Following their immensely compelling debut album Pleasure Ride, British-American duo “Ready, Steady, Die!” have released a new single titled “Settle,” and this is their first piece of new music in over a year, with more on the horizon. What made their debut album so captivating was the myriad of emotions displayed over darkly angelic production, and the music never strayed into melodrama. Instead, the sentiment showcased was embedded in realism, self-reflection, and at times, uplifting ardor. It’s no surprise that their new single “Settle” walks down that same path, but in a way that isn’t reminiscent of their previous work. Instead it’s an expansion of the unique sound the duo have honed, with a promise of more surprises to come. Speaking on domestic violence, Ready, Steady, Die! aren’t interested in easing us into unsettling realities such as these, instead, the sentiment is clear, but in a way that can uplift those who go through it, as opposed to succumbing to defeat, and as I’ve said countless times, this is honesty that needs to be heard. You can watch the music video for “Settle” below:
There’s a bone I’ve got to pick with major music publications. For awhile now “Rock” and its countless subgenres have been neglected by your favorite cool and contemporary music blogs and publications, and this stems from the misguided belief that “rock is dead.” Now I’m not here to scream “Rock is not dead!” like a character straight out of a Wayne’s World movie, but the negligence that plagues the modern Rock world is more problematic than you think. Rock is not the zeitgeist, and it hasn’t been for over a decade. In fact, the last movement to reach commercial success other than the short-lived Garage Rock Revival scene of the early 2000s was the Nu-Metal movement, and I’m not even going to mention how embarrassing that is. This is problematic because the countless bands in the Rock world whether it be Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, Garage Rock, Punk Rock, Indie Rock etc. aren’t being pushed to the masses enough, and this failure falls on major streaming platforms and their poorly curated playlists, and most contemporary Rock stations whose heaviest or most cutting edge band they play is “Twenty One Pilots.” This unfortunately leads to less exposure. That isn’t to say Rock bands aren’t thriving in the underground. In fact, this gives countless bands the chance to garner a more devoted fan base, which will weed out the trend-hoppers, and the internet is so vast that you can discover as many bands as you want at anytime. I just would like to see more music publications providing a more in depth analysis when covering Rock bands. This has got me thinking that L.A. based duo “Broken Baby’s” new album Late Stage Optimism would have topped the charts had it been released in the 90s or early 2000s. Not that the album is derivative or overly nostalgic, but there was more of a respectful focus on Rock music in those times. However, don’t misconstrue my old man yells at cloud rant about contemporary Rock music as charity or a ploy to get you to feel sorry for Broken Baby and other bands of their like, because Broken Baby are doing just fine with their explosive, fun, thought-provoking, and infectious music. Their sophomore album Late Stage Optimism is their best work by far, and the perfect example of how to correctly combine attitude driven guitar Rock with Pop sensibilities. The Pop elements come from lead singer Amber Bollinger’s catchy as Hell vocals, and I do mean catchy. She has crafted some of the most sing-along-able choruses I’ve heard in a very long time, but along with those catchy hooks lies her sharp and witty lyrical content. These lyrics refuse to stay in one spot, they tackle important topics but the album never gets too bleak or serious, which may be a reflection on how we awkwardly approach touchy topics or try to exit certain conversations with a nervous laugh, and this might be a complete misinterpretation, but I feel like the frequent sense of humor on this album satirizes the try-hards out there who speak out against injustice but freeze up when confronted with the real deal. A track like “Madonna’s a Dick” has no business being that catchy given the fact that it’s about the unfair treatment women face in the entertainment business where they’re sexualized and faced with double standards, but if you want people to listen, sometimes you have to lure them in with straight-forward catchiness. However that sense of humor and sense of fun are far from performative, because it’s evident that the two have a natural sense of humor. Just listen to the opening track “Get the Piss Up” and you’ll know what I mean. The track is a celebration of those moments when you’re having the time of your life dancing and raging with friends. The catchiest track on the album “Manic Panic” has some clever wordplay that inspires me to write better, not to mention the line “Nada Surf with you” on the closing track “Hand Heat” still blows my mind. These multi-faceted lyrics have prompted me to over-analyze, and the journey has been frustrating and immensely enticing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Is the track “Meaniac” about men victimizing themselves and labeling women “mean” when they don’t get what they want? Is the track “Cloud Coverage” about escapism and the many vices we use to bury vulnerability? Am I completely misinterpreting these songs? Am I really being over-analytical? All of these questions arise while the music sounds fully-fleshed out with just two primary members, and this is the result of guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Dezen’s eclectic guitar stylings. This is some of the most unique and utterly infectious guitar work I’ve heard on a record in quite a long time. I believe this album will forever remain timeless. Though it has elements of genres that will remind you of an older era, it still manages to sound modern and features topics that will remain relevant for a very long time, and who can deny the addicting personality this album offers? If there’s an album that can get the masses to pay attention to the Rock world it’s this one, and I feel like this is the step in the right direction, but don’t simply lump Broken Baby in a category, because Broken Baby are Broken Baby, and no one else.
More often than not, the outcome of certain collaborations don’t quite work as well as the idea on paper, but there have been numerous instances where certain collaborations just flat-out make complete sense while all parties involved feel rejuvenated as they bounce ideas off each other and gain a new sense of inspiration. Judging from the new collaborative single by Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, Stephen Brodsky, and Ben Chisholm, it’s looking like this is going to be one of those collabs that works. All aforementioned musicians got together to create a collaborative album titled Bloodmoon: I, which will drop on November 19th via “Epitaph Records,” and the lead single “Blood Moon” is a brooding seven minute plus epic that gives us a taste of the journey we’re about to embark on with this album. You can watch the music video for ”Blood Moon” below:
IDLES will release their follow-up to their critically acclaimed album Ultra Mono on November 12th via “Partisan Records.” The album is titled Crawler, and is coproduced by Kenny Beats. The band have also shared a new single titled “The Beachland Ballroom,” which is a massive departure from their previous work. About the track, lead singer Joe Talbot states “It’s the most important song on the album, really, There’s so many bands that go through the small rooms and dream of making it into the big rooms. Being able to write a soul tune like this made me go, fuck , we’re at a place where we’re actually allowed to go to these big rooms and be creative and not just go through the motions and really appreciate what we’ve got. The song is sort of an allegory of feeling lost and getting through it. It’s one that I really love singing.” You can watch the music video for “The Beachland Ballroom” below:
Hailing from Nashville Tennessee, Kelley Cole has released her debut single “Anyone,” and it’s a synth-heavy bop ready to pack the dance floor with its smooth Funk-dominated swagger. The track was written and produced by Cole herself, indicating the possibility of her becoming an influential producer in the Pop world. She is definitely an artist to watch. You can listen to “Anyone” below:
As of late, I’ve been trying to stay away from the easy and often uninspired mention of the pandemic when it comes to my write-ups of new music, but the fact of the matter is, it’s nearly impossible, and maybe a little irresponsible to not mention the impact COVID and lockdown has had on the music scene. Whether it be the frequent cancellations of tours, or the music that has been created as a reaction to the stir craziness of isolation, we’ve hit a point where the whole music world has collectively been forced to endure the same thing, so of course the mention of COVID is inevitable. An album that epitomizes the feeling of wanting to punch the walls or to be able to do something as simple as driving to your favorite spot to order fucking fish and chips is “Amyl and the Sniffers'” new album Comfort to Me. The Australian quartet are no strangers to riotous Punk Rock highly energized and ferociously enticing, but what happens when you take that same energy and lock it in a house with no access to the things in the outside world that create normalcy in everyday life? That energy gets amplified of course. The band wrote the majority of this album during lockdown, and the proof is in tracks like “Hertz” and “Guided by Angels,” tracks that convey the feelings that are brought on by isolation, and even those moments of existentialism like on the track “Capital.” “Existing for the sake of existing, meaning disappears,” shouts lead singer Amy Taylor on what is possibly the heaviest track on the album. Those guitar riffs, they bring to mind Kill ‘Em All era “Metallica” every time I hear them, which perfectly echoes the nihilistic nature of the track. Lockdown played a role in this album no doubt, but merely labeling this a “lockdown album” would do a disservice to the band, because the subject matter will resonate with anyone at any point in time. Divisiveness isn’t anything new. We faced it even before the pandemic. Marginalized people have always been victims of prejudice and hate, having to fear walking home alone late at night or just simply being themselves out in public. It’s an unfair reality that fortunately has been brought to light in recent years, but still continues to be smothered by social norms that stifle any progress or innovation, so it’s important to have anthems such as “Freaks to the Front,” “Choices,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” and “Knifey” to inspire and to speak on the anxieties many face on a daily basis. Though the album doesn’t break new ground sonically, it still sounds fresh in a genre that continues to inspire many, and the lyrical content consists of the most important subject matter that people shouldn’t just skim over.
We all have them. Our favorite spots to hang out. Whether it be coffee shops, bars, venues, or diners, it’s part of the human experience to get out and meet people, have conversations, or even people watch as you gaze at someone you find attractive, intriguing, or maybe someone who is obnoxiously making a scene, whatever the case may be, these are the things, good or bad, that make us human. These are the things we’ve grown accustomed to, but what happens when all of that is taken away from us? That’s what we were forced to endure last year during lockdown. The importance of human interaction made itself more clear than ever, making us realize we took these things for granted. However, that isolation lead to self-reflection for many of us, and prompted countless artists to create such profound art, artists such as “Lucky Iris.” Inspired by their desire to get out into the world again, the Leeds duo created a dance floor ready banger rich in Electro-Pop and Disco titled “Coffee Shop,” and the track reflects on those times of normalcy, inspiring us to slow down and savor these times as they slowly return. The track was produced by Ed Heaton, and mixed by Lee Smith. You can listen to “Coffee Shop” below:
Following her self-titled debut, which was released last year on St. Valentine’s Day, Riki is set to drop her follow-up album Gold on November 26th via “Dais Records.” The Los Angeles-based artist has also shared a new single titled “Marigold,” which is a duet featuring Telefon Tel Aviv co-founder Josh Eustis, who helped produce the album as well. “Marigold” carries on that dreamy synth-driven New Romantic sound that delightfully lit up her previous album, but the track pulls no punches when delivering an atmospheric tone with reverb-drenched guitars that will transport you to the days of old where New Wave was dominant. However, Riki is more intent on breathing new life into these genres, as opposed to being overly nostalgic, showing there’s much to be explored in these musical realms. You can listen to “Marigold” below:
We’re approaching the release of “Amyl and the Sniffers'” new album Comfort to Me, which will drop this Friday via “Rough Trade Records,” and today the band have shared one last single before this release titled “Hertz.” Much like their previous singles “Guided by Angels” and “Security,” “Hertz” is a fired up rager residing in the Punk spirit the band is known for. Lead singer Amy Taylor shouts “Take me to the beach, take me to the country” with immense aggression that prompts one to believe this is a reflection of the stir crazy 2020 we had, and for many, continue to have this year. You can watch the music video for “Hertz” below:
Being one of the most prolific bands in the Hardcore scene today, two full-length albums in one year doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for Austin, Texas-based trio “Portrayal of Guilt.” Back in January the band released a dark, but enticing record titled We Are Always Alone, and following their split single with Oklahoma’s “Chat Pile,” the band have announced the release of their follow-up album Christfucker, which will drop on November 5th via “Run for Cover Records.” You can listen to the album’s first single “Possession” below: