Rubber Blanket Offers Good Times

Made up of members of Wounded Lion and the Intelligence, it makes sense that Rubber Blanket would fall into my wheelhouse. Their latest tune certainly fines itself with some lineage to classic horror punk sounds like The Cramps, though this takes up more of an anti-pop approach, making it altogether more frightening. Don’t fret, there’s still some little joyful quirks lurking in the contents, like the dual vocal moments or the emphatic syllable bounce in certain words. It borders on being too smart for its own good, but hopefully the members other association will help guide the way. If you enjoy it, Our Fault is out June 29th via Mt. St. Mtn.

Last Week’s Jams, Today (9.26 – 9.30)

Hitting our stride last week, or so it seemed. We wrapped up the week streaming tons of records we’d been jamming, plus new stuff out on Friday from Gold Star, Midwestern Medicine, Matching Outfits and more. Personally, I got stuck on that Melby tune, wondering what it would take to make them huge in the US. And, since we got to spin some records, we’ve also got some upbeat numbers sent our way by Fujiya & Miyagi, Certain Times and No Zu. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone, so like us, its all over the place. Happy Monday.

The Intelligence Share My Work Here Is Dumb

The latest album from The Intelligence officially drops this Friday (though rumor has it you can stream it early!), so the band brought out one more single to get you in the groove. Sure, you can hear some of the slanted angular sounds in the stuttering guitar work throughout, but in that, you also get to hear a bit of the band’s infatuation this go round with Lee Scratch Perry; there’s this slightly low-end groove, like an anti-groove groove; your body’s not sure if it should dance, spasm or what, always being kept off balance. I just love a band that still surprises, so I’ll surely be jamming to Lil’ Peril when it drops Friday courtesy of Mt. St. Mtn.

The Intelligence Share Keyed Beamers + Announce Lil Peril

Every time I listen to the Intelligence, I just run this gamut of self-doubt. Am I cool enough to listen to this band? Will I even really get at what they’re doing? Somehow, I always end up gravitating towards a cliche Wayne’s World “we’re not worthy” moment…which again, seems to suffice with the newest single. It’s this disorienting piecemeal tune, bits of sticky cymbal work, primal electronic pulses, with Lars Finberg crafting his poetic lines so as to weave around the amps like a jumbled pile of chords. Then the song stutters, only to shriek back into place, plodding along with more texture, seemingly, only to remind us that we need to check our expectations of rock n’ roll at the door. With this jam comes great news; the band will release Lil’ Peril via Mt. St. Mtn. on September 30th.

The Intelligence Share Celebration Radio

We hadn’t heard from the Intelligence since their 2019 LP Un-Psychedelic in Peavey City, and this single crept up on us kind of out of nowhere. Starting off with an acoustic strum, the song moves quickly into a more angular craft, with bass ambling along in the background, lurking with the rhythm section. For me, the vocals and the drums are the standout, with Lars’ voice rolling and climbing over all the notes, making his way up the mountain created by the drumming; it feels like the drums are just hurtling this steady stream of boulders upon us, forcing us to dodge and duck, locked into the tune’s propulsive nature. You’ll find this hit on a new 7″ courtesy of Leisure World Tapes.


Lars Finberg Shares Satanic Exit

While Lars Finberg is most likely associated with the Intelligence (and deservedly so) and A Frames, his solo work seems to be taking on this incredible life of its own. This track from his forthcoming record is not quite a rocker, but not quite an electronic eargasm…it’s somewhere happily inbetween. Slight percussive upticks effectively change the tempo, but Finberg stalks through the song like some circus ringleader, orchestrating this sort of brilliant post-punk fuzz rock. Plus, just as a big fuck you to us all, he throws down a rocking 25 seconds to close the song out. This tune appears on the forthcoming Tinnitus Tonight, out November 27th by Mt. St. Mtn.

Here’s Another New Tune from The Intelligence

intelligenceI think the older I get, the more I really fall in love with the Intelligence. I was a casual fan when I first came upon them, but their last album, and the sounds from this new record are pretty exciting. There’s a tendency for me to call this photo-punk, but really the latest single is just fast paced rock n’ roll, with some momentary lapses into guitar experiments and angular stabs. Their new effort, Vintage Future, is being released on September 25th via In the Red, so prepare yourself for another excellent musical journey.

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Welcome Return for The Intelligence

intelligenceIt’s been a hot minute since we last heard from The Intelligence, the band that always shifts and changes sounds between albums, whilst always sounding every bit like themselves.  They’ve just returned with this new single, and while there’s about 20 seconds of goofing around in the studio, as soon as the bass line begins to groove, you’re caught in the perfect mix of a steady rocker. They even bring in part-time Thee Oh See, Brigid, to add a nice vocal contrast to the tune.  Probably one of the bands I feel are the most underrated, so I look forward to their new effort, Vintage Future, which hits on September 25th via In the Red.

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Top Albums of 2012: 50-1

Here it is.  I know you’ll hate it; I know you’ll disagree, but that’s not the point in making an arbitrary list.  We here at ATH worked really hard to fit in the tastes of the four of us, and when we decided upon our Top 50, it really boied down to simple math.  What albums did we love when they came out?  Do we still enjoy spinning those records months later? If they’re in the Top 50, then the asnwer is probably yes.  I mean, our Top 2 records came out in January, and still play a vital part in my weekly listening.  There’s no disclaimer here.  We are who we are, we like what we like, and we hope that’s okay with you. If not, drop us a line and let us know where we went wrong.

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The Intelligence – Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me

Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s been almost two years since Males, the last record from the Intelligence came out, so I of course welcomed a return to the fold with Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me (In the Red Records).  It’s all over the place, in the best way possible of course, giving listeners everything you need to enjoy listening to an album from start to finish.

Listening to “I Like LA,” the album’s opener, I feel as if group leader Lars is having a pleasant go with the listener, slowly introducing himself to the world all over again; for the most part, it is an introductory type song, that is until the band joins him in a heavy-handed rocking until the end.  Oddly, it’s the diversity of this track that really sets the scene for the rest of Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me. Just as soon as you think you have the feel for what the group’s doing, you get the jittery “Hippy Provider;” it’s short and jagged, but it’s the sort of song you expect to see hordes of fans pogoing about in their favorite club.

It all seems like fun and games for the Intelligence, until you arrive at “Techno Tuesday,” the group’s latest single.  It’s not your conventional hit, but I feel that it is one of the more accessible tracks the group’s written to date; the heavy strumming with Finberg’s vocals floating over is perfect for fan’s of early Shins–even has a similar bounce.  It’s similar to the garage ballad that comes later via “Little Town Flirt,” which is a Del Shannon cover–it also features Shannon (of Clams and Hunx/Punx fame).  Throwing these sorts of mellower tunes definitely propels the record’s longevity, breaking things up for the audience.

Of course the meat and potatoes of Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me has to be the edgy rock leaning of the band.  You’ll find it lurking in the stylistic approaches of all the songs, but the power lives in songs like “(They Found Me in the Back of) the Galaxy.  While it starts off with a similar riff (one of my few complaints about the record), the guitar work throughout provides a sense of creativity and juxtaposition, all the while sounding as tight as you’ve heard the group.  These are the sort of attributes the Intelligence is known for, and they’re exhibited left and right on this effort.

By the end you’ll find yourself with two long-ish jams, with “Fidelity” remaining my personal favorite. Sure, the lyrics define some of the heartbreak Lars has endured, but the emotional quality of the song supersedes the thematic element.  Eventually, it blasts off into sort of a cacophonous melody, hopefully highlighting a transcendence for Mr. Finberg.  It’s precisely the type of bookend you need for a great record, again recapping the diversity that lives within.  Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me is filled with artful rock n’ roll, but there’s enough of a mixture that moves the group beyond falling into the trap of sounding too redundant.  I’m sure after your first listen, you’ll feel the same.


Download:The Intelligence – (They Found Me In The Back Of) The Galaxy [MP3]

Also, if you want an excellent read on Lars’ thoughts on the album, had over to Finest Kiss for a great interview/explanation now!

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