There’s plenty of guitar rock out there, or so I’m told, and yet struggle to find new jams. But precious few bands have the smarts (both musically and lyrically) of the Gotobeds. Fewer still have the sharp, smart-ass humor (Who doesn’t love puns and double entendres?) And, even fewer still, who are smart enough to not take themselves too seriously even when they are keenly aware they have the best Pavement/Television/beer-inspired band in all the lands. Parquet Courts have already been warned. Now, you’ve been warned, too.
This is not Culture Club. This does not sound like Culture Club. And although, I do dig the Culture Club inspired artwork of Melbourne post-punk band, Terry, that’s not why you should click it below. You should click it because Terry features musicians from other Melbourne rock acts you already enjoy (Total Control, UV Race, Dick Diver) and they do that punk thing they do in Melbourne where they play post-punk like punk rockers or is it vice versa, playing punk rock like a post-punk band and ’78 to ’80 never happened. For just when you think Terry have locked themselves into a groove on “Don’t Say Sorry,” they bullocks things up in the most beautiful way possible. Beautiful being all messy and noisy, of course.
I know shit about Baby in Vain and I’d like to keep it that way. I want to think Baby in Vain found me, instead of “The Urge” appearing in my Soundcloud stream one day and then being the only track that survived the 15-second audition period of my busy life of work, bicycle rides and FIFA video games. What I do know about Baby in Vain is this jam, “The Urge,” is a bit like Fleetwood Mac remixed by Suicide, which when you think about it, would have been really sick back in the day.
Ready for some more nasty from Australia? Good, cause Spray Paint somehow make the nastier bits of bands like Sonic Youth even more nasty. Think “100%” without the bass, the hooks and without the hip skateboard video.
There’s nothing wrong with Courtney Love’s music. I should be able to say Vancouver shredder’s White Lung are having their Courtney Love moment on their new video, “Below.” The problem with making a Courtney Love and Hole comparison is that you get all the baggage of the public Courtney Love, the tabloid queen who was a tabloid queen before being a tabloid queen was a net positive for a famous person. There are people today whose only claim to fame is being a tabloid queen. Love, at least, wrote some solid pop hooks and presented them in such a way that she still sounded dangerous. That’s what I’m getting at here. White Lung have a rare gift whereby they can go pop and not sound like they’re shilling for a major label. They’re sensitive shredders.]]>
Or, Sleater-Kinney could have been the new Bikini Kill, if it was possible to have more than one Bikini Kill. There is only one Bikini Kill and only one OG RIOT GIRL, Kathleen Hanna, and that OG RIOT GIRL has found a new life with her band, The Julie Ruin. “I Decide,” the first track from the band’s forthcoming, sophomore release for Hardly Art Records, has that perfect balance between hummable pop and gnashing noise that defined the ’90s and still sounds relevatory today.
Fucking democracy, man. If I see Donald Trump on the tv one more time, I swear I’m gonna reach through the set and punch that buffoon straight in the brain. It’s 2016. It’s possible. There may even be an app for punching that buffoon, Trump, straight in the brain.
2016 being an election year also means we get punk rockers, like the OBN IIIs, using their negative energy in more productive ways, like shredding on our eminent collapse. “On the Verge of Collapse,” is the B-side of their new single on 12XU. How’s that for shredding?
Toronto noisemakers, Metz, recently teamed up with John Reis of Drive Like Jehu/Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes, for a Record Store Day 7″, and to quote the press release, recorded a song (whose sound), “is reminiscent of an army of sea gulls inside a burning Benihana of Tokyo.” I could try to write a better description. I can’t.
God bless the weirdos of GOAT. Maybe not your god, but some god better bless GOAT, god damnit. Even when they’re in space station, house band mode, think Star Wars cantina scene, as they are in their new single, “I Sing in Silence,” they sound like the only modern psych band that matters, to your god, my god, space gods, and all the gods.]]>
Kurt Vile is chill, so fucking chill. Words crawl out of his mouth in a slacked drawl. Notes from his guitar have so much reverb they sound as if they had wobble their way through jelly on their way from the stage to your ears. Kurt Vile is so fucking chill, he inspires conversations between strangers on the amazingness that is legal weed in Colorado.
The truth is, it takes a lot of work to be that chill. Vile alternates nimble finger picking with all out assaults on his guitar.
You missed that kick, didn’t you? In a packed Grog Shop, one could only see the top of Vile’s mop, not his kick, or his sturdy, metal inspired shred pose.
Songs like “Pretty Pimpin,” from his latest Matador Records release, b’lieve i’m goin down, and “Wakin on a Pretty Day,” from 2013’s Waking on a Pretty Daze, perked up the people, despite the overwhelmingly mellow sounds of Vile’s now trademark mix of easy folk and weirdo blues. A trip to the back catalog for “Freak Train,” and its motorik fueled shred and skronk, would later provide a much appreciated jolt of energy.
Opening for Vile on this Friday night was Philly cohort and frequent collaborator, Purling Hiss. On previous trips to Cleveland, Mike Polizze configured his band as a traditional power trio, bringing arena-sized pomp to lo-fi recordings. This time around, after just releasing a three track EP of unabashed power pop, Polizze took the stage with himself, a seat, some guitars, and enough gear to loop additional guitar and bass tracks. Those power pop jams got wonderfully wrecked with spaced-out diversions and piercing six string shrieks. And while Polizze couldn’t match the chainsaw volume of a band like Spacemen 3, whose “Walking With Jesus,” he covered late in his set, the mania of those multiple guitar tracks all battling for space in your mind meant he owned that track in spirit.
Now, this is what I call a ripper. White Lung’s “Kiss Me When I Bleed” is all punky and grungy, Five Hour Energy stacked with Five Hour Energy, shredding on top of shredding, longhairs headbanging and skinny kids, well, looking disinterested. Fuck the cool kids and turn it up. White Lung’s new album, Paradise, will be out May 5th on Domino Records. The band will be in Cleveland for a show July 19th at the Beachland Ballroom.
Neo-shoegazers, Nothing, are one of those bands that become more powerful when you learn a little something about them. For example, lead singer, Domenic Palermo did hard time after he was convicted of assault and attempted murder from a brawl while he was in the hardcore band, Horror Show. Then, when he got out of prison, he was massively depressed and suicidal. Now, the title of their new single, “Eaten By Worms,” doesn’t sound like dudes being dramatic for drama’s sake. Rather, here’s a band where dudes have been though heavy times, when resting with the worms didn’t sound like that bad of an option.
Musically, “Eaten By Worms,” doesn’t break new ground — The opening guitar melody is reminiscent of the deliberate progressions of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” and the pedal stomp and big fuzz is to be expected in a Nothing rocker. A strange thing happens, however, when you keep all of that human heaviness in mind. Whispered vocals and strained keyboard sequences begin to carry as much weight as the sound of hundreds of guitars squealing. Look for Nothing’s new release, Tired of Tomorrow, to be out May 13th on Relapse Records.
With a little Magical Mystery Tour and a little West Coast freak folk and a crisp guitar tone that sparkles even on shitty laptop speakers, Steve Gunn makes quite the introduction for his June 3rd Matador Records debut, Eyes on the Lines. Just be sure to stick with this one to the end, for while the first three-and-a-half minutes are sunkissed and pleasant in a way any number of modern folkies are pleasant, the final minute is where the choogling comes in and Gunn’s talent becomes even more apparent.]]>
2014 saw Pittsburgh’s finest, The Gotobeds, release the best album of slop punk and pop junk recorded in years. It was a masterpiece of biting one-liners and unexpected ear worms. To this day, I can’t set foot in The City without the line, “New York’s alright if you can get your dick sucked,” playing round my head on repeat. Out on Gerald Cosloy’s 12XU Records, Poor People Are Revolting, may not have gotten the attention it deserved, but it caught the right ears, as their followup, Blood/Sugar/Secs/Traffic is slated for a June 10th release on the venerable indie label, Sub Pop. Its first single, “Real Maths/Too Much,” won’t surprise anyone who’s heard the Gotobeds before, this franken-combo crafted out of a ’90s slacker rock soul and armed with bitter punk rock snarl is their thing. The music jerks uncomfortably, clangs haphazardly, then aligns for the well-timed zinger and a rousing fucking chorus.]]>
Two absolute truths are at war here. No one wants to live in a “shithole” even if it’s a better shithole than the last shithole. And, no one outside of a shithole is allowed to call a shithole a shithole. It’s the same in Cleveland as it is in DC. Too often us urbanites focus solely on the positives of our towns and do our best to push the ugly sights and sounds to the backs of our minds. How often to you, personally, think about Glenville, or the Stockyards without being prompted by a particularly violent crime? How dare you, mister list maker, point out our lead poisoning, our under-nourished, under-educated, and under-employed population when you don’t live here in Cleveland. How often do you think about the “Community of Hope,” where the savior is not Jesus Christ, but the promise of a new Wal-Mart. The shithole is not the problem, here. It’s the short memories of the better off and the defensiveness of leaders who know the truth about urban renewal projects. PJ Harvey’s sweet, swinging melody and carefree strumming should ensure at least three minutes of thought. That’s a start.]]>
If I was Little Steven, Bleached’s “Sour Candy” would be the coolest song in the world. I’m not Little Steven, I’m Bill, so “Sour Candy” is a top jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. It has that vibe of that period in the ’70s where the lines between punk, power pop and hard-rock were blurred and no matter which scene you identified with, you could find something to love about the lady rockers in Bleached. The vocals are bright and glittery and placed squarely in the front of the mix. The music is upbeat, but not on overdrive. The message may be a downer, but it’s just so damn catchy that when the chorus hits it’s tough to be down for too long. You want to get up and dance to the jam that would be a top jam in any era. Bleached’s new album, Welcome the Worms, will be out April 1st on Dead Oceans.]]>
Parquet Courts’ newest single from Human Performance (out 4.8 on Rough Trade) may be called “Berlin Got Blurry,” but I can’t help but to think back to that time in music history when England got blurry, when white rockers began to integrate the island sounds of ska, dub, and reggae into punk rock and power pop. I hear those accented upbeats and classic names like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and The Clash immediately come to mind. For a band known for spastic fits of post-punk, “Berlin Got Blurry” is not only a departure, but also their strongest pop statement to date.]]>
There was a time, not long ago, when Philadelphia shoegaze revivalists, Nothing, were known for being the most powerful of the bunch of ’90s throwbacks. Then, they signed to a label with financial backing provided by Pharma Bro. Let’s not talk about Pharma Bro. Asshole has already gotten enough face time from trolling the globe. More importantly, Nothing are back on their old label home, Relapse Records, and have a new release, Tired of Tomorrow, due out this May. And if lead single, “Vertigo Flowers,” is any indication of what’s to come, recent events have made Nothing an even stronger, louder and badder band.
Not the RIOT GIRL! shredfest of their early work, “Hungry” finds White Lung operating in more melodic territory, as if they’ve graduated from Bikini Kill records to Fugazi records. When one considers the fact that RIOT GIRL pioneers Sleater-Kinney were often referred to as the female Fugazi, it makes perfect sense. The world spins round and what is new is old is new again, even for female Fugazis.
Cool has a name, that name is The Liminanas. The Paris duo is so effortlessly cool, so nonchalant in the way they fuse garage rock, psychedelic pop, and lounge room kitsch, they can even release a song called “Garden of Love” with a guest appearance by Peter Hook of New Order, and Peter Hook is the second coolest thing about the song. The first is The Liminanas.]]>