Single Serve 029

Single Serve 029

 

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 Chantal, Kate and Mike weighed in on some killer songs— give ’em a listen!

 

A Very Special Episode Heaven’s Gate. The Brooklyn based band has turned a fascination with the history of cults and their manipulative ways into this dark, throbbing banger of a track, where the music and haunting vocals build to a climax, then to a strange ominous ending. They’ll be promoting the release of the single with a show at Purgatory on February 24th with Leathered, Shadow Monster, and Debbie Dopamine. The video features appearances/cameos from several local musicians including our very own Mike Borchardt. [CW]

 

Aggressive Soccer MomsDarling. Another spontaneous banger by the Swedish electro-post-punk duo that will have you confused as to whether you should pogo, or bang your head, or toss your arms in the air and just move your body. Whatever way you choose to go, it’s sure to elevate your mood and your day will be better for it. [MB]

 

Black Belt Eagle Scout Space. The latest single from Swinomish musician Katherine Paul is a spacious song with interweaving guitar and strings, overlaid by Paul’s gorgeous voice. On the chorus she is backed by her parents, and notes she intended the song “for an audience as a way to sing melodies of healing and care for them.” The touching, meditative video depicts Paul and her father, a carver in the Coast Salish style, creating an eagle head from yellow cedar. The Land, The Water, The Sky will be out February 10th on Saddle Creek. She will perform in NYC on 4/15 at Baby’s All Right. Read some of our past coverage on her previous singles here and here. [CW]

 

Badge GrabberThe Tin Foil Hat Brigade. Aggressive digital hardcore about “DUMBASS FUKKIN CONSPIRACY THEORISTS LOL.” Singer/producer Riley Ponce certainly minces no words in the lyrics either, scathingly taking down Q-anon-eqsue fools and their ilk bent on the destruction of our planet. From an upcoming “nu album” due out next month. I’m ready for more abrasion from this project, how about you? [KH]

 

Beat AwfulsPunks On The Dancefloor. The third single from the upcoming album, PAWS, features our narrator over top of a jangly mid-tempo indie pop, being self reflective (and perhaps a bit self deprecating) in a fuzz laden voice as he admits in the opening moments of the song: I will spin into a tornado / And destroy what lays in my way. And does he know why? Do we? The chorus perhaps gives us some insider knowledge but ultimately asks more questions? Do I really wanna tear it all down / What for / Because I’m bored / Or should I slam it on the ground / Bounce up and down in my Docs some more / Like punks on the dance floor. The album will release in full on 2/10. [KH]

 

ChumHuffer Wasting Away. The NYC/Long Island punks have just announced their new album, Orgy of Hate, and released the first single, “Wasting Away.” Read more here. [KH]

 

Death Valley GirlsMagic Powers. This one is a bit moody, seeing the band leaning into the dreamy, gothy side of their sound which I’m all for. And while singer/guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden does not take lead vocals on this track (she provides backups while bassist Sammy Westervelt does the lead), she shares the inspiration behind the lyrics which were penned together with Westervelt: “I was walking down the street, and all of the sudden it dawned on me that almost all the things that kids bullied me about, or I got in trouble for in school, or was told would make me never amount to anything, were actually my magic powers! My voice isn’t too high, or funny, it’s how I cast my spells! I’m not a bad student, I love learning, and being a seeker! And I’m not a crazy person with weird ideas, that will never fit into society, I’m a witch, and I have magic powers!” Did I say I was all for it before? Because being a cool goth garage punk witch with magic powers?! I’m really all for it.

 

The song comes paired with a video directed by Westervelt and recalls the pixelated video games of ye olden times of the 1980s. This is the third single from the upcoming album Islands In The Sky which will arrive in full on 2/24 via Suicide Squeeze. [KH]

 

Ducks LtdInvitation (Feelies cover). The band turn their trademark jangle and breezy vocals towards paying homage to The Feelies and say on their Bandcamp that it was “inspired by a Halloween performance in a Feelies cover band by guitarist Evan Lewis and several members of the Ducks Ltd live band.” Featuring Mo Troper and Julia Steiner of Ratboys, the harmonies and guitar work are a fitting tribute to the original from the 1991 album Time For A Witness. The single is part of a cover series called “The Sincerest Form of Flattery” and is out on Carpark Records. [CW]

 

[Editor’s note: I had a part time job working at Michael’s in Wayne, NJ almost 15 years ago now, and none other than Dave Weckerman of The Feelies was my co-worker. We unloaded trucks together every Thursday morning at 5am and it was a time!- KH]

 

ElitaShe Bangs Like A Fairy On Acid. Described as a “Goth bedroom-pop band,” what really captured my attention when this came across my desk this week was this quote from guitarist/keyboardist Tim Rypien “I made this song at my parents house on Christmas Day. I was messing around with their digital piano trying to recreate the Unsolved Mysteries theme song. I missed the mark but thankfully the beat for “SBLAFOA” was born.” Being a huge fan of the 80s true crime show, I knew I had to take a listen. The music does certainly recall that iconic theme and is in the same dark vain, but definitely stands on its own, ominous yet nimble at the same time. On the lyrics, vocalist Elita shares “Timmy and I tried mushrooms for the first time before writing this song. I felt like I was living in a little fairy world and that totally inspired this song. I wrote the lyrics on Christmas too.” 

 

Indeed, the song is dark and trippy, but the imaginary world contained within is less forbidding than it is a sexy and beguiling place, the lyrics recounting the tale of a drug fueled tryst in the woods with a fairy (which will no doubt appeal to many sapphic fans in particular). The song is part of the upcoming debut album, Dysania, due out on 3/22 via Opposition; the band will embark on a tour in early April that will see them hitting NYC on 4/8 at Elsewhere. [KH]

 

GelAttainable. The NJ hardcore band has released some killer EPs over the last few years (that made both our faves of 2021 and 2022 lists) and now have announced their debut full-length, Only Constant (3/31 Convulse), and released the first single, “Attainable.” The song sees them in the well hewn, raw and crusty hardcore territory they are so good at, but building upon their hallmark sound, adding in dance-punk choruses that have an almost electro feel to them for a really cool vibe.

 

In a press release, vocalist Sami Kaiser shared: “A lot of this record is about trying to live more of a happy and healthy life. I’ve been in recovery for alcoholism for the past couple years and really taking it seriously. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to address negative feelings, and the album is about trying to let go of those self-destructive tendencies and embrace change.” [KH]

 

LovecolorDangerous. I’ve been a big fan of songwriter/producer Vanessa Silberman since we first met shortly after she moved to NYC in early 2019 and we became fast friends. She’s been playing music alongside her musical partner, Ryan Carnes, for just as long, and while the world was sleeping and we’ve all been slowly coming back to life the past few years, the duo has been hard at work creating what would become Lovecolor.

 

The pair has an undeniable musical chemistry writing catchy dark pop/dance rock magic, and their debut single under the glow of its fluorescent retro-futuristic music video directed by Cosmos Kiindarius makes quite the first impression.

 

It’s important to Silberman that they do something special and say something meaningful. “Dangerous,” Silberman says “is about a few things—one being attraction and being so completely drawn to someone that it’s almost dangerous, in a way. On the other hand, its message is really about exposing your entire self and being completely fearless and vulnerable, by embracing every aspect of who you are.” Carnes adds: “To me, ‘Dangerous’ speaks to the idea of being fully awake, aware, alive and sharp in a world where parts of society and culture wish us to remain dull and asleep.“ [MB]

 

Middle-Aged QueersAnal Beads. The sassy Bay Area queer-core band has released a brand new song just in time for Valentine’s Day and it leaves little to the imagination! Read more here. [KH]

 

Model/ActrizAmaranth. The Brooklyn based experimental industrial band are releasing their debut full length, Dogsbody, soon and have shared the third single, the delightfully abrasive “Amaranth.” Be prepared to be pummeled with rapid fire beats and jittery, gasoline doused guitar for three minutes straight. In other words, this song is not for the faint of heart but certainly for the adventurous among us. Dogsbody will be released on 2/24 via True Panther. The band will play new NYC venue, Racket, on 4/20. [KH]

 

Tami HartThanks For Saying Hi. Many moons ago when I was a baby queer in the early aughts, I became familiar with Tami Hart’s work via Mr. Lady Records, a now defunct lesbian run label that released some crucial albums in my life (and countless other queers I’m sure) between 1996 and 2004. Two of those albums were Hart’s No Light In August (2000) and What Passed Between Us (2002). I saw her play a few times from 2000 to around 2003ish and over the years I would dip back into those albums from time to time, both having remained personal favorites to this day, but no new solo music arrived from Hart after 2002. (Making Friendz was a 2011 solo project yes, but as a lo-fi electro project, it had a distinctly different vibe than the singer-songwriter, country twinged feel of the earlier releases.)

 

And though she wasn’t releasing solo music, she was hardly idle musically after those first two records either and has been involved with a number of other projects. Via Spotify her bio states “From the mid-2000’s-2010’s Tami could be found in bands like Winning Looks, MEN, and Sextional, as well as solo project Making Friendz. In 2017 Tami co-founded Teen Vice with Joshua Ackley of Brooklyn-based punk band The Dead Betties. 2022 saw Tami return to solo releases and performances.”

 

Indeed, 2022 saw her starting to release solo music under her own name again, with a collection of demos and a single, “Sorry For Your Heart,” coming over the course of the year. I was unaware of this until I recently saw her name start to pop up on show flyers and realized “oh shit, new music!” Now Hart is preparing to release a brand new EP in April on Cruisin Records and has released the first single, “Thanks For Saying Hi.”

 

This one is a delightful full circle moment, returning to the sound of her very early releases, full of sweet harmonies and twang. Via Bandcamp Hart says the EP is “a game of country mouse and city mouse, as both love letter to New York City with twinges of post punk as well as a deep bow to her Southern upbringing with heart on sleeve echoing of country melodies.” I for one am looking very forward to hearing more and catching a live show for the first time in over 20 years! (I personally missed her recent show with Ted Leo because I had to work, but our very own Ray Rusinak was on hand and you can check out pics here.) [KH]

 

 

WhenwolvesMinutes. We premiered the band’s latest electro groove this week from their upcoming EP, Recon For The Weirdos, and you can read more about that here. [MB]

 

 

 

 

M(h)aol- Attachment Styles

M(h)aol- Attachment Styles

M(h)aol Attachment Styles (art by Zoë Greenway)

 

Irish post-punk band, M(h)aol (pronounced “male”), wrote and recorded their debut full length album, Attachment Styles, over the course of seven days in one rehearsal room using a sparse set-up with “no headphones, minimal drum mics, and only a PA for vocals.” The album was produced, mixed and mastered by band member Jamie Hyland. The superb result is a truly eclectic record that rages against patriarchy and heteronormativity, while also reveling in the transcendent power of finding joy despite oppressive sexist bullshit. The Tulle Collective (a women-led independent record label focused on working with and for underrepresented voices in music) released Attachment Styles and describes it as “a record about social connection, queerness, and healing.”

 

The eleven songs explode and whisper in turn, featuring vocalist Róisín Nic Ghearailt’s intense lyrics, which are both contemplative and defiant. The band shares: “When Róisín was writing the lyrics, she used the theory of attachment styles as an overarching theme which is a theory that looks at the impact our inter-familial relationships and society have on how we relate to one another.” As Attachment Styles shows, our society and inter-familial relationships hurt us plenty, but if you’re like M(h)aol, you’ve got good friends to create raucous music with, and thus, you’ll not only survive, you’ll thrive.

 

M(h)aol portrait

M(h)aol (photo by Naomi Williams)

 

The album is “a journey of healing,” beginning with “Asking For It,” a song exploring the pain, self-doubt, and anger survivors of sexual assault have to navigate. It’s the one track on the album that existed before the group came together to write and record the album. Ghearailt started writing the song years before to attempt to process her feelings about rape culture: “I wrote it initially in 2016 then revisited it in 2020. I was shocked by how much internalized victim blaming there was in the lyrics. I rewrote it, then we recorded it and it was released to raise money for Women’s Aid in 2021. The album version is a lot angrier than the 2021 one and almost satirical insofar as it’s highlighting how ludicrous the notion of anyone ‘asking for it’ is.”

 

The song also has a beautiful and moving video directed by band member, Zoë Greenway (who also created the album’s haunting cover art), and she shares: “This has been the most difficult video I’ve made for M(h)aol to date. There’s so much power and emotion in Róisín’s lyrics and performance, so we worked really hard to create a responsible and sensitive portrayal of this experience she’s conveying, do it justice and make people care.”

 

 

Other standout songs on Attachment Styles include the spoken word “Bisexual Anxiety,” where, Ghearailt speaks honestly over simmering noise and subtle distorted guitars: “I’m worried I’m doing this wrong. The other day when you asked me was I just gay…oh honey, I’d love to be gay. Or straight even. I mean, not really. I’d love to be anything other than what I am. Fluid. Ambiguous. Subversive. If you’re being kind…greedy, indecisive, untrustworthy, if you’re not.” I’ve never heard declarations of the realities of bisexual experience that were so direct and true, all over such a mysterious soundscape.

 

Attachment Styles closes with “Period Sex,” which smashes all taboos about shame connected to menstruation. “Let’s have period sex / It’s time to make a mess…I’m in a mood to eat,” Ghearailt purrs. The seductive and triumphant mood echoes in the danceable drums from Constance Keane that build to a frenzy within a storm of guitar sound, a slinky bass line, and intermittent spikes of synthesizers. Like all good sex, things reach their climax, and the afterglow shimmers with sounds of a broken piano that the band members found in the days leading up to recording the album.

 

Ghearailt shares that “Prior to writing the track I’d had a lot of eye-opening conversations around period shame with people of all genders and from all walks of life, and I wanted to write almost an anthem for everyone who had ever had a period or loved someone who had one. It felt like a hugely powerful thing to be in a position to create a song as a band that was unequivocally sexy. I’m a cis bisexual woman in a queer, sapphic relationship. Periods and period sex are a part of my reality, and my girlfriend actually helped me with the lyrics in the first verse.” 

 

 

Only 16 months after releasing their stellar debut EP, Gender Studies, M(h)aol’s Attachment Styles now brilliantly continues their defiant feminist post-punk style (no small feat considering that the quintet live in five different cities, including Dublin, Bristol, and London). The group will be at SXSW this year, and hopefully will grace the rest of the United States with a full tour soon. In the meantime, those of us stateside can work toward freedom, equity, and joy for people of all genders and sexualities while listening to Attachment Styles.

 

Attachment Styles is available now via Tulle Collective and on all major streamers.

 

 

 

triton.- Sundown in Oaktown

triton.- Sundown in Oaktown

triton. Sundown in Oaktown

 

Sundown in Oaktown is the debut album by triton., a musical project by Scott Murphy. With the concept of space being a vital tenant of the record, Murphy’s Hawaiian roots shine brightly throughout while also leaving plenty of room for the darker tones of life in Oakland, California. It is undoubtedly well-balanced and relatable with songs about how it feels to uproot your life in “_tiki_”, trying to stay out of trouble in “_jingletown_” and grappling with homesickness in “all_is_vanity.” 

 

The album spans twelve tracks in just over 40 minutes and manages not to be rushed without dragging. Many of the songs like the opener “_bougainvillea,” sound like they’re being performed by Murphy on a seashore with a guitar in his lap. As he reflects on his new life 2,000 miles from home, he sings “I’ll figure it out/just like I always do” while addressing his shortcomings. The fastest song on Sundown in Oaktown is “orchids” which is written from the standpoint of looking back on life from the inside of a fast-moving BART train. Murphy is transparent about his mental health struggles in many songs and “orchids” does so in a way that warrants forgiveness rather than pity: “I’m sorry my place is a wreck/I just wanted it to match my head/I’m alone again in this bed/staring at the ceiling/thinking back on what you said,” he sings against upbeat keyboards, guitar, and drums.

 

 

Having grown up in the Bay Area and gone to college in Oakland myself, I can relate to much of what triton. alludes to throughout the album. Oakland has been at the forefront of artistic and social movements for decades but since it has become one of the most expensive places to live in the US (due to gentrification and inadequate rent control laws), it can often be difficult to make a living through creative means. In a press release, Murphy’s describes the experience of how living in Oakland informed the record clearly as he “saw lines drawn everywhere, neighborhood to neighborhood, rich to poor, and began his new life, trying not to slip between the cracks, and lose himself in a city that will spit you out or swallow you whole. Living paycheck to paycheck, Scott started writing music under the name triton. as a way to make sense of his fractured identity, combining the gentle sounds of his youth with the roar of city traffic, car alarms, and broken windows.” 

 

Sundown in Oaktown was coproduced by Thursday’s Geoff Rickley and features his guest vocals on “alcatraz,” which certainly lends it to be the most Thursday-adjacent track on the record. Other notable contributors include vocals from AJ Perdomo (The Dangerous Summer) on “_haunt” and Aaron Gillespie (Underoath, The Almost) on “all_is_vanity.” Jarrod Alexander (My Chemical Romance, Alkaline Trio, Death By Stereo, The Suicide File) plays drums on “_sangre_azul_” and “orchids” and Tim Payne (Thursday, LS Dunes) plays bass on “_EMBRKDRO_,” “orchids,” and “alcatraz.”

 

 

Find triton. on Instagram.

Sundown in Oaktown is out now on all major streaming platforms.

 

 

 

Single Serve 029

Single Serve 028

 

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 Chantal, Kate and Mike weighed in on some killer songs— give ’em a listen!

 

BodywashMassif Central. The first single from the Montreal post punk duo’s just announced second album, I Held the Shape While I Could due out 4/14 via Light Organ. Chris Steward shares the inspiration behind the heavy subject matter addressed in the poignant and ethereal track:

“After eight years living in Canada, in the Spring of 2021, a government clerical error caused me to lose my legal status here,” Steward explains. “As a UK national, I lost my right to work. My savings trickled away during months where I could do little but pace the corners of my apartment. I was prepared to pack my bags and leave as the life I’d hoped to construct for myself seemed to vanish into a bureaucratic abyss.”

 “‘Massif’ is the sound of wailing into a cliff and not knowing if you’ll hear an echo,” continued Steward. “The spoken word is inspired by a squirrel that was trapped in the wall behind my bed, clawing its way to salvation. With the help of friends, family, music, and a few immigration lawyers (and the rest of my savings), I’m now a permanent resident here. But this song remains as testament to my experience with an exploitative institution.” [KH]

 

Cameron CastanTwo Point Oh. Cammy is back with another synth driver, “Two Point Oh.” On the first release following their beautifully executed 2022 LP Show Me, Castan has indeed come back with the upgrade installed. Chunkier keys command attention over airier melodies, so the beat feels heavier this time around. Castan somehow once again manages to perfectly capture the feeling of being young in Bushwick. “Kissed me in the bathroom. Could never keep a secret… All I do is fuck off. Go and take my shirt off. See somebody I don’t like, and I’m about to mouth off. Told me that I’m too raw. Caught me with a new broad…” Whether you’re dancing all night in the club, stumbling through the bars, or awkwardly alone in the corner at the back of the show, it’s the same limitless freedom mixed with a crushing vulnerability that makes this track so damn authentic and relatable. [MB]

 

Cat ClydePapa Took My Totems. Coming in strong with the third single from her upcoming album, Down Rounder, this one is a bouncy and catchy offering with killer drums, hot guitar licks, and sexy organ accentuating the focal instruments. The previous two singles, the piano driven “I Feel It,” and the folky, country indie “Mystic Light,” each have a different feel and these three songs nicely show the range of Clyde’s songwriting skills. But don’t let the peppier nature of this song fool you to think it’s not about a serious subject as it explores the “ravaging effects of colonialism, the state of the environment, and masculine-dominated society at large.”

 

Clyde says she was inspired in part by her Indigenous Métis heritage and elaborates: “There’s a lot of sacredness that’s being destroyed in the world, and that’s difficult to deal with sometimes. Totems, to me, feel like places and things that are important and real, to witness the destruction of things like that is devastating.” Down Rounder will be out 2/17 via her own label, Second Prize Records. [KH]

 

Coffee NapPet Sounds! The Song!/Future Project. A departure from previous releases that tended toward acoustic storytelling and instrumentals, the new single from Coffee Nap (Greenpoint-based musician Mike Nowotarski) is a synthy, narrative song that does indeed namecheck the Beach Boys, with a speak-singy intro that gives way to a bop about watching a friend move to California. (“You’re a New York girl at heart I know, but for now I’ll let things be.”) The second track is a slice of experimental pop, just over a minute and a half in length but lovely. Nowotarski notes he was inspired by Terror Pigeon, and that the guitar sounds were mostly created “using household objects like a spoon or matches.” [CW]

 

Deep WimpToo Much. Too much is never enough when it comes to Deep Wimp. Bringing me back to all my late 90s indie feels, it’s just dirty enough to be cool, but clean enough to play for your mom. The Brooklyn quartet has been knocking it outta the park the past couple years consistently dropping fun guitar hook driven singles at a time when we can all use some fun. Check out our thoughts on their previous single, “Plume” another catchy slice of awesome. [MB]

 

DearyFairground. The debut single from this UK band is a quirky slice of dream-pop that looks backward but also remains quite present. The production feels nostalgic, particularly the breakbeat drums, while Dottie’s Cocteau Twins-esque vocals swirl around like a carousel. “As a kid,” Dottie says, “I found fairgrounds incredibly overwhelming, an entanglement of anxiety and perplexity. This is how London feels to me now.” Stateside, they’ll be in Chicago on Jan 28th, and if you happen to be in London, catch them Feb. 2nd at The Waiting Room. [CW]

 

Fake NamesExpendables. This post-hardcore supergroup is back with another single, this time the title track from their upcoming second album, and they are just as fun and catchy as ever. We covered their last EP here and Fake Names have kept what works from their previous music, presenting here a punchy, drum driven track with a chantable chorus. A band whose members have Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Refused, Fugazi, Girls Against Boys, Rites of Spring, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, and more on their resumes obviously know what they are doing! Producer Adam “Atom” Greenspan has brought the pop influences forward but there is more than enough punk in this track to satisfy. Expendables is out on Epitaph March 3rd. [CW] 

 

Fat HeavenQuarter Life Crisis. The Brooklyn trio who’s better at being unapologetically pop-punk than almost anyone in the business is back with a new catchy as hell song and accompanying music video off their new Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls) produced record,Trash Life, coming out Feb 24 via Sell the Heart Records. Stacked with so many friends who’ve come up with band over the years, the video plays out like a Fat Heaven basement show, which if you’ve ever been, you know is one helluva party! Hopefully all the partying doesn’t catch up with them too hard, as we indeed hope they all live to the ripe old age of 120 years old. [MB]

 

Jess Kallen The Knife. A country twinged, laid back folk rocker that addresses Kallen’s “competing desires for freedom and stability,” and I don’t know about anyone else, but that feels reeeeally relatable. The chorus packs an emotional gut punch as they declare “the knife in my back is coming out clean.” This is the second single from their upcoming debut album which is due out this spring and we are anxiously awaiting more details on that. [KH]

 

Junior Bill Boys From Jungle. The Cardiff based band are known for their slick dub grooves in the vein of UK legends The Clash, and while that is the case here too, they have cleverly combined it with a with a bit of a grittier and punkier sound for an infectious and angular post punk jam. Big beats announce the onslaught of catchy guitar and this one will having you rocking in your chair like I was typing this up or better yet, bouncing around the dance floor.

The long running group led by frontman Rob Nichols have released many singles and EPs over the years which have garnered the band praise—and opening tour slots for Supergrass in 2019—and now they are ready to release their proper debut full length, Youth Club!, later this year. I’m certainly ready to hear more and look forward to catching them at a show either here in the US, or in one of my annual UK journeys because I already know this band is going to be a load of fun live. [KH]

 

King BugLights. The debut track of the newest live incarnation of Brooklyn shoegaze project (former solo bedroom pop) straight from the mind of multi instrumentalist/composer Eddie Kuspiel, the king bug himself, is quite the infectious earworm. The guitar hook will have you bopping and humming for days while the bassline/kick drum sucks you into the vocal and before you know it, you’ve been hooked. It’s like TVOD, Cult of Chunk, and Color Tongue got together and wrote a party anthem…and that’s actually not too far from what actually happened since members of all those groups (and more) make up the newly assembled live band. A release show will happen tomorrow Sat 1/28 at Brooklyn Made with The Silk War, Sharkswimmer and Real Burn. [MB]

 

PearlaUnglow The. The final single from Pearla’s upcoming debut album is a lilting folk country romp with poetic lyrics exploring anxiety over mortality, until it gives way to a massive crescendo, all swirling guitars and riotous drumming. It occupies a space between the more traditional composition of “About Hunger, About Love” and the somewhat unstructured “The Place With No Weather” (which we covered here and here); if these and the other singles encompass what to expect from the album, it should prove to be a gorgeous debut. Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming will be out Feb 10 on Spacebomb Records. [CW]

 

Sally HatchetHabitat. Katie Glasgow’s alter-ego has finally taken its form in the physical world by way of Sally Hatchet. Furthermore breaking into digital realm as well with their debut release “Habitat,” an ethereal dark indie track that rocks just as hard as it does float through the air. Falling somewhere near the intersection of Tracy Bonham and The Breeders this is a proper introduction to Glasgow’s cool new project and nods hopefully to more vulnerable and nostalgic feels to follow. [MB]

 

SemaphoreSmother. Semaphore may take inspiration from the classic shoegaze sound, but there’s a lot more emoting in these songs than you might expect. Singer Siddhu Anandalingam says “there’s a disaffectedness to a lot of shoegaze… We want to actually reach our audience.” This single off the upcoming I Need A Reason To Stay certainly cuts like a knife, buzzing guitars underpinned by a hard-hitting rhythm section, with Anandalingam’s voice ranging from soft to an almost scream, as he pleads “quit claiming it’s temporary.” The album is out March 24th. [CW]

 

 

Fucked Up- One Day

Fucked Up- One Day

Fucked Up One Day

 

One Day, the newest album from Canadian hardcore band Fucked Up, was recorded remotely—not the most unusual thing over the past few years, but this time there was an extra self-imposed limitation: each band member had only 24 hours to write and record their parts. The idea came to guitarist Mike Haliechuk near the end of 2019, and he used the restriction— broken into three eight-hour sessions— to reconnect with his songwriting, saying “After you’ve been in a band for this long, you lose track of what your sound actually is.” He then turned the guitar parts over to the rest of the band.

 

Drummer Jonah Falco was the first to add more layers in January 2020, recalling “I got this email from Mike saying, ‘I made this record in one day, and I want you to record drums on it—but you can’t listen to it before you get into the studio,” while bassist Sandy Miranda recorded the next month. Lockdowns hit, and the project was shelved. In the meantime the band completed their ambitious Year of The Horse record. When vocalist Damian Abraham finally was ready to record his parts, he found himself contributing lyrics for the first time since the release of Glass Boys in 2014, saying “after retreating into the fantasy world with Year of the Horse, this record is like we’re returning to real life.” 

 

Any other band may have felt constrained to the point of turning in sub par work, but Fucked Up have been together a long time and are masters at their craft. One Day is full of their classic sound, with solid rhythms and sharp, snappy guitars pounding along under the well-worn yell of Abraham. 

 

Fucked Up performing

Fucked Up (photos by Kate Hoos)

 

The record is dense both musically and thematically, and opens with the single “Found,” a song about the threads that connect colonization, genocide, and gentrification. Many highlights are on the first half of the album, like “I Think I Might Be Weird” and “Huge New Her,” while the soaring “Lords of Kensington” also turns an eye to gentrification, this time in a Toronto neighborhood. Even the shortest track on the record, “Broken Little Boys,” feels massive.

 

“Nothing Immortal” is poignant, although maybe I’m just an aging sorta-punk who feels stabbed in the throat hearing another aging punk sing lines like: “I keep hearing that same old punk song but now it all seems changed / There was always something perfect about it I wish I could get it to sound the same / I’ve heard that something is better than nothing but I can’t help wondering if this isn’t my thing anymore.

 

The title track “One Day” is truly a punk love song (“Oh a ripe heart’s only wish is to be with another at the end of all history / Let just one thing be left of me / What could you do in just one day? / Fall in love, spend your time away”) and features a seriously catchy guitar melody and a beautiful music video directed by Colin Medley, choreographed by Lauren Runions and starring Amanda Pye and Tavia Christina.

 

 

In spite of being recorded separately, the songs blend simplicity and intricacy, although I can’t help but wonder if even more varied changes and tempos were out of possibility due to the nature of the format. Still, One Day captures a band at the height of their craft who is unwilling to compromise and still willing to try new things, and it’s a successful gambit. Falco notes that “This record is about how we see time passing in our lives,” and that the recording method gave them “no time to second-guess. You had to be confident.” It’s a confidence well-earned, and produced an album that will surely please their fans as well.

 

One Day will be out January 27th on Merge Records.

 

 

 

Skull Practitioners- Negative Stars

Skull Practitioners- Negative Stars

Skull PractitionersNegative Stars

 

New York’s Skull Practitioners recently released their first full-length album, Negative Stars (In the Red), almost ten years into being a band, and it was well worth the wait. The sludgy-pop-psych-noise trio perfectly teeters between grime and sugar on this latest release, a slightly slicker follow up to their 2019 lower-fi Death Buy EP. 

 

The band itself was born out of a Craig’s List ad and a band idea misfire. All the members were playing in other bands at the time, most notably Jason Victor in The Dream Syndicate, when Kenneth Levine (bass), put out an ad for more members to expand his then current project. “We wanted to go to a five-piece, and needed a drummer and another guitar player,” he says. “We put an ad out on Craigslist and met Jason (Victor, guitar/vocals) and Alex (Baker, drums/vocals) that way. Alex was just two weeks into living in New York. We played together for a while, and then it just sort of dissolved. Jason, Alex, and I actually had more of a shared, common musical perspective, and the three of us decided, ‘Let’s stick together with just us three.’”

 

So Skull Practitioners was born and they quickly recorded a limited cassette-only debut, st1, which they self-released in 2014 and out of necessity left sole vocal duties to Baker while behind the kit. And thus began their search for someone to front the band to provide the right voice. “We kept looking for a new singer, and that person never came,” says Victor. “None of us wanted to sing at all. After a while, we had been together as a three-piece for so long that we had our thing, and it became difficult for someone to fit into it. So we pulled a Genesis! The best thing about it is that now all three of us will sing, and that takes the pressure off just one of us.” Levine adds, “Whoever writes, sings. It’s their expression, so they should say what they have to say.”

 

Skull Practitioners portrait

Skull Practitioners (photo by John Bottomley)

 

The opening track “Dedication,” sung by Levine, is a garagey post-punk masterpiece full of discord and resolve. Its thunderous tom-tom onset, pounds through a wall of noisey guitars and snotty quick vocals, letting you know from jump that this record isn’t fucking around. By the time you get to the lead hook and octave anti-chorus fakeout, it’s the perfect pop overdose. I barely get to expertly syncopated guitar solo 4/5ths of the way through before I gotta start the track over to re-up my fix.

 

No stranger to long songs (the tracks on 2019’s Death Buy range from two minutes to well over ten), on Negative Stars the band seems to strike balance for the most part somewhere in the middle. You’d think the heftier run times would fall to the instrumental tracks, “Fire Drill” and “Nelson D,” which both allow the trio to really flex their skill over myriad musical landscapes. However, it is in fact the standout slower stripped back groove, “Intruder,” sung by Victor, swirling in X-esque chorus effect for seven and a half minutes that feels like late night driving through the shitty parts of the city in your rusted out Pontiac Firebird.

 

Skull Practitioners performing

Skull Practitioners performing

Skull Practitioners performing

Skull Practitioners live (photos by Kate Hoos)

 

From start to finish, Negative Stars is buried in so many catchy melody layers that erode away and crack in all the coolest places, carrying along with it an underlying hint of doom. And while on this LP, the band may have reached their truest form to date on record, nothing beats seeing them shred live. Says Levine, “I think the band is represented at its best in a live setting. That’s where we’re in our element. Playing live, we’re out for blood.” Victor adds, “With the live thing, we just want to destroy, in the nicest, most friendly way—we’re nice people. Someone said about us, ‘These guys look like a bunch of accountants.’ People don’t really know what to expect before they hear us. I think they’re all a little surprised, maybe, and we like having that element of surprise— ‘We’re gonna blow your minds a little.’”

 

Having opened shows for Lydia Lunch, Hammered Hulls (see our coverage), Live Skull, and In the Red label mates the Wolfmanhattan Project, Skull Practitioners will be playing next with Jon Spencer & The HITmakers and Licks at TV Eye in on February 4th.

 

Negative Stars is out now via In the Red and available on Bandcamp and all major streamers.