Wednesday, April 17, 2024

LOMA

And now for some soothing, dreamy, melancholy folk from Dripping Springs, Texas and LOMA.  The project of Emily Cross (Cross Record), Dan Duszynski, and Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater), the trio craft wonderfully ambient-tinged folk rock that hits all those sweet spots right in the center of the heart.  Check out new tune "How It Starts" below and pre-order the upcoming "How Will I Live without a Body?" LP here from Sub Pop.


Daily Jam - Sing

In honor of the Blur at Coachella discourse currently going on over on social media, here's a column about a Blur song i wrote seven years ago.

I love, love, love a good soundtrack, though that means something completely different now than it did when I was a teenager. My typical soundtrack of choice now is a good film score, old or new, touching on a number of different genres from classical to synth to ambient to surf rock to psychedelia and so on. Classics from Morricone or Carpenter file right in with the more obscure bonkers stuff from old Italian composers, 80’s synth nerds, and younger upstarts alike. But this vinyl film score fetishism is still a relatively recent development on my part, an effect of the increasingly amazing output of record labels like Mondo, Death Waltz, Waxwork, and the like. As a dumb teenager, I was far more into soundtrack collections of pop songs featured in the films. Things like the goth-tinged alt-rock explosion of The Crow, the too-cool-for-school underground lo-fi jams from Kids, the polished and glittered glam and drama of Romeo and Juliet, or the schizophrenic sonic kaleidoscope of Natural Born Killers were all go-to albums for me, some working as vehicles for artists or labels, and others as pieces of collage art in their own rights. But the apex of this soundtrack love is the amazing and essential music from Trainspotting, a film and album that checked in at just the right time, capitalizing on the cultural zeitgeist that was Britpop and turning a young kid in the arid desert of west Texas into an avid fan.

Featuring an array of music from 90’s Britpop bands, electronic artists, and classics from Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and more, I could easily listen to the record all day everyday. Honestly, I probably should just do that later tonight, but for now, let’s focus on a kind of obscure, but absolutely transcendent track from Britpop stalwarts Blur. Originally recorded for the band’s debut album Leisure, “Sing” somewhat surprisingly ended up missing the cut, though it has surfaced on later re-pressings and expanded anniversary editions of the record. Beautiful and dreamlike, the song nods along, a delirious mix of piano, rhythmic drums, reverb, and Damon Albarn’s floating vocals. It’s kind of shoegazey, kind of dream-poppy, and totally hypnotic. Cynically, of course a song like “Sing” is going to soundtrack a film about heroin abusers, but it’s just too lush and gorgeous to fall into that attitude. And it’s easily one of the top ten things the band ever produced. I just want to close my eyes and let my body float away.

Sing to me.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cold Cave

LA darkwave duo Cold Cave just dropped new tune "Shadow Dance."  Shake your black hearts to it below and download it here from Heartworm Press.


Daily Jam - Rocks

Years ago when my wife and I were married, we met with the guy whom we had hired to be our wedding deejay to discuss the timing of some songs and dances, the songs to be used during the different ceremonial dances, the songs to avoid like the plague and to not play under any circumstances (“We Are Family”), and some songs that we absolutely wanted played. My list included “Apache” by The Incredible Bongo Band, “I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)” by Stevie Wonder, and the indispensable “Rocks” by long-running UK band Primal Scream.

Although the record from whence “Rocks” is derived, the blued-infused, Stones-indebted 1994 album Give Out but Don’t Give Up, with its cropped William Eggleston photo album cover, is a mixed bag of homages and influences, that first single is a party starter for the ages. The beat and guitar riff are full of classic rock swagger, sex oozing from the microphone until the horn section flares up like something out of a Sly Stone daydream, commanding the hips to shake and the feet to move.

Who wouldn’t want this song played at their wedding reception?

Primal Scream are still kicking around, even releasing a couple of instant classic records since “Rocks” (read: 1997’s Vanishing Point and 2000’s EXTRMNTR), but I always come back to my personal introduction to the band. And these days my sons are dancing to it too.


Monday, April 15, 2024

Bnny

I really need to get to work, but i'll leave you with a new song from Chicago alt-rock artist Bnny.  Listen to the melancholy "Good Stuff" below and get the new "One Million Love Songs" album here from Fire Talk.


Cola

Canadian post punk band Cola arose from the ashes of now defunct band Ought in 2022, and now have their sophomore effort "The Gloss" heading our way this summer.  Check out the cool and meandering "Bitter Melon" below and pre-order the LP here from Fire Talk.


Arianne Churchman

UK label Folklore Tapes is in the midst of a very cool project right now, releasing a 24 volume cassette series of 48 artists performing their own brands of mutant folk, drone, and more to create a tapestry of sound based on the myths and folklore of the 48 counties of England.  It's called the "Ceremonial County Series," and it's an epic, sprawling, and fascinating endeavor.  Check out folk artist Arianne Churchman's contribution "The Horse-Woman of Piper's Vale" from Volume II, a droney ode to the lore of Suffolk, below, and get it, along with Volumes I and III here.


Daily Jam - Novocaine for the Soul

There is a big part of me that is beyond thankful that I came of age during the internet’s infancy. I was pretty shy when I was growing up (and still am to a degree) and was basically a nerd (comic books and good grades and whatnot). And in not having an online community of fellow and likeminded nerds to confide in and retreat to, I was forced to venture out into the real world and meet actual people…to make actual friends. Sure, we were still dorks and outcasts doing dork and outcast things, seeking out alcohol (usually unsuccessfully), smoking cigarettes in the park, watching cult films, pining away about sex and the lack thereof, or just telling jokes and hanging out, but we did it together with other human beings.

As a music obsessive, one of the things I would have my little group do on a Friday or Saturday night, was venture out to hunt for CD’s. Living in a smaller city in the 90’s (Midland, Texas had around 90,000 people residing there at the time), we weren’t really overflowing with options. By then, local record stores had all but been swallowed up by the larger chains who were then also on the outs, victims of the big box stores. Thus, visits to our local Best Buy became a weekly occurrence once my driver’s license had been procured.

The Best Buys of the 90’s were significantly different from the Best Buys currently occupying space in shopping centers around the country. At the time, the CD section of the store was very large, the sales thereof providing a relatively inexpensive source of revenue for the chain. Of course MP3’s and streaming killed all that, but as a teen in the 90’s with a modest disposable income to burn, and with the store able to offer the discs at a lower price than anybody else, I amassed quite a collection of 1990’s alt-rock (just the good stuff, I swear).

Does any of this have anything to do with “Novocaine for the Soul,” the 1996 hit from Eels’ debut album Beautiful Freak? No, not really. But I did buy the album at a Best Buy for like 7 dollars or something when I was in high school. So there’s that. Listen to the song and watch the Mark Romanek directed video below… …Before I sputter out.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Water Damage

On this Sunday, let us open our minds and our earholes, our hearts and our souls to the krautrock and space rock vibes of Austin's own Water Damage.  The collective burn and smear through the cosmos with their latest effort, "In E," four sprawling tracks of droning, hypnotizing, transcendent sound.  Check out "Reel E" below and get the LP here from 12XU.


The Blisks

Australian band The Blisks make a weird, dubby kind of post punk and groove.  The whole sound feels like walking through syrup, cobwebs in your brain, head in the clouds.  Check out "Do You Bless It?" below and pre-order the upcoming "Elixa" album here from Efficient Space.


Daily Jam - The Air that I Breathe

Some circles may remember The Hollies’ 1974 hit “The Air that I Breathe” solely for its use in an early 90’s television commercial for house paint (I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid). Some might remember it for being the reason that Radiohead now pay royalties to songwriters Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood due to the song’s similarities to “Creep.” For some reason I remember it as background music to growing up in west Texas in the 1980’s. And I’m not sure why.

There’s a part of me that really wants to believe that my dad had a Hollies album, Hollies from whence the song appeared or a greatest hits compilation or something like that. And there’s another part of me that really wants to believe that said album was an 8-Track tape.

Naturally, I have no evidence to support these beliefs.

I suppose it’s certainly possible that in my dad’s music collection somewhere was a Hollies 8-Track. He had plenty of them in the mix with his vinyl and assorted cassette tapes (if memory serves, he may have even had a reel-to-reel in there somewhere), but the band doesn’t really fit into his wheelhouse. There were a handful of rock n’ roll records in my dad’s arsenal, but at his heart, he was a jazz and bluegrass kind of guy. And after he passed away a few years ago, my mom, my siblings, and I divvied up what we wanted to keep of the collection, and the rest was lost to time. I don’t recall ever seeing the mythical Hollies 8-Track in the bunch.

But “The Air that I Breathe” is prevalent in my memory of the time. Maybe it’s manufactured, or maybe I’m misremembering things, or maybe I heard it somewhere else that my mind can’t place. Our lazy brains can be notorious for just making shit up so that random things make some sort of coherent sense in our psyches. Why a 1970’s soft rock hit wormed its way into mine is beyond me.

Good jam though. Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Vanity Mirror

Toronto band Vanity Mirror dropped a new track a couple weeks back with the driving pop rock of "Solid State."  It makes me want to dance and spin in a circle.  Check it out below and download it here from We Are Busy Bodies.


Daily Jam - The Dream

It was probably sometime in the middle of seeing Thee Oh Sees perform live for the third time during 2011’s South By Southwest, that I decided that despite what record sales, or music awards, or surly, hyperbolic music writers would lead you to believe, rock n’ roll is alive and well and not going anywhere. I would go on to see the band play another four times that year (twice more at SXSW), and my opinion still has not wavered. Not even a smidge. And with every passing year, as I’m able to catch them again and again (they make it to Austin almost every year, God bless them), and with each prolific and subsequent release, they just keep proving me right every time. In my humble opinion, Thee Oh Sees are the best live act on the continent* with a wealth of material to draw from for every show, and yet they still manage to play my favorite song at all of them, the deliriously jumpy and frenetic “The Dream,” from 2011’s Carrion Crawler / The Dream EP**.

A pure burst of adrenaline and bouncy groove, “The Dream” plays like all of the best punk and garage rock you’ve ever heard or ever will hear. A toe-tapping, ass-shaking beat and a guitar riff that moves and bops and threatens to run off the reservation if not for the driving bass and organ effects that keep it in check, all the while main man John Dwyer’s chirpy, high-pitched scream and shout careen out like some kind of barked, hypnotic mantra. It’s amazing. And it certainly gets the hordes dancing and moving in the hot, crowded bars, clubs, and ballrooms whose stages are graced with the band’s presence.

Oh, and your kids will love it.

*I go back and forth between Thee Oh Sees and Fucked Up as to who is the best live band out there.

**The term EP should be used loosely here, as the album clocks in at 40 minutes.


Friday, April 12, 2024

De Beren Gieren

Here's some weird new music from Belgian band De Beren Gieren that's kinda sorta jazz, kinda sorta exotica, kinda sorta library, and on and on and on.  Point of the matter is it's weird.  But cool too.  Check out the odd, funky rhythms of "Very Important vs. Nothing" below and get the "What Eludes Us" LP here from Sdban Records.


Friday Horror Trailer - Cathy's Curse

 

Daily Jam - Mighty K.C.

"And by the grace of God go I into the great unknown..."

A play on words using Ernest Thayer's Casey at The Bat, Gainesville, Florida band For Squirrels penned a wonderful melancholy and jangly ode to Kurt Cobain with their minor 1995 radio hit "Mighty KC." From the band's major label debut Example, the song found the band pairing REM-style college guitar rock with some of the harder elements of grunge and punk. The song was a lovely tribute to the man who inspired a whole swath of artists and musicians to form their own bands (for better or worse), but ultimately and sadly ended up as a kind of self-written eulogy for the band itself.

One of the more depressing stories from the 1990's alt-rock scene, the band was involved in a tragic auto accident just weeks before their album was released. Travelling back to Florida from performing at the CMJ Festival in New York, the band's van blew a tire in Georgia on the Interstate Highway and flipped, killing vocalist Jack Vigliatura, bassist Bill White, and tour manager Tim Bender. The surviving members eventually pushed on in some capacity or another, but never quite reached the heights that their original lineup seemed to be on the cusp of attaining.

Tragic stories aside, "Mighty KC" remains a standout from its era, endlessly hooky, but also a thoughtful reflection on art, life, and death. But in its innate lyrical somberness and melancholy guitar crunch, a sliver of hope still manages to shine through. Honestly, we all need that right now.

"Things are gonna change in our favor..."

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Thursday, April 11, 2024

IDAHO

One of the strange and interesting things to witness over the last couple of years is Gen Z discover the joys of shoegaze and slowcore music via TikTok.  Both new artists and old artist alike have benefitted from this new method of discovery, with some acts from 25 years ago or more seeing their music reach a wider audience than ever thought possible.  It's very cool and has led to some reunions and some new tunes to boot.  I don't know if that's what brought back LA slowcore band IDAHO with their first new album in 13 years, but i'm glad to have them back.  New album "Lapse" drops next month.  Pre-order it here from Arts & Crafts and listen to "On Fire" below.


Daily Jam - Fold in the Floor

Some days, with everything going on in the world, writing about music seem so quaint and meaningless. And yet I do it anyway. It creates some degree of normalcy I guess.

That being said, here's a lovely track from shoegaze band Bethany Curve's 1998 album Gold. I went through a shoegaze Renaissance period of sorts when I was in my late teens during the post-grunge era, consuming anything I could from then current purveyors of the genre back to the originators from a decade prior. "Fold in the Floor" was one that always stuck with me at that time, a perfect example of the scene (albeit a Californian one), moodiness as expressed through layers of guitar, reverb, and echoed vocals, a floating lullaby. When researching the artist for this article, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the four-piece is still around and making new music. Bully to them and much thanks for providing me with an ear worm for the last 26 years.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Thou

The perpetually kicking and screaming Baton Rouge metal band Thou are back next month with a new album of sludgy riffage and sonic assaults on the ears.  Check out the bombastic annihilation of "I Feel Nothing When You Cry" below and pre-order the "Umbilical" LP here from Sacred Bones.


Daily Jam - Alleluia

Somewhere in the west, on a dusty plain, the glare from the sun giving everything a dreamlike haze through the vivid colors of the day, two gunmen make their stand, ready to draw against the other, all the while a mysterious drifter plays an ominous harmonica tune in the background. Tensions are high, the air is heavy, guns are pulled, shots are fired, and one gunfighter falls. The lone survivor surveys his deed, utters not a word, mounts his white horse, and silently moves through the still scene, past the quiet outpost town, and onward towards the pink and snow-tipped mountains. Flies gather, the sun hangs overhead, and music plays to fade out.

To my knowledge, Indiana band Odawas have never scored a Spaghetti Western (or any kind of film for that matter), but someone should probably ask them to. The group have a knack for atmosphere, generated by their thick and airy mix of psych rock, ambient, dreampop, and folk music that practically begs for accompanying visuals. "Alleluia," from 2007's Raven and The White Night feels like some heady and somber combination of Ennio Morricone and John Hughes, dreamy synth strings floating beneath a folky guitar riff, mournful, echoed vocals, lyrics alluding to passing on into the afterlife, and that lonesome, whistled refrain. It's hard not to recall some old Western when hearing it, an unnamed, black clad anti-hero travelling into the sunset, a world of wreckage behind him.

Fade to black.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

SUMAC

And now for some heavy, thudding, crunchy new music from from sludgy post-metal supergroup SUMAC.  The trio features members from such groups as Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer, Baptists, Russian Circles, and These Arms Are Snakes, and they bring all the noise that pedigree would suggest they do.  Check out "Yellow Dawn" below and pre-order the upcoming "The Healer" LP here from Thrill Jockey.


Daily Jam - Lions

This column was originally published in January of 2017.

Last year's divine shittiness has been thought about and dwelled upon and writ into the stars ad nauseam to the point that to decry it even further seems utterly derivative and clich├ęd. It changes nothing. It helps no one. And it certainly doesn't add anything to the table for discussion or dissent. It simply is what it is. Unfortunately that same shittiness hangs over this new year (and every year since) like an ominous cloud, casting dark and frightening shadows across everything for all to behold and tremble. And that's no way to begin a new year.

So, despite all that tomorrow will bring, or the day after that, or the day after that, I want us to move forward with as much positive energy as humanly possible. I want us to look at the big, scary unknown in front of us and confront it head on, confident and assertive, determined and proactive. We can do this. But, we need some music to bring us all together first. And for that, I give you "Lions," the 2007 track from the album of the same name by UK indie rock back Jonquil.

Playing almost like a sea shanty or barroom chorus, "Lions" feels like an uplifting anthem, a melodic mantra meant to be sung together, arms around each other, voices in the air, hope and joy in our hearts, and beers on the table. It's like a pre-game warmup, or a post-game celebration. Grab and hold your teammates, your friends, your family close and love one another. We're all in this together.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Monday, April 8, 2024

Mandy, Indiana

Here's a weird and unnerving new song from Manchester band Mandy, Indiana.  Check out the disjointed, nervous tic of "Idea Is Best" below and download the track here from Fire Talk.


Daily Jam - Estranged

It's solar eclipse day, so what better way to celebrate than with another rambling, semi-coherent column, this time around as a nod to one of the most bloated, overwrought, and ostentatious songs of the 20th century that I also happen to have an unbridled and unwavering adoration for. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the epic majesty that is "Estranged" by Guns 'N Roses.

Clocking in at over nine minutes, "Estranged" kicks off the back end of 1991's Use Your Illusion II, a dramatic and overstuffed finale to an already dramatic and overstuffed double (quadruple on vinyl!) series of albums from the then biggest rock band in the world. There's a reason that raw and unfussy punk rock came roaring back to life that same year. There was an overwhelming sense that rock music had gotten too big for its proverbial britches, a gold and garish sheen of light glowing like the Vegas strip for all to behold. But goddamn, behind all that bloat and bluster, is something truly breathtaking to hear, see, and experience. Axl and Co. may be trafficking unfettered in every single artistic urge and idea that pops into their heads (More solos! More bridges! More dolphins!), but the end result is never not entertaining.

Watch the video below, our Daily Jam.


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Emergency Group

Brooklyn improvisational jazz band Emergency Group have composed some new works for the upcoming new album "Mind Screen."  The title track finds the quartet wading in Noir-ish waters with flairs of psychedelia and cosmic weirdness.  Good stuff.  Check it out below and pre-order the LP here from the band.


Daily Jam - Prospectors Arrive

This column was originally published at the end of 2016.

2016 was sure something of a year wasn't it? (And pretty much every single one since then.) There were some definite highs, for me at least, with the birth of my second son and the marriage of my sister-in-law to her partner. But, oh how the lows kept on coming at a manic pace, the never ending carousel of artist deaths laying down a thudding, marching beat to the impending apocalypse scheduled for sometime in the near future. Some of those deaths, David Bowie's in particular, got me thinking hypothetical desert island thoughts as to what artist's entire body of work I would want to take with me were I to be stranded alone at sea. Bowie is the obvious answer for me, but I certainly had to give consideration to some of the other artists I also hold dear, like Joy Division, or Nirvana, or Radiohead.

Upon writing that last word, I can immediately hear the scoffs and sense the eyerolls of many a reader whom have deemed Radiohead to be overrated or just simply "meh." I've been a fan of the band for many years and have heard every contrarian thing one could hear muttered about the five-piece...and I get it. Anything that gets the kind of universal critical and popular praise that Radiohead does should be immediately suspect. If I wasn't a fan already, it would probably annoy me too. But with as many dissenters and objections as this band seems to generate and amass, everyone can still agree on one thing...that Jonny Greenwood is a genius. All of the ire the band (or Thom Yorke in particular) inspires drops away in regards to its lead guitarist. He still gets nods of approval and respect. One has to assume that his amazing film score work is at least partly responsible for that.

If Radiohead ever decide to officially call it quits, Greenwood already has his calling lined up. For his first mainstream movie score, the guitarist composed and/or arranged the haunting and achingly beautiful soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. The score compliments the film so wonderfully that it's difficult to imagine one without the other. The record is enormous in mood and scope, but highlight "Prospectors Arrive" has always hit me the hardest. There is a sense of foreboding and dread to the song that is inescapable. The gentle piano sounds like the skies darkening. The eerie strings slinking in and out signal the last shred of humanity draining from one's soul. Ominous future. Haunting stillness.

It sounds like the end.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Saturday, April 6, 2024

Twin Coast

Chicago duo Twin Coast make very noisy shoegaze for the masses, the kind of reverb drenched dreampop where the vocals are buried so low in the mix that they sound like another instrument adding another layer of sonic texture.  The band just dropped their "noie! noie! noie!" EP and you can snag a copy of the cassette from them here.  In the meanwhile, check out opening track "Try to Finally" below.


Daily Jam - This Is Hardcore

The party is over.

When I was a freshman in college way back in the long, long ago, Pulp released their penultimate album, the amazing and forever listenable This Is Hardcore. Simultaneously a summation of the Britpop boom of the mid/late 90's and a signifier of its coming death knell, the record perfectly captured a moment of music pop culture on tape, and then transcended it. Front man Jarvis Cocker was only 33 years old when the album came out in 1998, but he sounds like someone who has lived a lifetime of rock star decadence and regrets it all. I remember hearing this album for the first time at 19, and thinking that it sounded like the end of everything. It was like the band knew something that the rest of us didn't. Like they would still party with us, but they knew we'd all wake up cold, naked, sick, and alone in the morning. It's beautiful and devastating. And nowhere is that more evident than in the dramatic, orchestral title track.

The drums come in slowly and steadily, followed by the swinging, cinematic horns, a jazzy piano line playing slinkily on top of it all, the song sounds like entering some grand old Hollywood set, flashes of glitz and glamour, sparkles and beauty. Jarvis then comes in, his voice like that of an old, embittered crooner, gradually stripping away the shine and exposing the dark and seedy underbelly for all to see. Grime covers everything. "This Is Hardcore" is the sound of the party ending, the soundtrack to the morning after. It's the dull, thudding headache and cold sweat of the hangover, the gritted teeth and achy jaw as the cocaine wears off.

Bleakness and regret never sounded so wonderful.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Friday, April 5, 2024

EABS

Polish jazz fusion band EABS are prepping to drop their new album "Reflections of Purple Sun" in May.  Pre-order it here from Astigmatic Records and groove on "Purple Sun" below.


Friday Horror Trailer - Leviathan


Daily Jam - X-French Tee Shirt

You know who never got enough love? D.C. band Shudder to Think. Beginning in the mid-80’s as a post-hardcore band, though eventually morphing into something far more complex, Shudder to Think incorporated elements of said hardcore punk, alt-rock, pop, glam, and math rock into their huge and angular post-modern sound.

Actually, glancing back at that last sentence, it pretty much explains why the group never got enough love. But they did manage to amass a fairly fervent cult following, and they snagged me as a fan with the sublime “X-French Tee Shirt” from the 1994’s Pony Express Record.

Eschewing more traditional pop song structures, “X-French Tee Shirt” drops all “verse-chorus-verse” pretense for something wholly unpredictable. The song twists and turns, with no discernable pattern, guitar riffs kicking in, and then changing, Craig Wedren’s lyrics and vocals weaving throughout like some kind of melodramatic stream of conscious plea. As the song nears its end, everything but the vocals and a single repeated guitar note drop into the ether, before surging back in triumphant fashion. All the while, the stanza, “Hold back the road that goes, So that the others may do, That you let me in just to, Pour me down their mouths” is sung over and over again into fade out.

This was as close as the band ever got to having a hit. What an odd hit it would have been.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Iraina Mancini

Last year, London model, radio DJ, and artist Iraina Mancini released her full-length debut, "Undo the Blue," a record full of nods to '60s French pop, psychedelia, soul, and so forth.  This year sees the title track get a dreamy reimagining from the producing duo of Beyond the Wizards Sleeve.  Check it out below and get the 7" featuring a Saint Etienne remix on the B-side here.


Daily Jam - Cheap Beer

I drink a lot of beer. Not in an alcoholic way or anything, I just like to sample a large swath of different craft brews from all over the country. I used to even write about it. That being said, there was a time before the craft beer explosion, before I had a little bit of extra income to spend on pricier lagers and ales, before I grew up a little, when quantity always outweighed quality. The cheaper the beer, the better, because that meant there would be more of it.

I guess the point used to be to get drunk.

Stinking drunk.

And that’s okay. That’s what it’s supposed to be all about when you’re young and dumb and snot nosed, sticking your middle fingers up at the whole world, spitting in the eyes of any and everyone standing in front of you, or barfing at their feet. And that youthful, intoxicated, fuck-off attitude embodies the ethos of punk rock to a tee, as perfectly manifested by LA punk band FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk) and their charging, sneering, surf-rock inspired “Cheap Beer” from their 2013 self-titled record.

The song reminds me of misspent youth, of sneaking out at night, asking strangers or disreputable adults to buy us beer, and getting blitzed out of our heads. It reminds me of breaking stuff, running from cops, and living out fun, stupid, hilarious nights that we’ll never be able to remember. Good times.

But I’m a grownup now. I have kids of my own. I’ve reached the point where I’m “too old for this shit,” the wasted and reckless days and nights of being a teenager…or a twenty-something too, long behind me and probably for the better. But every once in a while, when I’m at a show, a Lone Star or PBR tallboy in my hand, that inkling comes back. And I think about drinking a little bit more and a little bit faster, and having another one of those kind of nights.

But then I think better of it…usually.


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Drin

The excellent Cincinnati post punk band The Drin just dropped murky new track "Tigers Cage" today, the first taste from their upcoming fourth album "Elude the Torch" to be released sometime later this year.  You can hear all manner of influence in the track, everything from the Velvet Underground to The Rolling Stones to Clinic and more.  It rules.  Check it out below and download it here from Feel It Records.


Fur Trader

Here's some lovely indie folk pop from LA artist Fur Trader.  New album "Executionland" is out now.  Get it here from the artist and listen to the album opening "Exit Signs," which sounds very indebted to Elliott Smith, below.


Beachwood Sparks

LA indie psych rock act Beachwood Sparks are back with their first new album in over a decade, their first without founding member Josh Schwartz who passed away in 2017 from complications from ALS.  The new album finds the remaining members working with Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes behind the boards.  Check out the folky "Torn in Two" below and pre-order the "Across the River of Stars" LP here from Curation Records.


Daily Jam - Broken World

I originally published a column about The Black Heart Procession's 2002 track "Broken World" back in November of 2016, a few days after Trump won the presidency.  That column was full of worry and despair that now seems kinda quaint almost eight years later.  So i decided against re-posting it.  I guess a global pandemic, rising fascism across the world, the fall of Roe v. Wade, a seemingly unending amount of police violence, an impending climate crisis, and the last six months of genocide perpetrated by Israel with the full support of our current Democratic president and party will do that.  I mean shit.  How did things get so much worse?  So the song still applies.

"In this broken world, our time is through."

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Fucked Up

One of the perennial favorites around these parts, Canadian hardcore band Fucked Up just dropped new 7" single "Being Annoying."  It goes hard.  Check it out below, download it here, and get the 7" here from the band.


Zetra

UK darkwave goth metal duo Zetra just announced a new album heading our way in September with their forthcoming self-titled effort.  The band ventures into poppier territory with the Svalbard and Serena Cherry assisted "Starfall," a gothy, synthy lament.  Check it out below and pre-order the album here from Nuclear Blast.


Daily Jam - So What'Cha Want

I was a suburban kid who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s…of course I like the Beastie Boys.

Growing up, I spent a lot of summer vacations in New Orleans, visiting my grandfather and all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins on my mom’s side of the family, my brother and I sleeping on sofas in the living area of my grandfather’s house, the house my mother grew up in. Very often, there would be boring days during these trips, all of the cousins left to our own devices to while away the time playing in the yard or something. Of course, entering my early teenage years, we’d spend a lot of time just plopped in front of the television watching music videos on MTV.

I was 13 in the summer of 1992, and my musical tastes were just beginning to expound, the likes of Nirvana et al pushing me into all manner of angsty, guitar driven punk rock. I was beginning to move away from so much of the old school hip-hop I had listened to, but then I caught the video for “So What’Cha Want,” the Beastie Boys’ heavy and thumping earworm from Check Your Head. I was floored, there in my grandfather’s living room. It was like this wonderful hybrid of punk and rap. Turns out, I wasn’t going anywhere.

I didn’t know it then, but originally the trio of Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D had been a hardcore punk rock band, a fact that became increasingly evident on the Beastie Boys’ 1990’s releases. It informed a lot of what they were doing musically, and combining that aggressiveness with their innate playfulness and their penchant for sampling, the result was some of the best hip-hop of that decade.

“So What’Cha Want” still kills it, and that guitar riff never fails to bring back some of that young adolescent angst and restlessness, the hot and humid days of an endless summer laid before me.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Monday, April 1, 2024

Cindy Lee

The enigmatic Cindy Lee, the project of Canadian artist and musician Patrick Flegel, is back this year with the enormous triple album "Diamond Jubilee."  The new record foregoes some of the artist's more noisy, dissonant, feedback-laden sonic experiments of albums past and instead focuses on a stream of gentle, throwback melodies intertwined with a hint of fuzz and ethereal hum.  It feels kind of like a culmination of everything the artist made before it.  Anyway, "Diamond Jubilee" will most likely end up on a lot of year-end favorite lists, this writer included, and you can listen to the whole thing below.  We can expect a physical release during the year (CD and cassette), with some vinyl hopefully out by year's end when the artist's North American tour wraps up.  For now though, it's streamable, or you can get a download directly from the artist's Geocities site here.


Daily Jam - Everything You've Done Wrong

TV has melted our brains. Video games have warped our perceptions. Social media and the cellular age have skewed our interpersonal relationships. And movies have shaped and molded our personalities beyond our grasp or scope. We search for connections in fictional characters, drawing parallels between archetypes, ourselves, and those we surround ourselves with. We assign on screen characteristics and quirks to our groups of friends and we soundtrack our lives with pop music and instrumental cues. We live in a false reality. We make believe.

But I’m not criticizing. I’m just commenting. I’m well aware that I do all of the above, my senses and (sub) consciousness forever affected by everything both true and fictional that my eyes and ears have taken in. And that’s okay. It just means I’m another 20th century baby making my way through an increasingly digital world. It’s perfectly normal that I recognize traits that my friends or I share with some on air personality. (Though I must add that 25 years ago, a girl I know did try to determine which Friends character I was because there is no God and the world is a gray and dead place.) And it’s also normal (probably) to experience life as if it was some grand, epic film about you.

That being said, whenever the montage scene in the movie of me plays, I’m pretty sure it will be scored by the perennially underrated Canadian power pop rock band Sloan’s 1996 jam “Everything You’ve Done Wrong.”

From the excellent 60’s rock indebted album One Chord to Another, “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” kicks in with Mariachi horns and an instantly infectious acoustic guitar riff. It demands your foot to tap or your head to sway. It demands that you sing along. It demands hand claps. Set to an affable sequence of scenes that sees me making mistakes or screwing things up but then finding cheer and support from friends and loved ones, the song will perfectly encapsulate the pure stream of corn playing in my head at this very minute. It’s cheese, but it’s beautiful.

On it’s own though, separated from my imaginary montage, the song operates as about as pure a piece of pop music as you could hope for. It’s hooky as hell, fun, and easily worms its way into ears and mind for all eternity. And I will happily continue to soundtrack my days to its wonderful melody.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Sunday, March 31, 2024

DAR

Digging on some fuzzy alt-rock from Chicago songwriter Aaron Osbourne and his DAR project.  New sophomore album "A Slightly Larger Head" is full of wonderful '90s lo-fi indie rock sounds, fist pumpers and self-reflectors.  Check out "Big Smile" below and get the LP here from Sophomore Lounge.


Daily Jam - See My Baby Jive

One day, I heard some random old song on satellite radio.

The next day, I went out and purchased a copy of said song.

The day after that, said song was the only thing in the world I wanted to listen to.

And the day after that, I scoured online and in record stores alike to procure every bit of music I could from the recording artist responsible for said song.

Today, I’m jamming the song and imploring any and everybody to do the same.

“See My Baby Jive” is a fun and grooving little glam rock nugget, a Phil Spector-aping sound explosion. It’s a pure and good audio elixir for the masses. The 1973 single from Roy Wood’s band Wizzard comes charging out of the gate with a drum roll and flashes of 50’s and 60’s rock n’ roll, doo-wop, and glam glitter. It’s the aural equivalent of happy pills with none of the side effects.

I never want it to end.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Ekko Astral

I caught Washington DC punk band Ekko Astral during SXSW a couple weeks ago and dug on their raucous, LGBTQ+ inclusive vibe.  And now they've got a full-length album coming our way next month.  Check out "Devorah" below and pre-order the "Pink Balloons" LP here from Topshelf Records.


Daily Jam - Higher

A while back, when i used to write for now defunct online magazine, I began a confessional column, a safe space if you will for some of my fellow contributors and myself to open up and get some things off of our chests, namely the various detritus of pop culture that despite all odds and our own better judgement remain embarrassingly important and beloved to us. Things like Xanadu or Baltimora, projects or artists who are objectively lame or bad, but for some reason or another (almost always nostalgia) still hit that sweet, sweet spot. These are our totems of humility.

This is not a confession, though maybe it should be.

I will solidly but humbly agree with anyone who argues that Italo Disco is one of the worst and dumbest genres of music ever created. I will cede you that. Absolutely, the genre can be derivative and often achingly devoid of any substance whatsoever. It can be garish, a collection of fluffy extended 12” mixes justified by so much cocaine. And it can certainly be cringe-worthy, a sonic embarrassment, a style of music created by people who never got the memo that disco was dead.

But for some reason, I fucking love it.

I love the straightforwardness of it all, the complete lack of irony, the sincerity, and the dedication to just dancing and having fun. Maybe it’s art without subtext, but so what? Naturally I became obsessed with Italian singer Vivien Vee’s 1983 disco jam “Higher” when I heard it for the first time a few years ago. It has occupied headspace and playlist alike ever since.

There’s really not a whole lot to say about the song. It’s cheesy. It sounds like it was recorded years before it actually was. It was a modest hit in Italy. And it was produced by, and features keyboards from Goblin’s Claudio Simonetti.

And it’s awesome. Never forget that it’s awesome.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.


Friday, March 29, 2024

Curses

Berlin-based producer and darkwave synth artist Curses has signed on to Johnny Jewel's Italians Do It Better label, which i must admit is really the perfect fit.  Dig on the moody and dreamy new tune "Elegant Death" below and be on the lookout for upcoming new album "Another Heaven" sometime later this year.


Friday Horror Trailer - The Hidden