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The post-punk trio Control Top is a tribute to persistence and evolving through doing. Amid periods of dormancy, stylistic forays and lineup changes, singer/bassist and founding member Ali Carter was determined to keep the project going after the release of the band’s demo tape. In 2017, she recruited drummer Alex Licktenhour (HIRS, Get Better Records) and guitarist Al Creedon (Bleeding Rainbow, I IM EYE MY). Licktenhour was searching for a new project to get involved in, while Creedon was rediscovering electric guitar after years of playing noise and electronic music. Together, they forged a clear identity, blending diverse tastes to create music for a time beyond despair and naïveté.

“Your false authority is dreadfully boring me,” howls Ali Carter, leader of the Philladelphian trio Control Top, her voice dripping with sneery contempt. “Type A” is a part of a proud punk tradition: songs that rip the shit out of acquaintances for being assholes. In this case, the asshole in particular is someone who feel the need to control every possible situation: “Static vision! Cold precision! Manic control! Hands off my soul!” The irony is that “Type A” is a ferociously controlled song. Control Top play fast and hard, and there’s wildness in Carter’s voice, so it’s almost like they’re a runaway train of a band. But there’s no chaos in the way they play. Instead, their sound is tight and crispy and impeccably constructed. It’s tension and release all at once.

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“Control Top play fast and hard, and there’s wildness in Carter’s voice, so it’s almost like they’re a runaway train of a band. But there’s no chaos in the way they play.

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Each new song Iceage have released ahead of Beyondless has revealed it’s an album to get excited for, but this one just might be the most intriguing of the bunch. Surrounded by haggard, chain-smoking rockers and arid, brooding slow-burners, “Take It All” instead conjures up the just-left-of-reality experiences of dream states. Iceage have never recorded a song so elusive yet so emotive.

“The Day the Music Dies” combines raunchy brass, frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s sassy lead vocals and driving keyboards into a theatrical, Rolling Stones-esque stomper with Rønnenfelt drowning in anxiety (“How can one kill an impulsion / When it’s still kicking and breathing”) and restlessness (“The future’s never starting / The present never ends”).

From the new album ‘Beyondless’ out May 4th on Matador Records.

Snail Mail

I keep telling everyone check out Snail Mail, along a few others, She will shape the future of the best indie/alt rock to come, and every song they release becomes further proof of this. Lush will be a little gem of a record.

Last month, Snail Mail announced their debut album, Lush, with the track “Pristine,” which became one of the best songs of the week back when it came out. Today, Lindsey Jordan is sharing the LP’s second single, “Heat Wave,” and it’s sticky and humid, much like the unbearable situation that Jordan finds herself wrapped up in.

“Heat wave, nothing to do/ Woke up in my clothes having dreamt of you,” she sings in the first verse, trying to move on from a love that didn’t want to commit long-term. Part of it is genuine remorse at the loss of a relationship, but it’s also partially the boredom that comes with a day where it’s too hot to do anything, when you let your imagination run wild.

Her feelings on the relationship shimmer and shift, caught up in the exhaust of a sweaty summer day stuck inside. Jordan plays the part of bitterly defiant, and she gets her licks in with style: “I hope the love that you find/ Swallows you whole-ly/ Like you said it might,” goes one of the best lines, wishing the same wrenching fate upon whoever the former partner picks up next. For Jordan’s part, she’s ready to find something a little more reliable: “I’m feeling low/ I’m not into sometimes.”

The song comes attached to an excellent video, which was directed by Brandon Herman and finds Jordan revisiting the (not too long ago) time when she played on her high school’s men’s ice hockey team. She starts off by just playing simple air hockey though, sullen and alone, before getting sucked through the board, where she has to fend off a team of men, getting bloodied and battered throughout. It’s the Mighty Ducks continuation you didn’t know you needed.

From Snail Mail’s debut album ‘Lush’ out June 8th on Matador Records.

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“I’m a Stranger Now” is the seventh episode of The Light in Demos, a video project produced, written, directed, recorded, shot and edited by The Tallest Man on Earth.

The ‘Nihilism’ EP comes hot on the heels of 2017’s critically acclaimed LP ‘Door Girl.’ Inspired by and written after binge watching the Grateful Dead documentary series Long Strange Trip, her original song “Shoot This Dying Horse” is a rainy day waltz about how bad things can happen to anyone, at any time in the most random and meaningless ways. More specifically, it’s about getting dumped at a bar two days before Christmas. No horses were harmed during the writing and recording of this track. Musically this was a lot of fun to write and arrange.

Shilpa comments “I had binge watched Long Strange Trip, the Grateful Dead documentary series, and immediately began to mess around with the chord changes for “Shoot This Dying Horse.” I’ve never considered myself to be a dead head but there is something in their music that makes me want to write.

Additionally, Shilpa decided to cover Alice Cooper’s “Is It My Body” after spinning a lot of Cooper in the tour van while on tour in support of ‘Door Girl.’ She explains, “When I paid closer attention to the lyrics, I realized if sung by a woman this song could be a feminist anthem. Who knew Alice Cooper wrote feminist anthems?”

releases May 16th, 2018

“Shoot This Dying Horse” written by Shilpa Ray 2018
“Is It My Body” written by Alice Cooper, Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce, Neal Smith + Glen Buxton 1971

Music performed by

Shilpa Ray , Vocals, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Farfisa

Alistair Paxton, Guitar

Turner Stough, Bass

Richard Hutchins, Drums, Percussion

Christian Lee Buss,Backing vocals, Farfisa, Synth

Father John Misty has shared his disorienting new video for “Mr. Tillman,” the first single off his upcoming new album God’s Favorite Customer. Just as the song’s lyrics zero in on the singer’s unpleasant experience at a hotel, the “Mr. Tillman” video is like The Shining meets “Hotel California,” as Father John Misty is doomed to relive his stay and inability to leave countless times. The result is interactions with doppelgangers, an attempted suicide and a taxicab escape.

In February, the singer, whose real name is Josh Tillman, unveiled “Mr. Tillman” along with a low-budget green-screened video of himself messing around in a hotel.

Father John Misty has previously released two songs, “Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All” and “Just Dumb Enough to Try,” from his forthcoming album God’s Favorite Customer, the speedy follow-up to 2017’s Pure Comedy. God’s Favorite Customer arrives June 1st.

“Mr. Tillman” is off of Father John Misty’s upcoming album, God’s Favorite Customer, out June 1st on Sub Pop and Bella Union.

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Alright boys and girls, strap yourselves in: this was the concert to end all concerts. It feels unfair to be so limited by language in trying to communicate the sheer epicness of this show on December 30th. The Twin Peaks dudes sold out three damn nights for a New Years Eve run to close out 2017 at Thalia Hall in Chicago, joining forces with support bands Dehd and Post Animal for the Saturday night show. This performance was truly Twin Peaks at their… peak.

When Twin Peaks finally took the stage and blasted into “Strawberry Smoothie,” the audience lost whatever chill they had left: bodies immediately went over the barricade, beer cans went flying, and a mosh pit opened up into a swirling vortex of thrashing limbs. The stage was equally as chaotic, with Cadien Lake James whipping his head back and forth and Clay Frankel thrashing on his white teardrop guitar and jumping around. By the third song, a girl in a red felt cowboy hat had already broken the nose of the poor dude standing next to her. At some point south of “Have You Ever,” a bra flew onstage from somewhere near the barricade, but it didn’t remain there for long. By the next song, the owner of the bra crowdsurfed onto the stage to personally retrieve the bra from Frankel, who responded with a confused remark of “Uh.. she wants her bra back.. I’m not sure what to say about that.”

In the midst of the absolute chaos in the pit, it would have been easy to miss the extra members onstage. Accompanying Colin Croom, Connor Brodner, Frankel, JD, and James were three horns and three backup singers. Though their presence in the background seemed a little out of place, the layer of sophistication they provided served as a delicious contrast to the shouted lyrics. Twin Peaks is one of those rare bands that actually sound better live – the boys somehow harmonize their screamed lyrics (I wonder if they ever lose their voices). This was especially evident in “Wanted You,” “Butterfly,” and “Walk to the One You Love.” .

The screaming took a backseat near the middle of their set when Frankel brought out his roommate, Marisa Nakamura, to sing “Shake Your Lonely.” The cute duet was a brief moment of relief from the headbanging and moshing, which picked right back up again at “Have You Ever,” continuing all the way to the last song in the set, “Butterfly.” But what’s a show without a shirtless Frankel and a gigantic confetti cannon to close out the encore? Not a Twin Peaks show, that’s for damn sure. The encore featured four gems – “Heavenly Showers,” “Blue Coupe,” “We Will Not Make It,” and “Boomers.”

This show was so good that I spent an obscene amount of money to do it all over again on NYE. I think what makes a Twin Peaks show a Twin Peaks show is the excitement of its sheer unpredictability

If you haven’t listened to their new compilation of singles, stop reading this right now and go listen. They are notorious for their fierce loyalty to Chicago and the Midwest in general,

Speedy Ortiz, Twerp Verse

The run up to Twerp Verse, the third record from Speedy Ortiz, has intoduced three vibrant music videos. Each one taps into the sardonic wit and playful imagination of its singer, guitarist and lyrical mastermind of Sadie Dupuis, but the video for “Villain” (directed in a crayon box array of retro colors by Elle Schneider) is especially powerful at distilling her message to something tangible. Recreating the campy feel of a monster flick, Dupuis is relentlessly provoked by a fish-headed creature, a surreal embodiment of invasive verbal abuse and physical harassment that women endure daily. “‘I wanna know what kind of games you like,'” she recounts, before recoiling at these unwanted advances: “He talks like he knows me, so I’m being polite.” Later, she sings “‘I wanna know if a no means alright.’ / He looks past my answer, did he earn the right? No way.” — a dark inverse to her consent-positive mantra in “Get A Yes,” a fizzy gem from Dupuis‘ solo project Sad13.

While the concepts at play in “Villain” are familiar territory Dupuis and Speedy Ortiz have covered in the past, she’s never been quite this direct. Surprisingly, these themes weren’t initially the album’s intended direction. As the story goes, the band was primed to record in late 2016, but soon decided that batch of songs were “strictly personal or lovey-dovey” and no longer felt relevant amid the cultural and political shifts occurring post election. “Social politics and protest have been a part of our music from day one, and I didn’t want to stop doing that on this album,” Dupuis stated in the album’s press release. The band shelved those efforts mid-stream and doubled-down to write new material that better reflected these turbulent, unprecedented times. The result, Twerp Verse, shows Speedy Ortiz at its most pointed and fearless.

With a Master’s degree in poetry and a reputation for skillful, hilarious wordplay, Dupuis is among rock’s more compelling songwriters. Across Twerp Verse’s 11 tracks, she rapidly slings pop culture and literary references and shrouds her narratives in cryptic, visceral phrases worthy of decoding. And it gives license to speak hard truths and reveal personal anxieties — be it falling back into the familiar comforts of bad relationships (“Backslidin'”) or mining contradictory feelings on love and commitment (“Moving In”). “Lucky 88” critiques the head-in-the-sand apathy and disillusionment of people watching the world crumble around them. “One more time with reeling / You siphoned out the feeling / Can’t you act responsibly? / You’re the sick pup who created me,” she sings, before repeating “I don’t care anymore…” with weary resignation. But Dupuis is best when wielding humor and sarcasm — and taking no prisoners. “You Hate The Title” is a withering rebuke of haters publicly nitpicking someone’s opinions and creative endeavors, while still “singing along.” “You hate the title but you’re digging the song / You like it in theory, but it’s rubbing you wrong,” she seethes atop fluttering keyboards that belie her fed-up side-eye. “I can’t, I can’t, with your ‘Just can’t even’s.”

Recorded at Silent Barn in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader (Ava Luna) and produced and mixed by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) at his studio in Omaha, Twerp Verse is both musically expansive and Dupuis’ most accessible work yet, a blend of catchy pop hooks and dexterous guitar playing. “Buck Me Off” opens with that signature Speedy Ortiz formula, and the band — comprised of bassist Darl Ferm, drummer Mike Falcone, and guitarist Andy Molholt — outright shreds with overdriven chords and buzzy solos piercing through murky distortion. Similarly “Sport Death” unfurls razor-sharp riffs that mimic the vocal melodies, and builds tension through off-kilter chord progressions and half-step dissonance. Elsewhere, they fold in pitch-shifted tones, pulsing synths, and laptop beats (“Lucky 88”) and skin-crawling atmosphere (“I’m Blessed”) — something first hinted at on 2015’s Foil Deer, and honed further on Sad13’s 2016 record, Slugger — and invigorates what can be tricky subject matter with immediate uplift and noisy catharsis.

That’s emblematic of “Alone With Girls” and “I’m Blessed,” in which Speedy Ortiz both alludes to emotional bullying and violence in past toxic relationships, and uses its platform to amplify the voices and stories too often silenced or marginalized. ” Lean In When I Suffer,” the album’s anthem, refutes self-branded feminist allies who only appear supportive when they don’t have to address their own privilege or problematic behavior. She’s having none of that, quipping “I’m checking my phone / He’s unworthy of talk / If he really wants to be the one, he’d forfeit shotgun for once…” It’s in these moments, Speedy Ortiz’s songs become about reclaiming agency, and finding empowerment through empathy. In that way, Twerp Verse is an album arriving right on time.

thanks to Npr

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In 1965, The Rolling Stones were on the cusp of true rock ‘n’ roll greatness, and the album “Out Of Our Heads”, released on the Decca label, would further entrench their reputation. One of my absolute favourite Stones albums is their third British release ‘Out Of Our Heads’. Issued in 1965 on Decca, this album sounds so much punkier and heavier than the two blues/R&B albums preceding it. As soon as ‘She Said Yeah’ smashes through your speakers like a sledgehammer it’s a full on experience until ‘I’m Free’ closes the album.
I realise that other countries had a different track selection for this album but I’ve always found the British issue to be the best because Decca didn’t pad it out with singles.
Available as the killer Mono issue (pushing around £200 for mint copies) and the Stones first album to be issued in (very poor) Stereo in Britain (much rarer but still around £200). An essential album.

Having returned from an American tour, the band were cocked and primed with a collection of soul material, much of which remained unknown to the bulk of English teenagers at the time, meaning that The Stones could record their own versions safe in the knowledge that whatever they presented was as fresh and exciting as anything from the other side of the Atlantic.

The US edition of the album opens with Don Covay’s 1964 soul hit “Mercy, Mercy,” and while not quite as superb as the original, The Stones do a pretty good job all the same in at least capturing the song’s essence. Next is Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike,” where the English quintet assert their ever-growing sophistication in emulating American black music, albeit with an English bent.

Apparently “The Last Time” owes its origins from an old gospel tune, given a complete Phil Spector makeover (i.e. his famous ‘wall of sound’), and transformed into something else entirely. Backed with the spiteful ballad “Play With Fire,” both tracks would prove to be one of their most popular and strongest singles yet of self-penned material. Another original (a rarity for this album) is “The Spider And The Fly,” a R&B/Jimmy Reed inspired number and one that would become a staple of their early shows throughout this period.

The band’s cover of Bert Russell’s soul classic “Cry To Me” and Sam Cooke’s “Good Times” are both strong cuts, despite Jagger’s vocal limitations . Otis Redding’s (although written by Roosevelt Jamison) “That’s How Strong My Love Is” is given a fine reworking, so too “I’m All Right,” a recording which first appeared on the EP Got Live If You Want It.

A special mention should be made of founding member Brian Jones, whose spirited playing shines throughout this record, and whose contribution to The Stones sound and look when starting out should never be forgotten, nor underestimated. Just listen to the way he wails his harmonica on “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man,” and his acoustic guitar during “Good Times.” Jones may not have been much of a songwriter, yet his presence and talent as a musician was just as important as Jagger and Richards themselves.

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is arguably the standout track, with Jagger’s insouciant delivery and Richards’ tough as steel main riff. Along with “The Last Time,” “Satisfaction” was the song which helped propel the group to #1 in both the UK and US, a position from which they rarely deviated off from this point onwards.

From an historical perspective, Out Of Our Heads is just as important as anything the band would go on to record over the next few years. This was largely raw, gritty English R&B the way it should be. And even after all this time, it hasn’t dated one iota.

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Jasamine White-Gluz of Canadian shoegaze band No Joy had something different in mind when she began emailing Sonic Boom, a.k.a. Pete Kember from the band Spacemen 3, in the fall of 2015. The other members of her band stayed within the confines of rock, the more White-Gluz wanted change. So No Joy decided to release three EPs that departed from the band’s shoegaze and noise-pop past, starting with 2016’s Drool Sucker and 2017’s Creep. The final installment in this series, No Joy / Sonic Boom, sees White-Gluz venturing into unfamiliar electronic territory with Kember.

Throughout No Joy / Sonic Boom, you can hear White-Gluz finding the borders of her comfort zone and looking for guidance when she makes it to the other side. The trouble seems to be that Kember does little to develop her ideas once she gets there, settling instead for familiar deadpan loops. There’s not nearly enough give and take to make the collaboration work.

No Joy / Sonic Boom“Triangle Probably” off their self-titled EP on Joyful Noise Recordings.