7 Stellar New Indie Singles

stellar new indie 00JW Ridley

“Everything (Deathless)”

This debut track from Londoner JW Ridley is quite the promising start for the art student turned bedroom popster. “Everything (Deathless)” wafts toward this listen with a pensive air as pleasantly placid vocals lead you through the Ridley’s ruminating lyrics. The single will be released through Speedy Wunderground on 7″ vinyl so head here to place your order. Keep in mind, the vinyl print is going to be limited to only 250 copies so you better get on it, but first, take “Everything (Deathless)” for a spin below…

Snowball II

“Anais & Me”

The Los Angeles act known as Snowball II is gearing up for the release of their third album, Flashes of Quincy. “Anais & Me”, the first single of the band’s LP, dropped in January and offers listeners a refreshingly warm vibe in the dead of winter. The song offers a throwback indie sound reminiscent of bands like Pavement with some shoegaze texturing smudged into the guitarwork that is far more buoyant than drone. All in all, I’m really loving this single. Check out “Anais & Me” below then head here to check out the complete LP.

Breakup Shoes

“Another Good Morning” 

This single comes to us from the 3-track release Tempe’s Breakup Shoes released in January. “Another Good Morning” is situated right between the opener, “Perfectly Pleasant”, and “Sábado”, the closer, but don’t think of this as the dreaded middle child. Not at all. “Another Good Morning” encapsulates Breakup Shoes dreamy, early morning vibe. Like gently waking up on the weekend in a room that is bright, but not too bright. Of the three songs contained on Tuba, the song titled “Another Good Morning” was my favorite, but the other two are not to be discounted. You can hear Tuba here or start with my fav below…

New Mystics

“Modern”

Wow. This track gets dark, but it does so with so much gusto you won’t even notice the room growing dimmer around you. “Modern” is the second single from New Mystics, an L.A. act with a refreshingly crisp indie sound. There are some retro-style psychedelic elements in this track but that makes the sound no less present tense. Beneath the vivid orchestrations, the listener will discover an ominous message lurking; one that hearkens the end of an era. Check out “Modern” by New Mystics below or head here for that sweet digi-download.

Beach for Tiger

“Black Buddha”

This new single from Beach for Tiger has an easygoing island feel infused into their indie psych sound. “Black Buddha” possess a dreamy air; the sort of dream you might find yourself in on a warm summer day that is part hallucination, part lucid daydream. This single just dropped last month, but the Brit band has a smattering of earlier tracks available through their Soundcloud page so, if you dig the new single, consider delving further into Beach for Tiger. But first, give “Black Buddha” a spin below…

Citrus Clouds

“Shapes and Things”

This single comes to us from Citrus Clouds’ LP, Imagination, which came out in November. The Phoenix 3-piece crafts shoegaze-y indie complete with richly textured guitars and drone-leaning vocal harmonies for a sound that is very present tense. Musing and melodic, “Shapes and Things” might just be my new favorite single from Citrus Clouds. Give it a listen for yourself below and then head here to check out Imagination in its entirety.

Carrie Lane

“If I Can’t Be With You”

Indie-pop princess-in-the-making Carrie Lane has a soulful desperation in her voice that almost excludes her from the “princess” category. But, then again, this single did debut with Forever 21. Whatever your position on the matter, you can’t deny the power of Lane’s voice. And this New Jersey songbird has a bit of that Amy Winehouse sulk that’s been missing from my life of late. Give “If I Can’t Be With You” a listen below or head here to add the single to your personal playlists.

3 Rad New Releases

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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.

It’s a Couples’ Thing: Round Two

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Image Source

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

“Being in a band is tough. Being in a band with a significant other is even harder – just ask Greg Allman and Cher, Lindsey and Stevie or Liam and Noel (OK, so the Gallagher brothers weren’t really a couple but they sure did act like one). A band, any band, is like a big ol’ dysfunctional family. There’s the creativity. There’s the arguing about what gets written and what gets played. And, musicians are just a handful. Throw in all that and then add the dynamics of a personal relationship and it’s amazing anyone stays together.” – Frank Ippolito, original introduction to “It’s a Couple’s Thing”.

Although I’ve never experienced the situation myself, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of being in a band with a significant other. My partner and I do run music publication together so that’s reasonably close, I would say. I’ve also experienced being in a Family Band playing with cousins. Still, not the same thing.

So when Staff Writer Frank Ippolito originally submitted his Couple’s Thing article I was thrilled. Now, here was some insight on the very thought that had oft occupied my mind.

Then, the years drifted by and I came to know my own fair share of couples in bands, bound by the state &/or not-so-casual cohibitants. In honor of Valentine’s Day 2017, I decided it would be fun to revisit Frank’s questionairre of yesteryear with some new participants, including: Ariel and Kalen of Snailmate, Dana and Pete of JJCnV, Stacie and Erick of Citrus Clouds, and Sharon and Frank of both Battered Suitcases and Labor Party.

This Valentine’s I thought it’d be sweet (and a lil’ corny) if we learned a little more about being a couple in a band. And of course, a big thanks to all the bands that participated.

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Sharon and Frank

How long have you two been together?

Battered Suitcases: 32 years, where the hell did all that time go?

Citrus Clouds: We just celebrated 4 years together this February.

JJCnV: We didn’t start living until we were together. So we’ve been together all our lives.

Snailmate: A fucking eternity.

When was the first time you two got together and jammed?

Battered Suitcases:  I first joined Frank on stage at a Halloween show in 1984 performing The Small Faces’ “Get Yourself Together”.

Citrus Clouds: The first time we jammed was at the first Citrus Clouds practice in 2014. We decided to start a band as a fun little project after I bought her a bass for our first anniversary.

JJCnV: Before we said ‘I Do’.

Snailmate: Kalen sat in with Ariel’s old band 4 years ago.

couples thing 02
Stacie and Erick

Were you a couple before that?

Battered Suitcases: Yes, since July of that same year.

Citrus Clouds: Yes we were.

JJCnV: A couple of what?

Snailmate: A couple of weirdos.

When you did decide to be a couple, was jamming together the same or a little weird?

Battered Suitcases: We were already a couple…

Citrus Clouds: Since we were previously a couple, it really wasn’t weird. It was frustrating at first because Stacie was learning the bass but she picked it up extremely quickly. She’s musically gifted!

JJCnV: Once Jeff [the drummer] got over it, it was fine.

Snailmate: Our band started like any other relationship: we had just gone through a bad breakup and we were desperate and lonely.

Does the music ever become bigger than the relationship?

Battered Suitcases: No, we always matter more.

Citrus Clouds: Music is bigger than almost anything. With the Clouds it’s so intertwined that it is never an issue.

JJCnV: Every aspect of us is larger than life.

Snailmate: Music is our whole world. The relationship is a suburb.

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Pete and Dana of JJCnV

When it comes to your music, who is responsible for writing? Pretty sure it’s both of you…

Battered Suitcases: You’re correct, it’s both of us 🙂

Citrus Clouds: Erick usually writes songs on his own then we get together and play them. Some songs like “Imagination” were written really naturally from a jam. Those are special and are celestial gifts.

JJCnV: Both of us.

Snailmate: We each write our own parts and then shit on whatever the other person wrote.

Say someone writes a song about a “relationship” do either you ever go, “Uh, is that about us?”

Battered Suitcases:  Of course now and then… used to happen more in earlier days.

Citrus Clouds: Not really, because it is vague enough that other people can relate to it as well.

JJCnV: It’s best for our partnership if there aren’t a lot of questions…

Snailmate: Kalen writes about the meaningless of existence in a cold, uncaring universe. Ariel writes songs about girls.

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Ariel and Kalen. Photo by Paul HIckey

What advice would you give other couples in a band?

Battered Suitcases: Don’t take any advice 😛

Citrus Clouds: First, enjoy the fact that you get to create sounds with the person that you love. Use music as a way to share and enjoy the unique experiences that playing music offers. Carry her gear!

JJCnV: Eat at the tastiest restaurants you can, always try to out-do each other in the song writing department, and never take yourselves too seriously (unless you’re writing about death).

Snailmate: Put the music first.

~

Make sure to check out Frank Ippolito’s original It’s a Couples’ Thing article and check out the Artist links below –

Battered Suitcases

Citrus Clouds

JJCnV

Snailmate

3 Rad New Releases

3 rad new releases

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Miss Moody

You Owe Me

What happens when you take the somber yet stellar songwriting of Justin Moody and throw in an ensemble sound? The answer is Miss Moody. Pensive lyricism floats over a fuller sound without sacrificing the minimalism that first enamored us to Moody’s songs. Each track is soft-spoken and beautifully crafted. I can’t even pick a favorite although I tend to vacillate between the dreamy yet subtly aggressive title track and the hauntingly depressive “Strange”. Or maybe “Kisses”, the heart-wrenching closer, will inevitably take the lead. Ugh, choose your own damn favorite. You Owe Me was released through Moone Records and is available for purchase here. Or take a minute (or 20) to preview the EP below…

Funeral Gold

Everything Hurts

This surf-punk two-piece out of Portland released their six-track cassette back in November through Phoenix’s Cat Shit Records. Funeral Gold offers listeners grungy garage rock gold on Everything Hurts. The EP opens with the mellow number, “Breaking Rules/Hanging Out”, but don’t let that woe you into thinking that this is going to be another shoegaze-y groan. The energy gets turned up by the second track, “Work Hard/Play Hard”. There’s enough variance between songs to keep things interesting, but every track is richly (and roughly) textured. Preview Everything Hurts by Funeral Gold below or head here to score your own cassette copy from Cat Shit Records while supplies last.

Ancient Egypt

PLAGUED

The Tempe psych alt-rock outfit known as Ancient Egypt has been making the rounds on the local circuit for several years now. So why are we only covering them now? I.DON’T.KNOW. Somehow the band’s latest EP, PLAGUED, landed on our list, and before I made it through the first track, I was hooked. There’s a 90s vibe to the music and, for once, I don’t mean that in any sort of negative way. Ancient Egypt captures some of that summertime, 90s alt-vibe without sounding dated. That alone is an accomplishment worthy of note. A slightly psychedelic hue permeates PLAGUED, especially on the track “Away” which feels like it’s swimming toward the listener. Favorite songs from the album include “Canned Food” wherein the band stretches out their storytelling skills and “You Don’t Care” which pairs pensive lyrics with a playful melody. But, really, this album is pretty stellar from start to finish. Make sure you give PLAGUED by Ancient Egypt a listen below…

Top 20 Music Videos 2016

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Sundressed
“Autopilot”

Directed by Cory Davis

19
Sugar Skull Explosion
“I Don’t Want To”

Directed by Plastic Monsters

18
Confetti Club
“Clutches of Emotion”

Directed by Justin Humbert

17
Dadadoh
“Do It”

Directed by Bryan Preston

16
The Brothers Comatose
“Black Light Moon”

Directed by Colin Blackshear

15
Injury Reserve
“All This Money”

Directed by Parker Corey

14
Draa
“Losing My Charm”

Directed by Freddie Paull

13
Willetta
“Rosario”

Directed by Michael J. Buckius

12
Fairy Bones
“Notes from Wonderland”

Directed by Brandon McGill and Chelsey Louise

11
Genre
“Speak Now”

Directed by Genre

10
decker.
“Holy Ghost”

Directed by Matty Steinkamp

9
Wyves
“Spoils of War”

Directed by Cory Davis

8
Mega Ran
“Mackerel Sky”

Directed by Luis “ElJayBeats” Perez

7
Playboy Manbaby
“I’d Like to Meet Your Parents”

Directed by Ryan Riggs & Jordan Pillar

6
Captain Squeegee
“Dually Noted”

Directed by Freddie Paull

5
Aesthetically Sound
“In My Feelings”

Directed by Rachael Smith

4
No Volcano
“Blackout”

Directed by Jason Willis

3
The Haymarket Squares
“Heaven”

Directed by Cory Davis

2
Lando Chill
“Save Me”

Directed by Malcolm Critcher

1
The Thin Bloods
“Talk Talk Talk”

Directed by Ryan Lee Caldwell

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Previous Best Music Video Award Winners:

2015
2014
2013