Sunday, March 31, 2024


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


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

Daily Jam - All Is Full of Love

I try not to be one of those cranky old Gen-Xer farts that laments the hows, whys, and what-fors of the devolution of MTV from a medium for music videos to whatever it is the station airs now. It’s been a really long time (the 90’s) since I even gave the channel a moment’s thought, my pre-teen and adolescent years derived of hour upon hour of what essentially were commercials for the music industry that now serve me as more of a nostalgia bomb than anything else. So, their programming changed as the years moved on, and I didn’t like any of it or watch any of it, but none of that matters since I’m not their demographic anyway. We’re not even on the same planet.

But man, I had some fun while it lasted.

I realize that artists still make videos. Any brief perusal of Youtube or dozens of other websites or streaming services are testament to that, but the ones from my era, as anyone who’s ever been a teenager ever probably believes, seemed so much more important. Growing up in a smaller city, they were my viewfinder to a much larger world, one of outsiders, lost souls, and weirdos. They gave me punks and art kids and gangstas, a temporary audio and visual reprieve from the hum drum of a Texas oil town. And it was about so much more than the music too. The visuals on display were sometimes even better, offering an array of talent who would eventually make the jump to longer form story telling, albeit with their own unique flashes of style. I became fixated on names like Fincher, Jonze, Gondry, Glazer, and Romanek. They elevated the art form and made some absolutely killer music videos.

One of these burgeoning artists was Chris Cunningham, the creator of some completely bonkers (and disturbing) videos for Aphex Twin. But he also paired up with one of my all time favorites, the extraordinary and enigmatic Björk.

Originally recorded for 1997’s Homogenic, though a remixed version would actually be used on the record, “All Is Full of Love” is a beautiful and majestic ballad that feels like an ode to the dichotomy of love. At once, it’s an open heart, seeing and feeling love in everything, but also a song clung to a more cynical point of view, eyeing love and its ever elusiveness or denial. Cunningham’s visuals for the track consisted of two computer generated life forms, one with Björk’s facial features, slowly caressing in a sterile and robotic environment. I’ve always been very moved by the video, its simple conceit betraying the emotional load it carries. And I’ve always been moved by the song too, its ability to make me feel both warm and loved, and cold and alone all at the same time hitting me like some kind of poet’s paradox. All is full of love, and it hurts.

Nobody does it like Björk. Nobody.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The New Eves

Here's some weird experimental folk from UK four-piece The New Eves.  On the band's latest single "Astrolabe," you can hear hints of Nico, The Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, The Raincoats, and more, a kind of droney, post-punk version of British folk.  Listen to the track below and download it here from Slow Dance.


And now for a new alt-rock number from Canadian duo Softcult, this time around with the poppy "Spiraling Out."  Listen to the new tune below and download it from the band here.

Daily Jam - Reign On

I have been writing this blog for a while now, and it’s come as kind of surprise to me how many “favorite” songs I have. They keep coming to me week after week, seemingly with no end in sight. That being said, I sometimes feel like I’m repeating myself, some posts being bathed in a loving, nostalgic hue, others focused on a more cultural significance, and some just meandering off into their own inconsequential tangents.

And so, I’m not really sure what to say about “Reign On,” the stark, sorrowful, and beautiful standout from The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s 1999 EP Bringing It All Back Home – Again. Featuring lead vocals from Miranda Lee Richards, the song is a folky, haunting psychedelic swoon, the audio equivalent of watching ghosts vanish in the desert dust. It’s gorgeous and it continually commands my attention, but I don’t have any kind of deep connection to it, nor is it probably ever going to make waves across the pop music landscape.

So, inconsequential tangent it is!

I’ve always had kind of a strained relationship with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, a completely internal struggle pitting my love for the band’s music against their potentially aggravating live performances, lead man Anton Newcombe’s frazzled psyche the source of much inspired genius as well as many an onstage meltdown. The first time I saw the band perform, he took increasingly excruciating long amounts of time in between each song fussing around with his guitar, or his amplifier, or his band mates’ equipment. And each time, the crowd grew more and more audibly frustrated until the inevitable heckling began.

“I need more vocals in my monitor!”

Newcombe began to spit back, and eventually the venue pulled the plug before things escalated. You could sense bottles about to be hurled.

Scenes like this were all too common for the band for years and years, drug addiction, mental illness, and intra-band turmoil spilling out into clubs and performance halls all over the country. They made it hard to like them, Anton Newcombe in particular. But then I’d re-listen to a song or an album and instantly fall for them again. I always come crawling back.

In later years, it seems like the man and the band have begun to level out, my last live encounter with them being a fantastic show, the group warm, engaged, and on point. The prolific stream of releases and non-stop touring has finally given us the band we all wanted, needed, and deserved all along.

Reign on.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Here's some new shoegaze from Belgian band NEWMOON and their new album "Temporary Light."  The LP is already sold out, but you can get the download of the album here from Manifesto Entertainment.  In the meanwhile, listen to the album opening "Eternal Fall" below.

Daily Jam - In the Mouth a Desert

If I were forced to pick my absolute favorite personality from the early 90’s alt-rock boom, nine times out of ten, I would probably go with Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus. The sardonic front man certainly had a way with words throughout Pavement’s five-LP run and his own solo efforts, a sharp wit and an often bitingly sarcastic tone poking fun at just how ridiculous it all is. And anyone who could and continues to inspire that much ire from a ghoul like Billy Corgan with one throwaway line in a song that's three decades old now is deserving of adulation and applause.

But before all of that was his debut, Pavement’s 1992 album Slanted and Enchanted, and the wonderful song “In the Mouth a Desert.” The song has always felt like a kind of abstract testament to the music scenes of the time, a sneering, jabbing distaste for the mainstream, or maybe even towards some of his own underground peers. The de-tuned, yet dark and melodic tone of it casts long shadows over everything, a glaring critique from an artist who’s probably smarter than everybody else. Or it could be about abstaining from reconciliation after a quarrel with a lover. Or it could just be an ode to societal and cultural malaise in general. Or maybe it’s about how awful Billy Corgan is. It’s not that last one, but it sure would make me laugh if it were.

Pavement never really sold a lot of records or broke into the cultural lexicon the way some other bands of the era did, but their influence is inescapable. They were one of those groups that inspired other people to make music, myself included, every one of us striving to make something as good as “In the Mouth a Desert.”

But failing miserably.

“It’s what I want.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

So Totally

Here's some grungy and dreamy alt-rock from Philly band So Totally that sounds like it certainly would have rung through the headphones and bedroom stereo speakers of teenage Tommy 30 years ago.  Dig on "Distinct Star" below and pre-order the band's upcoming "Double Your Relaxation" LP here from Tiny Engines.

Daily Jam - Year of the Tiger

I love a long song.

Canadian hardcore punk band (but oh so much more than that) Fucked Up’s “Year of the Tiger” is a long song. And a stellar one at that.

The fifth in the band’s series of 12” singles inspired by the signs of the Chinese Zodiac, 2012’s “Year of the Tiger” soars, a steady riff that just builds and builds, with shifts in direction and instrumentation, gentle piano bits played alongside wailing guitars, Damian Abraham’s guttural snarl backed by the soothing singing vocals of guest contributors Katie Stelmanis (of Austra) and Annie-Claude Deschenes (of Duchess Says), and even an appearance from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. The song is an exuberant epic, a 15-minute blast and flash of melodic drama that sounds like Jim Steinman writing and producing a track for Black Flag in some warped alternate dimension. I suppose that should be expected from a band that released a double album rock opera the year prior.

Fucked Up tend to flex their more ambitious sonic ideas on the Zodiac singles, experimenting with a larger audio palette to varying degrees of success, but end up with the veritable homerun with “Year of the Tiger.”

And who doesn’t like tigers? My son wanted to be one for Halloween eight years ago. So should we all.

Monday, March 25, 2024


Former Curve member Dean Garcia has continued making music with his daughter Rose Berlin as SPC ECO for several years now, and the duo are pretty prolific, releasing all manner of dark and moody alt-rock, shoegaze, electronic pop, and more.  Their latest is the new "How Did We Get Here?"  Check out "Trashes" below and download the album here from the band.


The sun's coming up, but i'm still feeling the moody music over here, and so we have the Dutch alt-rock band Habitants and their newest effort "Alma" to hit those brooding notes just right.  Check out "Cod Fishing" below and get the LP here.

Secret Attraction

Here's some lovely, dreamy pop for what started as a rainy day in Central Texas from Phoenix dreampop project Secret Attraction.  The band's new album "LP3" dropped over the weekend, and it's an airy mesh of new wave and dreampop with synth melodies and hum that will live in your ears for days.  Check out "Drifting" below and get the album here from Stratford Ct.

Daily Jam - Sometimes

This column was originally published in 2016.

I have not slept much in the last week. My seven-month old son is teething (it seems as if he’s been doing this for the last four months) and he’s contracted a cold or something, snotty and congested little nose (most likely from the germs his older brother brings home from pre-school everyday), and so he’s not sleeping well. He’s been waking up every 45 minutes or so, my wife and I taking turns as to who has to get up with him, but the waking is so constant that neither one of us ever gets any real sleep. And so my brain is mush. My body hurts. The seemingly endless cup of coffee I’m consuming does nothing. And I sit here writing, listening to “Sometimes” from My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 masterpiece, Loveless, and it calms and soothes just as it always has.

The floaty, almost ethereal “Sometimes” has always been comforting to me, the layers of distorted guitar playing melodically, the light, reverby, and faraway-sounding vocals of Kevin Shields coming in like a gentle coo in your ears, and the serene bits of synthesizer that feel like waking from dream caressing my mind, body, heart, and soul. It feels like it’s about unrequited love, a kind of yearning for comfort or to be held. And for years, decades even, it served as a soothing elixir to wash away the lament of a Loveless follow-up that never came. That follow-up eventually got here in 2013 to much rejoicing, so now, for today at least, “Sometimes” will still calm my nerves and relax me, but as reminder that I will get to sleep again one day.

Some day.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


Oh those French girls get me every time.  French artist HALO MAUD just released the album "Celebrate," a mix of psych pop and alt-rock with hints of '90s Britpop and more.  Check out the wonderful "Terres Infinies" below and get the LP here from Heavenly Recordings.

R. Missing

New York artist R. Missing drops new dreampop jams on the regular.  Her latest came out this weekend.  Float and sway to "Get Careful Darker" below and download the song here.


Oakland band Leaving make a moody and heavy mix of metal, shoegaze, and post rock or doomgaze if you will.  Whatever you want to call it, it's noisy and it's reverby and it rules.  Dig on "Slow Motion Collapse" below and get the band's new "Liminal" LP here.

Soft Kill

Here's a new one from Chicago alt-rock/new wave band Soft Kill.  New album "Escape Forever" is out next month on Cercle Social Records.  Get it here and chug along with "Englewood" below.


Here's a track from one of the acts i caught last week, the Indianapolis alt-rock/shoegaze band Wishy.  The group's "Paradise" LP dropped last December on Winspear.  Get it here and listen to the pretty album opening title track below.


Australian girl garage psych rock group Parsnip are dropping their new album "Behold" next month.  Pre-order it here from Anti Fade Records and bop to the little nugget "The Light" below.

The Death of Pop

Here's some kinda lo-fi bedroom dreampop from English duo The Death of Pop and their upcoming new album "FLOG."  Check out the album opening "Forget Myself" below and pre-order the LP here from the band.

Daily Jam - Wide Open Space

As I’ve written on more than one occasion, I was pretty swept up in the second coming of the British invasion in the mid 90’s when scores of Britpop records began washing ashore here in the states. I’ve always credited my fascination and adulation of these bands and artists to my increasing boredom of and dissatisfaction with the then dying grunge scene, as second, third, and fourth versions of grunge carbon copies began decimating the airwaves. The American alt-nation had become stagnant, a bland homogenization of distorted guitar tones and incorrigible yarling. And so, I looked across the sea for something that sounded new…something that sounded unique…something that sounded exciting. And I found Blur, and Oasis, and Pulp, and Suede, and so many others. I also discovered Chester, England’s Mansun and their glorious pop rock single “Wide Open Space.”

From the 1997 album Attack of the Grey Lantern, the single was the only song from the band to ever make any kind of wave in the US, though the band’s later albums would be hailed as classics in the Williams household. But I was instantly hooked with “Wide Open Space.” Somehow, those two opening guitar notes played repeatedly gripped me in anticipation for what would come next. What follows is a catchy, hummable earworm that I’ve been unable to escape from for over 25 years. Pulling from Bowie, Duran Duran, and every other great British recording artist you’ve ever heard of, and probably some you haven’t, Mansun essentially made perfect pop songs, a kind of sweet, bubblegummy music with dark undertones. It all felt so refreshing.

The band would eventually get weirder (Six) and poppier (Little Kix), and I was always bummed that they petered out while working on a fourth LP. But, Britpop was all but dried up by that point in time anyway, which sometimes makes me wonder if the music fans over there weren’t as bored with the later waves of Britpop bands as I was with the defilement of grunge and alt-rock. Maybe we should have just traded around 1999 or so. Though, I would have gotten the better deal.

“You’ll never get to heaven with a smile on your face from me.”

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Earth Ball

Here's some weird and noisy music from British Columbia band Earth Ball for your Saturday.  I'm sure you've got stuff to do, but you need to listen to some unstable no-wave first.  Check out "A Need to Cool Down" below, which at times sounds like old Sonic Youth, and pre-order the upcoming "It's Yours" LP here from Upset The Rhythm.

Daily Jam - Surf Solar

For a stretch of time back in 2009/2010, every single outdoor music event I attended got rained on. And not just a quickie shower or anything like that, but a soaking, steady downpour to make things wet, muddy, and often miserable. South By Southwest, Austin City Limits, Free Press Summer Fest in Houston…it didn’t matter. The clouds opened and drenched us everywhere I went. Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2009 was particularly nasty on that last day. The rain was cold, the ground was muddy and slippery, and the temperature dropped into the 50’s, leaving me ill for the next few following days after. But it was totally worth it. I got to see Danzig. I got to see Crystal Castles. I got to see Trish Keenan perform with Broadcast and with Atlas Sound. And I got to see British electronic duo Fuck Buttons, whose particular brand of Krautrock and post-rock indebted electro-noise-fusion lifted me from my feet and blasted me into space, scattering my remains amongst the cosmos. And all of this despite the raindrops hitting me in the face.

“Surf Solar,” the opening track from that year’s Tarot Sport LP, was a highlight, both of the festival performance and the album in general. As the song begins, electronic textures and noises bleep and crackle together like the sounds of computers and space-age equipment warming up. The motorik bass beat begins to pulse, those textures and noises aligning, while new and dramatic waves of synthesized sound join in layer upon layer. It’s like getting strapped in, the countdown beginning, the sky opening up before you. And then you’re launched. And you move faster and faster, the images of this world and beyond blurring into indecipherable colors along your periphery. Single points of light become endless lines. The present and future in front of you bends and morphs, a barrage of images, colors, symbols, like diving into some magical realm or acid trip. Everything is connected. Everything is eternal. Everything has meaning. And then you meet God. Or a space baby.

And then it concludes. And you’re back on Earth.

I wish more songs made me feel like that.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Barry Adamson

The incomparable Barry Adamson, the former Bad Seed himself, has a new solo album coming our way in May with the release of "Cut to Black."  Big thanks to Shawn Baker for the heads up.  Dig on the soul sounds of "The Last Words of Sam Cooke" below and pre-order the (signed) LP here from Lexer Music.

Gruff Rhys

I missed that Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals dropped a new solo album back in January.  Check out the piano pop and alt-rock of "Bad Friend" below and get the "Sadness Sets Me Free" LP here from Rough Trade.

Bathe Alone

Spring is here and with it, some dreamy pop jams.  Check out the latest from Atlanta dreampop outfit Bathe Alone with "$35 Copay" below and download it here from Nettwerk.

Shower Curtain

I would be remiss if i didn't mention the wonderful Brooklyn shoegaze band i saw last week during SXSW, the dreamy, reverby Shower Curtain.  Check out last October's "Edgar" single below and download it here.  Hopefully there's something new in the works as well.


I feel like there's a ton of music that came out the last couple of months that i'm only just now getting to, like for instance, Atlanta post punk band Omni's latest album "Souvenir" that dropped last month.  Dig on the angular guitar riffs of "Compliment" below and get the record here from Sub Pop.


One of the gnarlier named bands i caught last week was the noisy New York punk band cumgirl8.  They brought a real fuck you attitude to their set that i loved.  Check out their latest single, "Glasshour" below and download it here from 4AD.


Keeping it in Chicago for a minute.  Here's a new single from post punk band FACS.  Check out "North American Endless" below and get the 7" here from Sub Pop, out next month.


Chicago experimental drone metal band Locrian have been kicking it around for a long time now, and the trio now have a new album of noise coming our way next month.  Check out the excellent and bombastic "Excarnate Light" below and pre-order the "End Terrain" LP here from Profound Lore.


I caught a lot of great stuff during the unofficial day shows last week at SXSW, but i'm still bummed i missed a couple of artists on my to-see list.  One was English folk artist Daisy Rickman.  And the other with the frenetic jazz punk fusion of the obnoxiously named duo O.  Check out the hectic and jarring "Green Shirt" below and pre-order the band's upcoming debut full-length "WeirdOs" here from Speedy Wunderground.

Winged Wheel

Detroit post-punk/alt-rock band Winged Wheel is back in May with new album "Big Hotel," this time around with former Sonic Youth member Steve Shelley in tow.  Check out the very cool and noisy "Sleeptraining" below and pre-order the new LP here from 12XU.

Friday Horror Trailer - The Devil's Rejects

Daily Jam - 17 Years

“I don't write my stuff anymore I just kick it from my head you know what I'm sayin?”

The fusion of rock music, dance music, and hip-hop has been pretty prevalent over the last 30 years, producing a whole plethora of instant classics…and some steaming piles of manure that are best forgotten. But when it’s good, it can be damn near great.

Airing more on the side of danceable, electronic rock, but with a certain hip-hop zest, Ratatat’s “Seventeen Years,” the opening anthem from the duo’s 2004 self-titled album, is the perfect amalgamation of styles and influences. The crunchy guitar riff and playful synth lines that start the track almost immediately gets the foot tapping and the head bobbing. The funky disco beat that plays throughout, before giving way to a hand-clapped finale, plays like the undercurrent to some old school, inner city dance off or rap battle engagement from 1980. You can practically see the speakers quaking on the boom box, some amazing dubbed cassette within it, and an amusing and amiable cast of characters surrounding the scene.

It also kind of rocks.

Ratatat continues to put out groovy jams, but nothing has ever quite caught me the way “Seventeen Years” did back in ’04*.

*Except for maybe their endlessly fun remix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Party and Bullshit.”

Thursday, March 21, 2024


In September, we are lucky enough to receive two collections of demos from Broadcast, one being "Distant Call," a collection featuring demos recorded between 2000 and 2006 that would eventually become the band's albums that we all know and love.  The other is "Spell Blanket," a collection of demos and sketches recorded between 2006 and 2009 up to Trish Keenan's untimely death that would have eventually become the band's fifth album.  I'm super stoked for these and don't know if i can wait until September.  To tide us over, here's the gentle, whispered "Follow the Light."  Check it out below and pre-order both records here from Warp.

Marie Davidson

Here's a new electro-banger from Montreal's Marie Davidson.  Check out "Y.A.A.M." or "Your Asses Are Mine" below and get it here from DEEWEE.

Daily Jam - Shimmy Shimmy Ya

Popular music very handily lends itself to broad strokes of characterization for its artists, its icons, its all too fallible gods and goddesses. Fairly or unfairly as it may be, many musicians either fall into or are assigned these roles for easy media consumption. Of course these rolls are overly simplistic and redundant, the kind of recurring slates we can project ourselves onto over and over again. Someone gets me. Someone understands. And as much as I can relate to, or be moved or inspired by the tortured artist or the world weary traveler, the sardonic smartass or the alien, there’s just something about the clown that draws me in every time. From Keith Moon to David Lee Roth to Liam Gallagher and beyond, the befuddled, often booze-soaked troubadours of revelry and irreverence never cease to garner my attention or make me smile. That’s probably why Ol’ Dirty Bastard was always my favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan (Ghostface Killah is a close second).

Ol’ Dirty Bastard, or ODB, or Big Baby Jesus, or Russell Jones if you will, had a mush-mouthed delivery style to his verses that gave him the air of a slurred and bemused drunk. His incorporation of poorly half-sung bits only added to that allusion. Over the course of his tumultuous career, the rapper was arrested on multiple occasions, did a couple of prison stints, and smoked a lot of crack cocaine. He recorded an unintelligible track for the Insane Clown Posse that had to be re-recorded and re-edited in order to make some kind of coherent sense of his unintelligible rambling. He once visited a welfare office in New York in a limousine to cash a check and pick up some food stamps. And then, like so many of his pop cultural forebears before him, he overdosed and died young.

He also once helped save a four-year old girl from a car accident and frequently visited her in the hospital, so just maybe he was more than the chronically intoxicated cartoon character he portrayed to the masses.

And “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” from 1995’s Return to the 36 Chambers, is still a damn fun song.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis

Here's a very cool new jazz collaboration from Washington D.C. experimental jazz punk trio The Messthetics and New York composer and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis.  Dig on "Emergence" below and grab the excellent self-titled album here from Dischord and Impulse! Records. 

Russian Baths

Moody New York alt-rock duo Russian Baths just announced a new album coming our way in June.  I was fortunate enough to catch them live five years ago and their combination of noise and dreaminess just hits the spot.  Check out new tune "Split" below and pre-order the "Mirror" LP here from Good Eye Records.

Daily Jam - Chains of Love

This column was originally published back in 2016...

As much as it seems that things are scary right now (and they certainly can be), or that all hope is lost, it makes me feel better to notice the progress that we have made as a society. Tragedy and the constant barrage of awful news on cable TV notwithstanding, some of that progress is very obvious, like the Supreme Court making marriage legal for all, but there also seems to be some cultural shifts in our collective conscience that happen so gradually that we barely even register the change…until we think about it for a second. Just as I feel that my generation is much more accepting of difference than my parents’ ever was, it seems that the generation coming up behind me, with as often as it is chastised, dissected, and unfairly dismissed in a seemingly endless barrage of snarky editorials, articles, and viral memes, is even more so. (And the generation after that even more).

My case in point comes in the form of synth pop band Erasure’s “Chains of Love,” from the 1988 album The Innocents, and the appreciation it garnered from a group of dudes in a car a 2 decades ago. Even at the turn of the century, it could be deemed as suspect for three guys to know all of the words to this slick and dancey 80’s jam, much less to be singing it in unison…loudly…with the windows down and the breeze blowing in our faces. By suspect, of course I mean “gay.”

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and onward into early adulthood, I can’t really say that our popular culture was just a bastion of tolerance and acceptance. Sure it was a better time than generations prior, but this was still an era where Bill and Ted would call each other fags, or Thor would be referred to as a homo, or everything lame was gay. Oh, the insult! Oh, the humanity! As a young kid/teenage boy, it could be difficult or embarrassing to express interest in anything that could be considered feminine or homosexual, especially coming of age in small town Texas as I did. You just didn’t want to be seen enjoying something that could get you mocked, or made fun of, or beat up. You didn’t want them to think you were gay. It didn’t matter if you were or were not, it was just about protecting yourself in the veritable shithole that is adolescence. And that fucking sucked. It sucked because we let a misogynist, homophobic, and uneducated faction of our peers dictate what we could like. And it sucked because we never did anything to try and change it. At best we were complaisant, and at worst apathetic. I know I fell in line with it back then. I regret it, and I wish I hadn’t, but what can you do? It takes a little growing up, some learning, and experience to reach the point where you like what you like, and you’re comfortable with that and yourself, and you don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks or says. If you want to sing along with Erasure, you go right ahead and sing along with Erasure. I’ve felt that way for a long time, but I wish I had had that mentality as a kid.

As we got older and moved forward, a lot of these terms and slurs were relegated to the bullies and villains of cinema, television, and music, disappearing from the verbiage of our protagonists and icons, until it seemed to all but vanish from our modern pop cultural lexicon (some unfortunate subcultures aside). And in and of itself, that is good. It means we’re making progress, and I think a lot of it goes beyond just your bland political correctness or finger wagging. It doesn’t feel imposed. In art, if it makes since for a character to use a slur, then make him use the slur. The fact that said slur can cut or shock more than it did even 20 years ago means it’s lost its ordinariness in our culture. It’s not so commonplace anymore. And I feel like that change in outlook has been an organic one. I don’t hear kids calling each other fag or homo anymore, or at least not as often or with such pedestrian aloofness as I did when I was growing up, and that means we’re evolving. That means we’re getting better.

And if this generation can be better than mine is, then maybe the next one will be better than it. And so on. And so on. And then we can all listen to “Chains of Love,” and we can all sing it out at the top of our lungs.

Or maybe I’m just being naïve. There are still a lot of assholes out there.

I hope that I’m not naïve.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

body / negative Covers Elliott Smith and Tim Buckley

Fresh off of last year's excellent "everett" LP, LA artist body / negative just dropped two wonderful stripped down and lo-fi covers of Elliott Smith's "Twilight" and Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren."  Check them both out below and download them here from Track Number Records.


Here's a new and sweet little alt-rock track from Austin band DAIISTAR.  Listen to "Clear" below and pre-order the 7" single here from Fuzz Club Records.

Daily Jam - We Live Again

Beck is one of those artists who for years, if you didn’t care for an album, you could simply wait for the next one, because it was bound to be a complete 180 from what preceded it, an exploration of and combination of different genre tropes in an attempt to create something brand new. After a career spanning over three decades, he has kind of begun to settle into one of two different modes: sample-laden, hip-hop-inspired Beck and string-accompanied, somber Beck. They both have their distinct charms, though I’m still holding out for a honky-tonk, country punk rock Beck someday in the future (as evidenced by the fantastic “I Just Started Hating Some People Today,” a one-off single recorded with Jack White a few years ago).

Preferences aside, when he’s good, he’s good, and on 1998’s Mutations, Beck defied expectations, offering a collection of songs that pulled from folk rock, psychedelia, and bossa nova that was equal parts Serge Gainsbourg and Os Mutantes. It was a definite turn from the party sampler collage that was Odelay, but it solidified Beck as an eclectic artist, and made his subsequent releases events for a time.

While it’s hardly my favorite record by the man, the dreamy and wistful “We Live Again” is an absolute gem, a lush and gorgeous track featuring production by Nigel Godrich. The sorrowful tone therein reveals levels of the artist that had only been surface scratched before. Lyrically, it sounds like the lament of a man who has lost too much, searching for meaning in the meaningless, and eventually finding a form of acceptance in the inevitable and universal heartache of life. Paired with the airy and dreamlike music, warm strings and gentle harpsichord, “We Live Again” is a lovelorn lullaby adrift on an endless sea of memories.

“The end of the end. We live again. Oh I grow weary of the end.”

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Monday, March 18, 2024

SXSW '24 Pics

SXSW 2024 has come and gone, and the overwhelming feeling about the festival this year is that it's dying.  The whole thing went corporate long ago, but with the sale of SXSW to a billionaire a couple years back, and all the military contractors and arms dealers being in town last week for different panels while a genocide they're supplying weapons for goes on in Palestine, a large number of the artists pulled out of their official shows.  Instead, they played the unofficial day parties that go on all over the city, and the general consensus was "fuck SXSW."  I'm right there with them.  While i still managed to see some great bands, SXSW like so much of Austin has sold out.  I doubt i will try to attend things in the future with the same zest i used to have, and that makes me sad.  Guess we'll always have the memories.

Anyway, here are some pics of the shows i saw last week.  Highlights include the dreampop of Akira Galaxy, the bombastic sonic assault of Lip Critic, my wife winning us VIP tickets to see Sunny Day Real Estate, and Fat Dog baby.  Check 'em out below and we'll see what happens in the coming years.



Squirrel Flower


Native Sun

Faux Real


The Pretty Flowers

Akira Galaxy


Chanel Beads


Lip Critic


The Belair Lip Bombs


Cast of Thousands

Vera Ellen

Miranda and The Beat

TV's Daniel

The Courettes

Near Beer


Shower Curtain

Fat Dog

They Are Gutting a Body of Water

Allegra Krieger


Ekko Astral

Die Spitz

The Get Up Kids

Sunny Day Real Estate


Being Dead

Fat Dog (again)