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 Becca [BF] Chantal [CW], Megan [MD], Mike [MB] weighing in on some killer songs and they have the scoop on plenty of new tunes, give ’em a listen!
Beabadoobee– The Way Things Go. Beloved folk, grunge pop singer, Beatrice Kristi Ilejay Laus—better known as Beebadoobee— recently released the new song “The Way Things Go” to the excitement of her rapidly growing fanbase. It is sleepy and evokes the sensation of a fantastical lullaby. The song is somewhat resigned sounding and wistful, making it soothing and nostalgic in both the lilting vocals and instrumentation that builds quietly in the backdrop. Overall if you’ve been a lover scorned lately or enjoy rainy day bedroom pop, this is the song for you. [MD]
CR and The Nones– The Long Game. The first single from Jersey City’s CR and The Nones upcoming album The Ghosts Are Coming Home is bright and breezy like a windy summer day. Vocal harmonies layer gorgeously over the music, which is buoyed by bouncy bass in the verses and punctuated by jangling guitars and synthy strings peeking through the clouds. The Ghosts Are Coming Home will be out on 9/8 on Magic Door Records, and the band will be at Our Wicked Lady on 9/22. [CW]
Curling– Patience. No Guitar, the name of Curling’s upcoming album, is certainly a misnomer. There are definitely guitars on this track, loud ones, backed by a great low end and cutting percussion by new drummer Kynwyn Sterling. I’m a big fan of the vocals too, as they move from verse to soaring chorus with perfectly placed harmonies, pulling at the heartstrings in the fashion of Midwest emo. For the music video director John MacKay “took the lyrics about BDSM and the idea of taking pleasure in pain and made a video where the protagonist is being chased through the streets and alleyways of NYC by a Terminator-like dominatrix.” Curling will be touring the West Coast this summer, including a couple dates with Nation of Language; No Guitar is due out 8/11. [CW]
ĠENN–Calypso. This is a fascinating song with complex layers that unpeel on repeated listens, starting out chill and moving into post-rock shoegazey noise near the end and overlaid with gorgeous saxophone and speak-sung lyrics. The sound hearkens back to the folk traditions of Malta and a Mediterranean sound. In a press statement, the band said: “With three of the quartet being Maltese nationals living in the UK and the band’s drummer coming from a Jamaican-Portuguese background, it is important for them to honour these links. Societal and political events at home have shaped their worldview, one key concern being the ongoing pro-abortion movement in Malta. Being in their unique position as migrants from a Commonwealth background now operating in the UK – they feel a responsibility to talk about how race, nationality, and art intertwine in the post-Brexit landscape.” The band will release their debut unum on their own Liminal Collective imprint on 10/6, and play a number of in-store shows in the UK. [CW]
Grrrl Gang– Blue Stained Lips. Grrrl Gang’s latest single from their upcoming debut album, Spunky!, finds the Indonesian pop-punk power trio taking more than a few steps in the opposite direction of their heavy-hitting titular track released late May. Don’t let that fool you! While “Blue-Stained Lips” showcases the band’s pop sensibilities front and center, it doesn’t sacrifice the energetic flair that has been making them rising stars in the Southeast Asian punk scene and beyond since 2016. Co-written by Edo Alventa and Angeeta Sentana, “Blue-Stained Lips” tells Sentana’s story of experiencing unconditional love in spite of her personal feelings of imperfection. Alventa’s chunky, palm-muted power chords bring exhilarating anticipation to the introductory lyrics, “I watch you undress in the dark of the night/when it’s just us two, nobody else but the moon” that perfectly capture the mood of a dream-worthy, innocent, yet intimate night of romance. A crescendo of powerful drumbeats and cymbal clashes, provided by touring drummer Muhammad Faiz Abdurrahman, gives way to euphoric and unapologetically catchy chorus that’s reminiscent of that giddy joyfulness of dancing around your room after coming home from an amazing date. Melodic harmonies bring out the sweeter side of Sentana’s punchy vocals, and the steady rolling of Akbar Rumandung’s rumbling bassline holds it all together while still leaving room for crunchy pick slides, meandering leads, and a delightfully twangy guitar solo.
Alongside the release of the single, which is available now on all streaming platforms, Grrrl Gang has collaborated once again with director Carkultera Wage Sae as well as Yohanes Catur Nugroho to release a lyric video for the song. Framed as the aftermath of a wild night out with all of the texts, pictures, and social media apps to tell the story, Grrrl Gang’s anthem of young love in the 2020’s comes to life in a visually charming and narratively appropriate manner that is all too familiar in the age of Gen Z. Spunky! is slated to be released stateside on September 22 exclusively via Kill Rock Stars in partnership with Green Island Records, so if “Blue-Stained Lips” fits into your summer love playlist as perfectly as it has fit into mine, save the date or preorder the album now! [BF]
Hunter & Wolfe– When I Wake Up. Michael Maffei and Sundeep Kapur are Hunter & Wolfe, hailing from Brooklyn. Their songs tread singer-songwriter territory, but with bigger ambitions, approaching orchestral fullness at times, like on this track “When I Wake Up,” which features strings and string arrangement from Chris Baum. The track will feature on an upcoming album, titled I Deserve This, out on 8/4. [CW]
Islands–Superstitious. Islands get slow and dreamy on the second single from the upcoming Life’s A Joke. In contrast to the melancholy feel of the music, it’s really a love song, and “one of the most joyful songs on the album” Islands maestro Nick Thorburn reveals. The entrancing music video features visuals from Canadian artist Strange Process; Thorburn says of the collaboration “I needed something abstract, like the listener was moving through an Impressionist painting. And he delivered!” Life’s A Joke will be out 8/25 on ELF; Islands will appear at Bowery Ballroom on 9/23. [CW]
The Kills– New York b/w LA Hex. The Kills have reappeared with their first new music since Ash & Ice in 2016 with a bicoastal 7 inch single. “New York” is a slinky, punchy number with a looping, descending main motif; “LA Hex” is chill, with blissed out bassy sounds riding underneath the vocals. Are these differing sounds a commentary on East Coast-West Coast rival cities? Perhaps. Both feature the excellent guitar work of Jamie “Hotel” Hince. You can get the single on Domino Records and all major streamers. [CW]
Leone– GTFOH. What we have been lacking recently is a good old fashioned episodic music video series. Brooklyn’s LEONE brings us just that with the release of their latest single “GTFOH.” Picking up right where our hero (or villain?)left off at the cliffhanger ending of “I Wanna Be,” singer/guitarist Richie Leone shares:
”‘GTFOH’ is my first time speaking about my frustration with the establishment and the world we are living in. How we turn on each other at the flip of a dime, and are so easily manipulated by the media and people in power. However, there are so many issues and subliminal messages that are being talked about and I really want the audience to come up with their own opinion & story for both of these videos. The video starts with me finding myself beaten and tied up by someone I can’t quite see. As the video goes on I see that the enemy is in fact someone I had trusted in the past (refer to “I Wanna Be” music video which ends with a “to be continued…”). The end of ‘GTFOH’ shows me taking back my power and walking my own path. The vocals are meant to sound like a loudspeaker. It’s my first time using my voice to relay this kind of message.”
What’s perils lie in store next for our dear Richie Leone? Tune in and stay tuned to find out! [MB]
Locations– Good Ole Same Ole. Brooklyn alt-rock duo makes absolutely no bones about addressing the problems that face not only our planet today but our very existence on a human level. Rejecting the notion of the “good ole, same ole,” Niko Rummell (guitar, vocals) and Thomas Whidden (drums, vocals) have zero reservations using their platform to get the word out regarding some of the issues that effect us all, as well as ways to get involved in enacting change. The latest single (from their upcoming record due out this October) hard bends from grunge vocal and slacker guitar to mathy-er prog moments and back, giving space for big dreamy breakdowns to showcase their chops. Think early Silverchair meets Yes but with a hook that takes you right back to when The Offspring kicked ass! From fair labor laws, to voters rights, to climate change and beyond, Locations is doing what they can to make the world a slightly better place one show at time, in the hopes we can all have a good time along the way. [MB]
“We’re powerless alone, but together we can actually change the fucking world.”
Monolord– Glaive (It’s All The Same). Metal outfit Monolord, who hails from Sweden, recently dropped “Glaive (It’s All the Same)” and boy does this one hit for anyone who loves a good melodic ballad. The “thrashy” vocals don’t come in until mid-song on this track, but the journey there is gloriously nostalgic of thrash and hair metal era guitar and drums. You get a sense of ominous dread and hopelessness imbued into this one, almost like before a thunderstorm. “Glaive (It’s All the Same)” would be comfortably at home playing in a bar while you stare into your cup of Jack Daniels, wondering where it all went wrong. [MD]
The Mountain Goats–Clean Slate. The characters from John Darnielle’s songs come to life like no one else’s creations, especially when they are on a journey. The upcoming album Jenny From Thebes features one of these recurring personalities, the titular Jenny, “a warrior and a thief,” perhaps best known for her gleaming Kawasaki on All Hail West Texas. Here on the leadoff track and first single “Clean Slate” people from all over the world pass through, seeking and escaping, and listeners find themselves with yet one more tale narrated by Darnielle’s iconic voice, this time backed by a tune worthy of 70’s AM radio, mid-tempo rock, soaring strings and all. The album will be out on Merge on 10/27, and The Mountain Goats will stop in New York once again on 8/4 at Pier 17. [CW]
Parannoul– Acryl. This latest track from the anonymous South Korean musician known as Parannoul manages to be both airy and forceful, combining ambient, electronic and shoegaze elements to reach soaring heights. The song will appear on the Xtalline : 001 compilation from new Japanese shoegaze label Siren for Charlotte, which also features tracks from world’s end girlfriend and Lac(rima). [CW]
The Planes– Thrift Store.The Planes are no strangers to the local music scene, having been around the Brooklyn block and back, churning out the hits and the good times for well over a decade now. So it seems rather fitting that their lead single “Thrift Store” off their their forthcoming LP, Dark Matter Recycling Co. (out September 15 via Totally Real Records), unfolds like a bildungsroman of sorts. Lyrically on a quest to find joy in the inevitability of change and growth, you can sense a concerted shift and thematic wisdom spread across the these indie-rock scrappers.
“We’re not giving up, we’re giving in to everything.
It’s not half as hard as you thought it’d be.
To keep the picture stored deep inside our memory.”
Having taken on various incarnations throughout the years, this record finds the band still helmed by frontman Steve Perry, but with Don Lavis on drums this go-round, in addition to the final performance of longtime bassist, Rob Mellinger (Crazy & the Brains, Awful Din), who’s departure heralds the return of former The Planes alum, Jackie Perrone, after many years away.
The track itself is a certified banger, fittingly a power pop ear worm disguising itself as a jangle pop jam. The drums are crisp. They smack, boom, and snap. Perry is skilled enough as a songwriter to underplay his considerable guitar chops and give room for those big hooks to breathe. However still, he’s an undeniably killer guitarist, as evidenced by the song’s not one, but two guitar solos. There’s the main riff that could easily make its way into a Superchunk tune without getting lost, and the less obvious slide lead that sneaks its way into the final moments of the track. All that, and they even throw in a tasteful amount of flanger that you never thought was possible? “Thrift Store” is quote the bargain indeed! [MB]
Punt– Take Me Home/I’m Bad. Scarce-seen and much sought-after duo Punt, just dropped a quick double single as the latest Trash Casual Records release and a taste of their new record, The Heat. Clocking in less than four minutes of sound in total, Eli Frank (strings) and Brian Michel (skins) face off with each other in a sonic cage-match of distortion and fuzz and reverb. It’s comes in hard and strikes quick like thunder lightning as the pair battles each other for total victory. And then just like that, as quickly as they came in, Punt rolls out leaving your ears ringing and head sore with no palpable idea if or when you’ll ever hear from them again. So heed my warning, listen to and go see this band live when you can, because more often than not, you cannot. The Heat releases in full on 9/22. [MB]
Sextile–New York. Put on your dancing shoes, because Sextile are going clubbing and we’re along for the ride. Their new album Push finds the band moving into straightforward dance music territory. It’s an evolutionary path they’ve been moving along since the post-punk sounds of their debut A Thousand Hands back in 2015. The song is an ode to singer Mel Scaduto’s city of birth, claiming “we’re tough out here but the love goes crazy,” and the video is perfect for getting hyped up before going out on the town in the city that never sleeps. Keep some glowsticks ready for when Sextile appear in Brooklyn at The Meadows on 10/12, and get Push on 9/15, out on Sacred Bones. [CW]
Sharkswimmer– Glue. The Brooklyn quartet led by one of my favorite local songwriters, Justin Buschardt (guitar/vocals) and rounded out by Kenny Monroe (bass, vocals), Kate Moyer (guitar, vocals), and Jesse Reed (drums) brings us the lead single from their upcoming debut LP “Serenity” (out Oct 3 via Really Rad Records). Successfully cross-pollinating post-hardcore with Midwest emo masquerading as indie punk, Sharkswimmer has always pulled my heartstrings in all the right ways in terms of their influence and execution. The track is a guitar rock banger filled with warm melodies that pull you across thick layers of fuzz and grit. Buschardt, well-known for his lyrical honesty and vulnerability, expertly weaves his words here coping with getting lost in the process of detaching from a long term relationship. His textured growl is visceral, and its delivery utterly heartbroken. For me Sharkswimmer is the saddest moments of Modest Mouse meets the melodic quirk of Braid wrapped up the dynamics of a band like Planes Mistaken for Stars. The end result is something incredibly powerful and commands attention without losing its humility. My old Chicago punk band also had a song called “Glue;” thankfully this one is much much better. [MB]
SKORTS– Bodies.I once heard someone compare SKORTS to The Dirtbombs (pssst it was American Pancake), and as a Midwest kid myself, I find that comparison quite apt indeed. The second single from the Brooklyn 4-piece, just dropped, and it’s amazing just how much this band has done with so little. Their entire discography to this point includes only two songs (“Cyclops Girlfriend” and “Bodies”), yet I feel I’ve known this band my entire life. They maneuver through tempo and mood with expert style and such confidence in their delivery. It’s sleaze punk at its heart with a fuzzy garage coating. With such tremendous subtlety in the rich melodic textures between synth/bass/ guitar, the vocals can creep and then soar at a moment’s turn in a way that reminds me of Highly Suspect’s first album. From broad strokes to details, it’s rare that you see a band really crush it on so many levels, particularly a band so new. Dare I say SKORTS may be a perfect band if there ever were such a thing? Either way, we got “Bodies” on repeat and can’t wait to see what’s next. [MB]
Slowdive–Skin In The Game. The latest single from everything is alive, Slowdive’s first album in six years has the hazy, dreamy feel we’ve come to expect from them, yet the strange warbly effects on the vocals during the chorus brings in an unsettling element. Singer Neil Halstead croons “I won’t know and you won’t say it now / cuz you don’t say and I will never ask” leaving even more questions on the table. everything is alive is out 9/1 on Dead Oceans. [CW]
Slow Pulp–Doubt. I’ve become a big fan of singer Emily Massey’s voice, which is highlighted in this simple, catchy tune in harmonies over sharp drums and guitars. The ‘doubt’ here is self-doubt, as Massey says “In my process to fight against self-deprecation, I found this strange new pattern popping up where I fished for critiques from others. I wanted people close to me to validate the things I hated about myself.” The Chicago-based band is drumming up buzz for their debut Yard (out 9/29 on ANTI-) with these last few singles, and will be touring this fall, appearing in NYC at Bowery Ballroom 11/4. [CW]
Wetsuit– Twiggy. The second release of Wetsuit’s upcoming album Sugar I’m Tired (out 8/17 via Substitute Scene) is definitely no sophomore slump. Instead, it’s a touching tribute and full on celebration of the life of their dear late friend Johanna whom they affectionately called “Twiggy.” Unabashedly laid back and mellow, the band- comprised of Allison Becker (vocals, guitar), Anders Nils (guitar), Paul DeSilva (bass), and Stephen Cadieux (drums) seem to pull pure beauty and joy from the air like taffy on a summer day. The video (directed by DeSilva and featuring Mel Camm) fittingly glides through a series of scenes that draws itself fittingly toward Coney Island, the Mermaid Parade, and the ocean. Ending in a flurry of light and hair and limbs, she ultimately finds her bliss in the total freedom of sun and surf and vast expanse on the edge of the mighty sea. [MB]
Worriers–Top 5. The latest track from the upcoming Trust Your Gut (their second album released this year after Warm Blanket in April. Read our review) finds Worriers in sharp-edged, nearly vengeful territory. The song builds drama and anticipation as it develops, with singer Lauren Denitzio’s confessional lyrics striking right at the heart of their target (“how can you sleep, let alone look in the mirror / when this is all over, I’m gonna dance on his grave.”) Denitzio says they “wanted to capture the feeling of internal turmoil when we were burdened with myriad reasons to be angry and sad simultaneously. Through all of it, the light at the end of the tunnel was the celebration we’ll have when the person responsible for so much misery finally pays for it.” Ouch! While obviously a deeply personal song, it’s also one that I can see resonating with a lot of listeners. Trust Your Gut is out 9/15 on Ernest Jenning Record Co.; Worriers will be in Brooklyn at The Broadway on 10/14. [CW]
The opening song, “Fables of the Silverlink” from veteran indie pop greats The Clientele’s new album, I Am Not There Anymore, starts with a burst of chamber strings and heavily processed electronic drums. It’s a pretty stark departure from the breezy, autumnal guitar pop music they are most known for.
“We’d always been interested in music other than guitar music, like for donkey’s years,” singer and guitarist Alasdair MacLean says.
It’s intentional that MacLean wants you to experience those other influences in their new album. The Clientele are expanding, which is refreshing for a group that has been together for 32 years. MacLean, bassist James Hornsey and drummer Mark Keen could easily just continue making the sophisticated and nostalgic pop songs that they have been known for. Their previous record Music for the Age of Miracles was their first after seven years and saw them show they can effortlessly replicate their signature sound of haunting lyrics filled with references to dying memories, pastoral melodies with interlacing guitars, and catchy baroque pop choruses. Still then you heard flashes of what can be heard on this, their seventh studio album.
Between the nearly tribal polyrhythms of “Dying in May,” the nods to 20th century impressionist composers in the four “Radials” pieces, and the British psych folk influences of “Garden Eye Mantra,” MacLean and company are pushing at the edges of their sound and cracking open new ways of doing the familiar. On their lead-off single “Blue Over Blue” a traditional Clientele song is there but new elements keep getting introduced. The buzzing rhythmic samples are nearly jarring, while the outright spooky mellotron interlude sounds like something out of a 70’s BBC educational video. The shifting drum pattern gives the whole track an uneasy tension, feeling like it will never quite settle down, and then it finally does over the line “who am I now, who are you?” It all gives the effect of a band wanting to move past the comfortable places they have found themselves.
There has always been shades of the psychedelia in The Clientele’s music over the years. They were often compared to groups like Love or The Zombies, but those comparisons seemed a little off to me. You can hear traces of Arthur Lee’s subtly layered orchestrations in “Stems of Anise,” but groups like The Incredible String Band come more to mind. In “Dying in May” the soaring strings and constant chimes are more reminiscent of the “hippie folk” of fellow Brits from the late 60’s. You can hear this on “Chalk Flowers” too, with the more traditional chords strumming along as MacLean sings a long dreamy story that mixes modern and medieval imagery.
Speaking of, MacLean’s words have always been impressionistic and nearly obsessed with cataloging liminal space, both in the modern aesthetic usage of that term (dying sunsets, a creaking staircase, distant wildfires, empty alleyways) and in its more psychological use (loved ones dying, a period of youth). This album is no exception. There is a persistent eeriness throughout the runtime, never feeling fantastical nor entirely grounded in reality, but always in a space in-between these things.
The writer and theorist Mark Fisher once wrote on the subject: “The eerie,(…), is constituted by a failure of absence or by a failure of presence. The sensation of the eerie occurs either when there is something present where there should be nothing, or if there is nothing present when there should be something.” I think this sensation is the backbone of this record. Even MacLean says I Am Not There Anymore is all about “the memory of childhood but at the same time the impossibility of truly remembering childhood… or even knowing who or what you are.” The four “Radial” interludes composed by drummer Mark Keen give a sparse breath between songs, mimicking the eeriness and liminal space but also serving to lighten the otherwise dense songwriting.
With all of this being said, the old Clientele can be found all over its 19 tracks. “Claire’s Not Real,” “Lady Grey” and “I Dreamed of You, Maria” would fit nicely next to any of their older albums with the exception of the use of the bouzouki on some solos. It seems like MacLean is trying to redefine what The Clientele is, and I personally think he succeeded, even if I Am Not There Anymore still holds all the trademarks of past records.
Back in 2020, Palehound was getting ready to tour in support of the album Black Friday; not only were those plans canceled, singer, songwriter and guitarist El Kempner’s romantic relationship dissolved as well. Their latest album Eye On The Bat is what Kempner calls “a documentation of illusions shattering in the face of profound change.”
Eye On The Bat kicks off with “Good Sex,” a story song for the ages that paints a picture of an intimate moment gone wrong while Kempner loses their composure a bit and can’t help but laugh as they sing “bad sex makes a good joke that anyone can get.” In fact, many of these songs are intensely personal, particular moments that on the surface pertain only to Kempner’s experiences, but the affable way they deliver the tales makes them relatable.
After the strolling acoustic strum of “Independence Day” the record moves into full-on rock with “The Clutch,” one of the highlight tracks for me (read our previous review of the single).The guitar solo cuts like a knife; later on the album “Head Like Soup” brings around another moment of guitar brilliance. Kempner’s solos sound like catharsis and command attention.
Eye On The Bat is a record made up of varied approaches, from the previously mentioned rock to the electronic bop of “U Want It U Got It” to the lazy country roll of “Route 22” and the folky “Right About You.” It can make the album seem like a collection of tracks rather than a cohesive whole, but Kempner’s personal stamp on all the songs manages to tie everything together. In a statement, Kempner said of the album “It’s about me, but it’s also about me in relation to others… After hiding for so long—staying inside and hiding your life and hiding yourself from the world—I was ready. I think I flipped.” It’s a deeply confessional record, one on which Kempner pulls no punches, even with self-blame, singing on “My Evil” “I’ve become the person I’d wanna punch in the face If they ever treated you this way.”
For all that Eye On The Bat captures stories of shattering, the music never gets bogged down with bitterness nor is it a brooding album in any way. It was recorded with multi-instrumentalist Larz Brogan, who Kempner has been playing with since their DIY days, and who they say pushed them to be experimental and vulnerable in the studio. Kempner and Brogan, who Kempner calls “their platonic life partner” wanted to capture Palehoud’s live sound, and while the record doesn’t sound overproduced, it is far more layered than that statement might belie. It was recorded “in brief stints” at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills last year and co-produced by Kempner and Sam Owens.
Since Palehound’s debut album Dry Food back in 2015, Kempner has been carving out a place for their songwriting and guitar skills, and now with a break-up album under their belt, their storytelling has reached new levels. Palehound seems poised for bigger things (some opening slots for boygenius in September are sure to introduce them to new audiences) and they seem ready: as stated on their Bandcamp, “if you made it through that, you’ll handle whatever comes next.”
Eye On The Bat is out now via Polyvinyl and available on Bandcamp and all major streamers.
If you enjoy playlists based on vibe rather than genre, then the new EP from local artist Shopjail will scratch that itch. Jumping through hip hop beats, pop-punk melodies, and electronic music, LARCENY is both a solo project and a collaborative effort, featuring many artists who are friends and inspiration to Samuel Krebs, the mind behind Shopjail.
Krebs has been a member of various Brooklyn bands including Killafün, as well as a stint in Nevva playing bass. Shopjail as a solo project rose out of lockdown, with Krebs releasing the first mixtape under the name in 2022 (PROSPER).
LARCENY starts out with “ONE EYE KOMODO,” featuring a beat provided by NYC (formerly South Florida) based producer Charmonthebeat and a verse from MC JimmyIII (who is also NYC based but hails from the Chattanooga, TN scene.) Backing the verse is a screwy, gritty dark bassy synth line. It’s almost whiplash when the second track kicks in, as “OK” is a much poppier song, with an anthemic chorus (“I just want to feel OK“) and a verse from comedy-writer and musician Booshell (Matt Buechele, who Krebs tells me is “lowkey TikTok famous,” though I’ll have to take his word for it since I don’t Tik the Tok yet).
“ACHES” feels like a mix of the first two tracks, with an upbeat verse and slowed down interstitial. The lyrics are relatable (“these old bones they don’t jangle like they used to… they just ache now when I awake“) and are drawn from poet Matt Stromberg, of whom Krebs says “he’s a poet from where I’m from in Pittsburgh. He put out some work recently, and I was immediately drawn to the words in “ACHES.” I could talk about that at great length. He gave me permission to write a song about it, and that’s where “ACHES” kinda came from.”
The EP then takes a turn into a gentler sound, with the ballad-esque “2LATE.” There’s a late-90’s/early 00’s feel here. Local singer CHARMAINIA (aka Charmaine, who also plays drums in Nevva and Cult of Chunk) is featured on this track, and her strong vocals make for a compelling duet. After an instrumental with vocal samples (“EGO DEATH”), “PROBLEM” is another anthemic song, although darker in tone than “OK.” “PARTY’S OVER” is a dancey bop and a fitting ending track.
It sounds like Krebs had a lot of fun making LARCENY, which was mixed and mastered by Owen Traynor of Hazing Over. Krebs said he “loved what they were doing with the engineering on their own stuff. I wanted the pop tracks I was making to get that harder edge that I wasn’t getting from other pop/hip-hop producers & engineers I was meeting with.” The album is self-released, and while Shopjail doesn’t have any shows upcoming, you can check out a live show demo here on Vimeo (Krebs is a cinematographer, and shot the “To Us” video for CHARMAINIA, which we loved at FTA.)
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]
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], Kate B [KB], 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!
Anohni and the Johnsons– Why Am I Alive Now? A gorgeous and emotional third single off of My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross, released on July 7 via Rough Trade/Secretly Canadian. The new record is Anohni’s first full album in seven years and her first album in over a decade with The Johnsons. “Why Am I Alive Now?” begins with acoustic guitar and a single-note wandering piano line as Anohni’s uniquely beautiful voice floats in, singing the painful words of the song’s title. The music builds in intensity slowly, with the drums and bass joining in with a soft latin jazz groove, and electronic piano sparkling at the edges. Rob Moose—who has worked with Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, Miley Cyrus—plays strings on the track. Euphoria actress Hunter Schafer directed the accompanying video which features three exquisite trans women in diaphanous gowns running through an abandoned industrial complex, a sad ocean in the distance. The song and the video are stunningly haunting and moving in that particular Anohni aesthetic that her fans have come to know and love. I can’t wait to get lost in the entirety of My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross. Welcome back, Anohni! We missed you! [KB]
Baby Got Back Talk– I’m Sorry I’m a Moron, But Also, Help. The NYC-based “D-I-why?-because-we-gotta punk party” band Baby Got Back Talk rocks out with this new single from their forthcoming EP, Wince, Repeat.The guitars jolt out from the first second, with several different catchy hooks, and vocalist/bassist G’Ra’s smooth tenor shimmers on top of this raucous bash of a song. The track takes you on a journey, playing with dynamics, with a lot of quick stops where the instruments fall away and you get to really enjoy the vocals before the band comes charging back in to shake you again.
G’Ra described the unfortunate event that inspired the song in a statement: “Rhi, our synth op, is a master baker of ~infused~ desserts by day. One time they left some of their handiwork at my apartment and I mistook a cookie that Rhi made for a normal cookie. As a result I became painfully, unbearably high for the first time in my overwhelmingly straight-edge life. When I realized my mistake, I texted the band group chat ‘I’m sorry I’m a moron, but also, help.’ We thought the immortal phrase was a fitting title for our new single, which is about hoping for compassion even when you know your problems are your fault.”
The video takes you on an adventure through one long unbroken shot following G’Ra and bandmates in what seems like a basement club, offering pool tables and spilled games of Jenga, ending with the group rocking out in a psychedelic black-and-white striped room. Wince, Repeat isdue out July 21st on Wiretap Records. [KB]
Be Your Own Pet– Goodtime. Fabulous mid-aughts garage outfit Be Your Own Pet have blessed us with their third new single of the decade after what had been a 14-year hiatus. “Goodtime!” is as invigorating and spontaneous as the exclamation point suggests, and not without a healthy dose of lead singer Jemima Pearl’s classic tongue-in-cheek passive-aggressive sarcasm for good measure. “I don’t wanna be left behind / when everyone else is having a good time!” she sings, but I don’t think anyone’s getting left behind: Pearl’s iconic spoken-word rants and brilliant lack of subtly are ‘00s BYOP staples, and this catchy commentary on FOMO, aging, and responsibility picks up where they left off. “And that’s another thing,” Pearl bemoans in the song, “No one ever calls me! / Is everyone hanging out without me? What the fuck!”
It’s that familiar forthright insecurity that they have always sprinkled throughout their tracks, adolescent, almost—but apparently dreadfully grown-up too. Be Your Own Pet barely had the chance to scratch the surface of their brilliance in their short time together all those years ago, and “Goodtime!” is an example of what their unique style and killer songwriting techniques can do with a decade of new perspectives under their belts. The video, directed by Luigi Sibona, is itself ageless and vividly fun—the type of fun you might fear you’re missing out on when you’re older and saddled with responsibilities, but also the type of fun that Be Your Own Pet knows you can always find no matter how many mortgages you have. And sure, maybe the days of Becky’s envy-fueled teenage homicides are over, but I think Pearl and the band’s thirty-something punk rock shenanigans will be just as outrageous. “Goodtime!” will be featured on BYOP’s new album Mommy, out 8/25 on Third Man Records. [EA]
Becca Mancari (featuring Brittany Howard)- Don’t Even Worry. This one is a feel-good mid-tempo pop pleaser from the Nashville-based singer/songwriter Becca Mancari. Gorgeously layered strings blend with electric guitar strums, while Mancari’s voice floats over it all, supported in harmony on the verses by their Bermuda Triangle bandmate, Brittany Howard (also of Alabama Shakes). The vocals merge in unison for the reassurance of the chorus, as they both sing, “Don’t even worry, I’ve got you.” Mancari intends the song to be an anthem of support for the underrepresented, as well as a tribute to the friends who stay close in tough times. In a statement, Mancari said, “Hey, I know that the world often says it’s not made for us, and I know that this weight can be too heavy sometimes, but when you’re down and feel lost I will carry you through it, and vice versa, because we don’t give up on each other, and I got you.” The video, directed by Sophia Matinazad, features Mancari and Howard rocking out in the countryside, driving around in a pick-up truck laughing, and finally smashing glass bottles and jugs with baseball bats. It’s a lot of fun. “Don’t Even Worry” is the second single Mancari has released off of their upcoming album Left Hand, out on Captured Tracks on August 25. [KB]
Blanket Approval–Happy Alone, Pt. 2. Brooklyn indie rock band Blanket Approval’s newest track is jazzy and fresh. A pleasing blend of groovy guitar solos, moody synths, and delightful harmonies, “Happy Alone, Pt. 2” is danceable and hip, almost psychedelic in a way that reminds me of of Montreal. “Can I reconstruct this fragile self-esteem? / Can I take this moment just for me?” — A hypnotic ode to loneliness, the song is infectious in its subdued joy. It’s hard not to feel a little gleeful listening to it without anyone else around, because the lyrics are relentlessly liberating: “I wanna have some fun / with my identity,” goes one verse, “Lay bare in the sun / nothing feels so free!” Definitely the kind of thing you can dance to alone in your room. I mean, I’m not saying I did. Also not saying I didn’t. But, like, you could. Hypothetically… Anyway, you can catch Blanket Approval on tour right now, and at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC Saturday, July 22nd. [EA]
Blonde Redhead– Melody Experiment. The pensive second single off of the upcoming Sit Down for Dinner launches you into a vibrating landscape of echoing synth and staccato guitar, with Kazu Makino’s bass pulsing steadily underneath. The soft beauty of Makino’s vocals contrast with the sharp betrayal reflected in the lyrics: “How would you feel if I kept you secret? / I didn’t know what I was afraid of / Well I felt somewhat abandoned / I felt abandoned myself, didn’t I?” Makino describes the song as a conversation between two people who understand their relationship differently: “One is questioning the intentions, integrity, and consequences of one’s emotions and actions. She is hypersensitive. The other keeps things simple, allowing himself to go with the flow. Musically, I was able to find something that is quite true and natural to myself, and now I want to continue on this path.” Makino, along with her bandmates, the Italian twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace, will be touring the US, UK, and Europe this summer into fall to support the release of Sit Down for Dinner (via section 1 on September 29th), coming to Brooklyn Steel on November 10th, and making a special appearance at a vinyl and dinner bundle event at Public Records on September 28th. [KB]
Blur– St. Charles Square. As much as I love Blur (they are the hands-down winner of the Britpop Wars if you ask me) I never got around to listening to 2015’s The Magic Whip, and honestly forgot it existed, so news that they were releasing another album surprised me much more than it should have. But now I’m playing catch-up, and the second single from the upcoming The Ballad Of Darren is great. Featuring a Graham Coxon guitar riff that’s just as catchy as any of their vintage work, it’s fun and weird like the best Blur songs are. What do the lyrics mean? “‘Cause there is something down here / and it’s living under the floorboards / it’s grabbed me round the neck with its long and slender claws.” Who knows! What I do know is that Blur fucking rules and they don’t even seem that much older, which is kind of unfair, because I feel old as shit when I remember buying their Best Of video compilation on VHS and pausing a lot during the “Girls and Boys” video at seventeen. Godspeed, dudes. [CW]
The Clientele– Claire’s Not Real. When I pressed play on this single, I wondered if I had accidentally hit one of the “coffee shop jazz” YouTube videos I use for background atmosphere in the mornings. Very chill and very gentle, the latest single off of the upcoming I Am Not There Anymore (out July 28th on Merge) incorporates bossa nova beats with guitar and strings to evoke a hazy mood. Known for using imagery in his songwriting, singer Alasdair MacLean says of the song: “I was in Cercedilla in Spain in summer 2020…There was suddenly a rain of ash and an orange glow on the horizon, and I read on my phone that nearby Ávila was burning with forest fires. This moment found its way into several songs on the album.” Coincidentally, our own skies now fill with smoke above, so stay inside this weekend and bliss out to this track while waiting for The Clientele to stop by on tour at Bowery Ballroom on August 10th. [CW]
Divide and Dissolve-Want. The intro track to Systemic, the newest album from Melbourne, Australia’s Divide and Dissolve, “Want” uses looping, anticipatory sounds to twine into listeners ears and prime them for the record to come. Saxophonist/guitarist Takiaya Reed says: “Want’ is a deep dive into longing within a decolonial framework. We can want many things, but how will it happen? What is necessary, what systems must be broken in order for people to live?” The accompanying video drives this point home, spinning along with the music (a warning for those who may have issues with flashing or spinning imagery). Of the video, director Sepi Mashiahof says “the concept for the video emulates this kind of infant yearning for worlds beyond our current heartbreaking reality. There are so many beautiful textures above our heads that are inaccessible (as there are so many desired modes of existence that are inaccessible), and the rotation emphasizes the limbo of what that desire feels like. Trying to reach something, but succumbing to the loop of failure. Still, that infant yearning is persistent, and that compliments the need for hope and cements the importance of idealism as essential tools in our greater struggles for liberation.” Systemic is out now on Invada, and the band will be touring Australia and Europe this summer. (Watch out for North American dates; they impressed us when they opened for Low.) [CW]
Jeff Rosenstock– Doubt.It wasn’t long ago when cryptic “Wingding” messages started popping up on Rosenstock’s socials. After much back and forth conjecture on the interwebs, Jeff and crew dropped “Doubt,” the second single from his forthcoming Hellmode LP (release date 9/01/2023). “Doubt” starts off with an unassuming drum beat from Kevin Higuchi before we get a quiet floating guitar riff (more indicative to a band like Real Estate than Jeff Rosenstock) which proceeds into a melodic and meandering vocal from Rosenstock. It’s not until almost the 3 minute mark that we are clubbed over the head with the skronky guitar which we’ve come to know and love from him. Then it’s the sing along chorus of “You gotta chill out with the doubt, the doubt, the doubt” over and over until the song runs its course to a “slow motion breakdown”. And just like that what appeared to be a kinda big departure all of a sudden is warm, fuzzy and most importantly LOUDLY familiar. [RR]
Linnea’s Garden (featuring Carissa Johnson)- In The City. This fun psych-rock-meets-disco track will get you dancing. The song is a collaboration between Boston-based glam punk band Linnea’s Garden and the Brooklyn-based indie rock artist, Carissa Johnson. Inspired by late nights in Brooklyn clubs, the essence of “In The City” is well-captured in a dizzy video where we follow Carissa and Linnea (vocals/guitar of Linnea’s Garden) through a wild night of dance floors and graffiti-coated bathrooms in various BK hotspots (including Our Wicked Lady). The flirtatious vibe here is beckoning, as the lyrics reflect: “Come up and see what you want.” The single is out now via A Diamond Heart Production/Cocoon Songs. [KB]
Onesie– Anemone in Lemonade. A power pop pleaser that plays with dynamics, stops and starts, showing off Ben Haberland and company’s abilities to create a variety of guitar-drenched sonic landscapes. The track begins with jangly guitar and a slithery bass line, Haberland’s strong vocals sitting on top in the mix. Then all sounds drop out except for a quiet guitar, but then the band surges back, more rocking than before, the guitars more distorted. “Anemone in Lemonade” moves much like the sea creature of its title, turning in on itself to hide in some moments and then exploding out again with unexpected new color. Liminal Hiss (due out on Totally Real Records/Pillow Sail Records/Kool Kat on August 18) is the third full album from Haberland, drummer Josh Inman, and bassist Rob Lanterman, and they’ll be celebrating on 8/18 at The Sultan Room with Irrevery and Strange Neighbors. [KB]
Ratboys–The Window. The title track from Ratboys upcoming fifth studio album, “The Window” has an epic sense, building from a quiet beginning to kick into the band’s classic indie-country sound about a minute and a half in, until the climax is nearly fist-pumping. Singer and guitarist Julia Steiner uses the image of the window as something to look through and pass through but that also separates, singing “I saw you through the window / we locked eyes and the window / was open, felt the wind blow / I looked in, and I felt you with me.” Of the song’s themes, Steiner says it deals with the death of her grandmother in 2020. “She didn’t have Covid, but because of the pandemic my grandpa wasn’t able to visit her in person at the nursing home to say goodbye. He ended up standing outside her room and saying goodbye through an open window. A lot of the lyrics are direct quotes of things he said to her in those final moments.” The cinematic tone of the song is reflected in the poignant video. The Window will be out August 25 on Topshelf Records, and Ratboys will be at Bowery Ballroom on September 27th with Free Range. [CW]
Slow Pulp–Slugs. On this ode to summer crushes, the beat ambles along at a moderate pace as the song takes its sweet time, with fuzzy guitars and singer Emily Massey’s casual croon blending into each other. Apparently the chords derive from one of the first songs guitarist/producer Henry Stoehr ever wrote, one for his own sixth grade crush, something I find charming. Slow Pulp lean into the summer theme on the video as the Chicago-based band road trips through the desert. Their new album Yard will be out on ANTI- September 29th, while the band hits NYC on November 1st at Bowery Ballroom. [CW]
Two Man Giant Squid– Progress.Chalk another one up to the unpredictability of progress. One thing that is starting to become quite predictable, however, is Two Man Giant Squid’s ability to deliver sing-along bangers chock full of triumphant hooks you can move to. The Mitch Vinokur solo moniker turned-fice-piece storm of chaos, just dropped a post-punk bass drum groove driver full of big guitar slices landing somewhere between Jim Carroll Band and Vue. When dared in undertaking the follow up to their beloved Fall 2021 earworm hit “Versechorus,” Two Man Giant Squid accepted that challenge, and that’s “Progress.” [MB]
Wetsuit– Local Celebrity. This song tells an embarrassing Craigslist origin story involving a long distance relationship, an ex-boyfriend opening for Surfer Blood, and the Mercury Lounge. There’s just something about Allison Becker, vocalist and guitarist for Substitute Scene Records’ newest addition to the roster, Wetsuit, that just somehow screams good times and fond memories; past, present, and future all bottled tight, and wrapped up in a mop of curls and one hell of a powerful voice. An accompanying music video blending actual footage from her 2004 Bat Mitzvah seamlessly intercut with a faithful recreation of the momentous occasion amongst her bandmates and friends.
The indie rock quartet—rounded out by guitarist Anders Nils, bassist Paul DeSilva, and drummer Stephen Cadieux—lures you in with its Midwest bedroom-pop sensibilities. But there’s a fire beneath its familiarity. The guitar work between Nils and Becker burn and grumble organically ambling their way between dreamy and hazy. Relentless yet unassuming in its attack, DeSilva and Cadieux drive and shuffle the song’s pocket like pillow-fight creating space for the vocals to really shimmer. Beyond the raw force and unique quality to Becker’s voice (which brushes up against the old-school country trill and warble of legends like Patsy Cline and Rosalie Allen), she employs an impressive emotional range and lyrical honestly that cuts through the track with poise and control. [MB]
Worriers– Trust Your Gut. Following Warm Blanket, their home-recorded album released earlier this year, Lauren Denitzio and company return with “Trust Your Gut,” the title track off their first studio album in years. The high-energy song will get you bouncing with driving guitars and punchy synth lines, Denitzio’s crystal clear voice soaring over it all. They described the writing and recording process as a lot of fun, and the track has a positive message of trusting yourself. The video, directed by Chelsea Christer, was inspired by the film Empire Records, and depicts Denitzio and friends throwing a party to save a local queer bar. On the song and video, Denitzio says, “I thought it would be a good match for the video to be an interpretation of Empire Records where we’re saving a queer bar instead of a record store—just a fun way to claim space and community and see yourself in something when outside forces are working against you. Queer interpretations are some of my favorite things to talk about, and I’ll never turn down a chance to incorporate queer joy into our work!” The full album, Trust Your Gut, will be released via Ernest JenningRecord Co. on September 15, featuring band members Atom Willard (Against Me!, Social Distortion), Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady), Frank Piegaro, and Cayetana’s Allegra Anka. [KB]