Seeing as I love Screaming Females, I was super excited to hear that Marissa Paternoster would be releasing her debut solo effort; we got news today that Peace Meter will be out via Don Giovanni on December 3rd. On the opening single, we get Marissa marching through a cemetery as she repeats the chorus of “your feathers soaked in blood.” The imagery is striking, but what really hits home is the construction of the song as a whole. There’s this patience that’s evolved in Pastnoster’s songwriting, based on this calmed guitar strum, allowing her to maximize this huge wall of emotion; it’s buoyed by the production and added arrangements from Andy Gibb (of Thou). It’s a pretty powerful opening statement from a record we’re sure to adore.
This great video from Evan Greer for “The Tyranny of Either/Or” dropped yesterday for Trans Visibility Day; I failed her, as I mostly work at night and didn’t see it until putting my kid down; I’m sorry. But, this song has so many levels to it that I can’t even really begin to explain. First, it’s great pop punk; it does what great pop does, putting an important lyrical message in a pop package for the masses. Second, the video is a history lesson, an important one on the continuing struggle for trans folk. Third, I teach kids, several of whom are celebrating their own trans lives, and it pains me to know how alone they are in virtual learning, so all I can do is encourage them to use their pronouns and refuse to deadname them if I need to talk to their parents; I’ve got to be on their side. So yeah. The song rips. It’s on the new LP, Spotify is Surveillance, out April 9th via Get Better Records and Don Giovanni.
Supercrush is a super group of sorts, crafted from folks who spent the majority of their time in metal/punk acts…but here they’re going pop! Honestly, while I know they’re looking to make SODO Pop this classic power-pop sound, and it is such, it also kind of reminds me of those grunge pop bands of the mid 90s like Ash or Superdrag. What you get on this vision is a little bit more guitar solo and a touch more brevity, trying to pack this huge punch in a succinct tune…and, of course, its fun! Don Giovanni will drop SODO Pop on October 9th.
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.