Category: indie rock

 

Late last year, I wrote about the Boston-based alt rock quintet Aneurysm, and as you may recall, the band formed back in 2014 and since then, they’ve developed a reputation for relentless touring and realizing a handful of 7 inch vinyl releases. Their long-awaited full-length debut Awareness is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Tor Johnson Records, and the album, as the band’s Dan Bahto explains in an interview with No Echo, the material on the album is sort off a collection of things they had been working on since they started.

Awareness‘ first single was the pummeling, mosh pit friendly “St. E.” Centered round enormous power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals, the track brought Nirvana, METZ and others to mind. The album’s second and latest single “Newport” continues on a similar vein as its predecessor while rooted in a melodicism that brings Social Distortion to mind; in fact, the song is centered around world-weary and hard-fought reflections on sex, drugs, cops, death and rock ‘n’ roll.  The song kicks ass but as I turn 40 in a couple of months, it has a sobering air: it’s full of the recognition of that you’re getting older; that the scene is slowly phasing you out; that with each passing day you’re looking at your mortality in the mirror.

 

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Perhaps best known for stints drumming for Shilpa Ray, WALTZ and Lola Pistola, Robert Preston Collum relocated to Los Angeles for a change of scenery, and began his solo recording project Pink Mexico. Shortly after relocating to Los Angeles, Collum self-released his Pink Mexico debut pnik mxeico back in June 2013. The album attached the attention of Austin, TX-based Fleeting Youth Records, who re-released pnik mxeico the following December.

Preston then relocated back to Brooklyn during the fall of 2014, where released a split 7 inch with Los Angeles-based indie band SunLikeDrugs and a 12 inch vinyl pressing of pnik mexico by the Bordeaux, France-based label Big Tomato Records. And with a growing national and international profile, Collum caught the attention of Burger Records, who signed him and released his sophomore Pink Mexico fool, an effort that Collum said was written in window-less 10×10 rooms between Los Angeles and Brooklyn, reportedly fueled by nasty hangovers, cheap coffee and cigarettes. Interestingly, over the past year or so, Pink Mexico expanded to into a fully fledged band with the addition of Grady Walker (bass) and Ian Everall (drums), who toured with Collum during the tour to support fool and contributed to Pink Mexico’s forthcoming, third full-length album Dump, which is slated for a March 1, 2019 release on cassette and digitally through Burger Records and Little Dickman Records.

Written and recorded during 2017 and 2018 at Civil Defense Studios with Jeremy Scott, who has worked with Vivian Girls and These Are PowersDump is the first Pink Mexico album as a fully fledged band and the album’s latest single “High Dive” is a grungy take on surf rock, featuring fuzzy and distorted power chords and a mosh pit friendly hook. Sonically, the song manages to hint at The Jesus and Mary ChainIncesticide-era Nirvana, Melvins and Foo Fighters while clocking in at a little over 2 minutes — or in other words, a fast and furious ripper that’s absolutely necessary.

 

New Video: Moving Panoramas Return with Slick Visuals for Jangling and Anthemic New Single “ADD Heart”

Led by founding member and creative mastermind Leslie Sisson (vocals, guitar), who has had stints in The Wooden Birds, Matt Pond PA, Western Keys, Black Lipstick, Black Forest Fire, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Aero Wave, collaborated with The American Analog Set, Windsor for the Derby, Rhythm of Black Lines, RIDE’s Mark Gardener, Dan Mangan, John Wesley Coleman, Snowden, and Broken Social Scene, and has developed a reputation as a solo artist in her own right, the Austin, TX-based dream pop act Moving Panoramas can trace their origins to when its founding member and creative mastermind returned home to Texas to be closer to the members of her previous full-time band The Wooden Birds and her to her family. Sisson took a job teaching music at School of Rock where she met Rozie Castoe (bass),  who was in an 80s-themed show that Sisson directed. Interestingly, at the same time, Sisson took up a gig subbing in Black Forest Fire with Karen Skloss (drums), who was a long-time friend. When each of their various creative projects broke up, the trio started Moving Panoramas, rooted in their mutual love of shoegaze; however, since the band’s formation and release of their debut effort One, the band has gone through a series off lineup changes that has result in Sisson collaborating with a rotating cast of previous bandmates, as well as current bandmates Cara Tillman, Jordan Rivell, Jody Suarez and Phil McJunkins.

Moving Panoramas’ sophomore album In Two was delayed by a series of unexpected roadblocks during its production — i.e., health and timing issues — that delayed its release until February 22, 2019 through Modern Outsider Records. Recorded with engineer Louie Lino at Resonate Studio in Austin, the band’s sophomore effort reportedly finds the band expanding upon their sound and songwriting approach, as there’s a concerted effort for diversity in rhythm, volume and instrumentation, including the incorporation of pedal steel. Along with that the album features guest spots from Nada Surf‘s Matthew Caws, A Giant Dog‘s and Sweet Spirit‘s Sabrina Ellis and former bandmates Karen Skloss, Jolie Flink and Laura Colwell. Now, as you may recall, last year I wrote about album single “Baby Blues,” a decidedly anthemic track centered around shimmering power chords, a propulsive rhythm section, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. And while bringing to mind tracks off Sunflower Bean’s Twentytwo in Blue, the track possesses elements of psych rock, shoegaze and 70s arena rock, performed with the easygoing self-assuredness of old pros; however, underneath the self-assured performances is the recognition of time rushing by, of people moving in and out of your life — without knowing why, how or even when. 

Much like its predecessor, “ADD Heart,” In Two’s latest single is an infectious slice of anthemic rock with jangling guitars, Sisson’s ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — but steel pedal guitar adds a cinematic, alt country vibe to the proceedings. Thematically, the song focuses on an inattentive and inconstant love interest, who has the song’s narrator spinning in frustration emotionally because the love interest just can’t seem to focus on one thing at any given time. It’s an accurate description of what love and dating is like in the social media age if there ever was one. 

The recently released video for the song was directed by Willi Patton, and as Patton says in press notes, “We were honored to be approached by Leslie Sisson of Moving Panoramas to do a music video for their new single, ‘ADD Heart.’ I knew immediately upon hearing the song that the energy needed to be high, and I really wanted to capture the feeling of not being able to focus, narratively as if the video itself suffers from ADD. It pushes you along in one direction, only to quickly switch course, pick up on some other thread, leaving more unanswered questions than resolutions. We’re always so grateful to musicians for letting us experiment, to treat their work as a solid canvas to splash some paint on, deconstruct and then clumsily attempt to put back together.”

 

Comprised of Patrick Tsotsos,  Nick Dehmlow, Brendan Peleo- Lazar, Trevor Newton Pritchett and Constantine Hastalis, the up-and-coming psych rock act Lucille Furs initially formed in Logan Square section of Chicago — and in a short period of time, the band added themselves to a growing list of attention-grabbing psych rock and indie rock acts in the Chicagoland area, thanks in part to a sound that borrows liberally from the likes of The Zombies, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Temples, Love, Diane Coffee, Charles Bradley and others. Since the band’s formation, half the band has relocated to Los Angeles, and as the band notes, listeners will likely hear those influences within their work.

Slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Requiem Pour Un Twister Records, Lucille Furs’ forthcoming sophomore album Another Land was written back in September 2017 and was recorded direct to tape before being completed at Treehouse Records. Rather than being topical, the album’s material is rooted in the surreal and esoteric — perhaps sin a way to aim at the timeless. Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the bouncy and stomping “Paint Euphrosyne Blue,” a track that sonically sound as though it could have been released sometime between 1964-1968 as the track is centered around jangling guitars, twinkling organs and an infectious and soaring hook that recalls The Monkees, The Doors and others. And while arguably being a perfect road trip song, the band notes that the song references the goddess of mirth — and that the song is about the human need to adapt to the point of becoming unoriginal. It’s about chasing Van Gogh’s depression because it makes you feel like a better painter.  So at its core the song is rooted in a bitter yet hilarious irony.

 

 

 

 

New Video: Stone Mecca’s Politically Charged and Heartfelt Visuals for “Boogeyman”

Stone Mecca is a Los Angeles, CA-based producer, singer/songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist, who honed his own craft by listening to Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Parliament Funkadelic, Al Green, Prince, and Earth, Wind and Fire — and as a producer and musician, the Los Angeles-based producer and musician has played live with the aforementioned Earth, Wind and Fire, George Clinton, Wu-Tang Clan and RZA. Developing a reputation for easily navigating through a diverse array of musical genres and styles, Stone Mecca has contributed to the soundtracks for Django Unchained, The Main with the Iron First, Friday, Blade: Trinity, Soul Plane, Repo Men, Afro Samurai and Afro Samurai Resurrection. The Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has also appeared on albums by Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, Kanye West, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. And as a solo artist, Stone Mecca’s 2007 full-length debut First Contact featured the critically acclaimed song “A Walk,” a track that OkayPlayer said “in a fair world, music like this would be present all the tim eon prime time rotation in various radio markets.” 

Stone Mecca’s latest album Alienman was released last November, and the album finds the Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist stripping down his sound to the rawest form possible — and while pairing tweeter and woofer rocking hip hop beats, funky bass lines, bluesy guitars and soulful melodies, his sound generally blurs the lines between hip-hop, soul, blues, funk and roots rock. Alienman’s latest single is the sultry and swaggering “Boogeyman.” Centered around thumping beats, some blazing guitar work and a G-funk era bass line, the track features some politically charged and righteous lyrics that subtly recall the great Curtis Mayfield and JOVM mainstay Cody ChesnutT, as the song touches upon hypocrisy and challenges media-driven fear-mongering, stereotyping and racism. 

Directed by Alex Von Kurkendall and based on a concept by Stone Mecca and Von Kurkendall, the recently released video further emphasizes the politically charged nature of the song as it reminds the viewer that with every group there are villains and heroes — and that most important, we live in a society in which the dignity and decency of entire groups of people are being ignored. 

Formed by founding member Mariel Beaumont back in 2014, and currently featuring Michael Liszka (drums), Joseph Wright (guitar) and the recently added Vince Vullo (bass), the Philadelphia-based post-punk act Church Girls have developed a reputation for being one of their hometown’s most promising up-and-coming bands. Since their formation, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes, which has also resulted in the band revising and refining their sound and songwriting approach. Additionally, two years ago Beaumont left her full-time job at a clothing band to focus on music full-time — and as a result, Beaumont has found her relationships and the creative chemistry with her bandmates improving.

Interestingly, the Philadelphia-based post-punk outfit’s soon-to-be released EP Cycles thematically focuses on the dissolution of relationships and the responsibilities one faces in setting boundaries for loved ones, who are in the throes of substance abuse; in fact, the EP’s latest single, EP title track “Cycles,” is centered around a close family member’s substance abuse and how that has impacted the song’s narrator — mainly in the form of cycling anger, forgiveness, guilt, reconciliation and dedication. As Beaumont says in press notes, “This person has a disease. As much as I’ve blamed that family member for certain failures, I have my own. I could’ve addressed the problems at hand, instead of pretending everything was fine and just receding.” Sonically, the song bears a resemblance to the likes of Ganser and others, as it features jangling and angular guitar chords, thunderous drumming and a shout along worthy hook that packs an emotional wallop.

Cycles EP is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Chatterbot Records, and the band will be embarking on a tour to support it, which will begin tomorrow in Washington, DC. Check out the tour dates.

TOUR DATES
JAN 15th – Washington, DC @ DC9 Nightclub
JAN 16th – Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s Downtown Distillery
JAN 17th – Charlotte, NC @ Petra’s
JAN 18th – Asheville, NC @ The Odditorium
JAN 19th – Atlanta, GA @ East Arcanum Studio
JAN 20th – Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
JAN 22nd – Denton, TX @ Backyard on Bell
JAN 24th – Houston, TX @ Leon’s Lounge
JAN 25th – Austin, TX @ Beerland
JAN 26th – San Antonio, TX @ The Pleasure Hill House
JAN 28th – Phoenix, AZ @ The Lunchbox
JAN 29th – Tucson, AZ @ The Roach Ranch
JAN 30th – Pomona, CA @ dba256 Bar & Gallery
JAN 31st – Los Angeles, CA @ Silverlake Lounge
FEB 1st – Berkeley, CA @ Alternative Music Foundation
FEB 3rd – Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp
FEB 5th – Medford, OR @ Johnny B’s
FEB 7th – Portland, OR @ Turn! Turn! Turn!
FEB 8th – Boise, ID @ High Note Cafe
FEB 9th – Provo, UT @ The Superfuzz
FEB 11th – Fort Collins, CO @ Pinball Jones
FEB 12th – Denver, CO @ Seventh Circle Music Collective
FEB 14th – Sioux City, IA @ The Ox
FEB 15th – North Kansas City, MO @ The Rino
FEB 16th – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
FEB 17th – Chicago, IL @ Emporium Wicker Park
FEB 18th – Muncie, IN @ Be Here Now DIY Music Venue & Craft Brew Bar
FEB 19th – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club
FEB 20th – Indianapolis, IN @ Healers
FEB 21st – Columbus, OH @ Celler Door

 

 

Comprised of Lush‘s Miki Berenyi (vocals, guitar) and Moose‘s KJ “Moose” McKillop (guitar), who are married, along with Modern English‘s Mick Conroy (bass) and Elastica’s Justin Welch (drums), the indie rock all-star act Piroshka derives their name from the Hungarian version of Little Red Riding Hood — and while each member may be known for their highly acclaimed individual creative pursuits, they’ve long been connected within a complex and oft-knotted web: Berenyi and McKillop have long been considered shoegaze pioneers with their own bands before they got married and raised a family; Elastica were considered rising Brit Pop stars, and as a result Berenyi and McKillop were familiar with Welch. After Modern English broke up for second time, Conroy joined McKillop’s band Moose. Welch joined the reformed Lush in 2015. Interestingly, when Lush needed a bassist for what turned out to be their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

It was those Manchester show rehearsals that laid the foundations for their current project. But as I write this, I realize that I need to backtrack a bit because backstories are often extremely confusing — and there details I hadn’t figured out a good way to fit in. So here we go: After Chris Acland’s suicide in 1997, his devastated and grieving bandmates felt unable to continue. Berenyi in particular felt that she had to completely get away from music; in fact, Berenyi spent the next close to 20 years as a parent with a full time job — and as a result, she didn’t agree to reunite Lush until 2015.  Adding to the six degrees of musical and creative separation, Welch was a close friend of Acland’s, making it easy to recruit him to fill in. As the story goes, Welch was the one, who asked Berenyi if she’d be up to doing something else, after the Manchester show. As she mentions in press notes, she had never made music outside of Lush and never wanted to do anything solo. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin,” Berenyi recalled. “He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.”

“We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

Adding another layer to the entangled web of personal, professional and creative connections, Bella Union‘s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the band’s demos for their forthcoming full-length debut Brickbat and after listening to them, he quickly signed the band — and as it turns out, his former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. Alan with that Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose. Raymonde then introduced the members of Piroshka to Lanterns on the Lake‘s Paul Gregory to mix the album — with the exception of “What’s Next,” which was mixed by Alan Moulder. Fiona Brice, who was once a Bella Union recording artist, wrote string arrangements while The Higsons and Blockhead‘s Terry Edwards, who also played on Lush’s final album played brass.

Slated for a February 15, 2015 release through the Bella Union, Piroshka’s debut album Brickbat is derived for a slang term for a missile and reportedly, the title hits on how the album is a marked departure from each individual members’ known work; in fact, the material is centered by blunt, forceful lyrics that tap into the fear, loathing, envy and spite at the heart of our sociopolitical moment.  Much of the material was written through the anxious prism of parenthood in a world gone mad. Similarly to JOVM mainstays Atmosphere‘s Mi Vida Local, Brickbat‘s first single “Everlastingly Yours” is rooted in a very real fear — that you can’t protect your loved ones from the constantly evolving dangers of our world. While the song is centered around a shimmering and anthemic shoegazer-like arrangement featuring soaring synths, a propulsive, angular bass line, four-on-the-floor-like drumming and Berenyi’s aching and ethereal vocals, the song thematically as McKillop explains is “about school shootings and our reaction to almost being almost unable to take our eyes off twenty-four hour news and internet feeds.” And as a result, the song points at the vacillating cycle of disgust, depression and powerlessness that we all feel on a daily basis.

Featuring four-on-the-floor drumming, jangling guitar chords, shimmering synths and Berenyi’s ethereal vocals, Brickbat‘s latest single “What’s Next” continues in its predecessor’s footsteps as it’s centered around the urgency of our sociopolitical moment — with the song’s narrator essentially saying “Wait, hold up. What the fuck, man? Shouldn’t we want better?” And throughout there are references to people hitting the streets to protest, out of fear, concern and outrage. Interestingly, as the band’s Berenyi explains in press notes “‘What’s Next’ started life as a guitar-and-drums demo from Justin that he’d called ‘Protest’ – the drums being inspired by the idea of a protest march. It’s one of the very first songs Piroshka worked on together. The lyrics are inspired by the shock and fallout regarding current political upheavals – how this finger-pointing and rage and blame are so damaging, how we need to get back some kind of solidarity if we possibly can because the divisions between us are playing into certain people’s hands. Funnily enough, the song was called Time’s Up when it was first recorded, but that title then got taken so we thought we’d better change it!”

 

Perhaps best known for being a member of critically acclaimed bands Magic Bullets and Terry Malts, as well as Smokescreens and Mike Krol‘s backing band, Corey Cunningham’s latest project Business of Dreams can trace its origins to when Cunningham took leave for his long-running musical partnerships when his father died. Returning back home to Tennessee to grieve and confront his past, Cunningham wrote music that would eventually comprise Business of Dreams’ critically applauded, eponymous full-length debut back in 2017.

Building upon a growing profile, Cunningham with a live backing band opened for Rogue Wave, and played a number of local shows with the likes of Frankie Rose, Real Estate and others. Business of Dream’s sophomore effort, Ripe For Anarchy is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Slumberland Records, and the album finds Cunningham honing his songwriting both sonically and thematically, with the material touching upon regret, existence and perseverance.”The album is about living in the moment, shedding neurosis, and the desire to discard the general societal malaise we’ve been roped into,” Cunningham says in press notes.

Ripe For Anarchy‘s first single is the shimmering guitar pop track “Keep The Blues Away.” Centered around ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, staccato drum machine-like drumming, shimmering guitar lines fed through delay and effect pedals and a soaring hook, the single sounds as though it could have been released during 4AD Records heyday — and while indebted to the sounds of the past, the track is bolstered by an urgent sincerity that comes from lived-in experience.

 

 

 

Throughout the past couple of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written a quite a bit about Ron Gallo, a  Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and JOVM mainstay, whose was a once the frontman of the Philadelphia-based indie act Toy Soldiers. As the story goes, at one point, Gallo was in a long-term, romantic relationship with a deeply troubled woman — and once that relationship ended, Gallo relocated to Nashville, where he embarked on a solo career, writing and recording material that eventually became his acclaimed 2016 full-length debut HEAVY META. 

Thematically, HEAVY META touched upon a number of themes within his own life, including his own personal ideology of abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead and unhappy love, not truly knowing yourself and the things that could happen to you when you don’t, mental illness from the perspective of both sufferer and close observer, and a burning, misanthropic frustration with humanity and civilization. And yet, there was some level of optimism — that music can wake someone up and get them to change what they were doing. As Gallo said in press notes at the time, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.”

HEAVY META’s follow-up Really Nice Guys EP was released early last year, and the EP was largely inspired by the previous year in Gallo’s life in which he was busy touring and promoting his full-length debut — and as a result, the EP’s material wound up being a satirical sendup of the contemporary music industry with the EP featuring songs about rough mixes, broken into three parts — iPhone demo, live band demo and overproduced, autotuned, overproduced to death studio recording; the painfully weird inability for those within the music industry to honestly admit that someone is just an awful musician, so everyone winds up saying “well, they’re really nice guys . . . ,” the number of friends, who will ask to be put on the guestlist so that you can never actually make any money off a show, and more.

Gallo’s sophomore album Stardust Birthday Party was released last October, and the material was inspired by a life-altering, seismic shift in his life. Remember the woman who inspired much of the material on Gallo’s critically applauded debut? Well, as the story goes, she had taken a trip to South America, found a healer and miraculously got herself and her life together. Understandably, when Gallo heard the news, his interest was piqued, and he began reading and searching for a more inward path for his own mental and spiritual development.  Early last year, Gallo booked a trip to a silent meditation retreat in California. Despite his initial reservations and discomfort, the Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter reportedly experienced a profound experience that quickly became the answer for his existential searching — and in turn, the thematic core of the album: how inner transformation impacts both the outside world and your perception of it.

Or, as Ron Gallo says in a lengthy written statement about the album:

Stardust Birthday Party is about human evolution. Specifically, one human’s evolution: mine, Ron Gallo.  That’s the name my parents gave me. Hi.

At one point, I was a very lost mid-twenties person living in Philadelphia, in a relationship with someone struggling with mental health issues and crippling heroin addiction. I was asleep. I didn’t know how to handle my life. I was also writing songs for HEAVY META – my “frustrated with humanity” album. I laugh about it all now, but at the time it all felt like an absolute nightmare. It was the perfect doorway to look inside the place I’d been avoiding forever: myself.

Stardust Birthday Party is about what is happening underneath all of this life stuff. My path inward. The details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. It is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question “WHAT AM I, REALLY?” It’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. I think at one point I wanted to change the world, but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.

In the liner notes of John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (which we pay tribute to on this album) he wrote: ‘During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.’

That’s it.  That is the pure essence of creativity. Someone embodying what they have realized about themselves and the world that surrounds them. That is why this album exists. ”

Stardust Birthday Party’s first single “It’s All Gonna Be Okay,” was an angular ripper centered around two disparate things — the first a relishing of life’s ironies with a bemused yet accepting smile that points out that there’s a larger connection to everyone and everything; and that the only way we can actually change the world is if every individual on this planet began to take a serious and sobering look at their own fucked up shit and then do the complete opposite. Until then, we’re speeding our way down to hell with explosives and lit matches in the backseat.

Always Elsewhere,” Stardust Birthday Party‘s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor as it was an angular and furious ripper that evoked our age of perpetual and unending fear and anxiety that most of us running around like the White Rabbit, looking at our watches in panic and saying “There’s not enough time! There’s not enough time!” As Gallo says in press notes, “Most of the time we perceive the world, ourselves and others as ideas we have about them rather than what they really are. All our fear and anxiety stems from speculation about what COULD happen, not what is actually happening here and now. I’ve done this most of my life and still do, and the best way I’ve found is to become aware that you are not being aware or present, and suddenly you become present, that’s what this song is for — a frantic representation of modern life and our inability to live in the moment.”

Do You Love Your Company,” Stardust Birthday Party‘s third  single was a tense and anxious New Wave and post-punk take on garage rock, centered around angular blasts of guitar, a steady backbeat and an enormous, shout-worthy hook but underneath the rousingly anthemic nature of the song is something much deeper, more urgent — the very modern anxiousness and uncertainty that comes about whenever we’re left to ourselves. As Gallo says the song is “about self-inquiry. I think a lot of people struggle with being truly alone or fear silence because it forces them to look inward, but ultimately, i think it’s one of the most important things we can do to understand ourselves and others.”

Stardust Birthday Party‘s latest single “Love Supreme (Work Together)” is an angular, New Wave-like track that at points sounds indebted to Fear of Music and More Songs About Buildings and Food-era Talking Heads — but centered around a profound observation. As Gallo explains in press notes, “I wrote this song on GarageBand on my phone on an airplane. I was listening to A Love Supreme by John Coltrane, eating my really adorable but terrible tasting airplane meal of bowtie pasta (originally the first verse was about that) and looking down at the earth from the sky where you see no separation between people or things, there is just one thing. The chorus goes ‘God loves it when we work together.’ The God I am talking about is not a specific one, but everything, the one thing that is everything, the common thread in all existence, life, whatever you want to call it. In my head this is the soundtrack to a party in the streets where there is no line between shape, color, size, gender, sexuality, beliefs, anything, none of that shit exists.  Just anyone and everyone dancing kissing hugging laughing at the absurdity that we couldn’t always see that our core we are all the same. Nice!” As Gallo later says of the track,“‘Love Supreme’ is my attempt to write a genuinely positive song, maybe even a song people can dance to (ideally people that normally don’t dance together in large quantities in weird places and pay tribute to John Coltrane on top of that) I wrote this one on my phone on a plane.”

Recently, Claudius Mittendorfer remixed “Love Supreme (Work Together)” and interestingly his remix gives the song a dance floor friendly thump, reminiscent of The B52s.  “We incorporated some new sounds we never messed with before. I feel like I never could’ve written something like this even two years ago but sometimes it feels good to lay down the exhausting, intense, critical outlook and just celebrate life and people and what we all have in common right now, everywhere,” Gallo says. “Thank you to Claudius Mittendorfer (Parquet Courts, Johnny Marr, Weezer) who did this remix, he really brought the song to where it always wanted to go.”

Ron Gallo will be returning to the road this winter on a co-headlining tour with Post Animal. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
January 30th – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose Tap House
January 31st – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
February 1st – Minneapolis, MN -Fine Line
February 2nd – Kansas City, MO – Recordbar
February 5th – Denver, CO – The Globe
February 6th – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
February 8th – Vancouver, BC – Wise Hall
February 9th – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
February 10th – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
February 12th – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
February 13th – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Atrium
February 14th – San Francisco, CA – Chapel
February 15th -Fresno, CA – Strummers
February 16th – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
February 17th – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
February 19th – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
February 21st – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co.
February 22nd – Austin, TX – Barracuda
February 23rd – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
February 25th – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
February 26th – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
February 27th – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
February 28th – Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
March 1st – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
March 2nd – Columbus, OH – Skully’s

Live Footage: The Blue Stones Perform “Be My Fire” on SiriusXM’s The Verge Channel

I’ve written a bit about up-and-coming alt rock duo The Blue Stones and as you may recall, the band which is comprised of high school friends Tarek Jafer (vocals, guitar) and Justin Tessier (drums, percussion, backing vocals) can trace their origins to when the duo decided that they should start a musical project together, while attending college. Jafar and Tessier spent seven years honing and perfecting their sound, a period which they wrote and recorded an independently released EP. 

Building upon several years of hard work and dedication, the duo released their full-length debut Black Holes last October — and the album features two previously released, attention-grabbing singles, Rolling With The Punches,” a single that received placements on USA Network‘s Suits, Showtime‘s Shameless and ESPN‘s Monday Night Football and lead single and album title track “Black Holes (Solid Ground), which has amassed 8 million streams, furthered cement the duo’s growing profile for  playing blues rock that as the duo’s Justin Tessier says is “lean, raw, tight, without a wasted note.”

Throughout 2017 and 2018, the members of The Blue Stones played sets across the national festival circuit with stops at Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Winnetka Music Festival and Bonnaroo Festival. Black Holes’ third single, the sultry and anthemic “Be My Fire,” is centered around the sort of enormous power chords, thundering drumming and arena rock friendly hooks that bring The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, and North Mississippi All Stars to mind — although the song is actually an urgent and plaintive yearning for someone just out of reach. Recently, the members of the up-and-coming alt rock duo were invited to SiriusXM’s The Verge Channel, where they performed several singles from their full-length debut, including the aforementioned “Be My Fire,” and a cover of The Rolling Stones’ classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction).” Check out some live footage of The Blue Stones performing “Be My Fire.”