It wasn’t long ago that my friends and I were talking about The Constantines as one of the great forgotten treasures of the early 2000s. Suddenly, not only has Sub Pop announced the reissue of 2003s Shine the Light, but frontman Bry Webb also has a new solo album on the way. “AM” Blues” is the first single off of Free Will, (out May 20 on Idée Fixe Records). I can’t help but think it sounds quite a bit like The National. Also be sure to check out his latest single “Receive Me” (below).
Calgary musician Chad VanGaalen is one of those artists that has quietly been releasing quality records for a near decade, but seemed to lack whatever gimmick is necessary to make a major leap. VanGaalen’s fifth solo LP Shrink Dust will be released on April 29th. Fans can get an early taste with early singles “Where Are You?” and “Monster.”
I could go on and on about how Low is the most under-appreciated band alive right now. For two decades, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker have released albums as good as anything else out there.
In anticipation of Record Store Day, Philadelphia’s new shoegaze stars Nothing aimed to tackle Low’s “In Metal.” Nothing’s version doesn’t quite match up to Low’s original version of the chilling album closer from “Things We Lost In The Fire,” but it’s well worth a listen.
There’s no question that The Walkmen were one of my favorite bands of the 21st century. The band consistently released albums that were flawless from start to finish. Following the release of Heaven, it seemed as though the band had finally gotten the recognition they deserved—bigger shows, better sales, great reviews. Then suddenly late last year, they announced that they would be going on hiatus. In hindsight, it sort of made sense. Band members were split between multiple cities, they had families, and Heaven had given them the perfect swan song album to go out on.
Interestingly enough, the end of The Walkmen has quickly brought an array of solo projects immediately paying dividends.
Multi-instrumentalist, Walter Martin will be the first member to drop a solo album. Featuring collaborations with members of the National, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, as well his former bandmates, We’re ll Young Together will be released on May 13th. It promises to be a playful, fun record that reflects Martin’s recent fatherhood.
Frontman of The Walkmen, Hamilton Leitheuser’s voice is an instantly recognizable force of nature. His solo debut Black Hours will be released on June 3rd, and from the sound of the singles, it will surely please Walkmen fans.
Peter Matthew Bauer
The third Walkmen-related solo album we’ll see in 2014 with be Peter Matthew Bauer’s Liberation! (out June 23rd). Lead single “Latin American Ficciones” promises that this one could reminiscent of a hard rocking Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
No news yet of any solo albums from Matt Barrick or Paul Maroon, but at this rate, it wouldn’t be surprising.
This is arguably the weirdest thing Pink Mountaintops have pulled off, thanks partially to Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy adding a few freestyle raps to the track (on top of directing the video).
We are pleased to share the music video for “North Hollywood Microwaves,” a new track off Pink Mountaintops’ upcoming record ‘Get Back’ Out 4/29 via JagJaguwar. A.V. Club has premiered the new video today. Check it out here. Directed by Annie Hardy (Giant Drag), “North Hollywood Microwaves” is a catchy, chugging anthem with screaming sax solos and features rapping by Hardy, who is known for her black humor and David Lee Roth-level stage presence.
Director Annie Hardy says, “I’d like to imagine I supplied at least some of the inspiration for “North Hollywood Microwaves.” I met Stephen McBean through my good friend Joe Cardamone (who produced the Pink Mountaintops LP) who always knows who to introduce to who. Joe, Stephen, Travis Keller and I met for lunch, first at my house in North Hollywood (clue 1) and on the way to Mrs Peaches Soul Food I told the car a story of a not-so-distant past that found my house (Full Psycho HQ) rocking 4 microwaves (clue 2). A few weeks later Joe told me Stephen had heard my side project PnP (a “free jizz” band of all improv music that Joe was lucky enough to record: a 51 minute freestyle musical odyssey that I’ve yet to outdo (clue 3)) and Stephen wanted me to come rap on a song. Wouldn’t you know it, I went down and threw down two mere freestyles and forgot about it until Stereogum told me they were debuting it. I asked Stephen if I could make a music video for the song and he said yes. Stephen sent me an amazing video of himself dancing which really legitimized my video. I came down with a vicious kidney infection that ended with me in the ER, which couldn’t have worked out better for the “me and Rod Stewart at the hospital” part of my freestyle. All in all I’d say this video and the experience was a great one and is just more proof that the universe is a magical place for anyone that dares to adventure… And that North Hollywood rules.”
I grew up an Afghan Whigs fan. As an 11 year old kid, I found myself mesmerized when the video for “Gentlemen” hit MTV. Then my brother bought me a copy of the album on cd. At that point in my life, I was just a naive kid. The deeper aspects of the songs didn’t yet strike me, and I was far more likely to listen to my Primus, Green Day or Weezer cds than Gentlemen. But as I got older, I started to truly embrace Gentlemen and The Afghan Whigs discography as a whole. Dangerously seductive, Greg Dulli and company passionately combined the force of rock with a profound appreciation for R&B. In a smoke filled bedroom, Dulli would unapologetically admit his faults, drifting between the casual cool delivery and the banshee wail. The Afghan Whigs were undoubtedly one of the consistently great bands of the 90s.
After releasing 1965 in 1998, it didn’t seem like there would ever be another Afghan Whigs release. Dulli went on to form Twilight Singers, whose own steady output has pacified many Afghan Whigs fans. But here we are in 2014. My Bloody Valentine has released a follow up to Loveless, Slowdive and Neutral Milk Hotel have reunited, and the Pixies have already kicked out a pair of Kims from their own reunited lineup. So it’s not surprising that The Afghan Whigs are back as well.
Do The Beast, their first album in well over a decade, opens with a darker, more dangerous sound than where they left off with 1965. More textural than previous efforts, the compositions take a bit more time to soak in. After my first handful of listens, Do The Beast does not exist on the same level as classics such as Gentlemen, Black Love, or Congregation, but I’m definitely enjoying it more the the most recent efforts by Twilight Singers. “Algiers,” “Lost In the Woods,” “These Sticks,” and “It Kills” are all standouts.
Mecca Lecca’s own Unicycle Loves You has a new album on the way. The Dead Age will be released on June 10th via Mecca Lecca & our pals Highwheel Records. Like a mother’s unconditional love for her child, there’s no denying that I have a skewed interest in the band. But I also wholeheartedly believe that anyone who loves the noisier side of late 80s/90s indie rock will instantly fall in love with The Dead Age. Noisier and more varied than its most immediate predecessor, Failure (2012), Unicycle Loves You’s latest effort sounds like Pet Sounds exploding.
The band’s second single off the album is “Falling Off”. This is classic Unicycle Loves You, combining The Swirlies’ catchy dream pop with manic noise detours a la Sonic Youth.
Upcoming Tour Dates
4/17 – New York, NY – Cake Shop (w/ Steel Phantoms, High Waisted, and D.A. Stern & The Sanctuaries)
6/07 – Brooklyn, NY – Radio Bushwick (Album Release Show, w/ Lost Boy?, Idgy Dean & Whiskey Bitches)
The Dead Age Tracklist:
01. Falling Off
02. We Never Worry
03. Suicide Pizza
04. Silent Minus
05. Face Tattoo
07. Bad News Club
08. Endless Bummer
09. Any Daydreaming Morning
11. X-ray Glaze
12. The Dead Age
Landlady’s Adam Schatz has been a unique presence in the Brooklyn music scene for years. While his time with Man Man may be the most eye catching thing on his resume, one cannot say enough about all of the other various projects Adam has been a part of. He clearly has loads of ideas and the energy to bring these ideas to fruition. With Landlady, Schatz may have outdone himself. On July 15, Landlady will release their debut Upright Behavior on Hometapes. New single “The Globe” gives an early taste of the unpredictable and expansive sound of the album.
Landlady Residency at Shea Stadium (20 Meadow St., Brooklyn)
4/08/14 – Landlady with Ava Luna and Cloud Becomes Your Hand
4/15/14 – Landlady with Yellowbirds and Lone Wolf
4/22/14 – Landlady with Relatives and The Westerlies
01. Above My Ground
02. Dying Day
04. Under The Yard
05. The Globe
06. Upright Behavior
09. Washington State Is Important
10. X-Ray Machine
Timber Timbre have secretly developed into a mystical, magical force in the music world. A strangely sexual record, Hot Dreams follows the nuanced cinematic folk path carved out on Timber Timbre’s first two records. I can’t help but feel there’s a uniquely creepy D’angelo vibe to Hot Dreams, as if Voodoo was soundtracking one of the masked orgy scenes of Eyes Wide Shut.
RIYL: Joy Division, Lee Hazelwood, The Blue Nile
Califone’s 2103 release Stitches slipped under the radar last year. Until a friend complained that it was being overlooked by critics’ year end lists, I had no idea it was even out. When I did finally take a listen, Stitches consumed me. “Magdalene” was one of the tracks that really stood out, and can it finally has a equally wonderful companion video.
Whether digging through his sexual history or expressing his fear of death through the tale of Richard Ramirez, Mark Kozelek has a way of storytelling that keeps you hanging on every word. A continuation of the songwriting style he began with Among The Leaves, Kozelek has further proven to be a deeply inspired confessional songwriter.
On Perils From the Sea, Kozelek’s remarkable 2013 collaboration with Jimmy Lavalle, the track “Gustavo” appeared as a standout example of his shift towards more intricately detailed storytelling. From opener “Carissa” through closer “Ben’s My Friend,” Kozelek follows a similar structure to that of “Gustavo.” Decades ago, a song such as “Dogs”—about Kozelek’s earliest sexual experiences— would have been heard as over sharing. But in the 21st century these lyrics feel contemporary. Similarly, on “Ben’s My Friend” Kozelek’s details of mundane events echo a society in which millions of people instagram their every meal.
Maybe it’s this ability to remain contemporary that has allowed this relatively simple folk album connect to so many people. Or maybe people have just finally remembered what an incredible songwriter Mark Kozelek is.
RIYL: Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen
Released at the end of January on Trouble in Mind Records, Morgan Delt’s self titled debut joins a growing list of quality psych rock albums being released in the 21st century. Much like Tame Impala and Jacco Gardner, Morgan Delt has seemingly taken the same acid that led Syd Barret, Kaleidoscope, and Tomorrow into taking 60s rock melodies on disorienting voyages.
Within the first few seconds of album opener “Make My Grey Brain Green” Morgan Delt establishes a sense of sonic adventure. The entire album is filled with kaleidoscopic patterns, which make for wildly fun listening experience.
While it may take its queues from a long history of psychedelia, Morgan Delt feels fresh enough to make it worth your time.
RIYL: Tame Impala, Oh No Ono, Kaleidoscope (UK)
Back when 1,2,3 released their debut album, New Heaven, on Frenchkiss, they seemed geared to be the next big thing. A perfect mix of hooks, energy, and scattered influences made New Heaven an extremely fun record that would build a foundation for a massive following.
Here we are a few years later. The band seemingly self-destructed and regrouped. Gone is the support of a major indie label, but on the soon to be self-released double album Big Weather 1,2,3 seems have undergone a revelation. All of the potential that was on display on their debut appears to be fully realized.
It’s a long album, so rather than releasing just a single, the band decided to share both of the first 2 cuts of Big Weather. “Big Weather Pt 1″ is an instant love affair. I can’t help but feel the band has taken the rhythm of Mellencamp’s hand-clapping hit “Jack & Diane” and fused it with Panda Bear’s towards the Beach Boys. “Leave Me In The Sky With The Lawnchair” immediately shifts the pace to an energetic freakout that appears to end as abruptly as it begins.
Big Weather Tracklisting:
1. Big Weather Pt. 1
2. Leave Me In The Sky With The Lawnchair
3. Pontoon Song
4. Waiting For The Horsemen
5. Mile High Grass
6. Bus To Babylon
7. Refusal Bop
8. Shapes of Wrath
9. Fear/Pure Elevation
11. Stone Haus
12. Porch Swing Song
13. Big Black Car
14. Big Weather Pt. 2
15. In The House of The Locust
16. When The Levee Broke at The County Fair
18. Faith Hill
19. Where We Lived
20. Sick of the End