Posts Tagged ‘Drag City Records’

Don’t call it a comeback, but nearly five years after their last record, LA duo No Age has returned with its fifth full-length. Since 2005, guitarist Randy Randall and drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt have toyed with the idea and the definition of punk, always redefining it in terms of their sound but never wavering from the ethos underpinning it. With 2013’s An Object, for example, the pair physically made ten-thousand copies of the record themselves, despite the fact that it was being released on Sub Pop Records, a label more than capable of manufacturing those copies itself.

Of course, the world has changed a lot since then, and it seems that No Age are poised to confront it with these twelve songs. That said, this album doesn’t rage against the machine with visceral aplomb, but given that this is No Age, that’s perhaps not surprising. Instead, the pair provide a disturbing and unsettling soundtrack to reflect these disturbing and unsettling times—a fuzzy, fizzling backdrop to the chaos and trauma that surrounds us at the moment.

The record begins on a somewhat antagonistic note, with the rambunctious and frenzied surge of “Cruise Control.” But even in that rush of buzzsaw guitars and charged feedback, there’s an unavoidable warmth, one that both reflects but then transcends any problems at hand, be they personal or political or a combination of the two. This is the case for many of the rest of these songs—“Stuck in the Changer” is wistful but forceful, “Popper” doom-laden but also optimistic, and the instrumental title track a soothing flood of comfort. It’s both a non-song—an interlude, an afterthought—and the most important track on the record, offering, as it does, some time to reflect, a moment of near-meditative calm.

There is—as there always has been on No Age records—a sense of almost naïve innocence. This is a band continuing to make music the way it wants to make music with no concerns for how other people will perceive it, and that approach serves them just as well here. Because this is a record that—subtly, subconsciously—offers some kind of solace while also invoking the unnerving and disquieting times we live in. A song like “Sqashed,” for example, with its nod to The Velvet Underground, simultaneously puts you on edge and gets you through it. For better or worse, it’s the perfect backdrop to life in 2018, and for as long as we need it, this album will be here to help.

In certain musical circles, the word “accessible” is a death sentence, a Judas-esque betrayal. Or worse, a synonym for “sell-out.” For noise-punk veterans No Age, it means their best release in recent memory. With recurring choruses and a selection of guitar riffs you can actually hum, much of Snares Like a Haircut feels like a new era for Dean Spunt and Randy Randall, who got their start doing time at L.A.’s The Smell, a grotty, sweat-marinated touchstone of DIY legitimacy. “Cruise Control” signals this change, as the duo turn their churning, rumbling noise into an almost hooky(!) melody, and introducing the positive feeling of release that characterizes the album

Track from LP/CS/CD “Snares Like a Haircut”, released January 26, 2018 on Drag City Records.


19 tracks strong, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make this album. It wants you to get your head straight – but first, the process will make your head spin. Back in the ‘Twins’ days, there was talk about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. We’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity.

The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed but ‘Freedom’s Goblin’ is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities – each one marking a different impasse, like a flag whirling into a knot, exploding and burning on contact, in the name of love and loathing.

‘Freedom’s Goblin’ wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from LA to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F Bermudez, Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell and of course, Ty himself. The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins R&B electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape and one about his dog too.

UNCUT – Album of the Month 9/10
MOJO – 4/5 Californian garage rock with themes from a multitude of influences for fans of Crazy Horse and Marc Bolan. Freedom’s Goblin’ via Drag City Records is the new Ty Segall album:


1. Fanny Dog , 2. Rain , 3. Every 1’s A Winner ,4. Despoiler Of Cadaver , 5. When Mommy Kills You ,6. My Lady’s On Fire , 7. Alta , 8. Meaning , 9. Cry Cry Cry , 10. Shoot You Up , 11. You Say All The Nice Things , 12. The Last Waltz ,
13. She Prison , 14. Talkin’ 3 , 15. The Main Pretender , 16. I’m Free , 17. 5 Ft. Tall , 18. And, Goodnight .

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It’s hard to believe that the band who came flailing headlong out of the gate with Golem just two short years ago is the same band behind Plum, one of the most thoughtfully dynamic albums to come out in 2017. The creative arch of this Los Angeles band is rooted in the grime-y sonic sludge of the Ty Segall/Meatbodies/Mikal Cronin set. It would have been fine to have regarded Wand as yet another good band living under the punk-y parasol of the neo-psych-garage revolution. But Plum has separated them completely from the fray. Plum runs like a playlist of rock ‘n’ roll offshoots, with experimentations in Led Zep riffage and Spoon-like piano-rock only the tip of the iceberg.

Title track from Wand LP/CS/CD/Digital, released by Drag City Records on September 22nd, 2017.

After the thousand days and nights since their last album, Chills on GlassDead Rider had to overcome the creeping suggestion that they multitask themselves to sleep – or to premature brain death – whichever came first! And thank gawd, too, because that means we’ve got a new rippin’ album to dig: Crew Licks is hot on our tails! Right on top of it’s September 22nd release, Dead Rider will bring the chopped-n-screwed skronk, acid-drenched guitar licks and lode-bearing beats on the road, direct to you and your crew, traveling all over the goddamn US of A to teach the kids a thing or two about rock n roll.

Track from Dead Rider LP/CS/CD “Crew Licks”, available September 22, 2017 on Drag City Records.

Ty Segall has a mountain of song at his disposal and he’s capable of wielding boulders from it at any given moment in any situation, be it live or on record! His “Fried Shallots” EP came out a month ago to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union, but Ty Segall is liberally still touring off the back of January’s Self-Titled release, a masterpiece of his ever evolving catalog! Accompanied by the ever flowing Freedom Band, Ty is set to tackle the Southwest portion of our sketchily divided yet still damn fine country later this month (after a quick Canadian stop-over for two solo shows!)! One thing that unites us all is the power of rock n’ roll, goddammit, which is exactly what’s gonna be served up on a platter each and every night at the shows below, if you want to feel it, live and loud!


Break A Guitar 05:38 – Freedom 08:02 – “Alta” 13:18 – “Fanny” 16:40 – Finger 21:06 – Warm Hands (Freedom Returned) 34:38 – The Only One 38:53 – Caesar 42:09 – Girlfriend 44:50 – Love Fuzz

Kicking it off (like they won the toss) is Wand, whose Next Album has been eagerly anticipated probably since right after their last one came out. Remember, when 1000 Days hit way back in the summer of 2015, it was the third Wand record to appear in a calendar year! Back then, if you didn’t like what Wand was doing, just wait a month and they’d announce another one.

A length of two “whole” years later (with, sure, time carved out for Cory Hanson‘s stellar solo set, The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo), Wand are back and with songs like “Plum” and “Bee Karma”, this new-phase sounds right promising! Since we of course have heard even more than those two (yes, awesome) songs, we can confirm .


The new quintet version of Wand seems to have even more up their sleeves than the former crew – but really, it’s just different stuff up those sleeves and probably different sleeves too. With the addition of a designated keyboard player and a second guitarist, the core Wand members now find themselves in an ever-expanding palette – just the way Wand likes to fly! Plum is rich and sumptuous, spun with dense webs of sound and stasis, mélange and melody, as Wand push farther into the strangeness of uncharted territory while also locking it down as a class-act modern pop outfit! To frost the cake most excellently, the September 22nd release date also acts as the opening flag for a mammoth run of tour dates: a month in the US, followed by the holidays and then more in the UK and the EU and the rest of this world, provided it’s all still there! Plum around, with Wand this fall.


Keep it locked in your mind Corey Hanson’s band Wand’s incredible new batch of jams, called “Plum” is on track for release on September 22nd, Wand present the video for new single “Bee Karma,” and all its ascendant riffs! “Bee Karma” has everything you’d want from a music video,  beautiful shots, emotional narrative, Super 8 footage, and a clown! Say what? Yeah, as Wand’s Cory Hanson puts it: “The video stars my brother Casey as the clown that I drive around.  Abby Banks shot all the footage of him in the car, then I shot all the double exposure dancing parts on a high school assembly stage. It’s an age old story.  In the end, the good clown wins and gets to be free. He dances.” In the end, we’re all looking to win and be free, aren’t we.

Track from “Plum” by Wand, available on LP/CS/CD/Digital, released by Drag City Records on September 22nd, 2017. Video directed by Cory Hanson.

Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker inspired collaboration continues with a 2nd volume of freshly baked tunes.
They call it, “SpideBeetlebee” , It’s been nearly two years since their much-admired 2015 debut, Land of Plenty (Whistler Records), and SpiderBeetleBee more than makes up for the long wait with a rich, resonant batch of performances that elevate the guitar duo’s sound into an ever-widening panorama of styles.

Their first album was developed over a month-long live residency at Chicago’s Whistler, reflecting MacKay and Walker‘s joy in their newly found playing relationship.As kindred spirits, they found in their playing the ability to wordlessly finish a phrase or suggest a direction while speaking solely through their guitars. SpiderBeetleBee continues fluidly through and beyond a similar path of psych-folk-blues-raga, brewing further explorations in mixed-and-matched idioms, turning composed melodies inside-out via improvisation, and finding in the blend a shared Walker/MacKay pasture, serendipitously located somewhere between Appalachian and the Highlands.
SpiderBeetleBee radiates forth with equal parts austerity and whimsy, as evidenced in the lead single “I Heard Them Singing”. Generating a nimble tempo with the aid of MacKay’s requinto (a kind of 5-string Mexican guitar), Walker’s rolling chords and the percolating tabla of Ryan Jewell, “I Heard Them Singing” suggests an unknown short-cut from Brazil to India!

Bill MacKay: 6 string guitar, requinto, glass slide
Ryley Walker: 6 & 12 string guitars


In order to survive this long hot season of discontent, it’s vital to chew down on stuff that’s not just all negativity, you know? So if you’re fixin’ to stay positive, throw Ty Segall’sstrong “Fried Shallots” into your brain pan and flame on for a quick snack! “Fried Shallots” is a handful of numbers from different times and places over the past few years that all work together in a weird way. That’s something that we should all be striving for: all working together in a weird way!

But “Fried Shallots” isn’t simply good weird fun: the profits from this release will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, whose defense of our rights is badly needed now – especially in the face of the government pigs who are don’t care about the constitution and are determined to thin our herd so that they and their corporate sugar-daddies can grow ever fatter off the deprivations of the common man-clan! Don’t you let ’em do it! Organizations like the ACLU help secure freedoms that allow individuals to stay individual in the face of the choking tides of oppression. Ty Segall‘s is here to help us surf those tides and not be swept under. is available for digital purchase exclusively on Bandcamp, but a physical release will follow on August 25th,


With Untouchable, Kelly has raised the stakes even more than his previous album “Goes Missing”, now fully embracing some of the more outwardly power-pop sensibilities he’d hinted at in previous records.

Kelly has become synonymous with L.A. fuzz-punk contemporaries like Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin, and has played in projects with both men. What’s remarkable about Kelly, though, is his confidence in his voice, and it’s a primary focal point throughout Untouchable. Kelly’s vocals are amped up to the forefront, a move that makes for more memorable, hummable moments, as is evident right out of the gate on LP opener “Broken Record.” The song’s slow-burn guitar progression is just monotonous enough to invite Kelly’s meandering melodies to enchant the vibe, as he sings “I took to making circles round the world/every time I run through/I take to making circles round some girl/Like a broken record I hear myself put it in a tune.”


Continuing onto the fantastic “Real Enough to Believe,” Kelly homes in on a perfectly proportioned ‘60s pop format, fully welcoming the dreaded “derivative” song. Rather than being careful to avoid direct aural influences from his favorite styles of music, Kelly embraces the nuances of decades of rock ‘n’ roll and reinvents it in his own smorgasbord of cool. “Real Enough to Believe,” against all odds, rivals the brilliant standout track “Be What You Are” from Goes Missing, a feat that once seemed near-impossible.

Untouchable revels in a generally lo-fi mix that sits well with the record’s found-sound ambiance, in another nod to Kelly’s nomadic muses. “That’s When It’s Over” writhes in a mid-song homage to “Hey Joe,” with Kelly’s scintillating guitar solos saluting both Hendrix and the wormy noodling of the Dead. Perched in the thick of the album’s more thoughtful tunes, “That’s When It’s Over” is a juggernaut of energy that perfectly splits the record into two parts. The song’s breakneck riffing explodes with a full head of steam, chugging along atop motorik drums and Kelly crooning, hooting and hollering to a repeated refrain of “In the heart of her heart, she don’t care.”

In its more tender moments, Untouchable unloads heavier pseudo-ballads like the titletrack. With little more than a reverb-y acoustic guitar and a plunky bass backing, Kelly lets his gorgeous voice take even more of a central role, stripped of the blistering leads that permeate most of the album. “Will It To Be” follows suit near the end of the record, a twisted ballad that finds Kelly cooing “I’m holding back now/but I’m getting closer/I am pretending I don’t need to know or even care at all.” The song’s moody, Velvet Undergroundian darkness comes through despite its Fleetwood Mac facade, with rhythmic instruments set deep and foreboding under Kelly’s fluttering melodies.

The magic moments found on Untouchable speak to Kelly’s swaggering confidence—as if that weren’t perhaps alluded to enough in the album’s very title. As a result, the ambitiousness of his work seems increasingly more destined to join the canon of timeless pop from which The Cairo Gang’s songs find their roots.

The spiny tingle of excitement, the building anticipation of ritual! Chord progressions in the key of the heart! Star-crossed breakthroughs and guitars cross-talking with a bejeweled ennui throughout interrelationships .