Archive for the ‘alt rock’ tag
Since releasing their first single on Creation record in 1990, “Son of Mustang Ford”, Swervedriver released 4 solid full-lengths and several EPs before breaking up in 1998. Now they’re part of the massive wave of 90s brit-pop/shoegaze bands reuniting. ”Deep Wound” is their first new music in 15 years and it sounds like they never stopped. It would fit right into the middle of their catalogue without being the least bit conspicuous. They have plans to release a full-length next year. The track is available on bandcamp along with the cheekily titled b-side remake “Dub Wound” which was co-produced by Mark Gardener of Ride.
If Pastel and Pass Out sounds like some weird advice about what to do after you’ve had a few too many, then you’re already on the right track with the new EP from No Joy. The concise three-track collection from the Montreal collective is subdued, melancholy, and totally transportive in vibe, making for one perfectly soundtracked end-of-night (or early morning) come down.
Led by Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, No Joy have been successfully cultivating their shoegaze sound since the band’s 2010 debut, Ghost Blonde, and have only been growing in subtle power since that time. This year’s sophomore effort Wait To Pleasure was rich in melody and full of lush, yet precise, instrumentals, often a rare combination when it comes to shoegaze. Pastel and Pass Out lead single “Last Boss” only proves that these ladies are ready to push the envelope even further; soft and dreamy, the dynamic track is a journey through crunching guitars and rhythmic bass lines, ending with a mysterious ellipsis of a conclusion.
Soon, “Starchild is Dead” surges ahead, a weighty and pretty benchmark between “Last Boss” and final track “Second Spine.” The headbang-worthy middle section of “Starchild is Dead” begs for live performance, sure to be fierce and shreddy the whole way through. With a driving drum beat and gentle background cooing, “Second Spine” concludes on a more pop-influenced note, proving that No Joy’s take on shoegaze is malleable, and never static.
It’s rare that a three-song EP sounds so full, but No Joy achieve true harmony in just twelve minutes on Pastel and Pass Out. Like that soothing glass of cool water after a booze-fueled night of fun, these tracks go down light, easy, and satisfying. Though there’s already a new LP in the works, for now, Pastel and Pass Out fits the bill quite nicely.
Rapidly rising British alt rockers The History of Apple Pie are all about nostalgia, and they certainly bring that to their brand new single, “Don’t You Wanna Be Mine?” From the track’s spacey, shoegazey guitars to its sweet, poppy vocals courtesy of front woman Stephanie Min, “Don’t You Wanna Be Mine?” is all distorted, decadent fun. Keep eyes open and ears peeled for a new record early next year.
Ellen Kempner of Yonkers, New York, is only nineteen years old, but as grungy songstress Palehound, she’s wise beyond her years. The extra-dreamy “Drooler” is the latest choice cut from upcoming EP Bent Nail, out October 22. “Vandalize my body if it helps you sleep soundly,” she croons over cloudy, bluesy background noise, proving that label Exploding in Sound (Ovlov, Pile, Two Inch Astronaut) is currently the roster to beat.
Sorry, folks, but Potty Mouth aren’t a riot grrrl band, not that there’s anything wrong with that (we love you, Kathleen Hanna!). But just because Potty Mouth are four women doesn’t mean it’s necessary to discuss their music within the context of just one, gender-specific movement only. If these four young ladies were four young dudes, we’d be analyzing their debut LP, Hell Bent, just like any other brand new, buzz-worthy album. Then again, Hell Bent isn’t just another album; without a doubt, Hell Bent is one of the hardest-hitting, most satisfying indie rock releases of the entire year.
Hailing from Northampton, Massachusetts (perhaps best known as the former territory of Gordon/Moore), Potty Mouth currently stand at the forefront of a New England alt-rock renaissance that also includes bands like Speedy Ortiz, Fat History Month, and Pile; it’s a youth-oriented, 90s rock revival that’s been seemingly spreading like wildfire. Potty Mouth have emerged as leaders, though, thanks to the band’s cool and casual approach to making music. Their crafty, poppy, punk-inspired sounds are carefully cultivated, but also loose, lively, and– dare we say it– just plain fun.
Potty Mouth singer Abby Weems is a somewhat unlikely, but perfectly fitting stage heroine; she delivers her vocals in a vaguely deadpan style that can be equally cutting, sarcastic, or self-deprecating. “I’m rusted shut/But I’m never gonna shut up,” she gripes on head-banger “Rusted Shut.” “Black and Studs” cradles a surf-rock vibe, as grungy riffs and airy background “oohs” dance toe-to-toe. Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of clever aggression to be found on “Shithead,” while the dreamy “Sleep Talk” woos its listener with pretty melodies, precise power-drumming, and irresistible charm.
It’s almost like there’s too much to love on Hell Bent; from the dizzying haze of “The Spins” to biting, ballsy album closer “The Better End,” each track is a jagged little pill of nostalgia, expertly re-branded to suit Potty Mouth’s already signature style. Busting barriers and poised to take control, Potty Mouth are the new poster girls for a scene that’s all their own.
After three long years, the wait for new Jimmy Eat World musical sweetness is finally over. However, for those who are nostalgic to jump around to angst-driven tracks like “Sweetness” and “The Middle,” the upcoming ninth album may be quite the change as Jim Adkins describes it as more of an “adult break-up record.” The lyrical maturity of the single even feels as if it could belong within the 2004 album “Futures,” proving that after nearly 20 years together the band still maintains a distinct sound all of their own. Longtime listeners find familiarity in Adkins’ vocals melding with a chorus of heavy guitars in “I Will Steal You Back,” giving fans a quick preview of what to expect from “Damage,” set to be released on June 11.
Jimmy Eat World – “I Will Steal You Back”
Remember Rock ‘n Roll? You know, that thing that used to draw crowds of thousands of people and induce underage women to take their shirts off in front of emaciated men with long hair that they had never met? In 2012, Rock without an adjective in front of it seems like a character from the Walking Dead, but undeterred, here come the Killers.
This band is no longer the glammed up over-sexed Killers that you feel in love with on Hot Fuss. The Killers have been able to fill stadiums for awhile now, and Battle Born is their first album that really embraces the level of fame they’ve reached. The idiosyncrasies that made ‘Somebody Told Me’ and ‘ Mr. Brightside’ such landmarks — the ambiguous sexuality, the disco strobe beats — are long gone. So too is the squishy artiness of the Killers’ most recent effort, 2008′s Day & Age, an album that can pretty much be summed up by the notorious line from that albums single, ‘Human:’ “Are we human? Or are we dancer?”
Instead, Battle Born is focused squarely on repurposing the now antiquated sound of straight up rock. On “Runaways,” Battle Born‘s aptly chosen single, Flowers does his best Bruce Springsteen over downright cheesy backing vocals, and the electric guitars riff with abandon. You can practically hear the flash bulbs popping. And it works: ‘Runaway’ is such a painfully earnest homage to the ghost of rock gods past that you can’t help but smile at it. It’s when Battle Born turns to other classic trope of arena rock, the ballad, that it loses it’s way.
“Here With Me,” comes off as so saccharine that it could be dropped in among any of those power ballad compilations that get sold on late night TV without anyone blinking an eye. And when Flowers sings, “Don’t want your picture on my cellphone/ I want you here with me,” it’s hard to avoid how dated this nod to the present sounds. While on ‘Runaway’ the attempt to bring back Rock seems valiant, “Here With Me” verges on the painful.
Ok guys, the scene’s love affair with Frank Ocean is verging on a full-blown pre-engagement. Now-ancient alt rock band Afghan Whigs try to bring Ocean’s “Lovecrimes” down into familiar slow and dreary territory with a latest cover and, well, it’s a snoozer. And not the kind to give you nightmares or anything – we’re talking bland comatose episode here.