Reagen – “Paper Shredder” https://soundcloud.com/relapserecords/iron-reagan-paper-shredder
Stream: Gatecreeper – “War Has Begun” https://soundcloud.com/relapserecords/gatecreeper-war-has-begun

Friday, March 23, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)


Jack White – “Connected By Love” (Out today on Third Man/Columbia Records is Boarding House Reach, the third solo album from Jack White.  The new album - led by the dynamic lead single, “Connected By Love” with its warped synth-driven sound and Gospel-infused organ and background vocals – is his most experimental to date.  On top of the synths, White has added elements of hip-hop, electro-rock and funk to his trademark country, blues and rock sound to great effect.  Better yet, he will be touring again, all Spring and Summer long!) http://smarturl.it/BoardingHouseReach?IQid=cblsmarturl      

Courtney Marie Andrews – “Kindness Of Strangers” (Phoenix-based singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews is set to release her fourth album May Your Kindness Remains today on Fat Possum/Mama Bird Recording Co.  Alongside a personal yet positive lyrical outlook, Andrews creates a beautiful blend of easy-going country and Californian folk-rock that is highlighted by her stunning soulful voice.) https://www.courtneymarieandrews.com/

Preoccupations – “Espionage” (The Canadian post-punk band’s third album, aptly-titled, New Material is out today on Jagjaguwar.  The album opens with “Espionage” and its clattering Krautrock-like groove, swirling synths and catchy call and response chorus. The standout single sets the tone for the rest of the album which displays a knack for melody that was not as pronounced previously, though just as dark and moody as ever.)  https://preoccupations.bandcamp.com/album/new-material          

Lucy Dacus – “Addictions” (The Richmond, VA-based indie-rock singer-songwriter recently released her highly-anticipated sophomore album, Historian, via Matador Records.  Led by her smooth yet dusky vocals and emotionally-charged lyrics that sway both personal and political; the new album is markedly more mature and improves upon her breakout 2016 debut album, avoiding the so-called “sophomore slump” entirely.)     

Rivers Of Nihil – “The Silent Life” (The experimental Pennsylvania-based metal quintet recently released their third album, Where Owls Know My Name, on Metal Blade Records. The new album continues the concepts brought forth on their previous two albums that were inspired by Spring and Summer with this album representing the season of Fall.  The band combines prog-metal technicality with dense death metal riffs and elements of folk and electronica along with bursts of jazz-inflected inspiration with skronking saxophone solos and disorientating time changes for their most ambitious and dynamic album yet.) http://metalblade.com/riversofnihil/          

Stone Temple Pilots – “Roll Me Under” (After suffering the death of two vocalists – the charismatic yet troubled original vocalist Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park - in the last three years; brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz continue on with a new vocalist and a new self-titled album out now on Rhino Records.  The recently recruited vocalist, Jeff Gutt – who first tasted fame on the TV singing competition X-Factor - adopts Weiland’s distinct wail almost too-perfectly but as always, the brothers DeLeo know their way around a glam-soaked and psychedelic hard-rock riff.  So if fans will give Gutt a chance, they will surely be satisfied.) http://stonetemplepilots.com/    


Thursday, March 22, 2018

PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: Chris Stills – “Daddy’s Little Girl”

Singer-songwriter Chris Stills is set to release his first album in over a decade; the long-awaited new album titled, Don’t Be Afraid, is out tomorrow.  It is his most personal album yet and features co-writes with Ryan Adams and David Saw.  Stills, the son of American rock musician Stephen Stills and French singer-songwriter Veronique Sanson, released his criminally-underrated debut album, 100 Year Thing twenty years ago in 1998 on Atlantic Records and an equally as great self-titled sophomore album in 2006.  His organic blues-drenched and folk-leaning style of pop-rock combined with his soaring voice had me hooked immediately.  In the time since, Stills took up acting, starring in the top-grossing French musical, Cleopatre-The Last Queen of Egypt and guest starring on Showtime’s Shameless.
In anticipation of the new album, I spoke with Chris Stills about the new album, his time away from recording and more. 
I am also lucky to premiere the new single, “Daddy’s Little Girl”.
Eight years passed between your first and second albums and now it has been over a decade since your last album, I know you have been busy acting and touring but as a fan I have to ask; why do you let so much time pass between albums?
Chris: Oy there! Come on now...it was like 7.2 years between the first one and the last one. But seriously...I just wanna focus on the fact that I'm here now...I look forward to getting these songs and this record out there. Looking forward, not back. Plus, a bunch of what I went through is right there on this record.  
The new album is a little more eclectic this time around - there are bluesy rippers (“Blame Game”) next to cinematic piano-led ballads (“Lonely Nights”) – what inspired the new album?  Did the new songs come in a burst of creativity or were they written here and there over the last decade?    
Chris: I can't really stare at myself in the mirror and call “Blame Game” bluesy. It's more straight up rock with little punk in there. I digress...These songs came over time. A few things needed to happen for this to be put together. I mean, there are so many ingredients to this record I'd be here all day. But these songs tell a story, not in chronological order, of a guy whose life begins with a break-up. With every tragedy comes the opportunity for hope to shine and any bursts of creativity were followed by, well, life. And I'm cool with that... I'm not racing to make records. I don't want to put them out for the sake of doing so...they have to be right. I'm not interested in throw-aways...that's what EP's are for. Ha!
Standout track, “In Love Again” from the new album is both theatrical and very Queen-like with the big, choral-like vocals.  How did your experience in the theater influence the new album?  
Chris: Oh, I'm just a Queen fan really...I don't think my experience in theatre that particular time influenced that song. But that being said, at the time I was composing that song I was listening to a lot of classical music. I was into this song I'd found when I was on a medicinal shamanistic trip in Ibiza by Ravel called “Daphné & Chloe: daybreak”. Ravel's piece is literally about the world coming to life in the morning...it's a very dramatic piece with a big build leading up to the point where the sun actually breaks over the mountain top, etc.  You've heard it in various movies I'm sure; it’s great for visual effect.  Anyway, I think I had that in mind for the song as this guy had just had his heart ripped apart and had just put it back together again only to be put in the terrible position of having to risk it's well-being again. It's that moment when you realize you've got nothing to lose…it is win or lose it all. You're either on top of the mountain or you're in the gutter...so that sentiment to me needed something dramatic, but I also love to rock. Queen does that so well!
For this album you co-wrote “Criminal Minds” with Ryan Adams and recorded in his Pax Am Studio.  The song really bears Adam’s signature with the jangly guitars, catchy sing-along chorus and especially the blazing guitar solo.  How did working with Ryan come about and how was that experience?     
Chris: I love Ryan, he makes me wanna quit writing. Really. What a mind on him. Anyway...we were jamming and having fun and playing pinball and recreating...something one does in our business...just so happened I was at PaxAm with Ryan...he's invited me and that's what we were doing, searching, exercising, playing around.  Nothing serious, getting the juices flowing...you know, at one point Johnny Depp showed up and we jammed for a while. It was fun! I start playing a lick, everyone follows and you lead the band...that's what I was doing when that song found us. At some point Ryan took over and led us to the bridge and we followed. The song's structure was born.  And somewhere in there we were singing something about criminal mind or criminal high...that big rock thing though, I added later.
I’m sure you will tour heavily for this album after its release but what else do you have in store for the near future; more acting?
Chris: I'm currently working on saving the world through clean energy solutions using hydrogen. Also charity work.
Atlas and the Anchor are proud to premiere your tender and empowering single, “Daddy’s Little Girl” today.  Can you please give us some insight about the song?
Chris: I was sitting at home watching TV and this commercial about diamonds came on or something surrounding a wedding and a terrifying thought hit me - pretty hard I might say - that one day, and God-willing, on top of that, I will give my daughters away at their wedding to the love of their lives. If you’re a dad of little girls like me, you kind of loved the fact that if ever asked who they’re gonna marry one day, they say “daddy”, all loud and proud!  Although, my youngest wanted to marry Spider-Man for a minute there and I was devastated. She eventually came around and when she did, well, made me feel like Superman again. You know?  It’s something amazing to have your kids look up to you. No other feeling like it.  Anyway, the thought came - and I’m supposed to feel happy about it - but clearly I’m not. I feel like the Superman job is being taken away from me. Like I wasn’t gonna be the one to be there for them anymore. “Sniff”, right?  So, it’s not at all what you think...but I ran to the bathroom - that’s where you go to for better acoustics! And I basically cried my eyes out as this song came pouring out of me, I went back to the living room and wrote it down. It all happened in about 20 minutes. It’s the only song I have trouble singing sometimes because I get choked up.
PREMIERE: Stream “Daddy’s Little Girl”: