Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly present to you part 2 of 2…..
I have updated the Spotify playlist from Part I to include songs from each of the bands below…..see below it is now COMPLETE.
I am now stuffed, sun-burned and enlightened, hence I shall deep dive back into the musical past…but from what I heard with some early musical releases by the likes of Buffalo Tom (GODS), Superchunk, Brian Fallon, Mudhoney, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Royal They, among others, sounding like 2018 is going to be a kick butt musical year!
Will find you at the tail end…
17. Iron Chic – You Can’t Stay Here- I accidentally stumbled upon this band via Spotify following a Gaslight Anthem playlist with their “hit” “Cutesy Monster” while shopping at a Wegmans in a far away, foreign NJ town while waiting out a birthday party my son was attending. The Menzinger’s nuttier first cousin from Long Island, NY, this punk -n- roll band makes a surprising return after some testing personal challenges with this new release. I can’t get enough of the song “You Can’t Stay Safe.”
18. Matthew Ryan – Hustle Up Starlings – a solid release from this Pennsylvania bred veteran whom I first heard sharing the same stage at a Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes) acoustic show. While it doesn’t kick me as square in the groin like 2014’s Boxers, a lot of ground is made up with songs like “(I Just Died) Like an Aviator.” and the beautifully chilling “Maybe, I’ll Just Disappear”.
19. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon? –/Liam Gallagher – As You Were –TheGallagher brothers automatically make my list for numerous reason- OASIS, their working class bravado, their worship for Man City, etc. The usual warring siblings apparently have buried the hatchet (though I strongly suspect it is part of a larger conspiracy), but you would never guess it from listening to younger Liam’s debut solo release, who clearly has/had a serious bones to pick with his older brother. While the British Press is eating it up, Paul Weller (legendary front man for the Jam) and I agree the music it is just more Beady Eye (dressed in a shorter skirt), Liam’s first post-Oasis effort that had inspirations for the stars but never quite made it out of the stratosphere to crash and burn. Songs like “For What It’s Worth” and “Greedy Soul” aren’t too shabby. On the other hand, after two albums of Oasis-tinged guitar rock, Noel Gallagher decides to explore some of his other musical interest and have fun with this latest offering. “Holy Mountain”, “Black and White Sunshine” and “Dead In the Water” are some of the songs I gravitate towards. Ultimately, nothing mind-blowing from either brother which gives further proof for them to cut the shit, re-unite Oasis and conquer the universe.
20. The 65s – Wolves And Men – This 2 song EP from this Lyndhurst, NJ band continues to proves they are veterans in playing rock music properly since 2009 – that is, heavy, loud and raw. I really dig the song “As My Body Numbs.”
22. Battery – For the Rejected by the Rejected – After a 20 year hiatus, this nation’s capital “youth crew” who I have seen live many times return with more straight ahead blazing hardcore with some gut-chuckling song titles (“Has Been”, “Go Back to the Gym”). Another great gym workout motivator.
24. Morrissey-Low In High School –Similar to 2014’s World Peace Is None of Your Business, Moz’s latest release wasn’t designed to win over a huge legion of new fans and quite possibly an (deliberate?) effort to shave off a couple of layers of old. Rather, it is for us die-hard fans that will blindly defend him to death with one eye while rolling the other at his ongoing antics. But dig deep and you find some gems, like the opening track, “My Love, I’d Do Anything for You”, along “I Wish you Lonely” and “Jacky’s Only Happy When She is Up On the Stage.” More importantly, Morrissey remains what we all love about him – brutally honest, beautifully brilliant,Wildeanly witty and at times, annoyingly infuriating. It is unfortunate that many critics allow their own biases get in the way, frustrated that they can’t pigeonhole the Mancunian God into a neatly social/political package with a bow, hence taking swipes at his art.
25. French Postcard –Misc. –another SOMA NJ band turning heads with kick-ass music with their heavy dream-swirl, fuzz-gaze, psych-rock approach to their art, resulting in many fine tunes. (Bandcamp only: https://frenchpostcard.bandcamp.com/).
26. Quicksand – Interiors – Despite the original band lineup, not sure what makes this a “new album” from these NYHC post-hardcore kings since the music lost a lot of that relied upon “groove” found perfectly on 1990’s S/T, 1993’s Slip and 1995’s Manic Compression. Front-man Walter Schreifels is singing more like he is in Rivals Schools or Walking Concert and is still hooked on his guitar effect pedals he discovered in Dead Heavens. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great record and one of 2017’s best releases, just not very Quicksand, IMHO, and if someone played it for me with out disclosing the band, I would immediately recognize Walter’ vocals for just another one of many of his projects. If you approach Interiors album like, let’s say the latest Star Wars film, it is definitely a decent, fun release, just don’t ask too many questions.
27. Nihiloceros — S/T- from the ashes of the fab Samantha (RIP) comes Brooklyn’s finest moment in “Trash Pop.” Their debut 5 song EP showcases heavy rocking, pumping, fun songs that will put a shake in your rump and a pep in your promenading. Front man Mike Borchardt and Co. sounds like they are having a blast and the last laugh at the same time.
28. The National – Sleep Well Beast – Like Radiohead, I consider The National a “mood band”, an interesting phenomena where 1.) no other music is working, 2.) hear a “mood band” 3.)have an epiphany that it was the”mood band” you were craving but would have never figured it out unless you heard them. Interestingly, this baby steps, better than expected release from this Ohio born band has many Kid A/Amnesiac noise flirtations scattered throughout, with songs like, “Turtleneck” and “No One Else Will Be There” and “Day I Die” being some of the many standouts with the latter tune easily fitting nicely on 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me.
29. Plaid Dracula – Plaid Sabbath – ThisBrooklyn, NY fuzz drenched glam rock trio are taken no prisoners with their this 3 song EP release. Their song “Bitch Cannon III” is worth the price of admission alone. If still too much, just steal it….it’s worth the jail time….
30. Dead Stars – Perfect Patterns – The Brooklyn, NY trio continue their straight forward, 12 song barrage of fuzzed out pop that doesn’t miss a note from last years Bright Colors. Songs like “Precious Things” and “Pink Clouds” will have your foot tapping and head bobbing.
31. Husker Du -Savage Young Du – a huge 4 LP/3 CDs release (with massive amounts of photos, a hardcover book, “flyerography” and even reported matching packing tape) of remastered, original board tapes, demos, and session masters before the St. Paul (you heard me right) trio landed on the infamous SST Records. Too many good songs to choose from, so be my guess…
32 . Atom Driver -Slack Jaw – For fans of the West Coast, Rocket From the Crypt/Night Marchers (hey Jay!),/Drive Like Jehu thingy, this New Brunswick, NJ super-group trio banded in 2016 and already offering you this ball-crushing 5 song EP of post-punk mayhem that knocks the wind out of you and have you begging for more. Don’t believe me…try songs like “Slack Jaw” and “Hate Me Now.” And if that aint enough, check out their other ass-whupping 2017 released EP, In The West, on Bandcamp:(https://atomdriver.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-west).
Ok…ready for it….and yes, I saved for last on purpose.
33. U2 – Songs of Experience –yeah no shit, I can’t even believe it made the list either but after multiple listens, something finally clicked in the middle of a 10 mile run, which reminded of similar click with the same said band 30+ years ago, when I openly despised them at Red Rocks and adored them by Live Aid 85, which made me realize that my perspective may have been stubbornly a tad off after so much recent bouts of disappointment. Yes, ridiculously over-produced, but if you can manage to look beyond the shimmering packaging, the borderline electronic drums that I can’t even believe Larry Mullen Jr. allowed to be released, the obvious band boardroom scheming with their marketing team and attorneys close by, and finally the Rolling Stone Magazine $Blind$ Protectionism (they have payroll to meet, you know), songs like “Get Out of Your Own Way” into “American Soul”, “The Showman” and “Red Flag Day” are decent and will fit in nicely with their 35 year backlog. Not sure how much I will listen to this latest offering, but I can’t honestly keep ripping on a band when I sometimes have two delay pedals on my pedal board, nor can I play favorites with the kids and turn a blind eye to adore the vain antics of Stephen Patrick while pretending to tsk tskPaul for doing the same. Besides, their anthem “With Or Without You” is etched into the bottom of my soul as it was on the car radio 30 years ago when I first learned of the eventual inevitable passing of my mom, marking the first and only time I ever cried about it and still makes me think of that moment every time I’ve heard it since. And being an 1/2 Mick, it is definitely an Irish thang….
At least maybe I can ween my boys off Coldplay with this offering…who knows….
Musically speaking, my head (and ears) can almost always be found back, oh, somewhere between 1977 and 1995.
But there will be times I am forced to surface into the present to catch some light and feed and in the process and some effort, stumble across some pretty awesome new music.
OK, fine, most of of my list consists of bands, or members that have been in other bands that have been around since 1977 or shortly thereafter….any further questions will require me to lawyer up.
I am sure I overlooked some bands…all I can say is whoops! I shudder over the thought of all the awesome music we fail to never hear or overlook in our short, brutish lives.
In no special order, I humbly present what caught my musical attention in 2017…Part 1 of (2)….and only 10 days into the new year, a big improvement from years past….
I also added a Spotify Playlist showcasing songs from each of the bands (all the way down…). I will update the playlist when part II of this series is released….
Enjoy like i know you will!
1. Dead Heavens- Whatever Witch You Are – Backed by a super group of musicians (Guitarist Paul Kostabi (White Zombie), Bassist Nathan Aguilar (Cults) and Drew Thomas (Bold, New Rising Sons, Into Another), NYHC legend Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Youth of Today, Rival Schools, Walking Concert, World’s Fastest Car, etc), discovers guitar effect pedals and gets on his 70’s psych garage rock on with this one of many fun projects. I caught an intimate, live show @ Garwood NJ’s Crossroads back in June and they blew everyone away! If you are having a “smoke on the water” nostalgia, check out their first full release.
2. Rancid – Trouble Maker –This Bay Area band has always been a hit or miss with me with nothing ever coming close to 1994’s Let’s Go and especially 1995’s And Out Comes the Wolves, but their latest release knocks it out of the punk rock park and restores my faith.
3. Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over (25th Anniversary)- although not my “go to” record, this nevertheless fantastic album put my power pop fuzz rock Gods on the map back in 1992. There is an equally fantastic 1992 University of London live set from included as an added bonus capturing the Boston trio’s golden age.
4. The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (Deluxe Addition)–my Mancunian Gods re-release a phenomenal album that NME claims is the top album release ever, packaged with a number of unreleased demos and live tracks that will keep the die-hards (like me) relishing.
5. The Brixton Riot – Close Counts – NJ power pop garage heroes return with a phenomenal release on constant spin in my life. Songs “Caroline”, “Maybe Tomorrow” and “Talk About Nothing” are just a few of the many standouts. Now I can take a break from listening (and requesting at shows) to “Pinwheel” off of 2012’s Palace Amusements….wait, what am I saying…..
6. Overlake – Fall – The NJ shoe-gaze trio powerhouse return with another solid release off the residual highs of 2014’s Sighs. “You Don’t Know Everything” and “Winter Is Why” simply slay it.
7. DC and the Desperados -Self Titled– The next big SOMA NJ sensation releases an ass-thumping, debut recording. With a Stones meets the Stone Roses/Bez-dancing, garage vibe (does that make sense?), songs like “JRZ PLTS” “Not Falling” and “Talking Shit” will keep your yoga-toned rump shaking.
8. The Menzingers – After the Party- Philly via Scranton, PA-based melodic punk and roll that I can’t get enough of. “Midwestern States” (one of my favorite songs of the year) and “Your Wild Heart”, “Black Mass”, “Lookers” are just some of the many gems found here.
9. TheForevers –Cotton Thrones –members of Rochester, NY’s power pop beauty Muler continues the loveliness with this latest head-turner of a project. Tunes like “Plum” and “Bloody Nose” are rocking.
10. Bloodclot- Up In Arms –NYHC legendary front man John Joseph’s and best release since the monumental Cro-Mags 1986 self-title released, offering 12 songs of pure metallic-hardcore punk that will heavily assist in any serious gym workout. Backed by another super group consisting of past members of Danzig, Queen of the Stone Age, Warzone, Glen Campbell, Agnostic Front and Motorhead, this band and album will seriously give you a serious case of ass whup.
11. The Replacements – For Sale –Twenty nine (29) live songs from a 1986 Maxwell’s (Hoboken NJ) set from the most famous Minneapolis quartet ever with Bobby (RIP) on guitar? Do I need to say more?
12. Cigarettes After Sex -self-titled – turned onto this group by a Chicago-based co-worker, this Brooklyn, NY band offers swirly, reverby low-fi ambient pop. Think a male vocal version of Mazzy Star. Perfect music to chill too.
13. Bash & Pop – Anything Could Happen – after a 24 year hiatus, the ‘Mats (in)famous bass player, Tommy Stinson returns with his kick ass bar band project.
14. The Jesus and Mary Chain-Damage & Joy – not as good as their 1985 self-titled release, 1987’s April Skies or 1989’s Automatic (all drum machines aside), but marks a decent return for the fuzz-drenched Reid brothers with songs blending in seamlessly with the classics.
15. Allied Chemical-Swordfish Soup –SOMA NJ rockers release a solid debut effort of eleven (11) witty, fuzz-pop gems a la Pixies. I can listen to songs “Sun-Filled Living Rooms” and the beautifully trombone-laced “Joey’s Place” on repeat for eternity.
16. Kite Fight –self titled-Three Buffalo, NY bred ladsform aPhilly, PA based band and take cues from the DC Dischord Records post-punk sound and Drive Like Jehu and tweak it into their own, refreshing formula with a two guitar, one drum set and no bass secret recipe. “Try Deny” is just one of my favorites off their debut 5 song EP release.
It was really difficult to not be completely biased when Greg Hanson from King Pizza records provided me the pre-release to the new The Royal They release, Foreign Being. When I heard their first release, I considered it one of the best records I had heard in a very long time. I also would consider it one of the top 3 all-time greatest records released with no bass player. So, difficult as it was, I had to put aside my expectations that I was going to be blown away yet again and give it a fair and critical listen. With that said…..
Let’s get this out of the way. The Royal They’s release, Foreign Being, is brilliant! There’s so much to unpack in this eleven-song release that it required multiple listens to grasp the full impact of the album. This, in no way, is a criticism. In fact, this is exactly what all bands should aspire to deliver. Foreign Being exhibits a band that is growing and pushing boundaries in themselves, their listeners and fans. As I listened to the tracks, I felt it captured and reflected a blend of emotions that seem so prevalent right now. And, while these emotions are so pervasive in the collective psyche, it retains a personal, inward feel. The band opts for a series of fine surgical tools to carve these emotions right into the mind and heart.
While the album’s message may be delivered with surgical skill, they didn’t shy away from pulling out the sledgehammer for the musical delivery. This is a heavy, intense album. As with the first album, the musicianship continues to be top notch. The two guitars swirl around each other in subtle and superb counterpoint. Every song superbly leverages various forms of opposite motion to great effect. The result is a fantastic use of dynamics. When the two guitars meet up in unison, the crescendo is deafening and delicious. The drums are daring and driving. They are neither sparse nor overblown. They are always just right. Lastly, the vocals….ah… those vocals. The vocals are so spot on, words cannot describe. They are melodic and steeped in emotion and purpose. The gamut of emotion is there in spades. Rage, sadness, joy, snark… you want it, you got it.
While every song on the album is great, here’s my list of standouts:
The first two tracks, C.N.T. and Sludgefucker, are brutal and ferocious. With a lyric like “the vitriol of the unevolved” from C.N.T., you get the idea. There are no punches pulled.
Flying Naked, the third track is wonderfully dark and moody. The track starts in quiet chaos and slowly ramps up until the emotion and energy is so strong that it only seems fitting that it ends with the vocalist left screaming at the top of her lungs all by herself.
The fifth track, Veritas, may be the most emotionally crushing. The musical backdrop teeters between joy and sadness as the lyrics present an image consistent with the recognition and (maybe) relief of one’s own mortality or perhaps the frailty of existence. The chorus exclaims “I will die when I die. I get by…. I get by”. The lyrics have that rare quality of universal appeal and application regardless of the true lyrical intent.
The eighth track, Say Less, is a nice tip-of-the-hat to the songs and sounds that are present in The Royal They’s first release. It’s fun and uplifting. It’s the only one you’ll get though. For me, it was just enough.
PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out this release! Foreign Being is slated for release on January 13th. However, you can go to their Bandcamp page and check out one of the songs they have made available prior to release. While you are on their Bandcamp page, don’t forget to listen to their first, self-titled release.
The Royal They is celebrating their release with a release party on January 13th and the Gutter Bar in Brooklyn, NY. If you can’t make that show, don’t worry. They play frequently. One show I am very excited about is their upcoming show, March 3rd at Our Wicked Lady in Brooklyn, with the awesome The Mad Doctors and hub city faves, Atom Driver.
This past weekend Atom Driver celebrated the release of their throttle punk EP Slackjaw on Powerbunny 4×4 Records at Pino’s in Highland Park, NJ. On the bill with them was Amy & Alex from Prosolar Mechanics as Bear Claw making their noise duo debut and as well as Couch and Commando cooking up some of their down home music before Atom Driver blasted everybody at Pino’s with songs from their release and a bunch of new tunes.
ATOM DRIVER AND FRIENDS COVERING “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene” By X
Towards, the end of their set Amy and Anthony from Bionic Rhoda made their way to the stage to help hammer home an ode to Chuck Berry with a cover by X from their 1980 album Los Angeles. This is a feel good rock song and proof positive that even though the performances was taking place on the other side of Raritan River, rock is very much alive in the Hub City.
SLACKJAW EP REVIEW – Powerbunny 4×4
Now, we highly recommend Atom Driver’s debut EP Slackjaw, and not just because we’ve known Mike from Buzzkill who plays drums, or Mark Segal from Boss Jim Gettys’s on Guitar and Vocals for more years than we care to admit but because this band has molded perfect parts big noise and melodic metalcore. All tracks will blow the windows out of those soon to come self-driving cars that millenials will be driving around aimlessly and getting lost when the GPS goes out. These rock songs are powerful maps to what fresh rock stank and what ear bleeding hooks should be like. Justin Ingstrup on bass is also my new favorite bass player now as he really holds-up the wall of sound in this band. Recorded and mastered by Jesse Cannon Found Soundation, Union City, NJ, and mixed by the bands long time friend and engineer Steve Evetts.
LA PUNK HISTORY: This is a short Black Flag Documentary which largely focuses on the artwork side and how disruptive the band was before social media. This looks great and Henry Rollins really puts their impact in perspective. Includes interviews with Keith Morris, Chuck Ducowski, Henry Rollins, Raymond Pettibon (Buy an Original) and Flea. If you’re into flyer artwork get the excellent book ‘Fucked Up And Photocopied’ which has huge amounts of flyers from the time. This short film was Directed by Brian Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell.
Black Flag Art by Raymond Pettibon
Flea is in this documentary, because not only is he an amazing human being but also because he was in the punk scene way back in the 80’s before starting the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Anthony Keidis. He was in the los angeles band Fear for a while and in the film Suburbia directed by Penelope Spheeris who also directed Decline of Western Civilization. He’s been in a bunch of punk documentaries. Same for Duff McKagan. If you don’t know your music history he’s in quite a few others you’d be “wtf, why are they in this?” All those old punk bands and the various scenes around the country that they flowed through. Dave Grohl used to be quite the hardcore punk drummer too, long before joining Nirvana, as another example, he was in Scream I believe.
Today, I just wanted to share the best ever NSFW anti-trump rant by Angelo from Fishbone at their House of Independents(HOI) show last night. This newish club is now my favorite place to see “bigger” bands live in Asbury Park. I still dig the intimacy of places like APYC and the questionable sonic sound but when you have a 8-9 piece band with horns you seriously don’t want the experience to get lost in cacophony of noise and the sweet stench of cheap beers. Which reminds me I also dig that HOI serves local micro-brews up front and center from Dark City Brewing Company and Asbury Park Brewery and from I understand APB will be available in cans! I think in life fishbone shows have always been fun and life affirming, having seen them over a dozen times since 1987 or so. Only one oldschoolCity Gardens chump got ousted early on in their set by the bouncers until Angelo told them to chill and let people dance and have fun. There may have been a 10 year old kid body surfing and one of the other dad’s made a frowny tisk tisk emoji beard face.
I only got to shoot these two videos for the Review Stalker YouTubes on my iPhone, which the channel almost bizarrely has 500 subscribers for some reason which I think maybe it’s the DJ Red Alert video with over 100,000 listens! crazy contributing to that math.
Anyway, I really wanted to enjoy and dance my freakin’ ass/feet off a little bit- and that I did. I also managed to live stream a couple songs on my personal facebooks and instagram because I’m loco. I’m sure I’ll pay for the bandwidth usage later.
Fishbone is still one of the best bands in not only America but the whole wide World in my humblest of opinions. So go see them in this lifetime soon. Before the show Angelo being the gentleman and showman he is spent time with fans signing autographs and hanging out. Seriously their fuck racism tees are awesome and you can give people a little of your mind with their classic t-shirt online here.
This next one is so Bootsy Collins with Norwoods getting crazy ass bass sounds you couldn’t help but funk it up and shake your booty thing. Man I wish the sound was better but listen to that bass! I can do so much better magic with my NJ based video production company VLHfilms.com for live bands on a budget but alas I was really at House of Independents to get my groove on.
In case you care what I have been listening too lately (and I know you secretly lose sleep wondering)…here you go…since you insist….
Local Maplewood, NJ hometown indie rock A-Leaguers, Tri-State, continue their collective, at ease, upward momentum with their latest 5 track release , we did what we could do(2016) on the ultra-cool and equally Jersey label, Mint 400 Records . The killer riff on the opening track (and one of my personal favorites), “Summer Nun” kicks in the thruster a bit since their beautifully gliding, yet slightly subdued 2 song EP, New Minuits (2015). Again you find guitarists Julian Brash and Jeff Zelevansky trade off engrossing and seamless electric six-string conversations when not splitting vocal duties, while the complimenting percussionist union of Mason Rather (bass) and Brady McNamara (drums) keeps everything delightfully moving and grooving along. wdwwcd is simply a fun record from start to finish. It’s a perfect album on replay, tapping your foot on a sunny, sandy Miami beach while lounging lazily under palm trees, slightly concerned about falling coconuts, weird, unrecognizable birds and equally weird, unrecognizable insects (proven this past holiday weekend). Other stand out tracks include “Petty” (“boy, you got a lot to say….”), Siamese twin track “Suture”and “Automatic Man.”
My “Buffalo Bro” Daryl who I can “geek talk” music for days, weeks, even months on end (and have the never-ending text to prove it), have been digitally nudging (read: nagging) me to listen to the latest Touché Amore’ record, Stage 4 (2016) for months, but not as long as he has been nagging me to listen to Elliot Smith’sXO. I finally broke down, found time and listened…and listened…. WOW. I like it…. a lot! Based out of Los Angeles, this four-piece hardcore band found the perfect balance of familiarity and unique, of the definable and almost indefinable. They apply a unique spin on an otherwise played out genre, somehow making melodic shoe-gazey, indie rock riffs hardcore with minimum doses of extra crunchy distortion and beautifully bridging the hardcore and post-hardcore/emo sound, similar to Title Fight. Atypical singing patterns/rhythms and very deep, extremely personal thought provoking lyrics only add to their refreshing approach. The album title holds a double meaning, being the bands 4th record and also the very worse stage of cancer, a subject that rears its ugly head throughout the recording, apparently due to leader singer Jeremy Bolm losing his mom to the dreaded disease recently in 2014. The subject matter certainly sends my brain hurtling back 30 years ago when I lost my own mother in the same fashion, leaving me slightly envious that Bolm could scream about it for months on end touring and finding relief while I just buried those feelings deep down inside somewhere long ago where they mostly remain to this day. Ironically, after all this time, I can find some relief in Bolm’s circumstances and the bands music, knowing I am not the only one that ever went through such a soul-shredding event. Opening track, “Flowers and You,” “Displacement,” “Benediction,” and “Water Damage” are just some of the many great songs on this record. Check it.
The Menzingers is a Philly band I heard of a number of times but only started listening to their music because I saw they played a recent show at Garwood, NJ’s infamous Crossroads, this time nudged by the club’s Facebook page. Another 4 piece, the band plays an all too familiar sound, but they do it in a way that keeps my interest. Punk -n- Roll at its finest. The first song of theirs I got hooked on, “Remission,” off of 2014’s dour-ish Rented World, is nothing special when it comes to many other songs I subsequently discovered in their impressive catalog, but it only takes that little something to keep the tune and video on replay in my life (in this case, it’s that little “uh” leader singer Greg Barnett blurts (Accidently? Deliberately? Both?) after the first verse, or even the killer sing along chorus “Everyone needs a crutch…I need a wheel chair…I need a reason to reason with you…”). Their new record, After the Party (2017), was released just a few weeks ago and remains in heavy rotation in my life. A much cheerier release, they managed (and I slightly plagiarize from another review because I agree), to keep their street cred intact while making radio friendly songs. Check out song like “Lookers,” Mid-Western States,” “Your Wild Years,” “Black Mass” …oh, just listen to whole record, it’s great from start to finish!
Dinosaur Jr.’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016), is also filed under easy listening in my life. For die-hard fans, this is a typical, predictable record for the original band lineup, and that is just perfectly dandy for us. Interestingly, a little bird (i.e. drummer Murph) mentioned in an interview that GAGOWYN came to life because J. Mascis “freaked out” about not having any new songs and quickly threw some together. Many in the know would agree that the thought of J. losing his shit is hard to imagine, considering he never seems to have a pulse and really quiet during interviews. And when he does say something it is quite clear why he constantly accused of being a stoner (which he isn’t, at least according to him). Yes, the final results sound rushed when knowing this little back story, but the results are still rockingly impressive. Standouts include the opener “Going Down, “I Told Everyone” and “Tiny” but my favorites are “Lost All Day” right into “Knocked Around.”
The Cloud Nothings is another band I was slow on the draw about until I stumbled upon their latest release, Life Without Sound(2017). An incredibly solid listen from start to finish. It took me multiple listens on many runs final figure out what I love about this band/record: I can’t pigeonhole this band because they don’t sound like any other band that I heard of. I can’t honestly think of any other band that the Cloud Nothings sound like. Offering a completely refreshing, catchy indie sound. they mix the perfect blend of melody with umph…what’s not to like? Such tracks as the piano-tinged opener “Up to the Surface” and “Internal World” are pretty rocking tunes.
Hey all, just wanted to share some great info your life desperately needs for both your listening pleasure and mental health.
First, many NJ friends of mine have great internet radio shows you should check out.
My bro Jerry Lardieri of the excellent NJ band The Brixton Riot, spins an equally excellent indie rock show called Audible Effects every Friday morning @ 9AM at Stevenson University. You can find recordings of this show on Mixcloud.
Then my other bro, Paul Alirangues and team spins their own fantastic show every Sunday called, well, Sunday Ramble, playing and touching every music genre you can think of . Guest appearances and sets also add to listening pleasure. Recordings of the show can also be found on Mixcloud.
Then you have my other bro, Chris Morpeth and company have another kick ass radio show every Tuesday evening at The Mike & The Morph Show.
Finally, Psychologist and bro Michael Friedman writes a fabulously fascinating weekly article for Psychology Today, interviewing musicians of all shapes and sizes (some legendary) about a host of psychological issues. Check out his latest article with legendary Bad Brains front man H.R. discussing the awesome power of P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude)!
Read the articles. Listen to the shows. Like/follow them on social media. Because I said so, yo. xo
Just some of the stuff, old and new, I have been listening to a lot in 2016…. hey, 8 months late is better than never….
Not sure what the deal is what my bros of Snapcase and the now mostly defunct San Diego post-hardcore outfit, Drive Like Jehu, but both ex-guitarist Scott Dressler and singer Daryl Taberski continually ramble on about how god-like their 1994 release Yank Crime is. I actually had to go back and listen to the album to remind myself that I know it very well and indeed godlike! Hence, it is now on heavy rotation in my life. Glad to see they are touring again.
Rivers Cuomo and the boys from Weezer finally stopped taking their silliness way too seriously with their most recent release, (delightfully entitled, due to the album cover, “The White Album.”), taking yet step towards returning to true “blue” form. While I lean towards 2002’s Maladroit, one can make a strong case that when a color-themed Weezer record shows up it is bound to be decent. “California Kids,” “LA Girlz” and “King of the World” are just some of the few Beach Boys-metal-tinged a la fuzz pop that makes you yearn for the palm trees and lovely strangeness of Venice Beach.
Ann Arbor, MIs Pity Sex has recently caught my attention. Their name alone kicks ass and then they got all silly and made some kick ass music to go along with it. Lo-fi, surfy, shoe gaze done wonderfully.
The latest Violent Femmes album, We Can Do Anything, is a predictable and sometimes silly, but still fun release. It doesn’t even dare touch their 1983 S/T release or even 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing? but it still brings a familiar smile to your face. The Femmes are like the movie, American Beauty….both made sense when we were younger, but all fell into perfect place when we listened/watched when we hit mid-aged….
Not sure why I didn’t listen to another bro, Adriaan Klaassen, about this band back in the day when we worked together at ING. But I am happily ashamed to admit that 14 years later, I finally discovered the genius of NYC’s Longwave’s (RIP) 2003 release, “The Strangest Things.” Interpol meets Sink Tapes (were the latter even born back then?…ha! Sorry…couldn’t resist) is always a good combo! My favorite track that I listened to on repeat while on a two hour shopping spree at Jersey Gardens, “I know It’s coming Soon,” can be found below.
NYC’s Dead Star’s 2016 release, Bright Colors, starts right where 2014’s Slumber stopped. Fuzzed out indie pop where a heavy does of 90’s Dinosaur Jr. and early Weezer collide.
Finally, ex-Husker Du/Sugar God and front man Bob Mould has a brand spanking new album out called Patch the Sky. I agree with the hailing critics that it is a great experience but disagree that Bob is tapping back into his Du days. I would argue that like 2012’s Silver Age and 2014 Beauty & Ruin, Bob is flirting back to 1989’s Workbook or even 1990’s Black Sheets of Rain. Or better yet, his other project Sugar. So there, mofos!
Rest in peace Prince we now know when doves cry and every once in awhile we get crazy for covers and nostalgia of some amazing sexy song writing, so we felt it appropriate for us to add to the Prince Covers bin and share some we’ve collected or have been contributed from RS blog music fans and our special muse(s). Great music like his is something special that connects people through auditory pleasure like the sound of a baby laughing or the tone of a voice that makes you happy except with a beat you can dance or get funky to. That feeling you get when people applaud something great you have all witnessed or shared my dearly beloved music fans. That happiness is what great music does when you experience it either in your car, at home, a concert or at the gym when you work-out. Wherever or when ever. Music like his has the universal power to join us through the sound we hear and interpret in our own way. Thus always great to hear a rendering of art by somebody else which reminds us how great it is; as it transcends life and the afterlife. Music is basically magical like his and many other greats.
If you are a good musician it’s pretty damn hard to fuck-up a Prince song unless you can’t sing; as his songs are perfect canvas for other artists to put their own spin on things, so here is a variety of indie artists doing their thing. Enjoy and live life without any regrets because you never know when your time will be done.