Single Serve 047

by | Jun 23, 2023 | Reviews


Hi! Hello! Here we are with some bite sized goodies and a taste of a some new things that we dug that came out in the last week (ish), quick fire responses to some great new music we think you should check out. This week we have Chantal [CW], Emily [EA], Mike [MB] and guest writer Badger [BC] weighing in on some killer songs and they have the scoop on plenty of new tunes, give ’em a listen!


Activity– Department Of Blood. With eerie backing vocals and a beat that bubbles up from underneath, this track puts me in mind of Amnesiac-era Radiohead ala “Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors.” It’s a dark, menacing song, as Travis Johnson sings “whatever the lord is came to me.” He explains “the song is loosely about a lot of things, but one of them is the feeling of knowing you’re being manipulated by something way more powerful than you and also knowing you can do absolutely nothing about it.” Following on the heels of the equally anxious-sounding “Careful Let’s Sleepwalk,” these singles have me excited for Spirit In The Room, which comes out August 4th on Western Vinyl. Activity will be holding their album release show on July 16th at Baby’s All Right. [CW]


Bad Luck Safe to Say. The NYC quartet of Dominick Fox, Joe Fox, Charlie Caruso, and Michael Sichel just dropped a hot new video for their latest single “Safe to Say” from their upcoming EP Books On Tape out August 11th via Take This To Heart Records. The high contrast video is super slick, looking like a cross between an episode of Severence and Cold War housing from the Soviet Bloc. Drop ceilings and maybe drop D, their heavy rhythmic riffed two guitar attack is reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American, while melodically nodding toward Saves The Day’s more sabertoothed Through Being Cool in all the right ways. [MB]


Big Bliss– Tell Me When You’re Ready. The newest single from NYC’s own Big Bliss is brisk and electric. Once Tim Race—who started the project with his brother Cory in 2018—starts singing (after a brief, twangy intro), he does not stop till the outro. It keeps your heart rate up, and Tim says a lot in three minutes—so much that I almost wonder when he has the chance to breathe, which lends itself to the track’s restlessness. The lyrics are clever, eloquent phrases that I would need a thesaurus to think of in between basic human observations like “I’m nauseous and scared.” It invokes a sort of inner turmoil, a battle between logic and chaos. Reluctance of acceptance, knowing something in your logical mind but denying it in your emotional one. “Face it / please don’t call it a crisis / because I have a name for it now / I have a name for it now,” goes the supremely catchy and yet haunting chorus. Post-punk guitars and a fervent, tireless drumbeat lie beneath the poignant vocals that explore addiction, denial, and recovery—a topic that is not new to Big Bliss—to create a distinctly energetic and passionate tune. [EA]


Dethklok Aortic Desecration. I’ve always sort of felt like people who got really into Dethklok’s music—including Brendon Small—were sort of tricking themselves into something. That a kinda-good-but-not-that-good melodeath band would become a major economic and cultural powerhouse is pretty self-evidently the main joke of Metalocalypse, and for its best years (its first two seasons as a quarter-hour gag series, before they started leaning into the continuity) that’s all that the tunes really aspired to. And while Small proved his for-real chops when the bonafide rock opera that concluded the original series ended up being a damn fine piece of longform rock music, I’ve still never been a fan of the show’s shift to sincerity. So maybe it’s a good sign for the upcoming movie that this particular track is classic Dethklok: a slightly funny, slightly good piece of stylistically accessible death metal that will probably be attached to something significantly funnier, but as it stands is a pretty incomplete text. [BC]


Glimmer Self Destroyed. Following the dissolution of local favorites Dead Stars, members (and cousins) Jeff and Jaye Moore decided to keep going, forming the new group Glimmer. And we are thankful they didn’t hang up the towel—their debut single “Self Destroyed” proves they still have things to say and music to make. Deftly melding grungey sounds with pop sensibilities (their Bandcamp bills them as “grungegaze”) their sound is both throwback and evolution. Jeff’s trademark crunchy guitar is present and tracks off into an almost reckless sounding mini-solo (he handled bass duties as well on the recording, although Glimmer is performing as a quartet) with his vocals melding into the music smoothly, while Jaye’s drums accent perfectly, lighter to carry the verses and giving weight to the harder parts of the song. Watch their Instagram for more new music and upcoming shows. [CW]


Islands– Life’s A Joke. “Islands Are Forever” Nick Thorburn (aka Nick Diamonds) has been known to proclaim, and I can only hope it’s true. The latest music from the Canadian musician carries on from 2021’s Islomania, being catchy and fun, almost tropical, topped with Thorburn’s moody voice singing phrases like “one day your horse is up the next it’s been put down / nothing seems to matter anyhow” and “fuck your god / he closed the window and shut the door” over an almost comically upbeat tune. I’m pretty sure Thorburn has never been in a band I didn’t like and his songwriting never fails to satisfy. And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs will be out on August 25th (happy birthday to me!) and Islands will be at Bowery Ballroom on September 23rd. [CW]


LEONEI Wanna Be. Brooklyn’s LEONE is bringing sexy back. The trio single handedly responsible for at least doubling the sensuality quotient among the shaggy faced Brooklyn indie rock scene this past year, Richie Leone (vocals, guitar), Tarik Merzouk (bass), and Brian Del Guercio (drums), return with a new single and video, directed by Beth Fletcher. Full of dark cabaret and vice, it unfolds its secret desires manifested in the sordid underbelly of NYC. Duplicitous in its power dynamics, danger and desire exhilarate each movement and every turn. The twist and pull, the allure of the performer just outside reach. The lines between total freedom and lack of control are as blurry here as the whiskey soaked vision of Leone himself. The piece is as visually cinematic as it is lyrically poetic, and aurally flawless in tying those elements together. It ends with with a gasp, a classic cliffhanger of imminent peril, leaving us to wonder what will become of our hero… or villain? [MB]


Mandy, Indiana The Driving Rain (18). With this track the experimental Mandy, Indiana draw close to being club-ready, as a looping drum beat chugs along under synthy layered voices. I can imagine this one appearing on a Nightride FM mix someday. The accompanying music video by producer/guitarist Scott Fair consists of what he calls “found anime footage;” it’s an established method to loop anime in the background of synth mixes on Youtube nowadays, but I do wish they had sourced the clips in the credits. The band has added US tour dates recently and will be at Baby’s All Right on December 2nd for their first ever show in NYC; their debut album i’ve seen a way is out now on Fire Talk. [CW]


PalehoundIndependence Day. In advance of their new album Eye on the Bat, out 7/14 on Polyvinyl Records, Palehound has released a brand new single. Just in time for, well, Independence Day, “Independence Day” is somber and elegant. El Kempner’s catchy acoustic riffs combine with their fierce-yet-delicate, almost folksy vocals and poetic, engaging lyrics to create something explosive yet subdued. The accompanying video is of fireworks, but they are not the focus—peripheral, and such is the sense I get from this song, which seems to remind us that not all epiphanies need to be loud and volcanic. Of the track, Kempner says:

“The ending of a relationship that spanned the majority of my twenties illuminated a forked road that daunted me. In the aftermath of our breakup, I found myself dwelling on what that other life would have been like and who I would have become had we chosen differently, or even if circumstance or tragedy had chosen for us.”

Eye on the Bat is out 7/14. Palehound embarks on a US tour this fall, and will play Bowery Ballroom 10/19 with Philly’s Empath. [EA]


Shred FlintstoneBlue 42. The New Jersey rockers are back with a killer new EP out next week, and just dropped hot lead single “Blue 42” to tide us over until we can get our next full fix. Now a tight as nails quartet, this newest Shred endeavor is full of slow crunch and heavy fuzz. Veering a bit from some of the psych and garage elements they’ve showcased on previous releases, frontman Dan Barrachia alongside Ozzie Silva (drums), Ben “Slam Cheddy” Petty (bass), and Charlie Pants (guitar) show a clear evolution in songwriting as well as an evolution in production this time around. Think more Placebo meets early Silverchair (thanks to Silva’s thunderous and controlled attack behind the kit) without abandoning their signature tough-in-cheek twist of fun that makes them so uniquely Shred Flintstone. [MB]



Slowdive kisses. Shoegaze greats Slowdive sound less fuzz-mode here and more into dreampop, evoking bands they themselves influenced like Wild Nothing or Real Estate. It’s a sort of lightweight, melancholy song, with echoing guitar plucking along under the reverb-drenched vocals of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell (“I know you dream of snowfields / floating high above the trees / living for the new thing / sometimes the new won’t do.“) It’s a beautiful song and a logical progression from 2017’s self-titled comeback album. everything is alive is out  September 1st on Dead Oceans; Slowdive will be on our side of the pond at Webster Hall for two shows on September 27th and 28th. [CW]


Who Is She? MoviePass. Let me tell you, it isn’t often that a song makes me laugh out loud. But this one did, and you probably will too. It’s about that wonderful, disastrous moviegoing app that took us all by storm back in 2017. It was too good to be true, wasn’t it? So is this song. Surfy pop-rock intercut with a spoken-word monologue, one side of a conversation that we all had at the time but that is also are worthy of a comedy show (“And I didn’t go to business school or anything,” goes one of these moments, “But it was an unsustainable business model.”), “MoviePass” proves that the supergroup, made up of Robin Edwards of Lisa Prank, Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt, Bree Mckenna and newly Emily Nokes, both of Tacocat, can make an absolute bop out of anything. The video, by animator Violet Crabtree, is fabulous too, a stop motion fantasy world of movie theater snacks and slightly off-kilter yet unbridled joy. But there’s a clear message behind the silliness: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!”


The band shares:

“This song is about existing in this brief, beautiful glitch in time where we could see as many movies as we wanted in the theater. MoviePass was the one that got away, a love that burned bright and fast, and knowing it’s over but wishing you could go back. Movie theaters also are significant to Bree and Robin, who both worked as popcorn-scoopers in their early 20s.”


If I may do the anecdote thing: I myself was working in a movie theater in 2017, and for us, MoviePass was hell. It made all of our lives harder and created a lot of frustration from staff and customers alike. Still, though, even I look back fondly at that simpler time. For me, this song invokes that wistfulness, a longing for those pre-pandemic days, for a time when it seemed like truly cool and useful things were still coming from the Internet and not the threat of annihilation by artificial intelligence. MoviePass can represent a lot of things, and this wonderful, relatable, ridiculous track reminds us: whatever it is, take advantage now. Because you never know how long it will be around. Who Is She?’s new album Goddess Energy is out August 25th on Father/Daughter Records. [EA]



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