Friday, July 13, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Major Murphy – “Strangers” (The Michigan-based trio - Jacob Bullard, Jacki Warren and Brian Voortman - recently released their stunning album, No. 1 via Winspear.  The album showcases their jangly and incredibly catchy blend of Beatles-esque psych-pop and 70’s classic rock.  Now they have released a new single, a cover of The Kink’s “Strangers” via their Bandcamp page as a “pay what you want” download.  All profits from the track will be donated to the Fianza Fund, an organization that supports migrants being detained at the southern U.S. border.)  

Jenn Champion – “Coming For You” (The chameleonic Seattle musician drops the guitars and the “S” moniker to make her foray in to 80’s synth-pop complete with her new album, Single Rider, out today on Hardly Art.  As Jenn Champion, she champions neon-lit synths and danceable electronic rhythms, perfectly introduced on the Samantha Fox-like single, “O.M.G. (I’m All Over It)” and on the dark yet sparkling standout track heard here.)

Luluc – “Heist” (The Brooklyn psych-folk duo of multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Steve Hassett and songwriter/vocalist Zoe Randell are set to release their long-awaited third album, Sculptor, today on Sub Pop.  The new album was co-produced with The National’s Aaron Dessner and features guest contributions from Dessner as well as J. Mascis, Dave Nelson, Matt Eccles of Weyes Blood and Jim White of the Dirty Three; though the spotlight remains on the duo’s dreamy atmospheric melodies, poignant lyrics and close-knit harmonies.)

The Ophelias – “General Electric” (The Cincinnati art-pop band consisting of, bassist Grace Weir, guitarist/lyricist Spencer Peppet, percussionist Micaela Adams, and violinist/pianist Andrea Gutmann Fuentes, are set to release their sophomore album, Almost, today on Joyful Noise Recordings.  Produced by Why?’s Yoni Wolf, the new album is filled with sparkling folk-pop with atmospheric baroque instrumentation and bittersweet ear-worming melodies that recall 90’s faves that dog.)    

Monday, July 09, 2018

REISSUE: The Cure – Mixed Up

The Cure celebrated 40 years as a band with a career-spanning set at a festival in London over the weekend and is planning a comprehensive documentary film of the band with director and longtime collaborator, Tim Pope.  The English post-punk/goth originators also recently released a newly remastered and reissued version of Mixed Up on June 15.  Originally released in 1990, as a break between albums, Mixed Up was a compilation of various remixes, re-recordings, extended mixes and early singles.  Long beloved by fans, the reissued album is out now via Fiction/Elektra/Rhino Records.
The definitive version is a 3-CD set remastered by Robert Smith, featuring the original album on disc one, a second disc of rare remixes from 1981-1990 and a third disc featuring brand new remixes by Robert Smith.  Mixed Up is also now available as a single disc with the remastered original album or as a 2-LP set that has been mastered at half speed by Robert Smith and Tim Young at Metropolis Studios in London and pressed onto 180-gram vinyl.  Also available on a 2-LP set is Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018 that includes the newly remastered songs taken from the third disc of the 3-CD set.   
Standouts include “Close To Me (Closer Mix)”, which most fans consider the definitive version of the track, the extended version of “Hot Hot Hot!!!” with all of the extra, jazzy horn flourishes and the Extended Dub Mix of “Pictures Of You”.      
Watch the original music video for the Disintegration album version of “Pictures Of You”:

Friday, July 06, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat

Corrina Repp – “Need You/Don’t Need You” (After a failed relationship soured a cross-country move; the songwriter, formerly of Tu Fawning, dotted the map with a nomadic spirit that inspired her fifth solo album, How A Fantasy Will Kill Us All, out now on Jealous Butcher Records.  That sense of freedom and adventure translates to an experimental yet cohesive set of songs, led by the hypnotically haunting, loop-based single, heard here.  Repp recorded the album in Louisville with the assistance of Danny Seim of Menomena and it is a wonderful world waiting to be explored via headphones!)   

Theotis Taylor – “Something Within Me” (At 90 years old, the Georgia-based Gospel music pianist/vocalist Theotis Taylor recently released his debut album, Something Within Me, via Big Legal Mess Records.  The album is made up of recordings of Taylor’s blues-soaked voice and piano recorded in 1979 alongside newly recorded studio accompaniment from Liz Brasher, Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Will Sexton.  Relatively unheard outside his Georgia church, despite receiving recognition in the 1990s for his appearances at Carnegie Hall’s Folk Masters Series “There’s 12 Gates to the City”: Black Gospel Styles, the Apollo Theatre, and at the NAACP’s 90th Convention, Taylor’s inspiring and uplifting Gospel music will now be heard my many, as it should.)    

Kleenex Girl Wonder – “Tratteggio” (The NY indie-rock band led by the ever-prolific songwriter, Graham Smith, recently released, Vana Mundi, his latest in a long line of albums.  Best known for his lengthy, verbose lyric sheets and highly-melodic Kinks-like brand of power-pop; Smith has crafted an intriguing concept album of sorts, with Vana Mundi – which translates from Latin to “Empty World” – about the balance between alienation and ego.  Check out the standout single below with its stop/start rhythm and super-catchy melodies.)     

Monday, July 02, 2018

PREMIERE: The 1984 Draft - "Red Dress"

Credit: Rachele Alban
Dayton’s The 1984 Draft is set to release their new album, Makes Good Choices, and make their label debut for Poptek Records on August 24. The band - led by vocalist/guitarist and longtime fixture of the Dayton music scene, Joe Anderl - filters 90's punk and emo through heartland rock like, The Replacements (peep that tribute press photo!), Tom Petty and The Hold Steady for a timeless sound. 
Today Atlas and the Anchor is proud to premiere the latest single from Makes Good Choices.   The track titled, “Red Dress” is as equally catchy and anthemic as it is nostalgia-inducing and heartstrings-tugging.  Anyone who has felt those love-at-first-sight jitters will instantly relate to this song.  
Anderl describes the song this way, “Red Dress is about my wife.  When I wrote this song, we had been dating for a few months and she was my date for one of my best friend’s weddings (fellow Poptek artist Kris N.).  The wedding was at Canal Street Tavern here in Dayton, OH.  I remember her showing up in this beautiful Red Dress.  Up to this point, we had only seen each other dressed up for church and maybe a dinner date or two.  This was our first wedding date so I was absolutely floored when I saw her dressed “wedding fancy”.  I knew I was falling head over heels at that point.  I still get butterflies just thinking about that moment.  I’m glad she ended up saying yes to me.”
Stream “Red Dress” here:

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Friday, June 29, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Jim James – “Just A Fool” (The My Morning Jacket frontman returns with his third solo album, Uniform Distortion, out today on ATO Records.  After recent forays into psych-soul, James returns to form with a more straight-forward guitar-driven sound.  The lead single, heard here, is the perfect introduction to the album with its blown-out bass-led groove and squealy, 70’s style guitar leads and the same can be said for the other aptly-titled single, “Throwback”.  Lyrically he ponders upon the effects of our culture’s over-reliance on modern technology and politically-charged themes and the resulting album is his best solo effort yet.)    

Other Americans – “Couples Skate” (Other Americans is a new K.C. based electro-rock project featuring members of Radar State, Brandon Phillips and The Condition, Latenight Callers and The Architects.  Led by the soulful vocals of Julie Berndsen, the quartet’s stunning six-song self-titled debut EP is out today and promises a great, genre-defying future for the band.  The aptly-titled track heard here, is the perfect nostalgia-laced soundtrack to a race around an 80’s roller rink with a funky, driving rhythm and glittering pop melodies.)

A Delicate Motor – “Durham” (Cincinnati’s A Delicate Motor - led by the classically-trained pianist/percussionist Adam Petersen - recently signed with Sofaburn Records for the release of their new album, Fellover My Own, out today.  Petersen began the project solo using loops, but has since branched out into a trio including drummer Ben Sloan and guitarist/bassist Stephen Patota and has also recently added vocalist Libby Landis, vocalist/guitarist Brianna Kelly and vocalist/pianist Rachel Mousie to the ranks.  The experimental sound created on the album incorporates gentle folk, meditative ambient textures and elements of jazz and psychedelic prog-rock that should appeal to fans of The National’s more adventurous side.)

Night Verses – "Phoenix IV: Levitation" (After losing their vocalist, the remaining three members of the L.A. based band soldiered on as an instrumental trio and are set to release From The Gallery Of Sleep, their fourth album, today on Equal Vision Records.  Despite the subtraction of vocals and the addition of spoken word samples, Night Verses dig into their other senses to create an evocative and heavy sound that blends jazz-informed instrumentation and post-rock atmospherics with aggressive hardcore and technical metallic elements for something new yet instantly familiar for fans of the band.  Check out the monolithic riffs and warped guitar freak-outs of the dynamic standout single heard here.)   

A Flock Of Seagulls – “Space Age Love Song” (The progressive 80’s synth-pop band - most famous for their crazy hair and hit, “I Ran (So Far Away)” – recently reunited with the original lineup of Mike Score, Ali Score, Frank Maudsley and Paul Reynolds and recorded a new album of re-recorded hits featuring the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.  Now-a-days, their hair may be gone but their music lives on with the new album which is the first recorded output featuring all four original members since 1984.  The album titled, Ascension, is out today on August Day Recordings and turns their catchy, synth-driven prog-pop songs into epic, cinematic wonders.  Listen to the new version of “Space Age Love Song”, originally from their self-titled debut.)   

Friday, June 22, 2018

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Anakin – “Spaced-Out” (San Diego-based cosmic fuzz-gazers Anakin returned yesterday, on the first day of summer, with a hot new two-track single titled, @-1.  The aptly-titled A-side, “Spaced-Out” features spacey synths and a nervy, New Wave and power-pop-inspired energy and also boasts guest vocals from Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack.  The B-side is an impressive, slightly slower-paced cover of “California” by The Rentals.  The band plans to release a series of five singles - each with an influential cover song on the B-side - over the course of the year, culminating in a physical release.)    

Tim Rutili & Craig Ross – “Choke” (Tim Rutili of Red Red Meat and Califone along with Craig Ross (Shearwater, Lisa Germano, Spoon) have teamed up once again for a collaborative album titled, 10 Seconds To Collapse, out today on Jealous Butcher Records.  Together the duo defiantly deconstructs everything from psych-rock, folk and quirky pop and builds it back into something entirely strange and captivating.  Check out the warped doo-wop melodies of standout single, “Choke”, here.)

Impending Doom – “War Music” (After a long 5 year wait, the Christian death metal crew return with their sixth album, The Sin and Doom Vol. II, today on eOne Music.  Vocalist Brook Reeves touts a powerful and much needed positive message alongside some of the heaviest yet most melodic songs of their career, complete with thick, grimy production from Christopher Eck, who produced their debut.  Check out the anthemic, statement-making standout single, “War Music” here.)

Lera Lynn – “Lose Myself” feat. John Paul White (The Nashville-based singer-songwriter is set to release Plays Well With Others, today on Single Lock Records.  Lynn’s fourth album is a unique collaborative effort; as each of the nine songs are performed as duets in the classic Country & Western style and co-written by herself and the duet partner.  Contributors include Peter Bradley Adams, Dylan LeBlanc, Andrew Combs, Rodney Crowell, Shovels & Rope, JD McPherson and Nicole Atkins; as well as John Paul White, who co-wrote and sang on two tracks including the lilting folk balladry of the standout single, heard here.)

Natalie Prass – “Short Court Style” (For her stellar long-awaited sophomore album, The Future And The Past, out now on ATO Records; singer-songwriter Prass has stripped away the strings and horns of her excellent 2015 debut and traded it in for a slick, synth-heavy sound inspired by the glittering funk and R&B of the 80’s and late 70’s.  Her sweet and soulful vocals remain the highlight as she delves into political and social issues with an empowering and inspiring attitude.  Check out the breezy, infectiously danceable single here.)      

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: