3 Rad Punk Releases

3 rad punk releases 00

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Sad Kid

Dys​(​FUN​)​ctional

As the name of their album implies, Sad Kid wants to put the FUN back in dysfunctional. Sex, drugs, and gas station burritos might not be able to combat the malaise of a generation, but that doesn’t mean that Sad Kid isn’t going to try to fill that fucking soul hole with debauchery. This four-track follow-up to the band’s 2016 debut reveals maturation (gasp) on the instrumental end but no less of the riotous angst that first defined the Sad Kid sound. Dys(FUN)ctional dropped on the Slope Records label and was produced by local legend Cris Kirkwood… how cool is that?! Check out Dys(FUN)ctional from Sad Kid and make sure you get out to see this band live – just don’t drink the Kool-Aid because it’s probably 95% Everclear.

TYPICAL GIRLS

Typical Girls Vol. 2 [compilation]

This kickass compilation from Flagstaff’s Emotional Release Records gathers grrrl rockers from around the globe for one feisty collection that will fuel your summer. Bands like BENT and Naked Lights veer toward more post-punk permutations with their sound while others, like Neighborhood Brats, definitely sound like they could fuck you up in a parking lot. Personally, I’m all about the rowdy and retro style of MIDNITE SNAXXX and the shout-it-out style of Suss Cunts. I found so much new-band love on Typical Girls Vol. 2. From Juanita y Los Feos and Black Abba to Soft Tug and Sex Stains… really there are just too many stellar bands to name them all. But, thanks to Emotional Release Records, I don’t have to. They’ve already been gathered in this convenient compilation for your musical exploration. Oh, and you’re definitely going to want to get your own copy here.

Skull Drug

Sinful Life

If the doldrums of daily life has got you down, maybe you just need a little more Skull Drug in your day-to-day. Just throw on Sinful Life on your drive into work and see if your perspective doesn’t shift. Of course, you might overload on thrash punk and set fire to the entire building before your lunch break so consider yourself warned. Skull Drug brings you to back to those punk rock roots with their raw energy and driving sound. Most of the ten songs featured on Sinful Life clock in at under two minutes so you can knock out the entire LP in one cathartic fit of unleashed rage. Or, if you’re my age, maybe hit play when you hit the gym and see if that fire doesn’t propel you through even the most hated activities with fist-pumping fury. Check out Sinful Life from Skull Drug below…

3 Awesome New Albums for Desert-Dwellers

desert-dweller 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Howe Gelb

The Open Road – Arizona Amp & Alternator

Singer-songwriter Howe Gelb is practically synonymous with the Tucson sound: something a little dusty and desolate. Back in February, Gelb released the aptly-titled album, The Open Road – Arizona Amp & Alternator, which offers fans a collection of singles and sketches reaching back over the past five years.

The Open Road kicks off with the title track opening the album which will bring a flush of the familiar for fans as that distinctively ambling alt-folk fills your ears. As far as favorites from the release goes, I love the noir vibe of “five star hotel” but I’m also quite taken with the closing track’s yarn about a gal called “jane by any other name”.  And, I can’t count out “left of center” which features Lonna Kelley as the guest vocalist.

Even the instrumentals on this album are wonderfully vivid; merging jazz-lounge ambiance with a bit of the beer’n’burlesque feel of the Wild West. This album meanders with surprising grace given that the tracks were pieced together over a such extended period. Then again, it’s in no way surprising if you’re familiar with Gelb’s extended body of work not only as a performer but also as a producer. As the weather moves toward sweltering, this is the perfect album to sink into in its entirety on those listless evenings spent waiting for the sun to set.

Robin Vining

Is There Someone for Everyone?

Phoenix songwriter and musician Robin Vining of Sweetbleeders fame released a collection of stripped down songs last month. Is There Someone for Everyone? really shows off Vining’s strengths as a songwriter and composer, moving from sprightly sea ballads to melodic musings on the nature of love. Each song stands on its own accord without a single instance of the filler I too often find on other albums.

There’s no picking a favorite song for me here.  The piano-driven title track feels like the perfect rainy day song while the intentionally sparse and powerfully desperate “Temptation” begs for repeated listens. And I do love the Western amble of “Watch Where You Step”. The trademark pliancy of Vining’s vocals come through in high shine on tracks throughout the album, particularly on “Wild at Heart” and “Ice Floes”. Bascially, music-lovers, you just need this album in your life.

Is There Someone for Everyone? is available for preview and purchase through Bandcamp, but the official release date is next month in Phoenix. More information on that event here.

The Lonesome Wilderness

Lush

The Lonesome Wilderness dropped their much-anticipated EP, Lush, at The Rogue in January and we were on hand to help celebrate the occasion. Lush offers up five tracks of desert garage rock that ignores any presumed division between alt and indie.

The EP opens with “Karma” which feels like it holds all the spiritual insight of a really great acid trip. The somber, and slightly sullen, “Alright” delivers just the right amount of angst before the energy gets turned up for illicit tale of “Murder in Chicago”.

The texturing gets downright trippy on “Stay Out of the Sun” but the band doesn’t rely on those extended post-rock tangents to fill out the EP. Although there are those moments too, this band has a Western sensibility that rises to the surface of their sound, even when the rocknroll comes in without all the textural flourishes usually found in over-abundance on “desert garage rock” releases. They keep things crisp, even when it gets fuzzy. “Nico”, the almost 5-minute closing track, is my late-to-the-game favorite from Lush. There’s a very “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”, folk-rock feel that gives way to modern modes of song construction (or Deconstruction).

As much as I love Lushthere’s nothing quite like the way The Lonesome Wilderness turns their tracks into a post-rock soup at their live performances. So, after you spend sometime with Lush, make sure you add The Lonesome Wilderness to your “Acts to See Live” list (we all have those, right?) if you haven’t done so already. Listen to Lush below…

3 Garage Rock Ragers


by Joe Golfen
Staff Writer

The Darts

The Darts

Nicole Laurenne and Christina Nunez are garage rock machines. Having set Phoenix, and the rest of the world, on fire with their beloved The Love Me Nots, they’ve also graced stages as members of Motobunny, Casual Encounters, Zero Zero and more.

They latest venture into the retro world of rock and roll is The Darts, joined by Los Angeles musicians Rikki Styxx and Michelle Balderrama. While they are mining similar territory, The Darts are somehow even rowdier and raunchier than The Love Me Nots. Their self-titled debut is a finely tuned rock machine, from the caveman beat of “Running Through Your Lies” through raveups like “I Wanna Get You Off” and “Revolution.”

This is breakneck, snarling garage rock, like The Stooges if they rocked the hell out of a farfisa. The vocals are sexy and sharp as knives, and sound just about as dangerous.

As fun as the rockers are, some of my favorite moments on the record are when they slow things down a bit. Taking the tempo down lets the intriguing sense of menace sink in, like the thick-as-molasses chorus of “You Got Me,” or the spooky psychedelic sludge of closer “Kiss of Fire.” This music is so spooky they even grabbed a twitter endorsement from Stephen King.

The Darts prove that if you play it with enough grit and passion, garage rock is a timeless force to be reckoned with. Check out the record here, and catch The Darts with Weird Omen, March 7th at the Rebel Lounge.

Desert Beats

Desert Beats

Tucson’s Desert Beats hit all the garage rock pleasure centers: echo chamber vocals, reverb soaked guitars, surf beats, fuzzy organs.

But none of that would mean a thing if the songs weren’t there, so it’s a good thing that Desert Beats’ main man Randall Dempsey has songs for days. All those stylistic touches are in service of some great tunes, and Dempsey and his Desert Beats crew throw in enough curveballs to keep things interesting.

Lead track “Rumble” gets things off to a killer start, a distorted organ punctuated by drum rolls and a kinetic, Interpol-worthy guitar line. The guitar playing remains a highlight throughout the album, the playing fluid, complex and really fun. Dempsey starts his first vocals with a great hiccup, and fills the rest of the song with peaked-out shouts.

While the rest of album follows a similar style, the band switched things up with flourishes like the “do-do-do” vocals on “Nothing Without You” or the woozy synth line on “Receive The Dark.” And the great backing vocals and harmonies, especially on tracks like “Lost My Way” and “We Can’t Forget,” are a constant treat.

Dempsey breaks away from his standard style a few times towards the end of the record, including on the rockabilly-indebted “Humble Gun” or the closer “People Hurt,” which veers more towards stoner metal, like King Tuff doing “War Pigs.”

But classic garage is what the band does best, and “Wolfman is Here” is my personal favorite, with its propulsive bassline, police siren guitar, and chorus of yelping and howling. Perfection.

Check out the record here, and catch Desert Beats at their dual record release show with Strange Lot, March 4th at Valley Bar.

sunlaand

Goth Grrl

Though it was released in January, sunlaand’s new four song EP is a perfect summer album. Produced by drummer James Hoag, the record captures the haze that sets in on a really hot day, when all you can do is sit in the pool or inside with all the curtains closed.

Lead track “Pillz” starts things off with the kind of crunchy guitar that would make Johnny Ramone smile, while singer Sara Windom coos and smirks her way through lines like “And I popped pills on the bathroom floor/I drink and then I drink some more/but it’s cool though.”

Bassist Michael Chmura takes over vocal duties on the excellent “Death is Happy,” sounding as bratty and confused as early Wavves records while crooning “Nothing is clear to me anymore.”

A crunchy bass line kicks off “TV Dog,” a fun thrasher that is surely a house party favorite. The band closes the album with the best tune “Bummer Baby,” a breezy ode to troubled teenage love, with Windom totally nailing the chorus of “Tonight I’m gonna sneak you out/Don’t be a bummer baby.”

Disaffected, fun and strung-out, Goth Grrl sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a grainy skate video where they miss every trick. Which someone should totally make happen.

Check out the record here, and catch sunlaand at the Phantom Party Album Release show, March 4th at 51 West.

3 Rad New Releases

3 rad new releases 00

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Gorky

The Gork​.​.​.​And How To Get It!

This four-piece out of Northern Arizona has been playing together a whopping 15 years and to celebrate their years of blissful band union, Gorky released, The Gork… And How To Get It!, in January.

This monster collection of tracks was recorded over the better part of a decade (2009-2016) and packs a retro-indie punch… You know, back in the days when Indie Rock still sounded like garage rock because it was still being made by kids in garages. Now, it feels like all that indie is coming straight from the bedroom with its stripped down sound and sedate energy. Gorky turns the energy back up and adds some Pavement bounce to the musicality for The Gork.

The album opens with “Roll with Me” which was recorded live at Last Exit Live right here in sunny Phoenix along with “AM Radio” and “The Cosmonaut” (which you’ll hear in about 19 more songs). What I love most about Gorky is that bright, summertime sound that glazes over every song on this album. There’s something mirthful about their brand of rocknroll that comes through every time, not just on the obvious tracks like “Super Drunk” or “#Datass”. Get into The Gork below…

Devil Grass

Dog + Cross

Devil Grass fuses together alt-country, dark folk, and some good ol’fashioned rocknroll to create their rowdy desert sound.

The Phoenix quartet just unleashed their debut EP, Dog + Cross, earlier this week – just in time for Valentine’s Day. I would definitely say these tracks are more Romantic (big R) than romantic (little r). The songs are brooding and introspective, meandering through fields dusted with prog rock permutations.

The EP opens with “Hundred-Year Woods”; submerging the listener in the rough-edged folk-rock of Devil Grass. “In the Cut” follows. Now, this track was originally released a year ago as Devil Grass’s recording debut and its earthy/edgy sound makes for, in my opinion, a solid introduction to the Devil Grass sound.

The energy gets turned up for “Pioneers” before “St. Joe’s Spitting Image” closes out the EP. The closer just might be my favorite track from the collection. There’s something slinky and also a little lonely about this number; like a hopeless crooner singing in a roadhouse bar for sad sweethearts.

Give Dog + Cross by Devil Grass a perusal below…

The Real FITS

Drown in Gold

The smokey smooth vocals of Raquel Willand adds a noir touch to the alt-rock sound of The Real FITS. The Tempe 4-piece dropped Drown in Gold, a 5-song EP, back on December 30th to close out the year.

The release opens with “Feels Like Mine” and sets a kickback feel that continues through Drown in Gold. “Sideways” – the second track – has the same sultry vibe and retro synths that gives shape to the FITS’ sinuous sound before “Wild Wild West”. The latter track has a measure of listlessness that off-sets the lithe vocals.

“Sundown”, the penultimate track on both the album and amongst my personal favorites, has a bit of an L.A. sound. Listeners can slip into a West Coast vision of driving down a palm-tree lined street in a convertible toward the ocean; top down and sunglasses on as the sun slips down the sky. “Tides” – my personal favorite and the longest track from the release – closes the EP with a dreamy, meandering number. Give Drown in Gold a listen below or head here for your own digi-download.

3 Chill New Releases You Should Check Out

chill new releases 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Max Knouse

Dinasaur from Jensen

If this is an audiobook, it’s the most beautiful audiobook ever.

On Dinasaur from Jensen [sic], Max Knouse seems to follow a bit of the Jeff Mangum/Aeroplane Over the Sea approach to record-making by creating an elaborate and elusive narrative that plays out over the course of the album.

If you try to view the lyrics through the album’s Bandcamp page, you will be rewarded with a single word (a clue perhaps?) rather than the full story. Although Dinasaur from Jensen counts nine tracks, several of those included are brief interludes between full songs.

It was all the way back in 2014 that Max Knouse knocked our socks off with The Hasty Escape (his band) and their album, The Filthier ThingsYou can hear elements of Knouse’s earlier work – that windswept Americana, the entrancing harmonies, the stellar guitarwork – but this new undertaking is a bit stranger and no less engaging. It’s impossible to pick a “favorite song” from the album. Dinasaur from Jensen should be consumed in its entirety in one sitting, not piece by piece. However, I will say that “Bottle Submerged” had some favorite moments for me.

Sink into the strange and wondrous aural experience that is Dinasaur from Jensen below…

Delafaye

The Hilltop

We heard Delafaye’s first single back in November and then we covered his next single the following month. So, of course, we were just about counting down the days until we could hear his complete debut EP.

The Hilltop dropped on January 27th through the British label Street Mission Records and, I must say, Delafaye is the perfect fit for a London label. His music has a somber, English sensibility and he keeps the focus on songwriting at its core; placing authentic expressions of emotion over catchy hooks and substance over glitz.

“Time and Money” opens The Hilltop; a somber, reflective number that I find as comforting as hot coffee on a bone-chilling morning. “Rain” follows and you’ll start accurately assuming that the EP will continue along this meditative path to its conclusion. Delafaye is for those peaceful, pensive moments. “Dreamers”, my personal favorite, comes next before “Thinkin of You” closes out the album.

Just in case you missed those earlier reviews, Delafaye is the musical moniker of Kentucky songwriter Andrew Shockley. Let’s all hope for an Arizona stop on his next tour. That’s a ticket I would purchase.

Until then, you can check out the new single, “Rain”, from The Hilltop by Delafaye below or head to iTunes or Spotify for the complete EP.

Without Youth

Seasons

Despite the hundreds of submissions we receive every week, I still like stumbling around for some heartfelt bedroom indie as a much needed break from the glitzy, production-heavy singles we get flooded with day in, day out.

Without Youth has just that sort of refreshing sound I needed to soothe my PR-weary soul: honest and simple yet poignant. Something more a little more promising than polished. There’s warmth in the four tracks found on Seasons; the duo’s latest EP which came out in January.

“Rooms” opens the EP and establishes a dreamy feel for the rest of the release. Liz Christy’s voice matches that dreaminess with her breathy, almost sleepy, vocal style that shifts from pensive to airy. Devon Hancock is the other half of the musical partnership that is Without Youth. Hancock occasionally joins in singing duties to add casual harmonies on tracks like “Take III” which, btw, is a personal favorite from the EP because of its rich, almost-gritty instrumental texturing. “Between Love and Hate” closes the release with a 5+ minute meditation on, well, love and hate and how one can transform into the other.

If you dig the intimacy of bedroom indie pop, I suggest delving into Seasons from Phoenix’s Without Youth below…

3 Rowdy New Releases

Rowdy New Releases 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Turqouiz Noiz

Sweat Lodge

The four-piece formerly known as Sweat Lodge released this stellar LP through Related Records back in November. Now performing under the moniker Turqouiz Noiz, this West Coast act has a gritty garage punk sound that immediately had my full attention from the start of “Green Hair”, the opening track from Sweat Lodge. Turqouiz Noiz adds some heavy distortion to give their tracks an experimental edge. There’s a lot of variance within the overarching Turqouiz Noiz sound which keeps the album interesting from start to finish without allowing the energy level to dip for even a moment (the exception perhaps being the intro to “Braid”). Sweat Lodge by Turqouiz Noiz was released on vinyl and cassette, both limited edition and selling out fast, so get a hold of your own personal copy ASAP before they’re all gone. You can do that here, but first feel free to preview the album below…

Okilly Dokilly

Howdilly Doodilly

Okay, we’ve had some time to get past the gimmick, right? Okilly Dokilly is the first Nedal band (Ned Flanders-themed Metal) in the world which has earned them a lot of slag for capitalizing on an idea rather than their music, but is that where this review ends? No, because they’re not just a funny idea. On their debut LP, Howdilly Doodilly, the band puts forward some serious musicianship mixed with the sopping irony that first threw Okilly Dokilly into the public eye. Just listen to the guitar work on “Flanderdoodles” and tell me they aren’t anything more than clever. If you’re one of those message kids, always seeking out the deeper meaning by pouring over every lyric on an album, then maybe this release isn’t for you. The lyrics to each track might be best described as terse; gleaned, as they were, from episodes of The Simpsons for humorous effect.  Screeching vocals and high energy antics pepper every track from “White Wine Spritzer” all the way to “Godspeed Little Doodle” and beyond. If you’re down with metal, then I suggest you check out the Nedal of Okilly Dokilly. The band will be touring this coming Spring so check show dates to see when they’ll be hitting your neck of the woods.

Zero Degrees North

Mandatory Story Time

This teenage punk act outta Phoenix dropped their debut LP last September. Zero Degrees North might be a little green, but you won’t hear that in their sound. This three-piece packs all the punk rock punch you need to up the energy on an otherwise bleh day. Mandatory Story Time kicks off with “Circus Freaks” which sets a feisty pace for the entire album. The second track, “Apocryphal”, has more of a pop-punk feel than the unabated rowdiness you’ll find on other tracks while “Caught”might actually be about stealing chocolate milk (and getting nabbed for it). But don’t worry. All their themes aren’t all high school drama. Zero Degrees North tackles some serious topics as well and even offers some key pieces of advice, like “don’t be a douche.” Mandatory Story Time is a promising start for these youngsters. And I bet they put on one hell of a live show. Luckily our next chance to catch them is coming right up – January 15 at the Rebel Lounge. Check the debut from Zero Degrees North below and then head to Bandcamp to throw some support their way.

3 Eclectic Pop Albums

Eclectic Pop albums 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

lost valley

lost valley

Brooklyn’s lost valley proves you can do a little with a lot. On his self-titled debut, you’ll find 11 stripped-down tracks of some of the best bedroom pop I’ve heard in quite some time. “ctl” kicks off the release with something a little playful despite being mildly depressing before “wasterluv” ups the angst.  There’s a lot of variance on lost valley while maintain a distinctive and unified sound. “fried chx” takes an indie-folk approach while “sandhill dr.” touches upon some drone. “julie” offers ruminating track tinged by love before “in my solitude (duke ellington)” closes out lost valley with an experimental edge. Listen to lost valley here…

Harper and the Moths

Mixtape

Harper and the Moths takes their love of 80s synth pop to a whole new level on Mixtape; a collection of covers from the Phoenix act known for their New Wave flair. Almost forgotten hits are given new life on this EP like Timex Social Club’s “Rumors” or Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me”. Personally, I’m quite taken with “West End Girls” even though Aha’s “Take On Me” was an integral part of my music-listening development as a child so it also has a special place in my heart. Mixtape was released as a Halloween treat for fans of Harper and the Moths, but I suspect the band might draw in a lot of new listeners with this amalgamation of cover tracks. Listen to Mixtape by Harper and the Moths, and if you like what you’re hearing, delve into the band’s original songs from earlier releases.

Henry Hall

My Friends Don’t Like Me

NYC-based musician Henry Hall blurs indie rock and pop on his latest EP, My Friends Don’t Like Me. And, much like the title of the release implies, Hall invokes a sly wit that often turns toward self-depreciation in his lyrics. When you pair that lyrical prowess with the effervescent feel of the melodies and Hall’s lively and lithe falsetto, the result is infectious. “Comfort Zone”, the first single and opening track from his EP, introduces the buoyant energy that carries through the rest of the songs. “Company” achieves ethereal harmonic heights while “Wyoming” provides a dreamy vision of open prairies. I love when musicians are able to add humor to their songs without sacrificing, you know, the music. Henry Hill does just that. Give My Friends Don’t Like Me a listen below.

3 Hawt HipHop Albums

3 hawt hiphop

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Quincy Davis

Remedy

Portland’s Quincy Davis combines smooth style with meaningful lyricism for an album you can really sink down into. Remedy kicks off with “All I Know”, establishing a mellow, kick-back feel that persists throughout the release. “Be Brave” is the first single off the album and a personal favorite. Davis wrote the track after visiting youth lockdown facilities and led a group of adolescents in a freestyle session. The track fits well with the album overall given the recurring theme of breaking free from drug abuse and overcoming the challenges this crazy shitshow called life can throw at you. Check out Remedy by artist and educator Quincy Davis below and don’t forget to throw some support his way by purchasing the album for your own collection (available here).

Dadadoh

Radical

You gotta love Dadadoh’s self-aggrandizing style on his new album, especially when you meet him in person and realize what a humble guy he is in “real life” (whatever that is). Radical isn’t an overproduced, more-hype-than-heart sort of release. This is the real deal. This is like getting high with your friends and trying to untangle the secret workings of your psyche. Dadadoh addresses the intricacies of attraction and the tribulations of that MC life. Radical features guests artists including MC/DC, Mr. UU, Dirty Dalla$, and a few others – a veritable smorgasbord of the Phoenix record label, TVLife Entertainment. “No More” and “Kowasahki Trappin'” are early favorites from the album, but I can’t neglect to mention Dadadoh’s new classic, “Never (Invite Whack People to My Shows)”, which closes out Radical in fine style. Delve into the lyrical meanderings of Dadadoh below or score your own digi-download of the album here.

FRESCOTOLDYA

Bait

Phoenix MC Frescotoldya dropped a new EP in August in anticipation of his forthcoming LP, Great White Shark. The new EP, Bait, offers up 7 solid tracks of introspective lyrics and sleek beats.  Bait opens appropriately with “Back to the Board”, a track that manages to be mellow and funky in the same breath, before “Imitators” talks a little shit about those style-coppers. I like the squishy synths that kick off the high-energy track, “Night Like This”. Well, it’s about as high-energy as Bait gets. I like that about this album – it has a kickback vibe, perfect for backyard BBQs or driving downtown at night. The EP moves from political ponderings to musings on love, the music life, and fighting for your destiny. Check out Bait by Frescotoldya below and keep your eye out for the upcoming LP.

3 Rad New Releases

new arizona releases 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Wolvves

Paradox Valley

Before you embark on the new Wolvves’ album, the first thing you’re going to want to do is forget everything you think you know about Wolvves. This isn’t the Millennial Party Band of days past.

Paradox Valley represents a shift not only in players, but in vision. The emotional content of the album vacillates from dreamy to outright aggression to wry observations on the world while the sound can only be described as experimental. There is a nod to minimalism throughout the release which lends Paradox Valley a beautiful starkness against the entangled lyrics.

And, if you don’t like Aydin or you think he’s lyrics are too abrasive, fine. You don’t have to get it. That’s fine. He’s a poet continually seeking to explore the uncharted regions of music and art and honesty. I might not have been a big fan of the (old) Wolvves’ previous album, but I can now see the directional impetus. Sparsely textured and stunning, Paradox Valley is an achievement. You can purchase the album here or preview below.

Diners

Three

Diners saved me. It was a stressed and overworked Monday when I sat down to give Three a spin.

The strain began to evaporate like tiny bubbles in a glass of citrus soda and my blood pressure began to decline to a “safe range” once again as soon as the brief “Waiting on Music” introduced the album. By the time I sauntered through “Hear the World”, the second track, I was sold.

Three is innocent, but not puerile; beautifully harmonic, but not overworked. The tracks are minimal but lushly textured and invigorating like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. “Fifteen on a Skateboard” is an early favorite of mine (for those who haven’t seen Diners perform that track live on our Songs from the Reading Room series, head here), but I also love the nostalgic “In My Hometown” and the romantically wistful “Laundromat Conern”.

Actually, the whole release is stellar from start to finish. Score your own copy of Three for your personal collection here, but you can preview the album below first if you like.

PRO TEENS

Accidentally

The summertime release of PRO TEENS’ sophomore effort, Accidentally, coincided perfectly with the sticky, sludgy heat of the Arizona summer.

From the start of “Goodnight Moon’d”, the opening track, the listener is submerged in a sea of insouciance. Lead singer Andy Phipps’ voice emanates indifference that is well matched to the ironic tinge of the overarching musicality. The result is cool; cool in the way seedy lounge bars and drug-addled teenagers are cool.

There is something dark, slightly distasteful, and existentially dangerous that creeps around under the surface, but you find yourself inexplicably drawn into appreciating the degradation. Of course, all this glib disregard that one finds in the instrumentation is offset by the brooding, almost insolent lyricism. Therein, lies this album’s truly authentic self – not one or the other, but both aspects unified. The sardonic and the sullen.

Rather than continuing to speak in broad generalities, I guess I should dig into Accidentally. The previously mentioned opening track was in contention for personal favorite, but retro-surf-infused “Puberty” holds that official title. “Feather Boy” brings out a dreampop with psychedelic streaks while “Hamuela” swims around the listener; comforting as a poolside cocktail, something with an umbrella.

Just because PRO TEENS puts on a glib front, don’t be fooled by the hype. Sink down into this album and you will find its poignant and painful moments laid bare for those who care to look for them. Listen to this album in its entirety. You can do so below or you can snag that digi-download here.

3 Psychedelic New Releases

3 Psychedelic New Releases 00by Joe Golfen
Staff Writer

History Machine

History Machine

“Dime” gets things started with a fake out, a jangling take on an old-school rock-n-roll ballad with a gentle melody, the sweetness undercut by the dark minor chords of a chorus that asks “When did we forget how to talk?” The record is filled with moments like this, lovely, vintage-sounding tunes and loaded melancholic laments, all delivered in singer Chris Melton’s rich baritone.

The band does a great job of peppering in unexpected moments, ranging from mandolin solos and a shout-along chorus to screeching guitars and synth wobbles, while never losing the music’s warm, lived-in feel.

“Wind” is an early standout, a seemingly simple country diddy made sinister by Melton’s delivery and the eerie sounds swirling in the background. “All Cool on the Western Front” is another great track, a breezy tune that changes course midway through the guitar solo, when the bass switches to fuzz and the tune swings into a psychedelic sludge.

With their self-titled release, History Machine delivers a confident, pleasingly experimental album that rewards repeated listens, which is easy to do when the songs are this good.

Great American Canyon Band

Only You Remain

I have to admit, the name Great American Canyon Band had me expecting something a little different; perhaps of the stomp-and-holler variety that’s been so popular lately. And while there are elements of that open-hearted Americana on display in Only You Remain, this Baltimore wife-husband duo make that sound their own by pairing their acoustic elements and rich harmonies with swirling synths and echo-heavy guitars.

The result is an intriguing mix of hazy dream pop and Laurel Canyon-indebted psychedelia, the music capturing the widescreen magic of driving on a vast open road. So really the name is a perfect fit, and Great American Canyon Band should definitely find a spot on your next roadtrip mix.

Candy Cigarettes

Candy Cigarettes

Hazy, dreamy vocals? Scrappy, chaotic guitar solos? It’s like this record was built to appeal to me, which might be why I can’t stop listening to it. Portland’s Candy Cigarettes is really a one-man band in the form of Lane Mueller, a multi-instrumentalist who produces all the music. The 24-year-old Oregonian, whose driver’s licence graces the album cover, kicks things off with “Selling Price,” a spacey odyssey filled with trippy background singers and woozy guitar solos. The record certainly has some eclectic edges, such as “My 45,” which drops the dark psychedelia for a breezy early-Flaming Lips vibe, or “Molded Ocean,” which takes a clear page from the whispered sorrow of Elliott Smith. But no matter the style he reaches for, Mueller keeps things pleasingly off-kilter, making Candy Cigarettes a record you need to check out.