January 11, 2021

Mike’s ‘Mericana Monday – The Long Ryders

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.

One night after an Uncle Tupelo show I asked Jeff Tweedy and Mike Heidorn what they had been listening to lately. The next day I spent my rent money on The Bottle Rockets self-titled, The Jayhawks Blue Earth, The Minutemen Double Nickels On The Dime, and The Long Ryders State Of Our Union at Euclid Records (Tweedy was working there at the time). State Of Our Union was released in 1985 and the second record from The Long Ryders. It feels like “Looking For Lewis & Clark” has been one of my favorite songs forever. “I thought I saw some diplomat hawking secret plans in the park. I thought I saw my President walking through Harlem late after dark.” Sounds like it could have been written last week.

January 8, 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 Radar Gold, Waltzer, Doppler Radar and The Local news, The Mommyheads and Poolside (with DRAMA).

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January 7, 2021

Fasman’s Finds – Oly

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. 

I’ve been listening to Oly‘s new EP Shy Passions non-stop for weeks. Oly is a first-generation Mexican-American musician and artist based in Miami who, amongst many other things, also co-founded a record label, Public Works. Her 5 song EP came out on Public Works in December and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

You should buy and listen to the entire EP, but for a single song selection I chose “Cottonwood.” Oly said that it was written during the Kavanaugh hearings and you can hear it in lyrics like “you can’t correct, you can’t ignore, you can’t even the score”, and in the spoken word intro, which made my brain immediately go to the Shangri-La’s and teenage tragedy songs. Bubblegum pop this is not (not that there’s anything wrong with bubblegum pop!). This is dreamy, dark, hazy, synthy pop that (in the best possible way) makes me feel like I’m listening from the bottom of a dirty pool. 

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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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January 5, 2021

Tuesday Tip-Off: Jonny’s Comp

We lost a good one this week. Jonathan Lee Horne was a well known figure in the midwest music world, from playing in bands to being an ardent scene supporter to his work as part of the Joyful Noise family – he left his mark on many. Joyful Noise has put together “Jonny’s Comp” in his honor and as a way to help the family defray the costs of his hospital stay. There’s a lot of heavy garage, punk and metal on the comp but there’s also poppier indie rock, quieter moments and even electronica influenced jams. Not only something for everyone, but also a testament to how appreciation for Jon transcended genres. Name your own price for the comp here.

January 4, 2021

Mike’s ‘Mericana Monday – Lexi Len

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.

“Like this mountain, I’m still standing strong.” I was late hearing her self-titled record and have had this song melting my speakers over the holidays. She’s such a great singer. 

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January 1, 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’re kicking off 2021 with new tracks from Wenches, APOD, Kevin Morby, Reggie Pearl and The Melvins

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December 31, 2020

Fasman’s Finds – Kelsey Lu

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. 

Bright-spots-of-2020 musicians Kelsey Lu and Yves Tumor (along with composer/pianist Kelly Moran and composer/producer/drummer Moses Boyd) released a new song on Christmas this year, called “let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out”. Kelsey left a major label recently and said about this new track that “…this song also marks an evolution since my departure from a major label, and the work I’ve done between then and now that’s been deconstructing the poisons that ever brought me any kind of doubt as to the power that lies within my artistry and killing it.  

The song opens and closes with layers of piano, voice, and strings rising and falling, sonically creating a sense of putting broken pieces back together again. In the middle, there is a beautiful and dare I say hopeful nugget of stretching and swaying percussive joy, perhaps made even more special because of the buttressing on either side by this woven tapestry of sonic and emotional fragmentation. In a year when we have all been so broken in so many ways, this song, which is ultimately about piecing ourselves back together again, is optimistic and exciting in ways I haven’t felt in a very long time. 

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 29, 2020

Tuesday Tip-Off: Frank Lloyd Wrong

Drain the Swan, the latest from Frank Lloyd Wrong finds the band further perfecting their brand of wry, dare we say smart-assed, indie rock and it’s an instantly enjoyable and re-playable ride. Comparisons to Pavement and Silver Jews are warranted, but not just because FLW works a similar sonic template. The songwriting here approaches the same smartly funny and surprisingly touching territory as Malkmus and Berman’s best work. Highly recommended for anyone who was a fan of the so called slacker rock movement of the 90’s.

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