Monday, July 31, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Sex Snobs – Emotional Stuffing

The Oklahoma City-based quartet Sex Snobs released Emotional Stuffing, their second full-length release and label debut for High Dive Records last Friday.  The nostalgia-drenched sound created by vocalist/guitarist Alex Barnard, bassist James Hammontree, guitarist Tommy Mckenzie and drummer Billy Reid hearkens back to the 90’s grunge, noise-punk and alternative rock scenes.  So it is fitting that the band recorded Emotional Stuffing in Chicago with living legend Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Breeders) who gives their quirky hooks and fuzzed-out guitars the raw and ragged production they deserve.  The 9-track album is over before you want it to be with several of the tracks barely crossing the minute-and-a-half mark; fans of the Pixies and Weezer will have Sex Snobs’ short, bittersweet bursts of catchy, noise-addled and punk-fueled alt. rock on repeat the rest of the summer. 

Stream Emotional Stuffing here: 

Friday, July 28, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Arcade Fire – “Electric Blue” (Arcade Fire return today with Everything Now, their highly-anticipated fifth album and label debut for Columbia Records.  The new album- with production assistance from Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter - continues on the path set by 2013’s excellent Reflector with their synth-driven, disco-inspired and euphorically infectious dance-pop enhanced with added touches of New Wave, dub/reggae and timely social commentary for yet another sparkling addition to their oeuvre.  Check out the Blondie-esque single here.)  

Expulsion – “Total Human Genocide” (Expulsion is the new old school death metal/grindcore hybrid project from Matt Olivo of Repulsion, Matt Harvey of Exhumed and Gruesome, Danny Walker of Intronaut, Exhumed, and Phobia, and Menno Verbaten from Lightning Swords of Death.  The supergroup’s impressive debut release, Nightmare Future is out now via Relapse Records and it is packed with vile lyrics and short bursts of punishingly propulsive rhythms and raw, raging riffs that are both modern and retro-minded.)

Armstrongs – “If There Was Ever A Time” (Armstrongs is the aptly-titled supergroup of punk rock royalty made up of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong along with Billie Joe’s son Joey and Tim’s nephew Rey.  Their debut track – out now on Hellcat/Epitaph Records - is an anthemic rally-cry with proceeds from the inspiring single going to assist 924 Gilman, the Bay Area punk rock venue where both Green Day and Rancid got their start.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Stream It From The Mountain: Lioness – Time Killer

Lioness is a new, Dayton-based 11-piece folk-rock collective featuring members of local  favorites such as Captain of Industry, Motel Beds, Me & Mountains, Shesus, and Ohio Casket.  Their impressive debut album, Time Killer was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Micah Carli (formerly of Hawthorne Heights) at Popside Recording and was recently released by Dayton imprint, Magnaphone Records.  Led by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Nathan Peters, the collective creates colorful folk-rock with the same infectiously anthemic rush of early Arcade Fire with inventive and engaging arrangements featuring swirls of strings, subtle synths and close-knit harmonies courtesy of vocalists Elizabeth Cooper, Maria Dixon and Kimberly Passmore. 
I could have just as easily dedicated one of my 3 Songs: On Repeat features to Lioness with the stellar, statement-making opening track, “America’s Greatest Country Freedom Song”, the eerie, David Bowie and Southern Gothic-tinged standout track, “Relations” and its piano-led follow-up “Sham Wow” making the cut but just listen to the excellent entire album below; it deserves to be heard by the masses!   
Stream Time Killer here:   

Friday, July 21, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Extended Edition)

Shattered Sun – “Burn It Down” (The Texas-based six-piece metal band returns with The Evolution Of Anger, their sophomore album, out today via Victory Records.  The band is managed by Chuck Billy, vocalist of thrash metal pioneers Testament, and they take 80’s thrash riffs and add to it prog-rock intricacies, a passionate punk-fuelled anger and enough anthemic melody to create a fresh take on the heavy metal genre, while totally avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump.)    

Dasher – “Sodium” (Kylee Kimbrough leads her band Dasher from behind the drum kit and her playing and scorched, screamed vocals are violent, visceral and cathartic, matching the intensity of the music on their debut album, Sodium, out now on Jagjaguwar.  Kimbrough and crew create a heavy brand of sneering punk rock that incorporates elements of 90’s noise-punk, psych-rock and post-punk’s sense of rhythm and melancholy for a very impressive debut.)      

Offa Rex – “The Old Churchyard” (Offa Rex is the new collaborative folk project from English singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists, their debut album, The Queen Of Hearts was recently released on Nonesuch Records.  Led by Chaney’s gorgeous and malleable voice, the 11-song album – produced by Tucker Martine and Colin Meloy - consists of new arrangements of traditional English, Irish and Scottish folk songs that are woven with harpsichord and the same psychedelic folk-rock elements you’ve come to expect from The Decemberists yet entirely new.)

Stanton Moore – “Java” (Drummer extraordinaire, Stanton Moore of New Orleans funk band Galactic is set to release With You In Mind: The Songs of Allen Toussaint today via Cool Green Recordings / Mascot Label Group.  As a trio with keyboardist David “Tork” Torkanowsky and bassist James Singleton, Moore pays loving tribute to the late New Orleans jazz legend Allen Toussaint, reimaging his songs in their own unique and funky style.  Some of the guests on the album include Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, Trombone Shorty, Maceo Parker and Cyril Neville.)

Stream the lively instrumental “Java” here:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fourth Of July – On The Plains (Tenth Anniversary Vinyl Reissue)

Ten years ago, the Lawrence, KS-based band Fourth Of July emerged with their near perfect debut album titled, On The Plains.  The band was led by Brendan Hangauer along with his brothers Kelly and Patrick Hangauer and rounded out by Brian Costello, Steve Swyers and Adrianne Verhoeven (now DeLanda) of The Anniversary and Extra Classic.  Together they created a jangly and folksy brand of anthemic indie rock with conversational and confessional lyrics that struck a chord with listeners instantly.  It was one of my favorite albums of that year and continues to be to this day.  In the ensuing years, Fourth Of July released two more excellent albums – 2010’s Before Our Hearts Explode and Empty Moon in 2013 - before Brenden went solo, recording under the moniker, Empty Moon. 
Originally released via Lawrence-based Range Life Records, Fourth Of July’s On The Plains is being released on vinyl for the very first time through K.C. label High Dive Records, to celebrate its tenth anniversary.  Out now, the album is available in a very limited bone with orange splatter colorway and on classic black here:

Stream On The Plains here: 

Friday, July 14, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Bloodclot – “Up In Arms” (Bloodclot is the new hardcore supergroup featuring hardcore lifers, John Joseph of Cro-Mags), Todd Youth formerly of Warzone, Danzig and Murphy's Law, Joey Castillo ex-Queens Of The Stone Age and Nick Oliveri ex-Queens Of The Stone Age.   Their debut album, Up In Arms is out today on Metal Blade Records and on it, the quartet creates a fast, aggressive and passionately angry brand of old school hardcore with one foot in the present and one deeply entrenched in their pioneering punk pedigree for an impressive debut.  Check them out on tour now with Negative Approach, Nails and Final Conflict.)    

Dayseeker – “Sleep In The Sea Pt II” (The SoCal post-hardcore band make their Spinefarm Records debut with their third album, Dreaming Is Sinking /// Waking Is Rising, out today.  The 12-song new album is conceptual and progressive with intricate arrangements that give equal balance to melody and crushing heaviness.  Below, check out the standout single that features guest vocals from Garrett Russell of the like-minded Silent Planet.)     

Haim – “Want You Back” (After a long, 4-year wait, the sister trio made their highly-anticipated return with their recently released sophomore album, Something To Tell You, out now via Columbia Records.  With help from producer Ariel Rechtshaid, Danielle, Este and Alana continue to perfect the lush, rhythm-driven blend of 70’s Californian folk, 90’s R&B, classic and soft rock and pop that they introduced us to on their stunning 2013 debut album.  Watch the fun video for the incredibly infectious single below.)         

Thursday, July 13, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat - Shabazz Palaces Edition

Shabazz Palaces, is the experimental hip-hop project led by Ishmael Butler, aka Butterfly of 90’s jazz-rap pioneers Digable Planets.  Along with multi-instrumentalist Tendai 'Baba' Maraire, the Seattle based duo create a totally unique brand of rap with thoughtful, challenging lyrics and highly-inventive futuristic sounds. 
Tomorrow they will release two new albums via Sub Pop Records, Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines.  The albums follow a sci-fi themed concept featuring a fictional rapper named Quazars alongside biting social commentary; dealing with relying on technology and celebrity culture and fandom.  Additionally, an illustrated version of the album will be available that provides the perfect visual accompaniment with a 32-page book illustrated by cartoonist Joshua Ray Stephens.      
Here are 3 of my favorite songs from the two new albums:
“When Cats Claw” – (Taken from Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star, the standout track features buzzing electronics and echoing, multi-tracked vocals.) 
“Shine A Light (feat. Thaddilac)” – (The single taken from Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star combines swirling, cinematic strings and a clacking beat with one of the duo’s catchiest hooks ever – sung by guest, Thaddilac.)
“Julian’s Dream (ode to a bad) [feat. The Shotgun Shot]” – (A throbbing beat and the Palaceer’s effortlessly smooth voice and flow highlight this standout taken from Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines.)

For more info:

Monday, July 10, 2017

U2 – The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Deluxe Reissue

30 years ago, U2 released The Joshua Tree, their ultimate masterpiece and the album that catapulted Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. into international rock superstars.  From the very first listen it was inevitable, as the album - produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois - opens with the 1-2-3-punch of three smash hit singles; the jangly and anthemic “Where The Streets Have No Name”, the bittersweet, ballad-esque “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and the soaring “With Or Without You”.  Other standouts include the heavy - both musically and lyrically - “Bullet The Blue Sky” and fan favorite “One Tree Hill”.  The band was inspired by America: the good and the bad, the landscapes and its rich musical history, as they incorporated those themes into The Joshua Tree with elements of gospel, soul and blues; striking a chord with listeners all over the world.    
 In celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary, the band is currently on a massive world tour in which they are playing the album in full.  Additionally, the band and Interscope Records recently released a Super Deluxe Edition of the album, available digitally and in a 7-LP or 4-CD box set.  The Super Deluxe Edition includes the 2007 remastered version of the album as well as a newly-remastered 17-track live concert recording of The Joshua Tree, recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1987.  Also included is a disc of six new remixes commissioned just for this collection including one by  longtime collaborator Flood of “Where The Streets Have No Name” and one of “Bullet The Blue Sky” by Jacknife Lee as well as remixes from Daniel Lanois, St Francis Hotel and producer Steve Lillywhite.  A disc of outtakes and B-sides including, an alternative mix of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by Steve Lillywhite from 1987 and a new, 2017 mix by Brian Eno of “One Tree Hill” titled, “One Tree Hill Reprise” round out the collection. 

Alongside the music, the Super Deluxe box set comes stunningly packaged in a sturdy box with a gold-foil embossed Joshua tree logo and an 84-page hardback book of candid and captivating unseen photography shot by The Edge during the original Mojave Desert photo session in 1986 as well as a set of eight, frame-worthy 12x12 photo prints by original album photographer, Anton Corbijn that serve as the perfect visual accompaniment to the album listening experience.   
U2’s fifth album, The Joshua Tree has withstood the test of time after three decades and this comprehensive anniversary collection is a testament to its greatness, a must-have for collectors and will ensure its legend continues for the next thirty years and beyond.   

Stream the standout B-side, “Spanish Eyes” here: 

Friday, July 07, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat (Title Track edition)

Daniel Martin Moore – “Turned Over To Dreams” (For his eighth album, Turned Over To Dreams - out today on Sofaburn Records – the KY-based folk-pop singer-songwriter has written six original lullabies and has reinterpreted four others, including an atmospheric guitar-based take on Johannes Brahms “Lullaby”.  The album is full of beautifully orchestrated arrangements with DMM’s silky, soothing vocals leading the way.  Listen to the sweet, twinkling, music box-like album-opening original and title track here.)

Conveyor – “No Future” (The Wisconsin-based melodic hardcore band recently released their third album, No Future via Victory Records.  The gripping new album – produced by Greg Thomas (Shai Hulud, Misery Signals, With Honor) offers a bleak view on the world but offers hope with their Christian message alongside passionate and heavy-hitting hardcore and guest vocal features from Todd Mackey of With Honor and Joshua Kellam of Life In Your Way.  Listen to the fast and furious old school hardcore-inspired title track here.)       

Rat Fancy – “Suck A Lemon I” (The L.A. trio - featuring ex-Sweater Girl Diana Barraza, Gregory Johnson and Gavin Glidewell - create a synth-streaked and fuzzed-out brand of twee indie-pop on their debut EP, Suck A Lemon, out now on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records.  The aptly-titled six-song EP is full of bittersweet bubblegum-pop led by the punky and biting standout title track heard here.  Also included on the EP is a slowed-down yet more intense version of the song, titled, “Suck A Lemon II”)