Friday, March 31, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (March Metal Edition)

Gruesome – “Fragments Of Psyche” (The Florida old school death metal revivalists return with a new 2-song 7” single today via Relapse Records.  The new track heard here, was inspired by Human-era Death and even features Death and Cynic drummer-extraordinaire Sean Reinert.  Additionally, the blistering B-side is a Human-style reimagining of Death’s classic “Choke On It” and the CD version also includes 5 raw demo versions of previously released Gruesome tracks.  Here’s hoping for more Human-inspired tracks from the band!)      

Power Trip - “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)” (On their recently released sophomore album, Nightmare Logic – out now on Southern Lord – the Dallas metal band has created a modern metal masterpiece.  Their nostalgia-inducing sound brilliantly blends 80’s crossover thrash metal riffs and dive-bombing guitar solos with hardcore-inspired gang vocals, aggression and energy that matches the intensity of lyricist/vocalist Riley Gale’s empowering lyrical themes of human suffering.)      

Mastodon – “Show Yourself” (The Atlanta metal masters return today with their highly-anticipated new album, Emperor Of Sand via Reprise Records.  Produced again by Brendan O’Brien, the album deals with the passage of time and mortality with its personal lyrics and musically, it crushes with their heavy, arena-worthy blend of proggy hard rock and sludge-metal that once again sets them at the top of the metal music scene and beyond with their most accessible album yet.)   

3 Songs: On Repeat

that dog. – “Ms. Wrong” (The L.A-based 90’s alt-poppers - featuring Anna Waronker, Tony Maxwell and sisters Rachel Haden and Petra Haden - recently reunited (sans Petra, sadly) and are finishing up recording their long-awaited follow-up to 1997’s pop-perfect, Retreat From The Sun.  In celebration, they have just released a limited white vinyl 7” via Hello Records titled, Totally Crushed Outtakes.  The never-before-released 4 songs were recorded in 1995 by Tom Grimley at Poop Alley before being re-recorded during the sessions for their sophomore album Totally Crushed Out.  Listen here to the syrup-slow version of “Ms. Wrong”; also included on the 7” is an acoustic version of “Silently” featuring Beck on banjo.)    

Smug Brothers – “Hang Up” (Out today via Gas Daddy Go! Records, the Dayton indie-rock vets are set to unleash Disco Maroon, their new album and tenth release overall.  Recorded by Micah Carli (formerly of Hawthorne Heights), the album opens with noisy, broad-stroked punk-rock drenched in feedback, before revealing new, experiments with folk and country added to their catchy power-pop and GBV-loving brand of indie-rock.  Check out the propulsive psych-pop of the standout single “Hang Up” here.)   

Eureka California – “Wigwam” (The Athens, GA duo, consisting of Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler, recently released a new 2-song 7” of noisy and upbeat fuzz-pop via Athens-based label, Happy Happy Birthday Records.  Check out the raw and raging beach-punk A-side here.  Also, the digital download included with purchase features a surprise Superchunk cover.)   

Monday, March 27, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Sam Means – 10 Songs

Though it came out well over a year ago, I only recently discovered, 10 Songs by Arizona-based singer-songwriter, Sam Means and I am glad I did. 
Boasting quite the pop pedigree, Sam Means - formerly of The Format (alongside Nate Ruess of Fun.) - was joined in the studio by Roger Joseph Manning Jr., of paisley-pop legends Jellyfish, and producer Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, for his stunning debut solo album. On the retro-minded album, Means creates mellow yet highly-melodic pop expertly-crafted to perfection with full but not overly-fussy arrangements.  Standouts include the single “Other Side Of You”, an infectiously catchy soft-rocking New Wave/power-pop hybrid and “Taking It Back To Yesterday” which is bursting with bright horns and gorgeous vocal harmonies from Anna Waronker and Rachel Haden of that dog.       
The album was released via Means’ label, Hello Records and is available on cassette for $2, CD for $4 and better yet, translucent yellow vinyl for only $8.    
For more info:
Stream 10 Songs here:

Friday, March 24, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Sera Cahoone – “Better Woman” (The Seattle folk-rock singer-songwriter is set to release her long-awaited new album, From Where I Started, today via Lady Muleskinner Records.  With a backing band that includes members of Son Volt, Death Cab For Cutie and others, Cahoone leans even more toward classic country and Americana - especially on the stand out track here, with its honky-tonk like piano runs and sweetly swaying melodies - yet the spotlight remains on her warm vocals and nostalgia-inducing lyrical sentiments of love and loss.)     

Whimsical/Seasurfer – “Surreal” (Texas-based Saint Marie Records has recently released new albums from Indiana dream-pop progenitors Whimsical and German sound-sculptors Seasurfer - Sleep To Dream and Under The Milky Way…Who Cares?, respectively.  Presented here is Whimsical’s aptly-titled single, “Surreal” with its lushly propulsive female-fronted Cure-like sound alongside Seasurfer’s fuzzed-out remix which re-imagines the song with harsher, heavier shoegaze-inspired guitars and hazy, psychedelic atmospherics.  It makes for the perfect introduction to the two bands and the label, who are leading the way in the shoegaze/dream-pop scene.)

Craig Finn – “Preludes” (The Hold Steady frontman is set to release his third solo album, We All Want The Same Things today on Partisan Records.  Known for his highly-descriptive lyrics, Finn focuses his cast of characters on love and relationships on the new album which also includes contributions from Rainer Maria vocalist Caithlin De Marrais, Annie Nero and Hold Steady guitarist Tad Kubler among others.)  
Stream the shimmering, flute-filled standout single here:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Greg Graffin – Millport

Recently, Greg Graffin – frontman of punk legends Bad Religion - released, Millport, his third solo album via Anti Records.  Unlike Bad Religion’s fiery punk rock, Graffin’s solo albums aim to pay homage to the folk and Americana music that first influenced him. 
The new album - led by standout single “Making Time” with its flickering banjo figures and shuffling beat and the cover of Norman Blake’s “Lincoln’s Funeral Train” - is easily Graffin’s best and most fully-realized yet.  It features a backing band that is essentially Social Distortion sans frontman Mike Ness, with Jonny ‘Two Bags’ Wickersham, Brent Harding and David Hidalgo Jr. contributing and was produced by Bad Religion co-founder Brett Gurewitz.  The ten songs are led by Graffin’s distinct and deep vocals and are intertwined with a country-leaning brand of folk-rock that incorporates hints of old timey Gospel, frontporch bluegrass rhythms, warm, 70’s Californian folk-pop melodies and layers of close-knit harmonies. 
Millport sounds timeless and classic upon first listen, bringing to mind a strong nostalgia for the music it was inspired by, while sounding fresh and modern at the same time.        
Stream Millport here: