This is a recording of the last show I played with my band before the world slowed down. I hope that it brings joy and a little solace where people need it most.

Lots of love and thanks to my bandmates, Erin Manning, J.R. Bohannon, and Bryan Bisordi, for taking the ride with me, for their fire performances, and to Brian Esselbrugge for engineering and recording this set! . And thanks especially to every fan who has made live music possible. This is such an intimate concert recording that it feels like Torres is singing directly to me. Torres sings her heart out, perhaps knowing that this would be her last show for a while.

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All my love,
Mackenzie

The Band:
Bryan Bisordi: drums
Erin Manning: Moog, synthesizers, vocal harmonies
J.R. Bohannon: pedal steel, guitar
Mackenzie Scott: vocals + guitar

Released July 3rd, 2020

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Esther Edquist is Melbourne artist Sweet Whirl. She is also one of the best songwriters you have heard in a very long time. The debut Sweet Whirl album “How Much Works” was released May 29th  on ltd white vinyl, black vinyl and digital. Gorilla Vs. Bear just premiered the album’s lead single and video “Something I Do”, calling it “one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard thus far in 2020…a perfect introduction to the album’s quiet, yearning intensity and understated, poignant brilliance.”

“Something I Do” is a languid lament accompanied by an evocative video directed by James Thomson. Esther says of the song, “To be honest I was inspired to write this song while I was seeing this total a-hole and felt like I had to carry the flame of my desire around with me all the time, lest it die.” How Much Works is Sweet Whirl’s debut album proper, after a handful of releases acclaimed by the likes of Gorilla Vs Bear, The Guardian and Clash Magazine. How Much Works arrives fully formed, a classic ten song album from an artist with both a command of history and a drive for new expression.

The album is a beautifully crafted triumph over bleak moments. It’s the love-addled confessions of a seasoned party girl, romantic yet sardonic, a troubadour who sings of the heart with a knowing sense of the timeless victory of song. Esther dissects experiences with wit and depth, emerging as a powerful, indomitable voice. Musically and lyrically, How Much Works draws on wells as deep as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jean-Paul Sartre and Sheryl Crow.

It distills personal, reflexive narratives into something universal and wondrous. Esther produced the album and plays almost everything on it, with guitar and therevox from engineer Casey Hartnett (Sui Zhen, Sleep Decade) and drums from Monty Hartnett (Dreamin Wild, Sleep Decade). Fellow Chapter Music recording artist Gregor contributes backing vocals to Make That Up For Me and Conga Line. Esther has previously served in Melbourne duo Superstar, who released two delay-drenched albums during the mid 10s. She has also been a member of Scott & Charlene’s Wedding.

Love for previous Sweet Whirl releases: “An exquisitely bleary-eyed gem” – Gorilla Vs Bear, “With music this soft on your skin, small acts of rebellion feel big.” – The Guardian “A gentle sense of grace, an unhurried sense of beauty” – Clash

Interloper sees the band adding new layers to their lush and mesmerizing songwriting style. Written about the duality between life at home and life on the road, it sees the band expanding on their most esoteric and thought-provoking themes. Holy Wave have never been your average Austin psych band. With a keyboard-forward sound that favours groovy krautrock rhythms and sunshine harmonies, they’ve always been closer to Stereolab or The Free Design than The 13th Floor Elevators or The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Their music is more interesting and varied than their rather generic name might suggest.

If you’re unfamiliar with Holy Wave, “Interloper” is a pretty good place to start. The layers of keyboards and harmonies are warm and comforting, and more than a little trippy. Much of Interloper has a half-awake feel to it, like an afternoon nap on a sunny day, and the synthesizer lines on “Escapism” and the title track float like specks of dust suspended in a beam of light pouring through the blinds. There are also a few motorik jams (“Hell Bastards,” “Buddhist Pete”), and couple milquetoast stabs at festival fodder (“R&B” sounds like Tame Impala covering Mac DeMarco), but Interloper mostly makes for a great chilled-out, lazy summer day listen. In particular, the “Schmettering” and “No Love,” with their funky, baroque arrangements, sound like a picnic under a tree. “Anyone could sing ‘la la la’ and you’d be alright,” a line from “Interloper” goes, which encapsulates the breezy vibe nicely.

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“I’m Not Living in the Past Anymore” is a mantra about breaking the cycle of the mundane, “Escapism” is a dream-like meditation. “Interloper” serves as the centerpiece for this self-expanding record, asking, what happens when the world beneath your feet changes so much that you feel like a stranger in your own shoes? The band turns inward, to blissed-out moments on album opener “Schmetterling”, the saccharine haze of “R&B”, and the freak-out catharsis of live favorite “Buddhist Pete”.

Rleased July 3rd, 2020 on Reverberation Appreciation Society.

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Brooklyn’s finest Stereolab/My Bloody Valentine hybridizers surprise release a new EP, Surprise! New EP out today via Slumberland Records and Tough Love Records – limited edition lathe cut vinyl via Tough Love from was made available over night but it has sold out. Peel Dream Magazine released the terrific Agitprop Alterna earlier this year and have now released, for Bandcamp Friday, this EP of songs that didn’t quite fit the record. I definitely wouldn’t call these throwaways, and some are new territory of the band. “Verfremdungseffekt” is low-key folk with a krautrock engine, and “Dialectrics” is one of their warmest pop melodies yet, drenched in chugging guitar, drony organ and a lead line right out of the JAMC recipe book. They’re still pulling from Stereolab (“Life at the Movies”) and My Bloody Valentine (“New Culture”), but making it their own.

This is a companion EP that features unreleased songs from the “Agitprop Alterna” sessions. Far from being outtakes, these are all songs that stand strong on their own, and gathered together function as a useful corollary to the album.

The EP’s title comes from Stanley Cohen’s “Folk Devils and Moral Panics,” a pivotal study of the media treatment of the mod movement and the poltical, societal and cultural faultlines that the media panic embodied — it’s a reference that’s quite revealing about some of the ideas behind Peel Dream.

Peel Dream Magazine – Moral Panics EP

Debut album from promising new UK shoegaze band who have clearly studied the classics, Hailing from Hull/Leeds, shoegazers bdrmm are young but they clearly understand the power and allure of distorted, effects-laden guitars and the loud-quiet-loud dynamic. Following a number of singles and EPs, they’ve now released their debut album, Bedroom”(a title that also serves as a pronunciation guide for their voweless name), which is out via Sonic Cathedral, a label that has all but cornered the market on classic-sounding shoegaze.

I don’t think bdrmm have quite figured out their own sound just yet, but they are currently expert borrowers and have studied the classics, from Disintegration,Nowhere and Siamese Dream, to slightly more obscure groups like The Chameleons, Straightjacket Fits and Clearlake. They’ve got a good handle on dynamics, and show it off as they play through a few different sub-styles: mopey and spacious (“Push/Pull”), bright and propulsive (“Happy”), and the towering skyscraper of guitars (“Time to Celebrate,” “If…”).

Lyrics and vocals seem to be beside the point here, mixed low for the most part, if there at all. Opening track “Momo,” one of the album’s most sweeping songs, is an instrumental. That’s fine, as bdrmm are playing to their many strengths with their guitars saying enough for now.

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Limited-edition clear and black marble vinyl pressing of the debut album by bdrmm. The first 50 copies were posted out with ‘Creating Bedroom’, a photo zine documenting the recording of the album, plus a bdrmm pin badge.

released July 3rd, 2020

Music and words by bdrmm

Not many bands in the current emo scene have undergone an evolution as swift and drastic as Remo Drive. Their 2017 debut album titled “Greatest Hits” was a fairly standard indie/emo/pop punk record, but the shimmering chords and classic power pop influences of its underrated 2019 follow-up album Natural, Everyday Degradation showed Remo Drive quickly making a leap from their scrappy roots. When that album came out, I compared it to the jump Saves The Day made from Through Being Cool to Stay What You Are, and their just-released third album “A Portrait of an Ugly Man” just might be their In Reverie.

Natural, Everyday Degradation hinted at “classic” sounds, but “Portrait of an Ugly Man” does a deep dive into your parents’ record collection, fusing elements of classic rock, desert rock, and Spaghetti Western scores and coming out with songs that sound wise beyond their years. It’s not just an improvement upon the band’s earlier work because it’s stylistically more “mature” though; as they explore different genres of music, Remo Drive are also getting better at everything they do. They’re better songwriters than ever, and they’re better producers too — like last year’s Natural, Everyday Degradation companion EP Natural, Everyday Extended Play, they produced Portrait themselves. And as much as the “dad rock” influences on this one are clear, Remo Drive still sound like the lively, youthful band that they always were. With the classic rock worship meeting the band’s emo roots, Portrait sounds a little like prime-era Okkervil River, and if you like that band, you should not overlook this one.

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Remo Drive is Erik Paulson and Stephen Paulson

Portrait of an Ugly Man was written and performed by Erik Paulson (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, and Aux Percussion), Stephen Paulson (Bass Guitar and Midi Programming), and Sam Becht (Drums). Whitney Smith performed Violin on “If I’ve Ever Looked Too Deep In Thought”

All lyrics by Erik Paulson

Released June 26th, 2020

Hum’s first album in 22 years goes beyond the average expectations of a reunion album and pushes Hum’s sound in new directions left and right. It cements their legacy further than ever before, and it just might turn out to be their masterpiece.  I think many of us needed this without knowing, particularly those of us who love Hum and never imagined another album. Despite the undercurrent of melancholy in Hum’s music, that “look to the stars” hopefulness, and the lyrical explorations of when science, consciousness, and love intersect. Often times, a reunion album reminds you why you fell in love with a band in the first place, proves they’ve still got it, and helps re-establish the band as a force within an era that they had long been absent from. But in rarer cases, a reunion album cements a band’s legacy further than ever before, closing a book you might not have realized had been left open. Inlet, Hum’s first album in 22 years, is the latter. This type of heavy shoegaze/alt-rock is arguably more prevalent now than it was in the ’90s, thanks to Hum’s influence, and as good as many of Hum’s followers are, Inlet is the album that this distinct subgenre needed. Hum were maybe ahead of their time, and it’s as if they needed the world to catch up with them before they could release what may turn out to be their masterpiece.

Released June 23rd, 2020

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All music written and recorded by HUM at Earth Analog and ELL.

Band Members:
Jeff Dimpsey,
Bryan St. Pere,
Matt Talbott,
Tim Lash,

Before Weezer released Pinkerton — the initially-misunderstood album that eventually became rightfully recognized as the band’s masterpiece — they were working on Songs From the Black Hole, a space-themed science fiction rock opera with guest vocals by Rachel Haden and Joan Wasser that was eventually abandoned, with some songs ending up on Pinkerton, others surfacing over the years, and others still in the vault or unfinished. Just judging by what does exist of it, it’s one of the great “lost” albums in rock history, and Weezer never attempted anything like it since. The post-Pinkerton, Matt Sharp-less version of the band has almost never neared the heights of the band’s classic ’90s era, though Matt Sharp’s band The Rentals have. Their 2014 reunion album “Lost In Alphaville” (released on Polyvinyl) was the album that those of us who wanted another Blue Album were waiting for, and with the self-released Q36 — The Rentals’ first new album in six years – they just may have made their Songs From the Black Hole.

The Rentals’ lineup is now Matt Sharp with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner and The Killers drummer Ronnie Vanucci, and they made this album with frequent Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann as mixing engineer and guest vocal contributions from The Gentle Assassins Choir, School of Seven Bells’ Alejandra Deheza, and others. Fridmann especially is a perfect fit for Q36; Lost In Alphaville sounded like crunchy, punchy, power-poppy ’90s Rentals but Q36 is a soaring, adventurous psychedelic pop album that sounds like Matt Sharp’s very own Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. And, lyrically, it’s a space-themed science fiction concept album.

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Each of the 16 songs on this double album tells its own story — with inspiration coming from real-life occurrences like Apollo 11 (“Forgotten Astronaut”) and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (“Great Big Blue”), as well as hypothetical, apocalyptic scenarios that fall under “science fiction” but aren’t so impossible to imagine these days — and Matt chose to introduce these stories to the world by releasing one song at a time over the past few months. Together, the 16 songs of Q36 make something that genuinely earns the term “epic.” It’s by far the most ambitious music that Matt Sharp has ever released, and he pulls it off. The Rentals’ first reunion album proved they could still churn out quality versions of the music they made in the ’90s, but I don’t know who could’ve predicted Matt would return six years later with a star-studded line up and an album that is both literally and figuratively out of this world. This is the kind of album that music nerds dream up when they’re shooting the breeze about hypothetical supergroups and album concepts that will never exist. But I promise you’re not dreaming, Q36 really does exist, and it’s as great as it sounds like it’d be. Surely “Q36” is Matt’s magnum opus. I was unsure at first as the singles came out but one by one it turned into a masterpiece!.

The space western theme is a story on it’s own.

Released June 26th, 2020

(Singer, Songwriter; Producer) Matt Sharp
(Guitarist) Nick Zinner
(Drummer) Ronnie Vannucci

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After a year full of health setbacks and tour cancellations, Ozzy Osbourne is back at full swing and he stole the show at the American Music Awards, joining Post Malone and Travis Scott for a fiery performance of their hit single “Take What You Want.” Metalheads are, of course, divided over the Prince of Darkness’ embrace of pop. Ozzy Osbourne is already recording a new album, which is a bit of a surprise, because in some ways this year’s Ordinary Man feels like a goodbye — or at least the exclamation point on a long chapter of work. Not that Ozzy sounds tired; on high-octane single “Straight to Hell” and the manic, Post Malone-featuring “It’s a Raid,” he appears invigorated, replenished by a nearly 10-year gap between solo records. But when he sings “I don’t wanna die an ordinary man” alongside fellow aging rocker Elton John, he sounds as though he knows the writing’s on the wall – and if so, Ordinary Man is a hell of a way to go out.

The Prince of Fucking Darkness re-emerged reinvigorated on solo album No. 12. Helmed by Post Malone producer and guitarist Andrew Watt, and featuring rock-star assists from Slash, Elton John, Post and others, Ordinary Man is anything but ordinary, capturing the septuagenarian godfather of heavy metal in fine form, whether shrieking, “It’s a raid!” or moaning of the inevitable end on “Under the Graveyard.” The crazy train still has plenty of steam in it yet.

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Image  —  Posted: July 5, 2020 in MUSIC
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