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!