Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

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On this day (March. 28th) in 1967: Van Morrison recorded the track “Brown Eyed Girl” during a two-day session at A&R Studios in New York City; written by Van, it was one of eight songs recorded at the time for his new record label, Bang Records; produced by Bang founder Bert Berns in 22 takes, the finished version was different than what Van had envisioned; “The record came out different,” he later explained…”This fellow Bert, he made it the way he wanted it & I accepted the fact that he was producing it, so I just let him do it”…(this fab clip from 1973, likely more how Van heard it…). The song spent a total of sixteen weeks on the chart. It featured the Sweet Inspirations singing back-up vocals and is considered to be Van Morrison’s signature song. “Brown Eyed Girl” has remained a staple on classic rock radio, and has been covered by hundreds of bands over the decades.

Because of a contract he signed with Bang Records without legal advice, Morrison states that he has never received any royalties for writing or recording this song. Morrison vented frustration about this unjust contract in his sarcastic nonsense song “The Big Royalty Check”. Morrison has stated that “Brown Eyed Girl” is not among his favourite songs, remarking “it’s not one of my best. I mean I’ve got about 300 songs that I think are better.

After finishing his contract with “Decca Records” and the mid-1966 break-up of his band, Them , Morrison returned to Belfast seeking a new recording company. When he received a phone call from Bert Berns owner of Bang Records who had produced a number of recordings with Them, he flew to New York City and hastily signed a contract (which biographer Clinton Heylin says probably still gives him sleepless nights). During a two-day recording session starting 28th March 1967, he recorded eight songs intended to be used as four singles. The recording session took place at A & R Studios and “Brown Eyed Girl” was captured on the 22nd take on the first day. Of the musicians Berns had assembled, there were three guitarists Eric Gale Hugh McCracken and Al Gorgoni plus bassist Russ Savakus pianist Paul Griffin and drummer Gary Chester It was released as a single in mid-June 1967.

Originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl”,Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” when he recorded it. Morrison remarked on the title change: “That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind [that] I changed the title. After we’d recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title. I looked at the box where I’d lain it down with my guitar and it said ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ on the tape box. It’s just one of those things that happen.

The song’s nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations. A radio-edit of the song was released which removed the lyrics “making love in the green grass”, replacing them with “laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey” from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison. However, the remastered album seems to have the bowdlerised lyrics in the packaging but the original “racy” lyrics on the disc.

“Brown Eyed Girl” joined an elite group of songs as it was honoured for having 10 million US radio air plays

Starless and Bible Black, 30th Anniversary Edition

When it was released in spring 1974, not even the record company knew that King Crimson’s ‘Starless & Bible Black’ album was essentially a live recording. Such secrecy by the band might have resulted from knowing that record labels paid a reduced royalty rate on live albums. The truth only emerged several years after Crimson had split up.

Bassist/vocalist John Wetton was proud of the results: “For me, it shows us moving into another dimension as far as being a band is concerned. We’d found our feet; we’d been on the road for the best part of a year. We knew what we wanted to do & we were getting creative. Not only is the album chronologically the bridge between Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, & Red, but it’s also a bridge in many more ways..

in 1973 King Crimson weren’t simply touring in order to pursue rutting opportunities. There was the not inconsiderable matter of recording a follow-up to Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. The album had sold well but the band were less than happy with the results of the time they had spent during January and February in Piccadilly’s Command Studios. “Collapse Studios more like – that’s what we used to call it,” shudders Wetton.

Despite the classic nature of the material and many inventive moments peppered throughout LTIA, the Crimson camp felt that whatever magic had touched them as they played in concert during the winter of ’72, the recording of the album in the New Year had quite simply failed to capture any of that power or intensity which had moved not only the band themselves, but also many commentators and fans. Putting a brave face on their combined disappointment, by the time the album hit the shops, the quartet were already on their way around the UK, Europe and, in mid-April, the USA. The Crimson that returned to the UK in July ’73 was not only tired after notching up over 60 gigs, but also in dire need of new material to refresh the setlist and prepare for a new album.

Reconvening after a three-week holiday, spirits and tempers were frayed, rather than rested. What had been a break for some turned out to be a busman’s holiday for Robert Fripp, who emerged from his Dorset cottage with Fracture, The Night Watch and Lament.  As the group worked on the new tunes, bad tempers flashed. According to Bill Bruford, Crimson’s writing processes were exercises in “excruciating, teeth-pullingly difficult music making. The tunes Robert has written all the way through, such as Fracture, these are good, and had there been greater output from Robert, we’d have got on quicker and faster. Robert’s always done this. He’s started off these bands with one-and-a-half tunes that point the general direction, and Fracture would have been one of them.”

“I was never given the time to write,” counters Fripp. “The band had a three-and-a-half-week holiday. I had three days. I recall on another occasion saying to the band that I needed time to write, rather than just continuing to rehearse. Bill, in a schoolmasterly and rather grudging fashion, would only agree if I really would do the writing, as opposed to what he implied was goofing off.” The gnawing antipathy that became a defining characteristic of Fripp and Bruford’s subsequent professional relationship first surfaced in these rehearsal sessions, sewing the seeds of the band’s demise a year later.

Putting their differences aside, Crimson took to the road with their newly composed repertoire and their near-telepathic ability to create complex and nuanced improvisations off the top of their heads. When they played at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, a mobile recording studio captured the band in full aleatoric flight.

Few bands of the era offered as much variety in material from night to night. King Crimson’s propensity for improvisation & fondness for playing its newest material – often unreleased on record at the time of the concerts – is legendary. Fewer bands still, whether by accident or design, recorded so many of their live shows.

Back in the UK in January 1974, and with three new tracks in the can at George Martin’s AIR Studios, the band sifted through the many live multi-tracks from the tour, choosing the best improvisations and scrupulously editing the tapes to remove any hint of audience noise or applause. It was impossible to tell what had been improvised in concert and what had been recorded in the studio.

The only songs recorded entirely in the studio were the first two tracks, “The Great Deceiver” and “Lament”. “We’ll Let You Know” was an entirely improvised piece recorded in Glasgow. “The Mincer” was another improvised piece, originally recorded in concert in Zürich but overdubbed with Wetton’s vocals in the studio ,The track was the edited-out middle section of a longer improvisation, the other parts released on The Great Deceiver as “The Law of Maximum Distress”. “Trio”, “Starless and Bible Black” and “Fracture” (the last of which Robert Fripp has cited as one of the most difficult guitar pieces he has ever played were recorded live at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Also recorded at the Concertgebouw was the introduction to “The Night Watch” (the band’s Mellotron broke down at the start of the next section, meaning that the remainder of the song needed to be recorded in the studio and dubbed in later). In all cases, live applause was removed from the recordings wherever possible (although the remains of it can be heard by an attentive listener). The complete Amsterdam Concertgebouw concert was eventually released by the band in 1997 as The Night Watch.

“Trio” was notable for being a quartet piece with only three active players – John Wetton on bass guitar, David Cross on viola and Robert Fripp on “flute” Mellotron. Bruford spent the entire piece with his drumsticks crossed over his chest, waiting for the right moment to join in but eventually realized that the improvised piece was progressing better without him. His decision not to add any percussion was seen by the rest of the band as a crucial choice, and he received co-writing credit for the piece.

When it was released in that spring, not even the record company knew that “Starless And Bible Black” was essentially a live recording. Such secrecy by the band might have resulted from knowing that record labels paid a reduced royalty rate on live albums. The truth only emerged several years after Crimson had split up.

Starless and Bible Black offers an in depth overview of one of the era’s most significant bands in its most celebrated live line-up. John Wetton is proud of the results: “For me, it shows us moving into another dimension as far as being a band is concerned. We’d found our feet; we’d been on the road for the best part of a year. We knew what we wanted to do and we were getting creative. Not only is the album chronologically the bridge between LTIA and Red, but it’s also a bridge in many more ways. We were getting more experimental, trying different recording techniques, really screwing with the system, removing applause from live tracks so they sound like studio tracks – the exact opposite of what people do today where they add applause to a studio track and pretend it’s live. We’d removed the audience because that was the only way we could get the atmosphere we were after. Before Red, we could never recreate that kind of power in the studio – it just wouldn’t happen. You’re in a sterile environment, whereas on stage you’d got all that air and people and you’d got energy.” The bassist looks back on the period in which the album was made with real affection

Autumn 1973: As King Crimson’s second lengthy US tour of that year was coming to a close, a short series of UK concerts for the end of October, followed by a more extensive European tour in November was already planned. Three of these concerts Glasgow, Zurich & Amsterdam were recorded as full multi-track recordings, with material from the Amsterdam show being used as core material for the January 1974 recording of “Starless & Bible Black”. From mid-March to the start of April, the band was on the road in Europe again, promoting the album with their final European concerts of the decade, prior to undertaking a further US tour. A number of these concerts were recorded on stereo reel to reel machines, fed directly from the signal as sent to the PA system on the night of the performance. These soundboards are often referred to as “The Blue Tapes”, named after the outer colour of the original tape boxes & are especially valued for both the quality of recording & performance.

This boxed set presents eighteen CDs of live concert performances, seven of them mixed from the 1973 multi-track tapes and a further eleven presenting the complete run of “The Blue Tapes” for the first time. CDs of the ORTF Paris TV performance & the 2011 stereo mix of Starless & Bible Black also feature. Two DVD-A discs & two Blu-Ray discs contain concert & studio recordings in stereo, quadraphonic & full 5.1 surround sound – all presented in high-resolution audio.

  • 19 CDs of live performance material.
  • 7 CDs taken from multi-track tape including 4CDs of material from the Glasgow & Zurich shows, freshly assembled & mastered in Hi-Res from the original Great Deceiver mixes by David Singleton at DGM Soundworld in 2014, the Amsterdam show The Nightwatch mixed by Steven Wilson & a previously unheard preparatory of material from the same show prepared by George Chkiantz (engineer of all live KC shows of the era & the Red album).
  • 11 CDs drawn from high quality stereo reel to reel soundboard tapes. 8 making their first appearance on CD with the remaining three re-mastered or drawn from new tape sources.
  • 1 CD presenting the performance from the ORTF Paris TV broadcast
  • CD 20 features the 2011 stereo mix of Starless & Bible Black by Steven Wilson & Robert Fripp
  • DVD-A 1 features the Starless & Bible Black album in 5.1 Surround, with new & original stereo album mixes in High Resolution Stereo plus bonus audio material.
  • DVD-A 2 features material from Mainz (mixed by David Singleton), Amsterdam (mixed by Steven Wilson) & a later show from Pittsburgh (mixed by George Chkiantz) in quadraphonic audio & High-Resolution Stereo.
  • Both DVD-A discs are region 0 playable in all areas & compatible with all DVD players & DVD Rom players

 

  • Blu-Ray Disc 1 features full lossless audio 24/192 transfers of material from the Glasgow & Zurich shows, freshly assembled & mastered from the original Great Deceiver mixes by David Singleton at DGM Soundworld in 2014 in LPCM stereo.
  • Blu-Ray Disc 1 also features the Amsterdam show The Nightwatch, mixed by Steven Wilson & the George Chkiantz preparatory mix stereo in 24/96 High-resolution stereo & a 24/96 transfer of the original David Singleton/Robert Fripp mix of The Nightwatch.
  • Blu-Ray Disc 2 features Starless & Bible Black in 5.1 Surround (DTS-HD MAS & LPCM 24/96) alongside new & original stereo masters of the album, a needledrop of an original vinyl pressing + audio extras.
  • Blu-Ray Disc 2 also features the Quad mixes of material from the Mainz, Amsterdam & Pittsburgh concerts.
  • Blu-Ray Disc 2 also features the ORTF Paris TV footage in a new hi-res transfer from the original source files.
  • Discs packaged in 8 individual 3 disc digi-packs within an album sized box
  • 3 additional bonus CDs of audio restored soundboard/bootlegs & audio curios are also included.
  • 1 further concert (bootleg quality audio) is also available via included download ticket.
  • Album sized booklet with rare/unseen photos, new sleeve notes by Sid Smith, technical notes on the recordings by David Singleton, eye-witness accounts from fans who attended the gigs + memorabilia including an album print, poster, replica concert ticket, press release with folder, photos & more besides.
  • King Crimson
    • Robert Fripp – guitar, Mellotron, devices, Hohner pianet, production
    • John Wetton – bass, vocals, production
    • Bill Bruford – drums, percussion, production
    • David Cross – violin, viola, Mellotron, Hohner pianet, production

 

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On this day (March. 28th) in 1980: Northern Irish punk-pop band The Undertones released the single “My Perfect Cousin”, backed with “I Don’t Want To See You Again” & “Hard Luck (Again)”; the A-side would appear on the band’s forthcoming sophomore Sire Records album, ‘Hypnotized’ while the B-sides were exclusive to the single; it would reach UK number 9, the highest chart position for the group up to that point…One of the great pop singles of the early 80s with the kind of lines `he’s got a fur-lined sheepskin jacket, my ma said it cost a packet’, `he thinks that I’m a cabbage ‘cos I hate University challenge’ and the immortal `his mother bought him a synthesizer, got the Human League into advise her’ that today’s pop stars can only dream of writing. And the video is ace — look out for the famous subbuteo scene — what we all did for entertainment in those days.

Fantastic lyrics, Feargal’s superb voice and so unpretentious and real, especially the video which probably cost all of ten quid.  Brilliant and timeless. The music video to the song was largely filmed at the home of the O’Neill brothers, and was directed by Julien Temple.The song was performed on Top of the Pops on two occasions: 10 April and 24 April 1980.

Muzz

Paul Banks of Interpol has formed a new band, Muzz, that also features Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman). On Tuesday they shared a new song, “Broken Tambourine,” via a video for the track. The single is out now via Matador Records. Interpol have such a specific sound that it’s also nice to hear Banks branch out with his solo and side projects.

Earlier this month, we were introduced to a new indie supergroup called Muzz when a song called Bad Feeling quietly appeared online. Matt Barrick (the former Walkmen drummer who also plays in Fleet Foxes’ touring band),  Josh Kaufman, the multi-instrumentalist who’s played with everyone from the National to Hiss Golden Messenger to his current project Bonny Light Horseman. The members all go way back — Banks and Barrick have known each other since they were teens, and also played together with Banks’ RZA collab Banks & Steelz — and they finally got together and formed a band themselves.

The song Broken Tambourine – in a nutshell – is about sadness and joy, and the uneven distribution of those elements. When I started thinking about imagery to accompany the song, a lone and lonely moon man came to my mind. I wanted to show his trials and tribulations, his aloneness and his wonder. And I felt that would nicely amplify the thinking behind the lyrics.
I contacted my friend and sometime collaborator Griffin Frazen to help me bring the idea to life. His vision and style are immaculate and we jived immediately. It was a blast refining the ideas and the world of the moon man in collaboration with Griffin.

Previously Muzz shared their first song, “Bad Feeling.” It was a little more lush and chill than the post-punk assault of Interpol . Not much more is known about the band, such as whether or not the singles are taken from a forthcoming EP or album. Banks and Kaufman have known each other since they were teenagers and both have also worked with Barrick before. Muzz’s earliest recordings date back to 2015.

With “Bad Feeling” being billed as something of a soft opening, today we’re getting the real introduction to Muzz by way of the new single called “Broken Tambourine.” It’s also their first single to officially come out via Matador. “Bad Feeling” was already a promising preview of this new band, and “Broken Tambourine” is probably even better.

“Broken Tambourine” begins with a sombre piano introduction courtesy of Kaufman, before building into a brooding thing of hushed, meditative grandeur. Banks intones over piano and clarinet, while Barrick’s percussion rumbles in the distance. You can certainly hear a bit of each of their projects colliding here; in a way, it kind of feels like Banks’ response to a sound we might normally associate with the National.

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Multi-Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams addresses a subject that affects millions with the release of her emotional new song, “Big Black Train”. The track appears on her highly anticipated new album Good Souls Better Angels, out April 24th via Highway 20/Thirty Tigers.

The song’s title works as a metaphor for depression, and Williams compassionately articulates some of the fears and feelings that engulf those who are affected by it.  Through lyrics such as, I can hear it comin’ from miles away, Last time through it took me far away, Didn’t know if I was ever comin’ back and the solemn plea, I don’t wanna get on board, Williams masterfully connects the emotional weight of the condition to the overwhelming power of the “Big Black Train”. “Good Souls Better Angels” finds the acclaimed singer/songwriter zeroing in on some of the human and socio-political issues of our day with bold, forthright commentary and an urgency like never before. Just listen to the unabashed “Man Without A Soul” or the empowering “You Can’t Rule Me” to get a sense of where Williams stands at this stage of her celebrated four-decade career. She remains as vital a musical force as ever.

Lucinda Williams’ new album Good Souls Better Angels comes out next month, and she’s shared another new single from it, the lovely, torchy “Big Black Train,” whose title she says is a metaphor for depression. Lucinda Williams will release her new LP Good Souls Better Angels on April 24th.

Highway 20 Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers.

Nick Reinhart has made a name for himself over the years as the unpredictable singer-guitarist in math rock act Tera Melos, one fourth of music geek supergroup Big Walnuts Yonder, and a frequent collaborator of Death Grips, including his own side-project with Zach Hill dubbed Bygones.

Now, Reinhart has hit pause on his wild and technical style of playing to create a new band called Disheveled Cuss — and he’s going full-blown ’90s alt-rock on new single “She Don’t Want”,

“She Don’t Want” comes from Disheveled Cuss’ debut self-titled album, out June 12th via Sargent House Records. Technically, this isn’t the first track we’ve heard from Disheveled Cuss. They’ve released two singles prior, “Wanna Be My Friend” and “Nu Complication”, both of which see Reinhart toying with giddy melodies and stringy guitar lines. But neither of those songs sound as infectious as “She Don’t Want”, an alt-rock hit that sounds like a crossover of Teenage Fanclub and Blue Album-era Weezer.

From the upcoming self-titled debut album Disheveled Cuss, available June 12th on Sargent House Records.

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This earliest known footage of The Rolling Stones as they perform their landmark hit, ‘(I Can’t Get no) Satisfaction’ for a riotous crowd back in 1965. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman give an electric performance of their iconic song. What’s more, unlike other footage from this time, you can actually hear them too.

Far too often on the vintage video of our favourite acts from the sixties scene, it can be awfully hard to actually hear the band, such is the ferocity of screams emanating from the girls in the audience. The high-pitched wail of teenage fandom is a permanent fixture on much of The Rolling Stones’ early footage.

In the clip below, provided by Reelin’ In The Years, we are treated to a real vintage performance. In ’65, audiences were expected to sit quietly when artists performed on stage and in the clip you can see a few people bouncing up and down in excitement. Somehow though, unlike most of their audiences at this time, the crowd stick to the rules. Only a few years later and all gigs were encouraged to have standing tickets when presenting rock and roll acts. While it may make for odd viewing in 2020, it does allow us a more accurate feeling of the Stones’ performing power. Lest we forget, unlike The Beatles who largely gave up touring because of fears for their safety, the Stones have always taken a fiery live set on the road. In 1965, they were honing their talent.

Yet they still possess all the power and commanding energy that would see them sit at the top of the pile of live acts for decades. Jagger is a potent force on stage, with a gigantic retro mic, the singer prowls the stage connecting with his audience and garnering screams and faux-fainting whichever corner he visited.

This clip is from one of the earliest known filmed live concert performances of the Stones. This is unique from the standpoint that there aren’t the typical throngs of screaming girls in the audience and so you can actually hear what they’re playing. The best bit about the video is the clear image of the future that lay before them. On reflection, the song is so far ahead of its time. It may hark back to the Delta blues that permeated all the Stones’ record collections, but the track is pure seventies glamour, wrapped up in a revolutionary guise. It’s bolshy and unabashed. It’s everything the Stones were about to become.

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Mackenzie Scott, the singer-songwriter who performs under the pseudonym of Torres, has released a new cover of Portishead song ‘Wandering Star’. The Brooklyn-based musician, who is in the middle of a tour which has her scheduled to perform in Zurich, France, Italy and more, recently encountered a major financial struggle in order to get emergency flights back to America.

Now, while self-isolating like millions of people around the world, Scott has released a cover of the Portishead classic to help ease the struggle in quarantine. Given the recent success of Bandcamp’s campaign to help struggling artists at the time of the coronavirus campaign, Torres has made her ‘Wandering Star’ cover available to buy through her account on the streaming platform. It follows her January album Silver Tongue.

Bay area native Chloe Zelma Studebaker is releasing a new EP as Zelma Stone, Dreamland, next month, and she’s shared it’s dreamy title track, which fans of Beach House will likely enjoy. “My older brother Brett died in a car accident when we were teenagers,” Chloe told Gorilla vs Bear. “He gave me my very first guitar lesson and is the reason I make music today. I still see him often in my dreams, which is what inspired the song ‘Dreamland.’ The lyrics switch between his perspective and mine, wondering what it would be like if he was still alive or could come back. Would he feel at home here? Would we make music together like I dream about?”

zelmastone.bandcamp.com

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Cable Ties, a trio from Melbourne, blasts a coruscating onslaught of punk mayhem, guitar scrambling madly in a scrubby, discordant fury, drums banging, bass pumping pick-driven clangor into the mix and, above it all, Jennie McKechnie wailing in an exposed nerve kind of way about apathy, sexism, LGBTQ acceptance, income inequality and activist politics. The sound is supercharged, ear-ringing, tight; the fast chug of the bass line in stellar “Tell Them Where to Go,” has a nearly tactile force, while the guitar howls like careening sirens. The easy thing would be to compare McKechnie’s vibrato-zinging vocals with those of Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker or her verbal agility to Courtney Barnett, but the blunt force and agile violence of the music, brings to mind post-punk bands like the Wipers, Protomartyr and Eddy Current.

Cable Ties formed in the mid-teens and has one self-titled and a clutch of singles and splits in its catalogue so far. Far Enough is the first of this band’s albums to get a wide U.S. release, and it’s a doozy, no question. McKechnie may be the band’s focal point, but bassist Nick Brown defines Cable Ties’ ragged power. The rough-sawed churn of “Lani” starts and finishes with his abrasive, insistent bass playing that boils like magma under urgent, trilling vocals. Drummer Shauna Boyle is pretty great, too, banging out aggressive beats, that are passionate not sloppy, trance-like but never tuned out.

Band members are active advocates for women’s and LGBTQ rights. McKechnie co-founded Wet Lips, a Melbourne festival focused on inclusion of female, gay and non-binary musicians, and both she and Boyle volunteer for Girls Rock, an organization that promotes opportunity for women, trans and gender diverse musicians. Far Enough engages in these issues through the lyrics, especially in “Tell Them Where to Go,” where between murderous bass and clanging guitar chords, McKechnie sings about empowerment. “Are you stuck in your bedroom? With your stereo on? Thinking you’ll never play that way cos you’re too weird or too young/Why don’t you walk out your bedroom/and steal your brother’s guitar/ Go see the folks who took rock back from blokes and who get who you really are,” she wails, and you can see a hundred kids squaring their shoulders and heading out there.

Later, “Self-Made Man” launches an incendiary blow at the rich, skewering people who “work hard and don’t share,” in a hard bumping, intricately lyric’d song that vibrates with rage, and elsewhere “Sandcastles” pokes a rusty nailed prod at the politics that strangle otherwise well-meaning activist organizations. (“You don’t do anything because you know that people like you they just don’t do anything but tear each other down”). And right at the beginning in “Hope,” the band addresses boomer complacency on climate change, as McKechnie warbles, “My uncle Pete’s he’s complaining about the greenies, he says they’ve gone too far, I say Pete, they don’t go far enough.”

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And yet while not a moment on this album fails to engage in issues, the vibe is brash, celebratory, undeniably a gas. This is no over-earnest diatribe. It’s a series of party anthems about stuff that matters. One drum flattening call to arms insists that “Anger’s Not Enough,” and that’s right, there’s a lot more here. But it’s a really good place to start.

Released March 27th, 2020