Fortress Fest announces 2017 lineup.

Fort Worth, Texas’ Fortress Festival has announced its lineup for 2017.  Run the Jewels seem to be everywhere right now, and Slowdive are touring to support their first album in more than twenty years.  Peter Hook and the Light would be well worth seeing, and I can tell you from personal experience that Golden Dawn Arkestra are fantastic live.  I’d also like to see Survive and Dengue Fever.

Get your tickets soon.  A two-day pass is only $105.00.

Keep your mind open.

Slowdive announces North American tour for May 2017.

(above image by Ingrid Pop)

“Listening to Slowdive is like watching the sunrise and sunset at once — an awe-inspiring chorus of the galaxy.” — NPR Music on “Star Roving”

“The mix is even denser and more diffuse than Slowdive’s albums from the 1990s, reveling in the analog blur and sounding glad to be back.” – The New York Times on “Star Roving”
Slowdive recently made their return with new single, “Star Roving,” their first new material in 22 years. It was released to a flurry of excitement, even taking the band to No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140. Comprised of Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Christian Savill (guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals) and Simon Scott (drums, electronics), Slowdive is now announcing a North American tour, their first since fall 2014. They’ll play select cities throughout the Midwest and East Coast. Japanese Breakfast will support on all dates. Tickets will be on sale on Jan. 27th.

Slowdive Tour Dates:
Tue. May 2 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre # [TIX]
Wed. May 3 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater # [TIX]
Fri. May 5 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall # [TIX]
Sun. May 7 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club # [TIX]
Mon. May 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel # [TIX]

# = with Japanese Breakfast

Listen to Slowdive’s “Star Roving” –

Purchase “Star Roving” –

Surf Cassette – self-titled

Surf Cassette are a garage pop trio from Milan, Italy whose self-titled album is both a good rock record and a healthy tonic for dreary days.

“Wasted,” the opener, deserves to be a rock anthem with its ear-catching riffs and catchy lyrics about how stupid people get when they’re drunk. “Lust for Life” isn’t a cover of the Iggy Pop classic (although I’m sure Surf Cassette could do a fine version of one), but rather a nice slice of garage rock played from a sunny Italian beach. The keyboard accompaniment on it keeps it bright. “Mess in My Head” is like an early Wavves track with its surf guitar, slightly echoed vocals, and light approach to the heavy subject of a relationship going wrong.

The beat on “Rebel” is infectious and will get your toes tapping no matter where you are or what you’re doing. “Wonder Woman” isn’t about the super heroine, but it is a slightly sad song about a woman who is so good that the singer knows he can’t do their relationship justice (“She’s a wonder woman. What am I supposed to be?”). “Maybe I’m Not Sober” gets back to the snotty, garage punk and is a nice companion piece to “Wasted” – as if it’s the same story told from the perspective of the drunk in the first song.

“Summer’s End” is the band’s plea for summer and good times to stick around for a while longer because what comes after might be a long bummer. The album ends with “Portami Via,” a good, loud, crunchy guitar-driven send-off that probably blows the back off clubs in Milan.

It’s always nice to discover bands from other countries, especially when they’re this fun. Catch their wave.

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Ty Segall releases new single from upcoming album due tomorrow.



(above image by Denée Petracek)

Ty Segall‘s swiftly oncoming (Jan 27th via Drag City!) self-titled album is his ninth solo release since 2008, a span of records that have embodied an arcing swath of up-and-upper rock and roll music for the people. What people? They know who they are. They’re finding out all the time. They like candy-striped and scorched-earth sounds alike, and Ty keeps throwing down both and more in spades! “Break A Guitar” is the second drop from his new album, a 180-degree spin from the acoustic pastoral of the previously-leaked “Orange Color Queen,” and a reminder that beyond all the tender beauty that he’s capable of, the rifftasm of Ty’s music vision is what drives him ever forward in shows everywhere and in the minds of listeners who dig the sounds. With a week to go before the album hits, “Break A Guitar” aims to shatter the fugue-state you’re been wandering through and invite you back into the real life that’s coming! You are needed here, and with as few illusions as possible. Ty Segall will make that happen!Ty (guitar, vocals) and his magick band comprised of Emmett Kelly (guitar, vocals), Mikal Cronin (bass, vocals), Charles Moothart (drums) and Ben Boye (keyboards) will tour throughout the year, playing multiple nights in various towns and one-offs in others. All dates are listed below.

Early feedback for Ty Segall:
“a perfect introduction to those who have yet to dive into his vast discography.”
– Vulture (Most Anticipated of 2017)”With Segall’s magic touch shining brightly throughout, ‘Ty Segall’ once again demonstrates his effortless, and seemingly innate ability to make the familiar feel fresh and enticing” – MOJO“a taut exercise in ‘f**k-you’ brilliance that deftly explores the fugitive nature of truth” – Shindig“‘Ty Segall’ feels at times like a greatest-hit collection that just happens to comprise entirely new songs…one of the most cohesive sets Segall has released to date” – American Songwriter

Listen To Ty Segall’s “Break A Guitar” –

Listen To Ty Segall’s “Orange Color Queen” —

Ty Segall Tour Dates:
Fri. Jan. 27 – San Diego, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
Thu. Feb. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Fri. Feb. 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Sat. Feb. 4 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Mon. Feb. 27 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
Wed. March 1 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater
Thu. March 2 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Fri. March 3 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Mon. May 8 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar
Wed. May 10 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
Thu. May 11 – Indianapolis, IN @ Irving Theater
Sat. May 13 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
Sun. May 14 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Wed. May 17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Thu. May 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Sat. May 20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theater
Sun. May 21 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theater
Mon. May 22 – Louisville, KY @ Headliner’s Music Hall
Thu. May 25 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
Fri. May 26 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s
Sat. May 27 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre
Mon. May 29 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
Thu. Aug. 3 – Sun. Aug. 6 – Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
Fri. Aug. 18 – Biddinghuizen, NE @ Lowlands Festival
Thu. Aug. 24 – Berlin, DE @ Astra
Thu. Aug. 31 – Miranda De Ebro, ES @ Ebrovisión Festival

Ty Segall Pre-order:
Via iTunes –
Via Drag City –

Radiohead announce U.S., UK, and European tour dates for spring and summer.

Living legends Radiohead have announced a spring and summer tour that starts in the U.S. and ends in England.  It takes them to Poland, Ireland, Italy, and even two dates at the Coachella Music Festival.  Their U.S. dates are in the west and south, so catch them if you can.

03-30 Miami, FL – American Airlines Arena

04-01 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
04-03 New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center
04-05 Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
04-08 Seattle, WA – Key Arena
04-09 Portland, OR – Moda Center
04-11 Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl
o4-14 Indio, CA – Coachella
04-17-18 Berkely, CA – Greek Theatre
04-21 Indio, CA – Coachella
06-06-07 Oslo, Norway – Spektrum
06-09 Stockholm, Sweden – Ericsson Globe
06-11 Aarhus, Denmark – Northside Festival
06-14 Florence, Italy – Visarno Arena @ Parco Delle Cascine
06-16 Milan, Italy – I-Days @ Parco di Monza
06-18 Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands – Best Kept Secret Festival
06-20 Dublin, Ireland – 3Arena
06-23 Pilton, England – Glastonbury Festival
06-28 Gdynia, Poland – Open’er Festival
06-30 Werchter, Belgium – Rock Werchter
07-02 Arras, France – Main Square Festival
07-04-05 Manchester, England – Manchester Arena

Keep your mind open.

Live – Partner, Faux Furrs, So Pretty – Chicago, IL – January 22, 2017

I was happy to learn just a couple weeks ago that Canadian pop-punk band Partner were playing at Schuba’s.  I wanted to see Partner at Chicago’s Riot Fest last year, but my plans (and theirs) to attend fell through and I couldn’t make the festival.

I was still able to catch them on only the third show they’ve played in the U.S., however, and shame on you if you weren’t there.

First up were local post-punks So Pretty, who were like a combination of X-Ray Spex, Witch Mountain, and Bikini Kill.  Guitarist / co-lead vocalist Rachel Manter unleashed vocal fury at our new President on “Progress,” lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist Ashley Holman screamed about wanting to be “punk rock royalty” on “Blueberry Blues,” and they got funky on “Limbo” (with bassist James Seminara on vocals).

So Pretty

Next up was another local band – Faux Furrs.  They played a neat mix of shoegaze, surf, Americana, and dream pop.  There were songs about everything from robots falling in love to building a colony on the moon.  They had a clean, crisp sound that’s hard to pull off live.

Faux Furrs

Partner closed the show, and told me before their set that they hoped everyone would like it.  Kevin, their bassist for the tour, said they were very happy about the number of people there.  The people there were happy they showed up because Partner knocked their first Chicago show out of the park.  Seriously.  You will be upset that you missed this show when Partner become the Next Big Thing out of Canada.


Opening with “Born to Rock,” and proceeding to blast Schuba’s harder than a New Brunswick blizzard, Partner ripped through soon-to-be big hits like “Personal Weekend” and “Hot Knives.”  “The ‘Ellen’ Page” is better live than you can imagine.  Other fun moments were “Gross Secret,” “Everybody Knows You’re High,” and “Sex Thing.”

A typical day at the office for Josee Caron and Lucy Niles.

One of the best parts of Partner’s set was their reaction when it was finished.  They were humbled at the outpouring of praise from everyone afterwards and elated that their first foray into the States had been full of great audiences.

“That wasn’t even the full album (which, hopefully, is coming this fall),” Josee Caron told me after their set.  “We’ve got about fifty songs.”

Let’s hope for more stuff soon.  They’ve whet our appetites and left us craving more.  Again, you’re going to regret missing this show.

There are enough power chords in this photo to jump start a Ford F250 pick-up.

Keep your mind open.

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The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

Recorded over the course of four years, Oczy Mlody by the Flaming Lips is a great way to kick off 2017. It tells a tale of sadness and regrets that turns into a story of resilience, love, and hope by the end.

The title track is a keyboard and synth-driven instrumental that would be at home in the opening credits of a movie set in the not-too-distant future. “How??” has lead singer Wayne Coyne issuing a call to action. “Legalize it. Every drug right now. Are you with us or are you burnin’ out? Kill your rock n roll motherfuckin’ hip-hop sound.” The lyrics might be angry, but the birdsong and distant, warped vocals make one think the rally cries are actually riddles.

“There Should Be Unicorns,” with its heavy synth bass (and guest vocals by Reggie Watts), asks where the bright, enlightened future promised to us by various leaders is. The Flaming Lips demand we enact this future if possible. One suggestion? “…if the police show up, we’ll bribe them into helping us steal the light of love from the rainbow sluts that live next door.”

“Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)” has Coyne wishing he could go back in time to hear a message he ignored. It’s mostly his vocals and Steven Drozd’s slightly echoed piano until some sad, falling synths ooze into the song. “Nigdy Nie (Never No)” starts to turn the album away from painful memories. The lyrics are mostly the word “No” until the second half when they become “Yeah.” The poppy synths are also a bit happier than the last track, almost like the band has realized things are going to be okay.

“Galaxy I Sink” has Coyne questioning his mortality and wondering if we will return to the stardust of which we are made. The desert guitar in it (backed with the sound of frogs chirping, no less) is perfect for such a cosmic conundrum. “One Night While Hunting for Fairies and Witches and Wizards to Kill” is probably the closest you’ll get to being in one of Wayne Coyne’s dreams. He describes going into a tree, trying to kill a wizard, being mortally wounded, and then healed by magical beings. I don’t know what it all means, but it’s one of the best tracks on the record. It’s dark wave filtered through an opium vision. “Do Glowy” continues this trip with even trippier synths and lyrics about getting “glowy and drippy.”

The frogs return in “Listening to the Frogs with the Demon Eyes.” Strange industrial sounds mix with shaky synths and dream-pop guitars. The song is mostly about death, but it’s also about faith: “I can’t see the moon, but I know it’s there. I can’t see the end, but I know it’s there. I can’t see the sun, but I feel it’s there. I can’t see your love, but I know it’s there.”

It flows well into “The Castle,” a song about a woman who’s lost her mind after, I think, being heartbroken (or from suffering a massive head wound, I’m not sure which). “Almost Home (Blisko Domu)” is a reminder that actions have consequences, so wisely choose your path. Coyne sings (as some cool, almost hip-hop bass and grooves kick in), “The thought soon becomes the word, the word then becomes the deed. If the deed is evil, blame the thought it is the seed.”

“We A Family” (with guest vocals by Miley Cyrus) is a tale of Coyne missing his love as he drives “somewhere south of Wichita” and she’s somewhere else under the moon. They’re apart but still connected. Cyrus’ voice mixes well with Coyne’s. They’ve worked together in the past, so hearing them together again to finish the album is a nice touch.

This is already one of the best records of the year. The Flaming Lips can mix dark wave, psychedelia, and electro in ways few bands can. Oczy Mlody ends with laughter. It reminds us to remember joy and have faith. We need that advice in these times.

Keep your mind open.

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Stratus Nimbus – self-titled

Hailing from Arizona, Stratus Nimbus play a furious type of stoner and psychedelic rock with heavy metal influences. “Equality,” the opening track on their self-titled six-song EP, is loaded with guitars that would be right at home on Nirvana’s Bleach album as much as they would on a Black Sabbath record. The vocals, by Doug Dowd, are so full of reverb that they almost sound like they were recorded underwater.

The guitars on “Can’t Break Free” by Tom Goddard and Dan Dowd roll over you like waves breaking on rocky shores and threatening to drag you under or smash you to pieces. “A Walk in the Dark” is a great, creepy track that is a cool mix of Alice in Chains, Dio, and I think something from an unpublished Lovecraft story. Linda Rydelius’ vocals on it are like a dire warning to travelers on a bleak mountain pass.

“Galaxy Girl” is fine spacey psych. I love the way the guitars roar and whisper at the same time throughout it. “You Take” clearly shows the band’s love of heavy metal, as it sounds like a late 70’s track you’d hear blasting from your brother’s van as he cruised Main Street. The EP ends with “Rain Jam,” which is crunchy-punchy stoner rock that probably knocks you back on your heels live.

These cats have good things ahead of them if this EP is any indication. It’s loud, distorted, and weird, as good rock from the desert should be.

Keep your mind open.

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True Widow – Avvolgere

I had to research what the title of True Widow’s album Avvolgere means. It’s an Italian term that means to wrap up or wind around something. It’s appropriate, because this album wraps around your mind with a lot of good, dark shoegaze that changes the feel of the air around you.

“Back Shredder” starts the album, and I wonder if the song is about self-flagellation or being under the whip of a demanding boss, Dom / Domme, or both. The guitar is as heavy as the steps of a high-heeled boot into a dungeon, and the vocals sound like they were recorded in such a place. It’s a solid start. “Theurgist” refers to someone who practices theurgy (ritualistic magic with the intent of invoking gods to improve oneself). The bass is something that would make Peter Hook proud, and the vocals seem to indicate that the singer is trying to bring back an ex-lover more than invoke a god (or are they one and the same?).

Next is the cryptically titled “F.W.T.S.: L.T.M.” It’s pure shoegaze, with slow cymbal-driven beats and distorted riffs that carry the vocals like a leaf on a river that might turn into raging rapids at any moment. I’ve read that True Widow refers to their music as “stonergaze,” and that description is apt for “The Trapper and the Trapped.” Male and female vocals bounce off each other as the bass hits like a blunt axe and the drums pound out a funeral dirge.

“O.O.T.P.V.” is another cryptic title, but don’t worry about it because good heavens is this song fantastic. The way the guitars chug along and then break open the chorus (“I try to run away, but I can’t seem to run. There’s something in the way, and I’m too scared to look.” – An anthem for all of us trying to escape reality at one time or another.) will make you stop and pay attention. “Entheogen” is a term for any plant-based chemical substance you ingest to induce an altered state of consciousness for religious purposes. The title explains the sweat lodge-like sound of the guitar (which isn’t much different from some spaghetti western scores) and the mysterious lyrics. The sweat lodge drums come out in “To All That He Elong,” which is nothing but drums, acoustic guitar, and sad vocals. “Sante” (French for “health”) is has more heavy guitar and bass that reminds me of Hum tracks if Hum had a female lead singer. “Grey Erasure” reminds me of early Jesus and Mary Chain, and the closer, “What Finds Me,” is six minutes of heavy shoegaze mixed with a bit of doom rock sludge.

“Stonergaze” might be my new favorite musical genre, and I have True Widow to thank for introducing me to it. If you’re in the right mood, this is the album for you. If you’re not in the right mood, this album might put you there.

Keep your mind open.

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Dayluta Means Kindness – When You’re Young You’re Invincible

Texas psych / prog-rockers Dayluta Means Kindness have returned with another album of mind-altering instrumental cosmic rock – When You’re Young You’re Invincible.

After a brief, feedback-looped “Intro,” the band bursts forward with “Warzawa.” It’s loud, bright, and shimmering with layers upon layers of guitars before it drifts into a bass solo that reminds me of light rain before the whole thing launches like an eagle launching itself off a mountain peak.

The title track starts off with dreamy guitars that are the sounds your brain thinks it’s hearing when you see the sun reflected off a rippling lake.  It blooms at about the 4:00 mark into a song that evokes the bravery of a kid jumping off a tire swing into that rippling lake for the first time.

After a brief “Segue,” DMK treats us to over ten minutes of dreamscape music on “Fort Lebanon.” It grows into something like a rolling thunderstorm across a meadow on a summer day. “Young Savagery and General Debauchery” could be, thematically, a companion piece to the title track. It doesn’t have a savage or debauched opening. It’s almost idyllic. Perhaps DMK is trying to tell the generation coming up behind them that cockiness, base pleasures, and ego are all fleeting things that hold us back from tranquility. The song transforms into a stunning piece of heavy prog-rock that never loses its shoegaze influences.

There’s an “Outro” that leaves us with a bit of a somber note, like we’re waking up from a cryptic dream. The whole record brings dreams to mind – dreams of the future and the past, mainly. It’s a dream worth having and worth exploring.

Keep your mind open.

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