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!
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.
ALBUM REVIEW: Brian Fallon, frontman for the Gaslight Anthem (GLA), always spoke in interviews of what to musically expect with each new upcoming GLA album. Ironically, every time he declared the band was taking their sound in a bold, new direction, they delivered yet another kick ass collection of familiar “punk-n-roll soul” with gritty, Ness meets Petty vocals.
This time around discussing Get Hurt, their fifth full length release, Fallon spoke about the wonder of some bands that drastically changed their sound and live to talk about it, a very risky move that often doesn’t end pretty for rock bands. Get Hurt is by no means Achtung Baby or Kid A but for GLA it is. Unlike their peers in the National and the Hold Steady, both recently releasing great but “safe” albums, in efforts to reach the next level of rockdom, it seems GLA courageously said “fuck that” and decided to shake things up a bit. The Garden State darlings finally kept their word, grew a pair and took the plunge, interestingly at a time when they too are eyeing that same rockdom and should play it safe. Audacious? Ballsy? Yup…I agree.
Quite simply, Get Hurt is far more rock and far less punk, more Petty and less Ness, full of ambitious, stadium size anthems with the band trying to live up to their very name. Sure you have the traditional punkish ferocity of “Rollin’ And Tumblin” that still packs a similar punch like “1930” does on their 2007 debut album Sink or Swim or “Orphans” on 2012’s American Slang, but is also the closest “typical” GLA song on the entire album and smack right in the middle of the playlist, reminding their fans that they didn’t forget where they come from and still punk as fuck. The intriguing title track sounds like a scrubbed up, leftover Horrible Crowes (Fallon’s side project, check out their excellent debut record, Elsie) number that is just begging for radio play. Other standout tracks include “1,000 Years,” “Helter Skeleton,” “Selected Poems” “Stay Vicious” and “Dark Places” (my favorite track thus far).
But yet again, perhaps both GLA and their fans should have seen it coming since it isn’t like the band didn’t flirt with different ground before . Mixing punk driven rock with 50’s sha la la’s and 60’s R&B groove has been constant in their music since 2008’s The 59 Sound (their second full length release). Or check out the Cure-ish “Old White Lincoln “on the same album. Then try listening to “Get Hurt” and “Here Comes My Man” from 2012’s Handwritten back to back. Pretty complimentary if you ask me. One could even argue that the band has already been mildly indulging in experimentation with 2008’s Senor and the Queen EP since the recording has a much different, almost disjointed feel to it despite decent songs (especially “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.”).
Overall Get Hurt is a solid effort and, I will say it again, a ballsy move by a band whose engines have been noticeably sputtering a tad bit on their last 2 releases. If you are looking for the blue collar punk of the past you may be let down but I am kind of relieved GLA sound has pleasantly aged and matured from the first time I saw them at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony on their 59 Sound tour and from the New Brunswick basement scene where they hatched. Will GLA fans get hurt with this new release? If you grow a pair, dive in like the band did maybe you will suffer some scrapes or a bruise at most…and pleasantly so.
Here’s the latest singles and bands to watch with some really great tunes and sounds from the US and across the pond.
Recently added to the Mint 400 Records roster is a fast mod psyche band called Yes Sunshine from Coventry,England. We think they embody that fast paced feel we dig from UK type bands like Pete and The Pirates and a more polished version of The Jam.
Here’s a quick 5 question interview with the band Yest Sunshine to peak your interest. They will be featured on the coming Mint 400 Records Compilation “Patchwork” which is due out this September! So watch our twitter space for more.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Well we consider our music to be a mixture of indie,rock,and punk. We are heavily influenced by artists such Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Oasis, Pixies, Libertines and of course The Beatles. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Well our songs are mainly about, social observations, experiences, teenage angst, and I guess you could say of course love and girls.
What are the differences you see between US rock and British rock at the present moment?
At present we are really enjoying the current New York scene. Bands like Skaters and Drowners are really influencing us. I think there is a visible punk vibe at the minute that new wave UK bands are representing more than US bands.
What has been your biggest challenge as a songwriters? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
The biggest challenge has been over coming the brick wall. Some days nothing clicks, tensions run high and you can’t even string a sentence of lyrics together. We find that the process of song writing can’t be forced. If it’s going to happen, it will happen when it’s ready. When it does, everything falls into place and everything flows. There’s a buzz and you know you’ve got a worthy song.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Be committed. Make the necessary sacrifices. Never give up. And practice, practice, practice.
Psyche, Grunge, Alternative rock whatever it is if it has distortion delivered like Friendly Faux we like it and if they “don’t make any rights” is what I’m usually known to say to my driver when I’m skunk drunk I think we’ll get along here people. We’re super simple this way especially if the bass player is digging in like he is in this mother fucker. Seriously, check out these Columbus Ohio rocksters who can swing the blues big time if they want and rock it out with a few classic arena rock Alice in Chains type backing vocals but yet keep it dirty like a diesel monster truck drag racing down main street. I’m a sucker for power trios and these guys hit it and quit it in all the right places with their no frills rock. These tunes are from their second digital release EP called Three Lefts and we think you should grab the whole thing from them on their bandcamp. The s/t lead track is the dope we’re talking about and make it one louder.
Next up is the UK’s Colour of Bone – which is this weird electronic mix of big house bass romp and roc-rave music on their single called “THE SUPERSTITIOUS TWIST”; whilst I’m not sure why all songs must yell at me in capital letters. This one at 80hz is sure to leave you a little deaf perhaps. The artwork is explosive in that BIG DATA kind of way but i guess people like their head exploding. Classify ‘Sympathiser’ under Alt-Elec-Rock along with your mescaline and speed. This music brings out certain musical texture you don’t actually need to be high to understand. It grunges out when need when the Beasties bring that beat around.
I don’t know much about this electronic slow dub project called Drunk Robots from Portugal but I like it. Here’s a track called “have you seen my glasses” from the 22 track album organiosed. Good experimentation with noise, ambient sounds and electronic rock. Pretty mellow but not put you to sleep mellow. Creepy yet carries a melody like Air intrumentals. Drop-off and explore Drunk Robots.
“Fortune and Fate” by Ryan Joseph Anderson from his record The Weaver’s Broom, which was recorded in Nashville by engineer/producer Andrja Tokic (known for his work with Alabama Shakes). Good alt country. Very dark stop motion video which is back by a great whiskey voice teetering on to raspy but much better than Deer Tick’s country swagger. We like this Ryan Joseph Anderson fella.
Ok now you know what to do and like this so your mom can see what you do with your day on Facebook. Thanks!
Sex Scheme – “Feel Me” – We’ve gone all dark and goth blues on you fuckheads. Actually you’re all fuck-heads because this music is your punishment by the group known as Sex Scheme. We don’t know much except their drummer wrote all this “music”. You can order this 7″ for $5.00 from their bandcamp page which is four songs that bleed into each other with such stellar deft. You should be whipped because with songs like “Dog Slut” and “Eat It” how could you go wrong? Seriously, do you need to know anything because if you do I might need to stab you.
Dead – from France VERSE’ EP is hybrid punk and just the smallest bit of electronic bullshit we’ll allow to stream through our ears and on the RS blog. Music for vampires probably. Who cares its pure hot lava that will eat right through your soul and doesn’t sound anything like Gerry Garcia because that would be weird. Blast this.
BARROWS – RED GIANT Barrows – How metal instrumental are you? If you like the deafheaven but without the annoying screaming then you will dig Los Angeles instrumental rock quartet Barrows tune “Red Giant”. Lots of grinding bass and lead guitar hammering. Head bang at will and download this jem.
De Duiven – DU – Probably one of the weirder videos we’ve seen in a long time. No hot german chick here for sure but there is a blonde rolling a keg around. Not sure why. This is akin to– Fucking hell if I know. Even when you thought it could be possible to be less wordy than “Da Da Da” by trio. You’ll just have to watch and take our word for it. Dream pop gone wrong. What in the Benny Hill? Does not even begin to justify the next four minutes. We’ll say this. De Duiven has more integrity than “What would the fox say” and that is a giant compliment. Like the facebooks for more german art school humour.
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420: Here’s a bunch of songs about pot. So much great music has been inspired by the Weed and on the weed it’s hard to imagine that the shit is slowly being legalized finally and the government has finally figured out the business of marijuana and that they could tax it like the alcohol and cigarettes to get them out the debt. For a while that is until they fuck it up again and spend their take. Remember the war on drags? What the hell happened to that Gestapo? The really scary part is all the conversations behind the scenes Big Tobacco companies having. Preparing themselves for this day and negotiating with the government on how they can make it work for them — their end of the deal. So we’ll see what happens in the coming years once we’re over the medicinal hump in most of the States. I’m in no way an expert. Anyway, the drug was once vilified and was seen as a harbinger of evil, sex and gluttony. If you’re too high don’t drive. In some cases marijuana is supposed to help people with their some pain, anxieties and as medicinal cancer treatment. So seriously can’t be that bad. You can even make clothing out of the pot. We know we can’t hang with the chronic at all because that stuff has crystals and will make us barf but either way for some other people it’s their beer and we’re ok with that. Life is too boring not to get high on something. To celebrate 420 here’s some songs about pot you may never of heard of before. Please suggest some other songs in the comments below.
“420 Mix” by Ecletic Method – Movie’s best Pot moments mash-up
Let us re-introduce you to Jonny Wilson of Eclectic Method. He’s been a video mixologist and mash-up king before it was a thing. He started out physically splicing together music, TV and film and has been setting high-energy beats made exactly for shaking your groove thing. He’s worked with Brian Eno and is no ordinary VJ. His medium base is Video mixing and he’s always pushing what you can do. We first featured a mash-up of his a few months ago when he shared “A Brief History of Sampling” with us so we hope you enjoy this one. He loves to take current popular culture and bring it to the club, The Colbert Report, soundcloud and anywhere where music is. Hard to keep up with all of his output honestly but once you latch on we promise you will be hooked.
Courtney Love (49) is a certifiable sycophant with a penchant for the truly absurd and lives to feed her ego with an un-fillable void of narcissism. Obviously, like most celebrities she has her public and “private” time. We can’t tell which is which but it all seems very calculated. Her past version of history has shown she’ll either kiss your ass or tell you any thing until she gets what she wants out of you. We don’t mean to sound like a jilted ex-lover of Love’s or really to put a magnifying glass on her or Nirvana’s past sores. She’s the worst dilettante punk princess of all time, even worse than Sid and Nancy character she played; if any part of the past allegations and conspiracies are true.
Kristen Pfaff 1967-1994
Rewind to 1994, two months past Kurt Cobain’s death. Love’s band mate Kristen Pfaff was dismayed and delving into the black tar with Courtney and may have admitted to liking her husband and we don’t mean on facebook. Ms. Pfaff over-dosed from heroin and died. We won’t really know what happened for sure unless Love comes outright and says she was jealous but feeling may have been mutual between the two. Love’s husband respected Ms. Pfaff and was quoted as saying to a friend “She’s a fucking talented musician, she’s also a beautiful soul. I think she’s so beautiful, but if I ever told her that, and Courtney found out, it would be hell.” Unfortunately, our theory in this inferno is a simple case of jealousy, money and revenge – Not a suicide or accidental overdose.
A couple years ago in the Guardian in 2012 Love was quoted saying “There will be no musical. Sometimes its just best to leave things alone.” Most musicals are supposed to be uplifting so we’re not sure how this one would end but it’s obvious she’s figured out a new source of income and in the process of writing herself into the history of grunge. DOWNLOADS: Dave Grohl talks about Kurt CobainMP3 TV Interview Krist Novoselic on Kurt CobainMP3 TV Interview
Fast-forward, the story of Nirvana is coming to Broadway and Love is also re-launching her band Hole with the “classic” line-up; which actually should have included Ms. Pfaff on bass if she were alive. Courtney also happened to borrow lines for a song on the album “Live Through This” from her.
Until recently, it was fairly well known Love has been estranged from her beautiful daughter Frances Bean Cobain who is now 21! Yet in recent press release gabs she is using the power of apathy to justify the Broadway show to Nirvana fans.
“I know her father’s spirit will be on that stage, and sitting in that theater with her will be the most emotional experience of our lives.”
CHECK OUT: Soaked in Bleach (4/8/2014) This NEW official trailer documentary which reveals the events right before Kurt Cobain’s death as seen through the eyes of Tom Grant, the private investigator that was hired by Courtney Love in 1994 to track him down days before his body was found at their Seattle home. Would have been the first place we would have looked no?
Her subconscious word choice should also be listened too not just in the few clips in this film but all over the press. In a recent interview on BBC this past week Love talks on the Woman’s Hour show that she was “covetous” of Kurt Cobain’s talents to be able to write two songs in less than 20 minutes. Also that she and her daughter are going to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction on April 10th together.
If Frances truly has reached out to her mother then we’re happy for them both but from our point of view the favor is for Dave Grohl & Krist Novelistic – her father’s band mates. Love went on to say because of pressure of “tons of Nirvana fan mail” (We didn’t write any) and support for the idea in social media she is moving forward with the project.
Howard Stern Show – Courtney Love’s Crowd Displeasing Rant on Dave Grohl(2012)
This whole bit is off the charts. A must listen.
Earlier this year, Love won a defamation case from her former attorney, which is actually good for Social Media, who was helping her with Kurt Cobain estate fraud case when she tweeted about her lawyer saying “I was fucking devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off.” Holmes claimed, this hurt her reputation in an 8 Day trial. There were no damages so no precedent has been set yet; meaning there has been no cost associated to crazy unless you count the whole demise of grunge thing.
Ms. Cobain (Love’s Daughter) has said, “Twitter should ban my mother.”
The real truth is we’ll never know if Kurt Cobain’s suicide was murder or not but one thing is certain a whole generation of grunge fans went up in flames and the biggest casuality is his daughter.
Genius is a band from South Korea but going for an American sound heard many, many times before, yet not easily definable. If pressed for comparisons with Western counterparts, I would say somewhere between the Night Marchers(San Diego), maybe even Spoon-like (Austin), even coming off vaguely Violent Femmish (Milwaukee) at times.
Overall Beaches, their 3rd full length album, is not bad but doesn’t stick either. While some songs like “Simple and Normal”, “Catch A Job” or Thanksgiving” catch your attention, interest quickly wanes like a roller-coaster reaching the crest before the inevitable plunge to quickly finding something else to listen to. After a couple of struggled listens, I can’t tell if Genius’ tedious, lackadaisical approach is deliberate and they are just too cool for school for everyone (especially themselves), or just plain lazy.
RIYL: Teengenerate, Nine Pound Hammer, Empty Records