Sunday, June 30, 2024

Being Dead

Austin's Being Dead are back in September with new album "EELS," this time around with producer John Congleton behind the boards.  May the quirkiness abound.  Listen to "Firefighters" below, which bounces around from jangle pop to psychedelia to art pop and beyond, and pre-order the record here from Bayonet.


New York band Rider/Horse make the kind of warped and twisted punk rock that half feels like old sound reverberations rattling around in the inner recesses of your ears, remnants from last night's concert spent way too close to the speakers.  New album "Matted" is out on Friday.  Get it here from Ever/Never Records and listen to the album opening "Combing the Horse" below.

Daily Jam - Fire Woman

There are so many bands and artists out there that I will never get the chance to see perform live due to death or circumstance or whatever. I’ve made my peace with that, but there are an equal amount of bands and artists out there right now that, for whatever reason, I just haven’t seen perform either. And it’s a damn shame that one of those bands is The Cult.

Starting in England in the early ‘80s as kind of a post-punk-goth-rock thing under such monikers as Southern Death Cult or just Death Cult, the song stylings of Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy eventually morphed into something more rock n’ roll oriented, a hard rock and metal revival of loud, crunching guitars and pelvic thrust energy. By the time their 1989 album Sonic Temple came out, The Cult were cruising on their stateside success, touring with the likes of stadium acts like Aerosmith and Metallica, and racking up a ton of radio play with their fist-pumping single “Fire Woman.”

I didn’t get to see them back then. I was ten.

The band would eventually break up in the ‘90s, get back together, go on hiatus again, reunite, reassemble, reconvene, and so on, but remained completely off my radar, despite “Fire Woman” holding a place of prominence in the car stereos of my friends and me.

I still didn’t see them. Honestly, I don’t even know if they ever came to Texas.

And then in 2012, they played a free show at the Waterloo Records day party during the South by Southwest music festival.

And I still didn’t get to see them…but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Evidently, I was not the only one jonesing for a little Cult action, the trek west through downtown Austin from another music venue I’d spent the early afternoon at allowing way too much time to pass, and way too much valuable space to fill up at Waterloo. The day party at capacity, a fenced in lot of asses and elbows, I was forced to move on, the prospect of listening on the other side of the barrier proving to be too depressing. I ended up going to eat some Cajun food down the street instead.

And rocking “Fire Woman” forever more.

Saturday, June 29, 2024


Back from the coast.  Back from the beach.  Back to 100 degree weather.  And back to the grind on Monday.  So here's some appropriately despairing music from New York's Uniform and their upcoming "American Standard" EP.  Check out the noise on "This Is not a Prayer" below and pre-order the record here from Sacred Bones.

Daily Jam - L'uccello dalle Piume di Cristallo

This column was originally published right before Halloween in 2018.

I’m going to be out of the office next week, right during my most favorite time of the year, and so it seems like today is the day for a Halloween-themed entry into the annals of songs I ceaselessly entertain myself with. Halloween has long been my favorite holiday, the combination of autumn weather, horror movies, ghosts and ghouls, pumpkin ales, and adolescent debauchery being things I would take in full time if it were so possible. And I used to pride myself on my costume effort before the boys came along and the focus shifted to them instead. Some of my past disguises include:

    - Kurt Cobain
    - Hunter S. Thompson
    - Token Goth Guy
    - Shaggy from Scooby-Doo
    - Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman from The Lost Boys)
    - A Mad Scientist
    - A Bear
    - A Werewolf
    - Courtney Love

And for my sons:

    - Chewbacca
    - Freddy Krueger
    - Ash (from Evil Dead)*
    - A White Tiger
    - A Vampire
    - A Skunk

This year, it’s looking like I’ll be repeating the werewolf, my wife as a witch, and my boys as ninja and some cartoon character named Catboy respectively.

Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that I love, love, love Halloween and everything that comes with it. But let’s get to the music.

From a man who really needs no introduction and whose catalog of work has been inspiring me for years and years and years, Italian Maestro Ennio Morricone’s score for Dario Argento’s directorial debut, 1970’s The Bird with The Crystal Plumage, ranks as one of my all time favorites. Though he’s most well known for scoring spaghetti westerns, Morricone actually provided the soundtrack to quite a few giallos as well, utilizing his usual penchant for combining and mixing styles into something uniquely his own. The Bird with The Crystal Plumage is no different, shades of psychedelia and choral harmonies crafting a surreal and unnerving tapestry of sound, and very notably so on the haunting “L'uccello dalle Piume Di Cristallo.”

So let’s all enjoy some wonderfully eerie music from a master of the craft and take in these last few days of the Halloween season before we have to wait all over again. Watch a scary movie. Eat some candy. Carry out that murder you were thinking about. And have a Happy Halloween (even if it's still June).

*That one is quite possibly my masterpiece.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Friday Horror Trailer - Saw


Daily Jam - Pets

This column was originally published in 2018.

“My friend says we’re like the dinosaurs, only we are doing ourselves in much faster than they ever did.”

I don’t know if I ever would have believed that a 30-year old lyric from Perry Farrell would ultimately wind up being as prescient as it seems to have become, but here we are. From the self-titled debut of Farrell’s post-Jane’s Addiction project Porno For Pyros, “Pets” is a wistful lament on the state of humanity and its inevitable, self-attributed demise. And if you’re like me, and you’ve been paying attention to climate scientists, or just reading the recent articles from the New York Times or The Guardian, then that demise appears to be just over the horizon.

It angers me. It scares me. It depresses me.

And my mind keeps going to my sons, and the whole thing just angers, scares, and depresses me even more. We are on the precipice of a mass extinction event, and all for the sake of a few more dollars in the pockets of a bunch of rich old white men. And there’s a whole horde of us who are just too stupid, stubborn, or corrupt to ever care.

So while Farrell was 100% correct about us and the dinosaurs, he was way off in believing that we’d “make great pets.” We’d be awful pets. We’d just end up shitting all over the rug again and again and again. Horrible.


It’s difficult not to despair. I know I need to fight and scream, but it’s hard to do so without feeling like it will all end up being pointless in the end. But fuck that. I love my kids. I love your kids (even the shitty ones). And I’m going to have to do everything I can to remain steadfast in my duty to provide a future for them.

Please join me.

Here are some sites with information on how to donate your money, time, rage, and anxiety to help. It is quite literally the least we can do.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Daily Jam - Help Me When You're Gone

Have you ever been to one of those Christian stores? They’re these weird little gift shops that trade in religious iconography and nick-nacks, a showroom full of tables, racks, and shelves stacked and stuffed with books, Bibles, trinkets, shirts, crosses, and chachkies. Jesus freak paraphernalia. Salvation through consumerism. Praise be to the lord.

Growing up in conservative small town Texas, these kinds of stores were pretty prevalent, popping up in strip malls and shopping centers all across the desert, as I’m sure they did (and still do) throughout the whole of the Bible Belt too. That doesn’t make them any less odd. Or off putting. The combining of one’s religious beliefs or spirituality with capitalism and commerce just stinks of avarice and hypocrisy to me, a reverence of money and gold that goes against every lessen and tenet that that religion is supposed to espouse.

I went to a Christian private school for eight years. I know what I’m talking about. Christian stores are not good.

That being said, some of these stores also sold Christian records, tapes, and CDs, an assortment of mostly dull and saccharine pop artists who might occasionally crack the Top 40, but who were ultimately deemed acceptable by the hordes of overbearing parents and adults thumping their Bibles at school and community events across the county. Most of these albums were bad, but serviceable I guess, laughable attempts at rock n’ roll and popular music practically oozing with the wrong kind of earnestness, parables, and devotion. Yuck.

But naturally, I eventually stumbled upon a Christian rock band that I liked.

California band Starflyer 59 began in 1993 as one of the original signees to Christian label Tooth & Nail Records. The band’s early sound was wholly indebted to the shoegaze of the early ‘90s, though by 1997’s Americana, they were working a more radio friendly kind of pop rock into the mix as well. And I ate it up, despite the group’s holy and innocuous origins. Honestly, I just kind of ignored all of that. The penultimate track on Americana, the floating and moody “Help Me When You’re Gone,” might be about Jesus. Then again, it might not be. Lyrically speaking, lead singer/head Starflyer Jason Martin’s songwriting was ambiguous enough that it could go either way.

And I’m okay with that. It helps the medicine go down or whatever.

It’s just too bad I had to go into one of those Christian stores to buy the thing 25 years ago. The things we do for our aural fixations. Praise be to God.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Daily Jam - Head On

There are a handful of things that stick to my memory of when I moved into my very first apartment over 20 years ago. I remember that the humidity on move-in day was ridiculous, the Austin air a thick soup of uncomfortable moisture and oppressive heat. I remember being attracted to the pretty woman who worked in the complex’s leasing office, her Bettie Page aura and demeanor being way, way out of my league. I remember my mom cried at the airport when she flew back home to Midland. I remember the pain in the ass that was assembling my heavy, particle board desk. I remember my dad bought a 6-pack of Shiner for my roommate and me. And I remember getting into a friendly argument with the clerk at the corner store as to whether or not “Head On” was a Jesus and Mary Chain song or a Pixies song. Turns out we were both right.

But I was more right.

The Pixies did indeed record a version of “Head On” for their 1991 album Trompe le Monde, but it was a cover of the tune that originally appeared on The Jesus and Mary Chain’s 1989 album Automatic. Both versions are excellent, but I’m partial to the original, the drum and synth heavy surf rock-riffing jam hitting my earspace in all of the right places.

But let’s listen to both today anyway.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Daily Jam - Astronauts in Love

My sophomore year of college is kind of a blur now. A full two and a half decades behind me, it feels like a lifetime ago, a series of events traversed by an individual it can be hard to even think of as me anymore…though it was still totally me. At 19/20 years old, I moved on a kind of unending energy I would practically kill for these days. A full load of classes and all of the projects, homework, and study that entails, a job at a movie theater that worked me most nights, and all of the booze and drugs I could ask for, a steady stream of partying without end, the whole era is a haze for me, a wonderful, exuberant, frenetic, and stoned haze. With all of that, I’m kind of amazed I also managed to deejay a radio show at 5AM.

Bleary-eyed, hoarse, and very often kind of drunk, I’d dig through my collection of CDs and LPs to bring along to the station (KVRX 91.7), stroll in about a quarter ‘til 5, and begin to pull more selections from the shelves and shelves of music next to the booth. And then, I’d sit and spin records, make stupid jokes on air assuming I was playing to a black, empty void, and occasionally put on a 10+ minute jam so I could venture outside for a smoke. Following the show, I’d grab some breakfast from either a café or fast food joint nearby, or head over to a campus cafeteria. Then I’d drive home, catch an hour or two of sleep, and then head back to class and work, maybe a six-pack or something more potent waiting for me afterwards. I’m really not sure how my brain or my body survived.

And man do I miss it.

There was so much music, the radio station providing me another avenue to explore foreign sounds and new aural delights, stoking the fires of a vice that’s always had more power and sway over me than any pint or joint could ever hope to, discovering a new song and that sweet, intoxicating rush that comes with it.

One of the songs I came across one morning was the crunchy, lo-fi, space rock jam “Astronauts in Love,” by a band called Ciao Bella. From the opening electric and acoustic guitars coming together in a slow and fuzzy dream, the occasional beats from the drums playing in no particular rhythm, it’s the sound of a band warming up before the beat becomes steadier, spacey synth effects lifting the pop song into the atmosphere. The vocals coo, a kind of Beatles-aping harmony, as the guitars and synths take us higher and higher into the vastness of space, floating away. Such a wonderful little pop song, and it made its way onto my show with a regularity maybe unmatched by anything else, with the notable exception of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” which I used to begin every show with.

“Astronauts in Love” came from the band’s sole 1997 album 1, and unfortunately that’s the bulk of information I can find on them, which is maybe kind of fitting. They’re just another bit and piece from the unfocused head stew that was 1998-99 for me.

I wish I still had a radio show.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Daily Jam - Take a Chance on Me

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my over four decades on this rock, it’s that someone who claims not to like ABBA is not to be trusted.

I’m not saying that the legendary Swedish pop hit makers necessarily have to be your thing, or that you have to listen to them all the time or anything like that. But seriously, how can you not be at least a little in to their infectious brand of damn near perfect pop music? It’s practically meant to be mainlined straight into your earholes, sugary, syrupy nuggets of sound.

And it’s for everyone too: music connoisseurs and laymen, pop fans, rappers, punk rockers, metal-heads, jocks, nerds, stoners, tweekers, old people, young people, and so on. You are not too cool to enjoy some ABBA, to bop to it, to dance to it, to move. I’m dancing in my seat right this moment as I write this. Come and join the party and jam to my favorite, “Take a Chance on Me.”

Don’t be that guy that doesn’t like fun.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Daily Jam - Send Me an Angel

You learn a lot about your body as you get older. Evidently, I’m one of those guys whose weight seems to fluctuate back and forth like I’m a method actor gaining and shedding pounds incessantly for roll after roll. I bounce all over the scale: 30 lbs. one way and then 25 lbs. the other, another 40 lbs. one way and then 45 lbs. back down again. It’s probably unhealthy. And as of late, I’ve been residing on the larger side, actually at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been before. Blame it on the years working a desk job, or the fact that I just really, really love beer and food. Whatever. I keep waiting for that pendulum to swing back the other way, but I’m afraid it’s going to need a much firmer push than usual. Diet and exercise it is then.


And how do I mentally and physically prepare myself to do this?

If a misspent 45 years watching ‘80s movies has taught me anything, it’s that if I want to accomplish something, I’m going to a need a bitchin’ training montage to get myself there. So, why not use the ‘80s synth pop staple “Send Me an Angel” by Real Life? It worked for Jason Bateman in Teen Wolf Too.

I can see it all now: intercut scenes of me running, doing crunches, lifting weights, eating salads, and turning down desserts. Let’s do this people.

Cue the jam. Cue the montage.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Kit Sebastian

Here's a new one from UK duo Kit Sebastian.  "Faust" features the band's usual mix of Anatolian psych, Tropicalia, '60s pop, and more.  Check it out below and download it here from Brainfeeder.  And that's all from for a little bit.  Time to go to the beach.

Daily Jam - Love Bites

Whispers of ‘80s pop float in the ether.

A lot of my grade school memories still seem clear as day to me when I try to recollect them, images and sounds and smells and colors seared into my wrinkled brain mass like a series of uncorrupted data files. Bright. Vivid. Pristine. It’s amazing to me how easily I can recall completely random moments from 35 years ago, often with more clarity than something that just happened last week. The combination of sensory stimuli collide together into a kind of mental video, and I guess I’m stuck with it forever.

Pop cultural detritus is everywhere.

It’s those peripheral sounds, commercial jingles, TV show catchphrases, theme songs, radio deejay banter, and pop songs in particular that attach themselves to the memories, complimenting the actions and long ago still shots, and cementing them to our psyches. And I’m unable to separate any of it.

In 4th grade, I knew this kid named Alan. He was new to the Episcopalian private school I went to at the time (the birthplace of my atheism), and for some reason or another (because kids are jerks) my friends and I gave him a hard time. We weren’t so much bullies as we just talked a lot of shit to him which he then slung right back at us. It wasn’t long before we were all good friends, having bonded over our mutual interest in drawing monsters, and apparently talking shit. One night, Alan invited me over to spend the night at his house. I remember drawing in his kitchen, a bright room with white wallpaper that had thin, light blue vertical and horizontal lines on it that created a bunch of 4x4 inch squares. We drew on manilla paper. I drew a picture of a shark eating Alan. He drew a picture of shark eating me (his was better). We ate pepperoni pizza from Domino’s. We played with Madballs. We watched Chopping Mall. Def Leppard played from somewhere. “Love Bites,” a song so ubiquitous with the 1980's for me, that I can nary think of one without the other.

I guess to be fair, Def Leppard were everywhere in 1988, their ’87 album Hysteria spawning seven hit singles that the British pop metal act coasted on to close out the decade. And they’ve stuck with me, their #1 smash hit power ballad forever soundtracking that one time I drew a picture of shark eating my friend.

Pop music is glue.

Alan’s family moved away the summer before 5th grade, and I never saw him again. I don’t know where he ended up or whatever became of him, but hopefully he’s steered clear of the ocean.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Spirit Mother

I really need to finish some work, so here's one more jam for your Friday afternoon.  "Wolves" is an airy and stoner-tinged bit of heavy psych from Spirit Mother, and honestly sounds like the perfect thing to listen to as we head into the weekend.  Check it out below and pre-order the upcoming "Trails" LP here from Heavy Psych Sounds. 

Poison Ruïn

Philly punk band Poison Ruïn are back in August with a new album of punk rock and medieval times.  Pre-order "Confrere" here from Relapse Records and listen to the title track below.

HEALTH Featuring Lauren Mayberry

LA noisemakers HEALTH just dropped a new version of their song "Ashamed."  The track originally appeared on last year's "Rat Wars" LP, but this time around features CHVRCHES lead singer Lauren Mayberry on vocals.  I love how these guys can bounce around from metal to noise rock to disco to darkwave synth pop to techno and back again.  Check it out below and download the new version here from Loma Vista Recordings.

Nava Calma

Berlin band Nava Calma just released new tune "A Body," and it's a beautiful, floating and melancholy dream with some post rock oomph and plenty of reverb.  Check it out below and download it here from the band.

JJ Whitefield & Forced Meditation

Let's all pause for a moment.  Catch our collective breath.  Relax.  And let's listen to some experimental jazz with hints of spiritual mojo from JJ Whitefield & Forced Meditation.  New album "The Infinity of Nothingness" is out today, and for the moment, i am digging on the chilled and subdued vibes of "Nothingness."  Check it out below and get the record here from Jazzman Albums.  And breathe.

Penza Penza

Estonian composer and musician Misha Panfilov makes all manner of music in styles ranging from jazz to funk to library sounds and more.  On "Alto E Primitivo," he has assembled a full band with Penza Penza, and the group makes a lovely kind of noise that fuses jazz, rock, punk, psychedelia, and a whole lot of other sounds to delirious effect.  Check out "Midnighter" below and pre-order the record here.


On past releases, Cincinnati band Sungaze have paired Americana with shoegaze and dreampop.  New tune "So Light" finds them playing something a little more straight forward shoegaze.  I dig it.  Check the track out below and download it here from the band.

R. Missing

Here's a new single form New York synth pop artist R. Missing.  "The Down that Creeps" traverses the moods of darkwave, dream pop, and dance music, the perfect kind of night jam to watch the sun set or rise to.  Check it out below and download it here.

Tristwch & Fenywod

Formed in 2022, Leeds band Tristwch Y Fenywod (The Sadness of Women) make a haunting and wonderful mix of dark folk, goth, and post punk that sounds like it could soundtrack an Wiccan ritual or druid processional.  And it's all sung in Welsh.  Check out the eerie vibes of "Ferch Gyda'r Llygaid Du" below and pre-order the upcoming debut full-length, self-titled album here from Night School.

Friday Horror Trailer - Nightwatch

Daily Jam - At the Heart of It All

This column was originally published in August of 2018.

A whole lot of stuff happened yesterday (yesterday being August 21st as I’m writing this column well before I intend to publish it). It was a lot to take in. A lot of guilty verdicts, guilty pleas, and possible ramifications for a neverending stream of even more stuff to come. But, the inner cynic in me doubts that there’s really much to be happy about or excited for. The inner cynic in me has no expectations for anybody to finally get their comeuppance. The inner cynic in me lost faith in this broken system a long while back. And the inner cynic in me is usually right about that kind of stuff.

So I guess we’ll all just wait and see as everything crumbles around us…turns to dust.

And while I wait, I’ll let some haunting and cinematic music score my mood, soundtrack the encroaching clouds as they black out the light. I’m going to listen to “At the Heart of It All” from Nine Inch Nails’ 1995 remix album Further Down the Spiral. And I’m going to watch the world go grey.

The bleak, 7-minute instrumental was created by Aphex Twin for Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails to use on said remix record, and it sounds like a harbinger of some sorts. A crusty electronic beat pounds and hisses while a loop of an eerie horn section rises and falls, a dead fog laying over a cold and dying valley, like something out of a Cormac McCarthy novel. It sounds like a processional for the end of all things, a final dirge to play our souls to eternity. So, maybe it’s not so much a harbinger of things to come as it is a stark and icy denouement.

I guess that’s where we’re at these days.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Chuck Johnson

Here's some new music from Chuck Johnson.  The Oakland artist crafts beautiful, minimalist ambient soundscapes that pull from post rock, Americana, film scores and more.  Check out new tune "Teleos" below and pre-order the upcoming "Sun Glories" LP here from Western Vinyl.

Daily Jam - Goodbye Horses

This column was originally published in 2018.

The story goes that sometime during the mid-'80s, late, great director Jonathan Demme was riding in a taxi in New York City. During the ride, the cabbie played her demo tape for the him, and the director was apparently so taken with the music that he ended up using her work in several of his films, most notably (and perhaps a little notoriously) in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs. Yeah. You know the scene I’m talking about. That one with Buffalo Bill.

And so, I was introduced to the haunting and swaying “Goodbye Horses” by the mysterious Q Lazzarus.

Beginning with a propulsive synth pop beat and little twinges of electric sound, there’s something immediately melancholy about the song, a notion that’s only reinforced once the warm and sweeping synthesizers hum and underscore the artist’s deep and almost mournfully yearning vocals. There’s an inherent sadness to the whole affair, a kind of soaring fragility, but it also practically begs to be moved to. “Goodbye Horses” wants to be danced to, even if only by yourself, alone and in your bedroom, tucked or not, but with your eyes closed and your heart open and feeling. It’s like the sonic equivalent of letting the surf or the sun’s rays wash right over you.

Then, everything fades out, and we’re left with fleeting pangs and feelings. It’s really kind of a shame that we never got more music from Q Lazzarus. Aside from a couple of tracks, a few different mixes of “Goodbye Horses,” and a Talking Heads cover, the artist kind of dropped off the face of the Earth in the early ‘90s. Rumors circulated that she was dead, overdosed or murdered, and nary a hint nor word from the enigmatic Q.

Until now.

Following a recent article in Dazed Digital about the missing artist, writer and musician Kelsey Zimmerman asked if anyone had heard from Q Lazzarus on Twitter (apparently something she does once a year), and actually received a reply. As it turns out, Q Lazzarus is alive and well*. Her name is Diane, she’s a bus driver in New York, and she has no desire to sing anymore. Bummer. But also far out. She has her life and we have ours, and we’ll always have our memories of “Goodbye Horses”…and Buffalo Bill.

“Goodbye horses, I’m flying over you.”

*The artist, Diane Luckey, sadly passed away in 2022.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024


London electronic artist Burial has been making music for almost 20 years now, and his particular style and blend of ambient electronica, dubstep, and more have been keeping me entranced the whole time.  New single "Phoneglow" is out this August, a second split 12" release with fellow electronic artist Kode9.  Listen to the Burial track below and get the record here from Hyperdub.

Slow Salvation

And here's an airy and dreamy new single from cross-country dreampop duo Slow Salvation.  "Call a Friend" plays like a hazy memory slowly fading away.  Check it out below and download it here from Velvet Blue Music.


Here's a new track from UK duo Deary that really scratches all those '90s shoegaze and dreampop itches i seem to have eternally.  Check out "The Moth" below and download it here from Sonic Cathedral.

Daily Jam - Oh My Love

This column was originally published in 2018.

Does 2011 feel like an absurdly long time ago to anyone else out there? It’s just been seven years, but it feels like a mini-eternity, a faded recollection of a time that doesn’t really seem like it ever existed in the first place. Maybe it’s the increasing speed at which the news cycle runs these days, the barrage of information, soundbites, and images parading before our senses like a tape in fast forward. Or it’s the encroaching layer of dread that covers everything like a thick slime, some horrible inevitable conclusion looming just beyond the horizon. Or it’s just the mess of modern times. Everything blurs. Everything runs together. It’s too fast. It’s too loud. It’s sensory overload. Time is broken.

It could just be me though, 2011-12 being that last stretch of existence for me before fatherhood began, a truly course altering kind of event that has left me a perpetual zombie of sorts ever since, making the past feel far away and surreal.

2011 was a lifetime ago, is what I’m getting at here.

And off the top of my head, there’s only a handful of things I can really remember from back then (what the hell was I doing with my time?), like visiting an old friend in Seattle, or getting way, way too drunk during a day party at SXSW. And I remember the movie Drive. I remember seeing Drive and how absolutely taken I was with every aspect of the film, from the narrative to the direction to the action, the costumes to the sound design to the magnetic presence of Ryan Gosling, and on and on. And the music. Especially the music. I was borderline obsessed with the film’s soundtrack, Cliff Martinez’s pulsing score along with selected synth pop songs from the likes of Kavinsky, Chromatics, and more working their way into all of the nooks and crannies of my subconsciousness, and eventually spreading throughout the proverbial echelons of pop culture and beyond as well. In some ways it felt like a shift or movement, and both the movie’s and the soundtrack’s influence still reverberates.

And holy cow did I fall for the Riz Ortolani track used in the film and the trailer. Lifted from a slightly notorious, early ‘70s Italian exploitation film called Addio Zio Tom, Ortolani’s stunning “Oh My Love,” featuring beautiful vocals from Katyna Ranieri, provided an overtly dramatic sheen to Nicolas Winding Refn’s hip and stylized feature. It added oomph to a movie that was already swimming in oomph, and landed on oh so many playlists of mine. Something about those powerful strings touch deep within my heart, making me long for…something.

I couldn’t tell you what that something is. But it sure feels like it was so long ago.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Molly Nilsson

Berlin-based synth pop artist Molly Nilsson has a new album coming our way later this summer, and her first with cover art breaking away from the minimalist black and white art she usually uses.  Check out new tune "Excalibur" below and pre-order the upcoming "Un-American Activities" LP here from Night School.

Daily Jam - Kimmi in a Rice Field

I wish I was one of those people that remembered their dreams. My wife is one. My oldest son appears to be too. But I’m just not. I’ll have a vague recollection of thoughts upon waking in the morning, flashes of things that feel more like impressions rather than memories, but then they fade away, vanished from my head often before my feet even hit the floor. And to be honest, it makes me feel a little left out.

I guess I’ll have to settle for faux dreamlike states as created from airy and hazy pop music.

Mr Twin Sister (formerly known as just Twin Sister which admittedly I liked better) provided just such a tune with the gorgeous and dreamy “Kimmi in a Rice Field” from their 2011 album In Heaven. A glowing, sweeping combination of dreampop and synth pop, the song floats about like a lonesome ghost, a phantasmal image caught in your periphery, following you from moment to moment, and moving through an endless desert, the storm clouds gathering on the horizon threatening to break. There’s a kind of unreality to the whole thing, accentuated by the song’s ghost story lyrics, those breathing synths, and a haunting melody that just whisks your consciousness away.

A world askew, these are the soundtracks to my pretend dreams.

Listen below, our Daily Jam.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Cold Cave

2024 has seen LA darkwave duo Cold Cave dropping new singles all over the place.  The latest is the very New Order-ish "Hourglass."  It's wonderful.  Listen below and download it here from Heartworm Press.

Daily Jam - Five Seconds

This column was originally posted in 2018, back when my youngest son was two years old.

I’m tired.

There seems to be an almost nightly moment of dread when I hear some shifting around on the baby monitor, maybe a sigh or a whine, a meek little cry for Mama or Dada, or a loud thump as a toddler escapes the confines of his crib, a growing wail as he realizes he can’t get his door open. And then my wife and I attempt to wait each other out, to see who will get up and out of the comfort of our sheets and blankets to soothe the little one back to bed.

Sometimes I win the battle, and sometimes I don’t.

So I rock my son back to sleep, and set him back in his bed, and then I wait him out, counting to 100 in my head to make sure he’s actually sleeping and not going to dart up hollering again when I’m halfway down the stairs.

Sometimes I win the battle, and sometimes I don’t.

And then my alarm goes off at 5:30AM, and I hate everything about this world. With two sons, I’ve been doing this dance in some capacity or another for over 5 years now. I’m pretty sure that there will never be another day when I’m not tired, when I’m not exhausted, and when I’m not grumpy because of it all.

Current events and the media and technology only make it worse. I’m swimming in a sea of sleepless delirium and bad news alerts.

But hey, at least there’s pop music, right?

Twin Shadow’s 2012 romantic gem “Five Seconds” is one of those songs that can make everything subside, if even just for 4 minutes or so. This modern homage to new wave and synth pop snaps and swings with hooks and groove aplenty, feeling timeless upon first listen, a gooey, earwormy, nostalgic buzz. It’s a perfect pop song. The best kind of bubblegum. And it makes me (briefly) forget how tired I am.

Maybe the boy will sleep tonight.

Sunday, June 16, 2024


I'm still a novice when it comes to the musical genre of vaporwave, but sometimes the heart wants what it wants.  The sound is something akin to taking those early chillwave records from the late '00s and distilling them down to just warbled synths and vibes.  There are hints of mall music, muzak, library sounds, yacht rock, commercials, and bits of half-remembered sounds that all play together in some kind of fever dream.  Australian artist Tupperwave serves that up in spades on his latest album "Grocery Store Sunset."  The album dropped earlier this year but is now available on vinyl.  Get it here from My Pet Flamingo and listen to "My Lucky Stars" below.

Daily Jam - Elenore

Coincidentally enough, a couple of days after I decided to write about “Elenore” for this week’s column, my brother posted to Facebook that “The Turtles are criminally underrated.” He’s not wrong.

Originally starting as a surf rock band in California in the mid ‘60s before moving on to folk, rock, and psych pop, The Turtles were fronted by dual vocalists Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan. The group initially caught the public’s attention with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe,” and then scored a huge hit in 1967 with their signature pop song “Happy Together.” In 1968, they began to get a little more creative, crafting the concept album The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, in which they took on the personae of 11 different bands playing in different styles with jokes and puns layered throughout the record. Mock group names included the likes of The Fabulous Dawgs, The Atomic Enchilada, and Chief Kamanawanalea and His Royal Macadamia Nuts, but the biggest hit from the album came from Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim & Al with the poppy instant earworm “Elenore.”

The song is pretty representative of the kind of safe pop rock coming out at the time, but I’ve long been a devotee ever since hearing it years and years ago. And The Turtles in general too. There is just something about the lovely, soaring harmonies of Volman and Kaylan, whom you may also know as Flo & Eddie, that eternally comforts my eardrums and my soul, whether it be with The Turtles, or solo, or their session work with bands like T. Rex. It feels like a kind of zest for life, maybe a little bubblegummy at times, but a sound with great, exuberant elan nonetheless.

And I’ve been stuck in the doom and gloom lately, so I’m going to take this short reprieve. And you should too.

Listen below.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Julie Christmas

Here's a cool mix of alt-rock and metal from Brooklyn artist Julie Christmas.  "End of the World" feels like something the cool chicks would have listened to that would have knocked me on my back in the '90s.  It rips.  Check it out below and order the "Ridiculous and Full of Blood" LP here from Red Crk.

Daily Jam - What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

This column was originally published in 2018, and it's tone is just as apt today.  Apparently it doesn't matter who is in office if the whole fucking system is shit.

Everyday this waking nightmare continues anew.

Everyday this horror show gets worse and worse.

Everyday my fear of what this country and this world may have in store for my sons grows and grows.

Everyday is an exercise in managing impending panic attacks.

Every. God. Damn. Day.

And so I try to do what little I can, donating what money I can spare to charitable or righteous causes here or there, amplifying the sounds of protest, and giving the proverbial finger to the awful powers that be. And in the little breaks between panic and alarm, I write blurbs about pop music, escapist fare with a smattering of nostalgia and humor.

I don’t know what else to do. So, until we take to the streets to burn this whole thing to the ground, I guess I’ll just keep on writing.

I remember when I was young, I used to get horrible social anxiety (of which I never spoke about to anyone) that often led to many a night or weekend spent home by myself. It was probably at its worst when I was in junior high school. I was shy and quiet and admittedly weird, and it was just so much easier to hang back, to remain disconnected. But then somewhere along the line when I got to high school, I opened up a little bit. I lifted my head. I made more friends. I went out. And most importantly, I tried. I swallowed my panic and I tried. And I was so much better for it.

So now, I need to make myself do the same thing. And so do you. We need to control our panic and we need to try. We need to get out there. We need to protest. We need to organize. We need to scream and shout. We need to disrupt. We need to burn this whole thing to the ground.

Anyway, here’s “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” by R.E.M.

Friday, June 14, 2024


Here's some weird new music from REVBJELDE.  "Third on a Wire" is a little bit library, a little bit jazz, a little bit electronic, a little bit funk, and a whole lot of strange.  Check it out below and pre-order the upcoming "Nonverbal Cues" EP here from Buried Treasure.

Friday Horror Trailer - Messiah of Evil

Daily Jam - Drawer

In the summer of 1997 after I graduated from high school, I delivered pizzas for Pizza Hut. It wasn’t a great job, but it really wasn’t that bad of one either, as it gave me plenty of time to drive around town (the cultural mecca that is Midland, Texas) and listen to music. I’d check into the back, fold some pizza boxes for a few minutes, gather a handful of deliveries, and then tear off into the evening with the stereo blaring. And I’d deliver pizzas across the sprawl of the dusty old berg, to a junior high slumber party in a big house in the wealthy area of town, or to a couple of stoners in a dilapidated apartment, or to a nice family in a small, quaint home, or to high school kids, single moms, divorcees, summer ball little league teams, businessmen, engineers, art teachers, and sad old drunks. Once, I delivered a pizza to a Mexican roustabout living in a house on the outskirts of town where the city ends and there’s nothing but farms, ranchland, and desert for as far as the eye can see. He invited me in for a beer. I accepted. And then back on the road again, shuffling through my CD case for the evening’s next audio accompaniment.

My selections generally consisted of the usual ‘90s fare, alt-rock and Britpop and industrial noise, metal and hip-hop and first wave throwbacks (it was very, very tempting to rhyme something there). One of the songs that played in heavy rotation for me at the time was the alt-rock/power pop jam “Drawer” from the California band Summercamp, an underappreciated little gem that will forever be one of those little time capsule songs for me. Memory in stereo.

I wonder whatever happened to that roustabout.

Thursday, June 13, 2024


Idaho-based artist Harvestman makes a dark and gloomy mix of folk, drone, synth, and psych music, the ritualistic tones continuing on upcoming new album "Triptych: Part Two."  Check out "Damascus" below and pre-order the record here from Neurot Recordings.

Daily Jam - Apocalypse

There was that moment at the end of the ‘90s when it seemed that despite their breakup, the three members of The Fugees were still set up to take over the whole damn world. Lauryn Hill released a commercially successful and critically adored era-defining album, Pras rode the success of his Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton sampling smash hit, and Wyclef Jean debuted strongly with his eclectic hit album The Carnival, the record on which today’s song, “Apocalypse” appeared. But for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. Instead, they all just kind of faded away, fuzzy sounds and images from another time long, long ago.

But that’s not what this entry is about.

Rather, here’s a short anecdote of no consequence from my freshman year of college back when Wyclef was all over the place.

That first year of school at The University of Texas, I lived on the third floor of the Moore-Hill dormitory located on the southern end of the campus along 21st Street. It was a pretty solid location, close enough to the bulk of my classes, next door to the college radio station, a short walk east to the football stadium, and just a quick jaunt west to the main drag on Guadalupe Street where at the time there existed a string of different record stores. I walked the drag probably once a week or more to crate dig for music, spending time in between classes or late afternoons scouring for audio treasures.

One day, early in the fall semester when it’s still appallingly muggy and hot in Central Texas, I left the dorm to venture out towards my favorite record shop, Sound Exchange (RIP), home of Daniel Johnston's "Hi! How Are You" mural. As I walked down 21st, something struck me in the back of the head. I looked over, and a car passed by, its occupant in the passenger side leering out the window at me and shouting, “Booyah!” before speeding away, leaving me in my befuddlement. After the vehicle drove away, I glanced at the ground and realized that what had hit me in the back of the head was a banana. It was a strange incident, but I shrugged it off and went on my way.

And that would have been the end of it, if not for what happened two weeks later. As I was sitting outside the dorm with my roommate smoking cigarettes on the steps, we witnessed the same thing happen to some other poor bastard. Same car. A banana. Booyah.

Anyway, I guess if you’re ever visiting UT in Austin, watch out for dickheads throwing bananas. “Apocalypse” ladies and gentlemen.