Wavves – You’re Welcome

Surf / garage punks Wavves (Alex Gates – guitar and vocals, Brian Hill – drums and vocals, Stephen Pope – bass and vocals, Nathan Winters – guitar and lead vocals) make no bones about what they think of their new record.  It’s entitled You’re Welcome.  It’s their gift to us, and we should be thankful for it.

Opener “Daisy” is all about wanting to make it with a cute girl, and the title track right after is an uplifting track.  Both are fuzzy and catchy and just the kind of carefree rock we need in these turbulent times.  The opening distortion on “No Shade” breaks into a wicked performance by the rhythm section and rips past you faster than a cute girl ignoring you as she runs late to the bus station.

“Million Enemies” has Wavves not caring about forces conspiring against them.  “I got enemies, a million enemies; but, baby, I’m feelin’ fine.”  The guitar solo on it is a great, squeaky mess.  I’m sure this song generates a lot of call-back singing when they play it live.  The bass on “Hollowed Out” is downright funky, and “Come to the Valley” is a love letter to Wavves southern California neighborhood. “Animal” has more great bass work, and “Stupid in Love” is a great title for a Wavves song because it sums up many of the themes in their work so well.  Wavves have always crafted catchy songs about the weirdness of love and attraction, and this fun pop-punk track is a prime example of their knack for such tunes.

“Exercise” isn’t so much about physical activity as it is about exercising your right to protest.  Lyrics like “Dancing while the world is burning down,” “I can’t believe the shit they feed to us,” and “They’re lying to our face.” only reinforce the belief.  “Under” is about how love can drag us down if we hold onto it too tight.  “Close your eyes, I’ll be whatever you want me to be…It builds until I can’t take it.  It bends and then you break it.”

“Dream of Grandeur” is about the hopes of a new relationship and quickly realizing those hopes were pipe dreams, and it’s appropriate that an album so heavy on themes of love and strange relationships ends with a track entitled “I Love You.”  It’s also appropriate that it sounds like a 1950’s jukebox favorite love song with its vocal harmonies and guitar strumming.

You’re Welcome is probably the most fun record about the weird world of love I’ve heard all year.  Thank them for it if you get the chance.

Keep your mind open.

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Melkbelly – Nothing Valley

Chicago post / noise-punk rockers Melkbelly (James Wetzel – drums, Bart Winters – guitar, Liam Winters – bass, Miranda Winters – guitar and vocals) are in no mood to take prisoners on their new full-length album Nothing Valley.

“Off the Lot” opens the album with a rapid-fire attack of Wetzel’s drums and angry guitar chords.  “Kid Kreative” brings to mind some of the Breeders‘ heavier tracks with Miranda Winters’ voice mixing post-punk attitude and garage rock urgency.

I don’t know what “R.O.R.O.B.” means, but I do know that it’s almost a goth rock classic.  Liam Winters’ bass line is one I’m sure Front 242 would love to have in their back pocket, and the rest of the band brings in a slightly creepy vibe you can’t ignore.  “Greedy Gull” has more angles to it than a 20-sided die.  The guitars are restless, but Wetzel’s drumming and Miranda Winters’ vocals keep the song rooted.

“Petrified” might indeed petrify you with its building wall of distorted sound.  By contrast, “Middle Of” will flatten you as it charges like an out of control steamroller.  “Twin Lookin’ Motherfucker” has great jagged guitar riffs throughout it.  “RUNXRN” chugs so hard it’s almost doom metal.  It abruptly ends, making the chaotic drums of “R2PCM” even more jarring.  At first, “Cawthra” sounds like a warped record (in a good way) and is an unexpected and welcome psychedelic diversion before it turns into a rock blitz.  I don’t know if “Helloween” is named after the German metal band, but the track is far more post-punk than metal (although some of the distortion in it would please any metal fan).  It’s also the longest track on the album at over five minutes.  This gives Melkbelly time to stretch their vocal and instrumental muscles in different directions, even dipping their toes into the goth pool for a couple moments.

This is one of my favorite rock records of the year.  I’ve been on a post-punk kick and Nothing Valley is a great addition to my collection.  It would be to yours as well.

Keep your mind open.

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Chicago’s NE-HI have a sharp new single – “Rattled & Strange.”

NE-HI ANNOUNCE NEW 7″, SHARE VIDEO FOR
“RATTLED AND STRANGE”

US TOUR CONTINUES WITH HEADLINE SHOWS AND DATES WITH WHITNEY, CHAD VANGAALEN, & MORE

Today, NE-HI announce a new 7″ featuring the songs “Rattled and Strange” and “Long Time,” and they share the video (a Weird Life Films production) for the former. “When you’re on the road as much as we are, it’s crucial to have something to occupy your time in between gigs,” says bassist James Weir. “As dive bar aficionados, the game of pool has become that activity. The ‘Rattled and Strange’ video is an homage to The Hustler sequel aka 1986 pool hall drama The Color of Money. The reason being that it’s about the combination of three of the Earth’s most revered treasures: the game of pool, Chicago, and Martin Scorsese.”

The 7″ is out November 3rd on Grand Jury, which happens to be the same week they launch their tour. This will include headline dates, as well as support slots for friends Whitney and Chad VanGaalen. The band also recently recorded a studio session for the AV Club, which can give fans an idea of what to expect on the upcoming dates. Watch it here, here, and here.

WATCH “RATTLED AND STRANGE” VIDEO / PRE-ORDER 7″
http://smarturl.it/nehi.rattled

NE-HI TOUR DATES
Wed. Oct. 18 – Urbana, IL @ Pygmalion Festival (Canopy Club)
Thu. Oct. 19 – Dekalb, IL @ The House Cafe w/ Surfer Blood
Sat. Oct. 28 – Gambier, OH @ The Horn Gallery (Kenyon College)
Thu. Nov. 2 – Chicago, IL @ Metro w/ Whitney, Mt. Joy (Red Bull 30 Days In Chicago)
Sat. Nov. 4 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag
Sun. Nov. 5 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
Wed. Nov. 8 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
Fri. Nov. 10 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern w/ Chad VanGaalen
Sun. Nov. 12 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Chad VanGaalen
Tue. Nov. 14 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
Wed. Nov. 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Satellite Club
Thu. Nov. 16 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Fri. Nov. 17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Sat. Nov. 18 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar
Sun. Nov. 19 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive
Tue. Nov. 28 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall w/ Whitney
Wed. Nov. 29 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater w/ Whitney
Thu. Nov. 30 – Minneapolis, MIN @ First Avenue w/ Whitney
Fri. Dec. 1 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room w/ Whitney
Sat. Dec. 2 – Davenport. IA @ Raccoon Motel
Sun. Dec. 31 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Twin Peaks

Canadian surf punks Bonnie Doon release new single – “Now or Neverish.”

Bonnie-Doon

BONNIE DOON – Now Or Neverish

Share new video and single “Now Or Neverish” – YouTube // Clash

Now Or Neverish’ is a hazy pot dream vision of surf rock, like Jan & Dean getting drunk and wolfing down poutine until the horizon starts to blur.”
– Clash Music

Ottawa’s Bonnie Doon wants you to enjoy their first full-length release Dooner Nooner as much as they enjoy sharing a poutine and chocolate shake 4 ways. The sludgy surf rock tunes captured on wax for the first time were inspired by actual events, such as the struggle of making it to brunch for noon and how it feels to brave a waterslide in a bikini. The album was recorded in the basement of Shoe Horn Audio and was largely fuelled by free coffee from the local McDix.

Dooner Nooner opens with “Haunted Life”, a doom-laced bass-driven throwdown that is guaranteed to cause a serious bang-over. “Pants and a Face” and “Panty Twister” give a fast and furious nod to punk goddesses Kleenex/Liliput and X-Ray Spex while “Sandy’s Song” is a tribute to Sandra the Car (AKA the Doon Buggy) that’s dipped in Bleue Dry and deep-fried in a psychedelic haze. The beach party continues with “Now or Neverish” a wavvvy spaghetti surf groove with lyrics that only a mother could love. “Ghost Story” gets weird as it weaves a tale of murder and eulogizes haunted taverns everywhere. The album closes with two long-time fan favorites, “Messy//Clean” and “B Hole”.

Dooner Nooner will rip your face off and put it back together albeit a bit messed up but totally best enjoyed with a hot pizza and a cool breeze.

Tour Dates:
Oct 6 – Oliver’s Pub, Ottawa ON
Oct 10 – House of Targ, Ottawa ON w/ Weaves
Oct 20 – Brasserie Beaubien, Montreal QC (Record Release)

Boonie Doon – Dooner Nooner (Bruised Tongue)
Boonie Doon Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BonnieDoon666/
BandCamp: https://bonniedoon.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bonniedoon666/

Northumbria – Markland

My wife and I were staying on the eighteenth floor of a downtown Toronto hotel while on vacation, and one night I could hear dark, heavy drone rock coming from…somewhere. It seemed to be coming out of the sky like the hum of UFO engines and up from the darkest parts of the city’s sewer system at the same time.

“Do you hear that?” I asked my wife. “I think someone’s playing some drone rock over at the plaza.”

“Is that what that is?” She asked.

It was Northumbria. To be specific, it was Dorian Williamson and Jim Feld playing a guitar and bass loud enough for us to hear it one block away and eighteen stories above the street. Furthermore, it wasn’t just noise. It was ambient, haunting waves of sound that immediately changed the feel of everything around you. Their new album, Markland, is an impressive journey through shadows and starlight.

Take the opening track, “Torngat,” for instance. They somehow manage to create guitars that sound like baritone saxophones. “Sunstone” is appropriate for druidic rituals and flying through a rainy street while hunting replicants. “The Night Wolves / Black Moon” is sure to freak out your dog (as it did mine) with its creepy sonics.

Thunder hails “Ostara’s Return,” which seems like the right way to start such a heavy and creepy track. “Still Clearing” does bring to mind an early morning on a beautiful glen, but there’s a hint of menace underneath it – as if the glen is haunted by a dark tragedy. I think the sun referred to in the title of “Low Sun I” is the setting sun, because it has a creepy dread to it.

That dread is amplified to near-horror movie soundtrack levels in “The Shoes of the Suffering Wind.” It evokes images of rocky shores, ship graveyards, and glistening fish-men rising from black depths in search of prey. “Low Sun II” is the soundtrack ofa tired army marching across a swamp for dry land before the sun sets on them. The beautiful “Wonderstrands” gets me thinking about string theory, and with “The Stars As My Guide” to end the album, I suppose that thought process shouldn’t surprise me. The final track is full of cosmic guitars that eventually whittle down to a lonely hiss not unlike an open communications link between a dead astronaut and mission control.

Another amazing aspect of this album is that there is no percussion in it. It’s all guitar and bass effects (as far as I know) and it’s never boring. Markland changes your perception of everything around you whether you’re across the room or eighteen stories above the street.

Keep your mind open.

[Don’t forget to subscribe before you go.]

Clutch to release limited picture discs for vinyl collectors and fans.

CLUTCH TO RELEASE LIMITED EDITION VINYL COLLECTOR PICTURE DISCS
THE FIRST IN THE SERIES “LIVE AT THE GOOGOLPLEX” OUT TODAY  
October 6th, 2017 – Clutch and Weathermaker Music have prepared three very special Clutch limited edition vinyl collector picture discs.  The first in the series, “Live At The Googolplex” will be available tomorrow.
Recorded in 2002 in Chicago, Montreal, Kansas City, and Columbus, OH.  “Live At The Googolplex”, like all three releases in the series will be the first time these releases will be available as a picture disc vinyl.
The next two releases in the series will be “Jam Room” (scheduled for release October 27th, 2017) and “Pitchfork & Lost Needles” (scheduled for release November 24th, 2017).
Weathermaker Music is releasing 3 limited edition picture discs” states frontman Neil Fallon.  “The first will be Live at the Googolplex.  That will be followed up by Jam Room and thenPitchfork and Lost Needles.  All feature art from the original releases.  For what it’s worth, I drew Medusa’s head for the Jam Room release.  With a pen.  And paper.  This is your chance to own a bit of art history”.
All 3 in the series will be available at all major vinyl outlets and is available to pre-order now at https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/clutch.
Clutch is set to embark on another leg of the Psychic Warfare World Tour 2017starting November 29th, 2017 and running through December 31st, 2017. All tour and ticket info can be found at:https://www.pro-rock.com.
Clutch is currently in the throes of working on new material for a 2018 release.
CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:

Live: Brian Wilson – South Bend, IN – October 03, 2017

My wife and I had missed Brian Wilson at Levitation Austin last year when the entire festival (and thus his performance) was cancelled due to bad weather.  I learned he and his band were touring the world and performing many Beach Boys tracks as well as all of their masterpiece, Pet Sounds.  I was determined to catch this tour and to hear such an important record played by the man who wrote it.  Luckily for me, Mr. Wilson brought his show to a theatre less than an hour’s drive from my house.

He had a killer backing band that included one of the founding Beach Boys – Al Jardine – and another Beach Boys guitarist – Blondie Chapman, and they opened with the the classic “California Girls.”

Other treats included Wilson having a fun time singing “I Get Around,” a lovely rendition of “In My Room,” and Al Jardine’s son doing a great job on the vocals for “Don’t Worry, Baby.”

The highlight of the night, of course, was hearing Pet Sounds played from beginning to end.  I’d been humming “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” all day leading up to the show and the band nailed it right out of the gate to open the second half.  “Sloop John B” was a crowd favorite, and I forgot about the two fine instrumentals on the record.

Wilson got a standing ovation for “God Only Knows,” and “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” seems rather relevant today.  The encore started with “Good Vibrations.”  When Wilson asked, “Did you come here for bad vibrations?”  I briefly hoped the Black Angels would come on stage, but it was fun to hear the best psych-surf ever written live.

Other hits like “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and “Surfin’ USA” followed, but Wilson ended the show, which he dedicated to his wife (It was her birthday that day.), the victims of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting, and Tom Petty, with the heartfelt “Love and Mercy.”

It was a lovely, fun show.  Wilson’s songs are so ingrained into American culture that you can sometimes forget how good and fun they are.  See this tour if you get the chance.  Wilson is getting up there in age, and sometimes needed a steadying hand to walk him to his piano.  He’s claimed this is the final time he’ll perform Pet Sounds, so don’t wait.

Keep your mind open.

Slowdive – self-titled

2017 has been a good year for shoegaze music because two legendary British shoegaze bands returned this year with excellent new material. One of these bands is RIDE, and the other is Slowdive (Nick Chaplin – bass, Rachel Goswell – guitar and vocals, Neil Halstead – guitar and vocals, Christian Savill – guitar, Simon Scott – drums).

Slowdive’s self-titled album is perhaps the lushest, loveliest record of the year. The opener, “Slomo,” immediately seems to lift you off the ground and send you into an idyllic sky with its floating guitars and ghostly vocals about “curious love.” The band has lost nothing in the last twenty years. They only seem to have improved on everything. The title of “Star Roving” (a song about sharing love even when it seems daunting) couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s a sonic blast that burns as bright as a comet.

Goswell’s vocals on “Don’t Know Why” start subtle but then the entire song opens like a flower and becomes a stunning piece about trying to escape the memories of a lover who has moved on to someone else. “Sugar for the Pill” was the first Slowdive had released in two decades, and it immediately set the music world on fire. It’s no surprise, because the song is stunning. Slightly goth bass, echoing guitars, lush synths, and smoky vocals about not being able to live up to a lover’s expectations all mix together to produce one of the prettiest songs of 2017.

“Everyone Knows” bursts with energy, whereas the follow-up “No Longer Making Time” is like a lovely walk through a morning fog that is lifted by the sunrise. Slowdive has mastered the art of making guitars both loud and soothing. “Go Get It” is a master course on how to put together a shoegaze song: shifting levels of distortion and reverb, solid drumming, and mysterious vocals.

The album ends with “Falling Ashes” – which is little more than a rain-like piano riff, subdued guitars, and quiet vocals (often repeating the album’s theme, “Thinking about love.”), but that’s all Slowdive needs to hold you in the moment.

I know most of this review is merely I saying, “This record is gorgeous,” but that’s the best way I can put it. Parts of it sound like Slowdive stepped out of a time machine from the 1990’s, but other parts of it are rich with new energy that’s hard to describe.

“Gorgeous” is the best word that comes to mind.

Keep your mind open.

[You’d be sweet as sugar to me if you subscribed.]

Flat Worms’ new single, “Pearl,” sure to melt your face.

FLAT WORMS ANNOUNCE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM,
OUT OCTOBER 20TH VIA CASTLE FACE

WATCH VIDEO FOR DEBUT SINGLE, “PEARL”
https://youtu.be/HA7AU95C_zU

 [photo credit: Cayal Unger]

Flat Worms announce their self-titled debut full-length album, due out October 20th via Castle Face. Today the band, comprised of Will Ivy (Dream Boys, Wet Illustrated, Bridez), Justin Sullivan (Kevin Morby, the Babies) and Tim Hellman (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Sic Alps) also share the Kevin M. Gossett directed video for lead single, “Pearl.”

Having already released a 7” on Volar, Flat Worms continue their ride on a buzzsaw wave of feedback-tipped riffs into the middle distance, smog choked sunset receding in the rearview, a thousand yard dead-pan surgically pinned to a high octane set of boredom energized punk pistons. Flat Worms – an ears-a-ringing missive from the end of the cul-de-sac, the mirage of direction wavering above a mid-sized American suburb at dusk, constellations bleached black by the sprawl. A little Wipers, a little Wire, and a lot of late-capitalist era anxious energy – Flat Worms scratch the itch quite nicely, we think.
Watch video for “Pearl” –
https://youtu.be/HA7AU95C_zU

Flat Worms Tracklisting:
01. Motorbike
02. Goodbye Texas
03. Pearl
04. Accelerated
05. White Roses
06. 11816
07. Followers
08. Faultline
09. Question
10. Red Hot Sand

Pre-order Flat Worms:
https://midheaven.com/item/flat-worms-by-flat-worms

[Flat Worms album artwork]
Flat Worms online:
Instagram
Bandcamp

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Murder of the Universe

In this day and age, I’m fairly certain that few bands could make a good concept album.  Fewer still could make one about a cyborg who wants to be fully human while interacting with a wizard attempting to stop a monster from destroying all of creation.  King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have done just that, however, with Murder of the Universe.

In case you’re unaware, this is KGATLW’s second album of the year, and they plan to release three more before the end of 2017.  The first was the excellent Flying Microtonal Banana and the third, a collaboration with Mild High Club called Sketches of Brunswick East is already available for pre-order.

Lyrically and sonically, Murder of the Universe links up well with Flying Microtonal Banana and the outstanding Nonagon Infinity.  It’s like they’re a complete trilogy, and some people have suggested the robot in Nonagon Infinity‘s lead track, “Robot Stomp,” is the cyborg caught up in the Murder of the Universe.  You can also hear the beginning of Nonagon Infinity‘s “People Vultures” on this new record (on “Some Context”).

The album’s intro, “A New World,” has a haunting poem spoken by a young woman describing the aftermath of a nuclear war and how even more horrible things are to come afterwards.  The first is an “Altered Beast (Part 1).”  The band comes out like an angry, roaring bear from of its den.  Parts 2, 3, and 4 of the song alternate with the three-part “Altered Me.”  The war’s survivor realizes he must adapt to the new environment and new beastly overlord to survive (or did the beast alter him for a dark purpose?).  Each song flows seamlessly into the next and KGATLW slays each part.  Guitars assault you from every direction but can still stop on a dime.  The double drumming is insane, and the synths bring a wild, weird 1980’s horror film vibe to the whole thing.

The survivor has become an altered beast by the end of “Altered Beast IV,” feeling nothing but still remembering his humanity and the idea of freedom.  He has lost the concepts of “Life / Death,” but still clings to the idea of revenge.  He finds a possible ally in “The Lord of Lightning” (in which lead singer Stu Mackenzie yells “Nonagon infinity!” a few times).  It’s a wicked song that would leave anyone who’d never heard a KGATLW song before dumbfounded.  It tells the story of an epic mystical battle yet the song blasts by you like something shot from a catapult.

“The Balrog” could be the altered beast, but he is certainly the Lord of Lightning’s enemy.  The song is a sonic fiery claw in your brain with crazy percussion and even wilder guitars.  “The Floating Fire” is all that’s left after the war between the Balrog and the Lord of Lightning.  The Balrog becomes “The Acrid Corpse” by the end of it, but only eternal darkness remains after the Lord of Lightning leaves.

The future is left to the few survivors who have become cyborgs in order to live in the new world.  It’s all “Digital Black” in this new time.  People have willingly given up their humanity (“We’ve turned our bodies into computers…”) in a quest for what they thought was perfection.  The bass riff in this is great, as is the hard-hitting beat throughout it.

One such cyborg is “Han-Tyumi the Confused Cyborg,” the survivor of the original meeting with the altered beast.  All he wants is to vomit and die.  He wants pain, stench, and some sort of end instead of his endless digitized illusion of life and pleasure.  His “Vomit Coffin,” a machine of his own design, might help him do it.  It’s another weird rocker mixed with digitized vocals and synth grooves as Han-Tyumi gives himself over to full digitization in order to free himself (and perhaps the world) from his living death.

The title track has Han-Tyumi expanding far beyond his physical form until he’s traveling at the speed of light and infiltrating every living cell and atom.  The only way for him to find death is to destroy everything, and he does it.

So, yeah, it’s not a happy-go-lucky record.  It’s a crazy concept record about a giant monster attack nearly destroying the world and changing the few survivors left into cyborgs who are left with an even bleaker world after a lightning god battles a giant fire monster, which drives one of the few cyborgs with any shred of humanity left to destroy the entire universe in order to free himself from an eternal life of cold, digital monotony.

Why haven’t you bought it by now?

Keep your mind open.

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“Welcome to an Altered Future,” has the cyborg, Han-Tyumi, describing how the digital age led to the death of the world thanks to artificial intelligence.  “We turned our bodies into computers,” the band’s lead vocalist, Stu, sings on