Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A whole messa stuff

Young Fathers are undoubtedly the Scottish answer to TV on the Radio and, perhaps, South Africa's BLK JKS. (With one Nigerian-Scottish member and one Liberian member, this makes perfect sense.) Hasn't been anything this refreshing around since, well, TV on the Radio.

Melkbelly's new seven-inch is awfully grungy and the stuff of house shows. They're outta Chicago! More here.

DIÄT hail from Berlin and they fulfill the same militant post-punk craving that Total Control satisfies. Positive Energy comes out September 4 on Iron Lung Records.

The Henry Clay People are kaput because its members started marrying off a few years ago. But Fakers partly consist of the Siara brothers, and they're playing a Monday night residency at the Echo in August. Woo!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vaadat Charigim's Sinking as a Stone might be the year's best rock record

Years ago, I'd run across a 1945 interview with Albert Camus in which he'd been asked whether he was a revolutionary writer, and in response stated that there was only one revolution for a writer, "the exact appropriation of the form and structure of language to a subject." Today, this appropriation is what I look for in writers, not only of literary fiction but of lyrics and music. 

The most frustrating aspect of nearly every review I read about Tel Aviv's Vaadat Charigim is that it is constantly pointed out that their Hebrew lyrics are indiscernible to an American audience, preventing us from understanding the cynicism with and about which Juval Haring sings. To that end, I ask whether there are any Jewish music reviewers who are capable of translating the Hebrew lyrics, or whether those who do not speak Hebrew can at very least make use of the many translation sites available to us. Moreover – why does Vaadat Charigim seem to be the only non-American band for whom reviewers seem to point out the language barrier every single time?
That said, where Vaadat Charigim succeeds is their appropriation not only of lyrics but of music to an emotion; as Yuck's Max Bloom puts it, "This isn’t a political record by any means, but it is the sound of isolation." When Vaadat Charigim's first record came out, its lead single showed a large hint of the urgency that comes with living in a turbulent country ["When the missiles will fall in the streets of Tel Aviv...how will we pass the time till then?"]. The lead single for new record Sinking as a Stone, "Ein Li Makom," comes with a feeling of resignation, the appropriate sequel after a few more years of the same ["Do not want to be realistic/Do not want to exhaust myself...I do not have a place in this world"]. And likewise, the pacing of their sophomore record is generally slower, more comfortable, albeit not necessarily in the context of contentment so much as passive acceptance. Gentle indifference, Camus might call it.

It does not strive toward any particular style, an imitation of any particular shoegaze record [as can arguably be said about The World is Well Lost]. It is darker and less of an "exciting rock record," but feels much, much more meaningful and personal, with or without its words. It is an album written by people who see their lives laid out for them and understand that the world is not going to get better, and who know their places as mere specks. Its current cultural relevance makes it perfectly modern despite its 25-year old influences and where it sits in the ongoing shoegaze/dream pop revival, and years from now, it will be much more memorable than a number of the like records in its genre, undoubtedly set apart because of the maturity and emotion behind it.

Haring has gone on record saying that pessimism is a typical Israeli trait, but it could also be said that his lyrics are realistic and show the sort of acceptance that only someone in his 30s [or older] could write -- Sinking as a Stone could not have been developed by a band of 22-year olds, starting out in the world and motivated by all that they haven't yet conquered. [It should be mentioned here that Haring claims, in the very same interview, that Vaadat Charigim's third record will partly be about "accepting death." If nothing else, he's consistent.]

When Vaadat Charigim played a set in Los Angeles last month, sandwiched between Winter and Froth on what might've been the Echo's best lineup of the year, they were something of a mismatch, even if they did have commonalities like reverb and Burger Records. They offered neither the lovey-dovey optimism and smiles of Winter, nor the blasé L.A. cool of Froth, instead all-business, little banter or talk of any kind, boom-boom, done. They played a perfect set, but any chatter would've been filler, pointless. And, as stated above, this makes them -- on stage and on recording -- consistent.

The vinyl release of Sinking as a Stone has been pushed back to late July. Typical.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gettin' quirky

Exploding in Sound supergroup! Speedy Ortiz's Devin McKnight and Ovlov's Theo Hartlett got together and formed Philadelphia Collins. They did the Battles thing and threw an array of vocalists on their upcoming debut. The first single off the album features Palehound's Ellen Kempner. It's nothing short of a perfect match, she and they, and McKnight's guitar efforts nearly go into Ash Bowie territory on this one. Derp Swervin' features a cover art design with really terrible font choices, but it'll be great, and it'll be available here, and it comes out July 21 (July 24 on limited-edition cassette).

Speaking of wacky -- here's a proggy-ass new track from Goblin Rebirth! Their self-titled album comes out June 29 and their current lineup features drummer Agostino Marangolo and bassist Fabio Pignatelli, from the original Goblin lineup.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


In the middle of May, I had the opportunity to see Tel Aviv's Vaadat Charigim support Froth on their Los Angeles tour date (more on this later). The show's lively opening act, Winter, was unexpectedly grabbing, and though well-fitting among a nostalgic shoegaze lineup, the group's 24-year old Brazilian frontwoman, Samira Winter, was unusually, well, happy, considering the typical romantic or introverted qualities generally offered by the genre. 

Winter is awfully reminiscent of the Sundays in the most wonderful way; their leader is never not smiling -- maybe she's high? Maybe she's had a near-death experience and is merely grateful? Whatever her deal may be, Samira Winter appears to love life and it comes out in her persistent smile. Truly, the girl never stops smiling while she plays.

So this positively elated band, led by Samira Winter, put out a record in March, and lyrically it's like a Best Coast record, told with a hint of co-dependence ["I thought I knew better/And stray from your tricks/You use and abuse me/Why can't I resist?/You're my drug/Cause you're my drug," from "Pretender"], or maybe just the desire for real friendship [refer to one of many ambiguous songs in "Flower Tattoo": "Say, say you love me/Say you're my friend/Just stay no going"]. 

But then, there're these happy-go-lucky options, like "Crazy" ["You make me feel funny/Shivers in my body/Hanging out with you/What about some ice cream?/Walking down the street we'll scream and scream/I don't care about what other people think"]. Winter is this perfectly childlike, childish, youthful, innocent manifestation of honest love, whoever might be on its receiving end, and it's all so very joyous in spite of the longing in its stories.

Anyhow, come see them when they play this lengthy shindig in Los Angeles, come July. A lovely lineup all around, really!

A video palindrome that addresses abortion

This new song and video from Till Lindemann, 52, father of at least two, frontman for Rammstein, is an excellent mens' rights complement to a quick read of Elfriede Jelinek's Women as Lovers.

Denmark's Communions have a new, self-titled EP out on June 1, and "Summer's Oath" is a dreamy swirl of post-punk and synths that bring to mind too many '80s and '80s-inspired bands to list off (a list which obviously includes the Cure). Visit last year's Cobblestones EP here.

More from the Communions EP:

Remember Vells? No? Toronto's Grounders have a lazy sort of sound (god, is dreamy in right now?), and they remind an awful lot of that quiet Seattle project. The following is off their full-length debut.

None of them had any success, most are (unjustly) obscure but every one of them has inspired me

Excellent post-punk compilation out from Optimo Music; a double-LP set for release on July 6.

Optimo Music release the compilation “Now That’s What I Call DIY! (Cult Classics from the Post-Punk Era 1978-82) in early July.

A1. Tesco Bombers – Break The Ice At Parties
A2. Sara Goes Pop – Sexy Terrorist
A3. People In Control – When It’s War
A4. Nancy Sesay & The Melodaires – C’est Fab

B1. The Distributors – TV Me
B2. Dorothy – Softness
B3. Thomas Leer – Private Plane
B4. Visitors – Electric Heat

C1. The Murphy Federation – Fed Up Skank
C2. The Distributors – Never Never
C3. The Cro-tones – Tea Machine Dub
C4. Fatal Microbes – Violence Grows

D1. The Spunky Onions – How I Lost My Virginity
D2. The Fakes – Look Out
D3. The 012 – Meltdown Situation
D4. The Prats – Disco Pope

This is a compilation of 16 UK 7" singles recorded between 1978 and 1982, compiled by JD Twitch, that showcases the DIY spirit of those times.

"If Punk was the nuclear detonation, the fallout that came after was where a lot of the most interesting music of that era was made. People who would never have thought to release a record before realised it was something they could do, and the end result was a DIY explosion. I've always loved music that doesn't try to fit in a particular genre, that is anti-canonical and doesn't care what else is going on in music at that time, that takes risks and is full of imagination and ideas that may or may not make any logical sense but that resulted in something unique, that ignores conventions about how a record SHOULD be produced and that was created simply because its creators felt the urge to express themselves and share the results with some other people. This compilation compiles 16 tracks that fulfil all those criteria. None of them had any success, most are (unjustly) obscure but every one of them has inspired me and would be in my ultimate 7" singles box." – JD Twitch.

This release has been a real labour of love involving tracing long-lost artists to far-flung corners of the globe, persuading them that the modern world needs to hear the music they made several decades ago, tracking down lost masters, lovingly restoring 7"s in the case of those where the masters were lost and then conceiving an elaborate package with detailed sleeve notes to house the double album package.

The 2 x LP vinyl edition comes in a super deluxe package combining a double-sided black and white four x 12" panel sleeve, hand-folded into an LP sleeve with a colour insert containing colour photos of all the sleeves all inserted in a bespoke pvc wallet. The four x 12" panel sleeve contains sleeve notes and detailed overviews of each individual track by JD Twitch, and an introduction by New York's DIY expert Dan Selzer. Due to the huge amount of work involved putting the sleeve together, it will only ever exist in an edition of 500 copies. Should there be a repress it will come in a more conventional sleeve.

Release date is July 6th. Distribution by Kompakt.

Digital version contains 13 tracks.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Celebrating Memorial Day

Annique Monet's Phantom Letters comes after her departure from hippie-dippie Topanga bullshit band Worthless and is available in a limited batch of 100 cassettes with handmade art. It's quirky. Like, Soko-quirky. Except she didn't come from France; she came from Florida.

Erase Errata have returned and made their first recordings in nearly a decade, and they sound exactly as they once did! Happily so. Hannah Lew, bass player for the fabulous Grass Widow, directed the video above. The members of Erase Errata just gave a fabulous interview in Rookie, in which they explain their six-year hiatus and discuss the meaning of "Don't Sit/Lie." Perhaps some nice musician out there will coax Grass Widow out of hiding and direct a video for them?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Happy Riot Grrrl Day!

"Shy Women" off the upcoming Loyalty (May 12) showcases the Weather Station's Tamara Lindeman as something of a classic, '70s-style singer-songwriter. The multi-instrumentalist would also fit beautifully on a collaboration or tour pairing with fellow Canadian Bry Webb.

Pre-order Loyalty.

More off the new album here:

Here's another lovely surprise of a similar vein, from New York's Wilsen. The album on which "Garden" will be released has yet to be completed. For a taste of what to expect, listen to the slightly simpler Magnolia EP from 2014.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Froth: Bleak

Speaking of Vaadat Charigim, labelmates Froth (who recently supported Broken Water at Part Time Punks) will be joining them for a few dates in Southern California next month:

May 12 - San Diego @ Casbah
May 13 - Los Angeles @ Echo
May 14 - Santa Ana @ Constellation Room

Bleak gets released on May 5. Pre-order here.

England is still weeping

Two new, beautiful English tracks to feature today. The first comes from the Cambridge-based Tape Runs Out, who've just put out a debut single, "Friends," the B-side of which is called "Flowers" and contains all sorts of sampling that resembles the beach, from tape running backwards which mimics the cry of seagulls, to the melancholy grey ceiling of cloud that can be heard via guitar. "Friends," below, bears an incredible resemblance to the style of Israel's Vaadat Charigim, a favorite here. Tape Runs Out currently shares a Welsh label with Ukraine's Ummagma, to boot.

Starar are a brother/sister duo based in Lincolnshire and London whose "Time Under We" gets released as a single this...Sunday? Yes, this Sunday, Easter, and they've got a whole span of singles and EPs under their belts from the last five years, all of them with terrible cover art. But "Talisman," just released on Tuesday, is a lovely little bit of noise, a shoegaze rocker that reminds of My Bloody Valentine to an extent that many newer shoegaze bands would kill to achieve.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The return of Upset!

D'aww, Upset is something of a supergroup (members of Vivian Girls, Hole, and Slutever!) that takes the best of Girlpool and the Soviettes and mashes them into one little pop-punk adventure. New album '76 is almost entirely upbeat and will remind you of how much you'd wanted to start a band with your own girlfriends at one point (1998) but never did. That's kind of a bummer, isn't it? 

Buy this shit at Lauren Records and then see them on tour with Colleen Green.

4/2 Ft. Worth, TX - The Grotto 
4/3 Houston, TX - The Shop 
4/4 New Orleans, LA - Circle Bar 
4/5 Birmingham, AL - Seasick Records 
4/6 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn 
4/7 Durham, NC - The Pinhook 
4/8 Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery 
4/9 Philadelphia, PA -  
4/10 Brooklyn, NY - Shea Stadium 
4/11 Pittsburgh, PA - Modern Formations 
4/12 Cincinnati, OH - Woodward Theater 
4/13 Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen 
4/14 Milwaukee, WI - Cocoon Room 
4/15 Minneapolis, MN - Hexagon 
4/16 Fargo, ND - The Hawk's Nest 
4/18 Missoula, MT - The Real Lounge 
4/19 Moscow, ID - The Pizza Pit 
4/20 Seattle, WA - The Black Lodge 
4/21 Portland, OR - Bunk Bar 
4/22 Arcata, CA - The Farmhouse 
4/23 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop 

California: Lacks Water, Boasts Creative Adult

This new track by Creative Adult is awfully nice; "Ring Around the Room" distances the band from their [rather Pissed Jeans-esque] 2012 EP, Dead Air, now showing hints of everything from Echo and the Bunnymen to Iceage. After a single full-length record in 2013, they are putting this out as one of three tracks on a special seven-inch for Record Store Day, which -- don't forget! -- occurs April 18.

Something old:

In January, Creative Adult also put out a split with Wild Moth, available for order here.

The British Are Coming: Part 1

A relatively recently reformed Part 1 will be re-issuing the Funeral Parade EP of 1982, now set to include "a remastered 12" vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve with accompanying horror zine I...Paraworm, packed with never-seen text and unpublished artworks from the pen of guitarist Mark Ferelli." The re-release will be out on Sacred Bones on April 15, and accompanies a small east coast U.S. tour, their first visit to the U.S.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Making a statement on either side of the pond

John Cooper Clarke is touring the U.S. this spring. See him while he's 66!

Thursday, April 30
Hard Rock Hotel
Las Vegas, NV

Saturday, May 2
El Rey
Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, May 3
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, May 5
Lincoln Hall
Chicago, IL

Thursday, May 7
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, May 9
Stage One
Fairfield, CT (There's a market for him in CT?)

Monday, May 11
World Café
Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, May 12
Washington, DC

Thursday, May 14
Berklee Recital Hall
Boston, MA


Well, it's happened. Women in Glasgow have finally discovered Olympia and third-wave feminism.

This is Pennycress.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brisbane, Calabasas, Dublin

Brisbane, Australia's Morning Harvey are poised for a giant, commercial 1992 debut -- they're really grand pop, would've fit beautifully on the '90s-era Creation Records roster. Have a listen to some of their older things at Bandcamp.


Guys, hate to say it, but Willow Smith's a grower.


This one's a beauty; Lakker, from Dublin, have got an album set for release on May 12. Tundra will be put out by R&S Records, and "contains field recordings from motorway tunnels in Japan, church bells from Schöneberg, a female choir from Dublin and Inuit throat singers." "Three Songs," above, features the voice of Eileen Carpio.

Show Me the Body: Jewish New Yorkers who make a hybrid of hip-hop and punk and aren't the Beastie Boys

Show Me the Body is the sort of band you'd probably manage to see live every month, if you were trapped in a certain Brooklyn bubble, except they're from Queens. "Bone Soup Outta You" suggests that they're doomed to one poor recording job after another (see their first release, Yellow Kidney), but they've got an original little mish-mash of hip-hop and sludge going. And there's a banjo.

SMTB gets released April 21 via Letter Racer. No doubt, this project won't last more than five years, but everybody gets to be twenty at some point.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Twilight Sad came to Costa Mesa and we drove at least two hours to see them

When the Twilight Sad were fresh to Los Angeles, about eight years ago, promoting Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, they were sort of awkward about their performance style, even if they were musically exceptional. Frontman James Graham would decide that his services were no longer needed at some point during a song, and so he'd sit like a child at the front of the stage, dodging eye contact and waiting for its end. He appeared a bit autistic, really. Then-bassist Craig Orzel would play in a yoga pose, and after a Knitting Factory performance could be found walking around the floor of the venue, eating a banana – decidedly un-rock 'n roll.

But god, they've grown. At Costa Mesa's Wayfarer, a beautifully lit bar out of place in the strip mall of an otherwise residential neighborhood, the sometime-five-piece played a set heavy on last year's Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, whose lyrics we could only assume, given Graham's silence, were entirely influenced by a breakup. (Refer to album closer “Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep” for particularly self-pitying lyrics: “I'm leaving you/just to be cruel/you don't want me anymore/you don't need me anymore/Tell me who ruined you/Throw me on the fire.”)

But then, look back to Forget the Night Ahead's devastating “Seven Years of Letters” for a hint of what would come, with its references to “the dress that you'll never wear” and “the dance that we'll never share,” presumably a story about a couple too hesitant to commit to marriage in the long term. And then we read that Graham has a girlfriend in the present, and we realize, finally, that Nobody Wants to Be Here is perhaps not a breakup album after all – Graham is just a phenomenal storyteller, and the lyricist everyone hopes to encounter at some point. Not in the context of a breakup, of course, but in the ability to inspire to the extent that a beautiful song comes out of that meeting, whether said meeting lasts five minutes or five years. It is all too easy to become obsessive about the Twilight Sad's lyrics, to wonder who or what idea prompted them, and to keep them for yourself, because as much as you'd love to shout to the hills about what fantastic music this is, you don't want to share it with a soul.

The funny case of the Twilight Sad as a live band is that their songs are incredibly serious, and incredibly sincere, yet Graham tends to downplay that sincerity on stage and poke fun at their loaded song titles before putting on an incredibly serious and sincere performance, as though he's embarrassed about his sincerity and feels he ought to apologize as a precedent. He'll announce “I Became a Prostitute” or “Drown So I Can Watch” with a self-aware grin. And as a performer, he is the factor that has most evolved over the last few years, which is significant, because he's currently the only member of the band who doesn't look bored on stage. Where Mark Devine and Andy MacFarlane have steadily provided a noisy and glowing wall of a backdrop, wearing poker faces all the while, Graham has developed from the boy who looks absent and unhappily drunk into a grown man who appears more comfortable with himself, and who might be the introvert with an on/off switch, suddenly okay with allowing himself to be seen for eighty minutes.

Last night he was energized, unafraid, and put his everything into singing with sincerity, while bassist Johnny Docherty blew out an amp and MacFarlane, who quietly drives the tone and aesthetic of the band, played silently in the corner, almost entirely with tremolo, and a small but loyal audience, most of whom had driven hours to get to this strip mall in Costa Mesa, looked on in love. There is no more euphoric feeling than the one that comes while watching this Banton band perform.

This was not shot in Costa Mesa last night. But it's a charming, lovely and stripped down set recorded last month that ought to be seen.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Garfield humps the air; punchline at 2:14

Comrade do you hear the sound? We’re kicking it down to the ground!

There's a new Wire album coming forth! Thirteenth studio album Wire gets released April 13, and there'll be a tour in promotion.

American tour dates:

May 26 - USA - PORTLAND, OR - Dantes
May 27 - USA - SEATTLE, WA - Nuemos
May 29 - USA - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Slim's
May 30 - USA - LOS ANGELES, CA - The Echoplex
June 02 - USA - CAMBRIDGE, MA - The Sinclair
June 03 - USA - BROOKLYN, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
June 04 - USA - NEW YORK, NY - Bowery Ballroom
June 05 - USA - PHILADELPHIA, PA - Union Transfer
June 06 - USA - WASHINGTON, DC - Black Cat
June 08 - USA - CLEVELAND, OH - Beachland Ballroom
June 09 - USA - DETROIT, MI - Majestic Theatre
June 10 - USA - LOUISVILLE, KY - Headliners

Speaking of well-seasoned punks -- remember that nifty little Christmas release by Hard Left? They've got a full record coming out, releasing one song via Bandcamp per week, and the first track's just come out. The band is very much of a formula, extremely self-aware, and have jumped 100% into the aesthetic and message of yesteryear's political punk rock. Good things never die, and Hard Left want you to know that punk rock is a good thing.

They've also got some shows scheduled to celebrate:

April 30 - Hemlock Tavern, SF w/Bad Daddies, Voided Social Contract & Schleim
May 1 - La Cita, Los Angeles - Punky Reggae Party w/Terry Malts
May 2 - The Night Light, Oakland w/ Suede Razors

And -- decidedly not aggressive much -- English folk band This is the Kit have just offered up the second song, first official single, of their upcoming Bashed Out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New side project from the oafish voice of Elias Ronnenfelt (Iceage). Coming to L.A. next month!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bill Mountain: Because "Rock with Saxophone" Should Be a Genre

It seems we've got a giant group that combines Oneida, Love is All, and Black Eyes in Bill Mountain. If there's more of this to be had in Louisiana, then Louisiana may be the location of the next good party music movement.

Tour dates in the American South (only):

03/31 Houma, LA @ The Boxer & The Barrel
04/03 Hot Springs, AR @ The Exchange
04/04 Dallas, TX @ Double Wide
04/25 New Orleans, LA @ Banks St. Bar
05/08 New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
06/19 New Orleans, LA @ TBA
06/21 Houma, LA @ The Boxer & The Barrel


Monday, March 9, 2015

Day two of International Women's Day: Girlpool and Soko

Before The World Was Big comes out June 2 on Wichita Recordings.

The new Soko album is great but sounds nothing like her (very French) record from 2012 and is extremely '80s Los Angeles. In this context, not this context. Album and cat stuff available here.

Be Forest visited Los Angeles last night.

Last night's Part Time Punks lineup featured two-thirds-female Italian shoegaze trio Be Forest (headlining in time for International Women's Day!), supported by San Francisco act VANIISH, whose frontman Keven Tecon was once a member of PTP favorite Wax Idols.

Where the two acts lack originality, they compromise in musicianship; VANIISH in particular is well aligned with fellow '80s-inspired dark wave act Wax Idols, albeit playing with three of its members lined up in an untouchable wall -- this metaphor applies musically as well as visually -- and where drummer Nick Ott borrows heavily and consistently from "Atrocity Exhibition," he does it skillfully and gracefully.

Be Forest, meanwhile, bodes well for the continuation of the current shoegaze revival and could easily open for Ride's reunion tour if the stars were aligned for such (though they did open for Slowdive in Padova last summer, which is just as fitting). In promotion of 2014's stunning Earthbeat, the young band played a dazzling set that was cool and collected, breezy and controlled. Erica Terenzi, who came from the Moe Tucker/Frankie Rose school of drumming, switched places with guitarist Nicola Lampredi toward show's end, demonstrating that the pair are extremely interchangeable in skill and energy, and the set concluded as consistently as it had begun.

For the real stuff, though: Now that lyrics have been posted, is it possible that Earthbeat was lyrically inspired by the Twilight series? See below for samples:

Captured Heart:
I would like to fall in love, and then have a broken heart 
it’s better you run away from me 
‘Cause all my life I have been dead inside

Lost Boy:
I want to know if you can change your life and not betray your own soul 
I just want to know but i don't care who you are. 
I want to know if you can see the beauty and don't hide your eyes 
I don't want to know how did you get here. 

I don't care what you have lived 
I don't care how old you are 

Everyone is gone 
with their fangs 
You are alone and you've nothing left to lose 
How can it feel this wrong baby? How do you feel? 
They don't know who you are 
Nobody knows

Sparkle (obviously about Edward, from the perspective of Bella):
My feet are covered 
under soft roots 
Tonight is the last one, 
he tells me 

Don't cry for me: I am not here. 
I'm not sleeping. I am a thousand winds that blow. 
I'm a sparkle in the snow. 

If you can hide in the fog and fend off the dust 
can you see this endless joy? 
It's the power of the life 

Don't cry for me: I am not there. 
and then i leave

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meet the unforgettable Tim Carr!

More and more, this appears to be transforming into a year of fantastic singer-songwriters. Aside from the already mentioned English musicians This is the Kit and Marika Hackman, there are amazing songwriters popping up in Los Angeles, one of whom is Tim Carr.

Tuesday night saw Jherek Bischoff making his debut as an L.A. resident, performing at the Echoplex while backed by Brother, Sister, and though Tim Carr spent two sets playing drums (for Brother, Sister's own set as well as Bischoff's), he opened the show with a stunning solo set, managing to create a playlist that was lush and delicate and, really, embodied what the world sounds like when it's about to blossom. He reminds an awful lot of Will Stratton, and is just about one of the best solo performers I've seen in years. The thing that really pushed him forward was the addition of his bandmates in Brother, Sister, contributing strings to back him for two songs, bringing his already dreamy music into another world. The addition of a harp can only help things along.

Tim Carr - Now Now
Tim Carr - The Last Day of Fighting

New Pile! New Pile!

The new Pile album is ready and will see a release next week, coinciding with the start of a spring tour (which, for now, has no established dates in Los Angeles, but is otherwise a good conclusion to the band's desperate fundraiser for a new van). As far as the record goes, it's a reliable, standard, angsty/grungy Pile record, and there's no epic star of the album in the style of last year's "Special Snowflakes," though "Tin Foil Hat" comes awfully close, dynamic with great buildup and fulfilling climax.

Rick Maguire still sounds grumpy.

Buy the sucker at Bandcamp starting March 3!

Edit: A-ha! They will in fact make a stop in Los Angeles! Visit them at Los Globos in Silverlake on March 29.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bitches get stuff done

Obviously, the new Speedy Ortiz song is great. It's about being a grown-ass woman.

This tour poster, designed by Michael DeForge, is also pretty great.

SJ Esau released one of last year's best albums and I dropped the ball

Somehow, I missed last year's album by Bristol musician/producer SJ Esau, one of the very first artists I'd reviewed for this site. In 2007, Sam Wisternoff was something of a novelty, more than partly due to his obsession with cats, but in March 2014, he created an absolutely brilliant mess of an uncategorizable record, and it's run across my lap only a year later. Exploding Views is all sorts of things -- wacky, completely manic, exciting, and not resembling, in the least, the majority of what's come out in the last couple of years. If that weren't enough, it offers a guest appearance by Doseone. This is the record I've needed and waited for for quite some time.

Exploding Views may very well sound dated, a decade from now. But for now, it's an incredible thrill, a real demonstration of what Wisternoff can do, and if this release was years in the making, I'll be delighted to see how he evolves in the next few years. Completely sold on this record, even if a year too late.

A proper return by Vaadat Charigim

Tel Aviv's dreamy shoegaze band Vaadat Charigim is finally putting out a new record and touring the U.S. west coast. Sinking as a Stone will see a May 5 release on Burger Records, and freshly released track "Ein Li Makom" is gorgeous; while consistent with their general sound, it shows a bit more backbone and a certain blossoming beyond the softer, more timid and beautiful sounds of the band's debut. But then, there are those bleak lyrics, whose despair comes through even via Juval Haring's swirling guitar. Write what you know.

(Translated from Hebrew:)

Do not want to be realistic
Do not want to exhaust myself
Something in me screams
Time is the killer
Something in me screams

I do not have a place in this world

Do not want to be realistic
Do not want to do you proud
High wooden fall
Do not want to hear
Do not want to touch

I do not have a place in this world

Tour dates:

05-09 Austin, TX - Levitation
05-11 Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
05-12 San Diego, CA - Casbah
05-13 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
05-14 Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room
05-15 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
05-18 Portland, OR - Bunk Bar
05-20 Seattle, WA - Barboza
05-22 Brooklyn, NY - Baby's All Right

Additionally, frontman-guitarist Juval Haring requests that one of his own favorites, Cain and Abel 90210, be given a listen. Per his request:

Rocking mom's wardrobe: Advaeta

Advaeta is a Brooklyn-based trio of ladies who work as a small art collective, recording together and making their own album art, and whose debut full-length, Death and the Internet, will see an April 28 release on Fire Talk Records.

Advaeta also look like 1993:

Have a listen to their noisy, sloppy 2012 EP -- 2012.

The end of Geronimo! and a new beginning for Extra Happy Ghost!!!

Before Geronimo! disappears from the Exploding in Sound roster, and for good, they'll be releasing their final three tracks on the EIS-released, limited edition cassette Buzz Yr. Girlfriend Vol. 4: Why Did You Leave Me?, due for a March 31 release. This is a fabulous way to go out. Their last show will be at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago on March 28 -- tickets available here.

This is sort of music made specifically for the white, bearded guy in plaid, but Calgary's Astral Swans, a project of Matthew Swann, will be releasing a nice little loner rock album on Arts and Crafts tomorrow. All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson is rather bare bones, mildly distorted and moody, the stuff that fans of Feist and Bryan Webb would most certainly be happy to have.

This will be the first release for Madic Records, and the first for Swann under the Astral Swans name (see his 2011 release as Extra Happy Ghost!!!).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fuzz from elsewhere

There's a new King Khan and BBQ Show/Bad News Boys track! They still sound like shit, thankfully.

Additionally, Mark Sultan/BBQ will be on a spring tour of his own this -- er -- spring.

Not a lot of music from Switzerland makes it over here; however, Bern-based garage pop band Artlu Bubble and the Dead Animal Gang have been slowly promoting their 2013 eponymous record, initially released on Fruit Jelly Records and now out internationally, and in celebration, they recently put out a video for the album's best track, the rather peppy "Leave it to the Kids." The band refers to their genre, questionably, as "kitchen-folk?" And somehow, that seems rather appropriate.

Preview the entire record at Soundcloud.

New Bang Gang (heh heh)

Icelandic act Barði Jóhannsson, under the moniker Bang Gang, is releasing his first album since 2008's Ghosts from the Past. No release date has been given as of yet, though first single "Out of Horizon" is an agreeable, retro pop song not too far off from "Soul Meets Body" that boasts some fantastic cover art courtesy of Ulrike Theusner (see above).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dreaming of the northeast

Edmonton's Faith Healer has a debut album, Cosmic Troubles, coming out on March 31 on Mint Records, and the songs released thus far are at once spacey, detached, dreamy, inspired by the mods and '60s France.

Also [finally!] putting forth a proper debut is Marika Hackman, whose We Slept at Last is now set for a Feb. 16 release, and whose one-off singles have been featured on Choir Croak Out Them Goodies since 2012. It's about time. The record is incredibly serious and incredibly beautiful; "Before I Sleep" has a similar feel to "Bashed Out," the new single by fellow British folk act This is the Kit, "Claude's Girl" has the tone of an eastern European waltz, and the entirety of We Slept, particularly "Skin," feels like the motion of the night sea. This will be one of the best records of the year.

The Mary Onettes have finally made it down to the U.S. after a couple of failed tours! The Swedes have a brand new track adorned with the loveliest sort of dissonance, and it essentially resembles a hybrid of the '80s new romantic movement and early Ariel Pink. They've evolved just enough over the last few years.

Starting with tonight:

Feb 10 (Tuesday) - Boston @ Great Scott
Feb 11 (Wednesday) - Philadelphia @ Johnny Brendas
Feb 12 (Thursday) - NYC @ Cameo Gallery
Feb 13 (Friday) - DC @ House of Sweden
Feb 14 (Saturday) - Chicago @ Empty Bottle (2H)
Feb 18 (Wednesday) - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Feb 20 (Friday) - San Francisco @ Rickshaw Stop
Feb 21 (Saturday) - Los Angeles @ Bootleg Bar
Feb 22 (Sunday) - San Diego @ Soda Bar
Feb 23 (Monday) - Phoenix @ Pub Rock

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

England, returning

Ride is coming to the U.S. and re-issuing OX4!

Coachella - Indio, CA - April 10
The Warfield - San Francisco, CA - April 13
Fox Theater - Pomona, CA - April 14
Terminal 5 - New York, NY - June 4

There is finally something new to share from Bristol/Paris act This is the Kit, the stunning folk project of Kate Stables and a rotating cast of friends. This is the Kit will have a new record out on April 7, and Bashed Out will be their/her first since 2011's stunning Wriggle Out the Restless. If you haven't happened upon Stables' work until now, it is not to be missed -- it's folk at its finest, authentic, earthy, soothing, thoughtful. Really doesn't get much better than this. Here's the title track from Bashed Out, then:

Visit something old:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Evans the Death laughs high and aloud

It's sort of refreshing to run across a literally noisy band like London-based Evans the Death, who made their debut in 2012, whose vocalist Katherine Whitaker sounds so very young, and who remind of a mildly rougher version of Sheffield's Standard Fare (R.I.P.). Expect Delays gets released on Slumberland on March 10.

So...Felix made a comeback.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Having a party with Jerry Paper

New York-based Jerry Paper (Lucas Nathan IRL) will release third record Carousel on March 31; for a taste of Jerry Paper, refer back to 2014's Big Pop for Chameleon World, which makes it apparent that the artist is some bizarre hybrid of Steely Dan, Frank Zappa, London O'Connor, and clown music. It's hard to connect with Jerry Paper but he's undoubtedly one not to miss if you happen to be in the vicinity of Sumberjaya Surinamese Food in Aruba, come February.

This is the, um, promo for his new album.

Two marvelous, new Twilight Sad tracks, including an Arthur Russell cover

These will leave you absolutely broken-hearted. But they're gorgeous. And the cover of "I Couldn't Say it to Your Face" is perhaps even prettier and tougher to listen to than the original.

Visit them on tour in the U.S. this spring!

Feb 23 Boston, MA - Great Scott+
Feb 24 Brooklyn, NY - Babys All Right+
Feb 25 Philadelphia, PA - The Boot & Saddle+
Feb 26 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel+
Feb 27 Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox+
Feb 28 Chicago IL - Beat Kitchen+
Mar 02 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry+
Mar 03 Fargo, ND - The Aquarium (Upstairs) +
Mar 05 Missoula, MT - Stage 112+
Mar 06 Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern+
Mar 07 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge+
Mar 08 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret+
Mar 10 Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp
Mar 11 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill+
Mar 12 Costa Mesa, CA – The Wayfarer+
Mar 13 San Diego, CA - The Merrow+
Mar 14 Phoenix, AZ - VivaPHX
Mar 17 - Mar 21 Austin, TX – SXSW

+ Port St Willow to Support

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cruisin' for a bruisin'

St. Louis duo Bruiser Queen, vocalist/guitarist Morgan Nusbaum and drummer Jason Potter, have an aesthetic that initially appears to align them with a retro rockabilly movement of some sort, but Nusbam's gutsy yet feminine delivery brings the band quite close to the first Soviettes record; their second album, Sweet Static, sounds as though it might be ridden with harmonies, but between the two members and their production job, there's already plenty there.

Here's something a wee bit older from Bruiser Queen:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mercury is in retrograde!

Miss Tati is Angolan by way of Portugal and (currently resides in) Bergen, Norway, and "Shakedown," just released yesterday, is refreshingly un-American -- it is confident but cool, has nothing to prove. Miss Tati herself has a jazz-inspired R&B voice, and the beat behind her sounds amazing on headphones. Yes. Yes. Yes.

There's a brand new SONICS song out (!) and because production has improved in the last 50 years, the Sonics now sound like every band that's imitated them since the '60s, Detroit-based or otherwise. Gerry Roslie uses an inhaler now and looks quite representative of his age (Niall O'Keefe of The Stool Pigeon once agreed, citing his heart transplant and recovery from kidney cancer), but the Sonics are still an incredible live band and it goes without saying that you ought to visit them while they tour this year. April tour dates for the U.S. are listed here. They're playing Viva Las Vegas!

Last month, Brooklyn band Surf Rock is Dead received mention here; today, they've got a brand new track to boast, albeit one that -- erm -- takes after "Just Like Heaven" to an unquestionable degree. Have a listen.

Last song of the evening belongs to James Davis, an act signed to Motown and comprised of fraternal twins and their brother. The video for "Better Than You Are" was filmed throughout Los Angeles (hey, hi, Circus Liquor!), and their self-titled debut album, entirely bedroom-recorded, will be released in the spring.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hitting Up France: The Return of Gratuit

The above is one of the tracks off an upcoming album by Gratuit, Antoine Bellanger IRL, who has chosen to describe his music as "prom-ball keyboard sounds." Apropos. His full-length, , sees a March 3 release on French label Kythibong, home of Vagina Town. Hear, also, the below -- to be featured on .

Bellanger's last album as Gratuit was the 2012 LP Délivrance; though comprised mostly of Eurodance prom-ball keyboard sounds, "Feu" had a nice Twilight Sad-style chord progression to it. Have a taste.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Revisiting old favorites in the new year

A 25-minute documentary on Girlpool was just released, and while the performances are not necessarily as polished as their live sets had gotten by December, and certainly, in spite of all the vocal fry (good lord, the vocal fry), Things Are OK is really damn delightful. Harmony and Cleo are an extremely likable pair who, musically, are essentially a next generation version of The Roches. And furthermore, they are perfectly normal teens, talking about how difficult it is to feel weird and then take your music public, where people can project their ideas and interpretations of it back onto you. A worthy little watch.

Ty Segall's new EP, released today, is simple, softer, and sounds like a whole lotta Topanga Canyon:

The new Twilight Sad single is gorgeous and will be released on Feb. 8.  And if you're not aware, they are offering LP and concert ticket bundles on their website, which do in fact apply to their American concert dates as well as those in the UK. They'll be starting a record store tour quite soon, and you can be sure that said dates will play out like this one, recorded in Los Angeles on Nov. 7 of last year.

And, finally, Exploding in Sound's Pile have got a new record out on March 3, You're Better Than This, and they'll be touring with the brand new van they'll have achieved via Indiegogo. Have a listen to their appropriately titled new single at Stereogum.