Archive for ‘The Midweekly’

September 7, 2022

The Midweekly – The Suffers

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

It starts with love, the love for oneself in order to find the confidence to be who you want. That’s just one of the great themes on the new record by The Suffers. Coming out of Houston, this neo-soul group gets bodies moving, faces smiling, and tears falling. It continues with love, the love of friendship, womanhood, and community, as the lyrics take on these subjects, sung amazingly by lead vocalist and activist Kam Franklin. The production has that nicely polished R&B sound. Bright horns, smooth bass, fiery, Latin-inspired percussion. It continues with the love of positive music like this. 

August 31, 2022

The Midweekly – The Soundcarriers

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

Imagine the 60s and you’re bopping around Paris on bicycle, or the streets of Rome on a scooter. Maybe you’re checking out the art scene in LA. Big flower prints, short skirts and tall boots. What’s on the record player? If it’s the new release by The Soundcarriers, then two things: 1) time travel has been invented, and 2) it wouldn’t be out of place. It’s taken eight years for this group from Nottingham to put out a new album, but they’re picking up right where they left off with their throwback style. These psyche-pop tunes are awash with reverb, high end, and fuzz, that don’t get too muddy with modern integration. Even the vocals sound like they’re being sung from the past. Not a lot of dynamic changes throughout, but the energy never lets up. Perhaps it is the 2020s, and your Jeep is cruising up the coast. The pants are still tight, and the vibe is still groovy. The jams don’t need to change that much to have a good time. 

August 24, 2022

The Midweekly – Russian Circles

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

Close your eyes and visualize great armies of monsters, or fleets of space ships colliding into each other in slow motion. This of course needs a soundtrack, and Russian Circles is always ready to provide. The metal trio from Chicago has done it again with their eighth LP Gnossis. It’s been said that vocals help connect the listener to the music because of the shared human experience through lyrics, even in a genre where the words are incompressible. But RC routinely deliver a style of impressively produced instrumental rock that holds your attention. Seemingly standard breakdowns that’ll break your brain when the polyrhythms invade. Most of the progressions are filled with dread and frenzy, although they do switch it up with beautiful melodies, like reflecting on the destruction the chugga chugga unleashed. If riffs could snarl, these tracks would be mean mugging all day. 

August 17, 2022

The Midweekly – Horsegirl

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

When shoegazing to some jams, what do you see? A pair of vintage sneakers or some new modern kicks? For the rockers of Horsegirl it’s both. On their first official LP, Variations of Modern Performance, this Chicago trio are pumping some fresh blood into the old sounds of post punk and indie pop. With a rhythm section galloping along steadily, flowing guitar riffs, and the vocal harmonies of a wild spirit, these Variations include tight bangers, washed out gazers, and ambient interludes. These kids are stepping up with one shoe in the past and one in the future. 

August 10, 2022

The Midweekly – Giraffes? Giraffes!

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

In a studio, sure you can get a lot of stuff going at the same time with technology and what. But take it to the stage and things get trickier for a rock duo from Massachusetts. Giraffes? Giraffes! They make it happen? They make it happen! (Looping pedals help). On their fifth LP, Death Breath, with Ken Topham on percussion, and Joseph Andreoli on guitars, G?G! produce a solid set of experimental post-rock tracks. There’s a modern flair of polyrhythms and math, and a good dose of classic melody that harkens back to the songwriting of 90s alternative. Moments of high energy, mixed with softer, more subtle numbers give the whole album a dynamic feel that keeps your attention. In the past, their work has been mostly instrumental. But now they’re singing like it’s always been a well built tool in their box. There is a question and an answer. It’s really good? It’s really good!

August 4, 2022

The Midweekly – Helms Alee

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

There’s a rumbling coming from the depths of the alt metal sea. It is a leviathan of an album called Keep This Be The Way, and there is a ship ready to do battle. Helms Alee, hailing from Seattle, is its crew of sludge rockers. KTBTW is the trio’s sixth, and most recent release. Saber sharp guitars, and hammer heavy bass lend the riffs that drone on and reverb out. But the drums, like cannon fire, are what give this record its life. Vocals from all three members will lure you out with dark melodies, then crash you against the rocks when the screaming starts. The pacing journeys from full on metal to folksy ballad. Helms Alee are flying an adventurous flag in this particular genre.

June 22, 2022

The Midweekly – Dälek

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

Start with thick globs of color right in the center. Then spread those out in every direction. Scrape them thin, crisscross them into patterns. Now imagine these abstractions as hip hop. That’s the record Precipice, the musical equivalent of those splattered paints. It’s the latest from experimental group Dälek. These noise makers out of Newark have been doing this for over two decades, and nothing has compromised their unconventional approach to the genre. The beats simmer low and slow, but pound like pistons in an engine. An engine that drones, hums, and hisses with synths and samples. At times the layers can be differentiated as the chords reverb out, or notes pan from side to side, other times it all melts together into walls of feedback. And still other moments this album vibrates into otherworldly dimensions. All the while MC Dälek himself spitting with intensity, about the deficiencies of our system, and giving respect to a culture of resistance. It’s sound that pushes into every corner, and represents that precipice just before collapse. 

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June 15, 2022

The Midweekly – Royal Dog

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

A little bit goes a long way, especially if that bit packs a bite. Shithole Country, the third and recent EP from punk rock duo Royal Dog, distributes the energy of a full length in just three tracks. With a solid opener in “The Deal,” this Chicago based group perks up our ears with confident writing and melody, then surprises us even more when the real riffing kicks in. Without a breath to catch, track two, “Aurora.” shows off RD’s tasteful production skills, as it gallops along at a steady pace, yet building up steam that must be released through strong, emotional vocals. That just leaves “Sugar & Salt,” the final tune, which delivers the fizziest pop, and the headiest lyrics of the trio. There’s anger and disgust in their words, as well as wit and awareness. So far these short bursts have been exciting to hear, and we can only hope the big record drop is just around the corner for this doggo.

June 8, 2022

The Midweekly – SASAMI

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

Sometimes, in order to peel away the layers, shed the old skin, and find out what you’re truly capable of, you got to try new techniques, go where they aren’t expecting you to go. That’s what singer/songwriter Sasami Ashworth, better known as SASAMI, pulls off with imaginative style on her sophomore record Squeeze. The LA based artist’s process to peel that skin starts by catching it on a hook, then attempting a range of different moves, from flailing to wild, heavy metal, appropriately loaded with chunky riffs, to beating her body against a wall with an even stranger, hard rock vibe with techno beats. But Sasami also returns to what she’s best known for, employing patience and smoothness, as she slithers and writhes to well crafted indie rock and folk jams. When she isn’t mumbling out scary fx laden lyrics about stomping vermin, or eviscerating her throat with screams of self-deprecation, Ashworth also delivers beautiful melodies that sing of human connection. By the end of all this shedding and peeling, you might not be sure what you enjoy more, the new, liquid form glinting in the light, or the old, stretched skin flapping in the wind.  

June 1, 2022

The Midweekly – Carpenter Brut

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

Roaring out of the underworld in a retro hot rod, transforming into a starship bound for the cosmos, driven by a neon shadow. The soundtrack to this scene is Leather Terror, the latest from French synth lord Carpenter Brut. Somewhere between techno and metal, this record throbs with electro riffs and pounds with double kick beats. There’s an even darker theme than the music behind this release that involves violence, revenge, and toxicity (it’s the second installment in a trilogy to be exact). Joining CB on this horror inspired ride is a great collection of guests such as Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Black Queen), Ben Koller (Converge), Johannes Andersson (Tribulation), and fellow darksynth makers Gunship. Careful when jamming this one in your car at night. Supernatural forces might take over and send you chasing something imaginary into the darkness. 

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