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], Kate B [KB], Kate H [KH] Mike [MB] and Ray [RR] weighing in on some killer songs and they have the scoop on plenty of new tunes, give ’em a listen!
Activity– Where the Art is Hung. These Brooklyn spooksters continue their mission to creep us all out with this haunting, understated post-punk track. Guitarist and keyboardist Jess Rees, who helms the vocals here as well, says the song is “a response to being simultaneously comforted and creeped out by the practical inability to escape from being watched.” Suitably, the video for the song was filmed in an abandoned school, while Rees whisper-sings “rest up against the wall / there are eyes on where you sleep” over eerie washes of guitar and noise. After their last two singles “Department of Blood” and “Careful Let’s Sleepwalk” also left me feeling disquieted, I’m looking forward to their album Spirit in the Room, out on Western Vinyl on 8/4. What can I say, I like being creeped out. [CW]
The Beths– I Told You That I Was Afraid. I’ll be the first to admit that any kind of new material from The Beths is particularly good news for these ears. This new acoustic version of the song from 2022’s Expert In A Dying Field successfully changes the entire feel of the original. Whereas the album version was upbeat, jangly and crunchy, this is soft and introspective. Singer/guitartist Liz Stokes reveals a vulnerability which I don’t think we’ve seen on any of the band’s previous works. Her soft spoken recitation of the lyrics with the gentile finger picking along with the squeaking of acoustic guitar strings as she changes chords is striking and emotionally moving. I’m not yet sure if I like this version better than the album’s version but one things for sure, it proves that sometimes less can be more. [RR]
Big Joanie (featuring Kim Deal)- Today. The DIY Black feminist punk superstars from London have been touring the United States for the first time this spring and summer, and they’re absolutely killing it. As a musical toast to this celebrated summer, Big Joanie has released a new version of “Today,” one of the many fantastic songs off of their 2022 LP Back Home (Kill Rock Stars). The track has always made me sway and shimmy, the music delightfully danceable while the lyrics are reaching out for an answer from a potential lover, and that truth-telling has to be told today, thus the title. Lead vocalist Stephanie Phillips sings: “Please if you want me to go / If you want mе to stay / Just let me know / Don’t turn this love away / Today.” And yes, that familiar voice on the back-up part in this new version is Kim Deal. Big Joanie shared this statement about what it meant to them to collaborate with a musician they’ve all admired for so long:
“We are immensely proud to announce our new version of ‘Today’ featuring Kim Deal. Whether through Pixies, Breeders, or her solo work, Kim has been a vital influence on us as a band and we’re so happy that she’s become part of the Big Joanie world.”
Cherry Glazerr– Soft Like A Flower. Beginning on a warbled guitar and then turning down into a verse of chugging bass and floating vocals, this is grungry goodness at its very best. The loud choruses and rising chord progressions only keep the excitement through the whole song. Singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy calls the song “a real ‘losing your fucking shit’ kind of vibe.” I Don’t Want You Anymore, the band’s first album since 2019, will be out 9/29 on Secretly Canadian. [CW]
Grandaddy– The Town where I’m Livin’ Now. Earlier this year Grandaddy announced Sumday Twunny, a 20th anniversary box set that includes a remastered version of their 2003 album Sumday, Sumday: The Cassette Demos, and Sumday: Excess Baggage, collection of rarities and b-sides. “The Town where I’m Livin’ Now” comes from the latter. It’s a downer of a tune, with the titular town described as a place where “the records are held by the sad / the cameras can’t find any smiles / and the waters the worst tasting I’ve ever had.” Bandleader Jason Lytle said, “I like making songs like this. Lots of bleak but sweet visuals.” And it’s true, there is something about the lilting music that captures a fleeting, sweet feeling. Nostalgia can be a soft and bitter old friend. The 4-LP box set will be out 9/1 on Dangerbird Records. [CW]
The Hives– Rigor Mortis Radio. I try not to be too effusive for the same band repeatedly in Single Serve, but The Hives fucking rule, this song fucking rules, rock and roll fucking rules. What else is there to say? This is a sneering growling bassy hand-clapper of a track that begins with Howlin’ Pelle stating “you’ve never seen me look so good before” and I can’t wait for this goddamn record. The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons will be out 8/11 on FUGA and the Hives will bless us with their presence at Brooklyn Steel on 10/30. Check out pics from their recent sold out show at Racket. [CW]
King Bug– Ayahuasca Cowboy. The King Bug Wunderkind, Eddie Kuspiel, brings us the project’s brand new and dreamy second single hot on the heels of yet another trip around the sun. “Ayahuasca Cowboy,” just as psychoactive and entheogenic as its moniker would suggest, is stacked with rich textures and electro fuzz hooks. In case you’ve been in a hole, or swimming the bottom of a mug of ayahuasca yourself, this past year the bedroom project has turned into a full on five-piece shoegaze collective supergroup. Aside from Kuspiel (vocals, guitar), the band includes familiar Brooklyn faces, Lizzy Black (synth), Matt Keim (bass), Lou Cozza (drums), and Justin Krim (guitar). Together they breathe equal parts chaos and balance to the band’s sound, often times obscuring where the guitar hooks end the synth hooks begin. All built upon bedrock solid rhythmic pockets, the blended melodies goo and glue, further reinforcing and cementing its organic pops and cracks. A social and spiritual experience in its own right, King Bug, elevates the realm of musical experience and leaves us all pretty excited to hear what’s yet to come. Happy Birthday Eddie! [MB]
Lutalo– Push Back Baby. Minnesota born and Vermont based, multi-instrumentalist Lutalo is an artist to watch. This track from the upcoming AGAIN EP is a slice of confessional folky indie rock that features airy layered guitars and a catchy beat. It’s both charming and introspective, but there’s a more underneath, as Lutalo takes a look at our current systems, which are, as they explain, “rooted in the greed or narcissism of capitalists… I’m analyzing those systems and patterns, and also asking, ‘Can we continue to not perpetuate this?” AGAIN is out 8/25 on Winspear. [CW]
Mary Shelley– Going To The Beach. Which way to the beach? Grab your towels. Grab your friends. NYC’s 70s art punk revival quartet just dropped a hot new Summer jam for you to pop on your way to the beach. Whether your beach is an inflatable kiddie pool on a Bushwick rooftop, or you’re cruising to the Rockaways with a dolphin in a Mercedes convertible, “Goin’ to the Beach” will definitely get you in the right mood. Almost a modern day “Rock Lobster” homage with its crisp bangin’ beat, driving mod bass and sabertooth synthesizer, it’s an impressive nod given that Jackson Dockery, Charlie Hull, Sam Pinson, and Taylor Yancey were likely all born on this side of the millennium. But if you’ve ever been to a Mary Shelley show, you know firsthand that what you get is often a lesson in expecting the unexpected. [MB]
Perennial– Dissolver. Every so often, a band comes along—seemingly out of nowhere—and really gets under your skin in all the right ways. Perennial has been that band for me. They went from being a band I’d never heard of, to a cold call email in my inbox, to one of my favorites in a blisteringly fast amount of time. “Blistering” is a good way to describe the experimental art/dance/post punk trio as well, their live sets are intense and in your face while their recordings reach that rare feat of capturing the energy of a red hot live band on stage in a studio form (something that sadly not all great live bands are able to achieve). They’ve been around some number of years now and reflecting the growth that happens to a band who has spent years honing their craft, they’ve reworked some of their early material with producer Chris Teti (The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die) who also worked with them on their explosive 2022 album In The Midnight Hour.
The result is The Leaves of Autumn Symmetry which the band calls “9 minutes of avant-garde punk modernism. A high-fidelity, ‘studio-as-instrument’ reworking of five songs from Perennial’s debut album, The Symmetry of Autumn Leaves.” The first single is “Dissolver” which here sounds bigger and bolder than ever, keeping the same structure as the original, but the sound is more all encompassing. There are many added elements as well, bobbing and weaving around the main propulsive guitar riff, creating a sonic palette showing off a band that has clearly grown into it’s own, taking their own strong early foundation and combining it with the skills gained over years of playing together and learning in the studio environment. I for one can’t wait to hear the rest…okay I’m lying, the band gave me a sneak preview of the rest already and it’s an excellent document of the journey this band has been on as well as an exciting glimpse into the paths that they may yet follow. More accurately, I can’t wait for the rest of you to hear it and love it in the same way I do. The Leaves of Autumn Symmetry releases in full on 9/1 and Perennial has several upcoming live dates in New England. They will play an NYC release show on 9/3 at Purgatory. [KH]
Ranch Ranch– Shredded Carrots. The dancy post-punk quartet is back again with another funky angular groove that’ll keep your toes tapping. “Shredded Carrots,” theIR second single and follow up to this Spring’s “American Cheeseburger,” is a polyrhythmic powerhouse. The band has an almost Ween-like feel, bringing an air of balderdash fun and surface levity to an expert musical execution that suggests what seems almost nonsensical carries with it the weight of a far more profound message. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Peel back the onion and take the deep dive into Ranch Ranch to decide for yourself. [MB]
Tea Eater– Double. Tea Eater is one hell of a fun band to see live, with a wild stage presence, wickedly funny lyrics (about podcasts, butter, hating the DMV and more) and just the right blend of catchy yet experimental to keep things endlessly interesting and engaging. Front woman Tarra Thiessen once also fronted the indie rock garage trio Sharkmuffin and now is a member of the sublime and weirdly wonderful post punk band, Gustaf. Tea Eater sees the amalgamation and influence of both of these projects, meeting at the perfect juncture of indie sensibilities and noisy art punk no-fucks-to-give vibes, which showcases the range of Thiessen’s skills as a songwriter and performer brilliantly. They self describe as “surf-rock-on-Neptune grooves and sucker punch tracks,” and it’s hard to argue with that!
“Double” is the first taste from their upcoming debut LP which was produced by Drew Vandenburg (Bambara/Faye Webster/Of Montreal). The song touches on the dark sides of social media and what that does to us as people. It has an accompanying video (directed by her Gustaf bandmate, Tine Hill) which sees Thiessen trying to kill her own doppelgänger. On the track she shares: “These versions of ourselves tend to make us get in our own way,” continuing “By shedding our doubles and integrating the icky parts back into ourselves we’re able to become more whole and present people.” Certainly food for thought in a world that increasingly has us staring at everyone’s “doubles” on screens and perceiving reality as dictated by unseen algorithms. The band will play next in NYC on 8/12 at Rippers on the beach and will head to Europe for the first time this fall. The as of yet unnamed album will be released later this year. [KH]