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Friday, December 8, 2017

CMM's 17 Favorite Videos of 2017

The year was full of amazing songs and some equally amazing videos. It was tough to narrow it down to just a few but here are my 17 favorite video clips from 2017.

1. The Psychotic Monks "It's Gone"

The band name says it all as "It's Gone" is truly one of the most intense tracks and videos you will come across anywhere. The Paris based dark psych unit are a relentless force to be reckoned with and this lead single from their album "Silence Slowly and Madly Shines" is sure to melt faces with each and every listen.

2. Palehound "Flowing Over"

Damn this is a good song from an amazing album and who couldn't love a video made up of footage from "The Boston League Of Women's Wrestlers". Brilliant in every sense of the word.

3. Death Valley Rally "Until It Melts Away"

Fresh off a west coast tour with Citrus Clouds Virginia's Death Valley Rally have been impressing audiences new and old with their latest album "Northern Lights". Lead single "Until It Melts Away" creates the perfect combination of indie pop and shoegaze while the captivating video draws you in and gives you even more of a sense of what this band is all about.

4. Citrus Clouds "Life Happens"

Delightful from beginning to end Phoenix Arizona's Citrus Clouds impress again with this devastatingly beautiful video clip for "Life Happens" directed by Anthony Sziklay.

5. Ty Segall "Break A Guitar"

A most impressive riff and a relentless rock n roll stance throughout are what makes me come back to this clip time and time again.

6. Washed Out "The Mister Mellow Show"

Incredible record and unbelievable visuals/art/animation that is just mind melting. I've watched this countless times and am happy I got to see this performed in a live setting as well.

7. TIMO ELLIS "SCANNERD"

Timo Ellis is one of the most talented and most proficient musicians going today and I love everything he makes be it the dirge driven "atomic punk"/metal with The Netherlands or this amazing solo track and frantic video that literally never lets up till the very end.

8. Elora "Carlo"

I couldn't be more proud of these guys. "Carlo" from their latest album "Dembitsky" is one of my favorites from the record and this video makes me miss my days being out on the road all over the USA with these guys.

9. The Morelings "Before"

Beautiful thought provoking track with visuals that accompany things perfectly. Come dive into their world of mysterious shoegaze bliss.

10. Klute "Far From You"

I can't get enough of this bands 3 chord, catchy punk rock madness and I love the grit and grain of this video. Taken from their new album "No Youth" these guys show no signs of slowing down when it comes to making some of the most inspiring rock n roll on the planet.

11. Potential Red "Broken"

A delightful track that merges indie pop and shoegaze in fine form. The stunning visuals and chiming guitars blend together so well.

12. Benjamin Gibbard "The Concept"

A great take on the classic Teenage Fanclub song by Deathcab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. I love the simplicity of this animated video and all the little nuances and details it puts out.

13. Lee Ranaldo ""Circular (Right As Rain)"

I read a lot of interviews where Lee talked about how much of an enjoyable experience making this record was and besides this being an incredible song I also love the video because it captures so much of that recording experience in it and all of the fun the people who made it were having in the studio.

14. This Blinding Light "Star"

Taken from their latest E.P. "Mountains", "Star" is an infectious blast of no frills rock n roll that's backed by an undeniable groove and laced with traces of dark psych and shoegaze sensibilities. This colorful and hypnotic video enhances the performance even more.

15. La Terminal - Besando El Suelo (con letra)

A crushing blast of no frills post punk rock n roll backed by a simple yet enticing video that stirs up plenty of mystical vibes.

16. Waxahatchee "Silver"

Clearly one of the best songs of 2017. Amazing lyrics and big dynamic guitar sounds throughout. I love the lulling effect that the video gives off as it captures the band performing but also adds a sense of peacefulness to the presentation that works really well.

17. faUSt "Lights Flickr"

From their latest album "Fresh Air", "Lights Flickr" features the lyrics "Lights Flickr as I blink my eyes to the beat to the beat to the beat" as a frantic saxophone and sea of feedback blast over top of a thunderous beat. Simply put the video is equally as INSANE. What more could you ask for???

Friday, November 17, 2017

Six Records CMM Wants You To Know

Colic "Up Front" Single (colic.bandcamp.com)

Charlotte North Carolina's Colic return with this delightful new single that fuses lulling vocal harmonies with brain tingling guitar leads and an enticing beat. It's a brief minute and a half of poetic beauty that summons thought provoking energy and leaves you wanting more. Look for a new Colic full length by months end and be sure to explore their back catalog of demos and E.P.'s that can all be found on their bandcamp page.

Dale Crover "Bad Move" Single (Joyful Noise Recordings)

"Bad Move" the lead single off of "The Fickle Finger of Fate" the first official solo album from long time Melvins drummer Dale Crover is absolutely brilliant. It's silky smooth vibe and creepy undertone set the foundation for a truly incredible track that could easily lead to some late Friday night debauchery. It's seductive bass line and blissful fuzzed out guitar tones mesh perfectly well with Crover's whispering vocal delivery. It's soulful and spacey and overall a highly infectious piece. I think you will find this an easy one to "GET INTO".

Kyle Craft "Heartbreak Junky" Single (Sub Pop)

I've been really excited about hearing new music from Kyle Craft as he's quickly become one of my favorite new singer songwriters over the last year. "Heartbreak Junky" showcases Craft's powerful voice alongside brilliant piano playing and a snide flair of raunchy rock n roll that falls some place between classic Elton John and Slider era Bolan but with a dash of Scott Joplin for good measure. The track is from Craft's brand new album "Full Circle Nightmare" available now courtesy of Sub Pop.

Squeeze "Innocence In Paradise" Single

Squeeze return with their 15th studio album "The Knowledge" and it's first single "Innocence In Paradise" is a rich, beautifully crafted pop song full of lush psychedelic layers and atmospheric treatments. It's also full of subtle yet catchy guitar hooks that blend perfectly with Glenn Tilbrook's one of a kind vocal delivery. The track certainly stands up next to anything else in the Squeeze catalogue and showcases why they are one of the best bands to come along since the early 70's.

The Replacements "For Sale : Love At Maxwell's 1986"

What can ya say. One of the best bands of all time blasting through a raging set in as fine of form as four drunken idiots can. The first thing that comes to mind is just how amazing Bob Stinson sounds throughout this record. His playing is truly relentless and gives me chills every time I hear it. Excellent recording quality throughout that captures the raw energy of the performance without taking anything away from the grit. Highlights include classic Mat's standards like "I Will Dare", "Bastards Of Young" and "Takin A Ride" alongside covers of Kiss. T Rex, The Beatles and more. Essential from beginning to end.

Unsane "Sterilize" LP (Southern Lord)

There are tons of bands making heavy music these days but there is only one Unsane. They just have that distinct sound that's like nothing else. The bands brand new album "Sterilize" features Chris Spencer's trademark salty snarl and crushing guitar riffs while the pin point precision of bassist Dave Curran and drummer Vincent Signorelli show why they are one of the most punishing rhythm sections of all time. The intensity never let's up over the coarse of the ten song album as it's chocked full of some of the meanest sounding riffs you will ever come across all of which are backed by a relentless groove that doesn't seem to come out in the world of heavy music all that often. It's sinister, it's menacing and it's down right scary, but then again what else would you expect. Now turn this up to ten and rip out your speakers.

Friday, October 27, 2017

"No One Knows" A Conversation with Justin Dean Thomas

I had a chance to sit down and chat with musician and song-writer Justin Dean Thomas (twitter: @JustinDeanNYC  instagram: @justindeanthomas). We discussed life in general and his inspiration behind his new single, "Know One Knows".   It was produced by Jarrett Wetherell and features Andy Rourke of The Smiths on bass, Philip Sterk on lap stell, and Brandon Collins on drums. Mixed by Beatriz Artola, and Mastered by Nick Townsend. Out now on Greenway Records.

ARE YOU PRIMARILY A ‘SOLO ACT’, OR IS ‘JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS’ YOUR OFFICIAL BAND NAME?

  I have such a strong cast of musicians who have supported me since the inception. If you don’t have a band name it’s harder to give people an incentive – a democracy … we’re all in this together.

  But I’ve been in bands and I think that having the liberty to write stuff and be able to put it out there the way that you want it, is huge, but there is something to be said about having bands too.  You have to give everybody room to express their opinions and incorporating those things in.  You can learn a lot about life just doing those things with a band.  But I think right now I know what I want to do with the music and how I want to record it.  

  And sometimes you may not agree with the band members, but in the same way it’s also a lot of responsibility, because you don’t have the same kind of support the “all for one” kind of mentality.

    HOW DO YOU GIVE THAT INCENTIVE?

  When you write something you have a good idea of the structure, but you have to offer it up in a way that you are legitimately and sincerely asking for that musicians input because that really colors it … but it’s also your responsibility to have your ideas really flushed out – you give them the general concept and they put their flare and personality on to it as well 

  The drummer that plays with me Brandon Collins – he’s unbelievable – it just so happens that a lot of things he wants to do are pretty much in line with what I play.  I’m really lucky to have him and the others who I have been playing with. But I try to provide an open environment where people can give me their ideas and put their own personality on whatever we are doing. I think it’s really important to know that I wouldn’t have what I do if it weren’t for all that are involved with what I do.  I really value that. 

    HOW DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION? DO YOU SOMETIMES END UP IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PLACE THAN YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE CREATIVELY?

  A lot stays on track.  Sometimes you have these ideas of exactly how you want it to come out, but it’s a good practice to step back and look at it from other people’s perspective as well.  Sometimes there are certain elements in there that are part of the general concept and you have to stay true to it, but you also have to know when to pick your battles and be like, “hey, this absolutely has to make it into there”.

Then when you record it you get an actual other perspective, when producer or an engineer is like hey, “I’m hearing this”, and that’s part of a producer’s job too … not to just arrange stuff but to pick our ideas you may have somehow missed, and it behooves you to listen to someone’s ideas.  Recently I worked with Delicate Steve both producing and playing on my next EP and he helped to take me out of my circuit and added this different energy that I would’t have done otherwise.  He heard things I didn’t hear and brought things out that weren’t there. 

  So, [it’s good to] always have to be open and not preclude any ideas.

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN IT’S ACTUALLY THE PRODUCER OR THE ENGINEER WHO’S GIVING THE WORK A DIFFERENT TWIST?

  I think that it’s very important to have a distinct idea of what it is that you want to do, because if you don’t, you leave it open for someone else to fill in the blanks. 

  [It] might come down to like a post-production thing like: let’s try not putting reverb on that guitar, or let’s add some percussion to it, or let’s leave this thing out, or cut out a verse and see how it sounds.

  It’s good [to be open].  I had a band member who was pretty open to any ideas and wasn’t always set on any one idea or any certain way in that respect and I learned a lot from him. 

  DO YOU HAVE FAVORITE WAY OF APPROACHING THE CREATION OF AN ALBUM?

  Well it depends on if you’re doing one song or an album, but I try to bring in what I was feeling, I try to bring that energy into the studio and embody that in a real sincere way.  To step into the world I was in when I wrote that respective thing.  I think an album or song can also reflect where you are at and it’s good to be in touch with all of that, good or bad when you step into those sessions. 

  Money can sometimes dictate the how you release thing; you [may] want to release things very DYI and you’re recording at home, and you’re really limited to four tracks or you are either doing things live … and you only have four tracks to work with … granted you have some other options.   ( I did a lot of these songs on a tape recorder -  a TASCAM MkII. 

    WAS THAT AN AESTHETIC YOU WERE GOING FOR?

  I think you have to know what came before you and study those things and those things can really enrich what you’re doing.  But also realize it’s not the 1950’s. It’s not the 1960’s. We have a lot of modern technology at our disposal and how you want to record is entirely up to you.  

  And there is no one way of doing things and I’m not a purist with things … and I do think … and everybody has different opinions on this, but I really do think there is something prevalent about analog recording that isn’t necessarily in a lot of digital music that gets lost because everybody is tracking stuff … they have the ability to have so many different tracks and you can just keep over-dubbing and making things sound perfect. I try to stay away from a lot of that stuff ( like pitch control ) even when I record digitally or analog.

  Depending on what kind of music you listen to we are very conditioned right now, in the world of modern pop music to hear music in a overly polished way. I think that sometimes some of the tracks that some people find the most endearing are the ones where you find little flaws in them, little mistakes that couldn’t be completely be ironed out in the production process.  

  [For example] that Otis Redding’s voice wasn’t perfect on these recordings and Janis Joplin’s voice wasn’t perfect, and if something is a little bit off you can sense the humanism in that. 

 

To me, (and not everybody), that’s the attractive endearing thing when you hear something and it sounds like you can hear the room itself. Phil Specter made a thing of that – all the musicians playing in one room so that the sound bled; it became part of the “Wall of Sound” recording technique.  And it was said that he would wear the musicians out, because he would do everything in one take.  So they would have to do it so many times to wear out the individualism [of ] the actual musician, so that it would be just all one big sound.  

      It’s funny, because I studied Judo for a while, and as your talking about this it reminds me of something sensei would say.  He would say “I’m here to tire  you out, because when your are tired, that’s when your Judo comes out. “

  TELL ME MORE ABOUT HOW THE CONCEPT THAT “ HUMANISM IS TO LOVE DESPITE OF IMPERFECTIONS “ INFLUENCES YOUR WORK

  Something which has become really important to me, specially in the last couple of  years, is understanding of my own imperfections and also seeing other people’s imperfections, and loving them for it.  And even when you cant necessarily  appreciate those imperfections [in others] still seeing the Greater Good in [them]. 

    So, yeah, I generally want to see the greater good in things and in the recording process I think the camaraderie, the musicianship, it really helps you to embrace and marry those things.  To be like “alright, although I am a creative, this is still business. “

  In my opinion one of the toughest parts that I encounter, and I think other musicians that I talk to encounter, is being a musician and also being a business-[person].   And it seems like an oxymoron because the music industry was more conducive for musicians just being musicians. 

    All these record labels that used have development departments, those department don’t even exist anymore.  It seems like the paradigm now is: let’s se what pops on social media, on sound cloud; let’s see what people are paying attention to and we’ll grip it up.  And we’ll commoditize it; we’ll monetize it.  But they let the artist do most of the leg-work 

  Some things have a great natural following, and organic following. And there are some many things that are really good secrets out there, but because it’s kind of like a Western mentality of: “When it is something then we’ll all rally behind it.”

  And some people like the idea of something being a hidden little secret, like: “Only I know about this band, and I don’t want it to be big.”  

  But it’s really difficult and kind of amazing at the same time to live in the times [when the ] music industry is shifting paradigms all the time… and we used to live in a world where the record industry kinda dictated a little bit [and]  used to pick up on fads, where there would be this person who thought they had discovered this artist in a smoky room somewhere and would make it their personal mission and took a risk on something  to make sure people heard their music.  

  Where now the whole marked seems to be so flushed with so many things and it used to be like this guard you would have to get by and now that’s not there any more and now there are some many more things to sift through, so many options.

    DO YOU THINK THIS SHIFT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY MAKES IT HARDER OR EASIER TO BE NOTICED AS AN ARTIST?

  It makes it harder, because now you have all the tools at your disposal to get out to the general public, but at the same time some of those old-guard tactics are still there.  You have to get on to certain blogs.  And there are certain record labels that put their stamp of approval, and PR and things like that.  Some of it comes down to how much money you have, some of it comes down to the talent you have.

  But people still like hyperbole; I was talking to somebody sometime about at what point do you keep seeing something in your proverbial feed that you go and take the time to check it out?

  You might hear about a band three or four different times on different mediums and then you go and check it out.  Our in-boxes are full of people wanting us to check things out.  And there are some many things to check out that we just feel completely overwhelmed.  

  DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY ON HOW TO ADDRESS CREATING MUSIC IN THIS NEW ENVIRONMENT?

  Yeah, to one degree you have to really know what’s going on – the landscape of music and the time that you live in.   But at the same time if you feel and energy and if you feel and can see, in your head, what you want to do, it’s important that you really put down the bones and a foundation and try to deliver those things as well as you see them in your head – in your heart.

  Sometimes you have to ignore what’s going on, because it is so over-whelming.  And sometimes you have to open yourself up to everything that is going on out there and let it filter down. And then sit in your room and filter all the noise.   And just sit down with all the thoughts and feelings and inspirations that you have.  It’s that clinical though, for me I don’t even think about that stuff when I write.  It’s kinda like when my heart opens up … it’s never clinical it’s always natural. And I think that if I’m really pulling for words or pulling for emotions – the I just stop, because that is not how I write. 

    HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR NEED TO BE A BUSINESS PERSON WITH YOUR NEED TO HAVE SPACE TO CREATE MUSIC?  It’s seems like you have it figured out.

  You would think so right?

  Well, probably more than most.

  [LAUGHTER]

  Well, I think, for me is having a healthy balance.  Being around other people – having community.  I used to be a real loner ( [being a loner ] can really help that out, because you are with your thoughts a lot).  But I think I have really opened up now and I really love community.  

  Musicians I think wanting to help on any level.  But to answer your question, I think a lot of it requires leaving time open to where I can listen to music, watch documentary, read books, because that’s usually when something pops for me.  

  So allowing yourself the time to be inspired  - going to museums and different places, and giving yourself the alone time that’s needed to just sit down and be alone with those thoughts.  And maybe nothing comes of it, but most of the time for me something sparks. 

    But when I do get it, I have to be diligent.  Because I can get lazy and if you don’t go with that energy right away you can just loose really quickly. Following through will you still have that love for whatever it is that you’re writing is a huge part of it. 

      TALK TO ME ABOUT TRUST - THE TRUST YOU NEED TO HAVE IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND THE MUSICIANS YOU’RE WORKING WITH.    AND ALSO TALK TO ME ABOUT THE LOVE YOU HAVE AND THE LOVE YOU FEEL WHILE YOU’RE CREATING YOUR WORK.

  Trusting yourself is important.  I can’t speak for any other musician, but I think I always go through a little bit of self-doubt when creating a new piece, and I think that’s healthy. I think it’s a very tough line to walk if you think too highly of yourself or if you think too low of yourself.  

  I think that any good artist constantly questioning what they’re putting out and why they are putting it out and what their motivation is.  Is it all about you? Is it all about your story?  Is it to inspire the people? What’s your goal in doing these things? 

  It might not even be for someone else, [maybe] you just need to put a thing down on paper. 

  Most people are really scared what people are going to think once you put something out there.  But I think everybody goes through that, whether you’re a doctor or a baseball player, painter, martial artist.  I think that once you get through so many repetitions of something it becomes a little easier.

  That’s not to say you still don’t get nervous when you go on stage.  But sometimes you have off days, and you have to find something in that song, that you maybe sung 200 times, or find something completely different to draw on that you can see in your head… to bring that song to life, otherwise you just go through the motions.

  I think doubt is part of the process, but you also have to have some type of validation. I know people like to say: “Well I don’t care what other people think.” But everybody cares what other people think. 

    So I think it’s important to uplift other people and other artists and be honest [about your feedback].  I think it is important to tell other artists what you find is great in their work, because I think it’s important for their path.

  SO I GUESS, AS AN ARTIST, ACTUALLY BEING A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT YOUR WORK IS ACTAULLY A GOOD DEFLECTOR OF EGO?  

  Yeah, it’s funny. How it can cut both ways. People want to see so many aspects of things, when they are coming to any form of entertainment; they love to see their athletes almost as super human. 

    They love to see certain personas – like Bowie had personas that he would embody. And people want to see these things that take them out of the banality of being a human being or the banality of living a normal life – being super-human, or super-natural or whatever it is – and they want to see them as being these almost flawless things.   But they also love vulnerability as well. 

  But it’s funny the duality of those things – how people want to see their performers embody their bravado and boldness that may not be prevalent within them and to live vicariously [through them] or they may [also] identify with the vulnerability,.  Some people just really love sincerity.

    WHAT ABOUT ARTIST RIVALRY?  DO YOU ENCOUNTER THAT?

  Yeah, I think we all think about those things.  There was this story about Jeff Buckley when he was playing Sin-e, and everybody used to come out to see him all the time and everybody kept telling Thom Yorke, “you gotta see this kid” .. and Radio Head was already on the map … so he went and ( from the perspective that I heard this from  ) he was upset that someone was doing something in line with what he was doing but also completely differently.  

  So I think that every artist feels a little [like] that.  That there is somebody who is doing something and you can’t quiet do it that exactly that way because [what they’re doing] is theirs.

  So I think there is so much work to do in that area [ of creating music ], that I no longer see things from a perspective of rivalry anymore; initially I did, but I think that for me there is so much energy to be put towards other things that even taking a little bit of that energy to be jealous or to have a rivalry is a waste.  

  You just have to be careful with your thoughts and what your motivation is for things. And even initially if you don’t like another artist personally just like to wish them the best, because if you hold on to a grudge or a rivalry it does nothing but hurt and slow down [your creativity]. 

  SO HOW DID THAT STORY ABOUT JEFF BUCKLEY AND THOM YORKE END?

  So the rest of that story has a good ending. Thom Yorke was so upset that someone was doing work of that caliber that he went back and locked himself in his tour bus and they couldn’t get him out.  When he finally came out he had written that song “Fake Plastic Trees”   

  So you can inspire people I think.  You see what other people are doing on a very real level. So as a musician and as an artist I think it’s important to see what other artists are doing even if it’s not what you do or what you’re into. So I think a little competition is actually healthy, and you should respect people and be like, “Ah, I see what they’re doing.”

  And you might think that you can take on that and I think that’s what made David Bowie so great is that he had such a great respect and love for music.  He was a great borrower and put his own signature on things. He wanted to know you as a person and he was always scouting things.

  But if you have this rivalry mentality it cuts you off from being able to see the whole picture, because you only see the competition. It’s not healthy.

  THANK YOU JUSTIN.

  Thank you.

  I HAVE ONE LAST QUESTION: IF YOU WHERE TRAPPED ON A DESERTED ISLAND WHAT FIVE ITEMS WILL YOU TAKE WITH YOU?

Echo & the Bunnymen - Crocodiles

Bob Dylan & The Band - The Basement Tapes

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Big Star - #1 Record

MC5 - Back In The USA

Interview: Claudia Innes - Instagram: @jarethsgirl

Photos: Peter Anderson

Friday, October 6, 2017

"Five For Friday" with Philly Shoegazers The Morelings

Founded by Matthew William and Kedra Caroline, The Morelings hit the Philly scene as a three piece just over 3 years ago. September 26th marked the release of the bands first full-length album, "Same Century", which was produced by Philly phenom Jeff Zeigler (Nothing, Kurt Vile). They have since expanded their act to a five-piece, delivering live performances reflective of the rich, layered studio sound for which they have become known. Matthew and Kedra share music from some of their favorite Philly and NYC based bands in this weeks edition of "Five For Friday" but first check out the video for the bands latest single "We Were".

Topics-- “Full of Feelings”

We played with Topics at Lava Space in Philly and have not been the same since. A bass guitar and drums: mesmerizing minimalism at its best.

TOPICS - Full of Feelings from Leif Holmberg on Vimeo.

The Soft Spots-- “Going Soft”

The Soft Spots blew us away when we first played with them in Philly last summer. Lush synths! Hazy goodness.

Haunted Homes-- “CoastGhost2Coast”

Love the vibe of this band. One of our favs. The rhythmical shifts with the twangy guitar are everything.

Vivienne Eastwood-- “Snooze”

The vocals in this song are gorgeous. We’ve been fortunate enough to play two shows with them in New York. Sound amazing live. Can’t wait for them to come to Philly!

Future Punx-- “Ever You Go”

Love the electronics in this one, the beautiful strangeness of the keyboards. What else is there to say?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Six Records CMM Wants You To Know

Dylan Thomas "Suceso en la Plaza" E.P. (dylanthomassjo.bandcamp.com)

Here's a truly delightful E.P. from this San José/Costa Rica based shoegaze unit that go by the name Dylan Thomas. Starting out with the upbeat flair of " Fuegos Artificiales a la Distancia" you know you are in for something special. It's got that breezy, feel good spirit to it that also channels a bit of "Boys Don't Cry" era Cure. "Últimos Días" relishes in a sea of jangle pop swag as it's pumping bass line, straight forward beat and lulling guitars move through the speakers in fine form. Rich layers of modulated guitars surface in "Suceso en la Plaza" while the upbeat stance of "Atacama" reminds me of something from R.E.M.'s "Murmur". It's a nice collection of songs that are incredibly well produced. Top notch across the board.

Everything And Everyone "Making Space" E.P. (everythingandeveryone.bandcamp.com)

I can't get enough of this vibrant, inspiring E.P. from Boston's Everything And Everyone. This band just has an amazing knack for writing catching, fun uplifting indie pop songs that get you signing along in no time. "Happens All The Time" features a shuffling groove, rolling bass line and feel good vocal presence that gets everything off to a great start. The hook filled "Gypsy Rock" balances lo-fi indie rock sounds with country nuances while "Hide It All" moves quickly and makes great use of chiming, intricate guitars that add an element of brightness to everything. Closing piece "Ain't my House" has a slightly darker bit to it and really shows just how amazing this band is with it's heartfelt lyrics and comforting arrangement. Hands down four of the best songs you will hear all year. Get into it.

Lee Ranaldo "New Thing" Single (Mute)

"New Thing" from the forthcoming Lee Ranaldo album "Electric Trim" is a truly incredible song that seems to channel the likes of John Lennon, Lou Reed and Wilco with the undeniable coolness that is Lee Ranaldo. It's simple structure and matter of fact vocal style impress throughout as layers of atmospheric sound and noise shimmer in from time to time. Everything I've heard from this new record is amazing and what I like most about "New Thing" is that it's got a style to it we have not really heard from Lee Ranaldo before and that makes me feel good. The album will be available on September 17th courtesy of Mute Records.

Los Lemons :Pink Beach" E.P. (loslemonsband.bandcamp.com)

This Indiana garage/surf outfit offer up a stunning 4 song E.P. full of jangling guitars and infectious pop hooks. "First Date" kicks things off with it's striking three chord riff and laid back vocal cadence. The track also features some stellar lead guitar work that puts things over the top. "Dreaming" has that sorta slack rock feel that is just flat out fun while the slow pace of "Fade" shows off another positive dynamic of the bands sound. Everything comes to an end on the rich, dream like "Wavves". It just might be my favorite track of the four as it really creates a sense of passion and attitude while layers of underlying melodies enhance it even more. A promising debut that's inspiring, honest and warm.

Total Euphoria "Rupture" LP (totaleuphoria.bandcamp.com)

Russian based project Total Euphoria has released one of the most intense and haunting albums I've heard in some time. Over the coarse of it's 12 tracks things grow from blasts of dirge driven synths and spaced out noise to lush soundscapes and epic soundtrack style post rock numbers. I'm particularly impressed with the guitar based piece "Mind Explosion" as it features a culmination of multiple guitars, interacting in seriously inspiring ways. From it's soothing clean melodies things move into full on frantic mode in a matter of minutes that create an almost psychedelic like haze. Other favorites include the calming feel of "Hard", punk rock stance of "Crumble" and experimental spirit of "Sick Tools". Overall "Rupture" shows off a sense of an artist that's really just going for it and isn't afraid to take chances or feel they have to stick to one particular style or sound.

Peppermint Showers "Joy Boy" E.P. (peppermintshowers.bandcamp.com)

Perth, Australia based shoegaze outfit Peppermint Showers deliver an eye opening effort on their latest E.P. "Joy Boy". Opening number "Dominoes" glides with elegance and grace as stretched out layers of shimmering guitars float alongside a lush, atmospheric vocal delivery. The slightly more experimental "Summer Still" takes you down a lulling path that's drenched in reverb and emits a sense of mystery, while the intriguing tones of "Scary Close" only add to the records evolving cinematic mood. Overall "Joy Boy" is a phenomenal release that draws you in and submerges you with their radiant and inviting sounds that wander through grey territories that are lined with lushly textured and colorful guitars. Highly recommended.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Six Records CMM Wants You To Know

Ben Gibbard "The Concept" Single (benjamingibbard.net)

Recording his own version of Teenage Fanclub's landmark album "Bandwagonesque" Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is the latest artist to take part in Turntable Kitchen’s full-length album cover series "Sounds Delicious". The first song to be revealed from the album is the 6 plus minute classic "The Concept" which is a bit more pop and ambient sounding but also very true to the original. According to Gibbard "Bandwagonesque' is my favorite record by my favorite band of all time. It came along at a pivotal time in my musical life and I’ve loved it for over 25 years. It’s been such a blast taking these songs apart to see how they work and then putting them back together again.” The album will be available on July 28th at turntablekitchen.com

Electric Sheep "Boxcar" E.P. (electricsheepchicago.bandcamp.com)

I'm so excited about this new Electric Sheep E.P. as over the last year or so they have grown to be one of my favorite garage rock units. These four new songs from the Chicago based band certainly don't disappoint as the energy and hook filled guitar riffs move is fine form over top of the feel good swinging beats. "Boxcar" starts things off with some head nodding rock n roll magic sure to get you dancing while "Timing Didn't Work Out" is driven by a thumping bass line and raw romping guitar riff that sits well with it's high energy vocal delivery. The intricate and cunning feel of "Queen Bee" raises the bar even more as it's "Hey Ya Ya Ya" chorus and pounding beat keep things on the move, while "Satisfied Sound" adds a touch of Mick Ronson like flavor to things that's absolutely brilliant. This record should be blasting through your speakers loudly...like immediately now!!!

Hanetration "Gavia" E.P. (hanetration.bandcamp.com)

Another stellar release from U.K. based experimental project Hanetration. Opening piece "Ponta" features an array of unconventional sounds that ring together perfectly and create a sonic landscape that's as mysterious as it is inviting. This energy continues on "Cygni" as it's pulsating drones and mechanical pace seem to take on a life of it's own, while the bagpipes on "Zorile" add another colorful element to the mix. Everything hits a sonic peak on "Kufuor" as layers of effects laced tones radiate through your speakers drawing you in with their rich thought provoking beauty. A tremendous release from one of the most prolific projects around.

Runaway Nuns "Do The Resistor" E.P. (runawaynuns.bandcamp.com)

Runaway Nuns bash out an infectious blend of melodic garage rock that puts out a strong feeling of fun. Lead off track "People I Love" really sets the pace and gives you a sense of what the band is all about as it's upbeat, raw rock n roll spirit shines in full effect. The laid back grooves of "Crips" and "Walk My Way" take the fun level up even further and also show off just how much chemistry these guys have together as musicians. My personal favorite song "Lean To The Right" is a prime example of full on blistering rock n roll at it's best while "Resistor" is an uplifting blast of anthem-like garage rock madness full of no frills guitar leads and lyrics you can't help but sing along to. Simply put it's great to come across a band that truly knows how to bring it.

The Howling Fog S/T E.P. (thehowlingfog.bandcamp.com)

This Adelaide, Australia based shoegaze unit impress with a pair of blissful reverb drenched tracks that echo the spirit of early Ride. This is the bands first output and it seriously kills from beginning to end as layers of shimmering guitars sit well next to the rich, psychedelic vocal textures. The wandering sway of "Dead Me" harnesses a left of center, hypnotic presence that balances just the right amount of darkness with introspective light while the slow crawling pace of "Shutter" takes things to mind bending levels that make you feel like you are floating on air. A remarkably brilliant effort that leaves me longing for more.

The Tunnel "Plasma Den / Overland" Single (thetunnelsf.com)

First off let me say this band is absolutely sick. They have a sound that blends cage like song structures with a swagger fueled death rock attitude. "Plasma Den" is a hypnotic rocker that falls some place between Christian Death and your favorite Am Rep records. It's also got a ton of math rock influenced parts that keep your ears and mind in check with it's infectious unpredictability. "Overland" explores an almost apocalyptic stance that's super intense and primal. I also have to say that the rhythm section featuring Sam Black on bass and Michael Jacobs (also of San Fran area rockers Porch) on drums is nothing short of stellar as their sounds work incredibly well next to Jeff Wagner's tripped out guitar attack and somewhat manic vocal delivery. Enlightening, inspiring and highly original. Get into it

Thursday, July 6, 2017

U2's Adam Clayton Recieves MusiCares Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

U2's Adam Clayton received the Stevie Ray Vaughn Award from MusiCares and The Recording Academy on June 26th at The PlayStation Theater in New York City. MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. The award is given to musicians who have helped other musicians struggling with addiction. Clayton who has now been sober for 19 years started his speech by saying "I’m not used to achieving anything on my own…this is very unusual!”

Clayton talked about getting help and encouragement when battling his way through addiction from rock legends Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. After two significantly long benders he received a call from Clapton who told him enough was enough. “He didn’t sugar coat it. He told me I had to change my life and that I wouldn’t regret it,” said Clayton. “He gave me the name of a treatment centre and the power to make the call to them.”. Once in treatment he got a call from Townshend who visited him and helped give him the courage to see things through. “These two talents were enough to get me started”, he said. “And to convince me my life wasn’t over, but that I was at the start of a long journey to learn to love myself.” He also thanked his fellow band mates for being there for him during the dark times. "I was lucky because I had three friends that could see what was going on and loved me enough to take up the slack of my failings.We have a pact with each other. In our band, no one will be a casualty. We all come home or none of us come home. No one will be left behind. Thank you for honoring that promise and letting me be in your band."

The event was fueled by an all star list of guest performances. Highlights included The Lumineers heartfelt rendition of U2's "One" which was followed by a riveting mini set from British singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt.The amazing Macy Grey performed a jazz like version of "My Way" as well as an extended version of her signature hit "I Try" followed by U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".

The evening closed with U2 performing a short three song set starting with “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” from their 2000 album "All That You Can't Leave Behind". Up next was an uplifting version of "Vertigo" which quickly brought the crowd to their feet as Bono prowled the stage with animal grace while Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr, showed why they are one of rock's all time best rhythm sections. Just when we though things were over the band launched into the classic "I Will Follow". To hear The Edge play his Gibson Explorer through his vintage EHX Memory Man was a real treat. After the set Clayton stated "Maybe now I can go back to bass playing." Overall an incredible evening for a truly amazing organization that helps so many amazing people.

PHOTOS BY NICOLE HAWKINS, ARTICLE BY DAVE ALLISON