7 Rad Rock Music Videos

No Volcano
“Take My Chances”

Citrus Clouds
“Shapes and Things”

Dead!
“Enough Enough Enough”

Doesn’t Rhyme With King
“Can’t Tell the Difference”

Heavy Heart
“Fruitfly”

The Head
“Tea Colored Radio”

Lulu Lewis
“All Just Pretending”

For the Record: Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold

mudd 01

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Holy hotcakes, Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold have (finally) released their debut album and it was certainly worth the wait. It’s good. Damn good.

Given that they joined forces in 2012, five years may certainly seem like a longer-than-normal time frame for a band to release their first album but it’s certainly not unheard of. Within that time the duo, Tyler Matock (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, kazoo) and Jesse Gray (banjo, electric guitar, suitcase drum) have amassed quite the local following and are known for their hootin’-hollerin’-boot-stompin’ shows all across the Valley.

For you see, Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold play a “bastard child of rock, alt-country, blues, Appalachia, and bluegrass.” The music gets rowdy sure, but it also gets down right contemplative and even sweet.

“You Never Loved Me” is the perfect opener for the album, Jesse’s banjo setting the immediate tone. As Tyler’s guitar and then vocals come in with “Don’t change your mind/Go grab your things/I got the time honey/You got your dreams” you’ll know right away what you’re in store for with Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold.

Although they do a tremendous job on their selection of covers (“Killing Floor”, “Bad Gasoline”, “Mole In The Ground”, and “Rex’s Blues”), I prefer their originals with “Ain’t That Bad”, “Goodbye Mama”, “Fight the Urge” and “American Dream” some of my top songs right now by any band locally or otherwise.

I was able to catch up with Tyler and Jesse via the Internet and ask about the new album, what’s upcoming, and, yes, even their sense of style.

YabYum: How long have you lived in Arizona? Are you from here?

Tyler Matock: I’m born and raised here in Phoenix. A second generation at that.

Jesse Gray: I’ve lived here about 6 years. I was born and raised in Kansas and Missouri, and also spent a few years in Portland, Oregon.

mudd 02
All photos copyright and courtesy of Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold

What drew you personally to the music of Appalachia? Who are some of your influences as songwriters?

Tyler: As far as Appalachian music goes, I really hadn’t been exposed to that particular type of music at all until I started jamming with Jesse. I think its impossible to be around (a real banjo player) without being exposed to Appalachian music. However, I was listening to music very similar in sound both regionally, and aesthetically before I had met Jesse.

After my dad had taught me how to play a few simple chords on guitar, I tried learning songs that worked with the chords that he had taught me. Early country and blues music lead me straight to an affection for any thing out of the American South – which is responsible for almost all genres of music to this day.

I discovered this music by becoming a “nerd” for finding my influences’ influences. I became compelled to research what influenced Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, John Prine, and the endless list of iconic songwriters. It was like my own crash course for understanding and appreciating the heart and soul of what American music is, and all about. That being said, as much as I write, I never try confine myself into to sounding just like those guys – that just sounds exhausting and not very fun to do, because that stuff was so groundbreaking for it’s time, and it’s almost damn near untouchable still to this day.

I just think with all those older influences in tow (Jimmie Rodgers, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Tom T. Hall, Lee Hazlewood) and combing influence from more contemporary artists and songwriters I like (early Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim, Ryan Adams, Dr. Dog, Neutral Milk Hotel, and maybe one of my top 5 albums of all time called, Return of the Frog Queen by Jeremy Enigk) – I sort of subconsciously draw from the past and the present in hopes to make something that is relevant to myself and of course the audience or listeners as well.. Wow, that’s a really long answer.

Jesse: Part of what drew me to the music of Appalachia was having an intense love for the mountains. Some of my favorite memories are of finding gold with my family in the mountains of Colorado. When I first heard Clarence Ashley’s “The Cuckoo”, it completely captured that feeling for me. Though not technically Appalachia, I think the feeling is the same.

When I started playing banjo, I naturally gravitated toward that feeling. But I wanted to rev it up, too, and add some rock, punk (just in the sense of being aggressive) and blues to the mix. Then I discovered Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs, and found that they were already playing clawhammer and “oldtime” banjo in a really aggressive, dirty, bluesy style way back in the ’20s and on, before that style became a bit diluted. They really crystallized that “mountain” sound. I think it’s a beautiful sound, and I can only hope we catch a little of that in what we do.

It’s incredible to find out Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold was the late Dan Somers last record he worked on. Would you speak a few words about him for those who didn’t know him?

Jesse: Dan Somers was an amazing guy, and I really miss him. He was so intelligent – but with a modesty that often doesn’t go with that – funny, genuinely nice, and fun to hang out with. Truly one of my favorite people I’ve met since I’ve been out in Arizona. He added so much to the album, and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with him – the album wouldn’t be the same without him – but I really just miss him as a person. Weird to say that about someone you only hung out with a handful of times, but some people you just feel an instant connection to. I’m glad people got wind of the things he had to say, because I think they’re really important. All I can hope is that his words saved some people from having to go through the things he went through.

Tyler: I couldn’t be more honored to have met and been given the opportunity to work with Dan. It pains me to this day knowing now, what he may have been suffering from then. I’ll always remember how sweet of a person he was – how kind and insightful he was – how hard he worked – his poignancy and wit. He immediately lead me striving to be a better musician and most importantly a better person. His band, Lisa Savidge, remains to be one of the coolest bands I’ve ever heard come out of the local scene.

mudd 05You guys have played a lot of shows. Any one in particular stand out in your mind that’d you care to mention? The release show looked like it was a grand ole time!

Jesse: There are a number of shows that really stand out, and we’ve had the privilege of playing with some really great bands at some great places. But the release show is a night I’ll never forget. Last Exit was packed, and when we got up on stage, virtually everybody had moved up front waiting for us. We wanted to give them everything we could, played for an hour and a half, and every song felt top of our game. We got to show them a lot of newer songs, expand, and go to different places with the music that we can’t often go to during shorter sets. And the crowd was right there with us from start to finish. We have a lot of sides to our music that people haven’t heard yet, and we’re excited to show them.

Tyler: I’d just like to sort of echo what Jesse said. The CD release was such an unforgettable show for us amongst so many others we’ve had prior to that. I think why its one of my personal favorites was to see all the hard work that was put in to make it happen. I had put a lot of pressure on myself to reach out to everyone I knew. I even mailed out letters with a flyer invitation and a little note to family members and close friends. To see almost all of them show up and support us – and then to deliver them a show to remember was quite the achievement. We’re a live band and a good performance is very important to me. Giving the crowd everything we’ve got and leaving it all out on the stage is the ultimate goal. I feel like we made that happen, and I can’t wait to show more people what our live show is all about.

You played with a drummer for your Tiny Desk Concert submission. Have/would you ever play with other musicians or is the music you create as Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold inherently a two-man show? I can certainly hear fiddle, washtub bass, mandolin, mouth organ, and any other manner of instruments joining in with the sound…

Jesse: We’re definitely open to playing with other musicians. I think the first step would be adding a rhythm section. Then other musicians could come in on top of that. The music has been moving in different directions that would call for that type of thing, so it’s definitely something that could happen. We’re both drawn to expansion and different sounds – rock, garage, soul, psychedelic, shoegaze, etc – and have no intent on staying exactly the same, being purists, or treating the music like a museum piece.

Tyler: The songs I wrote on this album came to me when I was pretty young as a songwriter. Most of them were the product of being a young 20 something-year-old. And I personally don’t regret or discredit any of those songs because we still play most of them to this day, however, they were written at a time with no expectations and more of just a catharsis for myself. I think now, as a growing and practicing songwriter, I’m adapting to the world and life around me as a 30 year old – which brings a little more expectation upon myself to adapt with music artistically.

A lot happens in life from then until now. People change. People grow. And just like music or art, they grow and change as well. The growth seems to be a natural progression into what can be the best possible way to create our best art, or in this case, our best possible songs. Jesse and I are naturally comfortable working with the “less is more mentality” because that’s all we’ve ever known as a band – but we’re now also beginning to realize the potential of adding more parts and tools to follow what the songwriting is currently calling for.

mudd 03You guys sport some awesome threads. Are these thrift store finds or are there certain Western stores you’d care to name drop at all?

Jesse: For me, the threads are all thrift store finds. Being in a band gives you a bit of a license to dress like a fool, and we have fun with that. I’m still looking for assless chaps – that’ll be the holy grail.

Tyler: First of all thanks for diggin’ the threads haha. I think fashion and style has always been something important to me, even before music. That being said, I don’t AT ALL claim to having any “cool” fashion sense, but rather just wear what makes me feel good on a “trial and error” basis.

When I first started playing out, (just for open mics), I would wear the best 3-piece suit I could get my hands on. Even if it meant literally piecing all different types of brands of clothing together (old & new). Somehow though, I think I made it work. I think Justin Townes Earle, Pokey LaFarge, and Langhorne Slim, all have great styles, and I realized they pulled from American classics. So that’s what I try to do. Just pull from what I dig all the greats wore. Jimmie Rogers and Samuel Lightnin’ Hopkins were two of the coolest, sharpest dressed dudes in music, in my opinion.

Clothes make me feel good. Especially well made clothes – old and new. I feel like I can perform better when I’m dressed right. I consider clothes as my tattoos, except I get to change them whenever I feel like it. I’ve worn a hat as long as I can remember, I’d love to have my own signature Stetson someday. Retro Ranch, Buffalo Exchange in Phoenix /Tempe, and Incahoots Vintage Clothing in Flagstaff might be one of my all time favorites for go-to threads in AZ.

~

Follow Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold on Facebook and listen to Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold below.

7 Awesome Alt-Rock Videos

Fighting Caravans
“It’s A Nice Ride (To Be Fair)”

Ghost of Jericho
“Babylon”

BNNY RBBT
“Bombs”

GRAEF
“Boneclocks”

A Fugitive
“Restless Coincidence”

Byrddogs
“Moving Trees”

nûk
“Gray”

7 Rad Rock Videos from Alt to Post

KAIS
“Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”

Jesus on Heroine
“Musasabi”

The Effecter
“Back for a Moment”

Greenhouse
“Greenhouse”

Dog Trainer
“Graffiti”

Haárps
“Open Ground”

Fluid Notion
“Think We Lost”

7 Super Feisty Singles

super feisty singles 0003by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

El Sonida De Reposa

“Jupiter”

Ugh, if you aren’t already on the El Sonida De Reposa train, you might have really missed out. The band released Jupiter – Through Thorns, a limited edition lathe-cut 7″ single, at the end of January and it’s already completely sold-out! Thankfully, you still can get a hold of the digital version of this collection if you find yourself a little late to the game. “Jupiter” kicks off the 4-track single with some brooding, psychedelia-tinged, garage rock that will have you bouncing around in no time. Give “Jupiter” a listen, but you’re really going to want to delve the complete release (available here). This single is but a mere sample of the El Sonida De Reposa sound spectrum.

Dead Blonde Girlfriend

“Letters Home”

Joie Blaney of NYC’s Dead Blonde Girlfriend jumped coasts and reformatted DBG as a solo project. When “Letters Home” kicks off with a mellow (and somewhat melancholy) feel, don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of peace. The energy gets turned up and then turned up again until you’re in a full on punk-rock rage of homesickness. Ambition is a good thing to have, but it can be a real trial to sacrifice some of one’s NOW for something as ambiguous as the future. Blaney, we feel you on this one. Give “Letters Home” from Dead Blonde Girlfriend a listen below.

French Girls

“G.F.”

Back in 2016, French Girls offered up the single “Couples Skate” and now, almost exactly one year later, fans can get their grubby mitts on the newly released “G.F.” from the Phoenix 4-piece. The thing I like most about the French Girls’ sound is the DGAF attitude that comes through in the band’s often playful lyrics and the pop punk glaze French Girls smear over their rowdy garage rock sound. Both of those qualities come through in high shine on “G.F.” This track just might give you the extra bit of chutzpah you need close the door on that bad relationship. Or, if not, it will definitely add some kickass to your day. Give the single a spin below…

Knifey

“Tanlines”

Hey all my fellow desert dwellers, as it keeps getting hotter outside, let’s take a moment to remember that there are people who long for sunlight and the warmth it offers. The surf-punk rock of Knifey seems to have a little more angst than those sunny SoCal pop punk outfits. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that they reside in Toronto rather than, you know, Long Beach. “Tanlines” expresses a longing for sunshine, for cruising around in cars, and, ultimately, for winter’s end. The band describes the track as a “nostalgia-fueled chronicle of better, warmer – and more naked – times.” While many of us in Arizona might not really get this sentiment, we can follow it as a metaphor certainly.  This single from Knifey dropped last week so it is freshy-fresh. Spin “Tanlines” below…

White Demons

“Humiliation”

White Demons recorded the songs for their latest LP back in 2015, but it was just this March that Bleed It Out hit audiences everywhere. “Humiliation” is an early favorite from the new album. The single packs a rocknroll punch: the kind that can rile up a packed house, whether bar- or arena-sized. White Demons continues the too-oft-overlooked musical tradition of rowdy rock bands like AC/DC and sound like they might set fire to the drums and spew whiskey at the audience. They won’t – they seem much too nice for such nonsense – but they have that sound down. Give “Humiliation” a listen below and then move on to the complete LP, Bleed It Out, available here.

Orange Drink

“Horror”

What to say about Orange Drink? Perhaps I should let him say it for himself: “Orange Drink is a one-man band created by Drew Fernando, who is a gay, vegetarian, straight edge, Sri Lankan-American in an intergenerational same-sex marriage, living in Wisconsin.” As Orange Drink, Fernando likes to experiment with different styles of music from punk to folk to dance and well beyond. “Horror” takes listeners through some primal screamo therapy for all our anxiety-driven aggression which plays over NYC-club-scene-style indie rock. It’s a fun combination for all that inner rage you might be carrying around with you. Orange Drink undertook a weekly-single-challenge so expect new music to keep coming from this Wisco artist. Check out “Horror” from Orange Drink below…

Girl in Synthesis

“The Mound”

This London-based post punk trio released their debut single, “The Mound”, on March 17th and it looks like they’re coming out of the corner swinging. There’s a gritty dissonance that texturizes the aural landscape here, something a little apprehensive and very much NOW. And, from what I’ve heard, this band puts on quite the stellar live performance full of weird experimental noise permutations and plenty of feedback. If that sounds up your alley, Girl in Synthesis just might be for you. Give “The Mound” a listen below…

Is it Summer Yet? 6 Singles for Warming Weather

Garrett Hazen

“Some Brutal Love”

The L.A. vibe on this track matches up with the very L.A. story of the man behind the music. Garrett Hazen (along with his twin brother Kent) were child actors in the 90s (ever see Roseanne?) but Garrett devotes himself to the musical arts these days. There’s a beachy brightness to “Some Brutal Love” as it blurs the line between indie rock and garage pop. Hazen nails that right amount of careless-cool that feels like hanging out at the gas station and smoking cigarettes, before you’re old enough to buy them, all while drinking an inhumanly sized serving of soda pop. You know, that teenage summertime feeling. “Some Brutal Love” marks the first solo single from Garrett Hazen. Let’s hope more tracks are to follow. Give the single a spin below or head here to add the track to your personal collection.

Ryon’s World

“Grandma’s Car”

Man, this is one of those singles we can’t cover fast enough to fit with our unwritten motto: find ’em first. Between the time we added this single to the schedule before it dropped and now, “Grandma’s Car” was a Spotify pick for New Music Friday and landed the track on Spotify’s Viral 50. Although the Ryon of Ryon’s World is a D.C. native, this pop hit has an island atmosphere that will have you reaching for sunblock and a frozen fruity cocktail before you hit the first reprise. Ryon’s World is a summer anthem for those kids too broke for vacation, but no less deserving of love. Chill out in Ryon’s World with “Grandma’s Car”. Head to iTunes to get your own digi-download for those poolside playlist.

Miseryslims

“The Machine Stops”

A surf rock band from Manitoba? Maybe all that chilly weather has the Miseryslims dreaming of warming climates and that longing comes through in their music. “The Machine Stops” doesn’t really have that California surf sound, but seems like it might come from a different coastline. Miseryslims mix in some Britpop hues into their indie palette. And, frankly, I’m loving this combination. Give “The Machine Stops” a listen below and head here to check out the EP from whence it came.

Matadors

“Trumpet of Conscience”

After you listen to “Trumpet of Conscience”, it will probably surprise you to learn that the Matadors are a DIY, one-man-band who records tracks in his bedroom. The British act definitely sounds like he’s working from a studio setting with a full band at his back. On this new single, crunchy guitars drive the buoyant summertime melody that hearkens back to an earlier era of rocknroll. Matadors are definitely an act to keep an eye (or ear) on. This single was released as part of the RIP Records Introduces Series which was created to introduce little-known acts to the larger world. So far, so good, RIP Records, because without the series I might never have found Manchester’s Matadors. Listen to “Trumpet of Conscience” below…

The Starter Wives

“How Weird is Now”

The sunny energy of The Starter Wives’ new single feels like that summer breeze when you’re out skateboarding in a pair of homemade cuts offs on a listless afternoon or like drinking cold keg beer from a plastic cup in some stranger’s backyard while sweat dribbles down your back. “How Weird is Now” is luminous garage rock for those days you want to put the top down and sing-along. This Vancouver three-piece definitely sound like they’re from further south along that Western Coast; a place of perpetual sunshine, surfboards, and slender blondes. Basically, this might be your new summertime jam. Check out “How Weird is Now” by The Starter Wives below or head here for that digital download.

The Arcadian Wild

“Envy Green”

Maybe you’re not about tearing up the city in a convertible or backyard keggers. Maybe you’re summer is more about hammock naps, lemonade, and hiking along streams to the perfect picnic spot. If that’s the case, The Arcadian Wild just might be for you. The latest single from the band, “Envy Green”, paints a lush landscape with its orchestral indie folk. This Nashville trio seems like they’d feel equally at home playing barefoot on your grandmother’s front porch or for a crowd of bearded hipsters. Check out “Envy Green” by The Arcadian Wild below or head here to add the single to your personal collection.

7 Rad New Singles

radCocoRosie

“Smoke ’em Out”

CocoRosie is hard at work on a new album, but they unleashed this single in January to combat the cultural malaise that seems to be the marker of 2017. I’ve been a fan of this Paris-based duo ever since La maison de mon rêve came out back in ’04 so I was super excited to hear a new album is on the horizon. “Smoke ’em Out” features guest vocalist, and fellow “Future Feminist”, ANOHNI. If future freak folk is your thing, I definitely suggest checking out the new single from CocoRosie below. Or, if you’re like me, you’re going to want to add this to your personal library (available here).

Draa

“Even in My Dreams (All My Life)”

All you Draa fans should start getting excited now. The PHX 4-piece are gearing up for the release of a 7″ which features this brand-spanking-new single, “Even in My Dreams (All My Life)”. This dreamy post-pop number addresses the feelings of uncertainty that can arise in these unmapped lives of ours, but it does so in soothing way so as not to give rise to any additional anxiety. The 7″ will be released on March 10th through Funeral Party Records. The Deluxe Edition comes with a cassette of Draa’s Part Time Punks Sessions (previously unreleased) but that bonus is limited so get on that pre-order now.

Tashaki Miyaki

“Girls on T.V.”

This is another musical duo, but this time out of Los Angeles. Tashaki Miyaki has a dreamy lofi sound that has me totally enamored. “Girls on T.V.” came out in January as a little sample of the duo’s recently released album, The Dream. As you drift along on the lithe vocals, the garage-tinged indie sound will begin to dissolve into some heavy texturing before returning to its prior permutations, just to keep things interesting. This is a great single for summertime with its casual, cool kid attitude and easygoing melody. Sink into “Girls on T.V.” from Tashaki Miyaki below or head here to peruse the complete LP.

Eli & The Itches

“At Least Not Yet”

Eli Pearl is the man behind the music of Eli & The Itches. A native on the L.A. scene, Pearl grew up in Venice Beach and put in his time honing his chops in the city’s venues before he decided to focus on his own sound. Eli & The Itches is the result of that effort. Pearl assumes a gender-bending persona in the glamrock ballad “At Least Not Yet”. There is an air of drama on this track that Pearl really pulls off without sounding trite. And the music has a supercool swagger to it. Check out “At Least Not Yet” from Eli & The Itches below…

Superorganism

“something for your M.I.N.D.”

So, stay with me on this, Superorganism is a DIY musical project made up of a Japanese teenager living in Maine and seven of her London-based friends. This super chill single marks the band’s recording debut and I’m guessing we’re going to have to wait a minute for the live experience given the ocean that divides the players. “something for your M.I.N.D.” takes mellow electropop to a whole new level of zen with its trippy but unobtrusive instrumental layers. Let’s hope there are more singles in the works from Superorganism. One just isn’t enough. Give “something for your M.I.N.D.” a spin below…

Eli Raybon

“Unsymmetrical”

L.A. transplant Eli Raybon is gearing up for the April release of his LP, Greenwith this catchy new single. “Unsymmetrical” hooks listeners with its rapid fire lyrics while the stripped down production proves you can do a whole lot with just a little. The single has an alt-rock/pop fusion feel with some NYC rock club fuzz thrown in for good measure.  Check out “Unsymmetrical” by Eli Raybon below, then head here to add the track to your personal playlists.

 Christmas Pets

“Glow”

The rocknroll 4-piece out of Cleveland known as Christmas Pets crafted this catchy lofi single set for release on sweet 7″ vinyl on March 15th. “Glow” keeps things simple but nuanced with its unpolished sound and gang vocals. There is a raw energy on “Glow” that feels both intentional and authentic – a rare combination, indeed. I’m definitely interested to see what comes next from Christmas Pets and, thankfully, I won’t have to wait too long because March is just around the corner. Until then, enjoy “Glow” below…

 

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Sturdy Ladies

study ladies 00Our regular host, Mark Anderson, came down with a bit of a bug so Senior Editor (and button pusher for the YabYum Music Hour on Radio Phoenix) declared it a Ladies Night with The Sturdy Ladies. Roddy was on-hand to help out and The Sturdy Ladies’ brought some stellar tunes to share. You can find the complete playlist below along with the podcast of our live show.

Complete Playlist:

Sturdy Ladies “Sturdy Ladies Theme”

Whispering Wires “Time Travel Pills”

The Rondelles  “Cafeteria Rock”

Holly and the Italians “Tell That Girl to Shut Up”

The Shaving Party “Sounds”

Bosswitch “Born to Death”

Jumping Bomb Girls “Neptune Married the Treble”

The Real Kids “Do the Boob”

Sturdy Ladies “Cat Olympics”

Krab Legz “Claws Across America”

The Echo Bombs “Mervin Hellville”

Candygirl “Beehive”

The Wilt Family “Death is Unlike You, Baby Bird”

Sturdy Ladies ” Creepy Crawly”

Plus a Special Bonus Surprise Song we can’t reveal here…

_

Recorded live on January 18, 2017

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.

7 Rowdy Singles From Around the Globe

7 rowdy singles 000

Dead Pretties

“Social Experiment”

The London-based trio known as Dead Pretties just launched their debut single and, I must say, it’s pretty fucking stellar. “Social Experiment” is a rowdy and hip garage rock number that is (of course) set for release on slick 7″ vinyl because how cool is that? Pretties’ frontman Jacob Slater has a voice that oscillates from a Lou Reed-esque supercool monotone to sandpapered power on this single. Give “Social Experiment” a spin below and then head here to secure your pre-order from Nice Swan Records here.

The Jacks

“Hot Reaction”

SoCal rockers The Jacks just formed last summer and they just dropped their debut single, “Hot Reaction”, on the 27th of January. So you’re getting this one freshy fresh. The Jacks’ own rocknroll style fuses elements of blues and pop with a little California surf thrown in for good measure. There’s a vintage hue to the band’s style that I really dig, but the sound is very much modern. Give “Hot Reaction” a listen below and keep your ears open for more tracks to follow from The Jacks.

Deaf Radio

“Flowerhead”

This brooding number derives its central force from “existential and dystopian thoughts” which drives the single’s lyricism and overall sound. Basically, what’s not to love? “Flowerhead” sets out a bleak landscape; one full of pensive energy and grainy textures. Deaf Radio is a four-piece from Athens (Greece, not Georgia) and their latest LP, Alarm (which features the single “Flowerhead”),  is available on vinyl through Bandcamp. So, if dark and moody rock is your thing, make sure you check out “Flowerhead” below and then head here for the complete LP.

Hüggemarmelade

“Evil Beaver”

The garage/punk outfit out of Copenhagen known as Hüggemarmelade dropped this intensely catchy number last month and it’s been stuck in my head every since. Consider that your only warning. “Evil Beaver” is basically a song about, and I quote,”a goddamn evil beaver” and, one could only assume, drug abuse in some form. No matter the underlying message, the music must have some sort of devil magic on it because I can’t get enough of Hüggemarmelade and, unfortunately, this is their debut track so I have no where else to send you after you wear out “Evil Beaver” after uncounted repeat listens, if such a thing is possible. Listen below…

Black Pistol Fire

“Hard Luck”

Austin duo Black Pistol Fire have a fiery roots-rock sound that reminds me a little of another bluesy garage rock duo that begins with a “B” and rhymes with “Lack Bees”. That being said, Black Pistol Fire can totally hold their own in terms of power and grit. “Hard Luck” came out through Modern Outsider Records last year and packs a punch that could shakedown a stadium or bar full of roughnecks. Check out “Hard Luck” from Black Pistol Fire below or head over to iTunes for your own digi-download of the full LP, Don’t Wake the Riot.

Tramp

“Somber Thoughts”

Wow. This song gets drepressing. But, if you’re anything like me, there can be something comforting in the darkness or, at least, the reflections of other artists upon said darkness. Kentucky’s Tramp has a lo-fi post-rock sound that perfectly fits with the ruminating air on this single. “Somber Thoughts” provides the opening track for Torn Up, a 5-track demo released by the band last October. If you dig the single, make sure you stick around for the complete EP. Torn Up is richly textured and has just the right amount of angst for a really good sulk session. First, check out “Somber Thoughts” by Tramp below…

The Black Line

“Gemini”

The hard rock sound of The Black Line, a band out of Toronto, has elements of punk and metal throw in for some added oomph. “Gemini” was released through Crock Records from the band’s forthcoming album, Line Up. If you find yourself in want of some old skool punk energy in this current political nightmare we find ourselves collectively unable to awaken from, I suggest listening to “Gemini” by The Black Line loud and repeatedly. This north-of-the-border 7-piece act will help you unleash all that pent up rage. Check out “Gemini” below…**

** We apparently mixed up The Black Line from Toronto with The Black Line from Hermosillo and we just feel terrible about it. This write-up has been corrected.