5 Soulful Singles to Inspire You on a Drab Day

Heart Society

“Rocket”

Teneia Sanders-Eichelberger and Benjamin Eichelberger, the married duo behind Heart Society, called the Valley home not too long ago and they have the Phoenix New Times awards to prove it. In 2015, they cashed out and bought a trailer to take their musical message to the road. Fast forward a few years and Heart Society emerged from Mississippi with their rock-fueled soul-sound. “Rocket” comes to us from the duo’s forthcoming release, Wake the Queens, which is due out later this week!

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Lando Chill + The Lasso

“Golden”

Lando Chill (who won our award for Best HipHop Album in 2017) is back without another innovative approach to the genre. For māyā. maia. mayu, which came on February 2, Lando Chill teamed up with another Tucson artist, The Lasso. A mellow musicality sets the atmospheric vibe for the lyrical ruminations. “Golden” is only the first track on māyā. maia. mayu so start here but don’t stop. Meander through the six songs on this EP when you have time to leisurely lay back and indulge the listening experience.

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Jareth

“Kaleidoscope”

The London-based vocalist Jareth has shared “Kaleidoscope”, the first single from her debut solo EP. Jareth’s voice has a ponderous heft to it as she guides the listeners through a dreamy, if overcast, aural landscape. What else should one expect when an artist plumbs “the depths of one’s subconsciousness” for creativity and clarity. Moonchild, Jareth’s new EP, is due out later this year through Moonshot Records so follow the artist to stay up-to-date on the new EP.

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DAVESTATEOFMIND

“Pull Up”

Houston’s David Byers makes music under the moniker DAVESTATEOFMIND. The singer-songwriter-rapper brings all this talents together on his new single, “Pull Up”. Combining HipHop and Soul, DAVESTATEOFMIND offers a chill take on modern romance. This is a new artist on the R&B scene but some wave-making potential is definitely there.

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Sophie Faith x Midnight Phunk

“Say So”

We have another team up project. This one comes from London songbird, Sophie Faith, and Midnight Phunk. “Say So” keeps the instrumental end interesting without cluttering the soundscape which gives Faith plenty of breathing room for her spacious vocals. And, as the lyrics takes a reflective look at a relationship now lost, the emotive energy feels authentic in its delivery on this Jazz-Soul fusion.

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For the Record: 0% Fun by Fairy Bones

by Carly Schorman

I’m going to come clean here. While I’ve long been a fan of Fairy Bones as performers, I felt their debut LP, Dramabot, didn’t quite live up to the band’s full potential. Certainly, there are a couple standout singles and some moments that reinforced the idea that Fairy Bones was exactly that: a band with a tremendous amount of potential.

But Dramabot came out in 2015 and Fairy Bones is now gearing up to release their sophomore effort, an often-maligned undertaking. I have to say, after diving into 0% Fun, Fairy Bones cold crushes the stigma of the sophomore slump with the glorious culmination of all that predicted potential.

The band’s grungy glam style finds just the right mix of alt-pop to serve up alongside the sardonic lyrics. There are anxiety-inducing moments for anyone who has had to brave the treacherous waters of their 20s. A vibrant example waits on the song “8-Ball” as Chelsey Louise belts out, “The 8-ball fucking lied to you. You won’t grow up. You have no clue.” That line hits hard and, I’m sorry to report (from half past my thirties), this anxiety might not ever go away.

“Incapable” was really an unexpected jewel for me on 0% Fun. Maybe I’m partial to the self-conscious exposition on self-doubt because it’s just so painfully human and real. That’s what sets the songwriting of Fairy Bones apart from other acts. They manage to capture the awkward realities of the every day – to encase those moments so you can take a hard, long look later. It’s enough to make you want to cry in the shower except the music is fun (contrary to the album title) and makes you want to dance your way through the discomfort.

0% Fun is the Fairy Bones’ album we’ve all been waiting for since the day the band first appeared on the Phoenix scene. Smart, sarcastic, and just ever so slightly sullen, 0% Fun pulls all the independent powers of Fairy Bones’ cast of characters into a fully unified force for the betterment of rocknroll. And you know what, I’m not sorry about holding back excessive praise because now you know I really mean it. This album fucking rocks.

I had a chance to ask Fairy Bones a bit about the making of 0% Fun and the inspiration behind the album as part of our For the Record series. You can check out that Q&A below, but first a little sampling from the album in music video form…

So this definitely isn’t a case of the sophomore slump with 0% Fun. It definitely feels like the band has solidified a distinctive sound, one that’s more fleshed out, on this album. In the two years since your debut LP what have you been doing? Real fast catch-up. Touring? Writing Songs? Cohabitating? Daily practices? Ritual sacrifice?

Chelsey: We toured with Highly Suspect. Opened for Marcy Playground, Fuel, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, Vundabar, Rozwell Kid and The Dollyrots in the Valley. Released four singles and three music videos. Wrote a bunch of songs. Chilled the fuck out. Binge watched a lot of TV. Became obsessed with The Room. Adopted four chickens and a cat. Cut down on smoking and picked up more yoga. And yes, we are still cohabiting, but we upgraded to a house in Tempe – with air conditioning!

Fans have been given some early hints at what’s in store for them with some of the singles you released last year. And, if memory serves, there were some pretty rad music videos to accompany those singles. Are they all DIY from the Fairy Bones crew or did you work with outside directors?

Chelsey: “Pink Plastic Cups” is a DIY music video, but we didn’t plan for it to be. I had asked a bunch of parents to bring their children to Matt and Ben’s house and then didn’t have a videographer, so we grabbed some camera equipment at Fry’s Electronics and shot it on my iPhone 7 Plus! I knew I wanted it to be in slow motion but everything else was just thrown together on the spot.

“No One Can Suffer Like I Can” was filmed by Jeremy Tremp in the desert somewhere (with the help of Stanley Ellis who showed up with the coolest car) and “Killing Me” was shot by Rachael Smith in an alleyway behind our house.

Back to Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket for this one, right? Do you feel that working with Bob over the years helped give shape to your sound? I’m getting some retro-pop hues that tie in well on this album, like “Look Good for the Radio”. What were you looking for when you set out to find the right studio for Fairy Bones?

Chelsey: Yup, always with the Hoag. He’s like our “fifth Fairy Bone” at this point. It has definitely helped shape our recorded sound, but we are also learning more about recording in general and we’re applying that knowledge to our sound. We’re really comfortable with Bob now, so although we don’t get into ‘fights’, we have no problem telling each other our real opinions on arrangements, sounds, etc. I think that really helps the songs.

When we first started looking for a recording studio, we had 3 appointments scheduled and Bob was the first. After meeting him and seeing the studio, we canceled the others. That’s how sure we were he was our dude.

Is there a principle lyricist for Fairy Bones or do you share that responsibility? The songwriting feels very self-conscious and, while it makes for some wonderfully pensive lyrics, that seems like it sucks. How do you balance the personal and the performative as a songwriter?

Chelsey: Matt (drums) wrote some of the songs on this album. He wrote “Killing Me”, “Radio”, and “Into The Void” and we co-wrote “Cups”. Matt and I especially went through some personal growing pains and I think that’s reflected wholeheartedly on the album.

“Incapable” was a really surprising gem on this album for me. I feel like it’s a perfect example of how the band has reached a new epoch of fluidity in the Fairy Bones’ sound. It’s dynamic, emotional, and totally fierce all at one time. So, basically, I have some questions the different members of the band to get a sense of influences… so…. What is your favorite album ever?

Chelsey: Rumors by Fleetwood Mac.
Matt: Hot Rats by Frank Zappa.
Ben: Headhunters by Herbie Hancock.
Robert: Bringing It All Back Home by Bob Dylan.

What was the best live performance you ever saw? 

Chelsey: Haim at Lost Lake and/or Frankie Valli at Celebrity.
Matt: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live in ‘92.
Ben: Radiohead in 2012.
Robert: Dave Matthews Band.

Is there an artist outside the realm of music that has an influence on your own artistic direction?

Chelsey: I’m inspired by a lot of authors, one of my favorites being Douglas Adams. I like his satirical take on everyday, mundane things.
Matt: I’d say the other members of the band are the biggest influence. Without them, it would be meaningless noise. It’s what they all bring to the table that inspires me.
Ben: Bob Ross.
Robert: Jim Carrey.

If Fairy Bones had to side-gig as a cover band, what band would you chose to cover? Bonus points for naming said cover band.

Chelsey: I’d round up a bunch of lesbian friends and start “Les Zeppelin.”
Matt: “The Karma Police.” We’d do Radiohead versions of Police songs and Police versions of Radiohead songs. It would be perfect.
Ben: We’d play Bon Jovi songs and call it “Chelsey and the Jovi Bones.”
Robert: The Forrest Gump soundtrack cover band called “Jukebox of Chocolates.”

I would say this album is a lot of fun in spite of the title. What led the band to the name 0% Fun for this new release?

Chelsey: It’s called 0% Fun mainly because everything is pretty 0% fun in the world right now. Things are little scary. That reflects in everyday life, for example, anxiety and depression are at an all time high. We’ve been saying the record is like dancing in hell – if you’re going down, at least kick ass on the way.

What’s in the works for the release show? Fun bands? Balloon Animals? Or should folks show up expecting 0% fun?

The tagline for this album is “0% fun or your money back” so, hopefully, it’s 0% fun because we cannot be doing refunds, man!

But for real, the line is up is literal fire. Doll Skin, Bear Ghost and Paper Foxes are our favorite Valley bands. They’re all different but fall under the “rock” genre. There will definitely be some funny videos and probably confetti and photo booth. We like to be over the top.

~

Make sure you head out to Crescent Ballroom on February 23rd to catch the release show for 0% Fun from Fairy Bones! More info on that event can be found here.  To keep up with Fairy Bones, follow on your preferred platform (or all of them)… 

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5 New + Eclectic Indie Singles

by Carly Schorman

UPSAHL

“Kiss Me Now”

Fair warning: UPSAHL’s last single was stuck in my head for 17 days. Seventeen! That’s how catchy her brand of indie pop is; it will infect your brain. “Kiss Me Now” is a bit less candy-coated but no less compelling. Addressing that awkward quandary of how to approach that first date kiss, UPSAHL takes a sassy and assertive role on this single while Max Frost’s production keeps things playful by adding more bounce than bite. “Kiss Me Now” by UPSAHL is playlist ready just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Mt. Joy

“Jenny Jenkins”

Ugh. You just can’t be cynical when listening to the sounds of Mt. Joy. “Jenny Jenkins”, not to be confused with the Jerry Garcia and David Grisman song of the same title, does have some of its predecessor’s old-fashioned sensibility, but Mt. Joy’s single has a far more emotional edge. This track comes to us from the band’s forthcoming debut so make sure you like/follow Mt. Joy to stay up-to-date on that release.

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Warming

“White Lies”

Brady Allard is the man behind Winnipeg’s indie-pop act, Warming. Bright synth hues set the soundscape of “White Lies” while the lyrics tackle relational issues like infidelity, poor lifestyle choices, and the little lies that accompany these decisions. “White Lies” is the first single from the 12-track LP Allard created after casting off the encumberments of suburban life (the house, the job, and even the partner) to embark on a songwriting journey.

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GYASI

“All Messed Up”

GYASI is the undertaking of a West Virginia artist who grew up thinking he was a peacock. What other profession could possibly be waiting for such a lad in this world, but the frontman of a glam-infused indie-rock band? “All Messed Up” is a feisty single that kicks off the band’s debut EP, Peacock Fantasies.  I’m digging this lively modge podge of glam, psych, and retro rock from GYASI.

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Gillwire

“Waiting for You”

The Phoenix songwriter known as Gillwire just dropped another installment of his musical narrative on Feb. 1st. “Waiting for You” comes to us from Grand Biography, Vol. 2; Gillwire’s new 9-track album. This single delves the complications of an awkward courtship with a “squirrely boy” with ample humor and good spirits. If you enjoy coffee shop pop in the vein of artists like Ben Folds, you should consider Grand Biography, Vol. 2 for your next “read”.

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5 Mellow New Singles

by Carly Schorman

Edwin

“I’m Only Gone”

“I’m Only Gone” is the sweeping closer to Edwin’s 4-track EP, You Have No Idea, Man. Clocking in at more than six minutes, Edwin will take you on an introspective journey through the ups and downs of relationships with an honesty that I think people of both genders should really take in because Edwin, intentionally or otherwise, hits upon the one of the biggest impediments to relationships in the modern era. Listen to “I’m Only Gone” to see if you can root it out for yourself before I send my essay to HuffPost.

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Kyle Cox

“Somewhere in Between”

Fans of the Avett Brothers should spend a little time with Kyle Cox and “Somewhere in Between”. The song’s narrative is poignantly listless and, once you listen to the lyrics, you’ll really get what I mean there. The gently moving Americana supporting the lyrics will warm you to new possibilities and leave you, dare I say, hopeful. “Somewhere in Between” marks the first single from Kyle Cox’s forthcoming LP (due out in May). I expect good things from this Nashville-based songwriter.

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Vern Matz

“Shelby Park”

Vern Matz is the undertaking of three Yale undergrads who somehow found the time to craft a 6-track s/t debut which just dropped in January. “Shelby Park” is a personal favorite from the new release. The band manages to capture that feeling of melancholy comfort one finds in overcast mornings while the pensive lyrics convey a coming-of-age sensibility that just about anyone can relate to. If you dig “Shelby Park” as much as I do, make sure to delve the complete EP from Vern Matz on Spotify.

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Georgee Landy

“Half the Ish”

UK songwriter Georgee Landy takes a look at love in the Post-Human era on this Hiphop-infused number. “Half the Ish” addresses young love from Landy’s 21st Century perspective. Bex Grant provides backing vocals on this track and adds to the kickback vibe that pervades the single. Rumor has it Georgee Landy has more singles on the horizon so jump on the fan-wagon before he breaks big.

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John Burnette

“Live and Let Me Love You from Here”

This singer-songwriter from Little Rock combines jazz and folk for this bourbon smooth single. “Live and Let Me Love You from Here” takes a stripped down approach on the instrumental end to give space to the pensive lyricism of John Burnette. If you like low-lit bars and slow-burning songs, check out “Live and Let Me Love You from Here”.

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5 Feisty New Singles to Amp Up Your Week

by Carly Schorman

Freaks of Nature

“Want Me!”

The Freaks of Nature are gearing up for a slick new 45 they’ll be releasing this year through Related Records. The Phoenix band crafts some serious 60s garage rock grit for you 21st Century listeners who want to harken back to an earlier era of music-making, the days of minidresses and wood-paneled sedans. Make sure you stick around for “Now You Say We’re Through”. Truth be told, I might prefer the B-Side track just a smidge.

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Sunday At Noon

“Honey”

Sunday At Noon reaches for arena-rock power on their latest single, “Honey”, and they don’t fall short. This new track definitely demonstrates that this band is ready for the stadium-size crowds. Fans who have caught Sunday At Noon can vouch that it’s not the studio punches that brings “Honey” to life but you can head out to Pub Rock on April 13th to catch the band live with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and find out for yourself (tickets here).

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Bummerville

“Time it Takes”

Bummerville is gearing up for the release of their debut LP on Graveface Records later this month. Gritty garage punk and a devil-could-care vocal delivery pair up perfectly on “Time it Takes”. The single might clock in at under two minutes, but it was enough to secure my interest in diving into Bottom Feeder from Bummerville when it comes out on the 26th of this month.

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People’s Blues of Richmond

“Cocaine Powder”

Get ready for the prog-rock powerhouse that is the People’s Blues of Richmond. PBR might only count three players in its ranks, but you’ll swear they have a circus-tent full of musicians to get the amped up sound you’ll hear on “Cocaine Powder”. Or, maybe the song’s narrative topic is more than just a funny story…. Anyway, People’s Blues of Richmond originally released an acoustic version of this song on their album Good Time Suicide, but they decided to revisit with some electrifying folk-punk energy and I’m certainly glad they did.

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ParkBench

“GroovyLove”

“GroovyLove” is the opening song from ParkBench’s 3-track s/t debut which came out in December. Despite the hippie leanings suggested by the title, ParkBench has some suburban garage punk angst that comes through on the instrumental end of this song more than in the lyrics. If you like your punkrock lofi and rowdy, check out GroovyLove by ParkBench from Gilbert [AZ].

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5 Promising Songwriters You Should Know

by Carly Schorman

Justin Moody

“Cowgirl”

This single comes to us from Justin Moody’s forthcoming album, Bruiser, due out in a few short days. The Phoenix songwriter has made a name for himself for his slow and somber style. Moody’s songs approach the listener as if in a dream: hazy and lazy. “Cowgirl” offers Justin Moody fans a wee sampling of what’s to come from Bruiser later this week so stay tuned for that release.

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Micah McCaw

“Tearing Seams”

Micah McCaw shapes out his unique indie-folk sound amid the hills of Southern Oregon. On his latest single, “Tearing Seams”, McCaw combines vocal and instrumental layers to an orchestral effect and the result is powerful. But at the root of it all is the heart of a folk songwriter-songwriter and that really comes through on “Tearing Seams”.

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Monica Riskey

“Hot Cocoa”

What do you do if you’re visiting home over winter break from college and end up snowed in? Well, if you’re Monica Riskey, you pour yourself some hot cocoa and write a laidback winter tune. “Hot Cocoa” has an RnB flow that matches the mood: cold weather and the longing for some hawt company. There’s a lot of promise here. I can’t wait to see what Monica Riskey does when she’s no longer trapped by a snowstorm.

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Daniel Ruiz

“A Cup of Coffee with Two Sugar Cubes, Cream, and a Tiny Drop of Whiskey”

The lofi single from Daniel Ruiz has a bit of Leonard Cohen quality. That sense arises not only from Ruiz’s deep, slightly monotone voice, but from the casual storytelling aspect in the songwriting. Daniel Ruiz might be living in Barcelona but he definitely has a Village avant garde style that carries through in his Autumn single, “A Cup of Coffee with Two Sugar Cubes, Cream, and a Tiny Drop of Whiskey”.

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Harrison Hufman

2017 

Local experimental songwriter Harrison Hufman released this brief collection of new tracks to mark the close of 2017. If played together, the three songs slide in at under four minutes starting with the chill number, “when im with u”. The songs move into stranger waters from there with the instrumental “supersoaked brain” and the sludgy closer, “lost”. There’s a lot more than promising happening on 2017. There are some definite moves toward shaping out new sounds and that’s pretty rad. Here’s hoping Hufman keeps it pushing in 2018 too.

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5 Soulful New Singles

Carlos Arzate

“Broken Glass”

“Broken Glass” is the first single from Carlos Arzate’s forthcoming release, Camaleon. The Tucson songwriter went back to soulful music of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke to find the right tones for this latest endeavor and the end result is powerful.  A moving declamation for this era of protest, “Broken Glass” is a promising teaser for what’s to come from Arzate this year.

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Shalyah Fearing

“I’ll Get Over You”

Florida’s Shalyah Fearing might still be a teenager, but her smoldering voice is powerful enough to make you forget that. “I’ll Get Over You” showcases Fearing’s old-school soulful style beautifully. On this track, you’ll find all the anguishing heartache you want from a breakup ballad.

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Dan Caplen

“Two Fingers”

We got your radio-ready R&B jam right here with Dan Caplen’s “Two Fingers”. I’m not going to tell just which fingers Caplen has in mind, but I will say this single can help up your sass level when you’re recovering from a trust violation. There’s plenty of chutzpah in this number that will have you busting out the club moves wherever you might be listening. This London songmaker is one to watch.

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AfriCali

“TOUGHT TO A CULTIRE”

AfriCali definitely moves things away from Motown’s sense of Soul to a whole different continent. Combining psych-rock, blues, and 1970s Ethiopian music for a World Music slant on Soul, AfriCali will worm its way into your brain and demand a revisit (or several).

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KAPRII

“Toys”

Jamaican-born, Ohio-raised Jean-Marie Kapreese Peart might be better known by her stage name, KAPRII. The singer-songwriter got an early start, recording her first single at only 17. Her new single, “Toys”, has a chill vibe and a somber view on love for one so young, but the aloof air adds to the coolness factor. This is the track for those of us riding out the winter with hearts “on lockdown”.

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3 Fun + Feisty New Releases

3 Fun + Feisty New Releasesby Carly Schorman

Andy Warpigs

Counter Culture​-​Shock!

Andy Warpigs’ 2014 release, Folk-Punk Yourself, pretty much secured his place in the annals of Phoenix underground music forever, but it’s his sophomore full-length that might supplant that debut as the official YabYum favorite.

Counter Culture-Shock! has an angst-laden grit much darker than previous works that really captures the sense of alienation that threads through the songs. Tracks like “My Dog Ate My Dope” and “The Joneses” definitely push the punk a little harder than we heard from Andy in his uke days.

“Bowie Kids” is an early favorite; and not just because I got an early acoustic preview of the track for our Songs from the Reading Room series. It’s an amazing song and, lyrically, it offers me a sense of comfort, of community, that evades me almost constantly in my worldly interactions. It’s a counterculture anthem for those of us who aren’t hip enough (or rich enough or social enough) for hipster status… you know, the people the term “counterculture” was coined for.

That Warpigs’ beatdown humor can be found on this new album so don’t start thinking Andy turned into one of those message kids. This is more about authentic songwriting than some assumed persona. Thank Jebus. I just can’t handle any more assumed “edge”.  “Trashed” closes out the album perfectly… like malt liquor by the train tracks or un-permitted music festivals. Well, you get the idea. Now, get the album.

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Red Tank!

X

Yassss!!! In a new pairing that has us super excited, Phoenix’s Red Tank! just dropped a new cassette release through Tucson’s Warped Your Records. The four song EP kicks off with “Destroy Me” and you’ll immediately be submerged in all that gooey dissonance that has long marked the music of Red Tank!

The band holds to a garage punk sound, adding on thick layers of noise, but there is a subtle undercurrent of control that gives their songs structure and nuance. From the riotous energy of “Tell Me” to the upbeat nihilism of “Moments → Nothingness”, is a punk rock gem. And, while the EP might not save the world, it makes being in that world a little more interesting.

Get the new Red Tank! cassette while you still can through Warped Your Records. You can, of course, preview before purchase below…

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Susan

TV Girls

So it’s no secret that I’m a fan of L.A.-based band Susan. The feisty lady trio has a new trio of tracks, TV Girls, on limited edition 7″ vinyl (red vinyl, BTW) available right now.

The new EP, which came out through Volar Records in December, features two original songs in addition to a pretty sweet Violent Femmes’ cover. The title track kicks things off with some retro-hued garage power pop. The vocal layers lend the song a fun summer-camp feel that will pull you into the singalong on subsequent listens.

BUT it’s the second track, “Little Notes”, that has me hitting the repeat button an awkward number of times. Here you’ll hear a little more of that beach-punk sound that started my workplace-appropriate love-affair with Susan. The flipside of the 7″ features a superb cover of “I Held Her in My Arms”, originally by the Violent Femmes.

You better score your own copy of TV Girls on slick red vinyl through San Diego’s Volar Records before they’re all sold out.

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5 Fresh HipHop Singles

by Carly Schorman

Blaze Rock

“Return to the Underground”

“Return to the Underground” is the anthemic closing track to Hammerwolf; Blaze Rock’s LP which dropped in November. This uber prolific emcee can lay out rhymes with uncanny ease. Hammerwolf has a lot of gems on the track list, but I’m quite partial to the old school nod to the underground scene that closes out the LP. Check out “Return to the Underground” and I highly recommend delving into the complete album over on Bandcamp. And, don’t forget to toss some support to the artist.

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Adam Snow

“Pray for Me”

Upcoming producer Adam Snow teamed up with two rappers, Gucci Mane and OMB Peezy, for this new single about rising up from the bottom. The DC-based producer lays a solid foundation for vocal ruminations; given the song style and shape without blustering to centerstage. Give the song a spin below…

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Grim Moses

“Audio Stick-Up” 

Grim Moses doesn’t shy away from some #realtalk on his new EP, Drug Pen. The Phoenix emcee either has a boldly honest approach to songwriting or a questionable background. It might be both. Whatever the reason, Grim Moses deliver some serious narratives on this new EP, but the blustering “Audio Stick-Up” was an early favorite for me. The rhymes showoff Grim Moses’ lyrical style and easygoing hook will definitely stay with you.

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The Cool Quest

“Runnin'”

This Dutch band is a festival favorite that initially formed at an open jam session back in 2010. Okay, if you’re still with me, The Cool Quest has a fun, fresh sound that blurs indie, funk, hiphop, and a little bit of a lot more. Their new single, “Runnin'”, helps set the tone for the band’s updated sound. If you dig the chill vibe of “Runnin'” like/follow The Cool Quest to stay up-to-date on the band’s forthcoming EP (due out in 2018).

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Toast

“One of those Nights”

My love of Canadian HipHop started with the Peanuts and Corn, but in recent years I’ve come to understand that is but one fingernail of the rap scene up North. Who knew? Probably more respectable music writers, but the point is, I’m learning new things every day. For example, Toast is an emcee originally from Toronto with a slick lyrical style. His latest single, “One of those Nights”, sets a mellow scene while the lyrics draw you into the narrative.

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5 Soulful Singles

J.W.J.

“Ways To Go”

Jeremy Jones, who performs under the moniker J.W.J., started his musical career back in his Indiana hometown playing viola and violin at church and school. But as he grew older, Jones expanded his musical horizons and began “listening to everything from pop and hiphop to experimental rock and house.” J.W.J. now calls Los Angeles home and that melding of musical styles seeps into his own creative endeavors. “Ways To Go” combines elements of indie-electro and jazz for a Contemporary R&B sound that will have you feeling mellow as you reach for the repeat button.

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Cautious Clay

“Joshua Tree”

Cautious Clay came out swinging with his debut single, “Cold War”, and now he’s back with another chill jam. Rich layers of sound and uplifting energy supports Cautious Clay’s weathered vocals on “Joshua Tree”. The single proves a melting pot of various styles, from soul to electro-pop, but the result is seamlessly fluid. “Joshua Tree” is a love song for those that are anti-love song: same enchanting atmosphere and none of the sappy sentiment.

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Titus Makin

“Good Love”

Titus Makin will have you missing those listless summer afternoons with his new single, “Good Love”. Makin mixes soul and pop for a catchy, feel good number that features the lithe vocal stylings of Megan Tibbits. The songwriter drew inspiration from his parents’ own love affair and that’s the sweetest thing I’ve heard all day. Titus Makin is originally from sunny Sierra Vista [AZ] but he now calls Los Angeles home. Word has it, Makin is currently at work on his second EP (due out next year) so, until then, spend some time with “Good Love”.

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The band called Oh

“Had To”

The musical group from Norway known as The band called Oh launched quite an ambitious recording endeavor this year. Yes, Guerrilla Gardening is a 22-track album and The band called Oh released two tracks every week (for more than two months) until they reached their grand total. “Had To” is lucky number 14 of 22. The band pairs slouchy (but still slick) vocals with a modge podge sound of soul and (stripped down) rock.

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Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs

“The Only Difference”

As I sit here writing this, I’m facing Thanksgiving Eve and all the woes the morrow will bring. There’s nothing quite like a family holiday to really highlight the ongoing tensions in this country between those that support fascism (unknowingly or otherwise) and those of us that don’t. Leave it to Canada to come through with this track from Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs. Featuring the talents of fellow Canadian, Justin Nozuka, “The Only Difference” reminds us to chill out and maybe take a step back. I might not have been able to share this one before Thanksgiving, but we have more holidays heading our way…

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