Live: Goblin and Morricone Youth – Chicago, IL – October 25, 2017

The last time I saw horror / prog-rockers Goblin was in 2013 at Chicago’s Metro during their first tour of the United States.  It was a sold out show and one of the best I saw all year, so I was keen on catching them again on their “Sound of Fear” tour, especially since the lineup included four of the five original members – Massimo Morante, Maurizio Guarini, Fabio Pignaetti, and Agostino Marangolo (along with Aidan Zammit replacing keyboardist and founding member Claudio Simonetti).  They fact that they were playing in Thalia Hall – a former opera house – was a bonus.

Opening for them were the psychedelic / prog rockers Morricone Youth.  My friends and I arrived in time to catch the last two songs of their set.  Both were songs written as an alternate soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead.  The film played behind them as they rocked out and it was a great set-up for both Goblin and the Halloween season.

Goblin came out to a welcoming, albeit smaller than I expected, crowd.  I have no idea why more people weren’t at the show, unless the midweek date had something to do with it.  Regardless, Goblin came ready to play and to terrify.

They played a lot of stuff they didn’t play on their last tour, including tracks from the bizarre giallo film Beyond the Darkness (complete with grisly mortuary scenes playing behind them which might’ve made an intoxicated woman in front of us so woozy that she needed assistance leaving the main floor), another giallo Massimo Morante called Killer on the Train, and the bizarre alien invasion film Contamination.  I had no idea Goblin did the score for Contamination, so now I have extra incentive to track down that film.

Of course, they played tracks from their most famous film scores, starting with Profundo Russo (Deep Red).

They played not only the “Killer Doll” and main theme track, but also other songs from the film that you don’t hear often.  They did the same with Tenebrae, which is a giallo about a killer in an opera house no less.

They did the same with their score to Suspiria, playing music from the beginning of the film and the creepy scene in which the lead characters first start to suspect an evil witch is living among them.

It was another excellent performance that got better as it crawled along like some horrible thing creeping out of the shadows.  Goblin rarely get to the U.S., so don’t miss them.

Keep your mind open.

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Shopping release one of the catchiest singles of the year, “The Hype,” from upcoming album.



[photo credit – CJ Monk]
“The Hype” is Shopping at its best: barbed invective set to a prickly, dancefloor-ready groove.”
“one of Shopping’s loosest, funkiest songs to date. . . ‘The Hype’ is a great sign of things to come.”
NPR Music

London/Glasgow-based post-punk trio Shopping stay true to their minimal dance-punk ethos while “amping up the party vibe” on their third full-length album, The Official Body, set for a January 19th release via FatCat Records. In conjunction with the album announcement, the band — Rachel Aggs (guitar, vocals), Billy Easter (bass, vocals) and Andrew Milk (drums, vocals) — share the video for the album’s first official single, “The Hype,” which “has them on display in all kinds of beautiful ages, shapes, and sizes” (The FADER). It’s a song about thinking for yourself, taking matters into your own hands and not listening to other people or institutions that try to take advantage and tell you what to think or how to be.

After the release of their debut album, Consumer Complaints, and follow up, 2015’s Why Choose, Shopping found themselves in an unrelenting cycle of touring. Meanwhile, in London, Power Lunches, a hub for the city’s DIY scene and the band’s usual rehearsal and writing space closed down. Upon returning from tour, Milk relocated to Glasgow. The distance added an element of pressure: “As a band that only ever writes collaboratively, it’s essential for us to actually be together in the room before any songs start to formulate. It can be a little daunting when we all turn up, and we only have an afternoon to pull a song out of thin air.” Add to that a sprinkling of Brexit, Trump, a principally imploding world, and you’ve got yourself The Official Body.

Recorded and produced over 10 days by Edwyn Collins at his Clashnarrow studio, The Official Body is an album in which the thematic gravitas contrasts with the band’s evolving sound. “We’ve always felt like what we do is political in that it’s cathartic and healing in some way, but at some point it just felt like making ‘political’ music was a bit like putting a tiny band aid on an enormous wound,” says Aggs as she describes the sense of disorientation that lies at the foundation of the album. While it may have been tempting to adopt a more serious tone, Shopping remained humorous in their approach — the album’s title, The Official Body, is a play on the idea of official bodies of power and control, “the mystical powers that be” as Easter deems them, as well as the construct of a physical body that fits within the societal paradigm of what is “acceptable.”

Shopping will tour the UK and Europe this November. They’ll make their way stateside in early 2018, including performances at SXSW.

Watch Shopping’s “The Hype” Video –
The Official Body Tracklist:
1. The Hype
2. Wild Child
3. Asking for a Friend
4. Suddenly Gone
5. Shave Your Head
6. Discover
7. Control Yourself
8. My Dad’s a Dancer
9. New Values
10. Overtime
Shopping Tour Dates:
Mon. Nov. 6 – Glasgow, UK @ The Art School
Tue. Nov. 7 – Leeds, UK @ Wharf Chambers
Wed. Nov. 8 – York, UK @ Crescent
Thu. Nov. 9 – Cardiff, UK @ Gwdihw Cafe Bar
Fri. Nov. 10 – London, UK @ Kamio
Sat. Nov. 11 – Paris, FR @ La Mécanique Ondulatoire
Sun. Nov. 12 – Villefranche-de-Rouergue, FR @ Les Haut Parleurs
Mon. Nov. 13 – Bordeaux, FR @ l’Avant Scène
Tue. Nov. 14 – San Sebastian, ES @ Dabada
Thu. Nov. 16 – Alicante, ES @ Sala Marearock
Fri. Nov. 17 – Barcelona, ES @ Be Good
Sat. Nov. 18 – Lyon, FR @ Grnd Zero
Sun. Nov. 19 – Biel, CH @ Le Salopard
Tue. Nov. 21 – Esslingen, DE @ Komma
Wed. Nov. 22 – Bamberg, DE @ TBC
Thu. Nov. 23 – Leipzig, DE @ Tiff
Fri. Nov. 24 – Nuremberg, DE @ Desi
Sat. Nov. 25 – Berlin, DE @ Zukunft Am Ostkreuz
Fri. Nov. 26 – Hamburg, DE @ Goldener Salon
Mon. Nov. 27 – Groningen, NL @ Vera
Tue. Nov. 28 – Liege, BE @ Kulturaliege
Wed. Nov. 29 – Antwerp, BE @ Het Bos
Thu. Nov. 30 – Rotterdam, NL @ Worm
Fri. Dec. 1 – Saarbrücken, DE @ Das Modul
Download hi-res album art and press images –

Perpetual workhorse Ty Segall releases another single and is announced for Levitation Austin.


Ty Segall reaches deep down into his deep bag of rocks and pulls out an uptempo dance number, an armload of guitars and a hardcore jam, urging us ultimately to jailbreak from the self-imposed thought prison we’ve all been raised in. No, tonight’s not the night, do it now! Denée Segall‘s lead vocals hammer home “Meaning” with unbridled strength: “I see fear in freedom…” Is this what’s holding us back? Ask yourself, man!
Listen to Ty Segall’s “Meaning” –

Ty Segall Tour Date:
Fri. Nov. 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room (LA United for Puerto Rico benefit)
Sat. Dec. 9 – Mexico City, MX @ Hipnosis Festival

Segall has also been announced as the headliner for the first Levitation Austin 2018 kick-off party.  He’ll be playing April 26th at Stubb’s BBQ in downtown Austin with Parquet Courts and A Giant Dog.  Tickets for that show are already on sale.
Keep your mind open.

All Them Witches to start second 2017 North American tour November 3rd.

Nashville’s All Them Witches will be returning to the U.S. and Canada for another tour in support of their excellent album Sleeping Through the War.  The tour starts November 3rd in North Carolina and ends November 18th in Milwaukee.  Don’t miss them if you get the chance to see them.  They are great live and amiable chaps to boot.

NOV 3 • Cat’s Cradle • CARRBORO, NC
NOV 4 •
The Southern Cafe and Music Hall • CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
NOV 5 •
Rock & Roll Hotel • WASHINGTON, DC
NOV 7 •
The Foundry at The Fillmore • PHILADELPHIA, PA
NOV 8 •
Music Hall of Williamsburg • BROOKLYN, NY
NOV 9 •
NOV 10 •
Fairmount Theatre • MONTREAL, CANADA
NOV 11 •
Lee’s Palace • TORONTO, CANADA
NOV 12 •
NOV 14 •
Ace of Cups • COLUMBUS, OH
NOV 15 •
NOV 16 •
The Mill • IOWA CITY, IA
NOV 17 •
Turf Club • ST. PAUL, MN
NOV 18 •
The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee • MILWAUKEE, WI

Keep your mind open.

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Honey – New Moody Judy

I rarely buy an album based on a single track, but Honey’s new album, New Moody Judy, was an exception to the rule. I heard the first single, “Dream Come Now,” and thought, “Damn, I need to hear more of these cats.” and then pre-ordered the record.

It was a wise decision. New Moody Judy’s opener, “Wage Agreement,” blares out of your speakers with a wild mix of Stooges and Mudhoney influences. The guitars are loud, fuzzed, and urgent. “Urgent” might by the best word to describe the entire record, really. Every song wants to grab you by the arm and shake you until you snap out of it (whatever “it” is for you).

The sharp angles and explosive drums of “Dream Come Now” could power a rocket to the moon, or the scrawniest person to knock down someone three times as big as them. The title track throws in dashes of cosmic stoner rock and Nick Cave vocal styling. “Speed, Glue” isn’t, I’m sure, about people who can stick things to other things in a quick manner. The fuzzy bass and warped guitars are at the forefront of this amazing instrumental.

“Hungry” almost spins out of control with heavy bass, avalanche drums, and crazy guitar that sounds like something you’d hear on an out of control UFO. The band’s Mudhoney influence is front and center on “Bagman,” which sounds like something Mudhoney might’ve unleashed on a Seattle bar’s dilapidated stage in 1992. That means it’s a killer rock track, by the way. “Power” brings back the Stooges influence and MC5 touches as well. It never lets up from the first chord, which is the type of rock we need right now. The closer is “Peggy Ray” – a fierce garage-punk assault that you’ll want to play during your next free-run, skate, or even casual stroll around town.

This is one of the best rock records I’ve heard all year. I need to see these cats live. You need to see these cats live, and we all need this record.

Keep your mind open.

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Blacktop Records to release 12th anniversary compilation. Kill Surf City’s track on it now available.

Blacktop Records has recently signed Kill Surf City with a cassette tape release planned for later this year. To celebrate the signing and the 12th
anniversary of Blacktop Records the label will be releasing a compilation album Oct 27th on compact disc/digital featuring a brand new unreleased
song from Kill Surf City titled “Transistor.” The compilation also features tracks from Kevin Seconds (7seconds) Jonah Matranga (onelinedrawing) Open Hand, Wheatus, MC Lars and Green Jelly.

Keep your mind open.

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Yumi Zouma – Willowbank

Electro-pop quartet Yumi Zouma‘s new album, “Willowbank,” is a delightful breeze blowing across the first nice day of spring, a tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day, a romp through dry leaves in the fall, or the first clean snowfall of winter – take your pick.  It’s a delight.

“Depths (Pt. 1)” gets off to a snappy start with a toe-tapping beat and bouncy vocals, and the follow-up, “Persephone,” is about as perfect of an electro-pop song you’ll hear this year.

The Cure-like bass of “December” will get you moving, even if you’re seated.  “Half Hour” is a pretty love song with subtle percussion and synths and excellent use of male-female vocals during the chorus.  The beats on “Us, Together” remind me of early 1980’s New Order tracks, but the guitar is straight-up shoegaze.

“Gabriel” might be a song about having a crush on a ghost.  I’m not sure, but it is pretty dream-pop nonetheless.  “Carnation” is one of the sexiest songs on the record with lyrics about staying in bed all day and letting the world go by without a care except for each other.

The beats on “In Blue” are so slick that you might fall down when they spill out of your speakers and onto the floor.  They’re dance floor-ready on “Other People,” which is about thinking twice before and after a break-up (“Took it hard when I sent you out to sea.  I think I love you, but I could be wrong.”).

The synth bass on “A Memory” is the soundtrack of your favorite 1980’s video game you played once at a cousin’s house and could never find after that.  “Ostra” has a light soul / R&B vibe to it that I love.

The album ends with “Depths (Pt. II),” a song about how love changes as we grow older, uses many of the same lyrics as the first part but now at a slower, more ethereal pace.

Get this record if you need a break from anger, online rants, or work B.S., or even if you just love dream-pop and shoegaze music.  It’s one of the loveliest records of the year.

Keep your mind open.

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Django Django’s new album due January 26th, but the catchy first single from it is already here.



Photo credit: Fiona Garden
Django Django David Maclean (producer/drummer), Vincent Neff (vocalist/guitarist), Jimmy Dixon (bass) and Tommy Grace (synths) — return, exploring new sounds with their third full-length album, Marble Skies, out January 26th on Ribbon Music. It’s a concise and focused album that recalls their dynamic, genre-blurring debut and its handmade, cut-and-paste approach. Today, the album launches with lead single, “Tic Tac Toe,” a rousing, trippy rock number, and its accompanying video.
Following the release of Django Django’s 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Born Under Saturn, the process for Marble Skies began with a back-to-basics approach in line with the DIY ethos of the band’s early days. In late 2016, Django Django (minus Maclean) assembled at Urchin Studios in Tottenham, London with Metronomy drummer Anna Prior to experiment with new material. After ten days of recording, there was plenty of raw material to send to Maclean for him to edit, refine and evolve before the band rejoined for recording proper. Marble Skies was completed in mid-2017 in their small, equipment-crammed studio in north London – a similar environment to the first record, which was recorded in Maclean’s bedroom.
While Marble Skies features hazy Zombies-like summer pop, hypnoic Krautrock grooves, Jamaican dancehall influences and electro pop, lead single “Tic Tac Toe” nods to Django Django’s more rockabilly-inclined influences. It was cut from the same long recorded jam that produced “WOR” and “Shake and Tremble.” Directed by John Maclean, brother of Dave and director of the critically acclaimed modernist western film Slow West,  the “Tic Tac Toe” video depicts Neff enjoying a day-trip to a beach town which takes a turn to the sinister, when a ghost train puts him on a collision course with a grim reaper inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. As John Maclean explains: “The film could be about the fading era of the beach arcades, time moving too fast, love and games, horror and happiness but it is actually about a man who needs to go buy a pint of milk to make a cup of tea.”
Marble Skies will be released digitally, CD, standard LP and a deluxe colored starburst vinyl via the Ribbon Mart.

Watch and Listen to Django Django’s “Tic Tac Toe” Video –

Marble Skies album tracklisting:
1. Marble Skies

2. Surface To Air
3. Champagne
4. Tic Tac Toe
5. Further
6. Sundials
7. Beam Me Up
8. In Your Beat
9. Real Gone
10. Fountains
Pre-order Marble Skies:

Live: Psychedelic Furs and Bash & Pop – Chicago, IL – October 17, 2017

One of my best friends and I first saw and heard the Psychedelic Furs in the early days of MTV and thought they had the weirdest name of any band we’d seen.  They soon became favorites of ours and I’ve been keen to see them for years.  The day finally arrived when I could see their first of two nights at Chicago’s Thalia Hall (one of my top three favorite venues in the city) on October 17th.

Rockers Bash & Pop opened for them, and my friend, Steve, and I got there in time to check out the last three songs of their set.  They had a good blend of hard rock and a bit of garage punk.

Bash & Pop

It was a good crowd for a Tuesday night, and an interesting blend of aged punks, young hipsters, and music fanatics.  The Psychedelic Furs came out and opened with “Dumb Waiters.”  I’d guessed this would’ve been their closer, but they unleashed it right away and grabbed everyone’s attention.

Getting right down to business with “Dumb Waiters.”

What especially grabbed my attention is how lead singer Richard Butler‘s voice has seemingly not aged.  He sounded great, as did the entire band.  Mars Williams, the saxophone player (who also used to play for the Waitresses), shredded the entire night.

L-R: Mars Williams, Richard Butler, Tim Butler, and Amanda Kramer

The double whammy of “Pretty in Pink” followed by “Love My Way” had the entire crowd jumping.  One guy to my right was almost in throes of ecstasy by this point.  “Until She Comes” and “The Ghost in You” were also especially sharp.

“Pretty in Pink”

The lyrics of “All That Money Wants” is rather biting in this country right now, and they ended with “Heaven” before coming out to two encores.  The first had a powerful rendition of “Sister Europe” that cooked up a witches’ brew of post-punk, acid jazz, and shoegaze.  The second was a performance of the song I thought they’d have as the opener – “President Gas.”  Like “All That Money Wants,” you can’t help but hear the lyrics in a new light right now.

A killer rendition of “Sister Europe”

It was worth the wait to see them, and $40.00 for a signed tour poster was a steal.

Keep your mind open.

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