IDLES Announce New Album “Crawler,” Share New Single “The Beachland Ballroom”

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:

Album Review: Amyl and the Sniffers – Comfort to Me

Artist: Amyl and the Sniffers

Album: Comfort to Me

Genre: Punk Rock/Post-Punk/Alternative Rock

Label: Rough Trade

Rating: 8/10

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.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Amyl and the Sniffers Share New Single “Hertz”

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:

Tarah Who? Share New Single “Swallow That Pill”

L.A. based duo “Tarah Who?” have released their most aggressive single by far. The track is titled “Swallow That Pill,” and it fiercely tackles a subject most of us can relate to, settling for something mentally, emotionally, or physically strenuous out of fear of losing something you feel you need whether it be that 9 to 5 job or toxic people in your life. We witness and experience emotional and mental abuse in the workplace everyday. We witness and experience unfair treatment from people who are supposed to care about us, but we take the harassment because that job is all we have to pay the bills. Inspired by an ex-co-worker who was mistreated and unrewarded for her hard work, lead singer Tarah Carpenter rages with Punk Rock fervor against the abuse we settle for in the workplace and just in life in general. Recognizing your value is an important thing, and during these COVID times where we feel like we need to cling on to whatever job we have no matter how belittling it can be, this straightforward message is more important than ever. You can watch the music video for “Swallow That Pill” below:

Album Review: Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz

Artist: Viagra Boys

Album: Welfare Jazz

Genre: Post-Punk/Jazz/Blues/Synth-Pop

Label: YEAR0001

Rating: 7/10

 It’s been clear from the start that Swedish Post-Punk outfit “Viagra Boys” don’t take themselves too seriously. I mean, just their name alone is an indication of that, but that isn’t to say their music doesn’t have its place in contemporary Rock. Ah yes, “Rock.” What does that name mean anymore? It’s a vague term indeed. In this day and age where fusions and genre bending are commonplace, there’s enough proof for me that this is the most exciting time for music, and contrary to popular belief, I feel that “Rock” music and its countless sub genres are doing something exciting spawning younger bands drifting further and further away from traditionalism and music elitism. The spirit of “Punk” resides in “Hip Hop” in this day and age, the days of pristine and clean pop stars are fading away and now we’ve reached a more realistic “Pop” world that isn’t afraid to celebrate sexuality in its many forms, and just about anyone can produce their own music in the comfort of their own home. How is that not exciting? “Viagra Boys” in spirit are a celebration of modern music. However, I highly doubt the band see themselves as that. The band that once was considered the resurgence of “Punk” are so “Punk” that they don’t give a flying fuck about “Punk.” They just want to make noise, and making noise is what they do best, so that’s why it’s no surprise that they explore new territory on their new album Welfare Jazz, combining their signature rough and raw dive bar Art Punk with elements of “Jazz,” “Electronic” music, and “Country.” This album truly represents the idea of genre bending. Their uncompromising “Post-Punk” is still present, but the band cleverly incorporate elements of “Jazz” with woodwind instruments, dominating bass grooves that are both bluesy and funky, and southern twang that surprisingly fits quite well in the chaos, even going as far as covering John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” with Amy Taylor of “Amyl and the Sniffers.” This album can even be considered the band’s most mature effort yet. Lead singer Sebastian Murphy gets a little more personal lyrically, jumping into self-realization and working out the flaws of someone who recognizes his wrongdoings. “I’d  stop drinking and gambling to earn back your love,” laments Murphy on “Into the Sun,” and following this up with the synth-heavy “Creatures” is a moment that perfectly sums up this album. Likening his old self to a creature, he views himself as someone who’s at the bottom of the barrel. It takes courage to be completely honest about yourself like that. I don’t know the man personally, but whether or not he really was this person, or if he’s just singing from the point of view of a character he’s created, it’s impactful either way. As mature as this album is, well, whatever “mature” means in “Viagra Boys” world, this album is still fun from beginning to end, because at the end of the day, we do need to frequently work on ourselves yes, but we can’t forget to have fun. I think the band even knows that when they reach a point where they take themselves too seriously, that’s when it’s time to call it quits.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

E.P. Review: Artxdekko – Things I Can’t Control

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Artist: Artxdekko

EP: Things I Can’t Control

Genre: Alternative/Industrial Metal/Punk Rock

Label: Self-released

Rating: 8/10

There’s just something about pure unadulterated rage in music that either turns you off, or completely enthralls you. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure, you definitely feel it whether you hate it or love it. Los Angeles based artist “Artxdekko” delves deep into the uncompromising feeling of directed rage on his self-produced debut E.P. Things I Can’t Control. Drawing clear influences from ’90s “Alt Rock,” and at times sounding like a dead ringer for “Nine Inch Nails” or “Filter,” “Artxdekko” wears his influences on his sleeve, but never strays into imitation. Instead, he expands and opens up new possibilities for a recognizable sound that unfortunately feels forgotten in contemporary music. Being four tracks in length, this E.P. gets its point across with solid and straight-forward songwriting that combines a fast-paced “Punk Rock” edge with an affinity for blatant aggression. Are these songs about someone in particular, or are they about that general feeling we all feel from time to time when someone wrongs us? With very little background provided with these songs, that mystery seems intentional. Just let the music take you to an emotion you most likely try to repress. Anger is part of being human, and what better way to channel it in a non-violent way than through music? This E.P. will make you feel that rage even if you’re in the happiest of moods.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

 

METZ Announce New Album “Atlas Vending,” Share New Song “A Boat to Drown In”

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After three years Canadian trio “METZ” have returned with a brand new single titled “A Boat to Drown In,” which will appear on their upcoming album Atlas Vending which is slated to be released on October 9th via “Sub Pop.” Their new single “A Boat to Drown In” isn’t exactly a full-on departure from their previous work, but it shows a more melodic side of the band while maintaining their raucously grungy style we’ve come to know them for. About the track, the band have stated that it’s about “leaving a bad situation behind. About overcoming obstacles that once held you back, rising above, and looking to a better future. The title refers to immersing yourself fully into what you love and using it as a sanctuary from negativity and a catalyst for change.” You can watch the music video for “A Boat to Drown In” below:

IDLES Share New Song “A Hymn”

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“IDLES” are set to release their upcoming album Ultra Mono on September 25th via “Partisan Records,” and today the band have shared a a new track off the album titled “A Hymn,” which is a noticeable departure from their previous singles “Mr. Motivator” and “Grounds.” “A Hymn” is a slower track that features a steady and moody tone with reverbed guitars reminiscent of their early EPs and semi-Industrial atmospherics. Lead singer Joe Talbot sounds subdued but no less impactful as he sings words of self-reflection with a refrain of “I want to be loved. Everybody does.” You can watch the music video for “A Hymn” below:

PLAY DEAD Share New Song “Shaun”

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South London trio “PLAY DEAD” are just two singles in and they already show much promise. It’s safe to say we can add the band to the list of Post-Punk scholars who bring innovation to the beloved genre along with “IDLES,” “Shame,” “Hotel Lux,” etc. The band’s second single “Shaun” was released today, and it’s even more infectious than it’s predecessor “Whitstable,” raucously delivering a “Garage Rock” grunginess while the band sings about member Ollie Clarke’s nan’s boyfriend who is described by the band as “a gentle giant with a short fuse who got arrested for punching a man off his bike in Brixton. He enjoys pies, pints, and Coldplay.” Very few of us are lucky enough to get our own theme song, and Shaun now has the perfect one. You can listen to “Shaun” below:

Le Tigre’s Self-titled Debut Turns 20

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On this day in 1999 “Le Tigre” released their self-titled debut album. Following the disbandment of “Bikini Kill,” lead singer Kathleen Hanna formed Le Tigre with fellow musicians Johanna Fateman and Sadie Benning. Le Tigre were originally intended to be the live supporting band for Hanna’s solo project “Julie Ruin,” but the band took on a life of it’s own and they began writing their own original material. On their self-titled debut the band used organs, samplers, turntables, drum machines, and guitars to create music that was “Electronic” based but featured the feminist political lyrics Bikini Kill were known for, and Kathleen Hanna’s raucous vocals were as strong as ever. This album revolutionized both “Punk” and “Electronic” music, two genres that couldn’t be more opposite from each other. This album is proof that political music can also be catchy and melodic. Happy Anniversary.

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