Review: Bartees Strange – Farm To Table

In this industry, you only get so many chances to make an impact on the music community and leave your legacy. After being at the tip of every tongue of concert promoters and music publications this past year, is it really any surprise that Bartees Strange would live up to the hype on his sophomore effort, Farm To Table? Coming off of ultra-successful touring stints with the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Car Seat Headrest, Courtney Barnett, and Lucy Dacus, it became increasingly evident that he was ready for this moment. In fact, Bartees Strange called his own shot by making it his goal to be signed to the legendary indie label 4AD, and he would add that to his list of worthy accomplishments. He gave us a glimpse of his unique sound on his debut called Live Forever, but Farm To Table seems more fully realized, immediate, and artistically brilliant all over the record. Bartees Strange tackles worldly themes like the current political climate, relationships (both personally and professionally), and still leaves enough space to put his unique stamp on this period of time. The clear front-runner for album of the year has arrived, and it’s okay to be strange.

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Interview: The Dangerous Summer

The Dangerous Summer

Recently, I was able to catch up with AJ Perdomo and Matt Kennedy of The Dangerous Summer for a Zoom call to discuss everything that went into the band’s upcoming full-length record. I asked the band about their new partnership with Rude Records, including some insight on the type of deal they signed, and we also chatted about the band’s legacy and what they feel they can still contribute to the music scene at this stage in their careers. The Dangerous Summer are scheduled to release their second single from the new album on June 17th, with the LP scheduled to be released this August.

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Plastic Harpoons – “Diamond Wings” (Video Premiere)

Plastic Harpoons

Today is the perfect day to share the latest single from Santa Barbara indie rock/folk band Plastic Harpoons, a great Americana-styled song reminiscent of Bob Dylan paired with the modern sheen of accomplished songwriters like Brian Fallon and Brandon Flowers. Lead vocalist Taylor Casey shared this about the new single:

”Diamond Wings” is a story about a modern day Icarus – a man obsessed with climbing higher, disillusioned by the life that he leads. He separates himself from the masses, via drugs, material possessions, and shows of wealth. Eventually, he loses perspective, ignoring the advice of his own father along the way, leading to dire consequences. I think unintentionally the song is also a metaphor for my thoughts on the current state of modern man. The song, originally just played on acoustic is filled out with snappy slide guitar, jangling piano, a grounding and pocketed baseline, and no-nonsense drums, paired with a rambling Dylan-esque vocal.

If you’re enjoying the new and exciting direction Plastic Harpoons took on this track, their full-length record will be out on October 21st via Lolipop Records.

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Review: Twenty One Pilots – MTV Unplugged

At some point you just have to acknowledge true artists and musical geniuses for what they are. Twenty One Pilots have always been ones to break the mold of blurring genre lines by tinkering with emo, pop-punk, rap, and synth-based rock to make a sound that is ultimately unique to them. Their MTV Unplugged performance is another example of what Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are capable of creating on the fly, as they invited the audience to participate in the creation of these songs. To quote Joseph on his closing line from the show, “We are Twenty One Pilots, and so are you.” By incorporating audience participation into the final recordings from the show, this statement has never been more accurate.

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Crozet – “My Racing Heart” (Song Premiere)

Crozet

Today I couldn’t be happier to share the latest single from the synth-rock band from Philadelphia, named Crozet, for their great new song called “My Racing Heart.” The track comes from their upcoming full-length record, Suburbia, which will be self-released on July 1st. This band reminds me of the dripping nighttime synths of M83 paired with the pop sensibilities and quirkiness of Toro y Moi, but really they’re well on their way to having a unique sound that is simply Crozet. The band shared this about “My Racing Heart:”

During the height of the pandemic I dealt with the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced in my life. I never expected to be living in the city again with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. I was in fact fortunate enough to have the creative outlet of Crozet to allow me and Sean to continue collaborating on music remotely. During that time period I was listening to a lot of music produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in an attempt to keep my spirits up. Producing a track in this style was definitely a new experience for Sean and I. We tried to keep the sounds of the synths, guitars, bass and drums true to the style of a Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis track. Lyrically this was one of those songs that kind of wrote itself once I started getting into it. I hope people can relate to the feelings the lyrics speak of.

If you’re enjoying the direction that Crozet went with here, please consider pre-ordering Suburbia here.

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Interview: Dominick Fox of Bad Luck.

Bad Luck

Recently I had the chance to catch up with the frontman of NY-based pop-punk band Bad Luck. As Dominick Fox and I chatted about the upcoming new music from his band, it became apparent that his confidence level in what his band is cooking up could take a lot of people by surprise. We discussed everything that went into the recording of the band’s last album, Summer of Pain, their difficulties with touring in a pandemic, as well as what the future holds for the direction of the band’s music.

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Pine Barons – “In The Air” (Song Premiere)

Pine Barons

Today I’m excited to share the latest single from Philadelphia’s own Pine Barons, called “In The Air.” The song is a cover of The Fishmans’, a Japanese pop group that stormed their scene in the 80’s and 90’s. The song reminds me of lush dream pop meshed with psychedelic rock. Imagine if Beach House and Phish ever collaborated on a song; it might sound a lot like this. Lead vocalist Keith Abrams had this to say about the cover:

”In The Air” has such a haunting quality to it, both in the lyrics and the way it moves, and I get such a strong emotional response when I listen to it, like I can feel my heart breaking. The first version I had heard was the live performance off Otokotachi no Wakare. From this sort of cosmic meditative intro, like leaving the earth behind as you enter the upper atmosphere, and out comes this creeping hypnotic pulse with the bass and drums. The progression, as simplistic as it is, feels somehow ahead of its time, and it blew me away. As the last Fishmans single to be released in 1998, it was an important one to include on this album. I wanted to marry the essence of the live version with the studio version, with a slight deviation from the structure. When it feels like it might come to an end, it sort of blasts off into this other realm where you might forget you’re listening to the same song.

By putting a new spin on a classic, Pine Barons are off and running towards being your next key musical discovery.

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Jude Flannery – “Quiet By Your Side” (Video Premiere)

Jude Flannery

Today I’m happy to share the latest music video from Jude Flannery for his song “Quiet By Your Side.” Flannery enlisted Matt Barrick (The Walkmen), Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs), Quentin Stoltzfus (Light Heat) to both play on and produce the new record, and form a supergroup of sorts. Flannery shared this about the new single:

I wanted to write a song about what it means to be comfortable. For me, that is the ability to quiet my mind. The more I thought about this song, it also feels like my relationship with music – it’s always nearby, it moves me and lulls me into a state of listening calm. It’s funny but I think that ended up happening when we recorded the song as well – we immediately felt what the song needed and just played it. I started with the acoustic guitar and vocals and Quentin laid down the bass line from the control room as I was recording it. Matt added drums on top of that in what seemed like a single take and Robbie’s keys filled in the rest quickly.

If you’re enjoying the new song/video as much as I think you will, his full-length record will drop this September.

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Scotchka – “Corinthians” (Song Premiere)

Scotchka

Today is a great day to share the latest single from pop-punk band Scotchka, who hail from Albany, NY, and are gearing up for the release of their full-length record this August. The new single is called “Corinthians” and reminds me a lot of Say Anything paired with Motion City Soundtrack. The band shared this about the latest track:

We’ve made a habit on this coming record to hyperinflate the ordinary and this song is one of the better examples. Corinthians is a culmination of life events, put into the most dramatic light possible. Trying to explore every facet of a relationship, processing a friend telling us they are considering suicide, always trying to find out where something went wrong and building from there.

If you’re enjoying the vibe of the latest single, be on the lookout for a pre-order notification on the band’s Bandcamp page here.

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Chris Garneau – “Ballard” (Song Premiere)

Chris Garneau

Today I’m excited to share the latest single from singer-songwriter Chris Garneau called “Ballard.” The track is the first song to be released from his upcoming EP, that will be released this Fall, and reminds me of a bit of the style of Rostam paired with the flamboyance of Adam Lambert. Garneau had this to say about the inspiration behind the new song:

I wrote this song after a vivid dream I had last summer where I met and fell in love with a vampire. We agreed he could drink the blood from my neck, turning me, but two days later he disappeared. I never saw him again, not in my dreams not in real life. Even though it all happened while I was sleeping it stuck with me for a while, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months until I finally wrote the song to get it out. I felt like I was hallucinating sometimes, like that it really happened. It was bizarre. Sort of hot, kinda fun, but also felt fucked up. Ultimately I was relieved to let go of the feeling.

If you’re enjoying the direction that Garneau took on the first single from his upcoming EP, you can purchase the song starting tomorrow here.

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Aunt Kelly – ‘Remember’ (Album Premiere)

Aunt Kelly

Today I’m thrilled to share the album stream of power pop/rock band Aunt Kelly called Remember. The band is comprised of vocalist/guitarist/pianist Kelly Hannemann, bassist Dan Gianaris and drummer Sarah Weddle, and their great musical chemistry is felt over the seven-song effort. With a sound that strays somewhere between Beach Bunny and The Aces, Aunt Kelly have crafted a great debut record that should dominate your summer rotation. Hannemann shared this about the new record:

Remember is made up of songs written over several years through periods of despair, euphoria, depression, and mania. The title-track is about the fear of losing memories. There is something really comforting to me about being able to live in the past whether it’s through good or bad memories. I thought it was fitting for that song to be the title-track since all these songs hold a very specific feeling and will always make me think of that moment in time.

By looking back on key memories and staying true to who they are as people and musicians, Aunt Kelly will make you remember their name. If you’re enjoying the early album stream, please consider pre-ordering Remember here.

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Review: Out Of Service – The Ground Beneath Me

On the third full-length record from emo rockers Out of Service, they’ve clearly got a lot on their collective minds. The Ground Beneath Me takes on weighty topics like mortality, racial prejudice, and the loss of close relationships, yet it never gets too bogged down by the heaviness of the lyrical material. The set was produced and mixed by Nathan Hussey (All Get Out), who additionally lends his vocal talents to the track called “The Fall,” and was mastered by Emmy award winner Dave Marino. The album also features key guest vocal contributions from John Nolan (Straylight Run, Taking Back Sunday) and Emery, and it feels like Out of Service have earned these worthy collaborations through their steadfast dedication to perfecting their craft. Coming off of the worthy success of their sophomore effort Burden, and a teaser single called “Shelter,” Out of Service are becoming the best versions of themselves on The Ground Beneath Me.

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TWINS – “Something About Alice Coltrane” (Song Premiere)

Twins

Today is the perfect day to share Berlin-based Alternative Rock band, TWINS, and their latest B-side single, a jazz-infused song called “Something About Alice Coltrane.” The song comes from the mind of TWINS band leader, Miro Denck, and Miro shared, “This recording is my humble tribute to one of my greatest sources of artistic and spiritual inspiration, the sublime music of the great jazz mystic Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. It would be presumptuous to think there’s even a way to get anywhere near the powerful talent unified on the original recording, ‘Something About John Coltrane’ of her 1971 album, Journey in Satchidananda, which includes Pharoah Sanders, Cecil McBee and Rashied Ali, let alone as a single musician. Rather than that, to me this is a very personal meditation on life, loss and the endless comfort I find in her music.”

If you’re enjoying this latest slab of experimental rock music from TWINS, their full-length record called The Human Jazz will be hitting music streaming services on June 29th via Earth Libraries. Additionally, I was able to catch up with Miro Denck for a brief interview about this new single.

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Bonsai Trees – “Not Better” (Song Premiere)

Bonsai Trees

Today I’m thrilled to share the latest single from Bonsai Trees, led by the charismatic lead vocalist James MacPherson, “Not Better” is a song about finding ways to improve your outlook on healing. MacPherson shared:

”Not Better” is about healing at your own pace, healing from trauma is a non-linear rollercoaster of a process that requires support, love and understanding from the people around you. When the people in your life want to control you and create the idea of you that they want to see, they’ll lead you down the wrong path, tell you what’s good for you, when only YOU know what you need to heal. For me this song is about taking back my independence and becoming a more true version of myself in the face of a lot of adversity. Overcoming the control others think they have on you is crucial to your authenticity.

By preparing for healing while still maintaining their artistic credibility, Bonsai Trees may very well be on the cusp of self-discovery. If you’re enjoying the new single, please consider pre-ordering the band’s new EP called Mine here.

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Review: Beautiful Machines – “Baum Baum”

The latest single from electronica band Beautiful Machines comes from their upcoming full-length record Singularity and is called “Baum Baum.” The word “baum” translates to tree and symbolizes finding new life/purpose in this crazy world we live in. The band mentioned, “During WWII, German military transmitted encoded messages with a device called an Enigma machine, which was said to have a code impossible to break. At the same time, the story of Babel explains the origins of the multiplicity of languages. Today, people live in these thought bubbles, finding digital tribes that support and reinforce whatever we think and believe, creating information silos. So, dialogue, in some sense, between people with differing opinions is becoming scarcer, which can ultimately lead to complete breakdown in communication, disinformation and programmed behavior – perhaps even war if we aren’t careful.” With a sound that strays somewhere between the heavy synths of NIN and the pop sensibilities of Tokio Hotel, Beautiful Machines could very well be your next favorite band in the electronica genre.

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