Friday, May 31, 2024

Whettman Chelmets

It's Friday.  I'm tired.  You're tired.  The world continues to burn.  So here's some ambient noise from Whettman Chelmets.  Listen to "A New Place" below and get the album of same name here from Quiet Details.

Friday Horror Trailer - Prom Night III: The Last Kiss

Daily Jam - Atmosphere

Every now and then, I find myself caught up in music fan ephemera and hypotheticals. Top Fives, desert-island-discs, ultimate supergroups, that sort of thing. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us. Lately, I’ve been dwelling on the notion of desert-island-discographies, wherein you get to take the complete works of five different artists with you to your imaginary desert island. And you get everything too: every album, every single, every B-side, rarity, live recording, collaboration, demo, bootleg, and so on. The whole enchilada or whatever. Who would you choose? Who would I choose for that matter?

I’ve actually given this a lot of thought. (I get bored sometimes.) For me, David Bowie and Ennio Morricone are basically shoo-ins. After that, it gets a little more difficult. I’m pretty sure Nirvana would get a nod, and I go back and forth on both Radiohead and Depeche Mode, but I feel I would be doing myself a grave disservice to exclude Joy Division. You gotta have Joy Division, even if their catalog isn’t quite as extensive as the Thin White Duke’s or the Maestro’s. Maybe we could throw in New Order too to pad things up some. That sounds good.

Either way, I just don’t think I could do without “Atmosphere.”

Originally released as a single in France, and then later on 12” via Factory for the rest of us after Ian Curtis’s death in 1980, the song feels like watching a sunset in black in white. There’s a processional motion to it, pagan, not quite funereal, but close. It’s more celebratory in a very weird way, like transitioning from one phase to another. Ascending?

A long while back, I wrote a short article for a website about picking pop songs to play during our funerals, another hypothetical. My choice for my own was, is, and always will be “The Big Ship” by Brian Eno, its synth tones washing over mourners like so much transcendent light, and I don’t see that selection changing anytime soon. That being said, I think given the chance to select a song to play as I actually died, I would happily let “Atmosphere” play me out as I greeted the hereafter.

It’d be one hell of a way to go.

So yeah, Joy Division is on that island.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Magdalena Bay

And now here's some new vibrant pop from LA duo Magdalena Bay.  Check out "Death & Romance" below and download the new tune here from the band.


New York band Orcas, the duo of Rafael Anton Irisarri and Benoit Pioulard, dropped a dreamy cover of The Church's "Under the Milky Way" last month, their first new music in a decade.  And now they're following that up with a new album slated for July release.  Check out our first taste, "Riptide," below, a piece of airy, dreamy alt-rock, and pre-order the upcoming "How to Color a Thousand Mistakes" here from Morr Music.

Daily Jam - I Hate Myself and Want to Die

“Runny nose and runny yolk…”

It does not seem like Nirvana are quite the cultural apex that they used to be considered. When I was in junior high and Nevermind came out, music journos and deejays alike hailed them as a kind of second coming, Kurt Cobain the patron saint of rock music, his music and lyrics a new testament of…whatever. The praise was immense, and admittedly maybe a little much. While the band certainly did make the kind of waves in the industry that dictated popular tastes, spawned the major label signing of a million underground acts, and impacted the culture at large, all the more measurable now a quarter of a century later, music writers are prone to hyperbole. And at 13, I ate every bit of that up.

“Even if you have a cold still…”

It all just feels lesser now. In hindsight, they weren’t Elvis or The Beatles or anything quite so world shattering as all that. They just felt like it to me at the time, though I am still an Uber-fan. I just don’t think kids really give a shit about Nirvana now the way I felt about The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin when I was young. It’s like the divide is getting larger. Or, I just keep getting older.

“You can cough on me again…”

I could keep bemoaning my age or bluster about youth being wasted on the young or more nonsense like that, but I’m not going to. They’re proving to be far better than we ever were anyway. Instead I’m going to listen to Nirvana’s “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” an awesome jam that for some reason got relegated to The Beavis and Butt-head Experience for release, though it did eventually land as a B-side on the “Pennyroyal Tea” single too. It’s one of my favorites from the band, one of the last things they released, and it garnered up its far share of controversy with the title and Cobain’s imminent demise. But it all just feels like a goof. A noisy, feedback-laden goof. I need more of that kind of thing.

“I still haven’t had my fulfill…”

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Elias Rønnenfelt

Iceage front man Elias Rønnenfelt just dropped his debut solo single with "Like Lovers Do."  The track incorporates elements of indie rock, folk, and country to create a toe-tapping, finger-snapping little ditty.  Iceage has flirted with alt-county and cowpunk in the past, but this new track from their lead singer goes all in.  Check it out below and download it here from Escho.

Daily Jam - Dethharmonic

Last week (or yesterday) got a little heavy, and rightfully so, but this week we’ll ease it back a little bit with my favorite song from my favorite animated death metal band. Imaginary metal…hooray!

I’ve long had deep love for cartoons, starting with the classic shorts from Disney, Looney Toons, and Hanna-Barbera, through Saturday morning lineups and bowls of sugary cereal, afterschool syndicated blocks, feature films, music videos, and onward, culminating in primetime fare and late night oddities. I love all of it, from the smart kids’ stuff to the stoner adult stuff, hours and hours of animated bliss parading before my eyeballs. Aside from a few ups and downs, both in quality and politically, the lineup of shows appearing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim has been pretty consistently great these last three decades, from the early Hanna-Barbera appropriating shows like Harvey Birdman all the way to stuff like Rick and Morty, an amazing program with the most obnoxious and ridiculous fans in the universe, and everything in between.

One of those shows was the darkly comic Metalocalypse, a macabre and violent satire of heavy metal culture that followed the misadventures of fictional death metal band Dethklok in a post-apocalyptic world. While the show was good, it never really grabbed my attention the way its peer programming did, but boy oh boy is the music a lot of fun. The animated headbangers in Dethklok absolutely nail the sound the show’s creators are both honoring and mocking to the umpth degree, and often with riffs and licks to rival any real metal band out there. Just listen to “Dethharmonic,” from 2007’s The Dethalbum, and if you have even a passing affinity for melodic death metal, you’ve got to admit that it’s an utter behemoth of sound, all with satirical lyrical content skewering the wealthy’s aversion to taxes. Credit to writer, comedian, animator, voice actor, and musician Brendon Small, whose work as Dethklok elevates the show to something more than just crude jokes and parody.

“Prepare the laser-beam. I’m gonna use it tonight. Engage the laser-beam. It’s gonna end your life.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Here's some cool indie pop from San Francisco band Aluminum that pulls from a little bit of post punk, a little bit of dreampop, a little bit of shoegaze, and more.  New album "Fully Beat" just dropped last week.  Get it here from Felte Records and listen to "Call an Angel" below.


I didn't know we were getting new music from BEAK> today.  This is excellent news.  The Bristol trio has been doing it for 15 years now, and i am always down for some of their particular brand of prog, krautrock, and other weirdness.  Check out "Strawberry Line" below, download the ">>>>" album here from the band, or get the LP here from Invada Records.

Daily Jam - A Warm Place

This column was originally published in 2018, and sadly there have been hundreds of school shootings in this country since.

We’re almost two weeks removed from the school shootings in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and many more injured. And while the wound is still new, still fresh, and still deep, something feels different this time around.

There’s a sea change coming.

Originally when I decided that I was going to write about “A Warm Place” from Nine Inch Nails’ 1994 album The Downward Spiral for this column, I thought my focus would be on teenage depression and suicidal thoughts, that veritable stew of adolescent emotion and hormones once bringing me to the edge of the cliff myself when I was 15. I thought I would write about that instrumental, cold and haunting to me in my bedroom anguish, alone in the dark with my thoughts and sounds. And then I thought maybe I would write about how important music was to me at the time, Trent Reznor’s body of work in particular, and how maybe it, along with an amazing group of people I will be eternally grateful to have as my friends, saved my life, and that whole song and dance.

But then I started watching these kids, these survivors and heroes on television, and I began reading their thoughts and tweets, witnessing their bravery, and my whole inner outline just started to feel a little too self-absorbed, a little too vain or conceited. It all felt too mopey and dire, and that’s not where I want my heart to be. It needs to be stronger these days.

Like those kids.

When I was in high school, we weren’t concerned with the possibility that we could all be murdered in our classrooms. Columbine was still a couple of years away and we had (some) good gun laws on the books. And so we were all just stuck up our own assholes the way teenagers are supposed to be. Self-centered narcissists. Me, me, me. There was hardly ever a bigger picture.

Things began to change. Things began to fall apart. There was indeed a bigger picture, and it was terrifying and real. And then over the last two decades as we saw more and more people being gunned down in schools, universities, churches, movie theaters, nightclubs, and concerts, the bodies of children stacking up like so many statistics, our government officials tepid and inactive again and again, condescending and greedy, the same infuriating script playing out over and over again like the worst drama ever penned, a certain degree of fatalism kicked in. It felt like defeat.

I used to say that the gun debate ended in 2012 after Sandy Hook. That was when our elected representatives looked at the bodies of 20 slaughtered 6-year-olds and said okay. That was when I gave up.

But now I see these Florida kids demanding action and refusing to yield. They’re not in shock anymore, they’re angry. And we should be too. No more fatalism. No more defeatism. No more shock. We all need to be fucking pissed off. We all need to be like these awesome kids in Florida. They give me hope for my boys in a time when hope is invaluable.

They are my heroes.

So now, I’m listening to “A Warm Place” in a new context. I’m trying to hear it through hopeful ears instead of despair, and it’s not the dark and somber song I remember. It’s warmer now (no pun intended), still melancholy and reflective, but no longer steeped in desperation. At 15, it felt like the bottom of the abyss, and now at 38 it feels like climbing back out on the other side. No more fatalism. That’s the way I’m going to hear it from here on out (or maybe sometimes as the unintentional rip-off of David Bowie’s “Crystal Japan”*).

*It’s okay. Bowie was cool about it.

Rereading this column now at age 45, and i cried a little because nothing fundamentally changed.

Monday, May 27, 2024


Here's some dreamy new synth pop from Desire's upcoming new album "Games People Play."  We don't have a release date for the record as of yet, but you can listen to "Vampire" below while we wait.  Check it out below and keep an eye here at Italians Do It Better for the album drop.

Daily Jam - Take on Me

This column was originally published in 2018...and apparently my whole family was sick.

A wave of pestilence has fallen over my house. Well, not to be so hyperbolic, the little one got the flu, and then I caught some kind of bug too. Not that I’ve been laid out or anything, but there are some symptoms I just can’t seem to shake. Back at work, but snotty…coughing…light-headed…and general feeling of malaise, like I’m just waiting to faint at work. But fever free!

Anyway, my unending fatigued state is not the prime condition for writing, seeing as all I want to do is get under a blanket and watch movies (I’ve been slowly crossing Video Nasties off my list of unseen gore gems). My head’s just not in it, so give me horror movies instead. When I was sick as a kid, home from school and positioned on the sofa in the den, with ample amounts of chicken noodle soup and Coca-Cola at my disposal, my viewing habits were not quite as R-rated, my mother usually being just an ill whimper away. Instead, I devoured music videos on MTV, falling asleep and coming back to while any and all manner of stylized music commercial paraded before my glazed eyes. Every now and then, they’d show some “Top 100 Videos of All Time” nonsense, and I’d be glued to it, all too eager to take in the highs of the video channel’s early days. And they always included “Take On Me” by A-ha.

And why wouldn’t they? It’s a great video for a damn near perfect pop song. And maybe it made me feel a little better back then. Probably not, but it stuck anyway. So let’s try it again now. What do you say?

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Janitors

Time to shred some eardrums and melt some brains with some new music from Swedish psych rock outfit The Janitors.  New album "An Error Has Occurred" is out now.  Get it here from Rocket Recordings and listen the thumping album opener "Anger the World" below.

Daily Jam - Come Undone

The early 90’s were weird.

When a new decade starts, it seems that it doesn’t really begin to take off on its own until a little bit of time has gone by, those first couple of years still tying back to the ten that preceded them. It’s true in art, fashion, and culture, the prevailing styles still clinging to life for a couple of last run throughs. That’s why when the 90’s started, we were still getting new records from the likes of Depeche Mode, Motley Crue, and more pushed and promoted on mainstream channels and airwaves. Even with the veritable pop music seachange reverberating through the industry, the first waves of grunge, gangsta rap, shoegaze, Britpop, and IDM changing the sonic landscape, those old guards and money-makers were still part of the zeitgeist, albeit ever so slowly fading.

And so we come to 80’s mainstay Duran Duran’s 1993 self-titled record, often referred to as The Wedding Album, and the dynamic second single “Come Undone.” Once the kings of flashy, exotic synth pop, by the time the band’s seventh album was complete, pop star ageism and changing tastes and sounds had relegated them to adult contemporary and soft rock status. But they worked it anyway. “Come Undone” is all slinky guitar, R&B-tinged female backing vocals, cooing synths, and sex. Maybe it’s an adult contemporary pop song, but it’s a goddamn sexy adult contemporary pop song. Simon Le Bon practically oozes it here. And it killed when it came out, even slung among its grunge rock radio peers, a sexy little escapist number amid a roaring ocean of crunchy, insightful howling and snarling.

It still kills 30 years later.

So listen to “Come Undone” again. It’s perfect for stormy, tumultuous nights, rain sliding down the windows, murking what lies on the other side…OR cue it up for that posh and elegant pool party, sunglasses and cocaine aplenty, steam rising, waiting for your move.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Los Days

Heading out here in just a few minutes to go canoe down a river with my boys, and some gentle psych and Americana vibes from California band Los Days feels right.  Check out "Chasing the Day Moon" below and pre-order the band's upcoming "Dusty Dreams" LP here, out next week on Too Good.

Daily Jam - Vertigo

It’s not that I’m sad or upset about anything, but sometimes I’ve just got to put on something heart wrenching and get lost in it for a little while.

In the narrative form, it’s oft referred to as misery lit, or more succinctly misery porn. These are devastating, soul crushing tomes of literature or film that find our protagonists facing any and all manner of unspeakable tragedy, and then invite us to wallow in it, an aching sadness prevailing over all, and on come the waterworks. And we as a culture just devour it. Bring on the misery. Bring on the pain. Bring on the unending turmoil and moments of disquiet.

Are we getting off on this?

I don’t think it’s so salacious as that. Honestly, in the constant hum and toil of this world, a mass deadening of the senses uniting us all in discordant harmony, sometimes it’s just nice to feel something, even if that something is sorrow or anguish. And we revel in it. Maybe that’s being hyperbolic. Maybe that’s being cynical too. But it feels right. I think we live in a society where we deny ourselves our emotions a lot of the time (God knows Western civilization’s hyper-masculine bullshit will put the hammer down on male tears), so when a story or a piece of art strikes a particular nerve, we want to hold onto it. And why shouldn’t we? Good art should make you feel something. Good storytelling should stick to your soul, be it comic or tragic. Maybe the tragedy is just a little easier to relate to.

There’s a lot of misery porn to be found in music too. And I dwell on it all the time. I’ve written about death music before, self-ascribed funereal albums that harken to my own personal loss, and I have no intention of repeating myself here, but listening to “Vertigo” from Bay area metal band Deafheaven’s 2013 breakthrough record Sunbather, it’s hard not to fall back on that. It still moves me every time I hear it. It makes my heart hurt. It can make me cry. Even in the abstract, if I remove my personal experience from the song, and take the sounds at face value, what’s left is absolute sorrow.

There’s power to that. The song hits on a visceral level, utilizing classical and operatic structures paired with wailing guitars, bombastic drumming, and howling, screaming vocals in its 14+ minute runtime, creating a mood of epic, sweeping despair. Lyrics don’t matter here, and really it’s not like you can decipher them without written aid anyway. It’s the emotion within those screams, the utter sadness they pull out of me, and I’m getting goosebumps in my car as the song crescendos.

I’m feeling something, and it’s marvelous.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Friday, May 24, 2024


Let's head into the holiday weekend with some new post punk from UK band Ain't.  The band's debut "Oar / Teething" 7" is out in August.  Check out the moody A-side below and pre-order the record here from Fear of Missing Out Records.


Over the last few years, Chicago record label International Anthem has fast become one of my favorite labels, just constantly upping the ante with each subsequent release.  On deck is the debut album from SML, a quintet of likeminded jazz artists who just started playing together over the last year or so.  "Small Medium Large" is a weird and wild mix of improvisational jazz, post punk, no wave, psych, dub, and more, a whole synthesis of sounds that really sticks to your bones.  Check out "Industry" below and pre-order the LP here.

The Black Dog

Here's some moody and sprawling electronic music from UK self-proclaimed techno group The Black Dog.  "I Am an Artist" creeps up on you, slowly filling your earspace with something that's equal parts tranquil and foreboding.  Listen to the track below and pre-order the upcoming "Other, Like Me" LP here.

Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan

I knew a new album from UK electronic artist Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan was on the way after he dropped the "A Shared Sense of Purpose" EP earlier this month, but i had no idea it was coming out so soon.  It's out today!  Check out "A New Town with an Old Sense of Community" below and get the "Your Community Hub" LP here from Castles in Space.

Friday Horror Trailer - Ticks

Daily Jam - The Sounds of Silence

Admission #1: There is something about Paul Simon that just annoys the crap out of me.

Admission #2: Although it seems to be universally revered, I hate Simon’s solo album Graceland with every single fiber of my being.

Admission #3: Despite the two declarations above, I’ve got nothing but love for Simon and Garfunkel.

Of course I probably heard it somewhere in passing long before then, what with its cultural significance and all of that noise, but the first time I remember hearing Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” was at a girl’s house working on a school group project in the 7th grade. I don’t remember what the project was. I don’t remember what the class was. I barely remember who the girl was. And I don’t remember to what end we were using the folk rock classic for. What I remember is the song. And how absolutely mesmerized I was by it even at 12 years old.

I couldn’t tell you what the song means, if it’s some universal statement about humanity’s inability to understand and love each other, or something more personal and lonesome, and I don’t really want to either. Sometimes a song, or any piece of art honestly, can hit you, and make you feel something that you can’t really put into words. “The Sounds of Silence” does that to me. Every time. It whispers to my soul, but I don’t know what it says. Maybe I’ll figure it all out on my deathbed.

Admission #4: I probably won’t figure anything out on my deathbed.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Penelope Trappes

Here's an eerie new ambient track from UK artist Penelope Trappes.  "Harmonic No. 1" sounds like something deep beneath the earth slowly awakening as darkness overtakes all.  Check it out below and pre-order the upcoming "Hommelen" cassette here from Paralaxe Editions.

Horse Jumper of Love

Boston indie rock band Horse Jumper of Love is back later this summer with a new album of neo-slowcore for all the heads out there.  Check out "Wink" below and pre-order the upcoming "Disaster Trick" here from Run For Cover.

Daily Jam - Fitta Happier

I guess after a decade of making weirdo prog rock with BEAK>, or Judge Dredd inspired synth scores to imaginary films, or what was essentially a krautrock record with the ever dormant Portishead, band member and producer Geoff Barrow wanted to return to his sampling, scratching, trip-hop roots, and created the sprawling and epic hip-hop album Quakers. The 2012 solo self-titled effort consists of numerous appearances and collaborations, a whole slew of different rappers slinging their verses among the samples and breaks stretched out over 40 tracks. It’s quite an amazing listen, and my first taste had me instantly hooked like a millennial high schooler on his parents’ opioids.

“Fitta Happier” begins with what sounds like a distorted, warbled and decaying air raid siren before the University of Arizona marching band bellow in unison, “Fitter…Happier…More Productive,” a mantra of sorts lifted from Radiohead’s Ok Computer. The song then kicks into gear with a subdued yet grooving beat and samples of that same marching band performing sections of Radiohead’s “Optimistic” and a booming riff off “The National Anthem” from Kid A. Detroit’s Guilty Simpson handles the first verse, a kind of boasting and antagonizing screed that’s been a rapping staple since the genre’s origins. California rapper M.E.D. then comes in for verse number two with a more chilled and relaxed vibe to his couplets, though his section is just a self-aggrandizing. And then in a flash, the whole thing’s over and you’re left wanting more.

As it should be.

I’ve always been a sucker for different and interesting samples and production in the hip-hop I listen to, and Barrow’s Quakers project answered the call with zest and gusto. The whole thing is worth checking out, but let the record’s single “Fitta Happier” snag you first. And hopefully we’ll get a follow-up someday (we did), maybe after a fourth Portishead record.

Get on that shit Barrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


It's good to hear that Yoni Wolf is still kicking around making music as Why? with a new album on the horizon for our listening pleasure.  Check out "The Letters, Etc." below and pre-order the upcoming "The Well I Fell Into" here from the artist.

Daily Jam - Heaven

Man I’m getting old. I notice it in every single white hair invading my head and beard space. I feel it in every popping joint at night as I carry a sleeping toddler up the stairs. And I sense it at every concert or festival I go to, content to hang in the back (maybe even with a chair!) as youthful bodies kick and sway up ahead, their eyes glossing over me, a boring and crumbling wallflower. Pay no attention to the old fart drinking beer in the back. He’s just here to listen.

And listen I do. Honestly, it’s another thing that’s making me feel my age, seeing and hearing all the different genres of music becoming popular and gaining prominence to then fall by the wayside, relics of sound from another era, to then be revived and re-lauded only to lose favor again before bubbling back up to the surface yet again to the delight and listening pleasure of the masses. Nothing ever dies. Nothing ever goes away. It all just rests for a while. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many hot takes I’ve read over the last 20 years declaring rock n’ roll to be dead only for some scene of likeminded artists to suddenly make it cool again.

This is normal. This is where we are. This is okay. Everything will be cool again one day, just give it some time.

But I certainly do feel my years when attending these shows, these umpteenth revivals of audio. It’s been going on for years, even before my facial hair gave my age away. Way back in 2012 at a SXSW day party in Austin, I was fortunate enough to catch one of my “must-see” acts that year, then riding a synth wave revival of sorts, the gloomy, Canadian synth pop group Trust (aka TR/ST). Gothy synth tones and techno beats have long been in my wheelhouse of sound, and I’m always happy when they’re back in vogue, so catching the artist was a no-brainer for me. And they were great (I caught them two more times that week), their TRST album from that year is still one of my favorites, and we got an excellent memento from the gig, a hilarious picture of Trust’s Robert Alfons looking absolutely zoned and bewildered in between my smiling wife and friend.

Who are these old people? Why are they taking pictures with me?

Alfons was actually a very professional and nice guy. He seemed flattered by the attention, and he didn’t really comment on our age. But he didn’t have to. His facial expression said everything.

Anyway, I don’t know what the point of that story was. I’m old. Here’s Trust’s 2012 synth jam “Heaven.” Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bleib Modern

Let's keep those goth vibes going with new music from German band Bleib Modern.  The band's new self-titled album is out next month, a collection of icy darkwave, post punk, and goth.  Check out "T.W.T.I.A." below and pre-order the record here from the band.

Daily Jam - The Figurehead

This column was originally published in January of 2018...which honestly feels like a fucking lifetime ago.

So, 2018 huh? We’re barely a week into this new year, and so far we’ve had some Youtube star (a person I had never heard of until last week) film and post video of the body of a person who had hanged himself, all with running commentary and snark, the POTUS inch us ever closer to nuclear war over a dick measuring contest with a foreign dictator on Twitter, snow in Florida, and the ever present and ongoing fracturing and dismantling of our Republic. We live in continued dire times, each successive year further embodying the “hold my beer” meme ethos of what came before. You thought 2017 was scary, well check this out.

Dire times indeed. And quite possibly cataclysmic times on the horizon.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to put The Cure into my earspace on repeat for the foreseeable future. It made me feel better when I was a frightened and confused teenager, so maybe it will do the trick again as terrified and neurotic adult.

It’s worth a shot, right?

I was probably 14 or 15 when I started to paying attention to The Cure. At first, I wrote the band off, their 1992 single “Friday I’m in Love” playing like muriatic acid against my eardrums. I hated that song, and hated The Cure because of it. Even now, as a full-on Robert Smith devotee, I would smile if I never had to hear that song ever again for the rest of my life. Peace be with me. And because of all this, I was skeptical of the band’s music, despite a good friend’s encouragement to check them out. My change of heart started in 1994 when I heard “Burn” from soundtrack to The Crow. Say what you will about the film, but that soundtrack is fire and that opening tune is a killer. From there, my continued foray further into the gloom began in earnest with the 1993 live album Paris. Opening with the 1-2 punch of “The Figurehead” and “One Hundred Years,” I was floored by it, a smitten kitten from then on. The heartache! The anguish! The utter gloominess! There are world changing moments in personal pop culture discoveries, moments where you can almost tacitly feel your evolution as a human being picking up its stride. Those opening 15 minutes of Paris was like that for me. Naturally I moved on to Pornography next.

1982’s Pornography is a perfect album from start to finish, my very favorite from The Cure’s catalog, and “The Figurehead” is its seismic, heart wrenching centerpiece. It’s the practical definition of Gothic pop, its broken and pining lyrics screaming into an endless darkness while a cold and icy post punk melody plays beneath it, bleak and sorrowful for all eternity. The riff plays over and over again in my head, Smith’s dramatic and desperate croon echoing in my ears, the thud and pop of Lol Tolhurst’s drum beat playing like a funeral procession. It’s perfect. It’s beautiful. It’s probably going to play me out as the world ends.

So, here’s your dirge jam to begin 2018 with (or continue 2024 with), continuing this long, waking nightmare. Be kind to each other. “I will never be clean again.”

Listen to the original album version…

And here’s the live Paris version…

Monday, May 20, 2024

Las Nubes

Here's a little alt-rock from Miami duo Las Nubes that's stuffed to the veritable gills with '90s vibes, like they took the sounds and smells of 93-96 MTV and condensed and blended it all into some kind of audio smoothie.  Check out "Would Be" below and pre-order the upcoming "Tormentas Malsanas" here from the band.

Colin Stetson

The singular and amazing saxophonist Colin Stetson has a new album coming our way in September with "The Love it Took to Leave You."  I will forever get lost in this guy's sounds, since catching a live performance over 13 years ago.  And you should too.  Check out the album's title track below and pre-order it here from Envision Records.

Daily Jam - Never Let Me Down Again

Remember that one time when noted white supremacist, neo-Nazi shithead Richard Spencer mentioned that Depeche Mode was his favorite band, and that he considered them the “official band of the alt-right” or some such nonsense? That was a nightmare, right? I love Depeche Mode (certainly in my top 10), and I hate to think of something I enjoy being thoroughly corrupted by a bunch of gutless, brainless wretches. Thankfully the band themselves provided some saving grace by rightly telling Spencer to go fuck himself, and also some hero on the internet gave us this video (which I probably watch once a week or so):

Never forget.

Anyway, there are any and all number of Depeche Mode songs that could easily make their way onto the Endless Loop, but I like to try and branch out with theses entries, attempting not to repeat artists too often, a much more difficult endeavor than I would have ever thought…depending on the band. But there was just no way I was going to continue writing this column and not bring up “Never Let Me Down Again,” the opening track from the 1987 masterpiece Music for the Masses.

Depeche Mode were really on a roll from the mid '80s through the early '90s, a string of excellent albums that raked in both critical and commercial applause, and I’d posit that “Never Let Me Down Again” makes a perfect centerpiece for this stretch of music. Every aspect of the single finds the band firing on every cylinder, from Martin Gore’s peak era songwriting skill to Alan Wilder’s pulsing synthesizer work to Andy Fletcher’s grooving bass to Dave Gahan’s haunting and powerful baritone. It really is a singular piece of work, something that sticks in your brain for days, from a band with an uncanny ability to create singular pieces of work. Listen below and let it propel you.

And then we should all watch this again:

Fuck off Nazis.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Daily Jam - Yr Love

This column was originally published in December of 2017.

I usually write this column a few days before it actually gets published to the site, which can often make these essays maybe just a little out of step with whatever might currently be going on in the world at large. It’s usually no big deal, though a couple of times I have had to scramble and write something new on the fly, feeling it inappropriate to pine about some old pop song I love when some kind of national tragedy occurred less than 24 hours prior. But let’s hold out that it’s Monday, and that we’re all as fine as we can hope to be, and that no new living nightmare has begun to unfold on our already burning world, and that as I write this, it’s cold and rainy outside, a fairly atypical kind of day here in Central Texas, even in December.

Meanwhile, I stand in the gray, my breath visible before me, the icy, pulsing sounds of Holy Other’s “Yr Love” beating away as night slowly falls.

Released in 2010, the debut single from Berlin dark ambient producer Holy Other, “Yr Love” is the audio equivalent of winter blowing in, the dark and ominous synthetic tones of days shortening, the air getting colder and thinner, shades of white and gray and black as far as the eye can see. There’s a bleakness to it all, a realization of an icy and frostbitten end, an all-encompassing, stark whiteness that gradually swallows up everything.

But you can also dance to it.

Our heartbeats are still alive in the void somewhere.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Daily Jam - Stuck on You

I don’t know if anyone else out there does this, but sometimes I’ll get an album to listen to, usually a CD to be played in the car during my commute to and from work, and basically pretend it’s me performing it whilst singing along in the driver’s seat. I’ve done this for forever, but it has to be a good CD…a great CD…one of those CDs that’s an essential listen from start to finish. Throughout the years I’ve accrued a handful of albums that I keep coming back to over and over again specifically for this purpose, this driving daydream of musicianship, artistry, and mock rock stardom. And I’d posit that Failure’s 1996 space rock opus and masterpiece Fantastic Planet is my go-to album probably more than 50% of the time.

My introduction to the band came by way of the band Replicants, a project that produced one album of covers featuring Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards of Failure, members of the band Lusk, and Maynard James Keenan from Tool. A big fan of that record, I eventually sought out the musicians’ other output, coming across Fantastic Planet and the wonderful single “Stuck on You.” From the opening, high-pitched guitar riff (though it may actually be a synthesizer for all I know), harmonic tones ringing in my ears and the heavens above, I fell hard for that song. The slow and pounding beat propels ever forward with crunching, spacey guitar layered on top, Ken Andrews’ nasal and almost monotone vocal delivery sounding alien and worldly at the same time. There’s a bubblegum pop aesthetic at work too, a sweet and hooky melody that could play in my brain ad infinitum if I were so inclined. Lyrically, “Stuck on You” is about being unable to escape a pop song, radio detritus coursing through our veins forever, or maybe it’s a lament about love, or maybe it’s about drugs, or maybe it’s something else entirely.

Is it all of these things?

Either way, I’ll love it forever, and I’ll go on pretending it’s me who made it, singing it in my car on the stadium stage of my daydreams.

“Stuck on you til the end of time.”

Friday, May 17, 2024

Mountain Movers

Connecticut band Mountain Movers just dropped their latest album today, the sprawling and trippy "Walking After Dark."  The album blends psych, folk, drone, and other assorted sounds into a heady stew that's the sonic equivalent of getting baked and watching a beautiful sunset from a good friend's back porch.  Listen to the album opening "Bodega on My Mind / The Sun Shines on the Moon" below and get the record here from Trouble in Mind.

Friday Horror Trailer - Bats


Daily Jam - Exhausted

It seems like there are a whole slew of artists whose work I adore, but whose extracurricular activities can affect the way I hear the music, often very much to its detriment. These are the artists whose personal quirks or faults are so in the public domain, that it can be seriously difficult to separate the art from the artist. For instance, there are only so many temper tantrums somebody like Axl Rose can throw before it starts to make Guns N' Roses a little less enjoyable. Then there are artists like Mark Kozelek or Father John Misty whose curmudgeon or trolling personalities make them seem like giant douchebags. Both of those guys are geniuses, but I'd hate to be in a room with them. It's almost enough to make me have to pretend that it's somebody else making the music. And that's not even getting into all of the suspected racists, misogynists, abusers, gropers, murderers(?), and all around asshats out there making songs for our consumption. It's hard to separate that art.

But then you get a band like Foo Fighters that gives me the exact opposite kind of dilemma. Dave Grohl and his merry band of rockers all seem like great people. They're funny and earnest, intelligent, good to their fans, friends, and families, seemingly good friends with one another, and positive public figures. They just seem cool. And that's why it makes it kind of hard that with the exception of the first self-titled album, I just can't get into these guys.

And I try. Oh, how I try. Every time the Foo puts out a new record, I give it multiple spins, attempting like crazy to get something to stick. But it just doesn't. Somewhere along the way, the band traded in its post-grunge, power-pop aesthetic for full on arena rock, and I just can't get into that, regardless of how fun I think it would be to hang out with the band.

I guess I'll always have that first record though, and the wonderful, melancholy closing track "Exhausted." The song's distorted tones and fuzzy feedback compliment the wistful nature of the tune, keeping things crunchy and grounded, and never falling into outright despair. Dave's vocals are soft and low in the mix, similar to some of the demo and B-side stuff he was doing with Nirvana before Cobain died, and thus "Exhausted" kind of serves as the bridge between the two bands...what was and what was to come.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Lilacs & Champagne

Grails side project Lilacs & Champagne are back after almost a decade with a new album of psychedelia, jazz fusion, funk, library sounds, hip-hop, exotica, and so much more weirdness.  Check out new tune "Ill Gotten Gains" below and pre-order the upcoming "Fantasy World" LP here from Temporary Residence.


Here's a new one from Toronto instrumental wunderkinds BADBADNOTGOOD.  Fresh off being the backing band for soul singer Baby Rose's last release, the trio just dropped their own new EP with "Mid Spiral: Chaos."  Check out "Last Laugh" below and download the album here from XL Recordings.

Daily Jam - Vomit

“Nights I spend alone. I spend ‘em running ‘round looking for you Baby.”

The very first time I met my wife was in March of 1998 at a mutual friend’s parents’ house in a suburb of Houston. I was a freshman in college and there to see Radiohead and Spiritualized perform in the city, crashing with a group of guys at said parents’ house. She was still in high school, just hanging out with a friend on a Friday night. I might have been somewhat aloof, lost in my own college freshman-ness…OR I might have been drunk.

Neither one of us has any real recollection of meeting the other one.

The second time I met my wife was sometime during my sophomore year (those two semesters are very, very hazy) in College Station, visiting some friends over a weekend. She lived in the same off-campus dorm that a lot of my buddies did and hung out with them periodically. She might have been somewhat aloof, lost in her own college freshman-ness…OR I might have been…not in my right head.

Again, neither one of us has any real recollection of meeting the other.

Finally in October of 1999, again in College Station, this time for a mutual friend’s 21st birthday party, my wife and I met for the third time. Neither one of us was aloof, and I finally had my wits about me. This time it stuck.

We both remember this, quite vividly.

“Looking for love. Looking for love.”

As it was released in 2011 on the Father, Son, Holy Ghost LP, the second and final full-length album from the short lived San Francisco indie rock band Girls, the song “Vomit” doesn’t have much at all to do with my story about meeting my wife. But the lovelorn and maudlin track, an epic and gospel-tinged indie guitar rock ballad, always brings her to mind, especially in the song’s finale, the almost pleading repeating of “come into my heart” as a choir of singers ooh and aah in the background. Perhaps it’s overly sentimental of me. It was probably overly sentimental of the band. But it works. And I find myself often echoing the refrain.

And yes, it is weird (and kind of unfortunate) that a song called “Vomit” makes me think of my wife.

“Come into my heart. Come into my heart. Come into my heart.”

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


Here's some new electro-pop from LA-based artist TR/ST.  Dig on the airy synths of "Soon" below and download it here from Dais Records.

Daily Jam - Reach Out I'll Be There

This column was originally published in 2017, though honestly it could have been any year really.

I’m exhausted. The steady and constant flow of miserable information that courses across my eyeballs and into my brain, all at the impulsive touch of a screen is taking its toll. The prospect of taking a break, going on a vacation from social media and maybe the internet in general, is becoming increasingly desirable, a way to stop the media overload on my mind, to recharge, and I guess to avoid the constant, 24-hour onslaught of doom and gloom and utter horrible shit…if just for a week or so.

But I trudge on, like a pathetic junkie jonesing for his next fix, scrolling through Twitter feeds and Facebook comments like a trained lab rat.

Anyway, today let’s listen to The Four Tops’ 1966 hit “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” a little slice of Motown pop and soul that will settle my nerves for a moment or two. It’s damn near perfect and makes me want to be a background singer, dancing in unison with the rest of the chorus.

And as a bonus, the late, great lead singer Levi Stubbs would eventually go on to provide the voice of carnivorous plant Audrey II in the 1986 musical film version of Little Shop of Horrors, which is just awesome.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


Now here's a name i haven't thought about in a long time.  It's been 13 years since we last heard from New Orleans experimental, shoegazey alt-rock duo Belong.  And now we've got a new album coming our way this summer.  Check out the metronomic beat and hazy swirl of "Souvenir" below and pre-order the upcoming "Realistic IX" LP here from Kranky.