It’s difficult to write about death in a way that isn’t morose or dispiriting. The subject, long turned over by artists of all kinds, is inherently sad. But on Chasing White Light (eOne Music/Fast Plastic), The Lonely Wild reflects on death in a way that is both accepting and uplifting. The album, which follows the Los Angeles group’s 2013 effort The Sun As It Comes, was born last year as frontman Andrew Carroll was faced with the death of his wife’s grandmother. “When that happens to people you know and love, you often pause and reflect on people you’ve known who’ve passed away,” he notes. “And then the topic started coming out in songs naturally.” [...] The Lonely Wild’s touring experience also impacted the album. Over the past few years, the group, which formed in 2010, has performed with Damien Rice, Apache Relay, The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Laura Marling, Phosphorescent, Dwight Yoakam and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and at festivals like South by Southwest, First City Festival, Echo Park Rising, Cask and Drum Festival and Jubilee. The band has sold out nearly a dozen shows in their hometown of Los Angeles, and expanded their live show to feel as dynamic and exciting as possible. On Chasing White Light, the musicians wanted to bring that sense of exhilaration to the recording. “There’s a sense of urgency to this record that we didn’t have on previous records,” Andrew says. “It’s much more immediate. Some of that comes from the theme, but a lot comes from playing shows a lot. We turned into a louder band.” In the end, Chasing White Light comes to some sort of acceptance. You will die, but that doesn’t have to be mournful or disheartening. It encourages you to stay in the moment and follow your own bliss, rather than live for some future promise of an afterlife. It’s a musical journey that leaves you uplifted and encouraged, even as it considers one of life’s darkest subjects. “This album doesn’t dwell on the despair of it all,” Andrew confirms. “It’s about looking at death for what it is – something we all go through at some point. It’s that great mystery and no one really knows what happens. You’re never going to know until you get there. And you have to come to terms with that. Through writing these songs I’ve come to accept it and not totally fear it. And I hope our fans can too.”
Sounds like: Lord Huron, Desert Noises, Hey Marseilles
There's nothing typical about the Oxford, Mississippi-based rock act Young Buffalo or the story behind their debut album, House. Although the group's songwriters Ben Yarbrough and Jim Barrett didn't begin playing under the Young Buffalo moniker until 2009, they started writing music together as teenagers and never ceased evolving. [Bandcamp] Although House is teeming with infectious melodies and upbeat instrumentation, Yarbrough's lyrics were inspired by real life heartbreak. "A lot of my writing went back to how I felt when a high school sweetheart broke up with me and I went through a depression for a little while so the lyrical tone isn't super happy," he admits. Alternately a song like 'No Idea' is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and leaving your hometown to follow your dreams. Even as the heart-on-sleeve story telling in evident, the content on House is still ambiguous enough for listeners to draw their own meanings and interpretations to the songs. In keeping with the ongoing theme, the album may contain some dark subject matter but it's always presented in a way that's inherently relatable and heartfelt. Riding that line between straight ahead pop music and tastefully weird indie rock. There’s a timeless nature to House that sees it referencing the past while still remaining irrevocably relevant today. “When we’re writing we always want it to be something that we would want to listen to in the car or put in at a party.” Barrett explains. “We’re really honest with ourselves when it comes to what we create and that’s ultimately what keeps us interested to keep pushing forward,” he summarizes. With the good fortune of these five gentlemen being birthed in such a fantastically diverse city, both artistically and culturally, we are just thankful they decided to follow their musical hearts and form Young Buffalo. They are no doubt on their way to establishing themselves as one indie rock's brightest hopes.
Pledge Empire MC Sti-Lo Reel chiseled his place with his face paced new single, “Indelible.” Produced by Nicademus and featuring Kidd Cane, the Minneapolis spitter returns to remind everyone that he is “that guy” when it comes to impassioned bars over a brash blend of synths and horns. Along with an fiercely formidable hook,” Indelible” serves as the latest single off of his upcoming new project “Martial Law,” which is sure to finally solidify his place as one of the hottest MCs in the Twin Cities. [Breaks x Lakes]
Come down for the final The Love Below R&B dance night of 2015 in The Entry with local DJs TIIIIIIIIIIP, DJ Keezy, Sophia Eris (of GRRRL PRTY), Alibaster Jones, and Mica May Grimm. Many Frank Ocean tracks will be played to "prepare for his possibly nevercoming album, 'Boys Don't Cry'"', as well as lots of other quality R&B all night long.
Born out of the backyards and basements of Chicago’s DIY music scene, NE-HI’s nostalgic-rock brings you back to a time that may have never existed. It may be the past. It may be the future. But, it is certainly a place where you feel younger, better looking, and you dance until you are soaked in sweat. A place where you know the best bands before your older brother and all the cool kids at school. The quartet’s guitar-driven songwriting and distinct harmonies produce a sound that is both raw and relaxed, rough and humble. Formed to score a friend’s film in the summer of 2013, the foursome—made up of Alex Otake, James Weir, Jason Balla and Mikey Wells—recognized the electricity between it’s four members and chose to continue making music. Since then, the foursome has toured the Midwest and East Coast, building a reputation as a promising young American band.
Sounds like: The Ghost Ease, Adult Dude, Palehound
Will Toledo (last name pseudonymous) has been making music as Car Seat Headrest for over five years now, so calling this one a “Band To Watch” is probably a bit of a stretch. Toledo’s done a well enough job of his own cultivating a very devoted fanbase through a long series of strong Bandcamp releases. But the designation feels appropriate in some way, because this feature comes on the heels of a big announcement, one that will probably come as a welcome surprise to those who have been following the project since its early days: Car Seat Headrest is joining the esteemed roster of Matador Records, and will release two records in the next few months that will serve as both a reintroduction and a continuation of Toledo’s journey so far. [...] Listening through to the entire Car Seat Headrest output in chronological order is like watching someone grow up, mainly because that’s exactly what it is. There’s awkward growing pains, off-putting discursions, ambitious interconnected concept albums, albums that are barely held together by Scotch tape; EPs-in-name-only that stretch over an hour, B-side collections labeled as “generally just awful shit,” complete with notes about the conception of every song. His entire Bandcamp page is prefaced with a warning: “DO NOT LINK THE NUMBERED ALBUMS BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT VERY GOOD,” it shouts, urging people not to share the earliest work but still keeping it up for posterity and the diehards. “Not very good” isn’t exactly true — you can see the spark even from the earliest songs, but it’s understandable why one would be a little overwhelmed. [...] On “Something Soon,” one of the first re-recorded tracks to be shared from the upcoming release, he lays out the necessity and urgency of his songwriting: “I was referring to the present in past tense/ It was the only way that I could survive it/ I want to close my head in the car door/ I want to sing this song like I’m dying.” Toledo uses his music as a way to cope, a way to contextualize current emotions into something digestible. And he hopes that translates to the listener, as a way to feel some sense of catharsis and relief. It works. “Something Soon” is weighed down by the pressure of expectation — from society, from your family, from yourself. It’s a song about desire, about needing a connection so badly so you don’t get lost within yourself. “Heavy boots on my throat/ I need, I need something soon.” With a move up to the big leagues, more pressure is bound to come. But Toledo seems ready to handle it: Car Seat Headrest is becoming less of a bedroom affair, and more of the punk project it always was at heart. [Stereogum]
Come Saturday, it's time to shake off that Turkey weight with another edition of My Parents Bassment. It's Friendsgiving, so bring all your friends and get ready to shake your tailfeathers. Groovy dance beats for the night provided by DJLOW and Mike The Martyr, and live art all night by local artist Yekaterina Krilova. On top of that, there will be gifts and giveaways all night! Get ready for some fun.
together PANGEA do rock ‘n’ roll as it was meant to be – raw, unpredictable, and probably dangerous, but also blazing with intelligence, emotion, and edgy experimentation. The Los Angeles-based trio made their bones as purveyors of post-millennial punk, but with their third full-length release – and Harvest Records debut Badillac, they pay their debt to the supersonic 90s rock that first inspired them. The band has not sacrificed a spurt of precious energy, instead integrating nuance and dynamic momentum to songs like “No Way Out” and the undeniably badass title track. The volcanic riffs and massive melodies are matched by an equally provocative lyrical stance, with songs like “Sick Shit” and the album-closing “Where The Night Ends” casting an acerbic eye over the wreckage of the party they helped start – it’s 3am and the drunken fun has given way to sexual panic, anxiety and self-doubt. Slightly stoned but by no means slack, Badillac reveals together PANGEA to be both confident and surprisingly committed, their audacious ambition already impossible to contain.[...] Keegan first started writing and recording in his Santa Clarita bedroom, his teenage tapes eventually coming to full flower with the aid of bassist Danny Bengston and drummer Erik Jimenez. Known then simply as Pangea, the band played countless beer blasts in and around CalArts, their boozy mayhem and breakneck pop hooks quickly earning them frenzied crowds throughout the Southern California DIY scene and beyond.
Sounds like: Tijuana Panthers, Shannon and The Clams, King Tuff
The Bottle Rockets’ brand of populist, Midwestern, brawny rock ‘n’ roll is a sound so effortless, it’s easy to take their craft for granted; a sound so universal, yet unmistakably THE BOTTLE ROCKETS. With their 12th album, South Broadway Athletic Club, the quartet gives a master class in capturing the beauty of everyday life, and painting a portrait of ongoing hope. South Broadway Athletic Club is an album full of new experiences for the band. Singer/guitarist Brian Henneman meticulously crafts lyric-chapters straight from his well-worn journal. The album’s sharp-as-shit songwriting kicks off with “Monday (Everytime I Turn Around),” and the tough but tender “Big Lotsa Love.” The latter is built on engaging wordplay that takes the listener through the ups and downs of working through the world with someone you care about. In “Dog,” a jangly, Byrds-infused, unaffected but never cloying, tribute (with Henneman’s new weapon of choice: a chimey, 12-string Rickenbacker) to a favorite canine, he sings, “I love my dog, he’s my dog/ If you don’t love my dog, that’s OK/ I don’t want you to, he’s my dog.” The zen-like wisdom transcends merely a song about a pet and, rather, packs the message and life philosophy that, “Sometimes life is just this simple.” Sonically, The Bottle Rockets still find the quickest two-lane highway into the bloodstream. There are pulses through the rhythm section of Mark Ortmann’s made for FM radio, wall-of-sound drumming and bassist Keith Voegele’s deep and shapely lines. Throughout their entire career, The Bottle Rockets have managed to stay true to the rabid music heads as well as casual dial-turning everybodies. After 20+ years, they’ve come out on the other side stronger and more energized than ever before, proactively writing their own creative arc. Against the odds, the Bottle Rockets are a true American success story. Consequently, South Broadway Athletic Club is an album as relevant as their formative early work; political by not being political, re-affirming our greatest aspirations by focusing on the tiniest of truths.
Sounds like: Blue Mountain, Slobberbone, Robbie Fulks
Born out of the bustling indie rock-centric borough of Brooklyn, New York, Cape Cod-bred rockers Highly Suspect formed in 2009 around the talents of Johnny Stevens (guitar, vocals, synths) and twin siblings Ryan (drums, vocals) and Rich (bass, vocals) Meyer. A muscular, hard-hitting power trio in the vein of Queens of the Stone Age, Kings of Leon, Band of Skulls, and Royal Blood, the group issued a three-song EP (The Worst Humans) before heading into the studio with producer Joel Hamilton (Black Keys, Elvis Costello) to record their debut long-player. The resulting Mister Asylum, featuring the fiery single "Lydia," was released via 300 Entertainment in 2015. [All Music]
Sounds like: Dead Sara, Black Map, The Glorious Sons
A Germany-based, Austria-bred three-piece poised for their American debut, AudioDamn! make hook-heavy soul-pop shot through with the spirit of punk rock. With an undeniable chemistry that intensifies each song’s infectious energy, singer Oliver “Oli” Wimmer, guitarist Ali Grumeth, and drummer Daniel “Mudi” Mudrack share a passion for defying expectation and blurring genre. “We might sit down at the piano and write an R&B ballad,” says Grumeth, “and then go into the rehearsal room, turn into our own cover band, and just totally crush it into something much grittier.” With Wimmer and Grumeth collaborating on songwriting—and Grumeth serving as producer—AudioDamn!’s upcoming debut features the frenetic and fiery lead single “Lights Out.” True to the band’s unfettered creativity, the song began as an acoustic-guitar-driven ballad penned by Wimmer before morphing into a breakneck-tempoed track built on jagged guitar riffs, urgent harmonies, and lyrics that perfectly capture the torment of obsessive love. Meanwhile, “Radar” (a song slated for AudioDamn!’s upcoming full-length debut) started out as an a capella number from Wimmer, then warped into an ultra-catchy piece of R&B-pop, its harmony-laced grooves and Grumeth’s throwback-funk production brilliantly contrasting the heartache in Wimmer’s vocals. [...] Mostly made up of the material created during their time at school, AudioDamn!’s debut album shows off their sophisticated songcraft and production skills while also drawing on their razor-sharp instincts for melody and groove. At the same time, tracks like “Lights Out” and “Radar” reveal a musical appetite that never discriminates between genres. [In De Goot]
Sounds like: Secret Weapons, The Katherines, The Young Wild
Joe Fessler is an aspiring, indie artist based out of the Twin Cities. He was born in Kansas City, MO, but spent most of his life growing up in Minnesota. Joe showed an early interest in music. As a baby, he used to sit at the piano on his sister lap while she practiced and tried to follow her hands as they moved across the keys. He picked up the guitar at age 16 and taught himself how to play and sing some of his favorite covers of songs he loved. His natural ear for music soon led to music composition. Growing up wasn’t always easy – broken home, divorced parents, and all the struggles that go along with being an adolescent – and music became Joe’s outlet to the stress and uncertainty of everyday life. Any moment he could find, he played guitar and piano and sang. Through this daily ritual, he discovered songwriting, as a way of processing his life experiences and expressing them in a poetic way. Each song Joe writes is a unique story – one that is interwoven with his thoughts, beliefs, and reflections on life, relationships, and everything in between.The most important people in Joe’s life are family, friends, and God, and knowing how fragile life can be sometimes, he has learned not to take those he loves for granted. He has just completed his debut album, Worth It, a compilation of fresh, new songs about love, hope, truth, and finding happiness and purpose in even the most difficult moments.
Sounds like: Tyler Lyle, Korby Lenker, David Ramirez
The members of Moon Taxi are no strangers to the stage. Hailing from Nashville, the five-piece formed in 2006 and set out to conquer the Southeast with their unforgettable live set. Nine years later, they’ve amassed over one thousand shows and released two albums, Cabaret (2012) and Mountains Beaches Cities (2013). Endless hours on the road in support of Mountains Beaches Cities allowed for reflection and collaboration like never before. The band, who all split song-writing duties, found themselves sharing personal experiences with one another, opening up about relationships, and becoming very aware of how powerful the human bond can truly be. This realization is heard throughout Moon Taxi’s third and most relatable album to date, Daybreaker. “To me it’s an album about facing the unknown, starting something new and realizing that the relationships you have with other people are what get you through life,” notes guitarist Spencer Thomson. [...] The album opens with the stadium ready first single ‘Year Zero’ and immediately envelopes the listener with echoing oh’s and ah’s, a swooning chorus, and soaring guitar riffs. ‘Year Zero’ is the perfect live sing-a-long; it’s meant to be heard with arms up, eyes closed, and bodies swaying in the warm summer air. “This album has summer vibes all over it,” says frontman Trevor Terndrup. The first song that was unveiled ‘All Day All Night’ is an excellent representation of that and is already making its mark with festivalgoers. “I want the listener to feel like they have stayed up all night with someone and that they are the only ones in the world experiencing the new day dawn,” he says. Daybreaker was released nationwide on October 2, 2015.
Sounds like: The Weeks, Fitz and The Tantrums, Grouplove
The King Khan & BBQ Show are back, this time as the ‘Bad News Boys’ they originally wanted to be, the moniker and album title was the actual original name of the band circa 2003. Too late to actually change the name, they’ve lived through about every misspelling and rearrangement of the current name, possible. And, although confusing to reviewers and ‘fans’, there are two guys in the band, both writing, performing and singing: Arish ‘King’ Khan: guitar, vocals. His voice is the ‘snottier’ one. His guitar is the ‘lead’ one. Mark ‘BBQ’ Sultan: drums, guitar, vocals. His voice is the ‘smooth’ one. His guitar is the ‘rhythmic’ one. The drums are played live with his feet. Bad News Boys is the band’s 4th studio album, their latest since 2009’s acclaimed Invisible Girl. The boys had previously broken up in 2010 after a taxing stretch, culminating in an invite by Lou Reed to play the Sydney Opera House. There was a public (internet) break-up and freak-out, which carried over into the week after, in Asia. Words were said, brothers fought like brothers. It was the end of a stretch which brought the band all over North America, playing festivals like ‘Coachella’, starting side-projects like ‘Almighty Defenders’ (with brothers ‘Black Lips), touring Europe, Israel, Brazil, gaining legions of devoted fans internationally, and kick-starting the whole ‘doo-wop punk’ bullshit movement that still goes on today, without much credit. This is rock’n’roll. This is punk. This is early r&b. This is psych. This is doo-wop. This is garage. It’s all this and more, without trying to be anything. A misconception of the band is that they play a bunch of instruments, which are then overdubbed to get a particular sound in ‘the studio’. The truth is that they record live. Their ‘studio’ usually an apartment, or in this case, basement, and they are armed mostly with a 4-track cassette recorder. Their ethos is punk. Their mission is to revere rock’n’roll – the real stuff – enough, so that they are permitted to invoke its spirits and ghosts using magick, using their raw soul - for good or for bad - to evoke the smells and feelings that confuse and delight.
John Moreland started writing when he was 10 years old, the same year his family moved from Kentucky, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he still lives today. He turns 30 this year, but he’s been slinging songs for more than half his life. He started fronting local punk and hardcore bands in high school. After graduation, he had an epiphany. “I’d just overexposed myself to punk and hardcore to the point that it just didn’t do anything for me anymore,” he says. The remedy? He ditched his music for his dad’s: CCR, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Steve Earle. [Artist Website] Moreland first debuted his name as a part of the Black Gold Band from 2006-2010, with a 2006 full-band demo, 2008's Endless Oklahoma Sky, and 2009's solo demo session falling in that time span before he decided to retire the Black Gold Band name. John continues to write and record music, and in 2010 released Things I Can't Control under his own name. Black Gold Band guitarist Wayne Wedge has returned to perform secondary guitar duties, and producer Stephen Egerton (ALL, Descendents) has been playing drums on the studio sessions. In 2010, Moreland was featured on the multi-musician studio project The Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton, along with members of Drag the River, Descendents, MxPx, and many others. [Last.fm]
Sounds like: John Fullbright, Jason Isbell, Sons of Bill