Single Serve volume 2

by | Mar 13, 2022 | Reviews | 0 comments

Hello and welcome to more bite sized musical goodness brought to you by Kate Hoos and Nick AD. We listened to a lot of new stuff in the last week(ish), and these were some of the highlights, so dig on in and get these tracks in your ears. Nick also hosts a radio show on Radio Nope called Radiant Point every Wednesday night that features a huge variety of music from all over the spectrum so make sure you’re tuning in or listening to the archives to get the scoop on even more music.

 

As always, if you’re in a band or from a label, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know about you! If we dig ya, you’ll get a nod in the column. Read on to find out what we dug the last week or so:

 

AutomaticNew Beginning. LA synth post punks Automatic have just released the first single from their upcoming album, Excess and it is a motorik bop, driving bass locked in with the insistent drums while the synths sweep and clash together and break apart throughout the song. The title “New Beginning” feels very apt for where we find ourselves after the last two years, and all the bullshit we are still wading through. The lines “who could ever know for certain while we have a chance to take, there could be a new beginning, it could be a better place” certainly makes one feel hopeful that maybe, just maybe there is something better around the corner if we just hang on a little longer and there might just be a promised land on the other side. I’m very much looking forward to the full record and dancing with my camera when they land in NYC on their next tour. Excess comes out on 6/24 via Stones Throw Records. [KH]

 

Caroline NoAnna’s On The Radio. Sounding a bit like if the Velvet Underground had been a California band, “Anna’s on the Radio” is loose, almost haphazard at first. Three guitars (Caroline Kennedy, Dee Hannon, and Mick Turner) begin strumming over the Mo Tucker–style beat from superb drummer Jim White. The song takes off once Kennedy and Hannon enter with thrilling harmonies. There are only three verses, each a repeated phrase—“Anna’s on the radio/Got nowhere to go/It’s a long time ago“—and no chorus, but it proves how moving simplicity can be. Kennedy writes the tunes and forms the bands for Caroline No, this time enlisting long-time friends from the Australian music scene, notably White and Turner of The Dirty Three. As she writes on her Bandcamp page, her intimacy with her band allowed the songs to take form intuitively and spontaneously. There’s definitely magic here, and this tune will inspire repeated listens. Very much looking forward to the full Caroline No record, slated for release April 1 on the Grapefruit Record label. [ND]

 

The ChatsStruck By Lightning. There’s not much that’s more fun than rocking out to some straight up three chord ripping garage punk with irreverent lyrics, and these Aussies have that energy in spades. The bratty vibe spits right out of the speakers and you can’t help but sneer as the buzzsaw guitars rage alongside the snot nosed vocals. The band will soon be in the US for six weeks where they will hit most major markets with support from Mean Jeans and FTA friends/favs Thick. Their New York stop of the tour hits Warsaw on 5/7 and you can count on seeing me there. [KH]

 

eLZhi & Georgia Anne MuldrowAlready Gone. There’s no stopping Georgia Anne Muldrow right now. In the past two years, she has graced us with genius record after genius record: Mama, You Can Bet! as Jyoti in 2020; VWETO III under own name last year; and this year’s Planet of the Blues: Part One as Lilblackkids, a collaboration with Keith Rice. Hot on the heels of the Lilblackkids record, here comes Zhigeist, a full-length collaboration with the brilliant Slum Village alum eLZhi. “Already Gone” is the lead single and features Muldrow’s trademark space-funk production. A futuristic bassline pops atop a simple groove. Muldrow’s haunting verses float throughout. She laments: “When I finally broke down and realized I needed you/You were already gone.” eLZhi’s lines are strong and vulnerable. A sampling:

 

“My brains, a headache even to a migraine”

“Past feelings is why I put up walls that would fall”

“I’m sad and raining diamonds/against a Gucci suitcase with cash spilling out.”

 

The two collaborators complement each other beautifully. Muldrow creates little worlds of psychedelic funk, trippy but uncluttered. eLZhi is a master on the mic—expressive, engaging, emotive. The full record came out this past Friday on Nature Sounds and is worth a dedicated listen (and review!). [ND]

 

Gruff RhysPeople Are Pissed/Arogldarth. For any readers who didn’t know, FTA has deep ties to Wales and our webmaster Jenifun built our entire site from scratch from her house in Newport (just outside of Cardiff). We also love Super Furry Animals and all of Gruff Rhys’ solo work, and whenever he sings in Welsh, Jenifun is there to translate for me (I can understand some written Welsh, but spoken I still struggle with). This song is in English however and the message is pretty clear so no translation needed. On the lyrics Rhys said “The lyrics were basically inspired by the widespread anger I – and many other people felt towards the incompetence and arrogance of the Johnson regime during the lockdowns – not that I feel any different now. I mean the words go off on one like most of my songs but that was the seed of the idea.” As with much of his body of work, the song is fun and bouncy, with a sunshine feel that belies the true content of the song. Clocking in at almost eight minutes, you can almost get lost in the feeling too. On the flip side is the spacey instrumental track “Arogldarth” (which translates to “incense”) and it’s another eight minute long opus, more downtempo and contemplative than its companion, and that is also very easy to vibe out to. Both songs are out digitally now and are available as a limited edition cassette via Rough Trade. [KH]

 

Helms AleeSee Sights Smell Smells. The latest from these sludge psych greats, this song mutes the sludge ever so slightly and leans more into the psych and experimental side of their sound. Ethereal vocals and synth lines occupy the focus of the verse, before switching off with a doomy bass line (that borders on industrial) keeps time with insistent military-esque toms in the chorus. During the last 30 seconds a distorted sax appears out of the ether to twist and shimmy its way through the rest of the instruments before just as quickly skittering off again. This is a very intriguing first taste of the new album to come, Keep This Be The Way due out 4/29 on Sargent House. The song also came accompanied with a video directed by Allen Watke, complete with a glitchy bootleg VHS tape from the 80s dayglo vibe to perfectly compliment the music. [KH]

 

HorsegirlAnti-glory. If the first two singles are any indication, the forthcoming Horsegirl record might be THE indie rock record of 2022. “Anti-glory” is the second single, and lead album track, of Versions of Modern Performance, due out on Matador June 3. Gigi Reece’s big “We Got the Beat” drums kick it off with Penelope Lowenstein’s bass-sounding guitar (judging from the video) further driving the rhythm. Nora Cheng’s wiry guitar line carves a thin path deep into your skull. Cheng and Lowenstein trade vocals in the verses before the song changes course for the post-punky one-word chorus: “Dance!” they command. And how could you not? “Anti-glory” is all propulsive energy, big fuckin’ drums, catchy basslines (or…bass-like lines), and guitars that are both angular and hazy. The phenomenal John Agnello was behind the mixing board and deftly captures the band’s intriguing mix of dreampop hooks, grunge gnarl, and heavy swing. June 3 can’t come soon enough. [ND]

 

Hushpuppy– Nervous. Released as part of Hardly Art’s 15 year anniversary singles series, “Nervous” is a minute and a half long blink and you miss it indie pop rock gem. Performed and produced entirely by Zoë Brecher aka Hushpuppy (who has also played drums with numerous projects including Palehound, Oceanator, and Sasami), the song addresses her anxiety and depression with Brecher stating on her Instagram, “Although it’s a tough subject, it’s a hopeful song and it’s dedicated to other like me. There’s power in knowing you’re not alone and I hope you can feel that when you listen.” This was admittedly my first introduction to Hushpuppy and it snared me immediately, I’ve already listened to several other tracks and you can now count me firmly in the fan column, very excited to see what comes next. [KH]

 

Mary ShelleyBlasé. This is a slice of high voltage Bauhaus inspired post punk, and is the fourth single from the self described
“goof-groove punk” trio from Brooklyn, named for the gothic novelist Mary Shelley (aka the author of Frankenstein). A “pop song that sounds like it’s drowning” is “about swimming in the decisions you made against your will and feeling powerless to them,”  and it is a catchy ear worm you’ll have a hard time shaking off. The band’s forthcoming debut album will be released on 4/20 and they will play a release show on 4/21 at The Sultan Room. [KH]

 

Meat WaveHonest Living. This is the latest from the Chicago punk band, a straight forward rocker with a thick wall of harmonized guitars, urgent vocals and punchy drums. It is first single by the band for Swami Records, the label helmed by John Reis (Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, PLOSIVS) and the influence of Reis’ prior work is evident in Meat Wave’s sound, with all the drive of a RFTC or Hot Snakes jam, and will get stuck in your head just as easily. The band will tour with PLOSIVS (which also features Rob Crow of Pinback) and hit Brooklyn on 3/18 at Saint Vitus, so now you know what my exact whereabouts for that evening will be. The song is part of a forthcoming album due later this year as a co-release with Swami and Big Scary Monsters. [KH]

 

MonteBad Girl. This song is a fast paced hard rock ripper and is part of the upcoming full length, This Is Monte. The production is slick, making all of the instruments sound huge, and the guitar work of singer/guitarist Caitlin Montclare is top notch. Fun and full of hooks, the chorus in particular is a pop rock sing along, and the whole song owes a debt to the crunch of The Runaways and flamboyance of 80s hair metal. But this is not 80s hair metal dude objectification though, and it is told from the perspective of a queer person, flipping the script and in the process making it a queer anthem. On this Montclare said “I grew up watching MTV and VH1, particularly Head Banger’s Ball, and I always remembered the hair metal bands like Motley Crue, Poison, or Whitesnake, and thinking how cheesy they were, but also, somehow loving it. As a queer person, I thought it would be fun to put a spin on those cringey hair metal bands. Let’s be over the top, let’s add dueling harmonizing guitars!” 

“Bad Girl” is perfect driving fast down the highway music and a summer sing along if I ever heard one. [KH]

Monte performing

Monte performing (photo by Kate Hoos)

 

OceanatorStuck. Oceanator is back with the latest single from their upcoming album Nothing’s Ever Fine (due out 4/8 via Polyvinyl) and it’s a solid grunge offering, chugging along with a sultry and fuzzy bass lilt during the verses before massive riffs take over during the second half of the song, double kick drums and sweeping drum fills careening right out of the speakers. The lyrics come from the perspective of a frustrated and disappointed narrator and the music pairs really perfectly with this sentiment. They have a home town release show scheduled for 4/5 at Knitting Factory before embarking on a heavy touring schedule supporting Pedro the Lion (which hits NYC at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 4/25) and later, PUP and Laura Jane Grace. [KH]

Oceanator performing

Oceanator performing (photo by Ellen Qbertplaya)

 

Petrol Girls (feat. Janey Starling)- Fight For Our Lives. This is the latest single from these political post hardcore heavy hitters and it goes in more of the experimental direction that their previous single “Baby I Had An Abortion,” went in. The song starts with with vocalist Ren Aldridge with her signature piercing yell, accompanied a bombastic showing from the bass and drums, before dipping into more familiar hardcore territory and heading into a classic gang vocal sing along. Featuring guest vocals from activist Janey Starling (formerly of Dream Nails) the band says the song “honours the global movement fighting against femicide and gender-based violence. All money generated from this Bandcamp-only release will go to feminist group Level Up, who are building an interactive, virtual database of femicide victims across the UK and Chile, with a view to scaling up globally in the future. The database is trans inclusive, and will serve as a source of public knowledge and campaigning tool in the fight against gender-based systemic violence.” These two singles paired together clearly show a band that is steadfast in spreading vital messages about systemic problems, while continuing grow in stylistic depth and is not afraid to take unexpected and exciting turns in their music. [KH]

 

The SurfrajettesWarm Up/Couch Surfing. FINALLY. Long-time favorites in the surf rock scene, they have released a few excellent singles since forming in 2015, but are slated to release their debut full-length Roller Fink via Hi-Tide Recordings on April 22. The Toronto quartet take a breezy, engaging approach to the surf format, leaning into psychedelia and lounge music with snappy, hook-laded tunes. “Warm Up” is aptly named, a straightforward surf rock excursion, featuring guitarists Mackenzie Freeman and Nicole Damoff trading sunny, reverby licks overtop a traditional surf beat. On “Couch Surfing,” the band shows off their more psychedelic side. The rhythm section of Sarah Butler (bass) and Dani Nash (drums) set the pace, settling into great bouncy backbeat. Freeman and Damoff play off each other wonderfully, with the tremelo-tinged rhythm guitar offering excellent taste and contrast to the slightly grittier lead. [ND]

 

USA NailsTooting Broadway. The latest single from the upcoming USA Nails/Psychic Graveyard split record, this is a two minute ripper of pure punk noise, absolutely no filler, a “stream of consciousness about where I live” according to the band’s Instagram. While USA Nails can get quite noisy and experimental, and this song does have twinges of those elements, it tends to lean more on their punk sensibilities than straight ahead noise. On the flip side, Psychic Graveyard is an electro frenzy of synth punk noise, reminiscent of a warped version of The Screamers. I had been totally unfamiliar with them prior to the announcement of this split but I am very ready to hear more from them. This is now one of the releases I’m most excited about this spring, the USA Nails tracks having already found their way into my monthly DJ spot in fact. The full album will be available digitally on 4/1 and is available for pre-order now. [KH]

 

Weird NightmareSearching For You. This is the first single from the solo project of Alex Edkins, frontman of noise punk greats, METZ. You still get the echoey fuzz of his usual vocal style, but his range is more apparent here and his pop sensibilities are on full display in both the vocals and guitar work with Edkins commenting via a press release “Hooks and melody have always been a big part of my writing, but they really became the main focus this time.” His Bandcamp describes the project as “a raw, sugary blast of distorted pop,” and goes on to say that the forthcoming debut album “contains all of his main band’s bite with an unexpected, yet totally satisfying, sweetness. Imagine The Amps covering Big Star, or the gloriously hissy miniature epics of classic-era Guided by Voices combined with the bombast of Copper Blue- era Sugar—just tons of red-line distortion cut with the type of tunecraft that thrills the moment it hits your ears.” 

As if I wasn’t already a huge fan of Edkins’ work in METZ, but mention The Amps (Kim Deal’s oft-forgotten mid 90s post Last Splash project) as an influence and I am there. The album comes out on 5/20 via Sub Pop and is very highly anticipated here at FTA headquarters. [KH]

 

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