Last year, I took on the ambitious task of reading City On Fire. A big portion of the story centers around the nascent punk scene in Lower Manhattan circa 197x; even before I started going to shows. While I can’t validate how accurate Garth Risk Hallberg’s portrayal is; in listening to Priests I kind of get transported back in time – into the pages of that book. Fronted by Katie Alice Greer, Priests are emboldened by “I don’t give a fuck” attitude that permeates throughout their music.
Five years deep into a career forged on a career booking all-aged shows and building a rep via word of mouth; Priests finally release a proper LP. The result is a slightly more melodic album that lacks none of punch and explosion that their prior EPs delivered.
The album starts off with Appropriate; a track that takes 45 seconds to introduce the guitar and the melts into a noisy mess at the end. The next track is the lead single, JJ, a great track built around a surf-guitar lick as Greer’s delivery takes on a real soulful edge to it. From there, you get fits of spoken word, tunes that haunt you and songs that break into frenzied chants. Shit is all over the board and you are on the edge of your seat throughout.
Good punk music is meant to antagonize you, get under your skin and that is something Priests achieve here. What little I’ve read about them, I’m not anticipating them going soft any time soon.
Long-time HearYa favorites are back for their 5th album, Heart-Shaped Mountain. Founding drummer Lennon Bone is gone and it appears that lead singer Brian Roberts has borrowed his beard for the new album. They also got two members, drummer Mike Reilly and multi-instrumentalist, James Cleare to go join up with Brett Anderson, Luke Long and Roberts. Loving this new track. Here’s some info on the new album.
At its core, Heart-Shaped Mountain is an album about love and growth. At a time when divisiveness fills the headlines, Ha Ha Tonka is fighting the good fight and building narrative tributes to friends and loved ones, memories past, and prospects of the future. They five-part harmonize on intimate familiarities – the nascent stages of relationships, deep and lasting bonds, maturation, fear and loss. This is a call to pause and glance back, inhale inspiration, and forge ahead with renewed purpose.
After Bowie passed away, his legacy and our ears were slowly tortured by a collection of half-ass artists doing over-the-top covers of his music during award shows. With every complaint I issued, people would ask, ” If not so and so, then who?” My response was consistent, “I’d roll the lunatics* from Foxygen out there and stay out of their way.”
Similar to Bowie, French and Rado have managed to forge a career while staying true to their vision. And their vision to me is one of no compromise as they maintain their chameleon-like persona. Like Bowie, there is some stuff that I love, some stuff that I don’t and some stuff in between.
On Hang, they are joined by a 40 piece arrangement that gives the album the feel of a movie soundtrack. One of those movies with an ensemble cast, led by Ryan Gosling of course, with multiple stories where the music is as central to the story as the acting is.
Whereas, …And Star Power was a sprawling double-album that could have dealt with some editing, Hang crams all the insanity into a little more than 30 minutes. And it takes a couple of listens to really deliver. Helping that out is that it really seems that they are having an absolute blast here. I didn’t get that feeling with Star Power.
The center of the album is the highlight for me. The grandiose America (and that’s saying something on this album) leads into to restrained (relatively speaking) On Lankershim. America sounds like Peter Gabriel-era Genesis covering Elton John on copious amounts of LSD. On Lankershim sounds like Big Star covering Elton John on moderate amounts of LSD.
While I might not love every album these guys put out, my interest always perks up whenever I hear something new from them. I think the musical landscape is a better place with them in it.
England’s Happyness are back with the follow up to 2014′s Weird Little Birthday, an album that found its way into our Top 50 that year for its enjoyable nod to influences such as Pavement, Grandaddy and Wilco. Check out the lead track below and you can catch them at SXSW this year. Here’s a little more on the forthcoming album from the band.
The record was recorded in the band’s own studio above a now-abandoned bookshop, then finished and mixed with Adam Lasus at his LA home studio. It features artwork from the band’s own Jon EE Allan. Write In sets its stall out as an outward looking, inventive, and thoughtful progression from their debut. Drawing on an array of influences including Roxy Music, The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, Sonic Youth, Big Star and Pierre Cavalli, the direction is best summed up by Jon EE Allan; “I’d like to think this record looks outside the little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on. I think we used to be very afraid of being earnest. And now we’re able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling too guilty about it. This record cost us about £500 to make, and that was mainly spent on an 8 track tape recorder and a dehumidifier. We self-produced it in our studio [the affectionately named 'Jelly Boy Studios', where the band also recorded their debut, 'Weird Little Birthday']. The building’s being redeveloped at the end of the year, so this is the last record we’ll make there, which feels like the end of a chapter for us.”
It was 7 years ago that Rural Alberta Advantage blew my doors off with their debut. This track is the best thing I’ve heard them do since, really reminding me of their debut. I really love this song, a tune about the wildfires that led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray, a town that lead [...]
Released on California’s Innovative Leisure label, you are expecting the album that is going to be influenced by the sounds of 60s. Sometimes those expectations can limit a band. With America’s Velvet Glory, I don’t feel that way at all. If anything, it gave the band a focus from which they branched out from there. [...]
Photo: Dailey Toliver Been looking forward to this announcement since I first heard Molly Burch’s music last August. She has a wonderfully soulful voice that reminds you of the country music of yesteryear. Her debut will be out Feb 17th via the fine folks at Captured Tracks. In the meantime, here’s some info from PR [...]
Chis is a family man; a man who makes a great cup of coffee; a man who loves breakfast cereal. But most importantly he is a good friend of mine. A friend that I’ve seen perform countless times. He’s done some time on music row; his music being influenced by his deep love of Elvis, [...]
Old Nobodaddy is the moniker of Ian Francis, an artist out of New Orleans. He described himself as Nick Cave meeting a dust covered Father John Misty. I thought it sounded more like O’Death on Xanax which he enjoyed. The tune has a gothic-folk feel to it as Francis sings in almost chant-like fashion. There’s [...]
Credit – PJ Sykes Gold Connections led, led by songwriter, guitarist and lyricist Will Marsh — has signed to Fat Possum. The band’s genesis came in 2014 at William & Mary; a time when Marsh befriended Will Toledo, a fellow student (albeit one year older). In fact, Toledo handled the mixing of this EP, comprised [...]