Hello and welcome! It’s time for your weekly dose of bite sized musical goodies from Hoos and Nick AD. We’ve both been very busy so the list is a little shorter this week but these are some of the good songs Nick and I have listened to over the last week(wish) and absolutely had to make sure we shared. Don’t forget to tune in to Nick’s radio show, Radiant Point, every Wednesday night for even more music both new and old.
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:
!!!- Here’s What I Need to Know. I’m a big fan of !!!’s older work, particularly 2004’s Louden Up Now and 2007’s Myth Takes and can always count on them for an attitude laden groove to get me moving. Their latest track starts out purely electro before diving into their familiar pulsing feel, the perfect jam to head into spring time. [KH]
Jane Weaver– Oblique Fantasy. Jane Weaver continues her exploration into pop and indie rock with her latest single, “Oblique Fantasy.” Her incredible 2021 record, Flock, demonstrated her knack for pop songcraft alongisde the signaure experimental style she’d honed over her career. This latest single is part of Speedy Wunderman’s single series and shows she is still on fire creatively after Flock. Here, Weaver incorporates In Rainbows-era Radiohead atmosphere, with a krautrock pulse pushing tune and a spacefunk bass hook syncopating throughout. Her voice is warm and slightly daring—“You can do what you want, this time.” As her voice rises into a higher, airy register for the chorus, layers of synths build around her, the rhythm never deviating. This compact tune showcases many attributes of Weaver’s brilliance as a musician and songwriter. She’s an experimenter, no doubt, but she brings an impressive sense of dynamics and taste to her songs. Her choices are impeccable. Bringing her sound more into the pop realm shows the endless possibilities someone with her creative vision can bring to the pop paradigm. Weaver is in the zone right now and it’s awesome to hear. [ND]
Rudy Stone– Life of Luxury. This song seems to unfold in slow motion. A muted drum machine fill leads us right into a beautifully hazy guitar hook. AR Plovnick’s voice reverbates from the clouds: “Groovin’ to the music/When you pulled me in close/Said ‘We ought to spend the night/Making love…” Plovnick is somehow able to make a programmed drum track swing into a warm, slow groove. A touch of spaceage lounge music, a dash of shoegazery, and full-on stoner bliss, the tune forces you to slow down and get lost for a couple minutes—a true luxury in life these days. [ND]
Soccer Mommy– Shotgun. Whenever I need some chill indie with just a tiny bit of crunch to vibe out to, Soccer Mommy is where I turn. This is her first new song since her stellar 2020 album, color theory,and if this is the first taste, the new album Sometimes, Forever is going to be a strong follow up. I love the way the song starts out with just an overly gainy, yet not full on distorted bass (which is not a complaint, I love this sound and love the bass tone on many Soccer Mommy songs) and drums paired with just Sophie Allison’s pleasing voice. Not until the chorus does the full band hit its loudest peak with the guitars kicking in with a rush of sound that augments but never over powers the vocals, Allison’s yearning plea of “So whenever you want me, I’ll be around/I’m a bullet in a shotgun waiting to sound” shining through loud and clear. The full album arrives 6/24 via Loma Vista. [KH]
Soccer Mommy performing in 2017 (photo by Edwina Hay)
Sudan Archives– Home Maker. The always exciting and fresh Sudan Archives is back with a new single, “Home Maker,” which explores the singular, often unappreciated beauty of making a living space into a home and sharing that space with the exactly the person you want to. Sudan Archives subverts the outdated patriarchal notion of who and what a homemaker is by being in full control of the space and having full agency in her actions. Her distinctive voice is direct and bold:
I just gotta run up on my plants and Hoping that they’ll thrive around the madness Won’t you step inside my lovely cottage Feels so green, it feels like fucking magic Only bad bitches, and mad trellis And baby, I’m the baddest
Sudan Archives is the project of Brittney Denise Parks, a self-taught violinist, vocalist, producer, and songwriter. It’s been three long years since we’ve heard new tunes from her, following the amazing Athena record that came out on Stones Throw in 2019. With “Home Maker,” Parks folds her experimental sound into a tune that could be jammed at the club. A simple beat throbs throughout, and hooks abound in the verses and chorus. Near the end, Parks switches the rhythm and harmonizes herself, repeating ” Don’t you feel at home when you’re with me?” You can practically see everyone’s hands in the air. Hopefully, more new music to come this year from this brilliant songwriter carving out new territory. [ND]
Winter Wolf– Blue Lights. Truly some of the most exciting performers in the NYC punk underground today, and hands down one of the best bands you’ll see live, Winter Wolf took some of that stage prowess into the studio and have released their first single in a few years, their first as a trio, “Blue Lights.” The song will be a part of their upcoming EP due out this summer on Academic Punk Records and is a really strong first glimpse at what is to come. Huge bass and drums drive the song, accompanied with perfectly matched dual vocals from Tony $ixx, providing the high falsetto, and bassist/vocalist Jey Winters serving up the full low end with intense growls to match his killer riffs. A sharp condemnation to cops and police violence, they mince no words when they yell FUCK YOUR BLUE LIGHTS! This is 100% one of my most anticipated releases of the summer. [KH]
Hello and welcome! This week we’ve got a short burst of bite sized musical goodies as I have had a heavy shooting and “real life” schedule and Nick has been at SXSW (keep an eye on our Instagram for vids from him and one of our newer contributors, Kenzie), but I didn’t want to leave these goodies unmentioned. Take a listen to these songs and stay tuned, we are always digging into new stuff we want to share with you! Also don’t forget to tune into Nick’s radio show, Radiant Point, every Wednesday night for even more music both new and old.
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:
Cave In– New Reality. In their first new recordings since the death of bassist Caleb Scofield, and first from their upcoming album, Heavy Pendulum, Cave In comes in strong with giant riffs chugging throughout and some good old fashioned metal soloing in the final minute of the song. On the title of the track, lead singer Steven Brodsky said “Cave In’s been around for over 25 years now, and the time has come for an album that scales all of our creative peaks. Talk about a wild and weird ride! And here we are with ‘Heavy Pendulum’ — it certainly feels like a remarkable event, given the erratic trajectory of our band. “New Reality” was always the lead-off track — that was pretty obvious during the writing process. New line-up, new label, new album… a new reality indeed, and it all adds up to a new lease on life for Cave In.” The full album arrives on 5/20 via Relapse. [KH]
HYPEMOM– Stairway/Episode 4. This is the latest from the Brooklyn based band that has been described on their Bandcamp as a “Bushwick dirtbag’s wet dream” and in the same paragraph, “They’ll give you a 90s emo hammer-on you’ll never forget.” I don’t know about the wet dream part, but the 90s emo part is for sure accurate. This reminded me of a 90s era demo tape I might have picked up from a proto-emo band at a local show in NJ, wearing the influence of Revolution Summer and Dischord happily on it’s sleeve. [KH]
Julien Baker/Sharon Van Etten– 1979/Hurt. Full disclosure, I’ve only heard half of this, since it currently exists solely as a vinyl pre-order available only from comic shops (I ordered from Frankie’s Comics). Van Etten has previously covered “Hurt” by NIN for SoS in 2020, so I had heard her half already, an echoey and equally as crunchy guitar driven take on the song. The song has been available on YouTube for a while and it’s unclear if the same version from before or a new recording will appear on the 7 inch.
I admit that I am even more intrigued to hear Baker’s take on “1979,” the 1995 track by Smashing Pumpkins, as I do have a soft spot for the Pumpkins early to mid 90s material and have enjoyed many of her interpretations of other artist’s songs, in particular her version of “Fell On Black Days” by Soundgarden (I highly recommend giving it a listen). The split 7 inch is part of the ongoing series of songs recorded to accompany the comic What’s the Furthest Place From Here? and the description reads:
“The end of the world has a soundtrack.
Every issue of this post-apocalyptic coming-of-age series will offer an extremely limited number of Deluxe Editions, featuring an exclusive cover and a 7″ record with two songs from some of today’s best indie and punk bands, recorded specially for this project.
This issue: JULIEN BAKER breaks your heart and SHARON VAN ETTEN makes it hurt.”
Pictoria Vark– Demarest. We here at FTA are getting very excited for the upcoming Pictoria Vark record, The Parts I Dread, and this latest single it only adding to the anticipation. The song starts out as a warm acoustic confessional, with Vark’s soft croon taking center stage. As the first chorus kicks in, she is soon joined by further instrumentation as the song builds from pleasant solo singer/songwriter territory to a gentle indie rock jam as it continues, electric guitar taking the musical lead by time the midpoint of the song arrives. For the final verse, the music fades and rises again, Vark’s bass playing getting more of the focus here, before ending with a hard stop and the acapella line “there’s more to live for than I know yet”, hopeful and yearning all at once. The Parts I Dread is out 4/8 via Get Better Records. [KH]
Pons– Leave Me To My Work. This is the latest from these noisy no wavers, who are also one of my new favorite bands to see live. This song has a dark and chaotically dystopian feel to it, perhaps bordering a bit on a speedy goth feel even, and features some extra instrumentation from their live set with synth and sax peeking their heads into the mix as the song reaches its harried crescendo and begins to decay into madness. There is often a peppering of many genres in each of Pons’ songs, little elements here and there underneath some of the larger overall themes, and this one sticks with that recipe to blend in perfectly with their existing body of work. No word yet if this is a stand alone or part of an upcoming full length effort but either way, this is a solid showing from one of the most exciting bands in NYC right now. (For the record I’m definitely ready for more and hoping it’s part of an upcoming EP or album.) [KH]
Pons performing (photo by Kate Hoos)
Zora– Runnitup (feat Myia Thornton). The debut single from the Minneapolis based rapper runs right out of the gate, an urgent industrial 90s techno laden beat driving things while the bass pulses underneath and Zora’s nimble verses fly. The song may seem at first like it’s celebrating capitalism but it is in fact the exact opposite, the artist saying “In reality, this song is pretty explicitly about U.S. capitalism and how we need to just overthrow it. I still have hope, at least.” And of her collaboration with Thorton, “We wanted to make a song about metaphorically running up on somebody who didn’t give us what we were owed,” in reference to delays in receiving the 2020 Covid stimulus payment. The full album arrives 5/20 on Get Better Records and cassette pre-orders are available now. [KH]
Hello and welcome to more bite sized musical goodness brought to you by Kate Hoos and Nick AD. We listened to a lot of new stuff in the last week(ish), and these were some of the highlights, so dig on in and get these tracks in your ears. Nick also hosts a radio show on Radio Nope called Radiant Point every Wednesday night that features a huge variety of music from all over the spectrum so make sure you’re tuning in or listening to the archives to get the scoop on even more music.
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:
Automatic– New Beginning. LA synth post punks Automatic have just released the first single from their upcoming album, Excess and it is a motorik bop, driving bass locked in with the insistent drums while the synths sweep and clash together and break apart throughout the song. The title “New Beginning” feels very apt for where we find ourselves after the last two years, and all the bullshit we are still wading through. The lines “who could ever know for certain while we have a chance to take, there could be a new beginning, it could be a better place” certainly makes one feel hopeful that maybe, just maybe there is something better around the corner if we just hang on a little longer and there might just be a promised land on the other side. I’m very much looking forward to the full record and dancing with my camera when they land in NYC on their next tour. Excess comes out on 6/24 via Stones Throw Records. [KH]
Caroline No– Anna’s On The Radio. Sounding a bit like if the Velvet Underground had been a California band, “Anna’s on the Radio” is loose, almost haphazard at first. Three guitars (Caroline Kennedy, Dee Hannon, and Mick Turner) begin strumming over the Mo Tucker–style beat from superb drummer Jim White. The song takes off once Kennedy and Hannon enter with thrilling harmonies. There are only three verses, each a repeated phrase—“Anna’s on the radio/Got nowhere to go/It’s a long time ago“—and no chorus, but it proves how moving simplicity can be. Kennedy writes the tunes and forms the bands for Caroline No, this time enlisting long-time friends from the Australian music scene, notably White and Turner of The Dirty Three. As she writes on her Bandcamp page, her intimacy with her band allowed the songs to take form intuitively and spontaneously. There’s definitely magic here, and this tune will inspire repeated listens. Very much looking forward to the full Caroline No record, slated for release April 1 on the Grapefruit Record label. [ND]
The Chats– Struck By Lightning. There’s not much that’s more fun than rocking out to some straight up three chord ripping garage punk with irreverent lyrics, and these Aussies have that energy in spades. The bratty vibe spits right out of the speakers and you can’t help but sneer as the buzzsaw guitars rage alongside the snot nosed vocals. The band will soon be in the US for six weeks where they will hit most major markets with support from Mean Jeans and FTA friends/favs Thick. Their New York stop of the tour hits Warsaw on 5/7 and you can count on seeing me there. [KH]
eLZhi & Georgia Anne Muldrow– Already Gone. There’s no stopping Georgia Anne Muldrow right now. In the past two years, she has graced us with genius record after genius record: Mama, You Can Bet! as Jyoti in 2020; VWETO III under own name last year; and this year’s Planet of the Blues: Part One as Lilblackkids, a collaboration with Keith Rice. Hot on the heels of the Lilblackkids record, here comes Zhigeist, a full-length collaboration with the brilliant Slum Village alum eLZhi. “Already Gone” is the lead single and features Muldrow’s trademark space-funk production. A futuristic bassline pops atop a simple groove. Muldrow’s haunting verses float throughout. She laments: “When I finally broke down and realized I needed you/You were already gone.” eLZhi’s lines are strong and vulnerable. A sampling:
“My brains, a headache even to a migraine”
“Past feelings is why I put up walls that would fall”
“I’m sad and raining diamonds/against a Gucci suitcase with cash spilling out.”
The two collaborators complement each other beautifully. Muldrow creates little worlds of psychedelic funk, trippy but uncluttered. eLZhi is a master on the mic—expressive, engaging, emotive. The full record came out this past Friday on Nature Sounds and is worth a dedicated listen (and review!). [ND]
Gruff Rhys– People Are Pissed/Arogldarth. For any readers who didn’t know, FTA has deep ties to Wales and our webmaster Jenifun built our entire site from scratch from her house in Newport (just outside of Cardiff). We also love Super Furry Animals and all of Gruff Rhys’ solo work, and whenever he sings in Welsh, Jenifun is there to translate for me (I can understand some written Welsh, but spoken I still struggle with). This song is in English however and the message is pretty clear so no translation needed. On the lyrics Rhys said “The lyrics were basically inspired by the widespread anger I – and many other people felt towards the incompetence and arrogance of the Johnson regime during the lockdowns – not that I feel any different now. I mean the words go off on one like most of my songs but that was the seed of the idea.” As with much of his body of work, the song is fun and bouncy, with a sunshine feel that belies the true content of the song. Clocking in at almost eight minutes, you can almost get lost in the feeling too. On the flip side is the spacey instrumental track “Arogldarth” (which translates to “incense”) and it’s another eight minute long opus, more downtempo and contemplative than its companion, and that is also very easy to vibe out to. Both songs are out digitally now and are available as a limited edition cassette via Rough Trade. [KH]
Helms Alee– See Sights Smell Smells. The latest from these sludge psych greats, this song mutes the sludge ever so slightly and leans more into the psych and experimental side of their sound. Ethereal vocals and synth lines occupy the focus of the verse, before switching off with a doomy bass line (that borders on industrial) keeps time with insistent military-esque toms in the chorus. During the last 30 seconds a distorted sax appears out of the ether to twist and shimmy its way through the rest of the instruments before just as quickly skittering off again. This is a very intriguing first taste of the new album to come, Keep This Be The Way due out 4/29 on Sargent House. The song also came accompanied with a video directed by Allen Watke, complete with a glitchy bootleg VHS tape from the 80s dayglo vibe to perfectly compliment the music. [KH]
Horsegirl– Anti-glory.If the first two singles are any indication, the forthcoming Horsegirl record might be THE indie rock record of 2022. “Anti-glory” is the second single, and lead album track, of Versions of Modern Performance, due out on Matador June 3. Gigi Reece’s big “We Got the Beat” drums kick it off with Penelope Lowenstein’s bass-sounding guitar (judging from the video) further driving the rhythm. Nora Cheng’s wiry guitar line carves a thin path deep into your skull. Cheng and Lowenstein trade vocals in the verses before the song changes course for the post-punky one-word chorus: “Dance!” they command. And how could you not? “Anti-glory” is all propulsive energy, big fuckin’ drums, catchy basslines (or…bass-like lines), and guitars that are both angular and hazy. The phenomenal John Agnello was behind the mixing board and deftly captures the band’s intriguing mix of dreampop hooks, grunge gnarl, and heavy swing. June 3 can’t come soon enough. [ND]
Hushpuppy– Nervous. Released as part of Hardly Art’s 15 year anniversary singles series, “Nervous” is a minute and a half long blink and you miss it indie pop rock gem. Performed and produced entirely by Zoë Brecher aka Hushpuppy (who has also played drums with numerous projects including Palehound, Oceanator, and Sasami), the song addresses her anxiety and depression with Brecher stating on her Instagram, “Although it’s a tough subject, it’s a hopeful song and it’s dedicated to other like me. There’s power in knowing you’re not alone and I hope you can feel that when you listen.” This was admittedly my first introduction to Hushpuppy and it snared me immediately, I’ve already listened to several other tracks and you can now count me firmly in the fan column, very excited to see what comes next. [KH]
Mary Shelley– Blasé. This is a slice of high voltage Bauhaus inspired post punk, and is the fourth single from the self described
“goof-groove punk” trio from Brooklyn, named for the gothic novelist Mary Shelley (aka the author of Frankenstein). A “pop song that sounds like it’s drowning” is “about swimming in the decisions you made against your will and feeling powerless to them,” and it is a catchy ear worm you’ll have a hard time shaking off. The band’s forthcoming debut album will be released on 4/20 and they will play a release show on 4/21 at The Sultan Room. [KH]
Meat Wave– Honest Living. This is the latest from the Chicago punk band, a straight forward rocker with a thick wall of harmonized guitars, urgent vocals and punchy drums. It is first single by the band for Swami Records, the label helmed by John Reis (Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, PLOSIVS) and the influence of Reis’ prior work is evident in Meat Wave’s sound, with all the drive of a RFTC or Hot Snakes jam, and will get stuck in your head just as easily. The band will tour with PLOSIVS (which also features Rob Crow of Pinback) and hit Brooklyn on 3/18 at Saint Vitus, so now you know what my exact whereabouts for that evening will be. The song is part of a forthcoming album due later this year as a co-release with Swami and Big Scary Monsters. [KH]
Monte– Bad Girl. This song is a fast paced hard rock ripper and is part of the upcoming full length, This Is Monte. The production is slick, making all of the instruments sound huge, and the guitar work of singer/guitarist Caitlin Montclare is top notch. Fun and full of hooks, the chorus in particular is a pop rock sing along, and the whole song owes a debt to the crunch of The Runaways and flamboyance of 80s hair metal. But this is not 80s hair metal dude objectification though, and it is told from the perspective of a queer person, flipping the script and in the process making it a queer anthem. On this Montclare said “I grew up watching MTV and VH1, particularly Head Banger’s Ball, and I always remembered the hair metal bands like Motley Crue, Poison, or Whitesnake, and thinking how cheesy they were, but also, somehow loving it. As a queer person, I thought it would be fun to put a spin on those cringey hair metal bands. Let’s be over the top, let’s add dueling harmonizing guitars!”
“Bad Girl” is perfect driving fast down the highway music and a summer sing along if I ever heard one. [KH]
Oceanator– Stuck. Oceanator is back with the latest single from their upcoming album Nothing’s Ever Fine (due out 4/8 via Polyvinyl) and it’s a solid grunge offering, chugging along with a sultry and fuzzy bass lilt during the verses before massive riffs take over during the second half of the song, double kick drums and sweeping drum fills careening right out of the speakers. The lyrics come from the perspective of a frustrated and disappointed narrator and the music pairs really perfectly with this sentiment. They have a home town release show scheduled for 4/5 at Knitting Factory before embarking on a heavy touring schedule supporting Pedro the Lion (which hits NYC at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 4/25) and later, PUP and Laura Jane Grace. [KH]
Petrol Girls (feat. Janey Starling)- Fight For Our Lives. This is the latest single from these political post hardcore heavy hitters and it goes in more of the experimental direction that their previous single “Baby I Had An Abortion,” went in. The song starts with with vocalist Ren Aldridge with her signature piercing yell, accompanied a bombastic showing from the bass and drums, before dipping into more familiar hardcore territory and heading into a classic gang vocal sing along. Featuring guest vocals from activist Janey Starling (formerly of Dream Nails) the band says the song “honours the global movement fighting against femicide and gender-based violence. All money generated from this Bandcamp-only release will go to feminist group Level Up, who are building an interactive, virtual database of femicide victims across the UK and Chile, with a view to scaling up globally in the future. The database is trans inclusive, and will serve as a source of public knowledge and campaigning tool in the fight against gender-based systemic violence.” These two singles paired together clearly show a band that is steadfast in spreading vital messages about systemic problems, while continuing grow in stylistic depth and is not afraid to take unexpected and exciting turns in their music. [KH]
The Surfrajettes– Warm Up/Couch Surfing. FINALLY. Long-time favorites in the surf rock scene, they have released a few excellent singles since forming in 2015, but are slated to release their debut full-length Roller Fink via Hi-Tide Recordings on April 22. The Toronto quartet take a breezy, engaging approach to the surf format, leaning into psychedelia and lounge music with snappy, hook-laded tunes. “Warm Up” is aptly named, a straightforward surf rock excursion, featuring guitarists Mackenzie Freeman and Nicole Damoff trading sunny, reverby licks overtop a traditional surf beat. On “Couch Surfing,” the band shows off their more psychedelic side. The rhythm section of Sarah Butler (bass) and Dani Nash (drums) set the pace, settling into great bouncy backbeat. Freeman and Damoff play off each other wonderfully, with the tremelo-tinged rhythm guitar offering excellent taste and contrast to the slightly grittier lead. [ND]
USA Nails– Tooting Broadway. The latest single from the upcoming USA Nails/Psychic Graveyard split record, this is a two minute ripper of pure punk noise, absolutely no filler, a “stream of consciousness about where I live” according to the band’s Instagram. While USA Nails can get quite noisy and experimental, and this song does have twinges of those elements, it tends to lean more on their punk sensibilities than straight ahead noise. On the flip side, Psychic Graveyard is an electro frenzy of synth punk noise, reminiscent of a warped version of The Screamers. I had been totally unfamiliar with them prior to the announcement of this split but I am very ready to hear more from them. This is now one of the releases I’m most excited about this spring, the USA Nails tracks having already found their way into my monthly DJ spot in fact. The full album will be available digitally on 4/1 and is available for pre-order now. [KH]
Weird Nightmare– Searching For You. This is the first single from the solo project of Alex Edkins, frontman of noise punk greats, METZ. You still get the echoey fuzz of his usual vocal style, but his range is more apparent here and his pop sensibilities are on full display in both the vocals and guitar work with Edkins commenting via a press release “Hooks and melody have always been a big part of my writing, but they really became the main focus this time.” His Bandcamp describes the project as “a raw, sugary blast of distorted pop,” and goes on to say that the forthcoming debut album “contains all of his main band’s bite with an unexpected, yet totally satisfying, sweetness. Imagine The Amps covering Big Star, or the gloriously hissy miniature epics of classic-era Guided by Voices combined with the bombast of Copper Blue- era Sugar—just tons of red-line distortion cut with the type of tunecraft that thrills the moment it hits your ears.”
As if I wasn’t already a huge fan of Edkins’ work in METZ, but mention The Amps (Kim Deal’s oft-forgotten mid 90s post Last Splash project) as an influence and I am there. The album comes out on 5/20 via Sub Pop and is very highly anticipated here at FTA headquarters. [KH]
Welcome! Ready for a whole bunch of new singles that came out recently?! Hope so because we have a slew of new stuff to share. I’ve done a few singles posts myself so far and going forward, I will be joined by Nick AD who will give his thoughts on songs too (we’ll include our initials to indicate who is who). We’re still getting in the swing of things so singles here may be a little “past due” aka not released in the week we are talking about it, and this list will likely be a little longer than what will follow, but one thing is for sure is that it’s full of great music and there is never an expiration on great tuneage is there? So read on and make sure you’re putting these artists on your radar.
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 few weeks:
The 1865– Everything’s Not Gonna Be All White. This song was released to accompany the three part docuseries Everything’s Gonna Be All White which premiered on Showtime in February and was directed by the band’s guitarist, Sacha Jenkins. The docuseries focuses on “A deep dive into America’s past and present through the experiences of people of color. The docuseries marries humor with history as it confronts the facets of racism, exploitation and discrimination that contributed to the formation of America.” Musically the song starts out with a dirty, grunge intro before blasting into a fast paced punk ripper. The song returns to the grunge riffage in the middle before again taking off. The lyrics mince no words and are a sharp condemnation to the poison of white supremacy and a call to dismantle the structures that have existed to keep whiteness as the default in society for far too long. This appears to be a one off single for now, but hopefully more new music is soon on the horizon from this crucial band. [KH]
8 Kalacas– Mutante. Full disclosure, I was a very big ska/skacore fan in the late 90s, but I turned my attention to other things over the years, and I have not kept up with the genre much in the past several years. Then one of 8 Kalacas’ other singles came to my attention (“Pudrete”) and I gave it a listen and this is exactly the high octane blend of punk and ska I loved then and still enjoy reminiscing about every now and again. Voodoo Glow Skulls is admittedly the first comparison that came to mind, being another Latin infused skacore band that also was one of my favorites of the genres (in my junior year high school year book photo, I’m wearing a VGS shirt, true story). These guys are like an amped up version of VGS though, more hardcore (and even metal at times) than punk, with a significantly harder edge. Warp speed tempos abound and every musician in the 8 member outfit brings some serious chops to this track which dives right into heavy metal territory with shredded solos, doomy vocals, double kick rolls, and chuggy rhythms. In addition to the raging guitar/bass/drums/vocals, I really loved the horns on this which sound very full and bright. Recording techniques are definitely better today than the 90s and it was really obvious in the layering and nuance of the horn section here, better than anything I remember from that previous era. After jamming this and the other songs from the upcoming album, Fronteras (due out 3/25 on Atomic Fire), it’s clear that I definitely need to not only dig into their back catalogue, but that I also need to start paying more attention to the genre overall again as well. [KH]
Atlas Engine– Secrets. This is the latest single from the Brooklyn dream pop indie outfit featuring the lush and atmospheric sound they are known for, along with a killer guitar hook that got stuck in my head for hours after the first listen. Lead singer Nick LaFalce is joined by Meredith Lampe and the two share lead vocals for a beautiful interplay weaving their voices together. The band will soon be heading to the Treefort Music Fest to bring a bit of Brooklyn to Boise and I must say I am sad I will not be sneaking along with them. [KH]
Cloa– Vanilla (Live at I.E. Chrome). I’ve mentioned several times in this blog already that I’m a big fan of instrumental music, so I’m always excited to hear new stuff by bands who forgo a vocalist to see what emerges from this dynamic regardless of genre (though my tastes obviously lean towards the rock end of the spectrum). These guys are a proggy, mathy trio and remind me of a nice blend of Volta Do Mar and Covet. And they certainly have the chops to back up those comparisons, particularly guitarist Anthony Viramontes, who has some very strong tapping skills. The recording is live so the mix isn’t as sharp as it could be in a studio setting, but I didn’t find it overly distracting. They were a totally new discovery for me and don’t seem to have a lot of recorded output at the moment, just one other single, so I would assume they are a newer outfit (not much info is available that I could find online) but I will be keeping my eyes on them. I’d love to hear more from them and this song re-recorded with the edges smoothed out a bit because this is a strong start. [KH]
Cut City– Reckless. Cut City is a band I discovered quite by accident during the mp3 blog era (around 2008) when I downloaded what I thought were files of Interpol and ended up with Cut City instead — who I had never heard of at that point but none-the-less fell in love with. Flash forward to now and the Swedish post punkers have a brand new single out, “Reckless,” which is more of a straight up rocker than the post punk the group is known for, but that bouncy undercurrent is still in there. I love that this band can go from a driving song to an ethereal vibe and back again and do both of these feels so well. This song completes a three song EP which is now available via Garage Rock Records and is on their Bandcamp page. [KH]
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat– Echo Base. ESMB has dropped the second single from their new album Nightclub Daydreaming (due out 3/25 on Carpark) and this time dipped their toes into 80s Bauhaus-esque gothy territory. Which really fits in with Schrader’s deep baritone and works well as a vibe. The video matches the song perfectly and gets into a spooky feel with Schrader vamping in a ghostly white spider webby wrap and enhanced by dramatic lighting adding even more to the overall goth factor. [KH]
Fruity Mercury– Fall For Me. This is the first offering from Fruity Mercury, the solo project of Xander Mikkal, singer of garage punk band Daddies. This is definitely not garage, rather a slice of fun dancey indie pop rock queercore and a spirited debut. He only has one track up right now but according to Bandcamp “This album is a work in progress. Just like me” I for one am very excited to hear what comes next. Check out the song now on Bandcamp. [KH]
LAPÊCHE– Bottom Feeder V1. This song starts off with shimmery guitars before heading into a verse that is rhythmically complex and full of nuance, a lot of layers are going on with the guitars with a strong showing from the rhythm section too. I had a hard time placing a time signature on first listen (I’m pretty sure it’s 6/8 after a few spins through), but that is hardly a criticism or a bad thing, quite the opposite. Because for this nerd brain, let me tell you, I love a song that makes me think and challenges me. And so many of LAPÊCHE’s songs do just that, take me on a journey and challenge me, getting stuck in my head for a long time afterwards. This song has every element of what this band does so well and then it hits you really hard on the second chorus, when the whole band joins in on harmonized vocals that fly so damn high. After releasing a Pretenders cover at the end of 2021, this is their first original release since their excellent album Blood In The Water (which was on my favorites of 2021 list) and I’m for sure hoping this is just the first taste of some new material on the horizon. [KH]
The Linda Lindas– Growing Up. This is the first single from the just announced debut album (also titled Growing Up and due out on Epitaph on 4/8) from the delightful young punk band. Like their self titled 2020 EP, this track shows off their punky pop sensibilities, with full and robust production making the song sound slick, polished and ready to take over the airwaves. This is an exciting first look into their highly anticipated debut and came along with a super fun music video complete with adorable footage of the band as little kids playing on the TV at the end. [KH]
Loris – Lulua. Loris has roots in two nations that have seen centuries of colonization at the hands of Westerners: Palestine and Mexico. Of Palestinian decent and Mexican by birth, her music pulls in elements from both cultures, Latin American and Arab. In her latest single, a synth-bass drone sets the foundation for the Latin rhythmic pulse. Around this groove, Arab instruments and melodies weave in an out, expanding the sound palette. The song also serves as a soundtrack to a video (also featuring Loris) that accompanies the essay, “A Cultural and Mythological History of Pearling in the Arabian Gulf” in the climate and culture magazine, Atmos. [ND]
Lucy Dacus– Kissing Lessons. Lucy Dacus dropped a fuzzy new single all about locking lips with a childhood crush and being that it’s short, almost blink and you miss it, I’m still sitting here wondering…did Lucy fall in love with her and misses her or she is just fondly reminiscing? Really could go either way! The stand alone single was cleverly advertised with flyers that included a 1-800 number to call to hear the song early before it was released to streamers. (I didn’t actually see one in the wild, just pictures posted on social media of them.) The song also was available on a limited edition 7 inch (that is now sold out) and included “Thumbs Again” as the b-side. [KH]
Lucy Dacus peforming (photo by Kate Hoos)
Mdou Moctar– Nakanegh Dich. I’ve seen a lot of shows in my life (and by a lot, yes I mean A LOT, considering I’m at shows six days a week most weeks) and very few of them have ever moved me to tears. One notable exception was when I saw Mdou Moctar last fall and felt myself so overcome by emotion while watching that I found myself brushing tears away. A once in a generation talent, Moctar has increasingly been gaining prominence the last few years and it is well deserved. His album Afrique Victime was one of my favorites of 2021 and he is now set to release an expanded edition of the album featuring several more songs, “Nakanegh Dich” among them. Rhythmically the song is closely aligned with the feel of the other work on the album, but as in all of his music, it’s in the guitar work that things truly come alive. This song is an all out burning shred fest, with wah pedal and riffs galore, showcasing the exceptional level of his skill. I’m definitely excited to see what the rest of the expanded edition of the album brings and for another chance to see him and his band live hopefully sooner rather than later (I will sadly missed his recent BAM appearance). [KH]
Meshuggah– The Abysmal Eye. I will 100% admit that I am not an extreme metal fan, or just actually don’t know much about the genre overall. The metal I usually do listen to is more of the stoner variety and even that isn’t much. But there are exceptions to every rule and there are some metal bands I really dig, this band is one of them. And that is really based entirely on my complete awe of drummer Tomas Haake who plays double bass in a way I have never heard anyone else; he does more with his feet than most drummers can do with their hands and makes it look like he’s barely breaking a sweat in the process. This song has all the hallmarks of what metal fans love—fiercely chugging guitars locked in seamlessly with Haake’s insane footwork, monstrous growls, and a wicked guitar solo—a perfect specimen of the genre. [KH]
METZ– Demolition Row. METZ is one of my favorite bands and the last show I saw for fun** before omicron rolled into town was their show at Elsewhere (see pics from the show). (**I say “for fun” because I work in live music so I’m at shows constantly, just not usually for my own entertainment.) Seeing them was one of my highlights of 2021, an insanely weird and hard year for us all, and I’ve listened to Atlas Vending in full at least a few times a week the last several months. So suffice it to say, I was very excited to hear some new music by them, even if just a single. I was a little taken aback by this one the first time I heard it, not in a bad way, just in that it is at once a departure for the band and totally them in all their noisey glory at the same time. The track is groovey and a bit glitchy, singer/guitarist Alex Edkins’ voice even more echoey than usual, almost ethereal off someplace floating in the distance. There is also a real motorik feel which I love and it’s unlike anything else Metz has released before. The band acknowledged the markedly different feel in a press release, with Edkins saying: ‘Demolition Row’ is a song we recorded ourselves and I think it’s quite singular as far as the METZ catalogue is concerned. We’ve never sounded this way before.” The song is part of a split 7 inch with Adulkt Life came out on 3/4. [KH]
METZ performing (photo by Kate Hoos)
Oceanator– Bad Brain Daze. Oceanator has a brand new album on the way, Nothing’s Ever Fine, and has released the first single “Bad Brain Daze,” a crunchy pop rock bop about getting through the day with anxiety, something we can all surely relate to. Helmed by Oceanator leader/songwriter, Elise Okusami, the song features a slew of guest musicians including Jeff Rosenstock on sax and members of Groupie, Long Neck, Maneka, Bad Moves and more on backing/gang vocals. The album, due out 4/8/22 on Polyvinyl, was produced by Okusami (who performed most of the instruments herself) and her brother Mik with co-production from Bartees Strange. While the subject matter isn’t necessarily fun, the song manages to feel light none-the-less and it’s an ear worm for sure. [KH]
Petrol Girls– Baby, I Had An Abortion. Big giant drums and riffs kick this one off, bringing a dose of the incendiary and intricate political hardcore the band is known for. This is also a band that doesn’t mince words (the conclusion of their most popular song repeatedly informs a would be groper/creep “touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you“) and this song is no change from their past work, here a scathing dismissal of right wing talking heads who seek to control access to abortion. Who’s life are you pro? Who’s do you want to control? The biggest surprise is perhaps when the chorus kicks in and shifts away from hardcore to a solid dance punk jam while gang vocals yell the refrain BABY I HAD AN ABORTION quickly followed with AND I’M NOT SORRY
The band said via their Bandcamp that “This track looks to highlight the simple truth that everyone should have easy access to abortion, without apologies or shame, via vocalist Ren Aldridge’s own experience.” It is the first single from their forth coming album, due out this summer. They are also selling merch with BABY I SUPPORT ABORTION on it to help raise money for Abortion Without Borders, an EU based organization that funds and supports people in Poland obtain abortions in neighboring countries or at home with pills. This is the first single from their upcoming third album which is due out this summer. [KH]
Pictoria Vark– Wyoming. This is almost three songs in one. The second single from The Parts I Dread begins quietly at midtempo before it slows itself down significantly for the more explosive chorus with singer/bassist/songwriter Victoria Park, musing “Can’t I blame you for everything?” The parts don’t so much as flow into each other as drag you into them, demanding attention. The dichotomy of tempos feels even more pronounced the second time around, as if it the band really means it this time. From the big chorus, a brief pause into a quick, noisy outro that ends the song abruptly. There’s a cohesion, though, especially upon multiple listens, each one revealing some new, subtle layer. The full record is due out April 8 on Get Better Records. [ND]
Rebelmatic– Walk on Water. Speaking of “hardest working bands,” Rebelmatic 100% deserves the crown for hardest working punk band in NYC. The band almost single handedly kept DIY punk and hardcore shows going just after the darkest days of 2020, with series of outdoor popup shows bringing a much needed light and salve to the community starved for connection and the music that binds us together. I attended several and played one and they were some of the best shows in the last few years for me both as a fan and as a musician. In addition to being busy playing as much as they could, they also spent the pandemic writing and have just released their first single of the new year, “Walk on Water,” which will be part of their upcoming EP Mourning Dove. The song starts out with a classic Rebelmatic sing along before quickly shifting to a blistering blast of rapid fire hardcore intensity, before again shifting to a mid tempo breakdown and a return to the singalong chorus to close out the second half of the song. This is one of the releases I’m most excited about this year and if this single is any indication, we are in for some of their best work yet.
In an interview with Afropunk, lead singer Creature said this of the song: The new song is about going through all of the things in the world now, realizing it’s very similar to the past that black people had to overcome. every day, having your sanity and literally fighting for your life. feels like a miracle or they impossible ie “Walking on Water” [KH]
Rebelmatic performing (photo by Kate Hoos)
Sara Dziri-Fille de Racaille. Sara Dziri is a heavyweight of the Brussels electronic music scene. She is currently the resident DJ at Fuse Brussels techno club, and hosts radio shows on Kiosk Radio and Tsugi Radio. Her latest single, “Fille de Racaille,” displays her brilliance. Beneath a familiar pulsing house beat, Dziri overlays gothy arpeggiated synth hooks and occasional spots of Arab melody, a nod to her Tunisian heritage. At various points, the song breaks down entirely into a shimmer of Arab touches before the beat begins anew. This first single from Close to Home (which Google Translate says translates to “scum girl” in English) refers to the prejudice and racism she faced growing up the child of an outcast in Western Europe, according to DJMag. Close to Home will arrive March 25 via Optimo Music. [ND]
sensoren– Catchin’ Feels. Hooky and foreboding, the lead single from sensoren’s forthcoming full-length Idiot Brain takes you back to the 80s (if you lived through them, anyway) with video game–style synths and a bit of the ol’ boom-bap. Described by the artist as “an exploration of the tedium of dealing with unwanted emotional responses,” the half-time groove keeps your head nodding. The layers of synths swirl, allowing your mind to zone and emotions to simmer. Catch those feels and release them, if only for a couple minutes. Idiot Brain features all the singles sensoren has released in the past year as well as some new jams. Coming to a boombox near you March 25 via Chameleons Risen. [ND]
Soul Glo– Driponomics. Punk and hip-hop have long and treasured history of revolutionary artists and songs that question the state of humanity and agitate for something better. Adhering to genre borders has become increasingly passe and downright old-fashioned, so it’s no surprise to see modern artists incorporating a variety of styles. Yet, it’s somehow still noteworthy. Case in point: the devastating new single from Soul Glo, “Driponomics.” Following the anthemic punk rock of the lead single from their forthcoming record Disapora Problems, Soul Glo bring the noise with this latest tune. The bassline throbs and noise loops drone as vocalist Pierce Jordan unleashes a fury of gut punches:
Aint nun as ugly as a balance in the red
I want bands on every politicians head
Fuck them n****s cus they stingy w the bread
We want blood instead and u can tell em what I said
Fellow Philly artist Mother Maryrose is no less hard, contrasting Jordan’s righteous rage with a frank accounting of modern consumerist culture that offers no apologies.
Risking it all like a rockstar material girl bitch I’m copping it all
That is a fact, I’m speaking that raw
just my like bundles that flow to my drawls
It’s two sides of a vicious cycle where jobs don’t pay enough, but capitalist society demands consumption. Jordan insightfully blames 40 years of Reaganomics for low-wage jobs and insecure gig work, but reminds the listener no one but the 1% is secure in the current economic system.
Yo my n**** stay flipping gear in a pinch
Reselling, upselling, I’m telling you
Labor to get comfortable is only for the gullible
Across the nation, we see a stirring labor movement, causing discomfort and uncertainty for the U.S. oligarchs. Toppling that system is the only way to end the cycle of Driponomics. Diaspora Problems arrives March 25 via Epitaph. [ND]
Star Party– Push You Aside/Shot Down. If the first two singles from Meadow Flower are any indication, we can look forward to noisy and fun record come March 11 when it arrives via Feel It Records. “Push You Aside” features drummer Ian Corrigan’s hiccuping, sparse drum beat underneath waves of gnarly guitar fuzz from Carolyn Brennan. Brennan’s verse melody is where the hook lies, part snarl, part whine. “Shot Down” picks up the pace, with a Peach Kelli Pop–type bopper, with Brennan’s guitar again bringing the noise. Looks to be perfect album to leave winter behind. [ND]
Slang– Wilder. Full of big booming drums courtesy of the mighty Janet Weiss (Quasi, Sleater-Kinney), buzzsaw keys, topped off with fervid and soulful vocals from Drew Grow (Modern Kin, Pastor’s Wives, this is the super group of my dreams. The lineup also includes Kathy Foster (of The Thermals) and Anita Lee Elliot (Viva Voce) because I did say supergroup didn’t I? And if this is the first single out of the gate, I really am going to get pretty impatient waiting for more! The band had this to say on their Bandcamp about themselves and their upcoming debut album:
Slang’s debut COCKROACH IN A GHOST TOWN is a force of nature that came, seemingly, out of nowhere. Lyricist/singer/guitarist Drew Grow and drummer/singer Janet Weiss started the band over a decade ago in Portland, OR—both having spent more than half their lives dedicated to making and performing music. Through the years, Weiss has played with everyone from her bands Quasi, Wild Flag, and Sleater-Kinney, to collaborators like Elliott Smith, Stephen Malkmus, and others.; Grow has fronted his own groups Modern Kin and the Pastors’ Wives, producing other bands along the way. Starting as a moonlighting collaboration, the meeting of this particular group was kismet if not totally cosmic.
In their first iteration as a duo, Slang hammered the Everly Brothers inside-out; they put a keen new light on songs by the Traveling Wilburys and Jackson C. Frank—setting out to harmonize together and just play. Following a homespun two-song cassette, the band grew to include Kathy Foster (Roseblood, The Thermals) on bass and Anita Lee Elliot (Viva Voce) on guitar/vocals—with record appearances made by Sam Coomes (Quasi), Stephen Malkmus (Pavement), Mary Timony (Helium, Ex Hex, Wild Flag) and others.
Cockroach in a Ghost Town is due out 5/27 on Kill Rock Stars and is available for pre-order now. [KH]
Thick– Love You Forever. Thick gave us all a Valentine’s gift when they dropped this new single, two and a half minutes of the crunchy punky power pop they are so adept at crafting. Big buzzy guitars with a catchy as hell lead line, driving drums, sugary harmonies, and a yell along chorus? Now that’s the kind of Valentine’s gift I want! As of now this appears to be a stand alone single, their first new music since 2020’s 5 Years Behind, but I certainly hope there is more brewing in between their upcoming touring schedule. [KH]
It’s breathtaking to watch an artist rising toward their peak. Before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and now in whatever stage we’re in, harpist Brandee Younger has been a restless and prolific force in the realm of jazz (or, as trumpeter Nicholas Payton rightfully insists we all say, Black American Music, or BAM. You can read his essay on that here). It’s been a steady ascent for Younger since 2019’s stunning Soul Awakening. Her latest effort, a deeply affecting two-song EP called Unrest, features two of her strongest songs to date.
Unrest is hot on the heels of her 2021 acclaimed release, Somewhere Different, her debut for Impulse! It represents Younger’s musical reflection on the uprisings we’ve seen in recent years against police violence and the ever-present racism so inherent to US society. On the lead track, “Unrest I”, Younger needs only her harp take the listener on her emotional journey, of anxiety, anger, aching, and sadness. The melodies are striking and tense. They soon give way to a more introspective interlude, Younger working delicately yet deliberately around the harp, perhaps grasping for notes as we would words to describe the indescribable. She returns to the theme, all the more cutting after hearing her seemingly reaching for answers.
“Unrest II” features the rhythm section of Allan Mednard on drums and Rashaan Carter on bass. Mednard and Carter drive a steady rhythm under Younger’s theme. Much like on the first track, the certainty of the initial theme soon gives way to something more open-ended, this time in the form a brief but phenomenal drum solo by Mednard. Soon, Carter and Younger reprise the initial theme before closing out the tune.
Produced by Younger’s partner, bassist Dezron Douglas (with whom she recorded 2020’s “pandemic record” of their livestream brunch sessions, Force Majeure), Unrest further solidifies Younger’s distinctive voice. Her playing and songwriting have both depth and subtlety, and while Unrest is not as modern sounding as Somewhere Different, it reminds us that the struggle Younger writes about here is a centuries-old one. But, there is hope in the unrest, that we are advancing toward something better.
Unrest is out now via Impulse! and available on all major streaming platforms.
The Antibuddies have arrived and man did we need them right about now! Formed in the pandemic fueled year of 2020, the triplet members didn’t see each other in person for the first six months of the band’s inception. The EP Oh My Goodness! was released on Bandcamp on January 8th, 2022 and it is short, to the point, DIY punk— an eff you to whom it may concern. Self-described as “heavy, grungy, and loud, but we don’t take it too seriously. It’s also cute and danceable, at times” shows how conscious of their sound Antibuddies is. The band told us that the bassist’s male fiancé said of them, “we have a similar sound to such riot boy bands as Nirvana, but the bassist doesn’t really like them.”
Oh My Goodness! is a quick and sarcastic punch to your face of four fun songs, kind of like being elbowed in the pit (in the best way possible!). It was “recorded in the drummer’s basement with stolen recording equipment,” and the first track “Boomer Karen” is exactly what you think: all of the live, laugh, and love included. We get some heavy riffs and a chorus of voices: “Boomer Karen, Disney queen! Live, laugh, love!” that drives the point straight home. If Karen had a cartoon, this would be her punk theme song.
The next track “#men” focuses a lens on how cis men can be predatory with their power in society and “seek to satisfy their single celled urges while ruining the world, and everyone else is forced to be self aware while living their lives” and how everyone suffers in the ensuing fallout of this dynamic and arrogance. The song is a call to arms against the patriarchy and its bullshit, evoking the likes of Peaches and L7 in sound. The band told us it was written as “a practical guide to taking action and stepping up and using your voice when folks feel uncomfortable/unsafe.”
The Antibuddies— L-R Emily- drums, Jenny- bass/vocals, Cale- guitar/vocals (photo by James Sterling Lees)
Track three “Don’t Look at Me” is the longest song on the EP, clocking a hearty two minutes and seven seconds. It features sliding guitar riffs and some guttural screams packed into the center of the song. “Don’t Look at Me” loses its brighter pacing, it slows down to become muddy and garbled, right before rebounding into its former splitting tempos. This is a great song to be angry to, or to punch a Karen or terrible cis-man in the face to. The band had this to say regarding what inspired the song, “Don’t look at me was inspired by seeing the punk band Cost of Living, the house band at the Riot Room in Bloomington, IN. Someone on stage yelling DON’T LOOK AT ME into a microphone is humorous and poignant. Our introverted guitarist/vocalist can relate.”
The fourth and final track “Pastyarchy” is very riot boy from the start. The instrumentals are high anxiety and the vocal track is a little lazy, and it works perfectly for the song. “Pastyarchy” echoes a cry from the three songs before it, against the oppressors and for the people (because yes, Karen’s are oppressors too!) A song that is dedicated to anti-capitalism and literally eating the rich while feasting on decadent, vegan pastries has captured my heart for sure.
Oh My Goodness! may be short, but it packs that punch you need with its topical choices and frenetic sounds.