The Black Keys Release New Song “Lo/Hi”

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That’s right, they’re back. “The Black Keys” returned today with their first new music since their 2014 album Turn Blue. “Lo/Hi” feels like a return to form for the band, with raw “Blues Rock” that can win your Dad over. No word on whether or not this will appear on a new album. You can listen to the track below:

 

Album Review: Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL

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Artist: Le Butcherettes

Album: bi/MENTAL

Genre: Alternative Rock/Post-Punk/Garage Rock/Art Rock

Rating: 8/10

Some musicians are just completely captivating, whether it be on record, or during a confrontational live show, some musicians just demand your attention. Teresa Suárez Cosío A.K.A. Terri Gender Bender is without a doubt one of those enthralling musicians. The Denver, Colorado born artist started playing guitar and writing songs at a very young age when her and her family moved to Mexico. She has embarked on countless music endeavors since she was fully established in the music business, everything from her “Bosnian Rainbows” project with frequent collaborator Omar Rodríguez-López, to her star-studded supergroup “Crystal Fairy,” you can bet she puts her blood, sweat, and tears into everything she does, but her main project, the one that has her full heart is “Le Butcherettes.” Starting out as a “Garage Rock” duo that drew a lot of influence from feminism, “Le Butcherettes” have had a rotating lineup throughout the years, which has lead the project to vastly shapeshift on each album. Their 2011 debut Sin Sin Sin was a minimalist howl that spoke on gender politics, their following album Cry Is For The Flies was a lot darker and sinister in nature without losing it’s thought provoking and immensely poetic lyricism, and the band’s third album A Raw Youth contained synth-heavy Glam with a grandiose presentation. One thing has remained among these style changes though, and that’s sole member Terri Gender Bender’s personality and distinct style. Her artistic style of deep cutting and sometimes zany vocals, raw and grungy guitar riffs, and her signature organ that sounds like a circus from Hell are all what makes her style so incredibly unique and intriguing, and on her new album with a new live band bi/MENTAL features all of these things and then some. Everything that has made the band so musically compelling is perfectly incorporated into the mix, but the melodic and lush delivery with an underlying sense of melancholy but strong self-aware ethos are all balanced out perfectly on this album, making this the band’s best work to date. bi/MENTAL is largely ambitious with artistic instrumentation filled with Proggy synths, “Post-Punk” ridden guitars, groovy basslines, and some of the best sounding drum work there has ever been on a “Le Butcherettes” record, but of course, the main thing that sticks out and immediately grabs the listeners attention is Terri Gender Bender’s impactful vocals and meaningful lyrics. There are recurring themes of mental illness and bipolar disorder on these songs, and how these things can be hereditary and run through a family’s bloodline. These subjects are poetically delivered and the myriad of changing emotions conveyed on these songs reflect the theme of bipolar disorder. One song can be about self-empowerment and conjuring up the courage to rid yourself of a toxic relationship like the track “strong/ENOUGH,” but then the emotion can completely change like on the track “in/THE END” where Terri sings “In the end we’re faithless. We’re just in search for guidance” speaking on the frantic and confused human condition. The ever-changing sentiments on these songs beautifully represent the mindset of most humans who can’t help but get lost in introspective thought, and Terri fearlessly delivers these themes, forcing you to hang on to every word that is said. Some of these tracks are largely collaborative. Jello Biafra of “Dead Kennedys” provides a spoken word outro on the opening track “spider/WAVES,” artist and activist Alice Bag provides vocals on the sinister sounding “mother/HOLDS,” and all of these songs are cleanly produced by Jerry Harrison of “Talking Heads” and “The Modern Lovers,” but as effective as these features are, none of them overshadow Terri Gender Bender. They probably couldn’t if they tried, because her artistry is completely captivating and it’s very evident that she is an important figure in modern “Rock.” There’s no doubt that she’ll continue to push the boundaries and provoke thought, and that is the kind of ambition we need in the music world today.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 02/04/19

Ty Segall Announces New Covers Album “Fudge Sandwich”

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Does Ty Segall ever sleep? How does he have the time to make this much music? Well, whatever magical powers the guy has to remain this prolific, i’m sure glad he has them, because he usually makes quality music. Following his collaboration album with “White Fence,” which followed his incredible album Freedom’s Goblin, Ty Segall will release yet another album, but this time it is a cover album titled Fudge Sandwich, and it will be released on October 26th. Segall has shared a track off the upcoming album which is a cover of “Spencer Davis Group’s” “I’m a Man.” You can listen to the track as well as view the album’s tracklist below:

 

Fudge Sandwich Tracklist:

  1. Low Rider (War)
  2. I’m A Man (Spencer Davis Group)
  3. Isolation (John Lennon)
  4. Hit it And Quit it (Funkadelic)
  5. Class War (The Dils)
  6. The Loner (Neil Young)
  7. Pretty Miss Titty (Gong)
  8. Archangel Thunderbird (Amon Düül II)
  9. Rotten To The Core (Rudimentary Peni)
  10. St. Stephen (Grateful Dead)
  11. Slowboat (Sparks)

Album Roundup

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With so much music being released constantly, it’s hard sometimes for an aspiring music critic with a day job to cover every single new album with a full length and in depth review (Trust me i’m trying!) Especially since this year has already been an incredible year for new music, so here is a roundup of new releases that I enjoyed but didn’t have a chance to review.

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Artist: The Voidz

Album: Virtue

Genre: Experimental Rock/Lo-Fi/Indie Rock/Post-Punk/Synth-Pop

Rating: 9/10

Julian Casablancas is mostly known for being the lead singer of “The Strokes,” the band that was often regarded as the leading force in the “Garage Rock Revival” movement in the early 2000’s, but in recent years Casablancas’ eccentricity and wide array of musical influences have transcended the “Pop Rock” category “The Strokes” have fallen into. This is all thanks to his new band “The Voidz (F.K.A. Julian Casablancas + The Voidz.)” Following the band’s 2014 debut Tyranny, their new album Virtue features even more diversity and unpredictability as the band charges through various genres with oddball antics, lyrical content rich in existentialism and politics, and beautiful melodies, and even though it’s easy to spot which genres the band pulls from on each track, the band by no means emulates anyone, instead this vast mixture of genres results in “The Voidz” fully developing their own hybrid of sound. It’s the sound of “The Voidz,” and it is glorious.

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Artist: Halfway Good

Song: Letter To A Friend

Genre: Alternative Rock/Indie Rock

Visalia, CA based “Halfway Good” have been working hard on new music and on their unpredictable and often hilarious podcast. Our first taste of new music following the band’s debut full-length album Arts and Crafts is the acoustic driven “Letter To A Friend,” and it’s an uplifting number with a catchy as Hell and sing-a-long-able chorus. It’s a reminder that no matter how much of a struggle you’re going through with whatever roadblocks or curveballs that are obstructing your progress, it’s important to remain optimistic, because that optimism can drive you to better the situation. Whether or not this track is about a specific person is unknown, but this song is delivered in a way that sounds like the band is talking to all of us, and in a world now where even some of the best music delves into melancholia or cynicism, it’s nice to hear something truly uplifting.

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Artist: Jack White

Album: Boarding House Reach

Genre: Blues Rock/Garage Rock/Funk/Spoken Word/Hip Hop

Rating: 8/10

Despite the ramblings of Jack White in recent interviews that can make anyone who despises pretentiousness cringe, Mr. White’s immense talent and genius still shows greatly in his music. His new album Boarding House Reach features the most interesting and innovative music in his solo catalog. This album finally reflects the eccentric persona White projects to the public with it’s experiments with genres one would normally deem unlikely when it comes to White’s music, and following his “Dad Rock” dominated music he’s been creating for years and years, it’s about damn time he lets his bizarre side shine.

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Artist: Johanna Warren

Album: Gemini II

Genre: Folk/Indie Folk/Acoustic

Rating: 7/10

Johanna Warren definitely does not write the kind of “Jimmy Crack Corn” Folk music you can sit around the campfire and sing along to, but the beautifully melodic and heartfelt music she has created on her new album Gemini II with it’s infectious guitar picking and atmospheric sound textures offers a gorgeous backdrop to the angsty and at times dark lyrical content. It is evident that singing her sorrows is very therapeutic for her, and hearing her sing with such sincerity and passion is a great experience.

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Artist: Car Seat Headrest

Album: Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)

Genre: Indie Rock/Alternative Rock

Rating: 7.5/10

Following an incredible debut record for a major label like “Matador” and much critical acclaim, going back and re-recording an older “Bandcamp” album may seem like a bold move. Especially since the older version with it’s Lo-Fi sound and DIY aesthetic is what garnered much of the band’s fans and attention in the first place, but now that lead songwriter Will Toledo is backed by a full band, and now that he revealed that he finally knew how to finish the record 7 years after it’s release, it was clear that Toledo knew what he was doing, and the result of this re-recorded version of the beloved “Twin Fantasy” is proof that re-recording it was very necessary. This new version is cleaner, it’s tighter, it’s punchier, and improves on the many interesting ideas the original version had, and somehow Toledo sounds even more passionate when singing these songs 7 years later. Many of us are dying for new material, but this re-recorded version of “Twin Fantasy” is a real treat for old and new fans alike.

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Artist: Preoccupations 

Album: New Material

Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock/Gothic Rock

Rating: 8/10

“Preoccupations” don’t really break new ground with their new album New Material, but the band’s ambition to create uncompromising “Post-Punk” with a gloomy flavor that reflects some of the best “Gothic Rock” of the 80’s drives this record to success. With it’s minimal but hard hitting instrumentation, reverbed walls of sound, and poetically nihilistic lyrics, this album contains all of the best elements of “Post-Punk,” and it solidifies this new scene of “Post-Punk” bands keeping that spirit alive.

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Artist: Harm’s Way

Album: Posthuman

Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore

Rating: 7/10

With a band like “Code Orange” changing the landscape of “Metal” with their incorporation of outsider genres into the very one-dimensional genre of “Metalcore,” it’s nice to go back to the sound that inspired the band in the first place, and Chicago’s own “Harm’s Way” definitely know how to deliver that sound. The band is fine with what many people label a “corner,” and they run with it creating the most aggressive and violent sounding “Metal” today.

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Artist: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Album: Dirt

Genre: Experimental Rock/Progressive Rock

Rating: 7/10

Canadian collective “Yamantaka // Sonic Titan” are known for their theatrical and almost cult-like live shows, and their studio albums carry that same weight. Their new album Dirt is back to business as usual with their rollercoaster of emotions jumping from atmospheric and dreamy to heavy and sinister, and it’s an artistic experience that has no limits.

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Artist: Anna von Hausswolff

Album: Dead Magic

Genre: Experimental/Drone/Post-Metal

Rating: 7/10

Swedish musician Anna von Hausswolff has never had an interest in writing traditionally structured and straight-forward music, but her new album Dead Magic is easily her most accessible release, but don’t let that fool you, this is still a drony and highly experimental album, but it’s a lot brighter this time around, and when those unexpected sinister moments appear with her screeching vocals and almost “Doom” like guitars, it adds a lot to the intensity as opposed to some of her previous material which features a consistent dark tone all throughout.

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Artist: A.A.L (Against All Logic)

Album: 2012 – 2017

Genre: Deep House/IDM

Rating: 7.5/10

Producer Nicolas Jaar never fails to express the artistic and innovative merit “Electronic” music has with his compositions that are more headier than they are danceable, and with his new album under the moniker “A.A.L (Against All Logic)” he also proves that danceable four to the floor music can be experimental. He does this by providing music with numerous samples, clever production techniques, and soulful and at times Jazzy backdrops. This is an “Electronic” album for a thinker.

 

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 04/03/18