April 14, 2022

The B-Side: Udoka Malachi

While we realize all music is technically music to the ears, “High 99” by Udoka Malachi is music to our ears both literally and figuratively. This song is, as they used to say, a whole ass vibe. Slinky, smooth and chill it’s a smoked out night drive when everything feels alright and everyone feels just a bit more alive. A dirty fuzzed out guitar solo and occasional vocal moments bring to mind Awaken, My Love! era Childish Gambino but Malachi makes this one his own.

April 14, 2022

Thursdays With J.R. – Vincent Coomans

Thursdays with J.R. is our new weekly column from lifelong musician and lifelong-er music fan J.R. McIntire, drummer of Arctic Char and multi-instrumentalist on more projects than we have bandwidth to list.

I usually don’t look for this type of music, but it often hits my plate whether I seek it or destroy it.  I couldn’t have been happier this week when “Must I Always” by Vincent Coomans hit the submission box.  Coomans hails from Belgium and is often compared to Sufjan Stevens.  I am not one for comparisons but the warm coronet lacking highs and washing over you as the song starts doesn’t hurt as it sounds straight off Illinois by the said Stevens.  Coomans’ music tends to have themes of distance, grief and desire as his bio proclaims, bringing him closer in the musical ether to such musicians as Elliot Smith, Bill Ryder or even Damien Jurado.  Coomans sets himself apart I would say with his own “sound” only pulling slightly from said influences.  I knew within seconds I wanted to review this as the ambient sound alone takes you to somewhere that you aren’t quite sure of, even as the tune dissipates upon completion.  The warm brass floods you with what sounds to be a ride cymbal slowly being washed across with mallets.  I could be way off but that’s what I hear.  It almost washes into a low note resembling a far away alert or warning siren.  Droning a far-away familiarity only lending to the alien environment.  Hopeful piano starts to fall from the fingers as Vincent’s voice trickles out ever slightly but with weight.  The vocal part brings you into the room we’ve been in sonically the whole time the walls just felt bigger before his vocal presence.  He immediately plays with space, jumping between notes like landing on stones poking their dry heads from a creek bed, keeping our ears as dry as they can be, all the while moving progressively downstream.  His lyrics talk about ropes holding him down, fights in the car and an all-around troubled life all the while they beg for what to do while ever asking in finalization “Must I Always”?  His falsetto in what I would call the “chorus” combats the frequency the coronet occupied once more, and they ride beautifully together in their vocal canoe.  The song builds with strings again sounding like a siren blaring on a radio in a far off room down the corridor.  He begs again but slowly “at least for a little while”.  I want to be in that car, in that relationship, what happened?  Really simple yet atmosphere heavy tune.  I immediately ran out to his page and started absorbing all I could get my ears on.  His bio says he performs as a trio as well, which is always fun to see live, and I would love to do so.  I quite enjoyed this music and am glad to be back at it.  

April 13, 2022

Wordless Wednesdays – Prospector Sound

Wordless Wednesdays is our column where we spotlight the best new instrumental tracks.

Instrumental tracks come in all shapes and sizes, speeds and vibes, intensity and intentions. “Empty Spaces (The Ambient Zone)” by Prospector Sound is a slow and immersive soundscape well suited for grounding one’s self in an increasingly chaotic world of full volume TikToks played in public by the thoughtless and indignant. Patience is at the core of the track, with new aural shades revealing themselves languidly and more than a decent amount of silence and breath to help you find your own internal silence. If you only have 6:18 to center yourself today, this track will help get you there.

April 13, 2022

The Midweekly – PLOSIVS

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

Never really understood the term “supergroup.” Sure, it’s a bunch of musicians from separate, established bands who have now formed a new band. But couldn’t you also consider those bands they came from “supergroups” already? Anyway, here’s PLOSIVS, a new group who are indeed super. All veterans of the San Diego scene. Rob Crowe (Pinback) and John Reis (Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes) are strumming the jangly chords and plucking the tinny licks, Atom Willard (Rocket From The Crypt, Angels & Airwaves, Against Me!) found time outside his hundred drumming jobs to lay down a flurry of mean beats, and Jordan Clark rounds out the crew with the low end. Their self-titled debut is packed with punk rock energy and hooks that barely let’s it’s foot off the gas, despite the irony of the opening track, and lead off single being called “Hit The Brakes.” Crowe’s upper register vocals cut through the frenzied noise with melodic excellence. PLOSIVS just finished up their first tour, and from what I read these old hats brought it like their younger rocker selves. Light the fuse and press play. This one is supergood.

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April 12, 2022

Tuesday Tip-Off: The Lied To’s

Fun fact for you gentle reader, Postcard Editor loves the Tom Waits song “Time” so much he has one of the lines tattooed on his body. “Time” by Pink Floyd? Another all time classic. We can now add to that short list of Time songs that are in their own stubbornly contradictory way timeless the song “Time” by The Lied To’s. Despite it sounding like the name of a political hardcore band, The Lied To’s is actually singer-songwriters Susan Levine and Doug Kwartler and with this one they lay it down with the utmost tastefulness. That restrained tasteful approach puts the entire focus on the song’s narrative which balances a simple poetic lyricism and a wistful understanding on the back of Levine’s divine vocals for stellar results. A lot of time songs like this can be too straight forward, too on the nose, but The Lied To’s have created something here that is both plainspoken and profound, and that’s what makes this a new classic.

April 11, 2022

Week Starter – Life Stuff

Week Starter is our Monday column where we give you a new song to help you get on out of bed & help you power on through the working week.

If there’s one piece of optimism we’ve gleaned from running this blog over the years it is this: lo-fi bedroom/basement rock n’ roll will never die. No matter what the world throws at us, young people (and occasionally not so young people) will fight the boredom and the darkness with a couple of mics and banger of a tune. One does not fight the darkness by sending demos to big labels, the darkness is fought by those who say “fuck it, this rips, let’s just put it out there.” Life Stuff is such a darkness fighter and “Finger Gun” is their silver bullets filled with garlic punching holes of light through the haters.

(Full disclosure, we watched the Blade series this weekend)

Anyway, all that is to say this song does indeed rip, and even if you didn’t spend your weekend with Wesley Snipes it’ll still find it’s way onto your favorites playlist.

April 11, 2022

Mike’s Monday Muse – Calexico

Mike’s Monday Muse 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.

John Convertino and Joey Burns first met when they were playing with Howe Gelb in Giant Sand in the early 90s before going on to form Calexico. El Mirador is the 13th studio album of captivating cactus community rock-n-roll from arguably the world’s best band.

April 8, 2022

Week Ender – I Used To Be Sam

The Omega to the Week Starter Alpha, Week Ender is the song we want to send you into the weekend with.

Typically with the Week Ender column we give you a big energy rock n’ roll or hip-hop number to get the weekend started, or maybe some sexy R&B to make that weekend spicy, or occasionally as we did last week a “keep your head up, we can get through this” style anthem. Today we want to mix it up and send you into the weekend thinking about empathy. How we can all get to a better place by doing our best to understand and respect others journeys. I Used To Be Sam is the latest project from Annie Goodchild and is her most personal date, unpacking her search for identity as a transracial adoptee. Goodchild’s voice is a powerhouse, no doubt, but the real power is in it’s control and subtlety, the emotional resonance. On “Mountains” it weaves in and out and rides atop a slinky and inventive R&B track that brings to mind Solange’s masterpiece A Seat At The Table. Similarly to that album, Goodchild incorporates clips of interviews into the track, but in this case with other transracial adoptees sharing their stories. It’s a lush and lovely song that flourishes in the ears but opens the eyes and ultimately rests in the heart – if you let it.

April 8, 2022

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 micro reviews of songs with macro vibes. Check out the latest from TombSnakes, The Deepest Shade, LocalBlac with Hina Kawago, Onyda and Adam Yas after the jump.

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April 7, 2022

The B-Side: SNIFF

Is Thursday too early in the week to get this sexy? Should we have waited until tomorrow to post this one? Perhaps, but sexy knows nothing of your calendar, it knows only of your desire. “Get Off” by SNIFF is an atmospheric post punk number in the vein of a goth Love and Rockets and we are here for it. It broods, it seduces, it makes you wonder if you can still fit in that old pair of vinyl pants in the back of the closet. Is the video a bit heavy handed with well worn imagery? Perhaps, but it’s well done and like the standard positions of lovemaking, a classic never goes out of style.

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