Night Club – Requiem for Romance

Night Club’s (Mark Brooks and Emily Kavanaugh) Requiem for Romance starts, appropriately, with “Requiem,” a song of dark synths that would be right at home in a John Carpenter film, and then launches forward with “Bad Girl” – a fetish club dance anthem for dominatrixes, riot grrls, and women who don’t care if you don’t like what they wear. “It’s so good to be a bad girl,” Kavanaugh sings over booming synths and electric beats, oozing sex with a hint of danger.

“Show It 2 Me” pretty much lets you know its subject with the title. You’ll probably hear this in a club scene featured in the next big budget vampire film you see. “If you like the fast lane, don’t be slow,” Kavanaugh sings. “‘Cause I’m giving you the green light to go. If you got something you want to show, show it to me.” Ahem.

The warped synths of “Dear Enemy” build to a wicked beat as Kavanaugh sings about a former friend who has finally crossed the line. “You know you’re a super creep, ‘cause the things you do won’t let you sleep,” she sings as Brooks puts down a groove Gary Numan would love.

The synths get bouncy and bright on “Psychosuperlover,” although Kavanaugh’s lyrics are still heavy: “You are the blackest hole, heart as dead as your soul. Did it burn inside when you left me here to die?” Brooks and Kavanaugh pull off the deceptive nature of the song’s subject – attractive on the outside, a monster within.

In case you missed the kinky vibe of this record, “Freak Like Me” will drive it home for you. The wicked groove and the chorus of “You know you want to be a freak like me.” make the song pretty much a required addition to any “freaky sex”-themed playlists you’re planning to make soon. “Magnetic” has Kavanaugh missing her lover and hoping for a fast return. Brooks’ synths are at times heavy and others bright on it and also on “Dangerous Heart,” which reminds me of tracks by The Knife and has Kavanaugh warning a potential lover of her wicked nature.

She shares the vocals with Brooks on “Pray,” a solid electro cut that would make Metric envious. The album ends with, of all things, a torch song. “Little Token” is a song of heartbreak and loss with minimal synths, subtle bass, and haunting piano behind Kavanaugh’s slightly echoed vocals. It’s a nice send-off and shows us that Night Club can do more than kinky electro.

The album is full of songs that reflect the title. Some of them are empowerment anthems and others are dire warnings. All are solid.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: The Sword – Age of Winters (2006)

Age of Winters, the debut album from The Sword (J.D. Cronise – guitar and vocals, Bryan Richie – bass, Kyle Shutt – guitar, Trivett Wingo – drums) is nothing short of a metal masterpiece. It was a bold statement in 2006 and is still just as powerful a decade later, putting many newer metal albums to shame.

What makes it different? For one, the instrumentation. The Sword can shred like a Ninja Turtles villain and jam harder than Schmucker’s equally well. Second, their lyrics are epic. “Barael’s Blade,” for example, is a song about a magic sword that starts with the lyric “Forged by the Crow-Mage from shards of darkness.” You can’t get much more metal than that.

“Freya,” about the queen of the Valkyries, hits as hard as “a sword of fire and an axe of gold.” The result of the bloody battle portrayed in the song is cursed by survivors in “Winter’s Wolves.” “The Horned Goddess,” who “sits astride mountains tall and wide,” is a heavy salute to (I think) Hela – the Norse goddess of the underworld. The song chugs along like the boots of a Viking army climbing a glacier. “Iron Swan” is a fast song about a dark boat that brings death to one’s enemies. The guitars shred like stampeding horses on it.

“Lament for the Aurochs” is the heaviest doom-metal track on the record. The bass rumbles, the cymbals crash, and the guitar solos are like battle cries. The first verse alone tells you how heavy this song is: “Laboring in the liquid light of Leviathan, spectres swarm around the sunken cities of the Saurians. Rising from the void through the blackness of eternal night, Colossus of the Deep crashing down with cosmic might.” Who else is crafting lyrics like this?

“March of the Lor” is a powerful “instrumental in eight movements” that puts about ten minutes of blistering rock into less than five minutes. “Ebethron” has a sweet drum solo in it (When was the last time you heard a drum solo in a song, metal or otherwise?) and is an epic tale of a warlord preparing for a world-shaking battle.

The whole album is world-shaking. You need this in your collection if you’re a metal fan.

Keep your mind open.

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Survive – RR7349

Do you need a score for next horror film? Looking for something to play in the cassette deck of your armored spike-covered car in a post-apocalyptic world? Need something to play through your earbuds while you search an alien hive or track down a masked killer? If so, Survive’s RR7349 is the album for you.

The band includes two of the men responsible for the Stranger Things score, so you can be sure this album of instrumental electro is full of 1980’s film score touches, John Carpenter influences, and love for Gary Numan.

“A.H.B.” opens the record, and is full of warped, weird synths that swirl like fog around your speakers. “Other” is ideal if you find yourself momentarily trapped in a summoning chamber built by an evil cult about to unleash some hellish thing on the world. It clanks, oozes, and slithers with deep, almost silent bass, and heavily synthesized vocals. “Dirt” has John Carpenter’s fingerprints all over it, as it sounds like a lost cut from the Prince of Darkness score.

“Wardenclyffe” might as well be the name of some Lovecraftian asylum, because it’s wonderfully creepy. Heavy bass synths and strange choral effects abound before manic keyboards take center stage. “Sorcerer” is the opening credits music of that cool time travel / medieval adventure VHS movie you watched in high school but have never been able to find since then. “Low Fog” is almost like a monastic chant. The thudding bass of “Copter” gives the song a sense of menace, and the taut synths almost wail at some points. I’m sure some film producer has bought the rights to “Cutthroat” by now, because it’s perfect for a 1980’s retro-style horror movie. You can’t miss the Halloween score influence.

This is a weird, creepy, and atmospheric record. Play it at your next cocktail party and feel how the room changes.

Keep your mind open.

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Cosmonauts – A-OK!

Cosmonauts make groovy California-vibe psychedelic rock with a bit of a dark edge. Imagine a California sunset while a storm is rolling in from the Pacific Ocean and you’ll get the idea. Their new album, A-OK!, stresses that everything will be okay, however. We can brave the storm. It’s a good thing to remember after the brutal year that was 2016.

The title track is about someone who seems to slip away from bad luck and tragedy like an all-star running back (and the guitar work on it is definitely all-star quality). I love the way the crisp bass on “Doom Generation” interacts with the cheese shredder-fuzz guitar and tripped-out vocals. It’s one of the best psych-rock tracks of the year. “Party at Sunday” is luscious dream-psych that floats like a lotus blossom on a pond. The guitar buzzes like a dragonfly past your ear as they sing about the dangers of falling in love.

“Be-Bop-A-Loser” could’ve been a goofy song with a title like that but is instead an excellent shoegaze track with more killer bass, Nick Cave-like vocals, and slick percussion and guitar work. A fast drum groove pushes “Short Wave Communication” along as echoing guitars nearly overwhelm the nice male-female duo vocals. The synthesizers that come in near the 2:00 mark will make you grin because they’re perfectly placed.

If the heavenly host of angels choir sounds anything like “Heavenspeak,” then I’ll be extra happy if I make it through the pearly gates. It’s another outstanding psych-rock track with some of the rhythm section’s best work on the album. The band’s Cure influence can’t be denied on “Good Lucky Blessing” (again, listen to that bass and guitar work). “Cruisin’” is perfect for such an activity. The fast beat, lyrics about “tearin’ up the 101,” and sunny guitars are ideal for a summer drive. “Discophilia” starts with sludge drums, but then bursts like a flare gun with bright, reverbed guitar. “Graffiti” is a sweet psych-cake iced with distortion and sprinkled with sweat lodge visions. It overlooks Drone Rock Valley, but never enters it. It’s a song about regret, but the music isn’t without optimism.

The album is titled A-OK! after all. Despite the many lyrics about rough relationships, overinflated egos of lovers past and present, and unfulfilled desires, the album’s ethereal dreamscapes show us that we’ll be all right if we ride the wave long enough to make it to shore. The album is more than A-OK. It’s A-Outstanding.

Keep your mind open.

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Death Valley Girls – Glow in the Dark

Death Valley Girls’ newest album, Glow in the Dark, is at times psychedelic, others shoegaze, and others power-pop. The title track opener is firmly in the shoegaze category, with desert sunrise guitars and powerful drums. “Disco” has great old school 1960’s organ running throughout it while they sing about having a grand night out. “Death Valley Boogie” has an appropriate title because the beat is made for hip shaking. The guitars are fuzzed so much that almost sound like they’re melting at one point. It’s fantastic. It ends with a furious guitar solo that’s over just as you want more of it.

“Seis Seis Seis” is fine doom-psych rock, with Karen O-like vocals as a funeral organ plays in the background and the guitars sweep over you like the Grim Reaper’s cloak. “Pink Radiation,” with its Ronettes styling and simple guitar chords, is a lovely track and a refreshing change after the doom of the one before it. The middle finger flipped by the ladies during “I’m a Man, Too” (“If you’re a man, I’m twice a man as you.”) is backed with not only a fist but also solid rock hooks. “Love Spell” doesn’t just knock you back into your seat; it knocks your seat back as well. The breakdown in the middle of it is pretty much a bear trap that snaps shut when the guitars roar back to life and flatten you back to the floor.

“Horror Movie” refers more to the state of the world we see on the nightly news more than the film genre (“A horror movie right there on my TV, shocking me right out of my head.”). The lyrics of “Summertime” may be simple, but the powerful guitar throughout it is not. It sizzles hot enough to fry an egg on it. The closer, “Wait for You,” squeaks and squeals with face-melting guitar while what sounds like a warped Hammond B3 organ warps your brain. I’m sure this song is insane live.

I don’t know why Death Valley Girls named the album Glow in the Dark, but my guess is that the energy on it provides enough luminescence to light up your living room. Let it shine forth on your stereo.

Keep your mind open.

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Ty Segall offers rare test pressing vinyl LP’s for charity.

 Ty Segall Auctions Test Pressings For Charity

The shittiest year in recent memory is almost over, but it doesn’t have to end on such a lousy note. To help extinguish the flaming garbage heap that is 2016 and in the spirit of giving, Ty Segall is auctioning off his own personal copies of test pressings for 2010’s Melted, 2012’s Twins and 2014’s Manipulator! Hand decorated by the man himself, each item is one of a kind and one of the literal handful of tests that were even pressed. Every single cent of the proceeds for these items will go directly to support a charity of Ty’s choice—in this case he’s raising money for the American Civil Liberties UnionPlanned Parenthood and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

It’s a chance to hear it the way Ty first heard these songs on vinyl, as test pressings straight from the plant, and the opportunity to synchronously give in to the gluttonous desire of being a completest collector while also exercising a moral duty to help out others in need in end times…trust us, these will go fast!

All auctions are available on EBAY and linked below:

Ty Segall– Manipulator 2xLP TEST PRESSING, proceeds go to Planned Parenthood

Ty Segall– Twins TEST PRESSING, proceeds go to Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund

Ty Segall– Melted TEST PRESSING, proceeds go to the ACLU

DJ set list for December 23, 2016.

Thanks to all who tuned in for my latest radio show on WSND.  I’m back on air at midnight December 28 until 2am December 29th.  Here’s my set list from last night:

  1. Louis Jordan – Zat You Santa Claus?
  2. The Crystal Method – After Hours
  3. Night Club – Bad Girl
  4. Cut Copy – Out There on the Ice
  5. Gary Numan and Tubeway Army – Ice
  6. Survive – A.H.B.
  7. Devo – Snowball
  8. Frank Zappa – Don’t Eat That Yellow Snow
  9. Malachi – Snowflake
  10. Los Straitjackets – Jingle Bell Rock
  11. Southern Culture on the Skids – Merry Christmas, Baby
  12. Batwings Catwings – Totally Outrageous
  13. Heartless Bastards – All This Time
  14. Poppa Chubby – Bye Bye Love
  15. Gary Wilson – A Christmas Tree for Two
  16. Katie Dey – All
  17. Cosmonauts – A-OK!
  18. Sugar – Gift
  19. Deap Vally – Royal Jelly
  20. Fountains of Wayne – I Want an Alien for Christmas
  21. Frank Sinatra – Mistletoe and Holly
  22. Ennio Morricone – Farewell to Cheyenne
  23. Gringo Star – Rotten
  24. The Flaming Lips – A Change at Christmas (Say It Isn’t So)
  25. David Lynch – Cold Wind Blowin’
  26. Vince Guraldi – What Child Is This
  27. True Window – Theurgist
  28. Morphine – Sexy Christmas Baby Mine
  29. The Velvet Underground – Jesus

Keep your mind open.

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Gary Wilson releases excellent new single – “When Mary Comes Home Tonight.”

As if his excellent Christmas album wasn’t enough of a gift this year, avant-garde rocker / maestro Gary Wilson has released a new single before the end of 2016.  “When Mary Comes Home Tonight” has a cool 1950’s Phil Spector sound to it, but with more fuzzy guitar than I’ve heard on other tracks by Mr. Wilson.  It’s excellent and hopefully a glimpse of another full-length release from him soon.

Plus, he’s selling it for only a buck.  You can’t miss.

Keep your mind open.

[Why not subscribe before Mary comes home and you end up forgetting to do it?]

Night Beats, Temples, Deap Vally, & more on Desert Daze tour.

A stunning tour will hit the west coast beginning in February.  The Desert Daze Caravan will bring Temples, Night Beats, Deap Vally, Froth, and Jjuujjuu to California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and even Canada.  Don’t miss this tour if you’re out west.  I’m tempted to buy airfare to Phoenix just to see this lineup.

2/22/17 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

2/24/17 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom

2/25/17 – Seattle, WA – Neumos

2/26/17 – Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw Theatre

2/28/17 – Felton, CA – Don Quixote’s Music Hall

3/1/17 – Nevada City, CA – Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center

3/2/17 – Pomona, CA – The Glass House Concert Hall

3/3/17 – Pioneertown, CA – Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3/4/17 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater

3/5/17 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up

3/10/17 – Las Vegas, NV – Neon Reverb Festival

3/11/17 – Phoenix, AZ – VIVA PHX – Downtown Phoenix

3/17/17 – Dallas,TX – Not So Fun Weekend @ Trees

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: Earthless – Live at Roadburn (2008)

Recorded at Tilburg, Holland’s annual Roadburn festival dedicated to rock and metal, Live at Roadburn is probably the closest you can get to an Earthless (Mike Eginton – bass, Isaiah Mitchell – guitar, Mario Rubalcaba – drums) concert without being there. It might not entirely melt your face, but it will certainly heat it up and warp your mind.

The double-disc CD version has two songs on each disc. A four-song set is average for an Earthless show, because most songs are at least fifteen minutes long. The performance starts off with “Blue,” which is not only a stoner rock gem, but it also has elements of prog-rock sprinkled throughout (the way Mitchell’s guitar and Rubalcaba’s drums bounce off each other, for instance). Mitchell’s guitar hits definite Cream territory around the ten-minute mark.

The song rolls into the epic “From the Ages” with Rubalcaba’s near-manic drumming and Eginton’s rock solid bass. The groove they hit around the 24-minute mark is outstanding. All three of them click so well that they make it sound easy. They drop into almost a blues-rock groove around the 31-minute mark (with Eginton’s mantra-like bass). They get cosmic around minute 38 and slowly build into re-entry burn rock fury.

Disc 2 features “Godspeed” and “Sonic Prayer.” “Godspeed” begins with fuzzy distortion and rolling cymbals before bursting forth like a platoon of orcs smashing down a fortress wall. Your mind is almost in your shoes by the 16-minute mark because the song becomes a psychedelic freak-out at that point. The band is racing like a nitro-burning funny car about four minutes later when they’re into “Sonic Prayer.” It’s jaw-dropping by then (like any Earthless show).

Pick up this album if you can’t make it to an Earthless concert. It will get you into orbit. A live show will send you to the next solar system, but Live at Roadburn will at least help you circle the planet.

Keep your mind open.

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