Thursday, January 26, 2023

The return of LOTEC!


LOTEC (f.k.a. Land Of The El Caminos) has returned with the most excellent Squares, and we premiered the second single from that new album on Third Coast Review yesterday. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

A Friday jam from a classic band.

Photo by Anna Crolla
The new Belle & Sebastian album threw me at first; the first half is rooted in their more "classic indie-twee" sound, leading me to worry the group was retreating to safer ground after years of pushing their sound into shinier and more expansive terrain. But as the second half kicked in, the more ebullient pop numbers took over and I enjoyed the feeling of taking a sonic mini-tour through the band's history that the album conveys (to me).

But this was the moment I felt like I was levitating as a song played, so I'm sharing my favorite track from the album as a taste to whet your appetite. Maybe it's my current mindset putting a thumb on the scales, but a song about the delirious confusion of a blossoming love* is just the glittering jam to hit me right in the heart-feels.



*Though it could just as easily be a rumination on a long-standing relationship as well, which makes rhe tune even stronger in my estimation.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Features release one from the vaults. Literally!


In the early aughts I saw The Features a bunch*, but at the time didn’t even know they’d already recorded TWO full albums that hadn’t been released. One of those albums, pulled from a bunch 1999 sessions just popped up on Bandcamp this month.** And listening to it was a real trip back in time for me, since it captured the sound of the band that kept me coming back to see them time after time. And whenever I saw them I would bug them about when they would finally release a full-length album!***

Basically, The Mahaffey Sessions 1999 captures the band as I remember them best from my own live introduction to the group, and there are songs on here that never appeared anywhere else****, but I definitely remember wishing I had them to DJ with at the time. Two decades later I finally have the tunes, and even if I haven't DJed in years, quite a few of these will definitely make their way into a few solo apartment dance parties in the coming months. 

Dig in!



*I can't be certain, but it was probably Double Door that hosted the first show of theirs that I saw. And though my memory is fuzzy, it feels like they played Double Door a few times in quick succession before branching out to other venues in Chicago. I think.
**While I have never been  fan of mainstream bands who constantly recycle and re-release old albums everyone already own, I am finding Bandcamp to be invaluable when it comes to older bands who never got the due they deserved finally getting their music heard! And while The Features did garner some acclaim, this earlier recording really captures why they garnered label interest in the first place.
***Not knowing, um, it might have been sore spot for them at the time. Sorry! 
****When "33⅓" came on I literally screamed in joyous surprise, not having heard the tune in forEVer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

New year, same new you!


Usually I would view the second half of December like most do, as a time when things slow down and you reflect on the previous year. But after the last couple of years, that kind of reflection feels gratuitous to me. I don't know about you, but I've spent well over three years reflecting and don't really need that specific window of time for that particular exercise any more.

Speaking of, who has "more exercise" on their list of resolutions? All of you? That's cool, me too.*

Anyway, yeah; I have spent so much time reflecting, I'm no longer always certain what's an actionable discovery and what's a clarification of a particular lens of recall that needs to be acknowledged or filed away as a new discovery but not acted upon. So I spend a lot of time mulling. A lot of mulling around here.

But we all do mark time, and we still view the beginning of another year as a chance at "starting over" all over again, and I've come to realize that's not a flaw in our thinking, but a survival mechanism. From my personal experience, even though any time is a great time to start a positive habit our new behavior, it's much harder to start something at zero without something else, some kind of event, to peg it to.

So I guess this is all a really roundabout way of saying that any time is a good time to make a resolution that positively impacts your life (and/or the world!), and if that time happens to fall at the beginning of a new year, then so be it!


*Despite my more mature stance on resolutions in general, I still retain the right to make "resolutionary" jokes ... if I ever make it back to the gym, that is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Everything old is new again, and I see blue skies ahead.


I have noticed a number of what I would consider "old school bloggers" returning to semi-regular posting after, for some, years of leaving those domains untended. My own little website still gets a healthy amount of traffic, which means people actually come here intentionally to read what I write. And I have long maintained I'd rather have a smaller audience that seeks out my work, than a massive audience that only accesses it as bits and bobs of information disseminated through various social media platforms. As those platforms degrade and buckle under their own weight, I believe people are thirsting for content that feels personal and well-thought out, as they grow ever wearier of content that feels more and more diffuse as it becomes less relatable since most social media platforms have evolved to perform best as outrage machines.* 

So bring back the old-timey blogs! Some of us never left, and everyone is welcome!


*While I have always viewed things like Substack and Medium as "nĂ¼-blogging," those outlets still seem to attract writers who think that 1000 words of content with very little meat that is designed for clicks instead of close reads, counts as a post; so many of those "bloggers" have revealed themselves to simply be pretty boring, in my humble opinion.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Bang Camaro returns with "Too Fast To Fall In Love!"


Bang Camaro is back, baby! The group popped onto the scene in the mid-aughts, pairing hard rock guitars threaded with hooks galore, with thundering drums and bass, and a multi-person choir of participants providing the vocals for each song. At the time, I wondered if it was just a joke gone too far, but after seeing the group live at Double Door in 2008 I realized they were the real deal: passionate about the music without even a hint of irony hiding in their approach.

The band disbanded (went on hiatus?) years ago, but when James Gunn used one of Bang Camaro's songs in his Peacemaker series, the group was inspired to quietly reconnect and start recording new music. And this week, the first fruits of their new labor became available, the hard-charging and anthemic "Too Fast To Fall In Love."

The band is hard at work on more new songs, and I'm told we should all keep an eye ion them in the coming months for news about their future endeavors, but since today is Bandcamp Friday, it's the perfect time to pick up the track for yourself, to tide you over as we all wait.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Rockin' My Turntable in 2021.


I don't think I ever waited this long in my life to post a "best of" list for a previous year, so clearly this is more for archival purposes than trying to hype any "recent" releases.* At the end of last year, I created a massive list of all the albums that either scored a 5 or higher ... and then never got around to winnowing it down to 20 albums, through there were a few attempts to narrow the list.

So this time around it was interesting to see a) just how many albums I'd considered had completely exited my memory and b) realize just how different my listening habits are than average (and most not-so-average) people. I mean, who listens to over 700 new releases in a year on top of whatever they decide to revisit form the recent or distant past between all that new music?! And 2021 was a lighter year for me!**

I've been a music critic on and off for over 30 years now, and have been at it pretty steadily for the last 20 of those years, but obviously the last few years threw the brakes pretty heavily on my output. And now I'm beginning to wonder if my music consumption habits even make sense anymore. Why listen to all these new releases when I'm no longer responsible for overseeing the arts and entertainment section of a prominent media outlet? These days I write either for myself or whenever I see something that would fit with Third Coast Review, so I'm no longer actually under any kind of pressure to listen to all this stuff or produce content about it. Y'know?

Yet here I am, still looking for something new every single day of the year. Maybe it would be easier if I was a specialist instead of a generalist, but I find more satisfaction in understanding the bigger picture than burrowing deep on a single niche activity, even if I am aware of and dig into those niche activities when it makes sense. Or if it just piques my personal curiosity! But I've always wanted to be a voice just about any listener of music could trust, so I've kept the parameters very, very, very wide when it comes to what I listen to and what I write about.

So here you go, the 20+ albums released in 2021 that I still think about and play almost a year later. It's less a wet snapshot of that year than it is a clearer photo of what things looked like after the emulsion finally dried and set in place. These are the albums whose presence remains vibrant and special in my little brain.
__________

Neal Francis
In Plain Sight

Neal Francis had been on the Chicago scene for quite a while, but since his segment was more jam and funk, I only became aware of him last year when a friend recommended In Plain Sight, an album rooted in '70s sounds, burnished by Dave Fridmann's distinctive production, and filled with hooks that won't leave your brain.



The Rare Occasions
Big Whoop

This was one of those blind listens that had me hooked in the first minute and only got better on repeated listens. New-wave power-pop for the new millennium? Yes, please!



Pony
TV Baby

This gets filed under big crunchy guitars with vocals that cut through the fray. It's also the kind of album I would have died for in the '90s. But hey, better late than never for my ears, right?



Superstate
Superstate

Graham Coxon's soundtrack to his graphic novel functions as a Coxon solo album, and pulls from both the guitar rockin' and club dancin' territories in his own musical conversation. I dare say it's even catchier and poppier than any recent releases by the more famous frontman he shares a band with from time to time.



Fur
When You Walk Away

Liily
TV or Not TV

More big guitar brash pop that locks in and won't let you go. When I met a Supergrass fan asking for new music to listen to today, these were the albums I'd suggest over the last year.



Sault
Nine

The less I know about Sault the greater my enjoyment of their mysterious and often sudden, unannounced releases. If you dig digging through the soul and funk dusties at your local record store, this is essential modern listening.



Hushdrops
The Static

I could write an entire essay on this album, and one day I might, but it is first and foremost one of the most powerful albums Hushdrops has released over their decades-long career. It is also the most tragic, sicne it features some of the final recordings including drummer Joe Camarillo before his tragic passing took his talents away from us far, far too soon.



Dazy
Maximumblastsuperloud: The First 24 Songs

This was a late-December release in 2021, and here we are in November of 2022, and I still dig it. So this one can't be accused of recency bias! But I could be accused as having a bias when I'm a sucker for massive walls of guitars that crush your ears even as the sunny and sweet melodies buried within the tornadoes of sound are some of the catchiest stuff you'll hear this, or last, year.



Daniel Romano
Cobra Poems

I got lost in the rabbit hole that was the astounding number of wildly varied releases Daniel Romano has put out over the last few years. But Cobra Poems was masterpiece of that productive era. Romano and his collaborators create the sort of organic good-time rock that begs to be played in tight quarters for a sweaty, adoring audience. In a year marked by almost no live shows I felt were safe enough to attend, this was the album I'd thrown on when I wanted to pretend I was hearing a band at a most excellent house party.



Cheekface
Emphatically No.

Sharp, taut songs. Incisive, deliciously witty speak-sung lyrics. And yes, I did see them play in 2021, so can confirm they are a highly entertaining live band, though I was half-expecting them to be revealed as simply a sharply funny studio band. This was my go-to all through 2021 (and 2022!) whenever I just needed a smart mood-lightener.



Tamar Berk
the restless dreams of youth

Old Joy
Trash Your Life

To me, these are both Chicago acts—despite Tamar Berk moving to the West Coast years ago—that reveal a lot about different generations of musicians in our little scene. Berk and Old Joy's Alex Reindl both craft deeply personal music that also just happens to explode with musical energy, Which is to say, they both rock. So when I say these albums reveal a lot about the different generations, I think it's revealing how much they have in common, and not any vast differences.



Nous Alpha
A Walk In the Woods

Ohr
Walk In The Light

Both of these albums are largely instrumental, lightly psychedelic, wholly engrossing, and absolutely dependable metal escapes to another dimension on days this world can seem too dark and/or heavy. The less said te better, as I think these only work if you make your own connections to the music. My words will only complicate that process. I know, weird for a music critic to say, but sometimes less context leads to greater appreciation. See also: Sault.



Danko Jones
Power Trio

The first time I saw Danko Jones play was the late '90s. And I thought he was ridiculously loud and ridiculously fun. Over two decades later, Jones and crew are still managing to mine 3-chord combinations and turn them into deliriously dependable party rockers. 



Bo Burnham
Inside (The Songs)

I played this album a LOT. Clearly it was a coping mechanism. But it's also really quite good. So some may want to file this under "comedy" but it is 100% a pop album.



Naked Raygun
Over the Overlords

Liz Phair
Soberish

Two Chicago legends returned in 2021. Naked Raygun released an amazing album no one would've expected from a band after decades of no new LPs, but holy heck this is an incredibly solid, and enjoyable album! And Liz Phair never stopped releasing music, and every couple of years we get a "she's returning to her roots" press cycle that never quite pans out, but this time around she came through. However in this case, "returning to her roots" just meant "recording what I want to and saying it how I want to, again." 




Turnstile
Glow On

Look, we all know this band is basically Jane's Addiction plus 311, but it's the best bits of both, so this ended up being an incredibly enjoyable, if unexpected, album last year. Obviously this last year has shown I am not in the minority when it comes to liking what this band is laying down.



Saint Motel
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Dayglow
Harmony House

These are both rock albums from pop bands making albums that sound like rock albums. Wait, that's confusing. These are both bands that sound like they go into the studio to write their albums, meaning the music is at the forefront and individual band member identities are completely obscured. In one way, these both sound like artifacts from a different time, when a band like INXS was a rock band. These days y'all are stuck with Maroon 5 as a "rock" band. So these groups prove all is not lost on that front, quite yet. 



Psymon Spine
Charismatic Megafauna

NRCSSST
NRCSSST

These are both great albums. And I've bought both on vinyl.But I'd be lying if I didn't admit the greatest draw for both of these lies in the simple fact they're carrying LCDS- and DFA-influenced sounds into a new era—minus the baggage, so it's twice as fun. Pickle the Kitten is not a fan of either, since their beats mean a kitty dance party with dad is soon approaching.

>


Pearl Charles
Magic Mirror

The spirit of Laurel Canyon called and Pearl Charles answered. And then Charles messed with the formula—even throwing in a dash of ABBA sparkliness to keep everyone on their toes—and shook the Canyon-sound cobwebs off in favor of a more glistening, '00s approach.



Magdalena Bay
Mercurial World

I debated removing this entry after their "deluxe reissue" of this album came out this year, and managed to actually hurt the legacy of the album in my own head. But the original release was super fun, and buoyed me through some dark days, so once I remembered that (and that I was being a bit of a complainer) I realized that as a singular piece, this LP still slaps.****



BONUS ENTRY!!!

Bull
Discover Effortless Living

It's less impressive this year when the band Pavement is actively touring, but when I heard this last year it was the first thing in YEARS that I'd heard that even came close to the classic Pavement grooves of yore. 



*OK, last year I waited until September. I swear I'll get the 2022 list up earlier. How could I not?!
**I'm already past the 740 albums mark this year and it's still October, if that gives you an idea.***
***Actually this draft was started in October. As of today, when I finished and published this, it's around 800 albums. But things slow down at the end of the year—thank gawd—as reissues, greatest hits, box sets, and holiday music clog the ol' inbox.
****I think that may be the first time I've used the terms "slaps" in a piece? Which means it is definitely outdated by now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thankful.

It's been a while, huh? I've been busy, how about you? Busy in a good way, don't worry.

In the U.S., tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I do have a lot to be thankful for. I may still be pretty isolated, but I've grown closer with the small handful of people I talk with regularly. And I've even made it out and met a few new people! After a long hiatus I started dating again, so that's been interesting. The biggest difference from the last time I was "out there?" At my age I'm discovering that when there are no immediate sparks but you both still find each other interesting when you meet in person, non-romantic but rewarding friendships can actually develop from a simple coffee date!

So that's been nice.

But mostly it's been work, walks, work, and quality time with Pickle the Kitten. Oh! And Andor! But shhhhh....I haven't had a chance to watch the season finale yet, so no spoilers!

Friday, November 04, 2022

Ne'er-do-well could justifiably call themselves Always-do-awesome on 'Fun Days.'

Photo by TLC
While I encourage you to dig deep and follow your interests as you scan Bandcamp for purchases this Bandcamp Friday, I am throwing my own personal recommendation behind a single release, the debut EP from one-man-band Ne’er-do-well, Fun Days.

This EP has been continuously replayed since I received it, partially because I'm convinced there's some sort of mystery at the core to figure out, but mostly because it's just stunning in its execution.

And this EP is all over the place! The songs go from Midwestern rawk, to glam metal, to full-on emo, back to Midwestern brawn, and all the things in-between. I can already hear you saying, "So what?" But the songs LITERALLY completely change genres from tune to tune. As in, it sounds like 5 genuine bands were put together to create the 5 songs on this EP, yet from what I can tell, every single sound is created by a single person, Bryan Rolli.

I can't figure out if Rolli's showing off his ridiculously accomplished range and internalized grasp of multiple genres, or if he just writes in whatever genre fits the song in his head. And the EP plays like an incredibly condensed concept album, but after trying to pin down exactly what the concept was—at one point I was trying to match the songs to the 5 stages of grief, on the off chance that would help unlock some deeper meaning—I've comfortably settled into simply enjoying the album even as I sit in awe at Rolli's flexibility and authenticity.

If Rolli was on stage, I'd imagine him wearing a sleeveless black t-shirt with silver piping, a flannel tied around his waist over blinding neon multi-colored spandex flowing down his legs and into a pair of weathered combat boots, all topped off with a haircut featuring bangs that fall perfectly over one eye or the other as he shakes his head to and fro, singing energetically as he slashes his guitar strings. 

However you imagine the artist in your own mind's eye, or whatever your personal taste in music might be, this is an EP I think will floor just about anyone who hears it, once they realize all these different, fully realized worlds of sound flow forth from a single person.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Getting ahead of ye olde year end list.

I'm testing out a new process right now...

This year I've tried to get a little ahead of the game and have been randomly selecting albums in my pretty long "best of 2022 consideration list" to listen to and see if they are still in the running. If one gets played and is no longer a clear contender I'm deleting it in the hope of culling the list down to a manageable size ahead of time instead of swimming in a sea of 100+ releases and trying to figure it all out at the same time. 

So far, so good! And it will hopefully help me avoid the situation I find myself in right now ... which is rushing to get my best of 2021 list up before the end of 2022!

Actually the 2021 list is made, and most of the formatting and embeds are done, so I'm hoping to get that incredibly delinquent list up this week.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Take a journey with Broke Royals' Local Support.'


For this in the know, the phrase "the latest Broke Royals album Local Support is produced by Bartees Strange," is probably enough for most people to give this a spin. I've struggled with the album myself—the first four songs are hard-charging gems I want to turn up to 11 and dance around to, but the album's swift and extended shift into a lower gear from track five onward was, well, so abrupt I had a hard time figuring out why they didn't just release 2 EPs instead of an LP with such a clear bifurcation of sounds.

But hey, that's why we sit on things we don't immediately understand, right? Despite the apparent binary approach to the album's music, I still found myself putting it on again and again ... and again. And any time I had the urge to "just make it into an EP for me" I realized the second half of the album still got full listens from me, no skips.

Sometimes you just have to let go in order to start to fully understand something, so I now view this LP as being front-loaded with bait so tasty you just have to keep listening, and once that hook is in, the remaining music feels like its more transportive to another state of mind than the speed bump it might initially be read as. This is the album Broke Royals intended to make, and you've just gotta trust them and allow its' charm to take grip.

Monday, October 24, 2022

It's WILD how much I love 'ILYSM,' and I think you will too.


Over the years I have built up a healthy resilience to what I view as bands overly-hyped by segments of the music press, but I've also always maintained that any band can surprise me at any given time, so I never write them off entirely. So that's how I came to order the latest release from Wild Pink on vinyl—one listen and it became obvious to me this was the album I think everyone had been describing in the past, but the band hadn't yet accomplished. But this LP is a real thing of beauty, and fits firmly in the "you've gotta listen to the whole thing, every time it starts playing" category for me.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

That scene where two people are running in the rain/sunny field/crowded concert venue, finally finding each other.


Lissie is one of those artists I've followed for years that seemingly always bubbled just under the surface, always working hard and putting in the time, and I respect that. But she keeps my attention because she's routinely displayed true flashes of brilliance, and the first time I heard "Hearts On Fire" all I could think was, "This should be the soundtrack to every scene in a teen dramedy when the star-crossed lovers' fates finally align and race to be in each other's embrace!"

Also? The song just really makes me happy.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Snag this now, and I'll explain later.

The Backset Lovers is a band I think may be about to explode (in the really good way). So while I await the release of their major label debut—something that still feels weird to type about a good band in the year 2022—to share my thoughts on it with you in more detail, I highly recommend you snag their 2018 debut EP and get a little taste of their sound. I recommend this EP because a) it's free! and b) it's really good, and feels more like the precursor to the new album than the one other LP the band has released in the interim.

Consider this your advance notice to do your homework and get ready for what I think is a pretty remarkable album, Waiting To Spillcoming atcha October 28.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Dear me! Have you checked out Dear Boy yet?

Photo by Jonathan Weiner
Somehow managing to drift easily amidst multiple similar swim lanes between Britpop and clearly American sounds like Bishop Allen or Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Dear Boy's debut Forever Sometimes is a fresh and clear sound I've been thirsting for! The L.A. quartet combines crisp hooks and sunny melodies that had me doodling sunshine raybeams and smiley hearts all over the cover of my Trapper Keeper. Which, to my mind, is the appropriate response in the face of something both new and timeless.

Check it out, and don't forget this week has a Bandcamp Friday in it if you're interested in your own copy of this fabulous LP!

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Taking a breath to reflect.

This morning I stepped outside at my normal waking hour and found myself slightly depressed by the fact it was still dark outside, but the clocks turn back soon and sunshine will return to my mornings. This year I'm more bothered by the evening's curtain falling in the late afternoon, since if I don't get out for a lunchtime walk I kinda depend on the lowering sun to recharge before the end of the day.

Man, my schedule and way of looking at the world is so completely different than it was before I intentionally began to slow things down in 2019. I was in a non-stop activity loop, and barely paid attention to stuff like "the outdoors" and "mental health" and "pacing yourself." My life is much less exciting these days, but at least I stopped doing damage to myself (and other people)—such a pace inevitably extracts a heavy toll at some point. Even from those that seem unstoppable. So I'm grateful for the reframing my life has undergone, even if the circumstances that led to it were extremely painful. But I've learned a lot over the past couple years, and look forward to applying what I've learned to the outside world, so I'm hoping all that pain is worth it in the long run. I think it will.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

30 years now vs 30 years then.


When I was a teenager, the notion of a rock band lasting 30 years was still a hypothetical. Literally no "rock" band had lasted that long! I mean, The Who and The Rolling Stones were both still going, but their albums delivered sharply diminishing returns through the '80s (with The Who faring slightly better due to having a single primary songwriter who was restless in his own solo work). And my senior year of high school saw both those bands rolling across the planet on massive world tours—The Who's guest-star-studded Tommy tour and the Stone's slowly rusting Steel Wheels tour—that mostly mined material from much earlier periods of both bands' careers for their setlists.

But hey, no band had ever lasted that long yet, so what could you expect, right?

So it's kinda fun to me that these days as newer bands from that time are coming up on their own 30th anniversaries, they're often releasing albums as good as—and sometimes even better—than the ones during their original glory years.* And most of those bands touring play with a fire and passion that keeps them fro falling into some modern-day nostalgia circuit.

Turns out you need neither burn out NOR fade away after all!

Friday, September 23, 2022

Spotted in the wild—ME!

Photo by Joseph Harnish
I've largely been a hermit for ~2.5 years, so it's still a bit of a shock to see a recent photo of me that wasn't taken by me!

I was standing in the back of a packed crowd for GWAR last Saturday at Riot Fest—two of my friends ventured a little closer but I'd found a spot I knew my height wasn't blocking anyone's sight—when I saw a bright, purplish light appear to the side of me. But after a decade-plus shooting bands in the photo pit, it takes a lot to actually get me to look at a distraction when I'm framing a photo at a show, even if only on my phone. But once I got my shot I looked to my left and there was my friend Joe, grinning from ear to ear, a smile I quickly matched when I realized it was Joe!

And that's the story of the first photo of me by another human in quite a while. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Tuscadero resurfaces!

Tuscadero used this promo photo for forever if I recall correctly. Photo by Will Weems.
One of the more pleasant byproducts of our current era in music is the ability for unsung or under-recognized bands from decades past to get their music back out there. Olds like me get a chance to snag some things that were either long lost to history or provide a new glance into what the band was doing at the time. And everyone else? I'm guessing most have no clue who is and isn't active when they're streaming music, so it reintroduces bands to the cultural conversation after sitting on ice for a while.

At the beginning of the pandemic I had started planning a whole series covering these resurfacing groups, and those plans never died so much as they just kept getting shunted aside. So while this isn't technically part of the series I planned, maybe it'll spur me to start sharing more of these discoveries with you.

Tuscadero was a band out of the D.C. area that could be both twee as all get out and muscular as fuck when they played live. I saw them a few times and watched them grow from a shaky but fun indie act into an excellent live act that could could command a room and still feel more nuanced even as the volume of the music increased. 

Tuscadero pretty much disappeared after their Major Label debut, and I always suspected their years on the indie Teen-Beat label were probably more fun for the band. Maybe if I was smarter I would've asked them that when I interviewed them in the mid-'90s for one of the Chicago dates they played. For a while they were one of my favorite bands, and I still return to their albums every once in a while. But I never expected to hear from Tuscadero ever again.

But then!

This morning I stumbled across a live release from the band's 1996 tour, which might've been the tour I interviewed them on (though I am having a hard time remembering, and the UIC newspaper digital archives for that era don't exist). But more importantly it clued me into the fact that Tuscadero had a Bandcamp page and there was music there I'd never heard before! It appears the group is sharing their early Teen-Beat EPs and singles for now, so if you are new to the band I would HIGHLY recommend starting with those.* But the 1996 NYC show below is a brand new discovery of a time capsule for me, containing a nice overview of their material as the band was starting to stretch beyond their original comfort zone. 

A word of caution to set context—this is a show recorded at an indie club in the '90s. Back then, most of the time, if you wanted a live recording you just patched into the soundboard. And that seems to be the source of this recording. So this doesn't sound like you might now expect a professionally recorded gig these days, and it misses some of the more nuanced bits with the flatter board mix, but to my ears it's a glorious revisiting of a different time. And it brings back all the feels. Hopefully we'll hear more from the band, but if not this was a nice coda for me.



*In fact, I'm reasonably sure someone at Teen-Beat started the Tuscadero Bandcamp page, but I'm not 100% certain. I don't really care who started it as long as it gives other people a chance to fall in love with this little band too!