We Are Scientists- Lobes

We Are Scientists- Lobes

We Are Scientists Lobes

 

FTA first reported on the infectious disco-infused synth bass driven “Less From You,” the sleaze dance party single from We Are Scientists, back in the fall (read here) and we’ve been locked in for the ride ever since. For years their catchy songs about being damaged and the excesses of youth/young adulthood have captured hearts and minds while also having had the unique opportunity to grow up alongside their fans. And their eighth album, Lobes, explores the journey the band has been on during those years.

 

Vocalist/guitarist Keith Murray said via a press release “there was definitely a period in my life when I thought being jaded was cool” going on to say “I was incredibly steadfast in my beliefs.” Having had his pessimism proven wrong so many times in life, Murray says it’s been impossible to “really maintain that full-throttle cynical outlook into adulthood. Sure, whittling down my pessimism has meant that I don’t get to enjoy the peculiar pleasure of having my own rotten expectations subverted quite as often, but ‘Less From You’ celebrates the greater delight of having my already-high hopes exceeded.”

 

We Are Scientists portrait

We Are Scientists (photo by Dan Monick)

 

The album’s lead single, “Operator Error,” a song that the band says is about how Murray “has a big mouth” which he confirmed by elaborating “I have a tendency to deliver hot takes and to get extraordinarily overheated about utterly inconsequential things,” features the tenants of their classic sound but in a more refined and mature way than the singularly guitar driven sounds of their earlier work. Indeed, the song serves as a bridge between their previous lighter release, Huffy, and the darker Lobes, letting you know right away what the album is about. Swimming in chunky synths and a dance-driven bassline, it serves as an entry point to the album which is their synthiest and most electronic record to date.

 

The band says the album was born out of an exuberance of enthusiasm and euphoric creativity that resulted from recording and producing that last record themselves from their Midtown Manhattan studio amidst the Covid lockdowns. They share that “the lyrics for Lobes were written over a stretch of two to three years. Though the origins of the first songs began around the same time as Huffy, they exist in entirely different musical universes.”

 

 

The ensuing singles served to offer even more texture to the band’s range of influences. A slower groove, “Lucky Just To Be Here,” goes from quiet and contemplative to epic and sweeping and back again in just under five minutes, showcasing all the things this band is great at—big emotions and deep grooves all wrapped into one. “Settled Accounts” flies high on the disco stratosphere and pairs perfectly with the disco romp of “Less Than You,” both with straight out of the 70s nightclub bass lines courtesy of bassist Chris Cain.

 

Other highlights include “Turn It Up” a slice of straight up sexy dance pop about seeing how far you can take it with a new lover reminiscent of their early party time anthems “I wanna see this thing bend/ Just as far as we can both withstand/ I wanna see this thing bend/ So, can we let it keep getting out hand?” Its opposite is perhaps “Miracle of ’22,” which closes the album out. This is much less a party and more a tune that offers a reflective take, exploring the chaos and confusion of the world we currently inhabit and the grinding painful feeling of never being able to escape but still having a grain of hope, maybe. While dark, it is surely something we can all relate to particularly over the last several years of everything we have collectively endured: “I guess I’m running out of time/ I’m gonna have to make my move/ If I somehow make it out alive/ It’ll be the Miracle of ’22” eerie sounding autotune on Murrary’s voice amplifying the feeling of being lost.

 

We Are Scientists is a band that has always been fun and dark and groovy and chaotic all at the same time; their anthems to youthful excess and drunken decadent partying are classics of the early aughts that still resonate today. They have grown a lot over the course of eight albums and keep re-inventing themselves in the process, but somehow the songs on Lobes have the familiar feel going all the way back to their first album, With Love And Squalor. The songs serving as a warm welcome and a reminder that the gritty underbelly of the city (and its nightclubs) is never far away and neither are the blood and emotion pumping through our veins.

 

Lobes is available now and available on all major streamers. The band is currently on tour in support of the album, see our coverage of the release show.

 

 

Megadose- Heating Up

Megadose- Heating Up

Megadose Heating Up

 

“Time moves fast, I move slow, I keep looking backward, not which way to go,” Megadose frontman Stephen Steen sings on the opening track of the group’s newest record, and indeed time has moved fast. It’s 2023, and everyone has barely (or not even) wrapped their heads and/or ears around all the music 2022 had to offer, and this year is bringing new and exciting albums already. Now, Steen may not have been citing this change in calendar numbers specifically in this lyric, but with the album Heating Up, it seems this does coincide with his music appreciation and creation. And just in case anyone is thinking otherwise, yes, this is a good thing.

 

Based off their swiftly created 2021 debut album, Wild & Free, their specific brand of pop rock has been described as combining elements of new wave, slacker rock, and power pop. Sure, there were some power pop riffs on the album, and the title track is one of the most Ric Ocasek sounding non-Ric Ocasek songs since “12:51,” but the debut sounded anchored in the ways of 2010s indie slacker pop rock, matching the laid back atmosphere of Real Estate’s 2011 album, Days. The album did show heavy Jonathan Richman influence, with “My Self-Punishing Odyssey of Despair” being a particular standout in this regard, however I’d be hard pressed to find any indie band that didn’t have the first Modern Lovers album somewhere in their DNA. But if Wild & Free was meant to define the band as a current indie pop rock band, Heating Up is meant to shatter that expectation.

 

Megadose portrait

Megadose (photo by Chona Kasinger)

 

On this sophomore release, Steen and company prove that they know “time moves fast” and that they “keep looking backward” by performing pop rock songs that sound like they fit in every decade from the 60s to the 00s, and curiously (almost) completely leaving their easy-breezy 2010s indie vibes to their 2021 selves. The one slight exception is “Rock Yer Head,” which has an introduction that almost feels like a 2010 LCD Soundsystem bit. And though one may want to “Rock Yer Head” to “Dance Yrself Clean,” this track goes on to sound very 00s Room on Fire influenced, which only means Ric Ocasek is a grandfathering influence this time around rather than a fathering one.

 

The 90’s show up on the Britpop-ish (by way of Supergrass) second single “Pigs,” a catchy bass heavy song that challenges notions of traditional masculinity, and the Mazzy Star style neo-psychedelia of “Mote of Reflection” and “Fade In” (the “Fade In”/”Fade Into You” is inconsequential). The 80s appear immediately on album opener “Silver Cup,” which would sound right at home on The Stone Roses’ 1989 self titled debut. 60s pop comes around with “Minor Groove” that feels like a Zombies’ track, and album closer/ third single “The Voyeur,” where they play with prog rock sounds a la late 60s-early 70s Moody Blues, though Steen sings “Dead-ass, no lies,” to remind everyone they are not quintessentially British.

 

 

The remaining four tracks, arguably the album’s centerpieces, are all embodiments of 70s power pop, and solidify that even with the range of influences, this is a power pop record. Badfinger, Sweet, Starz, Raspberries and Cheap Trick’s influences can all be heard in these tracks, but none more so than the defining 70s power pop band Big Star. Where Jonathan Richman was the godfather of Wild & Free (and he does still play a part here), Alex Chilton of Big Star takes on that role for Heating Up. Lead single “Hey 911” which the band says “offers a winking retrospective on the ironies born of experiencing global trauma, a stunted political uprising, and too much time by yourself,” is incredibly Chilton influenced and “Summer Fest” and its country influences harken back to the Memphis roots of Big Star (and the song “Thirteen”). “Tahuya Cruisin’” is very Big Star sounding as well, but the audience addition recalls The Rolling Stones’ 1965 EP Got Live If You Want It!, which was very influential to Big Star themselves.

 

 

The centerpiece of the centerpieces is “Jackie’s Gotta Run,” which is a rollicking power pop tune with an accelerando at the end that sounds as if some angsty kid in the 70s was playing it and his little brother came and hit the switch from 33 RPM to 45 RPM. And if these tracks somehow aren’t convincing that the 70s are this album’s focus, the cover will be. If a picture of Topher Grace was added to the album cover, it would be a scene transition of That ‘70s Show (also a show that features Big Star as its theme song).

 

Reading up to now may have some readers thinking, “how can an album so diverse even fit together apart from connections made by some genre obsessed music critic?” (or something like that). The trick is that Heating Up is not some compilation by Big Star, Mazzy Star, Stone Roses, and Moody Blues cover bands, this is Megadose interpreting these power pop styles throughout time in their own unique way. They make the album flow seamlessly through their musicianship and Steen’s lyrical wit, and combine these eras to form their own 2020s sound. And if looking back at their influences and making the music they want while not looking or worrying about which way they’re going make Megadose a bunch of slack rockers, then we are damn lucky they’re slacking. Dead-ass, no lies.

 

Heating Up was self released and is available now via Bandcamp and all major streamers.

 

 

 

Single Serve 027

Single Serve 027

 

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

 

And though we can’t possibly cover all the music that is released each week (we wish!), we do get to as many songs as we can. As always, if you’re in a band or from a label, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know about you! If we dig ya, you’ll get a nod in the column. Read on to find out what we dug the last week or so and check back every Friday for more:

 

AlgiersI Can’t Stand It! (feat. Samuel T. Herring & Jae Matthews). The latest from the upcoming and anticipated album, Shook (2/24 Matador), it features a sample of the 1971 Lee Moses song “What You Don’t Want Me To Be” as well as guest spots from Samuel T. Herring (Future Islands) and Jae Matthews (Boy Harsher). The song explores some deep personal feelings and the soulful sample heightens the emotions of frontman Franklin James’ very palpable pain. Algiers will next hit the stage in NYC on 4/6 at Racket. [KH]

 

boygenius$20/Emily I’m Sorry/True Blue. The holy trinity of indie rock, boygenius, aka the super group of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus are back and people are really excited about it! Read more here and go take a peak at their Rolling Stone cover story (and this very cool behind the scenes video/interview) which sees the band hilariously and very accurately replicating two of the most iconic Nirvana photo shoots of the 90s. [KH]

 

DeerhoofSit Down, Let Me Tell You a Story. The long running and prolific experimental band have just announced their latest album, Miracle-Level, which after almost 30 years as a band is the first record they have made start to finish within the walls of a recording studio. It is also their first album that will feature frontwoman Satomi Matsuzaki signing entirely in Japanese (read more on the making of the album here). The song brings all the wonderful noisy chaos I love about this band and follows the very delightful single they released last fall, “My Lovely Cat,” (read our thoughts) also included on the album which was produced by none other than the late Lil Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky. The album arrives in full on 3/31 via Joyful Noise Recordings and the band will embark on a headline tour that hits NYC on 4/4 at Elsewhere. [KH]

 

DitzNo Thanks, I’m Full (Live at the Louisiana Bristol). The UK based noise punk band put out one of my top three favorite records of 2022, The Great Regression, and just announced a live version of the album and a European tour to accompany it. (The rest of my list can be seen here. It was not ranked, but I did indicate on my Instagram that this album in particular was in my top three for the year.) This song closes out the studio version of the album and fittingly is the first song revealed from the live record which is set to include the whole of Regression “plus a couple of extras.” I’m definitely excited for said extras though it is unclear if it will be some of the stand alone singles they have released or new tracks.

 

This is actually the third recorded incarnation of this song, having first appeared on EP1 in 2016, with the latest version being the most ferocious yet, the live setting allowing it to stretch out to a very noisy eight minutes (it’s also pretty cool to see the evolution of the song in an seven year time period). This is one of the bands on the very top of my list to see live and while no US tour has yet been announced, they told me recently via DM that they hope to get over here sometime in 2023. My fingers (and my toes) are certainly crossed for that! [KH]

 

Forty Feet Tall We Can’t Go Back To Normal. Confession, I might be a little obsessed with how catchy the guitars are in the chorus of this song, the opposing licks sparking back and forth off of each other. This is the second single from an upcoming EP and the band says “This is our most blatantly political, angry song we’ve made. Cole [Gann, guitar/vocals] wrote the lyrics pretty freshly off of protests and it talks about very specific events that happened in Portland, as well as much broader problems that everyone experienced and continues to experience. We fell into this mantra, ‘we can’t go back to normal’, which seemed to synthesize it all into a sentence. Whatever so many of us considered ‘normal’ was brutality.” I’m certainly intrigued and very ready to hear more from this crew. [KH]

 

Gina Birch I Play My Bass Loud. The title track from Birch’s upcoming album is a slice of dub, with declaratory lyrics that bring a smile to this bassist’s face: “Sometimes I wake up and I wonder, what is my job? – I play my bass loud!” The music video features five women bassists: Emily Elhaj (Angel Olsen), Mikki Itzigsohn (Small Wigs), Staz Lindes (The Paranoyds), Hazel Rigby (TBHQ), and Birch herself, dancing around with choreographer Brontez Purnell. It all makes for a joyous, finger-snapping song that I can’t wait to blast out of a speaker this spring. Look out for the album 2/24 on Third Man Records. [CW] 

 

Jenny O.- You Are Loved Eternally. The bright light of summery joy in the midst of the cold hard winter is exactly the pick-me-up I needed this week. Singer songwriter Jenny O. brings some sunny 60s pop vibes here with the latest single from her upcoming album, Spectra, and the airy guitar and sugary harmonies will thaw the iciest of hearts. Spectra arrives 2/24 via Mama Bird Recording Co. [KH]

 

John (Times Two)Hopper on the Dial. I love this band for their high energy, (usually) high tempo and beautifully abrasive qualities. And I love this song (and its companion “Theme New Bond Junior,” read my thoughts here) precisely because while both embrace these qualities to an extent, both are a distinct departure from the hyper drive affair of most of the material on their previous three albums (2017’s God Speed in the National Limit, 2019’s Out Here on the Fringes and 2021’s Nocturnal Manoeuvres). This is the band really at its most subdued and see them exploring intricacies in their sound which have not been present before, a path that is new for the band and it is certainly exciting to see where this might lead as their songwriting continues to evolve in a dynamic way. This song is the B-side to a limited edition 7inch with “Theme New Bond Junior” on the A-side; both songs are available via streamers as well. No word yet if this there is a new full length in the works or of the songs to come will continue in this more nuanced vein, but either way, I’m really excited to hear more from this duo.

 

They (like their UK counterparts Ditz mentioned above) are very high up on my list of bands to see live and thus far I have unfortunately missed them in my travels to the UK. I also chatted with them via DM last fall and they said they are hoping to be able to come to the States in 2023 but nothing has been solidified yet. Here’s hoping I’ll be front and center at an NYC show at some point before this year comes and goes. [KH]

 

Mandy, Indiana– Injury Detail. American name, English band, French vocals: Mandy, Indiana’s newest single is dancey to a degree, but also chaotic. The band says the track was “inspired by the idea of being trapped in a liminal space,” and the sound, both jarring and open, conveys the idea well, while the Backrooms-esque music video directed by Thomas Harrington Rawle adds another unsettling angle to the song. The single is out on Fire Talk Records, and the band will be appearing on our side of the pond at SXSW in March. [CW]

 

MhaolTherapy. The UK/Ireland based feminist post punk quintet (which is pronounced “male”) are set to release their debut full length, Attachment Styles (2/3 via TULLE collective), and this latest single has a supremely catchy, driving and looping feel to it, utilizing fuzzy repetition as a style to nail the point home as they have on past songs like “Bored of Men,” and “Gender Studies.” The band says Attachment Styles is “a record about social connection, queerness and healing,” and explores some heavy topics but one that will take the listener on a “journey of healing.” The band have several shows in the UK and Ireland planned and will be Stateside this year with an appearance at SXSW but no word yet if any other US dates (perhaps in the fair hellscape of NYC) are pending; here’s hoping! [KH]

 

New Pagans There We Are John. The latest single from this Irish band’s upcoming album Making Circles Of Our Own has jagged edges rounded off by singer Lyndsey McDougall’s vocals, which ride easily over tick-tock rhythm section and wailing guitars. According to the band, the song is “about growing things out of desolate situations and spaces” and is inspired by the filmmaker Derek Jarman and the hope they find in his work. The album is out on Big Scary Monsters on February 17th. [CW]

 

PileNude with a Suitcase. The latest song to be revealed from Pile’s upcoming album, All Fiction (2/17 Exploding In Sound), starts pretty ominously and continues in a similarly disjointed way, with big marching-esque drums alongside melancholic vocals, guitar and synth. The discomfort radiates outward and the song ends with almost two minutes of eerie feedback to really drive the feeling in. They will play a pair of shows at TV Eye on 3/1 and 3/2. [KH]

 

Ron GalloAt Least I’m Dancing. The wonderfully sardonic songsmith Gallo is going right into 2023 with a headstrong new single from his upcoming album, Foreground Music. “At Least I’m Dancing” is a song that is sometimes noisy, sometimes soulful and calls into question our narcissistic traits and tendencies to avoid that which is difficult and asks questions like “how can we all come together if we think we’re the picture and not the projector? / how can can we all come together if we’d rather be rich than fondly remembered? / how can we dance together if we suppress emotions to talk about weather?”

Gallo has plenty to—rightly—be pissed about in the doomed world we currently live in, but underneath the frustration and sarcasm in much of his music is always the undercurrent of hope. Because, as he says via a press release, “the world is completely fucked, but the universe is inside you” which while dark, is also very true. And at least we can find some moments of levity and dance it out while we careen towards destruction. Foreground Music arrives 3/3 via Kill Rock Stars and a tour will follow, with stops at SXSW and hitting Brooklyn on 4/6 at Baby’s All Right. [KH]

 

Screaming Females Brass Bell. It feels pretty obvious to say the guitar work is impressive on this track, it is a song Marissa Paternoster wrote after all. But I really enjoyed the main riff and the layers in the choruses, backed by the ever solid rhythm section of King Mike on bass (who hits some gnarly bass chords during the song’s breakdown) and Jarrett Dougherty on drums. The song comes along with the announcement of their 8th album, Desire Pathway, so named for the routes people take which defy the ideas urban planners have for the way people should move. Paternoster elaborated saying “Maybe there was one in your neighborhood growing up, a corner where everyone decided it took too long to go around, so they made their own pathway to cut through, there’s this cool unsaid group consciousness that comes together where everyone decides, this is the right way to go.” Desire Pathway arrives 2/17 via Don Giovanni. [KH]

 

SuperchunkEverything Hurts. The indie greats have a few extra tracks to share from the Wild Loneliness sessions and have just released the A-side of an upcoming 7inch featuring two of those songs, the rueful mid tempo rocker, “Everything Hurts.” The B-side “Making a Break” will be released digitally on 2/24 and the vinyl version of the release is available for pre-order now. [KH]

 

Smooth McDuckSell Yourself. Quack rock indie project, Smooth McDuck is back with a new dreamy jangle single. Clean guitars and soothing soundscapes juxtapose a world where even this raw beauty of a song is expected to commodify itself to a sonic and visual product. Subtly overt in its execution, it’s perfect for a cold winter morning and a cup of coffee as you try and search for meaning in the day ahead. [MB]

 

The Van PeltPunk House. It has been a very long time since we last heard something new from The Van Pelt, the influential post hardcore/emo band who had not released an album of new music since 1997’s Sultans of Sentiment (they did release Imaginary Third in 2014 which was a collection of previously unreleased music they were working on at the time of their breakup for a third album which, at that point, had never come to fruition). “Punk House” is the first single from the soon to arrive Artisans & Merchants (3/17 Spartan) which the band recorded in 2021 and features guest appearances by Ted Leo, Nate Kinsella and more. There will also be a tour in support of the album which will hit NYC on 4/23 at Saint Vitus. [KH]

 

WorriersPollen In The Air. The latest from singer-songwriter Lauren Denitzio under their moniker, Worriers, and the first track from the upcoming new album, Warm Blanket (4/7 Ernest Jenning Record Co). This is synthy departure from the more guitar driven work from their past releases and the album was written and self recorded by Denitzio as a true solo project (with remote drum contributions from Atom Willard of Against Me!/Plosivs) who said they finally accepted that Worriers was not so much a band but a solo venture and that that came with the realization that they could “write whatever I wanted.” Check out our coverage of Worriers opening for Jawbreaker last spring. [KH]

 

 

 

The Moss- Insomnia

The Moss- Insomnia

The Moss Insomnia

 

We were big fans here at FTA of the recent single “Insomnia” from The Moss. This is the kind of music that gets called “summery,” but don’t we deserve this kind of bright, fun, poppy rock year-round? The Moss think so apparently, and are releasing their newest EP, also titled Insomnia, on S-Curve/Hollywood records this month. The video for “Insomnia” features the band playing in a snowy landscape, so maybe we can call this ski-rock.

 

 

Singer and guitarist Tyke James and guitarist Addison Sharp originally hail from Oahu; The Moss are now based out of Provo, UT, where they joined forces with bassist Caiden Jackson and drummer Willie Fowler. There is a very open feel to the music on this EP, even while the bass and guitars loop around each other and things are often more complicated than at first listen. The crisp, simple production suits the tone perfectly.

 

In addition to the title track are three more songs showcasing The Moss’ brand of driving, jangly tunes. “Blink” has delicate parts interspersed with breezy solos and pounding drums, and is a real highlight of the EP for me. “Carousel” is a bit more laid back, shuffling off-beats underpinning James’ soulful country-tinged croon, and feels most in line with their 2021 album Kentucky Derby out of all these songs. “Chaparral” moves through surf, western, and a nostalgic 60’s haze, weaving together what seems like numerous song pieces into a compositional whole. 

 

The Moss (photo by Shervin Lainez)

 

The Moss are embarking on a winter tour to promote Insomnia, and take their jobs as performers seriously, with Fowler stating “No matter what we do, we want to make sure the songs are fun to play live. We pride ourselves on being a band people want to see live.” If you are out West you can catch them over the next couple of weeks, and if you aren’t, then this EP will tide you over. You can find The Moss on Youtube, Spotify, and Instagram.

 

 

 

Single Serve 027

Single Serve 026

 

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

 

And though we can’t possibly cover all the music that is released each week (we wish!), we do get to as many songs as we can. As always, if you’re in a band or from a label, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know about you! If we dig ya, you’ll get a nod in the column. Read on to find out what we dug the last week or so and check back every Friday for more:

 

Big LaughShadow Figure. Hardcore that rips and rages, with plenty of BIG riffs, dirty bass lines and drum fills, this one from the Milwaukee based band ticks a lot of heavy boxes for me. I’m more than a little bummed their soon to commence tour with Gel won’t be hitting NYC, but hopefully they’ll make it out this way sometime in 2023. From the upcoming album, Consume Me, due out 2/10 via Revelation. [KH]

 

Cat Clyde I Feel It. The Canadian indie folk singer has a new album, Down Rounder, due out 2/17 and has just released the second single, a beautiful piano led contemplation with string accents which she says is about her experiences—both positive and negative—with being an empath. [KH]

 

Death Valley GirlsSunday. “I need a sign” shit, me too. “I just want to lay down and never get up again” also, me too! The always effervescent LA garage punks have released the second single from their upcoming record, Islands in the Sky  (2/24/23 Suicide Squeeze), and it’s a bit laid back, a soulful plaintive meandering til around the last minute when they amp up the tempo and hope springs eternal once more. The song is REALLY relatable for any of us who have existed at any point lumbering through the last few years and lead singer Bonnie Bloomgarden says “Over the past few years I learned you have to feel and move through your feelings or they get stuck, and then you become a vessel or container for all the feelings you are trying to avoid! If you acknowledge, feel, and process them, you get to release and move them out of you! This song is to honor that process! Feel your feelings, be so sad you wanna cry forever, and then move on, you gotta keep moving!” [KH]

 

El Ten ElevenNot Even Almost. The instrumental post rock duo only seems to get more prolific with time—in the last three years they have released a triple album,Tautology (2020) and its follow up, New Year’s Eve, which came out last year. They are heading into 2023 full steam ahead with yet another new album, Valley of Fire, due out 2/10 via Joyful Noise. The thing I have always loved about instrumental music is that you can certainly take the intentions of the creators to heart while listening to it, but you can also find your own meaning in it much more so than music with lyrics. I have been a fan of El Ten Eleven for a very long time now and the things I have always found and loved in their music is the undercurrent of hope and a sense of calm that always seems to find me in the moments I need it most.

 

Bassist/composer Kristian Dunn explains that the album was inspired by “visiting Valley Of Fire State Park in Nevada,” “Overwhelmed by the beauty and surreal nature of the place, I found myself in the rare state of actually living in the moment and feeling awash in true tranquility. There was a sense of not getting close to something transcendent but actually experiencing it, thus the title. It wasn’t almost transcendent, it WAS.” About this song specifically he shares “If you listen closely, you’ll notice the melody repeating but the bass parts changing underneath. It’s a very Bach-inspired idea, but fits the metaphor perfectly (the anchor of your identity shifting under a truly moving circumstance).” The group hit NYC twice in 2022, once for their own headline show and again opening for Peter Hook and the Light (both phenomenal shows for the record), so here’s hoping 2023 sees them grace the Big Apple once more. [KH]

 

Fucked UpI Think I Might Be Weird. The long running Canadian legends are due to release their latest album, One Day, so named because it was recorded in the span of 24 hours by each member (read more on that here) and have shared the third single from it this week. This one sees them step back from the edge of frenetic hardcore a bit, blending elements of classic rock and dance punk in with their signature sound and Damian Abraham’s ever satisfying screams along with the trill of some sweet violin accents. They have also announced tour dates in Canada, the UK and the US in support of the album which will hit Brooklyn on 4/28 at Brooklyn Made. [KH]

 

LinensForest Fire/Grunge. This double single actually came out in December 2022, but just dropped on Spotify last week and came to my attention at that point so here it is! The band says on their Bandcamp that “this is a two-song introduction” and I for one am ready to hear more from this Toronto post hardcore quartet. If you dig anything at all that came out on Dischord in the late 80s into the 90s, chances are you’ll dig this too. [KH]

 

Negative BlastTrauma Bond. Sometimes all you need to clear the cobwebs of life is some ragey hardcore. Negative Blast has you covered with the first single from their upcoming debut album, Echo Planet (2/10 Quiet Panic), which the band says “is a pulverizing punk ripper about the human machine that trades life for profit through control, trauma and warfare. The words explore what fuels the parasitic nature that compels those to hold power and subjugate others into a life of violence and suffering.” [KH]

 

Quasi- Nowheresville. You know what? I freaking love Quasi, there’s just no two ways about it. I also love bike riding, street wandering, band practice invading gorillas/Sasquatch like creatures (I mean, who doesn’t?) and they deliver on that in the cheeky music video too. All that being said, you can imagine that I’m pretty damn excited for the new album, Breaking The Balls of History, due out 2/10 via Sub Pop which is also their first in almost 10 years. Indeed, I am and I’m also very much looking forward to getting to hear these songs played live when they head out on tour, making a stop at TV Eye on 3/16 (with the equally as awesome Bat Fangs) which will mark my first time seeing the band in almost 20 years. Perhaps before then, I’ll dig up my circa 2004 35mm negatives from the old Knitting Factory while I anxiously await the show. [KH]

 

shameSix-Pack. Have wah, will travel! On their latest single, the second from the upcoming album, Food for Worms (2/24 Dead Oceans), the UK post punkers lean heavily on the wah pedal to accent the angular guitar along with some pretty frenzied drumming. In his review of their previous single, “Fingers of Steel,” Mike said “It’s obvious shame makes music for them, and everyone else just happens to be on board.” I’m inclined to agree AND be fully on board. [KH]

 

We Are ScientistsSettled Accounts. On their 8th album, Lobes (1/20 Masterswan), the long running NYC indie greats are leaning hard into a dancy disco funk feeling and I’m here for it. This pairs perfectly with the disco romp of previous single, “Less Than You,” both with straight out of the 70s nightclub bass lines, and both more than delivering the grooves. A perfect showcase of what this band has always been great at—big emotions and deep grooves all wrapped into one. They will play a release show at Brooklyn Made on 1/20. [KH]

 

WifeKnife Dead Ringer/Blackout. Birthed directly from everything good and unholy from deep within the bowels of cherished Brooklyn mainstay, Our Wicked Lady, Wife Knife rose onto the scene last year and just dropped a double single to ring in the new year. Though the quintet is OWL DNA thru and thru, their unique brand of Sabbath meets Fugazi riffage on “Dead Ringer” belongs front and center on the Saint Vitus stage. While the dynamic “Blackout” carries with it the soul of Stevie Nicks and Ann Wilson on the back of a dark unicorn to the ends of the flaming sea swallowed up by The Nothing. It slays. It melts your face. [MB]

 

Zulu- Where I’m From. This is the second single from the forthcoming debut full length, A New Tomorrow (3/3 Flatspot) by the epic LA based powerviolence band and like the previous song, it will shake your skull and rattle you all the way down your spine. This one features guest vocal spots from Pierce Jordan (Soul Glo) and Obioma Ugonna (Playytime) over top of heavy riffage and rock solid drums. They will head out on tour in support of the record with Show Me The Body, the tour hits Brooklyn Steel on 3/24. [KH]

Heavy Lag- Another Year Closer to Whatever

Heavy Lag- Another Year Closer to Whatever

Heavy Lag Another Year Closer to Whatever (art by Anthony Careccia)

 

The thing I love about Heavy Lag is that their music, which they lovingly refer to as “dirt pop,” somehow manages to crank all the knobs of my punk rock nostalgia loves straight past 11 without losing focus or sounding like a throwback. At times Von Zippers, at times a little Squirtgun, sometimes Dillinger Four, and other times almost Descendents and certainly The Wipers too. You might say, Mike, aren’t those all just punk bands? But any punk will tell you that’s categorically untrue; there is so much more nuance to it than that. And the Brooklyn garage punkers in Heavy Lag clearly understand those nuances and play to them extremely well. What Another Year Closer to Whatever really manages to do is do everything at once without doing anything at all other than rocking the fuck out.

 

Heavy Lag performing

Heavy Lag performing

Heavy Lag in 2021 (photos by Kate Hoos

 

The guitars are loud and dirty but less overdriven than you’d expect, allowing the rhythm section to punch and the guitar leads to pierce right thru the pop-sensible wall of sound. In fact, the vocals are probably the most distorted thing on the record, perfectly skirting that line between garage rock and punk rock sound. Catchy standouts like “Dirtpop” and “Splitting Headache” not only embody this, but also have the perfect titles to sum up what this fun record is all about, while slower mid-tempo grooves like “Heist” only add to its character. The album was recorded by Pete Steinkopf (of The Bouncing Souls) who lent his stellar studio sensibilities for capturing great punk and power pop records and gave it that extra push.

 

 

Bottom line, this is a really good rock n’ roll record. It’s not trying to do anything other than that, and in doing so, it really delivers. Another year, another great band, and another Heavy Lag record closer to whatever.

 

Another Year Closer to Whatever is out now via Bloated Kat Records and is available on all major streamers. They will play a record release show on 1/19 at TV Eye with School Drugs, Radar, Substitute and Sadlands