Friday, October 22, 2021

Ghostkeeper - "Grassy Plains"


Calgary's Ghostkeeper are a unique band that has created a patchwork sound all their own. Their latest single, "Grassy Plains," is this oddball indie rock song that kind of reminds me of bands like The Magnetic Fields or Beat Happening. This isn't necessarily because of Ghostkeeper sound like these bands, but just the overall vibe. (If that makes any sense...) "Grassy Plains" is groovy in the way that Sonic Youth were sometimes groovy in the early 90's. It's the kind of song you're going to either love or hate, or perhaps be intrigued enough to give it a couple extra listens just to be sure how you feel.

In a press release, Ghostkeeper say of their new single:

"Our new single, 'Grassy Plains,' charts a fantasy based on a post-apocalyptic scenario where the protagonist’s man has gone off to fight as a revolutionary soldier.
 
"Driven to seek the help of the minegishi (sacred little people), she gathers medicine and words to bring her love home.
 
"We sought to capture the story of lovers in a dystopian time who lament the distance between them as they struggle to find each other in one realm or another."

You can watch the video for "Grassy Plains" below. You can get a copy of the song here. For more on Ghostkeeper, check out the band's Facebook.

Chime School - "Wait Your Turn"


San Francisco musician Andy Pastalaniec started off as a drummer in bands like Pink Films, Cruel Summer, and Seablite. His latest project, Chime School, sees him taking over as singer and songwriter. Chime School's new single, "Wait Your Turn," combines the 60's San Francisco pop/folk/psychedelic scene with 90's indie rock. The song has this irresistibly sunny vibe. Particularly at the beginning you get a strong sense of bands like The Byrds or Jefferson Airplane. As the song progresses, the noise starts to kick in. It's drenched in sunshine and soaked in feedback, combining sounds that could have existed if Nirvana hadn't mocked The Youngbloods in "Territorial Pissings."

You can watch the video for "Wait Your Turn" below. Chime School's self-titled debut is due out November 5 on Slumberland Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Chime School, check out their Twitter.

Friday Freebie: The Thorazines - Songs in the Key of Death


We don't get too many Halloween releases, but when we do we're sure to bring them to you especially if they happen to be free! Melbourne, Australia's The Thorazines just released Songs in the Key of Death. It's a four song EP that's a pop punk tribute to the 1986 film Trick or Treat, aka the heavy metal horror movie that stars Skippy from Family Ties and features appearances from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons. The Thorazines have recorded four songs as a tribute to the movie. All four songs are decidedly pop punk, but that kind of pop punk that's heavily metal influenced and has a harder edge to it. This EP is a bunch of fun, especially if you've seen the movie recently enough to get all the references. I'll be trying to find it on a streaming service this weekend because while I think I've seen it, if I did it would be decades ago.

You can listen to "Fuck with Fire" below. Songs in the Key of Death is available for the name your price option on Bandcamp. If you do choose zero, be sure to give The Thorazines a follow on Facebook.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Joell Ortiz - "OG"


If you're going to be a rapper who calls a song "OG," it better be as old school as possible. Joell Ortiz delivers that. "OG" is pure hip hop. There are no R&B choruses and no auto-tune. It's more early 90's hip hop than 80's, but that's just the slicker production that wasn't available in the 80's. Plus, it's a song that talks about how wild and crazy life once was, but now Ortiz is in the suburbs with high cholesterol and shopping in Home Depot for a gazebo, but very happy with that since he's one of the ones that is still alive. It's one of the great songs about hip hop gracefully entering and thriving in middle age.

In a press release, Joell Ortiz says of the new song:

I feel so lucky to be able to call myself an 'OG.'  Where I come from adulthood isn’t always a guarantee.  But here I am, alive, and well and still doing what I love to do.  Music.  As life changes, so does my story.  Just happy to still be able to share it with you all the best way I know how.  Over these beats! Yaowa”

You can listen to "OG" below. Autograph is due out November 12 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Joell Ortiz, check out the artist's Twitter.

Odd Circus Covers Sonic Youth


It's no secret that I'm an obsessive Sonic Youth fan, so I'm going to be hyper critical of any Sonic Youth cover. Luckily, Orlando, FL's Odd Circus mailed it. According to their Bandcamp bio, Odd Circus are an "Improv trio exploring the suspension of space and time. Post-rock, fusion, no wave, noise, experimental, garage rock, psychedelic, sci-fi prog." For their Sonic Youth cover, they chose "The Wonder," the first in the trio of songs that make up the ending of 1988's immortal Daydream Nation. It's an instrumental cover, with Graham Robertson's saxophone covering for vocals. Odd Circus put together an explosive version of "The Wonder" that is immediately recognizable to fans of the original despite being it's very own thing. I would have thought it would be impossible to record a Sonic Youth cover that is faithful to the original without guitar, but this is done masterfully.

You can listen to Odd Circus' cover of "The Wonder" below. The song is available on Bandcamp. For more on Odd Circus, check out the band's website.

Maida Rose - "Every Day is Blue"

Photo by Anne Lieke Heusinkveld

On their latest single, Dutch dream pop band Maida Rose lean towards the poppy side of dream pop. "Every Day is Blue" sounds like the title of a song from The Smiths or The Cure, and it very well could be. It's a laid back, upbeat sounding pretty little song that showcases the vocals of Roos Meijer. It's the kind of song you could easily not pay attention to the lyrics of and just have a grand time listening. Of course, with a title like "Every Day is Blue," this isn't a cheerful song at all. This has been my favorite type of song dating back at least thirty years now: Pretty and happy sounding hiding a much sadder and darker meaning, so Maida Rose work for me on this one.

Roos Meijer explains the meaning behind the song:

"Depression is something that is hard to grasp if you’ve never suffered from it. I remember that I found it really challenging to communicate with friends and family who clearly had no idea of what it was like. They tried their best to say the right thing and to cheer me up, but it sometimes felt like they were unconsciously trivialising the state that I was in.

"At the time the only thing that you want to do is curl up underneath a blanket and dissapear. I think deep down you know that this won’t do any good, but it’s a piece of knowledge that you’re trying to ignore.

"That’s why we decided to make the song quite playful; to highlight the contrast within. It’s almost a bit rebellious, which is an attitude that I remember vividly from adolescence, which is the main theme of the whole [upcoming] album."

You can watch the video for "Every Day is Blue" below. The song is available as a single via Believe. For more on Maida Rose, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 15 October

Artist: Le Ren
Album: Leftovers
Quick Thoughts: Probably my favorite listen this week, Le Ren offers a folky effort that excels at really great melodic and musical content. I don't know much of anything about this act, but she seems to be a transport from the 1960s in her overall approach, and this debut is one I'll be going back to very quickly.
Songs of Note: "Dyan," "Who's Going to Hold Me Next?"

Artist: Julia Shapiro
Album: Zorked
Quick Thoughts: Julia Shapiro excels in the sort of shoegazey stuff I know I love. This record gives me some real Marissa Nadler vibes, for sure, but it's really its own thing in a lot of respects. I really enjoyed this, it's the right kind of heavy for me this week.
Songs of Note: "Come With Me," "Zorked"

Artist: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Album: Georgia Blue
Quick Thoughts: This is a charity record for Georgia elections, so know that going in, but a really interesting album with a little bit of everything bookended with two solid R.E.M. covers. It's clear that Isbell and company had a lot of fun with this one, and that fun is spread about the entire run time. It's really perfect at what it's trying to dom and that's all that matters.
Songs of Note: "Nightswimming," "Driver 8," "Cross Bones Style," "Honeysuckle Blue," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

Artist: Lilly Hiatt
Album: Lately
Quick Thoughts: We love Lilly Hiatt here, and I'll say that I love her even more after hearing this record. It's roots done right, and feels reminiscent of early Lydia Loveless. This is such a high-quality album from top to bottom, with just the right serving of twang to make this stand out. I loved this album, and you will too.
Songs of Note: "Been," "Face," "The Last Tear"

Artist: FINNEAS
Album: Optimist
Quick Thoughts: Finneas, the producer/collaborator brother of Billie Eilish, is out with a new album that honestly feels a lot like what I hoped the new Billie Eilish album would. I know it's an unfair comparison, but the sort of standouts that Eilish's debut had make similar appearances here, especially with "The Kids Are All Dying," which is a nearly perfect political song for these times. Make some time for this one.
Songs of Note: "Around My Neck," "The Kids Are All Dying"

Of note:

* Tom Morello - The Atlas Underground Fire (Enough good moments to make this worth hearing.)
* Dark Mark and Skeleton Joe - Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe (It has a lot of fun alt-rock moments.)
* Dos Santos - City of Mirrors (Great Spanish language rock.)
* La Femme - Paradigmes : suppléments (Some really interesting French electronic/synthy pop stuff.)
* The Courettes - Back in Mono (Very reminiscent of early Raveonettes.)
* Maria Kelly - the sum of the in-between
* BLACKSTARKIDS - Puppies Forever
* I Mean Us - Into Innerverse
* Pokey LaFarge - In the Blossom of Their Shade
* Kacy Hill - Simple, Sweet, and Smiling
* Cœur de pirate - Impossible à aimer
* Buffalo Nichols - Buffalo Nichols
* Dinner Time - Halfway Down
* Purple Disco Machine - Exotica
* Glok - Pattern Recognition

EPs:

* Zack Fox - shut the fuck up talking to me
* Jordana and TV Girl - Summer's Over
* Qveen Herby - Halloqveen
* Alice Longyu Gau - High Dragon and Universe
* Field Music - Another Shot EP
* A.A. Williams - arco
* Hand Habits - Clean Air
* Johnny Marr - Fever Dreams Pt. 1
* Lunice - Stacker Upper Deluxe

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Melvins - Five Legged Dog (An acoustic effort.)
* Faye Webster - Live at Electric Lady
* Another Michael - Unplugged Music and Big Sessions

Also out:

* Tunic - Quitter
* Grafh and DJ Shay - Stop Calling Art Content

BODEGA - "Doers"


We're thrilled that we have new music from Brooklyn's BODEGA. BODEGA have become one of our absolute favorites of the new crop of ultra dance friendly post punk ever since I saw them opening for Jon Spencer + The Hitmakers back in 2019, and "Doers" solidifies our love even more. "Doers" keeps the main elements we've loved from BODEGA. It's all groove and funk, but it's also a mid-tempo alt-rock song. There's far more fuzz lingering behind the song than you'd expect from BODEGA, and "Doers" sounds like it could be crossover mainstream hit if the music industry was still built like it was in the 90's. If they aren't already one of your favorites, these folks are going to endear themselves to you by this time next year.

You can watch the video for "Doers" below. Broken Equipment is due out March 11 on What's Yr Rupture? You can pre-order a copy here. For more on BODEGA, check out the band's Facebook.

Jeff Tweedy Covers Neil Young

Photo by Alexa Viscius

I'm tempted to say that this seems like it was released just for me, but obviously Jeff Tweedy covering Neil Young is going to appeal to a lot of people. Last year Jeff Tweedy released Love is the King, an Americana solo album. December will see the release of a deluxe reissue, which will include a second disc that includes live versions of every track on Love is the King plus a cover of Neil Young's "Old Country Waltz." It's an interesting choice taken from Neil Young's 1976 recorded and 2017 released album Hitchhiker. The main difference is that Young's original is just him solo and Tweedy's includes a full band, but it sounds exactly like what you'd expect Jeff Tweedy covering Neil Young to sound like, and who doesn't want that?

You can watch the video for Jeff Tweedy's version of "Old Country Waltz" below. Love is the King/Live is the King is due out December 10 on dBpm Records and is sure to be on many a dad's Christmas wishlist. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jeff Tweedy, check out Wilco's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.


Wed. Dec. 22 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
Thu. Dec. 22 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
Tue. Dec. 28 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo *
Wed. Dec. 29 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo *
Thu. Dec. 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo *
Sat. Jan. 1, 2022 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo
Sun. Jan. 2, 2022 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo
Wed. Jan. 5, 2022 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
Thu. Jan. 6, 2022 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
 
*= Jeff Tweedy solo

Shovels & Rope - "Domino"

Photo by Leslie Ryan McKellar

According to Shovels & Rope, their upcoming album is going to be their heavy metal album. Well, heavy metal for them. As Michael Trent says, "It’s not heavy metal, but in our guts, it feels a bit like Heavy Metal." You'll get what he means when you hear the first single from the album. "Domino" is still based in the folk and early rock 'n' roll we've come to adore from Shovels & Rope, but you can see why the South Carolina duo would call this their heavy metal album. Instead of sounding like heavy metal, "Domino" contains the spirit of heavy metal. There is just the slightest hint of the attitude and edge of heavy metal that is typically missing in a Shovels & Rope song. It still sounds like them, but just the slightest hint of a band expanding their sound after ten years is always welcome.

You can watch the video for "Domino" below. Manticore is due out February 18 on Dualtone. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Shovels & Rope, check out the band's website.