It’s pretty safe to say that the 90’s were one of the best decades for music in the last century. It’s the decade that just won’t die. From the endlessstream of reunion tours to the pop culture references in movies and television, the hits just keep on coming. Need more proof? I’ve got two words for you – cassette revival. I don’t know anyone who lived through it the first time that longs for the days of tangled tapes jamming matchbooks into the car stereo, so it must be the music that draws everyone back.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all perfect. There were plenty of crimes committed against our auditory wills. Those dreadful line dance songs that your aunt always requested at weddings. Nu-Metal. Auto-Tune. That horrendous Barbie song – a turd polished so brightly it could have blinded a mole from space. But there was a period of time in the early part of the decade where the pop confections of the day sat awkwardly on major radio playlists right along side some wonderful, fuzzy guitar drenched bliss, dished out by the great unwashed, proudly bashing away in their Chuck Taylors and flannel shirts. Can you imagine The Breeder’s “Cannonball” airing on top 40 radio stations today? I certainly cannot.
As we drift further and further away from this unusual time, it’s only normal that musicians and fans alike begin to look back on it fondly and revisit these sounds. But it’s not the kids (or rather than generalize, I should say it’s not MOST of the kids. As you were, Rock N’ Roll Hi Fives). Things have changed and there’s no going back. While my neighbors had to deal with the pounding of drums and squealing guitar amps in the garage, I live in relative peace and quiet in modern suburbia. Still, tranquil and utterly boring peace and quiet. Kids don’t want to “play guitar” any more; they want to “play” guitar.
I know, I sound like some crusty old codger complaining about “these kids today”. Excuse me while I chase a few of them off my lawn.
Where was I? Right, the 90’s…
DOLLAR STORE RIOT – “WHAT’S IT TO YOU?”
SINGLE REVIEW: Luckily, all is not lost. There are still plenty of musicians like the affable and capable Dollar Store Riot, who have found that making music purely for the joy of it can be its own reward. Their new single “What’s It To You?” attacks with the familiar abandon of those long lost gems of the Clinton presidency. Thea Kearney’s direct and forceful vocal delivery echoes Joan Jett at times (in all the best ways) and there’s a clear hint of Sleepyhead in the songwriting and delivery. Brian Boehm, Paul Haley and Will Kramer propel the song forward with pleasing abandaon. It hits like a late summer wave, pushing you back on your knees a bit until you can steady yourself and sway in its swirling flow – until another time shift hits like the breaker you didn’t see coming.
Just like it’s loud and proud retro sound, the video shot at Maplewood’s Woodland Hall immediately recalls late nights on the couch waiting for 120 minutes to start. Shot as a live performance with a bit of comic relief added, it’s a reminder that you can be serious without taking yourself too seriously.
Tonight on Friday the fucking 13th, 2015 at Asbury Park Yaht Club, New York’s indie rock band Dead Stars rock the jersey shore with the sneakergazing and well groomed Overlake.
ALBUM REVIEW: Dead Stars – Slumber
Here is a cassette/digital release that is equal parts malt liquor guitar distortion grind alla J-Mascis and melodic rock vocals akin to jets to brazil. So as far as classic rock fans go you could throw in Dave Grohl there as an audible influence too by his long hairs but without the idiocratic persona. Maybe I also like it because it’s a strong 90’s nod to his upstate band called Tugboat Annie or even teenage fanclub. Many good reasons but this record stands on it’s own and is the good shit so you should support them on bandcamp.
Dead Stars ‘Someone Else’ Old Flame Records
OK,enough of my bullshit. Give this some love so your mom can see what you are doing facebook today
VIDEOS OF THE DAY: From the guys in Mache have a web series called cabin tapes with band and singer song writer performances by Victoria Reed, Christopher Watson, Wil Farr (Hurrah A Bolt Of Light) and Sarah Aili. All good stuff. I’m out of steam or I would write more about this but you should know the artists are all really talented and I’m happy they shared this project with RS. Enjoy, sit-back and chill, spark a joint and pass it around.
Chris Watson – “Something about the dark that gives you light”
Fuck music. Fuck writing. Fuck caring. Fuck this shit. There I feel better.
The last record I purchased recently was the new Publicist UK album and it really is a fine piece of vinyl. Also I noticed a post by @michaelazerrad that Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt’s is making a site/app called www.8stem.com that allows everyone to remix music. This might be the future and they are seeking beta-testers. Since I am a super geek at heart I am now awaiting my access info to be able to peer into the future for at least a minute. It’s a fleeting effort but I’m gonna try.
I recently I let my eMusic credit card lapse after 15 years supporting them and not really feeling inspired to re-up due to some austerity like cut-backs (about $2,100 in downloads at least) that mostly went to labels and bands. I love some of the varied music I have discovered there old and new but a lot of new music is not very inspired. Has the same old non melody, canned sounds and devoid of hooks. It’s a lot of work to make original music – a constant complaint around here. Don’t just publish and release the first song you write. The labor part is gone. Although I am all for inspired song making like Daniel Johnston he is anomaly. Which was/is one of the review stalker number one missions still I think is to help point out and find these nuggets.
1) Listen and bubble up the good stuff
2) Talk about it nicely except for a couple instances like when we let a crappy review of Vomitface spatter on our pages. Can’t apologize to those guys enough. Even though I try to be diplomatic. Sometimes we fail even when we think something is derivative even if it has heart then it’s good. It’s a hard balance because everytime my random players kicks on one of their songs. I’m like this – fuck! Their new one rocks weird and bendy C tuned to make your stomach rumble, its jacked as if Mike Patten puked in his workout cloths wrangling out the beast of melody. You are welcome.
3) Point out music that has passion, artful, weird and or political.
4) Highlight the killer stuff in the nj music scene in particular. Which is was/is a huge aspirational task unto itself. There is so much to cover and if you feel you want to write just let me know. Give me a reason to believe again. I rarely get takers and I think it’s because it’s a “ME” generation thing and I give huge kudos to James at CoolDad Music for digging in so well and caring about so many musicians.
5) If it’s a hit and we hear it. We feature when bandwith allows. Which brings me to my last point. I have not had a lot of time. Life has been a roller coaster of my own design. So give me a reason to believe and it shall be. Post your best song that presents your band in the comments. Let’s see what others think go take a chance and click a link. I ignore about 95% of the emails i get because it’s just email nightmare. Don’t be offended. Send me a CD or piece of vinyl and let me know in the subject line. Getting back to touching and feeling your art and music in my hands is something I will appreciate and it will help you stand out in giant fucking fat glut of mediocre.
VIDEOS: First-up is a new video from Kurt Vile Directed by Daniel Henry via Matador Records on his coming album b’lieve i’m goin down”. This long hair really reminds me of my old friend Dizzy from Nude Swirl.
KURT VILE – “PRETTY PIMPING”
KITTY FINER – GIRLS IN THE GARAGE
Please meet Kitty Finer, who is the daughter of Jem Finer, founding member of The Pogues. This video ‘Girls in the Garage’ was directed by The Raincoat’s Gina Birch from Kitty’s EP Lobby Star. This tune has a nice Ethiopian feel in the beat and mariachi brass with a bunch of ladies getting jiggy in jumpers in a garage. The lead track on the EP is classic alt rock and really good song writing if you dig the feelies and solo Joe Strummer you will like her guitar and banjo jangle. Same campfire style of song writing and story telling. Follow her on TwitterBandcamp
Introducing multi-instrumentalist Ray Goren talking about his new EP ‘Songs For You’ – out 8/21 via Jay Vee Records and produced by the Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Jordan who does a nice introduction of this new blues guy. Did we mention he is only 15 years old and has already performed with B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bonnie Raitt? No ok. He’s smooth man.
PODCASTS: Little Records archives the best of ’80s underground rock and the early days of ’90s indie rock into exceptionally thoughtful and curated playlists that it’s our go-to listening. I almost wish they would chat in-between sets but they just jam one great song after another relentlessly for the shear love of spinning great music. Half the tunes I admit I never heard until them because honestly in the late 70’s 80’s 90’s there was just too much great original music to keep up with it and is a full time job to listen. Thankfully these Baltimore based guys have done this job and only taken them 30+ years to create this ongoing themed archive that deep dives into a bunch of shows about the different music scene that offered so much american culture with all sorts of fun sets. Can’t recommend enough for a proper music lesson in what today’s bands are doing completely fucking wrong so just sign-up to their mixcloud stream right now. Don’t question my authority in this matter they take great care each and every show. Plus not to mention my lazy ass does not to get up and visit the stax. I just click play and they are already two steps ahead of me. Enjoy this service.
Podcast 045. Sub Pop Singles Club
One of the more genius moves for Sub Pop in its early days was the creation of the Sub Pop Singles Club, in which subscribers received a new, limited-edition seven-inch once a month via the postal service. READ ON AND LISTEN.
Totally like this so your mom see’s what good taste you have in music.
TODAY: Bandcamp HQ announced that they will be rolling out an important transactional change and improvements to the way they collect money from music fans and will be adding payment options. Rather than user payments for digital transactions going from the fan directly to the Bandcamp account holder the payments will be processed by them internally first and then paid out to the account within 24 hours, instead of instantly like they currently are in real time, with the added bummer of a caveat that higher-value transactions may take a bit longer to arrive. So looks like Bandcamp will be playing with your money and making interest with these “improvements” in order to become a music bank. They claim the revenue share will not be changing, which is one of the upsides and users will continue to receive payments via the only existing option which is users/musician PayPal account. Although I personally would prefer they give the option to pay my bank directly if possible and cut out Paypal all together and maybe that is the longer term goal for bigger labels and business minded folks because all adds up if you consider that music fans have paid artist $115 million, and 3.2 million in the last 30 days alone!
Music fans have paid artists $115 million, and $3.2 million in the last 30 days alone!
Bandcamp says they are taking over the processing and payout for digital transactions in order to lay the groundwork for several new and exciting upcoming improvements which may include:
Accepting more payment options (bigger bank issues involve new transaction fees)
Offering of gift cards (new transaction fees to consider and production costs)
The streamlining the checkout flow (especially when purchasing items from multiple artists e.g. different user paypal accounts)
What would really be transformational in their roadmap is if they could monetize their streaming and all of the embedded music players with a fairer payout for independent artists. If independent services like mixcloud did shared monetization it could be a game changer like YouTube figured out however soundcloud may be poised to do this better. The race is on.
THE MONEY GO ROUND – VELVET SKY
ENJOY THE LATEST FROM THE LITTLE RECORDS MUSIC PODCAST – EPISODE #86 GIMME INDIE ROCK!
ALBUM REVIEWS: OK meet Maurice O’Connor who is originally from Dublin, Ireland and his project Sample Answer. I was prepared to not like this but it grew on me quickly. Here’s a track from his Good Boy EP. Folkish yes but more americana urban beats that make this a fresh take on where hip hop should be. More than likely a hybrid of what is going on in music from a worldly perspective in my humble opinion. The vocals are sincere and not somebody who you are going to find pretending to be some giant pop-start on America’s Got Talent any time soon. Here’s to hoping he puts a good band together and we get a chance to check these jams live. I like the slide guitars on “proud” reminds me of the Afghan Whigs and I wonder if he ever heard of them? These tunes have soul man.
VIDEOS: To make up for the months of a questionable hiatus from posting music and writing about I’m just going to post the newest random shit I have received has some merit besides the obvious half of a new wrens song we posted earlier today. Here is a Beck remix of looser and a original with some def rap skillz that I could never match. This stuff is raw and probably sounds great on cassette from Boston, Mass. Check em out Twitter | Web
BECK – LOOSER REMIX BY RE-SURCH
Re-Surch – Nigga Nigga ft. Napoleon Velasquez, $.A.K
He says the word so many times in this it looses it meaning but very old school none the less and I suppose the whole point of the chorus. The imagery in this video is NSFW or small children but may be a good conversation piece around the confederate flag and why it’s fucked up that so many states were still flying it about their capitals.
Give this a like on FB so your mom see’s this please.