Colorado based band “Czar” are pretty new to the Rock world, but it’s evident that the band have been working hard since their formation in 2018. The band will release their debut album on January 31st 2020 via “Black Bow Records,” and what a perfect way to start off the new decade. Through my eyes Rock music is having a renaissance at the moment. Though interest in the myriad of styles and artistry in Rock has yet to reach the mainstream, (if it ever will) bands of all Rock genres have been creating the most captivating music as of late, and now we can add “Czar” to that list. Today the band premiered their new music video for their single “A Loathing,” a track that evokes the spirit of bands such as “Tool” or “Helmet,” but has it’s own staple of melodic accessibility and thoughtful inward-looking lyricism. This song sounds very 90’s, and that’s not a bad thing, because instead of going on a nostalgia trip and completely emulating the 90’s, the band show us that there’s much more to explore in the music that once was on top 20 years ago. You can watch the music video for “A Loathing” below:
Amidst the rise of “Queens of the Stone Age” in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, musician Josh Homme founded a musical collective series called “The Desert Sessions.” This series consisted of collaborations with numerous artists as they would record music in “Rancho De La Luna” in Joshua Tree. This series went on until Vol. 9 & 10 were released in 2003 featuring artists such as PJ Harvey, Dean Ween, Jeordie White, Alain Johannes, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Joey Castillo. This was the final session to be released and after 16 years it was looking like “The Desert Sessions” wouldn’t happen again, becoming a memory of the past for the die hard Homme fans, but today Homme announced that Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12 will be released on October 25th. The album will feature Billy Gibbons, Stella Mozgawa, Jake Shears, Mike Kerr, Carla Azar, Les Claypool, Matt Sweeney and Matt Berry, Libby Grace, and Töôrnst Hülpft. You can watch a funny little video Homme released to promote the album below:
On this day in 1989 “Tears for Fears” released their third album The Seeds of Love. Following the success of their hit singles and albums The Hurting and Songs from the Big Chair, the band made the bold move of departing from the “Pop” structure that garnered them much success. “As a band, we came from the programmed pop era of the early ’80s and we had inherited a sense of structure that permeated almost all our music. The way we were working was becoming too sterile. We wanted to do something more colorful, something that sounded big and warm. You cannot get that from machines. You only get that with real musicians and real players,” described bassist and vocalist Curt Smith. That bigger and warmer sound was definitely achieved. Working with numerous musicians and incorporating elements of “Jazz,” “Blues,” and “Psychedelic Rock,” the band transcended the limits of the “Pop” sound that was dominant at the time, and even that garnered them even more success. Happy 30th anniversary.
It’s been a rough year for Sleater-Kinney and their fans following the departure of drummer Janet Weiss, but Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker are without a doubt moving on and will continue to tour and release their new album The Center Won’t Hold despite this setback. We all know the band will persevere, but it’s still heartbreaking to see Janet Weiss go. Good news is we’ll be able to hear Janet Weiss on one more Sleater-Kinney album. The Center Won’t Hold produced by St. Vincent is set to be released on August 16th, and with what we’ve heard so far, it’s clear that the band have gone in a completely different direction on this new album, parting ways with the raucous raw energy of their early work, the Rock & Roll-tinged style of their later work, and the danceable grooves of their previous album No Cities To Love in favor of Art Rock balladry that sees Carrie Brownstein take up the majority of lead vocals. Their new track “Can I Go On” is quite possibly their most poppy sounding track by far, but the lyrical content deals with existentialism and depression which can truly resonate with someone who’s going through it. You can listen to the track below:
Australian band “Tropical Fuck Storm” have been on a roll, and it looks like the band don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Today these oddballs released a brand new track titled “The Planet Of Straw Men,” as well as a music video to accompany it. The track will appear on their upcoming follow-up to last year’s spectacular debut A Laughing Death In Meatspace, which is set to be released later in the year. You can watch the music video below:
“The Planet Of Straw Men” Pre-order:
The Planet Of Straw Men
Album: The Hot Rock
Genre: Alternative Rock/Indie Rock
Release Date: 02/23/99
It’s mind blowing to think that 1999 was 20 years ago. It feels like just yesterday people were bumping “Limp Bizkit,” wearing “Austin 3:16” T-shirts, and stocking up on bottled water and canned food for Y2K. Yes, those are all outdated references, but there are timeless gems that occurred in 1999 that remain relevant. One of those gems is Sleater-Kinney’s fourth album The Hot Rock. Sleater-Kinney in my opinion are one of the greatest “Rock & Roll” bands in music history. Emerging from the “Riot Grrrl” movement of the early 90’s, an impactful movement that utilized the aggressive spirit of “Punk Rock” to take down misogyny and toxic masculinity with a feministic ethos, “Sleater-Kinney” consisted of members of pre-existing “Riot Grrrl” bands such as “Heavens to Betsy” and “Excuse 17.” After three incredible albums that garnered much attention for their raucous and thought provoking styles, “Sleater-Kinney” went in a different direction in 1999 for their fourth album The Hot Rock. After turning down record deal offers from numerous major labels to remain on the label “Kill Rock Stars,” the band went in a more mellow and melodic direction with The Hot Rock. Though some tracks still featured that raw and cutting style, the bulk of the album is gloomier with lyrical content that focuses more on personal themes such as failed relationships and personal uncertainty. The instrumentation is among some of the band’s finest work. The guitar and vocal interplay between members Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein is truly unique, something that is a prominent element in the band’s sound. The Hot Rock was also the second album to feature Janet Weiss on drums, who replaced original drummer Lora MacFarlane. Weiss’ drum work added a more complex structure to the percussive side of the band, and her drumming on The Hot Rock is utterly distinct, subtle but hard-hitting, and the backdrop she provides for Tucker and Bownstein’s technical and at times off-kilter guitar interplay is something only she can do. With the oblique nature of the guitar work and even the incorporation of violin on the tracks “The Size Of Our Love” and “Memorize Your Lines,” and even the melodica that outros the closing track “A Quarter to Three,” it’s evident that the band wanted to branch out of the simplistic conventions affiliated with “Punk Rock.” They wanted to showcase their instrumental talent as well as the lyrical content. Up until The Hot Rock, the band were primarily known for their meaningful and revolutionary lyrical content that often spoke out against misogyny, societal norms, and gender roles. There were however songs that touched on sentimental themes such as relationships and internal struggle, and The Hot Rock delves more into those themes. The unfortunate heartbreak that occurs when a relationship ends, or the feeling of uncertainty that can even be the resulting frustration of the unfair societal norms the band rails against, these themes introduced us to the gloomier side of the band, and it was just as impactful as their raucous side. “You say “Sink or swim,” what a cruel, cruel phrase. I’d rather fly,” sings Brownstein on the track “The End of You” where the band confidently rises above the enticement of money and the superficiality of the entertainment business, which could allude to their dismissal of major labels. Even though this album is more introspective, it isn’t without it’s content that looks outward. “God is a Number” spoke on how technology was becoming immensely dominant and our reliance on it was inevitable, which in retrospect is frightening how right they were given our technology-driven nature of today. The following track “Banned From The Edge Of The World” spoke on the ridiculousness of the Y2K scare. “I’ve no millennial fear. The future is here. It comes every year,” Tucker and Brownstein sing fearlessly. Moments like these conveyed the fearlessness of the band, but it’s also the sentimental tracks that cut like a knife. The line “Our love is the size of these tumors inside us” on the track “The Size Of Our Love” speaks on the uncertainty of a relationship or marriage and how they can become stagnant, which leads to the helpless feeling of wanting the relationship to work but but deep down knowing it has a vast potential to get much worse. The personal feeling of uncertainty on much of these tracks is something we can all relate to, and that combined with topical worldviews, backed by an ambitious focus on instrumentation, it was clear that the band were making the music they wanted to make, and that is incredibly inspirational. The Hot Rock arrived at the perfect time. The album’s instrumentation, honest content, and DIY aesthetic precursed the “Indie Rock” explosion of the early 2000’s. “Sleater-Kinney” have given us a lot to be thankful for.
Written By: Steven Sandoval
Washington, D.C. band “Priests” are set to release their new album The Seduction of Kansas on April 5th via “Sister Polygon Records,” and following the album’s danceable and quite catchy lead single of the same name, the band have shared another track off the album titled “Good Time Charlie.” Inspired by Tom Hanks’ portrayal of congressman Charlie Wilson in the film Charlie Wilson’s War, the track is more politically-charged than it’s preceding single, alluding to the foolishness of Charlie Wilson and how he’s depicted in the media. You can listen to the track and watch the lyric video below: