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Oh, and there’s this…
by Carly Schorman
This garage rock number combines elements of blues and psych for a gritty sound that will stay with you long after you listen. “Mary Efalump” has the energy of a barroom brawl and a bit of a bad attitude – both of which serve to make the track just that much cooler. Don’t let the mellow intro lull you into thinking otherwise. This quintet out of Redditch (UK) recorded this single in a kitchen which so suits the raw power of “Mary Efalump”. Take the new single from Byron Hare for a spin below…
Well, hell yeah. Beach Riot doesn’t hold back on their new single, “B.A.D.” Right out the gate, the band starts hitting hard with its fuzzy alt-rock sound. Heavy guitars pair well with the restrained vocals. This London quartet sure knows how to pack a punch and apparently the aggression doesn’t stop with the rocknroll (see Twitter for proof). But you need the rowdy to make a Riot, right? Check out “B.A.D.” from Beach Riot below…
The feisty Tempe 4-piece known as The Venomous Pinks are gearing up to unleash a new EP through SquidHat Records out of Las Vegas. In prelude to that release, the Pinks offered up the single “Radar” – the closing track from the forthcoming EP, We Do It Better. These rowdy rockers have become a staple of the local punk scene so we’re always stoked to hear about a new album on the horizon. And this one looms ever-closer as that March 17th release date draws near. Head here to lock down that pre-order of We Do It Better from The Venomous Pinks. But, first, you can check out “Radar” below…
I suppose I’ll listen to band that describes itself as, “Bruce Springsteen on cocaine after a few drags off a helium balloon.” Their latest single, “Heart of Darkness”, certainly has a high energy charge, but my first thought wasn’t exactly Springsteen on cocaine. This NJ/Brooklyn band has all that raucous rocknroll energy mixed in with some of that NYsCene club-cool fuzz. Ruby Bones have a very modern indie rock sensibility that could easily carry the band to radio popularity. Check out “Heart of Darkness” by Ruby Bones below or head here for your own copy of the single so you can someday say you liked the band since that very first single (#streetcred).
If you miss those 90s grrrl rock singers like Juliana Hatfield or (early) Liz Phair, then you should definitely check out Telempathy. The singer-songwriter from Buffalo pairs brash guitars and lithe vocals for a spunky yet stripped-down sound. “Dream Life” is the second single from Telepathy’s debut release, Temple of Music, which is available through Soundcloud here. But, first, give “Dream Life” a listen below…
Few bands can nail brooding quite like Iress (formerly Iris). Chunky guitars and intentionally dispassionate vocals meet and merge on the band’s single, “Crown of Losers”, to create a melancholy atmosphere perfectly suited for all your inner angst. Formed near L.A. in 2010, Iress has been making their rounds on the city’s circuit and this year they’re planning on releasing their second EP. If you don’t yet know Iress, here’s your chance. Give “Crown of Losers” a spin below…
The Jesus Ponies out of Tempe are gearing up for their debut release later this month and they released the single “Kar Krash” as a little taste of what’s to come. I must admit, the band has a pretty heavy sound for an album that’s titled Conditional Love Casino. The Jesus Ponies create an aggressive alt-rock that explores the borderlands near (without ever actually going full-on) metal. At least, not in this track. Give “Kar Krash” by The Jesus Ponies a listen below and then head here to secure that pre-order of the complete LP. The album will be available on translucent blue and black splattered vinyl, but only in limited quantities so get a’moving.
Tucson’s Jesse Henderson, who records under than moniker Jesse Konrad, undertook this new musical effort following the breakup of his last band, Fischer Kings. Dropping the surname for the middle one, Jesse Konrad follows the indie-folk of the artist’s previous project, but on his single, “Cruise Ctrl”, Konrad achieves deeper levels on introspection that is matched by the emotional charge of the song’s orchestral sound. This track comes to us from Jesse Konrad’s 2016 EP, Masks, which can be found here. I highly recommend taking this single for a spin. “Cruise Ctrl” is an inspiring punch right in the bad attitude.
This just might be my chill summer jam. Right now, I’m imagining myself wandering through my home on a lazy afternoon (dressed entirely in pastels) with a cocktail in my hand (not that I drink) listening to this track on repeat. The cocktail is also pastel. The Seattle duo known as Sisters shape out some seriously stellar electropop on “Honey Honey”. As the single kicks off, you’ll notice the minimal approach on texturing, but the sound slowly swells until you’re in full-on Mod lounge mode. Sleek and clean from start to finish. Sample “Honey Honey” below or head here if, like me, you need that digi-download.
So Mateo Katsu is a bit of an editors’ favorite down here at #YabYumHQ. Maybe it’s his raw but never rough sound or maybe it’s the refreshing candor of his lyrics. Whatever it is, we’re hooked. “The Glow” proves a little more hopeful than other tracks we’ve featured from the musician, but that might have something to do with the song’s subject matter. According to Katsu, “”The Glow” is about life as a participant in various warehouse communities, not unlike the recently departed Ghost Ship in Oakland.” For artists, these communities do stand as a beacon of hope; a place of possibilities. But, as anyone who has actively participated in the rapscallion life of an artist will tell you, it’s not always peaches and cream. Katsu explores some of the frustrations while celebrating the optimism in “The Glow”. Give the single a spin below or head here to procure the album from whence it came.
This garage rock quartet comes to us from New Orleans. Killer Dale derived their name after watching Pineapple Express. Yep, that movie with Seth Rogen. And, once you hear “Under Control”, you probably won’t be surprised by the origin of the band’s name. “Under Control” has that summer-stoner vibe that comes through on ambling guitars and the grungy, basement rock sound. This single first appeared on Killer Dale’s December release, act as if, which is available for streaming or purchase here. But first, check out “Under Control” below…
The Philly 4-piece known as Loverboy Wanderers released their debut s/t dropped last month and the (almost) five minute track “Ghost” can be found there. Although, this isn’t that version. No, the indie rock outfit released an abridged version of their slinky single following the album. “Ghost” starts off with a bit of a brooding atmosphere but that soon gives way to an angsty energy that keeps the song lively rather than sulky. If you dig the abridged version of “Ghost” you can check out the full version on Loverboy Wanders, the album, here which is available for preview and purchase.
Water Color Weekend, an indie act out of Santa Cruz, crafts an effervescent ditty that will soothe then lift your spirits with “Strawberry (State of Mind)”. For those of you that are wondering just what a strawberry state of mind is, the band explains that a person’s strawberry is an “object, action, or anything else that puts you in a place of escape.” Maybe, this song will prove to be your own personal strawberry with its mellow but effervescent energy. Water Color Weekend recently dropped a brand new EP full of fresh sounds (available here), but, first, let the chill vibe of “Strawberry (State of Mind)” surround you in a comforting blanket of sound. Give the single a spin below.
Matt Reagan’s new single has a dreamy, psychedelic hue that reminds me of the musician’s bay-side home-base of San Francisco. “Not a Problem” fuses together fuzzy guitars and layered vocals for a richly textured sound that could easily fit in at The Filmore West (tambourine included) or with any modern indie fan. “Not a Problem” even goes so far as to disseminate into a brief jam session in true homage to the psychedelic sounds of the 60s after the two-minute mark. Give “Not a Problem” by Matt Reagan a listen below…
The Houston-based quintet known as Passerbye dropped their EP – Apathy, TX – earlier this year, just in time for the Superbowl. Now that may not seem like an important connection to draw but the band was picked up to play the Superbowl Festival sooo one might expect big things to come from Passerbye. “Karoake Knife Fight” comes to us from that release and you can tell from the punchy hooks and crisp delivery that it was predestined to captivate contemporary audiences. Give the single a spin below and you’ll hear what I mean. “Karoake Knife Fight” just might be radio gold. For the complete release, head to iTunes here.
The Calvillo Sisters throw some vintage style into the musical mix on their new single “Come Through”; the first single from their forthcoming album, Ziklag. Emma, Angelique, and Dominique Calvillo – yes, who are actually sisters – grew up in L.A. so they were in just the right place to launch their fresh revivalist sound that might best be described as “pop gumbo” for its melting pot combination of pop, R&B, gospel, and jazz into one funky fluid sound. Give “Come Through” a listen below and join us in the wait for Ziklag by the Calvillo Sisters.
Evalyn was introduced on Louis the Child’s “Fire” and now she’s ready to branch out on her own with “Filthy Rich”. Whether the songwriter assumed a persona for this song or Evalyn really is as filthy rich as the track describes, I can’t really say, but I’m a poor writer and I’m still kicking the track around. Maybe that’s because of the slick hook and brooding “California noir” style. “Filthy Rich” by Evalyn just might be the next chill club kid jam. You can hear it for yourself below or head here to add the single to your personal playlist.
William Bolton give shape to this lively number with a chillax feel and his easygoing vocal style. There’s a casual air to the song’s delivery that seems to contradict the firmness of the title. But, seems to me, like this track might have been penned at the point when one really is finished – finally finished – with that relationship that’s not working out. “NO” was produced by the artist with Mischief Boy on the assist. The two worked on another track recently (“Be My Bae”) which is also available through Bolton’s Soundcloud page. Before you check out the new single, make sure you give “NO” a spin below or get your own copy from iTunes.
This addition to our list is an cross-Pacific undertaking. The Australian-based producer known as filous joined forces with Nashville-via-Eugene singer-songwriter Mat Kearney to create “Goodbye”. What I perhaps like most about this track is the subtly shifting soundscape that supports Kearney’s stirring voice. The production is vibrant yet unobtrusive and it keeps the track compelling without upstaging the vocals. Give “Goodbye” from filous, and featuring Mat Kearny, a listen below or head to iTunes for your own copy of the single.
This high-energy track comes to us from the indie/electro side of the pop pool. KNGDAVD combines the efforts of two NYC artists: one a producer/multi-instrumentalist and the other a vocalist. “Medicine” packs a pop punch and an infectious hook so be warned that this song could get stuck on your head in repeat. The subject matter addresses the hot button issue of toxic relationships that rely on sex to avoid the dysfunction. The steamy single dropped in January so you can score your digital download of the single here or give it a spin below…
Man, why are so many pop songs about troubled relationships? Is romantic love really the driving force of our lives? Or are we just suffering for our entanglements? This chill electro pop single has a pensive air felt in both the lyrics and the underlying musicality, but there is also a sense of calm resignation that keeps things on an even keel. Retro-style synths are used to add some vibrant texturing, but their presence does not overwhelm the track, leaving it feel dated and artificial. Other fans of similar synth sounds would be wise to take note. Give “We Don’t Talk Anymore” a listen below or head here for the download.
by Joe Golfen
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.
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.
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.
Aunt B officially came together as a band last summer, but the concept had been stewing for a few years between Shane and Megan Baskerville, the married duo that sits at the heart of the 8-piece. All that stewing paid off, however. Shortly after filling their roster, the band was down at Five Thirteen Recording to give shape to their s/t debut album which is due out next month. “Oh Lord” is the first single from that release. Megan Baskerville’s powerful vocals put a sultry spin on the daily task of just plain living. This blues rock anthem will put some steel in your spine. Give it a spin below and join us in the wait for the full release next month.
This smooth single from Cincinnati’s JSPH starts with a stripped down sound, but brace yourself, the energy kicks up. “lifeLESS” ebbs and flows between bedroom chill and full heartbreak. I don’t know what impressed me more: JSPH’s lryrical prowess or his ability to deliver said lyrics in such an emotionally stirring voice. Make sure you give “lifeLESS” a listen below or head here for your own digi-download of the single.
Cadillac Freeze makes psychedelic soul music and it’s pretty stellar. Combining a slinky vocals with a smooth production style, Cadillac Freeze shapes out a totally modern sound on “El Miraj in tha Garage”. And, it was just last summer that the Cali artist released the 18-track album Good Vibes and he’s already punching out new singles. That’s straight hustling. Cadillac Freeze is definitely an artist to keep an ear on. Start with “El Miraj in tha Garage” below or head here to score your own copy of the single.
Alt-blues musician Rebekah Todd just dropped her sophomore album, the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised thirty grand for the project. The album, Crooked Lines, dropped two days ago and this single comes to us from that release. “Let Me Prove My Love” is a love song for the ages; full of the heartwrenching passion one feels in absence of their love. The North Carolina-based Todd wrote the song for her lover in Santiago, Chile and she has the vocal powers to deliver the angst of that long-distance divide in full force. So brace yourself as you delve into “Let Me Prove My Love” by Rebekah Todd below and then head here for the album from whence the single came, Crooked Lines.
This soulful single comes to us from producer Baby E.’s mixtape, Kill the Noise. He worked with ṡtravy to craft “Realize” – a chill number with a hiphop slant I really dig. The kickback attitude of “Realize” stands in sharp juxtaposition to the hard truths it lays out for the listener. Start with “Realize” below and then move on to the complete mixtape from L.A.’s Baby E. (available here). At fourteen tracks, Kill the Noise is one your going to want to set aside some time to really explore.
Last year Philly artist Reggie made the jump to L.A. to start pushing his sound to new audiences. “Sing No More: An Ode to Marvin, Luther, Teddy and MJ” does just what the title suggests. And, it pays tribute to R&B singers of the past not just with its title, but in the style laid out for us in the music itself, both instrumentally and vocally. My only complaint is that this track closes out in less than 90 seconds. This song feels a bit more like an introduction than a fully fleshed-out single. I mean, hell, that’s a long title for such a brief song. We’re going to need a little more than that next time, but by way of introduction, we’re doing swell. Check out “Sing No More: An Ode to Marvin, Luther, Teddy and MJ” by Reggie below….
Scandinavian R&B? Sign me up. Soon has a bit of the 90s boy band vibe with their soul-pop combo. The band’s recent single, “Used To”, definitely has this vibe as well as all the emotive charge you would expect from the genre. “Used To” deals with the misgivings of love you suspect is slipping away from you. That’s a topic that certainly lends itself to some harrowing feelings and Soon captures that energy. Give “Used To” a listen below.
by Carly Schorman
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 Things. You 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…
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.
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…