Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

Fontaines D.C. return with their third record: “Skinty Fia”. Used colloquially as an expletive, the title roughly translates from the Irish language into English as “the damnation of the deer”; the spelling crassly anglicized, and its meaning diluted through generations. Part bittersweet romance, part darkly political triumph – the songs ultimately form a long-distance love letter, one that laments an increasingly privatized culture in danger of going the way of the extinct Irish giant deer.

Rising Irish stars Fontaines D.C. are all over the place after releasing their sublime third LP “Skinty Fia” recently, that went straight to the top of the UK Albums Chart.

After their unbridled introduction to the world with their five-star debut LP, the Fontaines slowed down for a couple of songs on their 2nd full length, and on the new one the overall atmosphere – musically and lyrically – is moony, mellow and pensive with frontman Grian Chatten becoming a modern-day crooner who touches sensitive hearts, especially Irish ones as this album is about their Irish past/present/future identity in and outside (they never have been away for so long, for some many times) of their beloved country. It takes time to get used to their new approach. But I’m sure it will be worth it in the end.

The Guardian (British newspaper) says: “Their third album comes wrapped in a sleeve featuring a nervous-looking deer in the hallway of a home, its title derives from a Gaelic expression of exasperation, and it variously picks at topics of addiction, relationships and
the notion of Irishness as viewed through the lens of the Irish diaspora… Skinty Fia feels more measured and reflective. It boasts few examples of their punky full-pelt approach. Its default rhythmic setting is slow; its guitars feel echoey and cavernous – even shoegaze-y on churning closer Nabokov – rather than urgent and in your face… They boldly embrace a state of confusion.”

Fontaines D.C. performs on Saturday Sessions. It’s been quite a ride for the post-punk band. They’re the first Irish act since U2 to be nominated for best rock album at the Grammy Awards. Their latest collection just debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. charts. For Saturday Sessions, Fontaines D.C. performs “Liberty Belle.”

The punk band’s third album homes in on the experience of being an Irish person living in England — and all the trials, tribulations, and culture clashes inherent in that reality. It’s also just a straight-ahead, powerful rock & roll record packed with James Joyce references, accordion (yes, really), and Nineties alternative angst. “’Skinty Fia’ is an expression that our drummer’s great auntie used to say,” the band’s Grian Chatten told Rolling Stone. “It sounds like mutation and doom and inevitability and all these things that I felt were congruous to my idea of Irishness abroad. … It’s just a completely new beast.

Released in 2022 via Partisan Records.

 69 Most Anticipated Albums of 2022

Big Thief are set to return in February with “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You”, their fifth studio album and their first full-length effort since 2019’s stunning pair “U.F.O.F” and “Two Hands“. Produced by James Krivchenka, the band’s drummer, the 20-song double LP was recorded in four distinct locations: Upstate New York, Topanga Canyon in California, the Arizona desert, and the Colorado mountains.

Big Thief have shared yet another single off their upcoming 20-track album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, which is due to release on Feb. 11, 2022. The track is titled “Simulation Swarm” and has been performed by Big Thief at their live performances since they started touring back in September of 2021.

The track’s immediate bright sonic flow, thoughtful riffs and steady pace have placed it among the most beloved out of all the tracks Big Thief have shared thus far. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Adrianne Lenker talked about the inspiration behind the songs.

“I’ve been getting notes that the music has been helping people love and accept themselves in dark times, and to me, that right there is what I want to do,” Lenker shared. “I don’t want to get to a certain level in my career or be seen as this or that. I just want people to come back to themselves and be able to accept, love or forgive themselves more fully. I want my music to be a guide to people to get back closer to themselves — not to me.

The release follows seven singles already shared off “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You”: “No Reason,” “Spud Infinity,” “Time Escaping,” “Change,” “Little Things,” “Sparrow,” and, “Certainty.”

The attempt to capture something deeper, wider, and full of mystery, points to the inherent spirit of Big Thief. Traces of this open-hearted, non-dogmatic faith can be felt through previous albums, but here on ‘Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You’ lives the strongest testament to its existence.

Big Thief swung big with their latest statement to the world: a double album, much like Wilco’s Cruel Country, that draws on the folk-rock-country comfort food the Grateful Dead cooked up with Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. The result is a (post-)pandemic banquet, from a band woodshedding at the top of their game. The styles are shifty, and the shagginess is deceptiveness — beneath ramshackle surfaces are meticulous constructs, earworm melodies, and undeniable grooves. Adrianne Lenker’s voice may be an acquired taste, with shades of idiosyncratic forebears like Karen Dalton, but it’s a marvelous one, and the way it blends with Buck Meek’s guitar demonstrates the magic that can happen between musicians after years of creating together. Sure, it’s an hour-twenty long — but halfway through the first song, you’ll be ready to take the rest of the day off.

The resulting album is shaping up to be exactly what Big Thief does best: a close-knit, meticulously detailed collection of emotive indie rock, created and collapsed entirely as a unit.

forthcoming album ‘Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You’, out February 11th via 4AD Records

The bones and sentiment of “That’s Where I Am” are pure classic VH1 adult contemporary but the arrangement is all blaring distorted bass, huge breakbeat drums, and guitar chords that sound like they’re being played on light switches. I think in its own way it would be bold enough for Maggie Rogers to unashamedly write something along the lines of “Unwritten,” but it’s even more interesting to take that song and push it into this loud, stomping musical territory. She’s basically taking a very inspirational sort of song and reinforcing it with an arrangement that makes it sound like this massive, unstoppable force. It’s a brilliant move for a song she deliberately wrote to convey a triumphant happy ending, and I love that it’s also merging a very femme sound with a very hyper-masculine sound in a way that feels far more natural and complementary than contradictory.

Rogers’ lyrics describe a peaceful feeling on the other side of years of romantic drama. There’s enough plot points here to fill out a pretty solid 90 minute rom-com, and even though the chorus is written from a place of acceptance and perspective, she still sings about the more fraught and confusing moments in way that honors those feelings. The part that really slays me is when she questions how much this guy’s ex knew about their profound connection – “Did she know that we were together somehow? / you never touched me, but I felt you everywhere.” It takes a lot for someone to write a thing like that and sing it in a way that doesn’t sound at all delusional, but she pulls it off.

It takes a combination of raw talent and deep introspection to birth an album like Maggie Rogers’ “Surrender”. Full of collaborations with artists as varied as Rogers’ old pal Del Water Gap and late-night bandleader Jon Batiste, the album never settles on a direct muse, but flits between radio-friendly rock and early girl-power pop. While not quite as daring as its predecessor,”Heard It In a Past Life“, the album still delivers as an honest expression of the singer’s desire to be taken seriously as an artist. Perhaps Rogers said it best in “Anywhere With You,” one of the album’s breakout hits: “All I ever wanted is to make something fucking last.” This time around, she has.

released July 29th, 2022

Capitol Records;

For her sophomore record, Sasami went ahead and threw her first record’s sound out the window, opting for something searing and unapologetic. In Squeeze, the singer-songwriter emulates late ’90s rock, slasher metal, psych rock, and so much more in her dynamite rock opera. She transforms Daniel Johnston’s “Sorry Entertainer” into a full-on shredder, calling to something much deeper and fuelled by rage. Overall, Sasami rears full control over a work which could be unyielding and untamed in lesser skilled hands. Squeeze is a nu-metal triumph which offers a reprieve for women and members of the LGBTQ community who feel stifled by society’s parameters on confrontation, fury, and the ways we respond to oppression. 

“Tried To Understand” feat. J Mascis out now on Domino Record co.

“Life can sure be fun/Imagine if I knew this when I was young,” indie rock’s most endearingly  down-to-earth stoner guitar mystic offers near the opening of “Watch My Moves”. Vile remains our era’s great inheritor of the Neil Young/Meat Puppets/Dinosaur Jr. tradition of bending chords, spooling out hypnotic solos, and chilling with your demons until they start feeling like drinking buddies. Kurt noodles, he choogles, he burns and he blazes. He sings about jamming out at home in his underwear, and about listening to “Heart of Gold” while he waits to get on a plane, and about how playing his guitar makes him happy when he starts feeling bad. “Probably gonna be another long song,” he jokes on “Fo Sho.” In a world of immediate-gratification trash, this 73-minute anti-opus is one hell of an argument for taking the long way round to wherever the hell you may or may not eventually end up.

Just listened to the “Square Shells” EP after listening to this one, and Kurt has always been such a journeyman musician in tune with his craft and his influences… His attitude is one of deep appreciation. For music. For community. For family. For being. His music exists somewhere in-between the gritty mortality of the world, and a comfortable dream world re-imagined and personalized. Perhaps, this is what gives some of his tunes a nostalgic and hopeful quality. Kurt’s world is coming alive more and more with each new album, transforming from the lonely, wandering savant of Philadelphia to the beloved family man with collabs and projects under his belt (TWOD); it’s a playful and cozy existence that’s both inclusive and contagious. I really see him honing in onto his own self-assured wisdom with these new singles and videos, similar to the trajectory of “Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze“. Will this album be another shelter (mansion) from the world’s woes?.

Check out the new single “Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)” by Kurt Vile off his new album (watch my moves).


Posted: December 1, 2022 in MUSIC

Horsegirl broke out of the buzzing Chicago indie-rock scene this year with their own fresh sound. If you’re a fiend for guitars, Horsegirl deliver the clang you’ve been craving — their bang-up debut, “Versions of Modern Performance”, is a blast of top-notch six-string fuzz that brings a sly new twist to the grooves of Pavement, the Breeders, or the Pastels. These three Gen Z women might be too young to get into bars but they’ve got a wide-open future.

The band runs through some of the meatier cuts from their new album (as well as the fan fave “Ballroom Dance Scene”). Nora Cheng opens with her Fender Jaguar, tuned to open E, and then switches to her reliable Ibanez Roadstar II, while Penelope Lowenstein holds down the harmonic interplay and lower frequencies on her Squier Bass VI.

Horsegirl performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded July 16th, 2022.

Songs: World of Pots and Pans Option 8 Ballroom Dance Scene Anti-glory

Nora Cheng – Guitar / Vocals Penelope Lowenstein – Guitar / Vocals Genevieve Reece – Drums

One of the year’s great sleepers: Pictoria Vark, a.k.a. Victoria Park, is already a master of heart-tugging indie-rock vignettes on her excellent breakthrough album, “The Parts That I Dread”. She’s got a clever touch for self-lacerating wit in ballads like “Wyoming,” asking, “Can’t I blame you for everything? Market crashes, mood swings?” “I Can’t Bike” is a long-overdue pedestrian anthem that takes a surprise detour in the final minute for a gloriously out-of-nowhere noise-guitar solo, evoking kindred spirits like Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, and Hop Along. But she excels at quiet triumphs like “Friend Song,” where she looks up at the Iowa stars and dreams of someone left behind in Brooklyn. 

An incredible release from one of the most prolific and talented musicians and songwriters of our time! The sonic range and narrative of this album brings ‘The Parts I Dread‘ on repeat on my listening rotations and leaves openness to the possibilities on what is next for this artist! 

Victoria Park – Bass and Vocals
Gavin Caine – Drums, Percussion, Keys, and Guitar
Jason Ross – Guitar
Lauren Black – Vocals and vocal arrangement on 7
Michael Eliran – Guitar on 1

All music and lyrics by Victoria Park

released April 8th, 2022

Ribbon Stage are a trio from NYC with no small amount of love for the noise pop days of Dolly Mixture and the Shop Assistants. The group does perfectly what only punks playing pop music can do- create chaotic noise in tandem with the sweetest hooks and most sophisticated nihilism. Ribbon Stage makes noise pop so catchy you swear you’ve heard before then can’t get out of your head.

The dream of Olympia, Washington is alive in the form of the wonderful Ribbon Stage. The New York trio harken back to Nineties cuddle-core gods like Tiger Trap and the Shop Assistants. “Hit Me With the Most” is 11 songs in 19 thrilling minutes, quick little shots of blurry noise, pretty, careworn singing, and tumbling drums. Titles like “It’s Apathy,” “Nowhere Fast,”  and “No Alternative” set the emotional tone. But even when their songs sound like they might collapse before the band hits the finish line, Ribbon Stage always power through their angst and boredom to hit the twee-punk sweet spot.

Featuring Mari Softie (Ratas del Vaticano, Tercer Mundo, Exotica, and Pobreza Mental) as well as scene stalwart Jolie M-A (Juicy II, Boys Online) and vocalist Anni Hilator.

released October 21, 2022

In almost direct comparison to Heirloom’s darkness, Los Bitchos are instrumental surf that makes you feel like you’re on a permanent holiday. They’re the kind of band you’d want following you around during an LA car-chase movie.  It’s just so good… positively charismatic. It’s a first date with instant chemistry. It’s a high school party where nothing too stupid happens. It’s the moment on the dance floor when you forget you’re in a crowd. Good vibes become compulsory when you put this on.

A uniquely inventive instrumental dance-rock band with a international background and a truly worldly sound, Los Bitchos have an absolute riot on their debut, mixing up everything from Eighties teeth-metal to Colombian cumbia, to surf-rock and psychedelia, to disco and funk.

Their music is playfully exotic but also invitingly lived-in, the sound of finding your voice in the flow of the world, and unlike a lot of instrumental music, they keep the listener’s enjoyment front and center by orchestrating each of their two-to-three-minute ditties for maximum pop impact, so songs like “The Link is About to Die” or “Pista (Fresh Start)” have just as many memorable hooks as thick grooves or hot solos. 

Released February 4th, 2022

MJ LENDERMAN – ” Boat Songs “

Posted: December 1, 2022 in MUSIC

On the eminently relatable-to-me “Boat Songs“, Ashville, North Carolina’s MJ Lenderman sings about Jackass, various sports legends (Jordan, Brady, and Marino all get shouts here), and the fucking log ride and the spinning swings at Six Flags Over Texas, all the while managing to make things feel warm, alternately poignant and funny, and deeply affecting. Like our other current guitar heroes Enumclaw, Lenderman has a gift for making easy, seemingly tossed-off jams feel like heart-on-sleeve anthems that you’ve known forever.

MJ Lenderman plays guitar in the great Asheville, North Carolina band Wednesday (see their must-hear covers EP from this year, “Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ‘Em Up”. On “Boat Songs” he’s a self-described “beat-down rodeo clown” whose neo-miserablist everybro mien brings to mind the Neil Young of Zuma if he was a Southern fisher-dude who had a few too many strong, drunk opinions about college football coaching hires. The mosquito-bitten “You Have Bought Yourself a Boat” sounds like the Band if they recorded for Drag City, while “Tastes Just Like It Costs” is a zen mountain of stanky lo-fi guitar slop.

The best song is “Hangover Game,” which uses Game Five of the 1997 NBA finals as a lens to explore the way our lives can merge with our most cherished myths in ways that are kind of fucked up.