Interview: Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids

Recently I was able to schedule a Zoom call with lead vocalist Nathan Willett, of Cold War Kids, to discuss the band’s latest self-titled album that dropped today. In this interview, I asked Nathan about how the band goes about crafting a setlist at this point in their career, the key upcoming album anniversary plans, and Nathan offered some great nuggets of information about the band’s songwriting approach. Cold War Kids self-titled album can be purchased/streamed here.

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Allen Ginsberg – “Don’t Grow Old” (Song Premiere)

Allen Ginsberg

Today is a great day to share the news that Allen Ginsberg has returned with a new single called “Don’t Grow Old.” The newly reissued double album of The Lion For Real is available starting today. With equal parts spoken word, jazz, rock, and ambient, this beautiful record was originally produced by Hal Willner, and features musicians like Mark Bingham, Bill Frisell, Kramer, Arto Lindsay, Marc Ribot. I was also able to catch up with one of the collaborators, Kramer, for a brief interview below.

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Review: Taking Back Sunday – 152

There’s a lot to be said when a band takes a hiatus, re-shuffles their lineup, or just takes a breather to reset their focus on their music. 152 is the first album by Taking Back Sunday in seven years (with their last effort coming in 2016’s Tidal Wave), and arguably their best one yet. The album anniversaries of Tell All Your Friends and the upcoming 20-year mark of Where You Want To Be may have had a hand in TBS re-focusing their attention on their songwriting craft. There is also something to be said of the magic that happens when lead vocalist Adam Lazzara and guitarist John Nolan get in a room together to pen songs. 152 is a career-spanning love letter to the legacy Taking Back Sunday have built over their eight-album tenure, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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The Helltones – “Don’t Waste My Time” (Song Premiere)

The Helltones

Today is a great day to share the new single from Oakland garage rock band, The Helltones, called “Don’t Waste My Time.” Much like the title implies, The Helltones get right down to the business at hand with a spiraling, nearly five-minute song that takes listeners on a thrilling ride. Primary songwriter Darwin Siegaldoud shared:

I co-wrote ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ with Victoria, the singer/organ player. She came up with the concept, and wanted to write a song about having her time wasted by an indecisive lover. As we’ve performed it, it’s taken on a wider meaning to me. We’re constantly having our time wasted by advertisers, scammers, or people who just don’t know what they want. This song is hers, and our message to those people.

The Helltones might just be the next most interesting band to take the music scene by storm.

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Review: Crossing I’s Dotting T’s – I Used To Be

The debut LP by rock band Crossing I’s Dotting T’s is a grunge-filled love letter to bands like Deftones, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. I Used To Be has a variety of song types, and more often than not, it hits its intended target. When I last sat down with the lead vocalist from the band, I could tell that his core influences would likely bleed into the band’s debut album. From the soft-loud dynamic found on a Deftones-esque track, called “Far Away,” to the collaborative single with Have Mercy on “Cheap Beers & IOUs,” Crossing I’s Dotting T’s make a memorable first step in the music scene.

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Brad Stank – “I Belong To You” (Song Premiere)

Brad Stank

Today is a great day to share the new, jazzy single from Brad Stank called “I Belong To You.” On this quick song that tugs on all the right heartstrings, Stank displays a rich confidence not usually seen in the music scene. He shared:

A short but sweet song influenced heavily by the Love Unlimited band. Rhythmically kinda awkward and drunken, expressing how it can feel sometimes to be vulnerable to somebody. The title is pretty Gospel-esque but lyrically quite romantic, towing that line again. Lydia Kitto on the gorgeous backing vocals. Really doubling down on the romantic vibes here, and one of my favorite songs on the record.

I was also able to catch up with Brad for a brief interview below.

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Hollow River – “Self Esteem (Everyone’s Leaving)” (Song Premiere)

Hollow River

Today I’m excited to bring everyone an early listen to punk rapper, Hollow River, and his fulfilling, and vibrant new single called “Self Esteem (Everyone’s Leaving).” This artist shared:

The intro is a recording of a message I got from an old friend who had dreams of being a rapper ever since he was a teenager. He took it particularly hard when I started to pursue my music career full time, and even harder when I found success with rap myself. Instead of being happy for me he sent me aggressive messages that kept escalating with anger to the point where I had to cut them off. I had to remind myself that someone who couldn’t be happy about me pursuing my dream wasn’t a real friend and I was better off without them. Musically it’s really fun -like a release after a period of stress with some awesome drums parts!

The single comes from Hollow River’s EP, We’re Going To Be Ok, which officially drops today.

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Review: Boys Like Girls – Sunday At Foxwoods

The momentum that Boys Like Girls had going into their fourth studio album, Sunday At Foxwoods, was probably a bit more positive than the band could’ve expected. Having not released any music as a band since 2012, Boys Like Girls could’ve gone in a number of ways, creatively. The Night Game was keeping lead vocalist Martin Johnson busy with a project after Boys Like Girls went on a hiatus, and this 2023 version of the band feels like a marrying of styles and sounds between everything the band members have done (both as solo artists, and as a creative unit). Sunday At Foxwoods is a thrilling return to form for a band that found some early success with their self-titled debut, peaked commercially with Love Drunk (that had a key song feature with a young artist known as Taylor Swift), and they experienced some creative growing pains on Crazy World. The vinyl reissues of Boys Like Girls and Love Drunk seemed to reinvigorate fan interest in the band’s fourth studio album, known as Sunday At Foxwoods, that is kicking off the next phase of this talented pop-rock band.

After a brief, atmospheric introductory song on the title track, Boys Like Girls rock with veteran poise on “The Outside.” It features a stomping, anthemic chorus of, “It’s okay, it’s alright / Baby welcome to life on the outside / Sleep all day, ride all night / Yeah we’re living it up on the outside,” that reminds longtime fans of the band of the magic that happens when these four musicians get together to create music. While longtime lead guitarist Paul DiGiovanni is no longer a part of the band, Jamel Hawke does the band justice by taking over the reins on guitar.

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Chase Tremaine – Accidental Days (Deluxe Edition) Track-by-Track

Chase Tremaine

This past week, I was able to chat with Chase Tremaine to discuss his deluxe reissue of Accidental Days. The deluxe edition of the album has been re-released today on Bandcamp, and it features ten new bonus tracks, plus commentary on the ten main album songs. I continue to be impressed by Chase’s extensive work ethic, and I hope this track-by-track sheds some light on his creative process.

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Mary Middlefield – “Sexless” (Video Premiere)

Mary Middlefield

Today I’m thrilled to bring everyone the exclusive video premiere from talented pop artist, Mary Middlefield, called “Sexless.” Taken from her debut album, Thank You Alexander, that dropped in March, Middlefield channels key artists like Dua Lipa, Lizzo, and the brash openness of Katy Perry. Middlefield shared:

I’d already pushed my sincerity all the way out there with the sad songs, but with this, I wanted to push myself towards embarrassment. It gave me a new perspective. There’s nothing really embarrassing about not having sex or being single or not having a partner or just not even wanting it. I don’t want to censor anything in my art. Life isn’t pretty, finding love and taking care of yourself and your loved ones is really fucking hard, a lot of people are cruel and mean. If just getting through the day is hard for most of the people I know – myself included – why would I try to make anything prettier than it actually is?

If you’re ready to see what all the hype is about, Mary Middlefield is delivering the right vibes.

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Ali Sperry – “My Walk To You” (Video Premiere)

Ali Sperry

Today I’m so excited to share with everyone the new single and video from Ali Sperry called “My Walk To You.” Ali Sperry, when faced with a year of trauma, racial reckoning, and downright worldwide existential crisis, did what she has always done — turned inward and wrote songs that channeled, mirrored and ultimately distilled those cultural currents. On this vibrant new single that floats over Sperry’s transcendent vocals, she showcases why she’s a key artist to watch in the Nashville music scene. Sperry shared:

Songwriting can be pure therapy for me, and that was the case with ‘My Walk To You.’ Some songs I whittle away at for months or even years, but this was one of those gifts that showed up whole. It was during a period of deep grief as I was processing the recent loss of my first pregnancy, and as I was going to bed one night the words and the melody came into my head, essentially fully formed. I made a note of the lyrics and recorded a quiet voice memo on my phone so I could remember the melody in the morning. I distinctly heard piano as being the driving instrument in the song, and imagined strings weaving around the melody. It was a very heavy time in my life, and this image of the soul I was singing to, somewhere in the ether waiting and witnessing my journey to them, helped me grasp a sense of hope and fortitude.

If you’re ready to believe in true musical artistry again, Ali Sperry is here for you.

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Diamond States – “While You Were Sleeping” (Song Premiere)

Diamond States

Today is a great day to introduce everyone to the power pop band known as Diamond States. While some have classified their sound as “American Britpop,” this band features a nice blend of Alternative Rock, dream pop, and indie rock in a package that is sure to leave you feeling better about the prospects for new music today. “While You Were Sleeping” is a tribute to the band’s guitarist Bryan Frazier’s late friend, Rob Fisher, who passed away in 2016. As Frazier puts it, “‘While You Were Sleeping’ is sort of a one-sided conversation with Rob. Just imagining that he’s still out there somewhere, and that we’ll meet again someday.” The single was mixed by veteran producer/engineer Brian Reeves (U2, Sparks, Rooney), and sounds as heavenly as its likely intended to be.

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Review: The Format – Interventions + Lullabies

How does one begin to encapsulate the meteoric rise of lead vocalist Nate Ruess’s career? Like most stories, you start at the very beginning. The Format (Nate Ruess and multi-instrumentalist Sam Means) formed in February 2002, and while their friendship goes as far back as grade school, their band chemistry was felt almost immediately. That electric-charged feeling of when a group of talented musicians come together to make art was felt far and wide in The Format. I first got wind of this band when they opened up for Jimmy Eat World and Paramore, and I found their charming mix of emo, pop, and Beach Boys-esque melodies to be immediately infectious. The Format was signed to Elektra Records for what would become their debut LP, Interventions + Lullabies, and much like many other major label artists during this period of time, the merging of record companies led to conflicts on whom the executives found worth pushing on radio, MTV, etc. The Format were ultimately left on the outside looking in when Warner Brothers (and finally Atlantic Records) had the rights to the band’s music. “The First Single” was the only song to be promoted during this album cycle, and it would remain a staple in the band’s set until their breakup in 2008.

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Review: PHNTMS – “Lost On Your Love”

The latest single from synth-rock band, PHNTMS, is a great blast of new wave energy, paired with vibrant guest vocals from April Rose Gabrielli. “Lost On Your Love” features the trademark picturesque guitar playing from Adam Jessamine, in a style similar to bands like The 1975 and The Aces, and he commands the song throughout the inner-workings on the synth-laden track. Gabrielli is a nice choice for guest vocals on this single that is lyrically based on the feeling of falling head over heels in love, and the bliss that comes with it.

PHNTMS continue to expand their great repertoire on their latest release, and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While the band has largely been releasing singles to keep interest high in their brand of synth-rock, I would personally love to see how they would package a few songs together in a cohesive work of art in the form of an album, or at least an EP. For now, songs like “Lost On Your Love” remind us of why bands like PHNTMS are a rare breed.

Review: A Story Told – Mundane Magic

The latest musical offering from pop/rock band, A Story Told, is an electric-charged adrenaline ride of breathtaking hooks, pop breakdowns, and intricate storytelling in the lyrics to have lasting value. Mundane Magic is the fourth studio album from the Charleston, West Virginia band that is blossoming at just the right moment in their career. “Mundane Magic is the best way that I could possibly sum up this musical journey that the three of us have been on for years,” says vocalist Alex Chaney. “A friend once told me that the industry is a pendulum. You leave relevancy as quickly as you find it. I’m unapologetically proud to say our biggest strength is our consistency and commitment to truly being ourselves through our music and deeply committing to each part of the machine that makes us, us.” With a crisp musical delivery similar to bands like Bad Suns, The Cab, and Grayscale, A Story Told are making sure this album cycle is a memorable one.

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