Category: New Audio

New Audio: Sub Pop Records and Soundgarden Release Second Single Off Remixed and Expanded Re-Issue of Their Debut Album

Currently comprised of founding members Chris Cornell (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Kim Thayil (lead guitar), along with Matt Cameron (drums), who joined in 1986 and Ben Shepherd (bass), who joined in 1990, the Seattle, WA-based grunge/alt-rock quartet Soundgarden can trace its origins back to the formation and eventual breakup of an early 80s Seattle-based band The Shemps, which featured Cornell on drums and vocals, along with original bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Strangely enough, over the years what seems to have been forgotten is that the members of Soundgarden had started their recording career with Sub Pop Records; in fact, the renowned alt rock/indie label released the band’s first two EPs 1987’s Screaming Life and 1988’s Fopp, two efforts, which the label re-issued a couple of years ago through both vinyl and digital formats, marking the first time in about 25 years that the EPs were pressed onto vinyl — and the first time they were released digitally. Interestingly enough, Sub Pop Records helped distributed Soundgarden’s 1988 full-length debut, Ultramega OK.

And although they had some creative differences with the album’s producer Drew Canulette and the band’s overall dissatisfaction with the final mixes, their full-length effort was a commercial success as it garnered both a 1990 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance and attention from larger labels — including A&M Records, who quickly signed the band. At the time, the band had intended to spend some time remixing the album for subsequent pressings of the album; but those plans wound up falling by the wayside, as the band went on to write and record their sophomore effort, and major-label debut, Louder Than Love.

Last year, the members of the band acquired the original multi-track tapes from the Ultramega OK sessions and they enlisted the assistance of renowned producer, engineer, long-time friend and frequent, old-time collaborator Jack Endino, who has famously worked with Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard, The Black Clouds and others to create a new mix of the album that would tie up what the band felt were persistent loose ends — while fixing the album’s overall sound. Interestingly, the band found six early version of album singles that eventually wound up on Ultramega OK and reportedly those early versions, which would eventually become staples of their live sets at the time, capture the band’s sound and songwriting in a much rawer, less polished form — and much closer to the sound on the Screaming Life EP.

Almost 30 years after Ultramega OK’s original release, Sub Pop Records will be releasing the remixed and expanded re-issue of the album, as a long-awaited “correction.” Naturally, for die-hard fans and completists, the re-mixed material will capture the band’s sound as they fully intended it, while the re-discovered early material will serve as a window into the development of the band’s songwriting approach and overall sound. Now, as you may remember, I wrote about the re-issue’s first single “Beyond The Wheel” and the re-mixed version possessed a crisper, cleaner sound, which helped to display Kim Thayill’s incredible guitar work and the interplay between Matt Cameron’s Bonham-like thundering drumming and Cornell’s Robert Plant-like wailing. The re-mixed and expanded Ultramega OK’s second single “Flower” much like its preceding single displays a cleaner, crisper sound, which gives the song the muscular insistence that the band became known for while interestingly enough, the song has moments that nod at Badmotorfinger and Superunknown.

Comprised of Sally Spitz (vocals), Ali Day (guitar, bass), Max Albeck (drums), and Daniel Trautfield (bass, sax), the Los Angeles, CA-based feminist art-punk quartet French Vanilla can trace the band’s origins to the members being partially driven by a desire to forcefully challenge Southern California’s established music scene, dominated by a few influential, male tastemakers and to do cool shit while hanging with friends, the band played their first shows within their hometown’s queer punk underground. Interestingly, the quartet quickly developed a local and regional reputation for socially conscious lyrics paired with a post-punk and No Wave-leaning sound — and as a result, the band has opened for the likes of Girlpool, Screaming Females, Tacocat, Genesis P-Orridge and Cherry Glazerr and others.

Adding to the growing buzz surrounding the Los Angeles-based band, their self-titled full-length effort is slated for a March 24, 2017 release through Danger Collective Records — and as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Anti-Aging Global Warming,” the quartet pairs the propulsive and angular bass lines and slashing guitar lines with incredibly neurotic lyrics that express the narrator’s anxious and neurotic worries about the impending end of the world as we know it, and how easy things can suddenly turn to shit before you know it; but sonically speaking the song strikes me as being reminiscent of Talking Heads: 77 and Fear of Music-era Talking HeadsEntertainment and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four and A-Frames.

 

 

 

 

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you’d know that the past couple of years have been incredibly productive and prolific for the critically applauded and renowned bassist, vocalist and JOVM mainstay artist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner as he made guest appearances on two critically and commercially successful albums  — Kendrick Lamar‘s Grammy Award-winning album, To Pimp A Butterfly and  Brainfeeder Records labelmate, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, and arguably one of of 2015’s best albums, The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, an effort which further cemented Bruner’s reputation for being  a dexterous bassist and mischievous songwriter, as the material off that album possessed a retro-futuristic sound that nodded at Steve Wonder‘s legendary 1970s output, complete with wobbling and propulsive bass lines, arpeggio synths and Bruner’s sultry and plaintive falsetto.

Bruner’s third, full-length effort Drunk is slated for a February 24, 2017 release through Brainfeeder and the album will be an epic 23 track journey into the bizarre, hilarious and sometimes dark mind of the singer/songwriter and bassist — and the effort finds him collaborating with an All-Star list of collaborators including frequent collaborators and friends Kamasi Washington, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell Williams, along with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. While the album will feature fan favorites “Bus In These Streets” and “Them Changes,” one of my favorite tracks off The Beyond/Where The Giants RoamDrunk’s first single “Show You The Way” was a soulful, 1970s jazz fusion-leaning track in which shimmering arpeggio synth lines, stuttering drums, Bruner’s incredible bass work and sultry falsetto with the legendary vocal work of Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald that interestingly enough reminded me of  Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near).”

Although Valentine’s Day has passed, Drunk‘s latest single is an Anti-Valentine’s Day anthem in which the song’s narrator complains about a love interest, who has not only friend zoned him, but continually plays games with him and his feelings. And throughout the song, the song’s narrator builds up the courage to tell the object of his attention that he’s had enough of having his emotions and heart fucked with — and instead of being friend zoned by an asshole, he would be better off by himself. Sonically, the song continues along a similar vein of the album’s preceding single as shimmering, arpeggio synth lines, a wobbling and propulsive bass line and four-on-the-floor drums paired with Bruner’s dreamy falsetto; however, unlike “Show You The Way,” “Friend Zone” is full of the bitter recriminations and frustrations of cruelly unrequited love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on Permanent Records‘ and RidingEasy Records‘ collaborative proto-metal, pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid: The First TripBrown Acid: The Second Trip and Brown Acid: The Third Trip. Each edition of the compilation has been based on RidingEasy Records founder Daniel Hall and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi extensive and painstaking research and curation — with Both Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down the songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recorded together in 30 or 40 years, and encouraging them to take part in the process.  And as Barresi explained in press notes, “All of (these songs) could’ve been huge given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.” And by having the artists participate it can give the songs and the artists a real second chance at success, if not some kind of attention for their work.

Following the critical and commercial success of the first three volumes, Riding Easy Records and Permanent Records will be releasing the fourth volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip fittingly on April 20, 2017. Much like the previous three volumes, the fourth edition is based on Barresi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation, and as both men discovered, the well of privately released hard rock, heavy psych and proto-metal 45s is incredibly deep; in fact, they’ve barely scratched the surface. Most of the singles they stumbled on for the fourth volume of Brown Acid were either barely released or never properly distributed with two of the album’s 10 tracks being previously unreleased — until now.

Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip‘s first single is Kanaan’s “Leave It,” a towering and explosive, barnburner that features some incredible guitar pyrotechnics paired with swaggering vocals fed through a bit of reverb and delay, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming. and while the song possesses a free-flowing, booze and psychedelics fueled improvisational feel, the song manages a tight, motorik-like groove that holds the song together.

Initially begun as the solo recording project of Salt Lake City, UT-based founding member and frontman Jordon Strang and now currently a quartet, indie rock/shoegazer rock band  No Sun has seen regional and national attention for a harder and more modern take on shoegaze that draws from the genre’s masters,  Swervedriver, RIDE and Failure and contemporaries including Pity Sex, Silversun Pickups and others. The Salt Lake City, UT-based band’s full-length debut It’s Only was released through  The Native Sound Records and hot on its heels, the members of No Sun released a brooding, sludgy grunge rock-leaning cover of Dead Kennedys “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” a song that’s become much more urgent, in light of increasing anti-Semitic and racist-based attacks and bullying across the country.

“America has shown its very disgusting underbelly over the past few months, and I’m sure it will only get worse. Going to shows, and the DIY community in general shoudl be a place where everyone feels safe, except for those that live to make others feel unsafe for something as simple as the color of their skin, their gender identity or their sexual orientation. We covered this song to let everyone know that we think Nazism and bigotry is not welcome, and will not be tolerated within our fanbase or at any of our shows,” the band’s founder and frontman Jordon Stang says of why they decided to cover the song.

Lyrics 

Punk ain’t no religious cult

Punk means thinkin’ for yourself
You ain’t hardcore ’cause you spike your hair
When a jock still lives inside your head

Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks fuck off
Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks fuck off

If you’ve come to fight, get outta here
You ain’t no better than the bouncers
We ain’t tryin’ to be police
When you ape the cops it ain’t anarchy
Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks fuck off
Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks fuck off

Ten guys jump one, what a man
You fight each other, the police state wins
Stab your backs when you trash our halls
Trash a bank if you’ve got real balls

You still think Swastikas look cool
The real Nazis run your schools
They’re coaches, businessmen and cops
In a real fourth Reich you’ll be the first to go

Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks fuck off
Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks fuck off

You’ll be the first to go
You’ll be the first to go
You’ll be the first to go
Unless you think
No Sun will be embarking on a lengthy tour to support their debut album throughout March and April — and it’ll include an NYC area stop at Saint Vitus on March 25, 2017. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates: 

3/9     Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
3/10    Denver, CO @ Mutiny Information Cafe
3/11    Kansas City, MO @ The Couch
3/12    St. Louis, MO @ Foam
3/13    Milwaukee, MN @ Ground Zero
3/14    Minneapolis, MN @ Safe Haus
3/15    Chicago, IL @ Quenchers
3/16    Fort Wayne, IN @ The Tiger Room
3/17    Elyria, OH @ Blank State Elyria
3/18    Toronto, ON @ The Smiling Buddha
3/19    Montreal, QC @ Brasserie Beaubien
3/20    Syracuse, NY @ The Reformed Church of Syracuse
3/21    Florence, MA – 13th Floor Music Lounge
3/22    Boston, MA @ The Middle East
3/24    Montclair, NJ @ Meatlocker
3/25    Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus
3/26    Wilkes Barre, PA @ The Other Side
3/27    Baltimore, MD @ The Windup Space
3/28    Philadelphia, Pa @ Kung Fu Necktie
3/29    Richmond, VA – @ The Castle
3/30    Charlotte, NC @ The Station On Central
04/1    Houston, TX @ Satellite Bar
04/2    Austin, TX @ Beerland
04/4    El Paso, TX @ The Sandbox
04/5    Tempe, AZ @ 51 West

 

 

Perhaps best known as a member of Charles Bradley’s backing band The Extraordinaires, the late, great Sharon Jones’ backing band The Dap Kings, Lee Fields’ backing band, The Expressions, Antibalas and The Budos Band, who has also collaborated with Mark Ronson and others, the Chicago, IL-born, New York-based trumpeter Billy Aukstik began writing his own soul-inspired compositions and founded Brooklyn-based indie soul label Dala Records. And since founding the label, Aukstik has produced the debut efforts of a handful of locally-based artists including singer/songwriter, John Fatum, The Rad Trads, Michael Harlen, Patrick Sargent and Camellia Hartman, as well as his own solo work under the moniker Billy the Kid.

Dala Records’ latest rlease “Breathing Hard (Over You)”/”Honey Bee” is a split 7 inch single featuring labelmates Camellia Hartman and its founder Aukstik, backed by the Dala Records house band, The Soulful Saints. Hartman is an East Village-born and raised vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, who as a child studied the Suzuki method on violin, bass and guitar at rock ‘n’ roll day camp, trombone in middle school band and a capella in high school — and her contribution to the split 7 inch, “Breathing Hard (Over You)” was recorded and mixed on an 8 track tape machine, which further emphasizes the classic Motown meets Northern soul production. And while making the song sound as though it could have been released as a 45rpm single back in 1964, the production manages to give Hartman’s tender yet playfully coquettish vocals room to express an aching yet somewhat girlish longing and desire.

Aukstik’s contribution “Honey Bee” is a twangy, slow-burning, 70s AM rock meets Muscle Shoals-leaning bit of soul that features Aukstik’s tender falsetto over an arrangement featuring lap steel guitar, Farfisa organ, Maestro Rhythm King drum machine, fuzzy guitar chords and a sinuous hook — and while nodding at psych rock, the song to my years reminds me a bit of Sandra Rhodes’ sadly forgotten Muscle Shoals meets Nashville solo debut, Where’s Your Love Been.

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Best known as one-half of the renowned New York party and record label Mister Saturday Night, Justin Carter spent the past five years writing and recording in the stolen days and weeks here and there in various studios across the country. His full-length debut album The Leaves Fall is slated for a February 24, 2017 release through Mister Saturday Night Records, and features guest spots from Jason Lindner (piano), who played on Bowie‘s Blackstar, Archie Pelago’s Greg Hefferman (cello), programming by LIES and Trilogy Tapes producer Marcos Cabral. And as you’ll hear on the album’s third and latest single “With the Old Breed,” Carter pairs his tender and plaintive falsetto with a minimalist and spectral production featuring plinking vibraphone, big 808-like beats, shimmering synths and hi hat with swirling electronics to evoke the strange sensation of one’s ghosts being both distant yet extremely present, as they always are — while possessing a deeply pensive, soul-baring, confessional intimacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of “Now I’m Alive,” the first single off his forthcoming Refugee EP, the fairly mysterious Tel Aviv, Israel-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer O Mer has been compared to the James Blake, Tame Impala and Arthur Russell; however, the Tel Aviv, Israel-born, Brooklyn-based producer has cited renowned Malian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ali Farka Toure, father of equally renowned Malian singer/songwriter and guitarist Vieux Farka Toure, Greek vocalist Aris San, The Yardbirds and others. “Icarus,” the second and latest single off his forthcoming EP features O Mer’s ethereal and tender vocals paired with a stark and haunting production that features stuttering drum programming, shimmering, arpeggio synth chords. The song manages to evoke a fractured psyche ruled primarily by a visceral and uncomfortable amount of regret and self-loathing while to my ears slightly nodding to Bonobo and others.

Check out upcoming tour dates, below.

Tour Dates

03/16 – Alphaville – Brooklyn, NY
05/27 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY

Charlie Mischer is  Los Angeles, CA-born, Brooklyn-based jazz drummer and electronic producer and artist, who has written and recorded several singles last year under the name Paideia that received attention across the blogosphere; in fact, “Restless Child” was featured on Idolator’s Top 16 Alt-Pop Songs of the Year (So Far) playlist. Under the moniker Charles Fauna, Mischer further cement his growing profile for crafting thoughtful singer/songwriter-leaning electronic music — and as you’ll hear on Mischer’s latest single “Hypnosis” Mischer pairs lyrics that describe both a change in mentality and embracing the vulnerability that comes up by challenging your own point of view with a house music-leaning production featuring arpeggio-like piano chords, stuttering drum programming and swirling synths and electronics. And all of that gives the song a swooning, reeling urgency — the sort of urgency that comes when one’s established worldview is rocked by uncertainty.

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone (keys), Allen Tate (vocals), Charlene Kaye (vocals), Rebekah Durham (vocals, violin), John Brandon (trumpet), Stephen Chen (sax), Tyler McDiarmid (guitar) and Michael Hanf (drums), the renowned indie pop collective San Fermin can trace its origins to when Ludwig-Leone had attended Yale University. While at Yale, Ludwig-Leone had studied composition and assisted renowned composer Nico Muhly, known for his critically applauded work with Antony and the Johnsons, Sufjan Stevens and Grizzly Bear, on several film scores and operas. And although Ludwig-Leone had been in a number of bands throughout high school and college, he didn’t decide to focus on pop music until the end of his college career. As San Fermin’s primary songwriter has publicly mentioned he put on a concert with some pieces written for female vocalists and the night ended with the backing band playing some pop tunes with over-the-top arrangements. And as he has noted, at the time he realized that he could mesh both his interests in a seamless fashion.

Shortly after graduating from Yale, Ludwig-Leone relocated to secluded Banff, Alberta, Canada, where he would write the material, which would eventually comprise San Fermin’s self-titled debut, an effort that was widely praised for musicianship that   the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman described as delivering “epic and emotion-laden rock, with glorious and operatic vocals, electronic break beats, horns, strings, and other flourishes.” And as a result of the band’s growing live reputation and wide critical praise, the album reached #18 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers album chart. After the release of the San Fermin’s self-titled debut, the band built upon their growing profile with the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore effort Jackrabbit, an album which garnered further praise from NPRRolling Stone and others, as well as national TV appearances on CBS This Morning and Last Call With Carson Daly. With the growing attention on the Ludwig-Leone and company, their sophomore effort was even more commercially successful than its predecessor, as it landed at number 8 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers album chart.

Belong, Sen Fermin’s third, full-length effort is slated for an April 7, 2017 release through Downtown/Interscope Records and reportedly the material on the album reflect a marked shift in Ludwig-Leone’s songwriting approach with songs focusing on a much more personal perspective — with the album’s material thematically focusing on feelings of disconnection, displacement and everyday anxiety, among other things.  “No Promises,” Belong‘s first single was as Ludwig-Leone explains in press notes “the last song I wrote for this record, and it’s addressed directly to my bandmates. We’ve spent the past few years together; I just realized how much of their lives they’ve devoted to being in this band. It’s overwhelming to think about. The verses are about how touring can go from this exciting thing to feeling like you’re quite literally going in circles. The bridge is a rapid-fire list of things they’ve been required to do: early flights, all-night drives, maintaining long-distance relationships, etc. But really the song is about the fear of disappointing the people you love.” Along with the change in songwriting approach, “No Promises,” reveals a subtle change in sonic direction as Ludwig-Leone and company pair gorgeous and ethereal female melodies with a production that begins with a dramatic minimalism the builds up to a swooning, soaring and anthemic hook. Interestingly, the song to my ears, reminds me a bit of St. Lucia‘s breezy, pop confections.

San Fermin will be touring extensively throughout the Spring and Summer to support Being and the tour includes a May 13, 2017 stop at Brooklyn’s newest venue, Brooklyn Steel. Check out tour dates below.

Spring 2017 Tour Dates

04.11.17 – Toronto, ON – Great Hall
04.12.17 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
04.14.17 – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
04.15.17 – Winnipeg, MB – The Park Theatre
04.17.17 – Calgary, AB – Festival Hall
04.18.17 – Edmonton, AB – The Needle
04.20.17 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
04.21.17 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
04.22.17 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
04.24.17 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
04.26.17 – West Hollywood, CA – The Roxy Theatre
04.27.17 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
04.28.17 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
04.29.17 – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
05.01.17 – Dallas, TX – Sons of Hermann Hall
05.02.17 – Austin, TX – Antone’s
05.03.17 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
05.05.17 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
05.07.17 – Atlanta, GA – Park Tavern
05.09.17 – Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre
05.10.17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05.11.17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Andy Warhol Museum
05.12.17 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
05.13.17 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
05.15.17 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
05.16.17 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
05.18.17 – Dublin, IE – The Sugar Club
05.20.17 – Amsterdam, NL – Bitterzoet
05.22.17 – London, UK – Village Underground
05.25.17 – Berlin, DE – Grüner Salon
06.02.17- Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
06.03.17 – Bunbury Music Festival – Cincinnati, OH
07.15.17 – Green River Festival – Greenfield, MA