Photo by Clayton Crocker

Nico Yaryan was the touring drummer for Hanni El Khatib, a buddy from high school. As he stated, “After a while, it wasn’t really doing much for me,” he says. “I wasn’t creating, I wasn’t contributing. It was always Hanni’s thing, which is great – it was a good job! – but it wasn’t mine.” But that gig brought him to two loves – The first was the guitar, an instrument he’d been too intimidated to learn as a teenager but now could practice, eventually beginning to record his own music until, at last, he outgrew the touring gig. The second, of course, was an unlikely romance that would change everything. A student from Amsterdam, she and Yaryan met through mutual friends as Yaryan toured through the Dutch city.

Once Yaryan decided to leave the band he alternated months clipping weed in Humboldt County and visiting his love in Amsterdam. The first track from his Partisan debut (out next year), Just Tell Me, is below. Yaryan had this to say. “I wrote this song when I was feeling strain in my long distance relationship, and I knew it had been too long between visits. I didn’t have the money to book a trip to Amsterdam where my girlfriend lived, and I was feeling selfish that I had chosen to live in LA to pursue my music. It takes a lot of work to maintain a relationship when someone lives on the other side of the planet, and I wasn’t being good about making our Skype dates on time, or being as present as I could have been. So this song is a sort of plea to her.”

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Nico Yaryan is here


Son Little announces s/t debut – 10/16/15

by Woody on September 30, 2015


I first heard about Son Little back around March. Since then I have been on the fence regarding his music. Kinda depended on which way the wind blew. But this track just won we over. Its a simple, beautiful track that just lets his talent shine on through. It makes me want to go home and just chill the fuck out. Here’s what he had to say, “I wrote this song lying in bed with my lady, listening to the tea kettle whistle,” Son Little explains. “I think about how complicated our lives are, all the ones and zeros distract us from what we really need and want. Sometimes I just want to take your love and hide.” Here’s a little more on the man.

The artist formerly known as Aaron Livingston knows his nation and its sounds well. Born to a preacher and a teacher in Los Angeles, where he learned how to listen and how to play before moving east to New York and New Jersey. He dropped in and out of schools and scenes in Manhattan then Philadelphia, and there he collaborated with acts like The Roots and RJD2. He first planted his flag as Son Little with last year’s highly praised EP, Things I Forgot, a small collection of big songs that showcased his ability to hop across genres as well as he does state lines.

The songs on the full length Son Little follow suit. They teem with small moments creating a bigger picture, a pointillist art piece made from junkyards and viewed from space. Pulling inspiration from the color wheel diaspora of American music, Son Little draws from a deep well, using different buckets to visit and revisit, finding flourishes to add to the core of his songs. There, at the end of “Doctor’s In,” is a roving banjo; there, at the start of “Go Blue Blood Red,” is a keyboard riff culled from a kid’s Blue Man Group keyboard; there, in “Carbon,” is an electric Howlin’ Wolf stomp and start. For Son Little, studio time is a joy, where every good idea leads to four more.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Son Little is here



together PANGEA have announced the release of their Tommy Stinson produced EP. After opening for The Replacements this past spring, Lead singer William Keegan is back pushing his vocal chords to the limits. As for the titel,’The Phage’ is essentially cabin fever, whether it be a cabin or a tour van that you’re trapped in for months.” Says singer/songwriter/guitarist William Keegan. “When things become funny for no reason and a little madness sets in, that’s when you start stealing organs with a teleportation ray. Just watch Star Trek Voyager.”

Keegan had this to say about the lead single, If You’re Scared – “Actually, it’s more about trying to manage social anxiety without being a brat to the people around you,” he clarifies. “Learning how to be less of an asshole to the people around me was basically the inspiration for this song.”

These guys are hitting the road this fall. I caught them once at SXSW and can unequivocally state that they are worth the effort. Ears might ring a bit after but it will go away.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

together PANGEA is here


Futurebirds – Hotel Parties [album review]

by Woody on September 28, 2015


Photo by David McClister

As I alluded to in my post announcing Hotel Parties, Futurebirds don’t often shy away from a party. And why would you when you are in your early twenties and tasting your first bits of success. People are coming out to your shows in droves, you’re growing random facial hair and generally having the time of your life. Fuck, life would be a party and for a band on the road as much as Futurebirds, most of those parties took place in hotels.

But like anything, as you get older, perceptions change. Hotel Parties explores the band as they comes to grips with balancing the non-stop party on the road with the comforts of a daily routine of being at home. The excellent twentyseven is a rollicking track where Carter King seems to be incredulous at his life at the age of twenyseven. A few songs later, the title track has hints of Deer Tick in the intro before easing into mid-tempo goodness buoyed by the always excellent Dennis Love on pedal steel.

Part of that maturation as a band is keeping true to yourselves as you try to push yourselves to new levels of success. Deadbeat Hits is a great track about a band looking for that and the aftermath that comes when you get it. And lest I forget the excellent closer, Hard As You Like. A slow brooding track that reminded me of The Dead’s High Time from the first time I heard it.

Some of the best parties of my life have been in a hotel, including the party after my wedding. They are special, amazing nights that you look back fondly on and constantly relive with old friends. But doing it night after night will take its toll on you.

HearYa sessions with Futurebirds are here and here

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Futurebirds are here


Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down [album review]

September 24, 2015

Slacker rock. That’s the label that Kurt Vile was tagged with. Its easy to understand. Vile’s vocals don’t exactly scream out of the speaker. His tunes don’t sonically explode like a Lee Bains track. They just kinda amble into your ears, noodling a way into your psyche. So I’ve built this persona around Kurt that [...]

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Mount Moriah release new track, announce 7″

September 22, 2015

Long time HearYa favorites, Mount Moriah, have released a new track to tide you over until they release their third LP. Here’s a little on the 7″ – “Calvander” adds sprightly horns to the beauty of Heather McEntire’s powerful voice as she narrates a fierce journey toward redemption. A demo “garage rock” version of new [...]

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The Roadside Graves – Acne/Ears [album review]

September 18, 2015

The Roadside Graves are the most underrated American band going. That is fact, not opinion. The alt-country band from Jersey has been kicking out amazing album after amazing album for over 10 years now. Over that time as hopes for turning music into a full-time gig and the lavish mansions that come it with faded, [...]

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The Yawpers sign to Bloodshout, announce American Man 10/30/15

September 17, 2015

The Yawpers’ name stems from a line in Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”: “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Hailing from Denver, they are the latest entry on to the venerable Bloodshot catalog. They played a bastardized version of delta blues and punk. American Man will be their sophomore effort. [...]

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Lucero – All A Man Should Do [album review]

September 16, 2015

I tire of hearing of fans complain about a band’s new output. This isn’t is as good as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or It Still Moves, or in Lucero’s case – Tennessee. As long as band stays true to themselves and doesn’t become a caricature of themselves while selling out, I enjoy watching the progression. Let’s [...]

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Salad Boys – Metalmania [album review]

September 14, 2015

In the press release for Metalmania, New Zealand’s Salad Boys are heralded as a descendent of famed 80′s New Zealand jangle-indie label, Flying Nun Records. I don’t have much knowledge of that label but the jangly-indie tag certainly holds water. In my humble opinion, they sounds like Real Estate on speed. Both are filled with [...]

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