I’m sure that Bad Moves wrote their latest single long before we found ourselves in this situation, but it definitely seems an appropriate hit for this world pandemic. It could just as easily work for our current political regime; we’ve all just been overwhelmed for the last four years. But, great music can set us all free! Enter Bad Moves, who seem to acknowledge that even at the world’s end we’re all still capable of having a good time. This is perhaps my favorite thing about the group, and always has been; they write these joyous pop tunes, disguising their messaging in the lyrics…you can be angry and still write a hook! Their new album Untenable will be out on 6/26 via Don Giovanni.
One of the albums on my radar, is the forthcoming South Somewhere Else LP from Nana Grizol, and it seems like the album’s title track kind of slipped by me. On first listen, the song is really all about Theo Hilton’s steady vocal delivery; his voice seems to march in step with the chugging of the guitar lines with thematic references to the narrative of growing up in the South and finding your own footing. For me, however, I’m a sucker for arrangements, even the most obvious ones. Here, you get a fuzzy distorted guitar solo and blossoming horn arrangements fleshing things out; it’s like this joyous burst building buoyancy into fabric of the tune. The new LP will be out on June 19th via Arrowhawk Records/Don Giovanni.
Attention everyone! Bad Moves are back with a brand new LP! If I were to pick an underrated band I try to turn folks onto, this is that band. They’ve gotten some love, sure, but I’m really hoping that this new record puts them in the little big leagues. I don’t know about you, but this song comes at the perfect time; it’s filled with this natural sense of joyousness, even though the subject matter is rather bleak. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of the American answer to the Spook School, spinning pop spiderwebs around serious subjects, filling your brain with infectious hooks and anthemic choruses. Untenable will be out on May 27th via Don Giovanni.
There’s something about Athens, Georgia that breeds these incredible bands that go overlooked for far too long. Sure, there’s that one label everyone loves to bring up…and its truly great, but I’m thinking about acts like the Glands…or perhaps Nana Grizol. I stumbled into picking up a copy of Ruth way way back, but totally fell in love with Ursa Minor. It sounded a lot like Beulah, particularly the inclusion of the horn work; still, there was this punk rock attitude in there too, which of course I gravitated towards. It’s really nice to hear that come through in a huge way too on this latest single from their forthcoming LP; there’s an earnestness that will always makes me want to punch-dance across my living room while wearing the hugest shit-eating grin. South Somewhere Else is out on Arrowhawk/Don Giovanni on June 19th.
There aren’t a whole lot of artists that I think are universally revered, but I know that Jeffrey Lewis has long been one such musician, at least in the circles I run about. He’s a wordsmith at heart with this dry sense of self-deprecating (for mankind) humor, with some similarities to the likes of John Darnielle mentioned often. His new album will be handled under the name of Jeffrey Lewis & the Voltage; the Voltage seems apt as there’s definitely some sonic oomph added to this first single; Lewis’ role is much as it’s always been, all the way down to his deliver, but that energetic blast is an interesting twist…or at least one I never noticed before for some reason. Lewis has found himself a US home for the release of Bad Wiring, dropping on November 1st via Don Giovanni.
Great pop rock comes few and far between, but it definitely seems like a lot of it has been coming from Mal Blum in the last few months, building anticipation for the release of Pity Boy. It’s a pretty classic formula with verse chorus verse etc, but dammit if this chorus won’t get stuck in your head all day long; I love the infectiousness that begs for a sing-a-long in the live set. The subject matter seems deals with the narrator feeling invisible, which could relate to Mal Blum or not; I’m sure we’ve all felt that way at times, unfortunately. Jus another reason to connect to Pity Boy; it drops Friday via Don Giovanni.
A few weeks ago Mal Blum released “I Don’t Want To;” it was a pretty insatiable pop number, but that’s not what you’re going to get on this new track. This one is more of a slow burner, building the tension with careful percussion and an almost muted guitar throughout. At the 3:30 mark the tension is finally released with a noisy crash of guitars and pounding drums, but as quickly as it appears, it recedes, slowly grinding the track to a close. Lyrically, it’s not overly verbose, using simplicity to tie in the greater life choices the protagonist has to make through the entirety of the song/record. Look for Pity Boy on July 12th via Don Giovanni.
It seems Don Giovanni has their finger on some of the most energetic pop rock out there; they brought me Bad Moves and now they’re giving us a new LP from Mal Blum, which sounds pretty awesome so far. Lyrically this song seems to be about personal acceptance, on the surface that deals with saying no when you “don’t want to.” Somehow the song seems to operate on deeper levels, but the catchy hooks seem to disguise this behind anthemic delivery and huge pop riffs. I love that serious issues are being woven into the exhilaration of a good pop rock tune; you can think and be deep, yet still have a ball. Look for Pity Boy on July 12th.
Don Giovanni has pretty reliable tastes, and it looks like the label has secured another success story, today announcing the debut LP from Weakened Friends. Founding member, Sonia Surino has this incredibly distinctive voice; it almost seems like a nervous tick, almost something primal and uncontrollable. This lends itself well to the band, as you can feel the passion in her delivery, often times culminating in the crashing of cymbals and distortion. There’s a little polish after the minute and a half mark, giving a nostalgic nod to 90s college radio classics. Look for Common Blah to drop on October 19th.
Out of the ashes of Joanna Gruesome rises the phoenix, and that phoenix is Ex-Void. They spend the first minute rocking like they picked up exactly where they left off, blending heavier guitar tendencies with pop sensibility. But, once they hit that minute, the group lets the poppier aspect take residence in the tune. The chorus is definitely a winner, featuring matching female/male harmonies and twinkling guitar chords. This track is the lead number off their new S/T single, aiming for release on May 11th via Don Giovanni.