Rising Brooklyn-based quartet Razor Braids — Hollye Bynum (she/her) – lead vocals, bass; Janie Peacock (she/her) – lead guitar; Jilly Karande (she/her) – rhythm guitar, vocals; and Hannah Nichols (they/them) – drums — is a queer, all female/non-binary indie rock outfit that combines the vulnerable, self-awareness of indie rock with the dynamic instrumentation of 90s alt rock paired with soaring harmonies and a driving rhythm section.
The Brooklyn quartet’s full-length debut, 2021’s I Could Cry Right Now If You Wanted Me To was warmly received. Building upon a growing profile, the band released two singles last Spring, “Kelloggs” and “Megachurch,” which received praise from BrooklynVegan while landing on several Spotify Fresh Finds playlists.
For the new year, the band plans to release new music, which will expand on their unique sound with more confidence and sense of purpose. But before they moved forward with new material, the members of the band felt it necessary to take a look back at some older material with fresh eyes: “one is our own and the other a throwback favorite,” the band says.” The first single “Nashville, Again” is a thorough reworking of their debut single “Nashville” that turns the rousing rocker into a slow-burning, honky tonk centered around the act’s gorgeous harmonies and shimmering guitars. “Nashville, Again” was the first song we released as a band and in revisiting the single we got to breathe new life into a song that always feels like coming home when we play it live.”
The second single sees the rising indie outfit covering Weezer’s 1994 smash hit “Buddy Holly.” Interestingly, the Razor Braids cover begins as a lovingly straightforward cover rooted in the act’s gorgeous harmonizing paired with the original’s rousingly anthemic hooks. But unlike the original there’s a trippy and expansive bridge that reveals the band’s love for the original — and their sense of humor. “As for ‘Buddy Holly,’ mid-90s alt-rock is a big inspiration for us and ‘Say It Ain’t So’ tends to show face at every Razor Braids-attended karaoke so we thought it’d be fun to try our hand at another Weezer classic,” the band explains. “We wanted to call it ‘Buddy Hollye’ but didn’t. But please know that we wanted to.”
The band will be embarking on a month-long tour next month and it includes a stop at this year’s SXSW. Check out the tour dates below.
2/23/2023 Asbury Park NJ Bond Street Bar 2/24/2023 Philadelphia PA MilkBoy 2/25/2023 Washington DC Pie Shop 2/27/2023 Asheville NC The Grey Eagle 3/1/2023 Atlanta GA Vinyl 3/2/2023 Charlotte NC Snug Harbor 3/3/2023 West Columbia SC New Brookland Tavern 3/4/2023 Tallahassee FL The Bark 3/7/2023 New Orleans LA Gasa Gasa 3/8/2023 Houston TX House of Blues – Bronze Peacock 3/13 – 3/18 Austin, TX SXSW 3/22/2023 Nashville TN The Basement 3/24/2023 Chicago IL Subterranean 3/25/2023 Toledo OH The Ottawa Tavern 3/26/2023 Ferndale MI The Parliament Room at Otus Supply 3/28/2023 Cleveland OH Beachland Tavern 3/29/2023 Pittsburgh PA Club Cafe
Rising Toulouse, France-based singer/songwriter Laure Briard has had a highly uncommon path to professional music: Briard bounced around several different interests and passes, including studying literature and criminology, and even doing some acting before concentrating on music full-time in 2013.
Since Sur la Pisa de Danse, Briard’s work has increasingly been influenced by Bossa nova: 2018’s Coração Louco, featured lyrics written and sung in Portuguese — and a guest spot from acclaimed Brazilian JOVM mainstays and Latin Grammy Award nominated act Boogarins. 2019’s Un peu plus d’amour s’il vous plâit, which was released through Michel Records in Canada, Midnight Special Records in Europe and Burger Records here in the States continued Briard’s ongoing love affair with Bossa nova and Brazilian music.
Released last week through Michel Records in North America, Dinosaur City Records in Australia and Midnight Special Records in Europe, the Toulouse-based singer/songwriter’s latest effort Eu Voo sees Briard continuing her successful collaboration with Boogarins, as well as with her longtime collaborators Vincent Guyot, a.k.a. Octopus and Marius Duflot. Over the past year or so I’ve managed to write about two of the EP’s singles:
EP title track “Eu Voo,” 60s Scott Walker-like orchestral psych pop meets 70s AM radio rock-like take on Bossa nova, featuring Briard’s ethereal vocals cooing in Portuguese, twinkling Rhodes, shimmering guitars and jazz-fusion that evokes the swooning euphoria of reuniting with a long-lost love.
“Supertrama,” which continues in a similar path as its predecessor — 60s Scott Walker-like orchestral psych pop meeting 70s AM radio rock featuring twinkling piano, shuffling jazz-like drumming, a sinuous bass line, a regal horn arrangement, angular bursts of guitar and a soaring hook within an expansive yet breezy song arrangement. But just underneath the breezy surface, the song evokes a familiar bittersweet ache.
In this edition of the Q&A, I chatted with Laure Briard about a number of different topics including her hometown’s favorite spots to eat and see music, how she’s been keeping busy during pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions, her unusually winding path to a music career and much more.
Check it out below.
WRH: I’ve been to Europe twice (Holland and Germany) but sadly, I’ve never been to France. I hope to see France – after all of this passes, of course. But for this question let’s imagine the pre-COVID world: I arrive in Toulouse. What would I need to see? Where should I eat? Where would I catch local music?
WRH: The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to put all of our plans and desires on an indefinite hold. You’ve worked on your latest EP, the recently released Eu Voo (more on that later!) but how have you been occupying your time? Have you picked up any new or unusual hobbies? Are you binge-watching anything?
LB: In September I moved to Seignosse, it’s very close to the ocean. So every day I go to the beach and walk while listening to music, looking at the waves. Otherwise, I try to write songs, I read, and yeah lately I watched Le bureau des légendes. It’s a French TV show. I was very addicted!
WRH: You’ve had an unusual path to music: You’ve bounced around and pursued a number of different interests and passions — you studied literature and criminology, and even tried to act at one point before getting into music. Have these various pursuits, career interests and professional twists and turns influenced your work at all? When did you know that music was your thing?
LB: I suppose that it had an impact on my personality so yes it influences my work. I can’t tell how exactly; it’s an abstraction. I knew that music was my thing very late. I was working in a high school for several years and one day I decided to stop and to give all my time to music. I was around 33 years old.
WRH: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with you?
LB: It’s always a tricky question to me…I go in so many directions that it’s hard to summarise in few words. So I would say: poprockpsychbossayéyé ahah!!
WRH: After the release of your sophomore album, your work and sound has been increasingly influenced by and draws from Bossa nova. How did you get into Bossa nova?
LB: I’ve been a huge fan of bossa and tropicalism for years! A friend of mine introduced me to Vinicius De Moraes and Astrud Gilberto by lending me his iPod. I completely fell in love and I started to dig stuff on my own over and over. Then I met this band Boogarins when we were playing at SXSW. We became friends and they helped me to come to Brazil first to play and then for the recordings. Providential encounter!
WRH: Did you know Portuguese before you started recording Bossa nova? How many languages do you know?
LB: No, I didn’t know this language… I learned at the same time I wrote. I only speak English, but not so well.
WRH: I first learned of you and your work through your cover of Sessa’s “Grandeza.” For me, your cover and the original are a perfect example of Bossa nova in my mind. They both have that wistful nostalgia for a past we can’t ever get back – whether it’s our innocence, a lost love, a place we knew and loved that’s been changed or something else. Perhaps because of the pandemic, I thought of concerts, sporting events, gatherings with friends and family, sitting inside bars and chatting with strangers and the like. So, what was about the song that drew you to it? And do you know what Sessa’s response to it was?
LB: Thank you 🙂
We have mutual friends with Sessa. They introduced me to his music that I didn’t know. I listened to the song “Grandeza.” I was completely amazed by the sound, the vibe. I immediately wanted to do something with this song. At the end of the recording of Eu Voo I spent few days in Sao Paulo, and I had the chance to meet him! He seems happy and enthusiastic about this cover idea.
WRH: Eu Voo sees you continuing an ongoing and critically applauded collaboration Latin Grammy-nominated, JOVM mainstays Boogarins and your longtime collaborators Vincent Guyot, a.k.a. Octopus and Marius Duflot. How did the collaboration with Boogarins come about? How was it like to work with them on material? How collaborative were the recording sessions?
LB: The collaboration came after our meeting and my first tour in Brazil. I started to write songs in Portuguese as a challenge then I sent them to them, and they liked it. Thanks to my label Midnight Special Records and people in Brazil like Ana Garcia (and of course Benke from Boogarins) we managed to organize a studio session to record my first EP Coracao Louco in 2018. And then Eu Voo in 2020. In these two cases, I sent demos and we recorded live, doing all of the arrangements together.
WRH: You recorded Eu Voo in São Paulo’s Dissenso Studio last January. How was it like to record the EP in Brazil and in that studio? And knowing everything that happened, does that give the EP’s material an even more bittersweet feel to you?
LB: It was like a dream really. In this wonderful studio with wonderful people. Everybody got along so well; it was the perfect crew! I do feel very nostalgic of the recording session, especially with the pandemic occurring now. I feel like it was ages ago as if it was in a different time. I try to put things into perspective but it’s not easy sometimes.
WRH: According press to notes Eu Voo’s material can traces its origins back to when you had returned from a 2017 trip to Brazil. Some months later, you had suffered through an illness – pneumopathy – and was taking Tramadol for pain and other symptoms. For me, the EP’s material is imbued with the aching longing and nostalgia for that special place that changed your life. As I listened to the EP there’s this subtle acknowledgement of mortality, that all of this is a fleeting fever dream. That’s my sense of it at least. How much did your illness inform or inspire the EP’s material?
LB:I was sick while composing my first EP, so I don’t really know how much it did influence it or not.
WRH: Sonically, Eu Voo’s material reminds me of Scott Walker, AM Radio Rock and psych pop. Did that influence the material at all?
LB: I don’t know about Scott Walker; but I’ll listen to it!
WRH: “Eu Voo” is one of my favorite songs on the EP by the way. If I remember it correctly, before you recorded the song, you decided that you should speed the tempo up and that you wanted the arrangements to be punchier and catchier. What inspired that decision?
LB: Yes, I did! We had previously recorded this song for my first EP, but we didn’t have time to complete it to a satisfactory level. So I really had the necessary time-lapse to think about how I wanted it to sound and its artistic direction. I felt like the song had really a dance potential. That’s why I went with this idea of the catchy up-tempo. I suggested it to my collaborators, and they all agreed.
WRH: You worked with a longtime collaborator NORMA for the playfully surreal visual for “Eu Voo.” How did the concept for the video come about?
LB: It was Norma who had the idea to shoot in the desert and also for the wings! I put all my trust in her vision. Her ideas are always bright, creatives, and very much D.I.Y oriented. So, she came to me and mentioned the wings. We were influenced by Arizona Dream. We have a lot of references in common, so we get along easily. She also lives on the Atlantic coast and the desert where we filmed, Les Bardenas, is only a couple of hours away. It was the perfect plan!
WRH: “Supertrama” sees you collaborating with Giovanni Cidreira, who you met through Boogarins. How was it like to work with him?
LB: We did a long-distance collaboration. I sent him a guitar melody I had written and asked him if he would like to write the lyrics. About a week later, he sent me the same melody played on the piano with some beautiful words. We did the arrangements live when I came to Sa
o Paulo to record in the studio with my team. I would have loved for him to be there with us, but he couldn’t be there, unfortunately. He completely trusted us with the song.
WRH: Now that the EP’s released, what’s next for you?
Burning Pools is a new and emerging Los Angeles-based rock act that features three incredibly accomplished musicians: husband and wife team Kristopher Pooley (drums) and Ginger Pooley (bass, vocals) and Max Bernstein (guitar) have been session players and touring musicians with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Morello, Siouxsie Sioux, Slash, Morrissey, Liz Phair, Scott Weiland, Tegan and Sara, Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Gwen Stefani and Kesha. And while the band may be a relative newcomer on the scene, Burning Pools has been several years in the making; in between their various obligations The Pooleys had been demoing songs showcasing Ginger’s penchant for empowering, protest-fueled lyrics paired with pop hooks.
Kristopher Pooley had met Bernstein through their work together with Kesha, recruited him to add some sub-octave fuzz to some tracks. Recognizing that they found the missing piece to their sound, it was decided that Kristopher Pooley, who was a keyboardist by trade should dust off his drum kit and shelve the keyboards as they were determined to craft a massive guitar, drum and bass sound inspired by The Pooleys experience touring with Smashing Pumpkins.
Much like countless acts across the globe, the members of Burning Pools had their hopes of road-testing material dashed as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions — but in the meantime, they’ll be releasing songs from their forthcoming EP, including the trio’s latest single “Woman.” Centered around an alternating quieter verses and explosive choruses, “Woman” features enormous fuzz and distortion pedaled power chords, thunderous drumming, arena rock friendly hooks paired with Pooley’s defiant vocals. And at its core, the song is a feminist anthem that celebrates the unique strength, resiliency and power that only a woman can possess.
Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that the band’s latest single is fueled by Ginger Pooley’s own personal experiences. The song not only addresses the biases and challenges she — and of course, other women — would face in society and as a musician, but it gets more much personal, discussing how hours after she gave birth to her daughter, she was tasked with the responsibility of planning her own mother’s funeral, who died while Ginger was in labor. Unsurprisingly, the male members of her family weren’t up to the task. And while the experience of celebrating new life and mourning the passing of one within a week had been traumatizing, they were also profound on her, as it revealed to her a strength and resiliency that perhaps she may not have known she had until then.
The recently released video follows a young girl, who stands in as the a larger female archetype. She may be on an arduous and important mission but she’s brave, determined, strong, bold, fun — and sometimes lonely.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite about the Madison, WI-based punk act The Hussy, an act that formed back in 2008 as a duo featuring its founding members Bobby Hussy (guitar, vocals) and Heather Hussy (drums, vocals). The Hussy quickly developed a reputation for a trashy and scuzzy take on punk and for a chaotic live show that had the duo playing shows alongside a who’s who list of indie rock and punk — including Mudhoney, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Twin Peaks, Reigning Sound,Spectrum, Black Bananas, Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ, White Fence, The Faint, Tenement and countless others. All of that helped the band gain a cult-like following across the Midwestern underground scene.
Between 2009 and 2015, the band went through one of their most prolific periods of their history, in which they released material through 20 different labels and in countless different formats. During that same period, the duo also went through a relentless touring schedule across US and the European Union, including an appearance at Gonerfest after the release of their beloved sophomore album 2012’s Weed Seizure. Additionally, they also pulled double duty as the opening and backing band for NOBUNNY through tours of the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
Since touring with NOBUNNY, the band’s founding duo have split time between The Hussy and a series of other creative pursuits. Bobby Hussy has continued to tour off and on with NOBUNNY as a touring bassist. His other projects include playing in Fire Heads with Tyler Fassnacht, who recently joined The Hussy to help further flesh out their live and recorded sound — and synth wave post-punk act Cave Curse, who released a full-length in 2017. Heather Hussy is also a member of Proud Parents, an act that released their full-length debut through Dirtnap Records last year.
Now, as you may recall, towards the end of last year, the members of the newly constituted trio began tracking their soon-to-be released full-length album Looming, the follow-up to 2015’s Galore. Galore saw the band moving into a more focused direction with their songwriting, and it included material with more complex arrangements paired with a mid-fi production. And while the album reflected an evolution in their sound and approach, they managed to retain the infectious pop-leaning hooks that won them cult-favorite status. Interestingly, Looming, which is slated for a Friday release finds the band going in a much darker thematic direction with the material touching upon death, sudden loss, divorce, addition and our current horrifying, infuriating, and depressing sociopolitical moment.
Over the past couple of months, I wrote about two previously released album singles: “Coast,” a scuzzy power-chord ripper with an infectious and rousingly anthemic hook and “Sorry,” a decidedly 90s alt-rock-inspired, fuzz pop anthem featuring ironic lyrics that sonically brought to mind a series of 120 Minutes-era MTV titans, like Hole, Veruca Salt, The Breeders and others with a similar gritty and bilious quality. The album’s latest single “Cornflakes” is a mischievous and scuzzy garage pop track that recalls Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” The Go-Gos and others as its centered around an infectious, shout along worthy hook.
Directed and edited by Austin Duerst, the recently released video stars the band’s Heather Hussy, Bobby Hussy and Tyler Fassnacht. in a wild satirical take on cereal commercials and other commercials.
Born Jennifer Hays, the Tucson, AZ-born, Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jenn Champion can trace the origins of her music career to when she met her then-future Carissa’s Wierd bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke at the local pizza shop, where they all worked. In 1997, the trio first moved to Olympia, WA for about a year, before settling in Seattle, where the trio formed Carissa’s Wierd. The band released three albums before splitting up in 2003 — but interestingly, the trio cultivated a rabid cult following, which has resulted in the release of three compilation albums of their work, including 2010’s They’ll Only Miss You When You’re Gone: Songs 1996-2003, which was released through Hardly Art Records.
Since Carissa’s Wierd’s breakup, the Tuscon-born, Seattle-based Champion has focused on several acclaimed solo projects such as the guitar and vocal-based pop project S, with which she has released four albums, including 2010’s I’m Not As Good At It As You and 2014’s Chris Walla-produced Cool Choices. While critics and fans have applauded and gushed over her open-hearted lyrics and willingness to eschew conventions while crafting sad songs meant to be cried to and with. Now, as you may recall, the last half or so of Champion’s last S album found her moving towards an electronic-based sound with “No One” being a complete embrace of electronics. “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” Champion said at the time. And although she intended to follow up Cool Choices with “a rock record — guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” her plans had changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.”
After the release of “No One,” Champion’s music publisher partnered her with Brian Fennell, an electronic music artist, songwriter and producer best known as SYML and the pair co-wrote “Leave Like That,” which was featured on SYML‘s Hurt For Me EP. Champion and Fennell hit it off so well that after Champion had written the demos for last year’s SingleRider, she enlisted Fennell as a producer. Fennell agreed and they spent the next five months working on and refining the material on Single Rider. As Champion recalls, “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been,” and as a result the material evolved into a slickly produced, anthemic dance floor friendly album; however, the new album reportedly finds Champion maintaining the earnest emotionality and vulnerability that has won her attention — but this time, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Seattle-based singer/songwriter imploring the listener to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance heartache, outrage and disappointment away, for a little bit at least.
Turntable Kitchen has spent the past few years with the Sounds Delicious vinyl club. Over the course of its 13 previously released editions, a carefully curated collection of bands have released a full-length cover album. Interestingly, Jenn Champion has joined the ranks of an eclectic array of artists — and her cover album, the 14th of the series will find her taking on Weezer‘s 1994 full-length debut, The Blue Album. The first single off Jenn Champion’s The Blue Album cover is an icy, New Wave-like synth-based reworking of “Undone — The Sweater Song.”
Although Champion replaces the fuzzy power chords with layers of shimmering and atmospheric synths and propulsive industrial synth pop-like beats, she retains the song’s enormous and beloved hook creating a modern rework without erasing the original’s social unease, awkwardness and longing. The Jenn Champion cover reminds the listener that despite its release over 25 years ago, it’s a crafted bit of incredibly anthemic fuzzy power pop that manages to still sound contemporary and relevant, which is a rare thing for most of the material released during the same decade.
“I knew I wanted to take a synth heavy approach to this album, and in my mind The Blue Album was pretty straight-forward indie power pop,” Champion says in press notes. “But as I was deconstructing all the parts and putting the songs back together, I realized how much nuanced there is to [Rivers] Cuomo’s songwriting style. It’s a testament to his talent that he can make an entire record of songs we want to sing along to and don’t realize just how weird those songs are.”
“I will say it was a challenge, a really fun challenge (!) to keep true to what makes these songs so great while putting them through an electronic lens.”
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.
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
Los Angeles, CA-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Cecila Della Peruti is the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed indie rock project Gothic Tropic, and as you may recall, Peruti has also spent stints as member of the touring bands for Beck, Charli XCX, Børns, Poppy and others. With the release of last year’s full-length debut Fast or Feast, Peruti received attention for crafting hook-driven, New Wave-inspired tracks like “Stronger,” and the lush and atmospheric “How Life Goes” which explored themes of empowerment, strength in vulnerability, moving forward from the breakup of romantic relationships and the difficulties of getting older and growing up.
Interestingly, “Your Soul,” Fast or Feast’s fourth single manages to further cement Peruti’s growing reputation for crafting a hook driven songs, centered by punchy guitar chords, swirling synths and a propulsive rhythm section within an urgent and swooning song detailing a relationship that’s inching towards an awkward yet inevitable end that the song’s narrator doesn’t want to see happen.
Directed and written by Peruti, the gorgeously cinematic and trippy visuals for “Your Soul” is set set during the impending death of the sun, just as it’s about to envelope the entire planet — and it follows a young boy, who discovers that his purpose is to be one of the “Children of the Sun,” the last of a supernatural lineage of gifted children, whose presence sedates morals for a more blissful end. As Peruti explains in press notes, “I’m a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, so as I was putting this elaborate idea together knowing full well my budget and logistics, it was challenging to rely completely on Matisse and practical effects and circumstances to get the concept across. Everyone who worked on the video are my friends and collaborators, and I’m so lucky to have found young Matisse and his family. This VIP alien-angel character needed to be reverent without pride or ego, which I think Matisse completely owned. This was my first set, and I’m excited to keep going writing and directing, it’s been a fixation for a while.”
After working in the studio with Daniele Luppi, who has worked with Danger Mouse, Parquet Courts and Red Hot Chili Peppers; Alex Goose, who has worked with Weezer; and Carlos de la Garza, who has worked with Cherry Glazerr, Paramore and The Naked and the Famous, Peruti is expecting to release new material sometime next year. We’ll be on the lookout for it.
Grant Goldsworthy is a Central Pennsylvania-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who over the past 15 years has played with a number of bands across Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Boston and New York — and with his latest project, Snow Villain, which he started in 2015, Goldsworthy began collaborating with a rotating cast of musicians from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA and NYC. Although some have said that Snow Villain’s sound nods at Death Cab for Cutie, Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Ween and Beck, the project’s latest single “Torches.” off the forthcoming EP 1 strikes me as nodding heavily at early Rage Against the Machine, as the song is centered around enormous power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, and politically-charged lyrics delivered with a swaggering, hip-hop like flow.
With the release of their debut album Coco Beware and their sophomore self-titled album, New York-based quintet Caveman — comprised of Matthew Iwanusa (vocals, guitar), James Carbonetti (guitar), Jeff Berrall (bass), Sam Hopkins (keys) and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Prescott-Clark — have developed a profile locally and nationally for a moody and gorgeous guitar and synth-based sound that at times owed a sonic debt to Peter Gabriel, U2 and others. And as a result the quintet has toured with the world, playing shows with the likes of The War On Drugs, Weezer and Jeff Tweedy, and they’ve received praise not just from this site, where they’ve become mainstays but from a number of major media outlets.
The band’s highly-anticipated third full-length effort Otero War was released earlier this year, and the album’s first single “Never Going Back” is arguably the most upbeat and anthemic song the band has released to date, while sonically sounding as though it drew from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” — but with Carbonetti’s gorgeous guitar work, Iwanusa’s plaintive vocals and soaring synths. And much like Springsteen’s work, “Never Going Back” deals with themes that Springsteen would still tackle today — maneuvering the complications of love, desperately seeking an escape of the humdrum and blandness of small town life, and the recognition that at a certain point, your decisions and their impact on your life loom larger any our life.
The members of the renowned New York-based act made their nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Session where they performed “Never Going Back.” Check it out as I think it’ll give you a good sense of the band’s live sound.