Archive for ‘The Midweekly’

January 13, 2021

The Midweekly – Throwing Muses

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

For the record, the first time I listened to a Throwing Muses record was last year. My wife, a long time fan of the Rhode Island band, turned me onto them, and I checked out their 1994 release, Red Heaven. Shortly after, their tenth studio album, Sun Racket, came out. It’s their first in seven years. Taking in two records, decades apart, is a fun and objective way, I’ve found, to be introduced to a band. The voice of Kristin Hersh is a rare one. Raspy vocals inducing a trance, and the melodies that materialize out of that haze are both unconventional and prevailing. Lyrics like fragmented moments from a dream that stick with you after waking up. Great chord progressions, and a solid rhythm section serve their purpose for a songwriting foundation, but the true highlight of the production is Hersh’s guitar tone. It’s a fantastic blend of noise and effects, dirty and organic. The frontwoman handled the controls herself on the mixing board. Still proving to be an uncompromised force for that down tempo sound, these pioneers of alternative rock will have you in their sway. 

January 6, 2021

The Midweekly – Khruangbin

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

We all enjoy good vibes, chill vibes. Something to put a smile on your face, and take the stress off your shoulders. Khruangbin, a trio from Houston, is here to help. On their latest record, Mordechai, the group sets the mood with a collection of jams that touch on funk, reggae, even a little disco. The production is tight: reverb heavy, jazz inspired guitar licks, silky smooth basslines, and drums that pop like balloons. Maybe you’re feeling sexy at a cocktail party. They got a perfect theme for that. Maybe you’re lazily soaking up rays on the beach, or maybe you’re just sitting on your porch in the late afternoon, recollecting fondly on people and other good times. They got that covered, too. Just let Khruangbin work out those pesky knots, and drop another cucumber slice in your drink. Relax, that’s it, good.

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December 30, 2020

The Midweekly – Skyzoo

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

Exploring new ways to approach conceptual hip-hop in short bursts, Skyzoo put out two EPs this year, both different in theme, but equal in talent. The first is The Bluest Note, a collaboration with Italian jazz group Dumbo Station. The Brooklyn born rapper took off to Rome to record this one. Though jazz sampling has always played a part in his earlier production, this is the first time he went for that full band sound. The lyrical threads are diverse, giving it a stream of consciousness flavor, but still gets specific in moments, like a track about the gentrification of his neighborhood (which pays homage to the great Mos Def). The second is Milestones. The production goes back to the boom-bap beats he’s known for, and this time Skyzoo has a particular subject he’d like to go over – dads. With poetic storytelling, every song reflects on the labors, be them joyous or stressful, of fatherhood. Tributes to both his father and his son. Two great EPs that’ll have you wishing they were LPs.

December 16, 2020

The Midweekly – Sepultura

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

Over the decades, Sepultura have continuously cranked out their own tried and true metal, with no big frills or ego. Here on their 15th studio album, Quadra, we find them working just as hard as they always have, and in monster vocalist Derrick Green’s opinion, prouder than they ever have been. Quadra is a concept record, based on the liberal arts of the quadrivium (look it up). Simply put, they were really digging on the number four. The 12 tracks are broken down into 4 sections that explore the Brazilian-based band’s styles. Beginning with thrash, then moving into groove, then a more progressive sound, and finishing with melodic songs. In typical Sepultura fashion, there are also epic elements in the production, from their trademark percussion whirlwinds, to a full on choir. Not an album from these guys goes by without being politically charged, and this is no different. Even laying down a tribute to Muhammad Ali, and his sacrifice for his beliefs. These headbangers don’t stop, and likely won’t stop.

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December 9, 2020

The Midweekly – Basia Bulot

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

Channeling the great spirits of folk and rock, Basia Bulat delivers that classic style of songwriting on her latest release Are You In Love? Produced by Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and recorded in the deserts of Joshua Tree, the album pulls off the magic of transferring that ethereal landscape right into the music. But with her magnificent voice, the Canadian singer seems to conjure a snowstorm at times, with songs of loneliness, and longing for the comfort of home. Though that same voice can grow a field of flowers, overcoming that cold pain, on the very next song. The title of this record asks a question, and after melodic, toe-tapping rumination, the answer is yes.

December 2, 2020

The Midweekly – Man Man

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

One minute you’re twisting at a sock hop, the next you’re doing a tarantella at a gypsy wedding. One minute you’re in a sad piano bar, the next, a magic mushroom faerie tale.These are the turns Philadelphia’s own Man Man take on their new album, Dream Hunting In The Valley of The In-Between. Assembling a host of instruments, from horns, xylophones, to some scattered trash probably, the music is fun, lively, but not without a harder edge, or a tear or two. Man Man has gone through many personnel changes over the years, but frontman(man), Honus Honus, has maintained a well deserved position as chief songwriter. His gravelly voice croons songs about the flaws and confidence of the human heart, with lyrical imagery both strange and beautiful. Grab your dancing shoes and ceremonial animal mask and go dreaming.

Check out the trippy video for “Future Peg” after the jump.

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November 25, 2020

The Midweekly – IDLES

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

This is chanting from a bullhorn music. The stomping of feet as they march in the streets music. This is Ultra Mono, the new record from post-punk bombardment IDLES. Like all good protest rockers, their frustration is forefront, and like all smart protest rockers, they know it’s useless without encouragement. That positive push towards empathy and inspiration. And it’s in full throated verse and chorus here. Track after track, the music drives a plow of noise, building up mounds of such intensity, that when the occasional pop hook breaks in, it’ll have you jumping out of your trousers. It’s hard to think of a single album this year that has made me long more for flailing wildly in a sweaty, crowded club with like minded folks, all respecting each others’ dance space.

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November 18, 2020

The Midweekly – Open Mike Eagle

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

If someone were to ask you to summarize Open Mike Eagle‘s new record Anime, Trauma and Divorce in three words the answer shouldn’t be that hard. The Chicago born art rapper, known more for wit and absurdity, gets personal on his newest release. In fact, according to OME himself, more personal than he’s ever been. Lyrical meditations on failing at marriage and middle age insecurity are balanced well with a range of coping mechanisms, from binge-watching anime to fatherhood (his son guest stars on a couple of tracks), to yelling about nothing. The catharsis is real for Open Mike on this one, and it comes across not aggressively, but soulfully. All this over chill, minimalistic beats from producers Black Milk, Gold Panda, and others. It’s a truly relatable piece of work, available now via bandcamp here.

November 11, 2020

The Midweekly – Mr. Bungle

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

It’s been 21 years since Mr. Bungle has released a new record. On this much anticipated release the band recreates their very first demo, previously only available in the underground tape trading scene of the late 80s. Long standing fans know that Bungle always had a knack for twisting genres, and exploring the depths of obscure sound, but have consistently planted a foot in hard rock throughout. Here on The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny all feet are firmly in heavy metal territory. Icons Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Scott Ian (Anthrax) lend their skills to original members Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, and Mike Patton to round out the group. A few covers and new songs are added to the track list as well. Blistering riffs, beats, and solos, plus darkly comedic lyrics and hardcore vocals, it’s everything a head banger craves. Digging up decades old songs isn’t always a good idea, but sometimes it’s freaking great. TRWoTEB available here.

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