NE-HI have made themselves a great sophomore effort. Their self-titled debut LP was rough around the edges, ragged and full of promise. It held your attention fine but you were hoping for more. Well, Offers is more. They’ve sanded the edges while retaining the attitude. The production is tighter, without sounding over-produced; mixing in styles such as garage, 80s new wave and the jangly guitars easily associated with New Zealand’s Flying Nun roster. And the songwriting is much improved.
Offers sees the Chicago quartet blending the wave guitar riffs with a garage rock ethos. You mix in the dueling lead vocals of Jason Balla and Mikey Wells, with the outstanding rhythm section by James Weir (bass) and Alex Otake (drums)and you have yourself a 37 minute blast of rock n roll goodness.
While sounding nothing like DBT, the dynamic between Balls and Wells songwriting reminds me of how Cooley and Patterson’s songs plays off each other on an album. Balla’s songs tend to give the music a little more space to move. These songs, including the opener Palm Of Hand & Drag are what really drew me to Weir’s playing. These are the tunes that you just put your head down and let the music cascade over you. Wells’ tunes tend to a short story. They’re not detailed stories that Patterson delivers but they tend to capture a moment in time. Sisters and Buried On The Moon are the two strongest that he delivers.
NE-HI has taken a massive leap forward. And there’s no reason to think that they can’t keep this train moving forward. They’re going to be down at SXSW and for my Chicagoland faithful, they’ll be at The Bottle tomorrow night.
CFM, the project of Charless Moothart, is set to release his debut LP, Dichotomy Desaturated via In The Red on April 7th. Moothart is better known as a meber of Ty Segall’s band and Fuzz. So needless to say, the track is pretty rocking.
The Laguna Beach-raised Moothart first picked up a guitar at 12 years old and got behind the drum kit for the Moonhearts at the age of 16 with fellow Cali six-string ripper Mikal Cronin. Since then, the 27-year-old journeyman has become a fixture in the West Coast community; he’s logged oodles of studio and stage time with Cronin and Ty Segall—both on his solo albums and as part of the aforementioned, ultra- heavy supergroup Fuzz, the latter experience driving him to make music on his own. Dichotomy Desaturated marks the first time Moothart’s written songs for the specific purpose of compiling them onto an album. While writing and recording, he was careful not to fall into the trap of making music that, in his words, “Might as well just be a Fuzz song.”
“There’s a lot of stuff on this record that’s extremely out of my comfort zone, but that’s what I’ve come to enjoy in music,” Moothart states, citing influences ranging from Black Sabbath, the Stooges’ Fun House, the Grateful Dead, folk-rocker Fred Neil, and British proto-rockers the Groundhogs. “The whole record is a constant push and pull where I’m at with my life and with music—coming to terms with the fact that all I want to do is push myself, but it becomes scary.” That push and pull—which extends to changes in Moothart’s personal life, including a move to Los Angeles—is reflected in the changing dynamics of Dichotomy Desaturated, as it embraces relative quiet alongside hard-charging riffs and bursts of incendiary color. Fear not, though: there’s plenty of face-exploding moments on Dichotomy Desaturated as well, a sense of mischief that is nonetheless serious as all hell.
I first heard of PWR BTTM, the duo of Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, when they stood up to some hateful dipshits at a show in Mississippi last year. I’d not heard of them before but thought they handled themselves in an admirable way. So I spun their debut, liked it and called myself a fan. They have a new album coming out on 5/12 via the fine folks at Polyvinyl and will be down at SXSW. So if you want to hear some ripping good power-pop/punk and wind up with some glitter on your being; I’d suggest checking out a set down in Austin.
‘Pageant’ is ferociously emotional, with passionate narratives set to cutting rock and roll anthems. The album builds upon PWR BTTM’s sensational 2015 debut ‘Ugly Cherries’ with a further refined song craft and sonic flourishes including horns, flutes, keyboard and even an impromptu choir. The result is 13 original songs that burst with laughter, tears and triumph. ‘Pageant’ was produced by Christopher Daly and Cameron West, and was recorded primarily in the top floor of a furniture factory in Geneva, New York.
Ian Saint Pe of Black Lips and Diamond Rugs fame is set to release his debut LP under the Saint Pe moniker. While I was casual Black Lips fan, I loved his work with Diamond Rugs. The track below is more consistent with the latter which is probably why I am really looking forward to the album.
In 2014, after 10 years of touring the world (literally every continent but Antarctica!) in Atlanta’s legendary Black Lips as well as the critically-acclaimed Diamond Rugs, guitarist and vocalist Ian Saint Pé needed a change. As he put it, “The only thing you can’t change is time, So it was time that changed me. I loved the Black Lips, but I needed to enjoy new environments. So I got a brand new bag: Saint Pé.”
He packed up his gear and moved to Nashville, where he settled down in a log cabin formerly owned by country legend Roy Acuff. Before long, that home had also turned into a studio, and with the help of a number of Atlanta-based friends, Fixed Focus was born. It’s less a departure from the sounds of the Lips and Rugs as it is an informed continuation of them that maintains all the hooks and pop sensibilities of his previous acts, while refining them with a bit of Nashville class and a hint of the darkness that 10 years on the road imbues upon the soul.
Photo by Shelby Goldstein I don’t know know how I stumbled across Michigan Rattlers, but Lord am I grateful that I did. Consisting of Graham Young and Adam Reed, the duo are wonderful storytellers. The fact that those stories are told with some rocking Americana flavor is all the better. Sweet Diane feels like an [...]
Karen Elson is back after a seven year hiatus and is set to release her Jonathan WIlson produced album. Well, there’s one track produced by Patrick Carney and that is the track below. There’s some history there which you can easily find elsewhere. She’ll be down at SXSW. Here’s some info on the track below. [...]
As Tim Showalter’s stature in the music world has grown; a steady stream of very interesting pieces are written about him. During the release of HEAL, Steven Hyden did a phenomenal piece on Grantland ; as did Spin. With the success of HEAL and the upcoming release of Dark Love, Stereogum did a piece that [...]
Photo: Dailey Toliver There are occasions when I become enamored with an artist from the first time I hear them. Thirty seconds into the first track and I’m sending pleading emails to their PR rep asking for the full album. That is precisely what happened with Molly Burch and upon receiving the full album, my [...]
Photo Credit: Jordan Llanes Sam Outlaw wowed me one hungover morning during SXSW. I had spent the end of the night prior having my doors blown off by Run The Jewels. It was my 5th day of SXSW, it was raining and my knees were killing me. I walked into the backyard of Lichas in [...]
Vaguess (pronounced Vegas) is fronted by their namesake Vinny Vaguess. And Vinny writes some solid punk where the songs barely last 90 seconds. Based on some of his social media, he’s no fan of Trump so that’s another check in the plus column. Anyway, his album is sophomore effort is coming out on Sinderlyn Records [...]