Archive for January, 2021

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):

January 18, 2021

The B-Side: Skeleton Skies

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.

It’s a brand new column, so why not kick it off with a joyous little indie synth dance number? “The Talented Miss K” from Skeleton Skies hits like a lost Arcade Fire hit remixed by MGMT and is the sonic sunshine you need to combat these grey winter days. Sure, the lyrics are about lost love, but this is the soundtrack to sweating out the emotions and shaking that heartbreak by shaking your ass. Or as another synthy indie dance maestro once put it, to dance yrself clean.

January 16, 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 overfloweth with good tunes. Soundtrack your weekend with songs from Ash M.O., Average Joe, Fiebre del Sistema, Hearty Har, The Infinity Chamber, Jenny Kern, Rook Monroe, Realidades, USE and Vatar.

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January 15, 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 Resounding Maybes, Parker Millsap, Claude, Dream Reporter and Styrofoam Winos.

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January 14, 2021

Talk Thursday to Me – Zeb Gould

Today we catch up with our old friend Zeb Gould to talk about his new album / book Destroyer Deliver and the mysterious tractor factor.

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January 14, 2021

Fasman’s Finds – Alexander Hawkins & Tomeka Reid

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. 

Sometimes I listen to certain songs or albums to make me feel a type of way, we know what kind of mood we want to get/stay in, and we can have music be our guide. I listen to M.O.P. to feel ready to fight, aka whenever I leave my house, and I listen to whale sounds when I need to zone out (more about that in the coming weeks). This past week I needed my brain to be taken on a journey, away from specific moods or vocals. I turned on Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins‘ album Shards and Constellations. The entire album is majestic, and feels like the two musicians somehow made a soundtrack to brainwaves. I kept replaying “Peace on You.” It’s almost 10 minutes long, achingly beautiful, and with enough structure and surprises to take your brain away from reality and into itself for a little bit. 

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