January 23, 2021

We Never Asked For This

We Never Asked For This is our short reviews of the best releases that showed up in our inbox unsolicited this week.

Our inbox…it has so many treasures…let us share them with you! New music from Friends Don’t Die, Wails, George Moir, Tom Jones, Stephen G. Clayton, Heather Porcaro, icoro and High Viz Jackit Theory.

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January 22, 2021

Friday 5×5

Friday 5×5 is our segment where we give you five new tracks to check out and give ourselves the challenge of describing said tracks in only five words. 

Today we have new music from Yellow Dudes, Jamie Rhodes, Crystal Cities, Deb Ruby and Shoes On, Now!

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January 22, 2021

The B-Side: Love Crumbs

Welcome to The B-Side, our new daily column where we bring you a bonus song to check out, fall in love and live happily ever after with.

There are great singers and then there are great voices. Voices that grab you from the jump and make you go “WHO IS THIS?” Ali from Love Crumbs falls into the latter category. Yes, there’s a twang and a rasp not unlike Janis Joplin there, but whereas most of the time you hear that in a singer it’s a forced affect – her voice sounds as natural as breathing. The roots soul waltz of “Cavalcades” is a perfect showcase for it, as well as for the tasteful musicality of the group. Quiet when it needs to be, a big shambling climax when the time is right. The lyric “we are bathed in an unstoppable light” isn’t just a positive affirmation within the song, but an apt description of the band’s sound as well.

January 21, 2021

Fasman’s Finds – Idrissa Soumaoro

Fasman’s Finds is our column from Rebecca Fasman (intrepid record nerd, DJ, and curator at the Kinsey Institute) in which she shares what she’s listening to and why. 

This week’s Fasman Finds is in the form of a challenge. I challenge you to listen to this perfect track by Idrissa Soumaoro and not move your body in some way. This track has a groove that gets deeper and more complex and more fun and unless I play a no-fun sad-sac set, I almost always play this track when I DJ. 

Idrissa Soumaoro is a composer-singer-songwriter-musician from Mali. His credits, degrees, and awards are numerous. Idrissa is now in charge of all music education in Mali, is a national knight, and has spent the majority of his career teaching music to people with vision impairments. LISTEN TO THIS TRACK AND TRY NOT TO MOVE. You get nothing if you win. 

January 21, 2021

The B-Side: Pablo Iranzo

Welcome to The B-Side, our new daily column where we bring you a bonus song to check out, fall in love and live happily ever after with.

If you would’ve told us that mixing Grandaddy style verses with a Pet Shop Boys-esque chorus would work as well as it does on the Pablo Iranzo track “Chaotic Neutral” I’m not sure we would’ve believed you, but here we are, true believers. In the world of D&D the chaotic neutral character is one who puts their own freedom before the ideals of good or evil, which makes it a perfect title for this genre blending bop.

January 20, 2021

The Midweekly – Jeff Rosenstock

The Midweekly is our column from Mike Jeffers; lead singer of Chicago punk stalwarts SCRAMmusic junkie and all around righteous dude.

Since he left the musical collective known as Bomb The Music Industry! nearly a decade ago, Jeff Rosenstock has been putting out some of the smartest pop punk records in said decade. The 2020 mid-summer release from the DIY Long Islander is No Dream (or N O D R E A M if you must). Like a bottle rocket, this album shoots off with explosive energy, and that first track is over just as quick. But it doesn’t quite set the tone for the whole record. Many times throughout it catches its breath to appreciate the clever and catchy songwriting. Jeff writes about the hypocrisy of a system, the apathy of a people, his own personal failures candidly. But make no mistake, this is as joyous, fun, and high-spirited of a punk rock album as you’ll find. No denying these choruses will hook you, and you’ll be whoa-whoaing with the other dozen vocal tracks. 

January 20, 2021

The B-Side: Jon McLeod

Welcome to The B-Side, our new daily column where we bring you a bonus song to check out, fall in love and live happily ever after with.

Sounding quite a bit like the quieter moments of Gish era Smashing Pumpkins, Jon McLeod‘s “Static Air” transports us back to our teenage bedrooms and the very specific type of beautiful melancholy that occupies those spaces. With vocals consisting of long drawn out, breathy notes the song has an almost meditative quality with the lyrics appearing and dissipating, rising above and then fading into the simple but lovely cello and guitar parts. Some songs are a whole mood unto themselves, and this is one of them. Pensive with a touch of desolate wrapped in a comfy blanket, a perfect mid-winter song.

January 19, 2021

Tuesday Tip-Off: Wet Leather

If you’ve been longing for the days of smart, 80’s left of the dial pop rock majesty the likes of Squeeze, Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello and the Attractions, then allow us to introduce you to a strong contender for your new favorite band. Wet Leather give us two tracks that are very much of the now, yet manage to sound like lost hits from that bygone era. These songs feel like meeting someone new for the first time who you’ve also somehow known your whole life. Are we getting metaphysical in this review? Yes, we are, because that’s how good these songs are – they literally put us on another level. Both songs are available on their new Waxworks Vol. 1 release, available here.

January 19, 2021

The B-Side: Estella Dawn

Welcome to The B-Side, our new daily column where we bring you a bonus song to check out, fall in love and live happily ever after with.

Mid-tempo piano driven ballads have been a popular subset of pop music for a few years now, but few do it as well as Estella Dawn does on her new song “Petty.” We get the usual lovely yet haunted voice over piano with minimal accompaniment on this track, but also interesting plucked and bowed string counter melodies, occasional wall of vocal harmonies and a chorus / bridge that swings in a way that opens the song up into something more. All of which is tied together by Dawn’s perfect vocals. This is a ready made pop radio hit, but with enough depth to win over the non-pop crowd too.

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January 18, 2021

Mike’s ‘Mericana Monday – Elizabeth Cotten

Mike’s ‘Mericana Mondays is where friend of the blog, roots DJ, house show organizer, Bloomington Music Expo czar and all around nice guy Mike McAfee picks one song a week to share with the people.

Born in 1893, she practically invented Americana. Cotten was a self-taught, left-handed, scorpion-badass, guitar-slayer. Her influential style became known as “Cotten picking” and some say she forgot more about playing a right-handed guitar upside down than Hendrix and Cobain ever knew. Shoot That Buffalo is an amazing song recorded in 1966.

Biden Week Bonus selection courtesy of Woody Guthrie (also invented Americana):

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