A Good Read a Good Listen and a Good Drink: Sivan Gur-Arieh, Everyone is Dirty

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

Everyone is Dirty is: Sivan Gur-Arieh (vocals/violin), Christopher Daddio (guitar), Tony Sales (drums), and Tyler English (bass). They are from Oakland, and they mix fuzzy aggression with pockets of sweetness to create some of the finest grunge out there. Here they are with the video for Mama, No!!!, their first single:

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A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, Adam Turla, Murder by Death

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, the sixth record from Murder by Death, has pretty much everything I like: big roaring drums, delicate and occasionally super creepy string sections, and songs that double as good stories.

Such as Lost River – in which a husband begs a wife to drown herself to join him in … Continue reading

Jesus Sons, Jesus Sons

Jesus Sons

Jesus Sons began life in a motorcyle garage in San Francisco in 2011; the initial line-up was Brandon Wurtz and Shannon Dean with Rob Good and Ian McBrayer of Warm Soda. In 2013, Wurtz and Dean decamped for Los Angeles, and Chance Welton, Bert Hoover, and Erik Lake joined the band.

Jesus Sons, their first, self-titled record starts with a burst of bluesy harmonica that expands into a supple country-blues guitar riff, all of which caused me to sit back in my chair and smile in hopeful anticipation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was not disappointed. If you like country-blues with ragged garage rock edges (all of them, but especially Ain’t Talkin’ Homesick) and the occasional burst of surfy shimmy (Out of Time) and/or suggestion someone may be conducting a punk rock exorcism (Melt/Going Down), you need this record in your life. Also, amid all the swagger, there’s a six minute instrumental – You Put a Spell on Me – which is, dare I say it, kind of sweet.

Here, as … Continue reading

Mosey West, Bermuda

MW_Bermuda_DigitalCov

Bermuda, the third release from Mosey West, of Fort Collins, CO, is named to reflect the spirit of change that has been driving the band for the last year or so.

First they changed their line up – the current crew is Adam Brown (guitar, vocals), Mike McGraw (bass, vocals), and newcomers Max Barcelow (drums, vocals) and Nathaniel Marshall (keys and guitar) – and then they changed their sound, pulling up most of their country roots and taking a flying leap into the world of psychedelic indie rock.

That might seem like a hard right turn, but the end result is more of a logical evolution than a complete re-invention. The changes have, if anything, given them more depth and warmth then they had before.

Now as for the tunes, I only say they’ve pulled up most of their country roots because there are still one or two left, which you can hear in songs like Old Stone:
 
Bermuda by Mosey West

But the psychedelia is … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Lydia Loveless

Photo by Blackletter/Patrick Crawford

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

No matter what state your heart is in – broken, full of longing, drunk in love, just drunk – it’s likely there’s a song for you on Somewhere Else by Lydia Loveless, due out on February 18. I’m particularly fond of Really Wanna See You; it’s a song for the end of a long … Continue reading

Songs That Stick To Your Ribs: Vol. 1

Some songs come and go – sweet pleasures, but fleeting ones.

Others, they linger, wearing a groove in heart and brain that runs down the intersection of comforting and challenging.

These are some of those songs.

Off My Mind, Ryan Ross: It’s the plucked string at the beginning, I think. The insistent whang whang whang that reaches out to hook your attention just before the other guitars muscle in, rumbling and grumbling and trying to start a fight. And then about half-way through they settle down and start hammering out a quasi-hypnotic rhythm. I both do and do not want to know what the words are supposed to be; I’m curious, but also suspect context might ruin it.
 

 
If You’re in New York, The Grahams: I have more to say about Riverman’s Daughter, their most recent (and most amazing) record, but this is one of the songs I have been listening to obsessively. I have danced to this on subway platforms from Harlem to Brooklyn, and hummed along everywhere from the center of a swirl of autumn leaves on Central Park West to a rapidly thickening blanket of snow on 1st … Continue reading

Lavender Diamond, Incorruptible Heart

LDCLR

True confession: I downloaded Lavender Diamond‘s Daytrotter session because I was intrigued by their name. I didn’t even read the description, just snagged it because it was there and I could and why not?

That, as it turned out, was a A++ life decision, because Lavender Diamond is awesome. Halfway through the first song I was breathless and hungry for more.

Happily there is more; the Daytrotter songs were excerpted from their most recent record, Incorruptible Heart, which you can listen to in full on Soundcloud. (And then go and buy it from them right away, so you can wrap it around yourself like a warm aural blanket.)

The following are three of my favorite tunes:

First: All The Stars, because every time I listen to it, I hold very still, so I don’t break the spell cast by Becky Stark’s voice:
 

 
Second: Teach Me To Waken. The Daytrotter version is by necessity stripped down, and the piano dominates; on the record the drums roll … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Bob Morris, The Hush Sound

Photo by Craig Seymour

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

In 2009, after three records and a lot of touring, The Hush Sound decided to take a break. That break lasted until 2013, when they reconvened to make more of their unique and delightful mix of power pop, folk and rock. As an example, here are two of their most recent tunes, Not … Continue reading

WHOOP-Szo, Qallunaat/Odemin

qallunaatodemin

Qallunaat/Odemin, the latest from WHOOP-Szo (this incarnation: Adam Sturgeon, Kirsten Palm, Gnathan and Starr Campagnaro), is a double album, recorded mostly in the village of Salluit, in the Québécois part of the Canadian Arctic, while Sturgeon and Palm were running a screen-printing program with Inuit youth.

The songs are, collectively, an odd but dazzling musical kaleidoscope. Here, you hold it, I’ll spin the wheel for you:
 
Amaruq (feat. Larry T) is the first song on Qallunaat, and is a low-fi pop song.
 
WHOOP-Szo – pt. 1 Qallunaat/pt.2 Odemin by WHOOP-Szo
They’ve built their nests, in the chimneys of my heart; those swallows that you’ve lost is both the title and an appropriate summary of this delicate, sweet little song, also from Qallunaat:
 
WHOOP-Szo – pt. 1 Qallunaat/pt.2 Odemin by … Continue reading

Wax Fang, The Astronaut

Wax Fang - The Astronaut Cover

The Astronaut, by Wax Fang, is everything you would want from a space opera: lush, sweeping, majestic, a little bit mysterious, and, since it’s about a lone space traveler who gets separated from his vessel, sucked into a black hole, and made into an interstellar god, a little bit tragic, too.

After I had listened to it a couple of times, I had some questions for the band:

Why a space opera?

We wanted to do something big and bold, something experimental and transcendental that was in accord with our tastes in art and music. A metaphysical musical adventure set in the deep reaches of outer space just seemed like a perfect fit for us.

At first I thought the three singles [The Blonde Leading the Blonde, Hearts Are Made For Beating, King of The Kingdom of Man] were independent of the space opera, but after repeated listenings to both works, the singles now sound, to me, like they should be part of the … Continue reading