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.