For some of you, today is just Thursday. For others, and for me, it’s Thanksgiving.
One of the very many things I’m thankful for this year is Fall Out Boy, who came back, after a long time away. Here they are with Alone Together, one of my favorite songs from Save Rock and Roll.
They initially met through college radio – he was helping her record live sessions – but their musical partnership didn’t really blossom until he heard her sing a Bo Diddley song at an open mic night, and thought it might be fun to have her add some vocals to some tracks he had been working on.
The results of that experiment are the five songs on Grounds for Invasion’s self-titled EP.
Willow Sea, left to his own devices, makes mellow, contemplative music. Grounds For Invasion, while still pretty chill, falls further down both the darker and poppier ends of the musical spectrum.
For example: Dance Alone, which is a wistful memoir of clubbing that you could do a swirly-girly-gothy interpretive dance to, if you wanted.
Grounds For Invasion EP by Grounds For Invasion
And also True Romance, which I am posting because it is my favorite. It’s poetry – bold, hilarious, profane poetry – recited over a hypnotic beat. Sample line: You appeared like a drunken Gabriel, … Continue reading
Last year, Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing published a memoir called The Book Of Drugs, because he took a lot of them, and had a lot of drug stories, many of which he told in the book. He also told a lot of stories about screwing and being screwed in both the biblical and music industry sense. I think I read it in one sitting, wincing and laughing by turns. Favorite revelation: He was the author of the New York Press’s Dirty Sanchez column, which I used to read every week.
And then, of course, he had to go on a book tour, and read his stories out loud. That, in turn, led to him first revisiting the songs at the center of the narrative – the work he did with Soul Coughing – and then, eventually, to him completely reworking and re-imagining some of the tunes.
He has just released the product of that work as a record entitled Circles Super Bon Bon Sleepless How Many Cans? True Dreams of Wichita Monster Man Mr. Bitterness Maybe I’ll Come Down St. Louise Is Listening I Miss the Girl Unmarked Helicopters The Idiot Kings So Far I … Continue reading
True confession: The first time I listened to Wax Fang’s tunes, it was totally because I had to find out what kind of noises a band called “Wax Fang” was going to make. I was expecting them to be either gothy and overwrought or possibly gothy and making-sly-commentary-on-subcultural-ridiculousness.
What I found is that they are neither of those things. The best way I can think of to describe it, after listening to their three new stand-alone singles, is to say they are masters of building tiny rock ‘n roll universes.
Here are the songs. Each one contains a fully formed world, built out of bold guitars and augmented by piano, strings and steady drums.
The Blonde Leading the Blonde: The opening riff is the one that hooked me and drew me in, but the whole song serves as an introduction to the depth and verve of their sound.
Hearts Are Made for Beating: A meditation on how sometimes love is a bomb that goes off in your chest. Goes well with walking around the city alone on a dark, cold night.
King of … Continue reading
They have made up their own genre – fuzz punk – which at first I thought might be a new way to say grunge, but no, this is definitely fuzzed out and distorted punk rock. It is gloriously obnoxious and exactly what I needed after several weeks of floating in a dream pop / electronica haze. Here are three tunes I especially liked:
Holy Ghost: This may be the most aggressive song about making out and grammar arguments that you will listen to today.
Mumblr- White Jesus/Black God by Fleeting Youth Records
Puke: The first 20 seconds of this song sound like a rock n’ roll accident, like someone swung a wrecking ball into the middle of the band and knocked everyone into the speakers and amps. The rest of it sounds like they all managed to stand up and find their … Continue reading
I went to see the Architects, DeathSpells and the Scandals at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn this past Tuesday, and it was awesome.
DeathSpells is a new venture from Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) and James Dewees (Reggie and the Full Effect, The Get Up Kids) and is more pop-industrial than punk.
And by “pop-industrial” I mean it’s weird experimental noise you can dance to – well, stomp-sway and headbang and bounce a little – which the crowd and I did, enthusiastically.
Sadly Frank Iero’s voice got a little bit lost in the mix; this may have been because I was right up on the rail and too close to a speaker. But their songs worked great as instrumental pieces, too, so that was okay.
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.
The Honorable South of New Orleans, Louisiana, and their heady stew of rock, funk and jazz are a long-time favorite of mine. As I noted the first time I wrote about them, the best description I can give you is that they’ve found a way to bottle the spirit of New Orleans.
Faithful, … Continue reading
The HARTEBEEST are duo from the island of Guernsey, and they have made the most cheerful sounding song about death that you are going to listen to today.
I decided to share it in video form because the video both illustrates and clarifies the song. “Death” doesn’t necessarily mean actual death; it could just be a reference to some of the more soul-killing aspects of modern life, and how different people have different escape valves. Places to go to feel alive, even if that place is in their head, or a track, before dawn.
H A R T E B E E S T – death. (official video)
In non-musical news, the HARTEBEEST also post amazing pictures to their Instagram; check it out if you like dramatic views of island coasts and/or graveyards in the snow and don’t mind the occasional dead mouse.
Blitz//Berlin are Martin, Casey, Dean and Tristan, from Toronto, Canada. Martin sings, they all play multiple instruments, and several of them have beards. They grew up on punk shows and sci-fi movies and when not rocking out, make scores for independent films.
All three songs are quite good; I picked Outside to share because of a lyric that reached out and hooked me: There’s a barroom in the belly of the war machine / and they’re serving cheap American beer all night / There’s a bedroom in the bottom of the sinking ship / it’s where I love you where I love you where I love you on the outside. As soon as I heard it I wanted to know the rest of that story. Also, I love the surging, driving beat.