Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (henceforth known as JPKS) is one of the most criminally underrated songwriters and musicians of the last ten years. My only explanation for that is people are morons. JPKS’s music whether it be solo, with Water Liars or Marie/Lepanto has always had a propensity of buckling my knees. It just made me hurt in all the right places.

However on Take Heart, Take Care things seems a little brighter. After his show this past Monday night I made that comment to him and he told me (I’m paraphrasing here) that he had to sort of relearn his craft to come out songs from a different place. While the songs might be coming from a sunnier perspective place, they certainly don’t lack in the ability to make you feel.

The second track, Friend of Mine, is such a hopeful tune. The guitar lick sets the tone and the lyrics hammer home the spirit of being “reborn” and living for the good. The title track showcases JPKS’s vocals at their best. The lyrics tickle your spine, as JPKS comes across as someone trying to pass words of wisdom down to a younger charge.

Take Heart, Take Care stands among his best work. And I can’t stress this enough, go see his band live while they’re on tour.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Justin / Water Liars are here


The Hecks announce My Star for 10/11 release

by Woody on September 12, 2019

Photo: Ashleigh Dye

Chicago’s The Hecks are back with their sophomore album, My Star. It will see the light of day via Trouble in Mind on 10/11. It is a varied wacky tune and while not my in my wheelhouse, I find it oddly captivating. Made me hit the replay button on the video. Anyway, here’s some more info from the PR team.

The results speak for themselves, as My Star is a gigantic leap forward for the band, absorbing everything from “Manscape”-era Wire to Paisley Park nu-funk to abstract new wave & art rock plucked straight from the Cold Storage playbook. Much of My Star’s ten tracks are designed to bewilder; the production is intentionally disorienting, with the mix tipped toward the treble, alternating from sparse to confoundingly dense at times, but never at a disservice to the songs themselves.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Hecks are on the gram


Photo credit: Jackie Lee Young

I now have three teenagers in my house, one of them a 13 year old spitfire of a daughter. As she has gotten older, I have introduced her to my “Indie Rocker Girls” as she likes to call them. A band that she digs is Frankie Cosmos. The indie pop songs are short little journal entries that make carpools a little less blase.

As my daughter has grown, so has Frankie Cosmos. Greta Kline has taken what started off as a bedroom project and solidified a band consisting Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass). Like other bands that start off with a dominant personality, a la Deer Tick or Car Seat Headrest, it takes a bit for the rest of the band to really start expressing themselves. I feel like that started on Vessel but it really comes into focus on Close It Quietly. There’s just a little more oomph or punch to it.

Mixed in to the proceedings are a couple of solo numbers. Located on the back half of the album, With Great Purpose and Marble are a nice blend with the added oomph of tracks like Cosmic Shop, Windows and Last Season’s Treasures. Frankie Cosmos puts on a splendid show. They’re going to be in Chicago on September 23rd and well worth your time.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Frankie Cosmos is here


Modern Nature – How To Live (album review)

by Woody on September 7, 2019

Photo by James Sharp

Enjoying How To Live makes me think that I am good at listening to music. The new project of Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting, Mazes) and Will Young(BEAK>, Moon Gangs) is a weird mix of genres that isn’t something I would label as immediately gripping. I mean; the album opens up with some morose strings. Not exactly the advert for a pick me up album.

But next thing you know, you’re off on this bizarre trancy track, Footsteps; a nice blend of krautrock and skronk. That’s followed by the meditative folk track, Turbulence. Reminds me of the fragility heard so often on Big Thief’s U.F.O.F. They finish on a high note with Nature; some real tasty guitar solos in that one. And then you finish up with Devotee, a meandering tune that feels like the perfect end to this album.

Overall, this is a delightfully challenging and rewarding album. Well worth your time.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Modern Nature is here


Beautiful Dudes announce sophomore LP, Radio for 11/8 release

September 4, 2019

Credit: Kaylja Rainn Beautiful Dudes are a quartet of fellas from Nevada City, CA. They’ve just release a pretty darn catchy track of the rock ‘n’ roll variety. Radio will be out on 11/8 via the fine folks at Mama Bird. I’ll leave it up to as to whether they are beautiful or nor. Here’s […]

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Good Morning announce Basketball Breakups for 10/4 release

August 29, 2019

Photo Credit: Xi Cao Good Morning is the Melbourne-based recording project of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons. Their second album, Basketball Breakups will see the light of day on 10/4 and then they’ll be hitting the States later this year. Basketball Breakups was recorded over four humid, summer days in a studio in Japan, and […]

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Durand Jones & The Indications – Cruisin’ to the Park

August 28, 2019

photo credit: Rosie Cohe Durand Jones & The Indications have followed up on their excellent LP, American Love Call, with a great new single and video. Here is the info behind the inspiration. “We put together our first record in our basement, messing around with different styles of soul music. But it was our sweet-soul […]

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Queen of Jeans – If you’re not afraid, I’m not afraid (album review)

August 28, 2019

Back in 2018, Queen of Jeans won me over with their album of “crockpot pop.” Fronted by the wonderful vocal stylings of Miri Devora, their indie pop adds a little grit and grime, only to be balanced out by some lovely harmonies. As Queen of Jeans set out to record this album, Devora lost her […]

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Behavior announces Spirits & Embellishments, Out October 18th

August 27, 2019

Photo Credit: Nicole-Antonia Spagnola Los Angeles-based band Behavior – comprised since 2012 of Bedros Yeretzian, Evan Burrows, and Justin Tenney – will be releasing their new album Spirits & Embellishments via the fine folks at Post Present Medium. The lead track, The Thirsty Garden, sounds like something that was coming out of Lower Manhattan in […]

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Esther Rose – You Made It This Far (album review)

August 26, 2019

photo by Rush Jagoe This album has been one of my most pleasant revelations of 2019. For one, I had lost track of Esther since she had stopped appearing on Luke Winslow-King’s albums. For two, this a wonderful collection of twang and folk; reminding me of the early Hurray for the Riff Raff albums. Another […]

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