The Orwells – Terrible Human Beings

Elmhurt, Illinois’ the Orwells (Grant Binner – bass, Henry Binner – drums, Dominic Corso – guitar, Mario Cuomo – vocals, Matt O’Keefe – guitar) have this neat blend of Chicagoland grit, snotty punk, psychedelia, and Midwestern garage rock that is riff heavy and really catchy. Their newest album, Terrible Human Beings, is a great example of it.

The opener, and first single, “They Put the Body in the Bayou,” is a powerhouse of a tune and one of the best rock singles of 2017. It starts out slow at first, but then bursts out with psychedelic reverb and funky bass. The song is about the pitfalls of the music industry (“All right, make it quick. Good songs make you rich.”) and our culture’s love of sharing others’ misery with our friends (“I came by to see. I just had to know who put the body in the bayou.”).

“Fry” has sizzling guitar throughout it as Cuomo sings about people addiction to television and frying their minds on empty pop culture. “Creatures” depicts us as people “fading, creating, losing all control. Spinning and grinning, looking for a soul. Rollin’ and flowin’, tryin’ to find a role. Before you know it, you’re livin’ in a hole.” A “Vacation” should be a good time, but the Orwells know that often you need a vacation from your vacation.

I’m not sure if “Black Francis” is a takedown on the Pixies’ lead singer, or a what the Orwells think the Pixies (who do seem to be an influence) would think of them: “Have you heard that band? / Yeah, I think they’re shit. / And the way they dress? / Yeah, they think they’re hip. / And the things they say? / Yeah, it’s all a bluff. / And where they’re from? / Yeah, it ain’t that rough. / Black Franky’s got my world in his hands.” It’s really catchy and I’d love to know the story behind it. “M.A.D.” has a nice surf sound to it. The sharp bass of “Buddy” is some of Grant Binner’s best work on the record, and I like how the guitars soar around it at all times. “Hippie Soldier” and “Heavy Head” have great rock hooks throughout them. Both sing about different generations and the faults of each, with “Heavy Head” (a takedown of their own Millennial generation) being the most searing.

The guitars on “Ring Pop” shred as Cuomo sings about things in plain sight being “not quite right.” “Last Call (Go Home)” is a salute to barflies seeking romance. “Double Feature” has Cuomo singing about how he could’ve had any other career than a rock singer, but he “came from the wrong side of the tracks” and was doomed to a rock and roll life.  It becomes a wild, cosmic freak-out by the end.

The running theme of Terrible Human Beings is that we are our own worst enemy. We constantly put limits on ourselves or continue behaviors we know are detrimental. We like to point the finger at anyone else, but we forget about all the other fingers pointing back at us. The Orwells’ new album is an examination of conscience, a Zen story, a therapy session, hidden in a smart, sharp rock record.

Keep your mind open.

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DJ set list for July 27, 2017.

Thanks to all who listened to my last radio show on WSND.  I’m back on air August 03, 2017.  Here’s my set list from my July 27th show.

  1. Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra – Come Fly with Me (live)
  2. Deap Vally – Julian
  3. Television – Maruqee Moon (requested)
  4. Nothing – Hymn to the Pillory
  5. Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows (requested)
  6. Clutch – Minotaur
  7. Primus – Bob’s Party Time Lounge
  8. Alice in Chains – Again
  9. Food of the Gods radio ad
  10. Franky and the Band – Austin Prison Blues
  11. Soundgarden – Kickstand
  12. Bad Religion – Best for You
  13. Skyland Drive-In Theatre intermission
  14. Pet Shop Boys – Always on My Mind
  15. Damaged Bug – Bunker Funk
  16. B. Mitchell Leather 1960’s radio ad
  17. Sonic Youth – 100% (requested)
  18. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Weapon of Choice
  19. The Kills – Black Balloon
  20. Shock Waves radio ad
  21. Computer Magic – Lonely Like We Are
  22. The Raveonettes – Evil Seeds
  23. The Raveonettes – Til the End
  24. Unknown artist – The Undertaker Is Coming (from the soundtrack for The Undertaker and His Pals).
  25. Elephant Stone – Andromeda (live)
  26. The Dunes – Door to the Mind (live)
  27. Donovan – Atlantis
  28. Bryce & Hart 1960’s ad for Coca-Cola
  29. Thundercat – Uh Uh
  30. KLIF Klassic Album 1960’s radio ad
  31. Reverend Horton Heat – Callin’ in Twisted
  32. Gaby Novak – Ponesi

Thanks for the requests and calls.  I plan to drop some house music on you during the next show, so put on your dancing shoes.

Keep your mind open.

Rewind Review: The Black Keys – Magic Potion (2006)

Every now and then (okay, more than that), an album slips through the cracks and years go by before I pick it up and wonder, “What took me so long?” Such an album is Magic Potion by the Black Keys (Dan Auerbach – guitar and vocals, Patrick Carney -drums). I’m a big fan of their work (especially the first half of their discography), and Magic Potion has been on my “must buy” list for a long time.

The opening chords of “Just Got to Be” exemplify what I love about the band – chugging guitar, rock drumming that borders on being sloppy, and sweaty blues-style vocals. “Your Touch” is one of their biggest hits thanks to its slick groove and sexy subject matter. “You’re the One” is a bit psychedelic as Auerbach sings a sweet song about his mother teaching him about love and how he later carried those lessons to his girlfriend.

“Just a Little Heat” reveals the band’s love for Led Zeppelin, who also loved the blues. Just listen to the opening licks and tell me they don’t remind you of Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.” “Give Your Heart Away” is a great “So long, baby” type of blues song about Auerbach walking away from a woman who treated him like a doormat. “Strange Desire” again brings in some psychedelic guitar work before it becomes a catchy song about dangerous love. “I don’t wanna go to hell, but if I do it’ll be because of you,” Auerbach sings, pulling no punches in the process. “Modern Times” only amplifies the dirty, floor-stomping feel of the record.

“The Flame” has some of Auerbach’s best guitar work on the record as it moves from blues to psych-rock to some Marc Bolan-like riffs. “The times are changin’, and the people need rearrangin’,” Auerbach sings on “Goodbye Babylon” in a sweaty, loud ode to the world of 2006. “Black Door” could be the follow-up to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” with Auerbach and Carney painting all of Keith Richards and Charlie Watts’ red doors, as Auerbach unleashes a ton of skronky, reverbed guitar that Richards would enjoy and Carney puts down a wicked beat behind him that Watts would love. The album ends with “Elevator,” a song that has Auerbach getting freaky with several different women in one building. The guitar goes from smooth groove in the verses to wall-flattening in the choruses. It must be deafening live.

Don’t wait a long time to pick up this record. It’s solid from beginning to end. This Magic Potion is probably just what you need right now.

Keep your mind open.

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POW! – Crack an Egg

I hadn’t heard of San Francisco’s POW! until a recent radio gig of mine. I thought the name of the band sounded fun and figured I’d give their new album, Crack an Egg, a try.

I’m glad I did, because this is a fun synth-punk record and one of the catchiest albums I’d heard this year. The opener “DNS” blends early Gary Numan synths with snotty vocals about the lead singer’s father (or boyfriend?). It also has a brash guitar solo to make it a bit glam. “Back on the Grid,” with its male and female vocals and 1980’s video game keyboards, is a great post-punk track. “Castle of Faith” sounds like something that you heard in a video on USA’s Night Flight at 3am and you haven’t heard it since – big synths and beats and slightly distorted vocals made for an industrial club.

“Necessary Call” is both retro and new at the same time. Stoner rock guitars and drums blend quite well with deep synths and Low-era David Bowie style vocals. “Runner” is synth-psych and the oddly placed “Crack an Egg Intro” is trippy synth-weirdness. “Cyberattack #3” sounds like Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, and Thee Oh Sees all partying in a dystopian future. “Color the System” reminds me of early Public Image Ltd., and “The Razor” would fit right in on the Stranger Things soundtrack. “Energy in Motion” is suitably peppy with its loud guitar chords and keyboards that sound like robots having a conversation.

The album ends with the sprawling, humming, and chugging “Crack an Egg in Honor of the Human Race.” It’s a title as intriguing as the album. The album is full of synths, drum machines, loops, and processed and chopped beats, but the longest track on the record calls for us to remember our humanity. As always, technology has just as much potential to drive us apart as it does to bring us together. Perhaps POW! wants us to cook each other breakfast after a long night of partying to their album. I’m game. Are you?

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: The Black Angels – Clear Lake Forest (2014)

The Black Angels‘ 2014 EP, Clear Lake Forest, is a fine dose of psychedelia and was a great way to get your summer freak on when it was released that year (and still is).

“Sunday Evening” hits you right away with reverb and the lyric “What if I told you that everything you know isn’t even really true?” Christian Bland’s guitar work on it ranges from skronky to trippy, and the song has probably the hottest tambourine work you’ve heard in a long while.

“Tired Eyes” opens with Stephanie Bailey’s always-dependable thunderous drumming and soon spins into a wild track with lead singer Alex Maas and Christian Bland sharing the vocals about someone who seems tired of living in illusion. I may be wrong. The song is so groovy that it seems to pour incense smoke from your speakers, so I may be hallucinating any meaning I’ve assigned to it.

“Diamond Eyes” is downright lovely. Maas’ reverberated vocals, Bland’s spaghetti western guitar, Jake Garcia’s soothing rhythm guitar, Kyle Hunt’s soaring synths, and Bailey’s military-precision beats all gel to become one of the Black Angels’ best tracks.

“The Flop” was the first single off Clear Lake Forest, and it’s easy to understand why. Hunt’s keyboards sound like he’s streaming them from the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” outtakes. Bailey’s drums hit so hard they may take your lunch money. The bridge plunges you straight down the rabbit hole and doesn’t let you out. “An Occurrence at 4507 South Third Street” is the Black Angels’ second “address” song (the first being “Haunting at 1300 McKinley” from Phosphene Dream). It has a bit of a honky-tonk feel to it (thanks to the snappy beat) and I can’t help but wonder if it’s about another haunting or a murder or suicide that led to the haunting. “The Executioner” is certainly about death (a common theme on Black Angels records). Maas’ lyrics are the clearest on this track (before the freak-out of a bridge, at least). It’s an interesting twist. Maas wants you to know that sin may feel good, but death waits so you’d better get things straight before you meet it.

The closer, “Linda’s Gone,” follows the life of a woman who wants and seeks something beyond her boring life and even the boredom of the illusion around her (and all of us, really). It has all the stuff you like from the Black Angels: tribal drumming, metaphysical lyrics, trance-inducing synths, spacey vocals, and guitar licks that seem to fold in on themselves and then back out into different shapes.

Clear Lake Forest was a solid EP and a great follow-up to their full-length album, Indigo Meadow. Treat yourself to it.

Keep your mind open.

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Damaged Bug – Bunker Funk

Damaged Bug is another side project of Oh Sees founder John Dwyer. He’s put out a few solo albums (2014’s Hubba Bubba and 2015’s Cold Hot Plumbs) under this moniker by now, and his latest, Bunker Funk, is another solid effort.

The opening din of “Bog Dash” is like an alarm clock waking you up from a great dream in your fourth REM cycle of the night. The guitars sound like someone played them while drunk and stumbling up a stairway, and the drumbeat is crisp as fresh popcorn. The tune, as you can expect from Dwyer, heads straight into psychedelia and “The Cryptologist” follows this path. Dwyer’s lyrics are almost a whispered chant luring us into some dark tomb or hidden city.

“Slay the Priest” is full of throbbing synths mixed with clanging percussion while Dwyer sings about (I think) ritual combat between him and a druid. “Ugly Gamma” reminds me of Flaming Lips tracks with its weird synthesizer sounds and creepy vocals. It’s one of the coolest tracks on the record. I have no idea what a “jummy” is in “Rick’s Jummy.” I don’t even know if “jummy” is a noun or adjective. I do know that the song is a nice, trippy piece of psychedelia. “Our love keeps us alive, everyone else has died,” Dwyer sings. I suppose he’s right, in the grand scheme of things.

“Gimme Tamanthum” is another weird, chant-like track with soaring guitar chords throughout it. “No One Notice the Fly” has a great flute riff throughout it that makes it sound like a 1970’s action TV show theme. The album’s title track is equally funky, especially in the drumbeats and cymbal crashes. “Mood Slime” almost sounds like a warped record as Dwyer sings about a garden spider and a lovely woman who might be leaving him. “Liquid Desert” is appropriately weird for its title and blends rock drums with keyboards that sound like Gary Wilson played them while in a bad mood. “Unmanned Scanner” is the closest Dwyer comes to replicating his work with Thee Oh Sees, as it’s full of loud, jangly, almost chaotic guitars. “The Night Shopper” sends the album out on a mellow note, complete with a long fade out of silence.

This is an intriguing, weird, and trippy record, but you’d expect no less from Mr. Dwyer. I suppose you could funk out to it in a bunker, but I wouldn’t if you were locked in there for a long time. It might freak you out too much.

Keep your mind open.

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The Damned announce UK winter tour dates.

British punk legends the Damned have announced winter tour dates for the United Kingdom.  They put on a great live show, and catching them in their homeland would be outstanding.  Tickets are on sale now for the Evil Spirits tour, so don’t wait to snag some if you’re in the UK or planning a trip there this winter.

Keep your mind open.

Desert Daze 2017 announces a great lineup.

The 2017 Desert Daze music festival in Joshua Tree, California is boasting one of the best festival lineups of 2017.  This four-day festival of psychedelic and stoner rock is well worth the trip if you don’t live close to the west coast.

Just some of the stand-outs in my book are Eagles of Death Metal, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, the Thurston Moore Group, Liars, Boris, Allah-Las, La Femme, the Budos Band, Deap Vally, Holy Wave, Froth, L.A. Witch, Death Valley Girls, Jjuujjuu, and Dahga Bloom.

Get your tickets now.  I’d be there if I could, but I’ll probably have used up most of my vacation time by the time October 12th arrives.

Keep your mind open.

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Oh Sees deliver new single, “Animated Violence,” from upcoming album.




Today, Oh Sees share one of their heaviest songs yet, the punishing “Animated Violence.” It comes to us off their forthcoming album (their 19th album is 20 years!), Orc, out 8/25 on Castle Face.


Also, Castle Face has listed 14 Dwyer-hand-painted test pressings for auction on eBay, with all the proceeds going to the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles. Castle Face’s co-captain Matt Jones:

We here at Castle Face are committed to making positive change in our community, and the homelessness epidemic in downtown Los Angeles is a tragic and complex issue. Homeless women in particular are an especially vulnerable population and we are happy to help out in any way that we can to assist in permanent solutions for them and our community. This auction features test pressings of the last smattering of John Dwyer’s projects with the label – Coachwhips, Oh Sees, and Damaged Bug are all represented – and feature one of a kind artwork on the jackets by the man himself, rendered in black and glow in the dark ink. 

Finally, the band has announced a second show at Warsaw in Brooklyn. Don’t miss to see the greatest live band of the decade as it enters its third decade of existence!







Sat. July 22 – Sun. July 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF
Sun. Aug. 6 – Katowice, PL @ OFF Festival
Tue. Aug. 8 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Thu. Aug. 10 – Oslo, NO @ Oya Festival
Fri. Aug. 11 – Gothenburg, DW @ Way Out West Festival
Sat. Aug. 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Fri. Aug. 18 – Saint Malo, FR @ La Route du Rock
Sat. Aug. 19 – Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
Fri. Sept. 1 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
Sat. Sept. 2 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar
Mon. Sept. 4 – Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas Outside
Tue. Sept. 5 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s
Wed. Sept. 6 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Fri. Sept. 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theater
Sa. Sept. 9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Sun. Sept. 10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Wed. Sept. 13 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Thu. Sept. 14 – Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe I Le National
Fri. Sept. 15 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Theater
Sat. Sept. 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Sun. Sept. 17 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Tue. Sept. 19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
Fri. Sept. 22 – Missoula, MT @ Monk’s
Sat. Sept. 23 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
Sun. Sept. 24 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
Mon. Sept. 25 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
Wed. Sept. 27 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Thur. Sept. 28 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

Pre-order Orc –
Hi-res photos/album art:

Melkbelly’s debut album due October 13th.



Noisy, subversively catchy and rhythmically sophisticated, Chicago quartet Melkbelly emerge from Chicago’s DIY spaces with their debut album, Nothing Valley, out Oct. 13th on Wax Nine Records, a sister label to Carpark Records headed by Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz.

Melkbelly’s members live and breathe Chicago’s art and music underground where their paths crossed and alliances were forged. Vocalist/guitarist Miranda Winters played solo in folk rock project reddelicious. Brothers Bart and Liam Winters (the tall fellas playing guitar and bass in Melkbelly) ran an influential show space in Chicago. Drawn together by their passion for East Coast noise, particularly the flavor originating from Miranda’s previous homebase of Providence, RI, Miranda and Bart of Coffin Ships recruited James Wetzel, who studied jazz drums in college, from improvisational free-drum/noise duo Ree-Yees. This new group of friends orbiting the loft and art scene, began collaborating on each other’s projects, formalizing in a more guitar-driven quartet Melkbelly in 2014.

Melkbelly’s debut EP Pennsylvania came out that same year. Engineered by Cooper Crain of Cave/Bitchin’ Bajas, the record came easily. The Chicago Reader enthused for single “Doomspringa” with its “noisy guitar freak-outs” and “beautifully melodic verses” and compared Melkbelly, accurately, to a hybrid of the Breeders and Lightning Bolt.

In 2016, the band tested the waters with new material. Inspired by the geography of a West Coast tour, shared band experiences, the van “as a magical place” and failed touristic detours at a meteor crater (it was closed) and Spiral Jetty (not van-friendly), the band gathered material written by Miranda and spawned from recorded jams for its next album. In early 2017, Melkbelly recorded with Dave Vettraino at Chicago’s Public House, writing about half the album in the studio and tracking it to 8-track analog tape. The result is Nothing Valley, organized noise and thoughtful freneticism, a fusion of dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket. Today they share the video for “Kid Kreative.” “Kid Kreative is about creating a unique aesthetic in art or music only to have it hijacked and manhandled by someone else who reaps the rewards,” explains Miranda Winters. “It was inspired by existing as a woman in the predominantly male space of loud-music where it’s easy to be both looked over and ‘borrowed’ from.”


wax nine –
itunes –
apple music –

1. Off The Lot
2. Kid Kreative
3. R.O.R.O.B.
4. Greedy Gull
5. Petrified
6. Middle Of
7. Twin Lookin Motherfucker
9. R2PCM
10. Cawthra
11. Helloween

Wed. Sep 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo w/ Protomartyr
Thu. Sep. 7 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Protomartyr
Fri. Sep 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival
Sat. Sep. 9 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight w/ Protomartyr
Sun. Sep. 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club w/ Protomartyr
Fri. Oct. 13 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout (Record Release Show)
Melkbelly Online: