YUMI ZOUMA – ” Mona Lisa “

Posted: December 4, 2021 in MUSIC

Yumi Zouma have shared yet another bop – the instantly memorable “Mona Lisa” is boisterously deceptive as candied melodies and ethereal production cloaks a lyrical darkness and triumphant brass-filled conclusion.  The song, mixed by Kenny Gilmore (Weyes BloodJulia Holter) is accompanied by a self-directed music video filmed in Lyttleton, New Zealand – a stone’s throw south of the band’s hometown of Christchurch.

The video stars lead singer Christie Simpson as the sole protagonist and illustrates the jubilation, claustrophobia, and mayhem of her months in lockdown in both the UK and New Zealand, having just moved back to her home country after making the fortuitous decision to pack her bags for London in the week prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. We see Simpson move into an apartment, make it her own, and lose her mind in the span of 3 minutes and 33 seconds. The entire video takes place in a single room, purpose-built by the band to match the single artwork for the song.

“’Mona Lisa’ came to us gradually over a long period of time – so its story has changed and shifted, developing new relevance with each new phase of our lives,” says Christie. “It’s a song that ruminates on conflicting, shifting uncertainty – of wanting someone that maybe you can’t have – of uncertain boundaries, of confusing interactions, misunderstanding, yearning. Trying to forget an obsession – or shifting between losing all hope and giving in to the obsession – lured back by the excitement and promise – the moments of feeling so alive. The terror and joy of a big crush. And so we wanted the video to feel like a mirror to all those emotions along the passage of time – except in isolation. A year stuck inside (as we have been), alone with the big feelings, the big highs, and the low lows – dancing around your bedroom, losing it a little bit. Moving in, making it yours, moving out again. The strange phase we’ve been existing in, trying to thrive in (occasionally succeeding, but often not). The joy, the sadness, the conflict, the chaos – without ever really leaving your bedroom.” 

Last month, the band shared the equally unforgettable “Give It Hell” – their first song since the release of their March 2020 album “Truth Or Consequence”.  

A couple months ago, Laura Jane Grace released the EP “At War with the Silverfish“. It contained a jammy little number called “Day Old Coffee” that captured the anxiety, restlessness, and mundanity of coffee consumption. “Day old coffee microwaved to boiling / Pour it on my eyeballs and boil my dumb-shit brains out,” she sings on the opening verse. Honestly, a very relatable stance when you’re frustrated with just about anything—a creative block, the Wi-Fi going out, the world.

This is the worst song I’ve ever written but the video turned out really good,” Grace says of the charming (and highly caffeinated) clip filmed by directors Chris Bauer and Richard Louis Ulrich. Watch the frenzied music video below. 

The follow-up to Laura’s critically acclaimed solo album “Stay Alive” was mixed by her Devouring Mothers bandmate Marc Hudson, and half recorded at her TinyQuietStudio in Chicago, IL and half at Electric Eel in St. Louis, MO. At War With The Silverfish finds our heroine in a range of stripped-back, poignant modes that amount to an honest and holistic account of our shared humanity. 

We get the video for “Day Old Coffee,” which finds Grace performing to an audience of a dozen coffee mugs and her microwave. She paces around an empty room and writes in her notebook. It’s a charming video directed by Chris Bauer and Richard Louis Ulrich. Grace commented on the visual saying, “This is the worst song I’ve ever written but the video turned out really good.”

MOMMA – ” Medicine “

Posted: December 4, 2021 in MUSIC
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New Yorkers Momma mix sludgy ‘90s guitars with the intoxicating feeling of young love on new song “Medicine.” The band recently signed with Polyvinyl Records ahead of their new album, the follow-up to 2020’s “Two Of Me“.

“Medicine” is the new single from Momma, on Polyvinyl and Lucky Number Records.

Momma is: Allegra Weingarten, Etta Friedman, Zach CapittiFenton, and Aron Kobayashi Ritch Written and performed by: Momma. “Medicine,” is the driving new single from NY based rock group Momma, is an exciting glimpse into what’s in store for 2022. “Medicine” is the band’s strongest work to date, clearly showcasing their knack for developing hooky guitar lines paired with an intricate, yet boisterous rhythm section. The band’s use of fuzzed-out distortion intertwined with clean and bright picking patterns is a tasteful nod to their love of 90’s alternative and could easily pair well with bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, Liz Phair, and Jimmy Eat World circa Clarity.

“We wanted to write about that feeling of just being addicted to someone, and how someone else’s company can really feel like a drug,” explains the band. “‘Medicine’ is really the first Momma song that was written as a complete 4-piece.”

Momma (now a 4-piece consisting of Etta Friedman, Allegra Weingarten, Aron Kobayashi Ritch and Zach CapittiFenton) have honed in on their symbiotic writing style and creative intuition to craft a sound that feels oddly familiar, yet all their own.

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KELLY LEE OWENS – ” Inner Song “

Posted: December 4, 2021 in MUSIC

Kelly Lee Owens is well known for her extraordinary avant-garde approach to electronica, and on new album ‘Inner Song’ she does not disappoint. Exploring causes of personal pain and discovering resolution through an appreciation for natural beauty, the revealing record resonates with the listener and becomes a shared absolving of trauma.

Carefully crafted last winter, Owens spent a month hidden away in a studio to write and record what would become her second album with producer James Greenwood. The pair channelled the sound of freeform jazz which helped find both the direction of the record, and the name.

“I’m so grateful for him and his perspectives—he’s always thinking outside of the box. Those two words really reflect what it felt like to make this record. I did a lot of inner work in the past few years, and this is a true reflection of that.”

Kelly Lee Owens had carved out a distinctive style — a mix of Berlin techno, trip hop, ambient textures and elements from her shoegazer past — by the time of her 2017 debut album. With “Inner Song“, she refines that sound while expanding its horizons. It’s a confident album that finds her growing as a musician but also as a singer. Look no further than single “On,” which starts as a vulnerable ballad about moving past a bad relationship until the zippy synth hook eventually pulls the song out of the doldrums and into joyous, danceable freedom. The album swings between ethereal mood pieces and serious club music, with wonderful side trips to Wales (the woozy, psychedelic “The Corner of My Sky” with John Cale) and an instrumental cover of Radiohead’s “Arpeggi,” all with KLO’s signature pinging synth leads and gossamer voice holding it together like delicate, silken web.

‘Inner Song’ is released via Smalltown Supersound.

GEESE – ” Projector “

Posted: December 4, 2021 in MUSIC
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Five teenagers from Brooklyn, NYC with the ambition to make music by any means necessary. Friendship lies at the core of the post-punk project with the young members of Geese – vocalist Cameron Winter, guitarist Gus Green, guitarist Foster Hudson, bassist Dom DiGesu and drummer Max Bassin, meeting at high school and first recording in a home studio out of a basement.

Effortlessly cool and the best debut of 2021. Geese is a band that begins and ends in Brooklyn, as a project between friends to build a home studio out of a basement. Their songs are born from the same ambition: make music by any means necessary. They began recording together with sneakers as mic stands and blankets draped over the amps, all within the afternoon following a school day, up until they ran the risk of noise complaints. Recently, they signed a record deal, so they are thinking about moving on from sneaker-laden mics and blanketed amps, but their musical ethos has not changed a bit.

Curiously alien, yet strangely familiar, the band’s debut album, “Projector“, is a product of five teenagers whose love of music touches every part of their lives: their restless anxiety about their futures, and their pent-up frustration with their present-a perspective all too familiar in today’s uncertain world. For fans of Television, The Strokes, Shame and The Feelies.

“The band’s sound presents a virtual Venn diagram of New York underground rock history” – THE NEW YORK TIMES
“Excellent debut” – ROLLINGSTONE
“One of the year’s most thrilling rock debuts” – NME
“Geese, no matter what happens next, are undoubtably going far” – SO YOUNG

WET LEG – ” Chaise Longue “

Posted: December 3, 2021 in MUSIC

If this isn’t the catchiest song then I don’t know what would be. All I know is that I wish this song was 24 hours long and had 2000 verses. Already feeling a strong “Song of the Summer” vibe about this one.

So far Wet Leg‘s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers have only released one song, via the Domino Records label, and this is it. Amidst a night of hazy scenes in their native Isle of Wight, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers found themselves at the summit of a Ferris wheel. They decided to start a band. The band is called Wet Leg.

Arming themselves with guitars, a penchant for French disco, effervescent imaginations and a shared love of the The Ronettes and Jane Birkin, through to Ty Segall and Bjork, they set about making some recordings of their own. Is that a Faust sample loaded into their drum machine?
Wet Leg performed over various festivals this summer.

Wetleg just announced the release of their self titled debut album, which will be out on April 8th, 2022 via Domino. The duo have also shared two new songs, “Too Late Now” and “Oh No” with an accompanying music video for “Too Late Now.”

Teasdale explains “Too Late Now” in a press release: “It is about sleepwalking into adulthood. I never imagined that my adult life would look the way it does and I guess this song reflects on some of the pressures and pulls of life. Sometimes I get really inside my head and everything can feel very overwhelming. I think this song is about accepting that life can feel a bit shit from time to time. Maybe don’t indulge that thought too much though. Just take some time for yourself. Take a breath. Have a bath. It might make you feel a bit better.”

She adds, regarding the album: “I wanted to write fun songs, I didn’t want to indulge sad feelings too much, I wanted to write stuff that’s fun to listen to and fun to play. But then, the sad seeps through, as well. Wet Leg was originally just supposed to be funny. As a woman, there’s so much put on you, in that your only value is how pretty or cool you look. But we want to be goofy and a little bit rude. We want to write songs that people can dance to. And we want people to have a good time, even if that might not be possible all of the time.”

Wet Leg out now on Domino Recordings

KIM GORDON – ” Grass Jeans “

Posted: December 3, 2021 in MUSIC
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Kim Gordon shared a new track “Grass Jeans,” recorded with touring band members Sterling Laws, Sarah Register & Camilla Charlesworth and is the first new music since releasing her critically acclaimed solo debut, “No Home Record”. All proceeds from the month of December for the song will be benefiting Fund Texas Choice (formerly Fund Texas Women), a non-profit organization that pays for Texans’ travel to abortion clinics. The Fund was formed in response to the passage of Texas House Bill 2, which closed nearly 75% of over 40 Texan clinics in 2013 and 2014.

The closures were primarily in rural and low-income areas of the state, necessitating cost-prohibitive, time-wasting, and geographically-difficult travel for groups already facing financial obstacles to abortion.

The Vibrators

When a band like British punk icons The Vibrators, unearths a treasure trove of early demos from their early years as a band? They release it as a set of CDs for all of us to enjoy!. Punk Rock fans know that the best punk recordings are of the raw, rough, “quick! let’s get it on tape before we forget the chords” variety. Those are the recordings that come straight from the heart, capturing the fire of the song’s initial inspiration before it gets piled on and choked out with overdubs and studio gimmickry.

The Vibrators recently discovered a treasure trove of early demos from the band’s early years. – a discovery that has made punk aficionados and Vibrator fans hurriedly rewrite their letters to Santa this xmas. “The Demos 1976-1978” is truly a piece of punk rock history. This three-CD box set includes many of the songs that made The Vibrators a household name and influenced generations of punks to come.

Listen to these raucous versions of ‘We Vibrate’ and ‘Judy Says (Knock You In The Head)’ that are arguably even better than the versions that ended up on their major-label studio albums. Check out the incredible 1977 demo version of ‘Automatic Lover,‘ a song they would re-record for their 1978 album “V2″.

“I think demos are very important. You can look at the song and see how much more might need doing to it,” vocalist and primary songwriter Knox reveals.

“The demo often becomes a kind of signpost to the band to show how the song should be developed and finished. It is sometimes almost like another member of the band. It is available for all sorts of changes, but in the end, even if it’s your song, you are in a band and not doing a solo project.”

‘The Demos 1976-1978’ also contains several tracks that never made it onto any Vibrators studio album! Rumour has it that for the group’s final album, set for release next year, Knox, Eddie and the boys took one of these gems and polished it up for a proper release. But, until then, you can pre-order the box set, which comes in a clamshell box with a 12-page booklet of liner notes and rare photos, plus a button and guitar pick! Available everywhere not-so-fine punk rock is sold.

The Demos 1976-1978″ released December 10th

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Australian band “Gang Of Youths’ upcoming third album “Angel In Realtime” (and its accompanying tour) are already one of 2022’s most anticipated musical events. And in the lead-up, the band have been hard on the promo trail. One of Australia’s most exciting musical exports, Gang of Youths, makes their Late Show debut with this performance.

They’ve been playing a bunch of shows across Europe, the US, and their adopted UK, including opening for Sam Fender (did you catch their Bruce Springsteen cover?), and now they’ve turned in a performance for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

They brought a stirring rendition of their barrelling, cathartic ‘the Angel of 8th Ave.’. There’s swirling camera movements and simple, striking lighting but the focal point is obviously frontman Dave Le’uapepe, as he stalks and sways across the stage. This is hardly the band’s first time on US TV, and their popularity has ballooned in recent years overseas, but we’re still jealous thinking of any viewers who might be experiencing the dancing, charismatic Le’aupepe for the very first time. (The feeling must be close to seeing Future Islands’ iconic Letterman performance; ‘Who Is this guy!?’ )

We’re still getting crippling info that international audiences are enjoying the new Gangs live before Australia. With their track ‘The Angel of 8th Ave’ and the surprise EP, “Total Serene”. The band followed it up with a new single called ‘The Man Himself’. The Sydney-bred group have been teasing the track on socials and playing it in their Live shows for (very lucky) UK festival crowds lately, and the studio version shows them pushing to evolve their sound beyond the indie-rock arena anthems that’s made them so beloved.

For starters, there’s different textures going on, with piano and violin (from newest member Tom Hobden) foregrounded over breakbeat drum parts. Like all recent Gang of Youths material, ‘The Man Himself’ was recorded after the band relocated to London in 2017, in their own studio space in Hackney.

Lyrically, it’s a deeply personal mediation on grief and growth from Dave Le’aupepe, wrapped up with his late father, who died of cancer in 2018. His memory won’t be forgotten – ‘There’s a painting of you/And it hangs in our kitchen’ Dave sings – but it also reflects his struggle of making his way through the world without his old man. As the track winds down for a quieter passage, the frontman sings:

‘So take a single step at a simple pace/and the outward momentum will maybe unfu*k you in time
So comb your hair and clean your teeth/and dial back home at least or twice a week
And make sure that you see them more a lot more than I do with mine’

Angel In Realtime” is out 25th February, 2022. 

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Formed in 1977, X quickly established themselves as one of the best bands in the first wave of LA’s flourishing punk scene; becoming legendary leaders of a punk generation. In 2020 – they released their first new album in 35 years, “Alphabetland”. X’s 1983 release “More Fun in the New World“, their fourth and last record produced by Ray Manzerak.

It was their last LP that would stay true to their punk roots. Their previous three releases (1980’s “Los Angeles1981’s “Wild Gift” and 1982’s “Under the Big Black Sun“) gave us tales of a darker side of Los Angeles that was more Tom Waits and less Hollywood.

Along with The Germs, Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, X stood out amongst a sea of Southern California punk bands who had to constantly play gigs to get their music heard. Except for college radio and KROQ, punk had no home on the airwaves. This did not deter X from improving with each album release.

The anthemic album opener “The New World” is still powerful years later, as is the absolutely beautiful ballad “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” which perfectly captures the paranoid feeling of Reagan’s America in the ’80s.

More Fun in the New World” incorporates a rockabilly sound mixed in with insightful sociopolitical commentary to give X the best album in their catalogue. The album starts off with the folky, brilliant and still relevant “The New World,” a razor-sharp rebuke of Ronald Reagan’s presidency without even mentioning his name. Writer Michael H. Little once called the song “a savage spit in the eye of false promises—the only promises politicians make—and one of punk’s great protest songs.” If you’ve read a newspaper or watched the news at any point in the last couple of years, then you know how important and applicable this song is to today’s America.

It was better before, before they voted for What’s-His-Name / This was supposed to be the new world / It was better before, before they voted for What’s-His-Name / This was supposed to be the new world.

Like “The New World,” “We’re Having Much More Fun” features Exene Cervenka and bassist John Doe sharing lead vocals with excellent guitar work from Billy Zoom. It’s a tale of the seedier side of Los Angeles as only X could tell it. Their delivery is so compelling, you could imagine yourself sweating and boozing it up very late into the evening on a hot summer night.

In the hallways upstairs / Everyone hangs out the doors / And the silhouettes act obscene / Across from where we stay / We’re having much more fun / You don’t know where we’ve gone

X achieved new rough and rocking heights with the vicious “Devil Doll,” “Painting the Town Blue,” and “Make the Music Go Bang,” while returning once again to their retro ’50s roots with “Poor Girl”.

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“True Love” and “Poor Little Girl” are tales of the not-so-sweet-and-tender sides of love and romance. Cervenka and Doe, who were married at the time, took turns singing lead, with Cervenka taking on the former. She describes true love as the “the devil’s crowbar,” leading us to believe that she might have been better off not knowing what true love really is.

“Poor Little Girl” is Doe’s take on a relationship in which he can’t seem to do anything right and can’t figure out the source of his partner’s sadness. The guitar work of Zoom and drumming of D.J. Bonebrake is reminiscent of a sound you’d hear in a Bo Diddley song.

“Make the Music Go Bang” and “Breathless” are welcome returns to X’s uptempo sounds, with the latter standing out as one of the album’s highlights. With its cranked-up tempo and spot-on vocals by Cervenka, X’s cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Breathless” is hands down the best version of the song. The song begs to be played as loud as possible.

“I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” is a personal favourite of mine and maybe the only song I know of that addresses America’s sketchy foreign policy and lack of airplay for punk bands on the radio. Somehow, Doe and Cervenka make it work.

“Devil Doll,” ”Painting the Town Blue,” and “Hot House” bring the album back to a style more reminiscent of their previous releases and show off the underrated songwriting of Cervenka and Doe. Each of these songs is vastly different from each other but convey a sense of pathos without losing their edge. It’s great storytelling without the sappiness of a classic country music song. “Drunk in My Past,” if sung by any other classic rock outfit, would be just another song. The vocal style of Doe and Cervenka makes this song work so well.

“I See Red” is a fun and manic blast of punk rock at its best. It speeds along at a breakneck pace, not quite out of control. As you’re listening, you constantly wonder how it’s going to end and then suddenly you hear the sound of what might be hubcaps falling off of a car.

The LP ends with “True Love (Part 2),” a track that sounds nothing like anything else X had done until this point. It’s a fun, stream of consciousness track that does not take itself too seriously, and neither should you.

Released April 12th, 2019