Ought, Beautiful Blue Sky

Photo Credit: Hera Chan

Photo Credit: Hera Chan

That song…

That song that makes someone grab someone else to immediately transmit the new infection…

A song that makes someone sigh with relief…

A song that makes someone break down…

Ought are responsible for that song. Their new album Sun Coming Down arrives September 18th. July 17th will find them at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois. After that, Europe.

01 Aug Binic Festival, Binic (FR) *FREE*
03 Aug Cas’Aupa, Udine (IT)
04 Aug SuperUho Festival, Sibenik (HR)
06 Aug Chelsea, Vienna (AT)
07 Aug OFF Festival, Katowice (PL)
08 Aug Klub 007 Strahov, Prague (CZ)
11 Aug Radar Festival, Aarhus (DK)
12 Aug Folken, Stavanger (NO)
13 Aug Landmark, Bergen (NO)
14 Aug Oya Nights, Oya Festivalen, Oslo (NO)
15 Aug Way Out West Festival, Göteborg (SE)
17 Aug Sommerloft 2015, Berlin (DE)
18 Aug EXIT 07, Hollerich (LU)
19 Aug Bogen F, Zurich (CH)
20 Aug For Noise Festival, Lausanne-Pully (CH)
21 Aug Pukkelpop Festival, Kiewit-Hasselt (BE)
22 Aug MS Dockville Festival, Hamburg (DE)
23 Aug Lowlands Festival, Biddinghuizen (NL)
24 Aug Noorderzon @ Vera, Groningen (NL)
27 Aug Barretto, Portoferro (IT)
28 Aug Frames, Fondogianus (IT)
29 Aug Soundpark Festival, Brugnera (IT)
01 Sept Village Underground, Shoreditch (UK)
02 Sept The Deaf Institute, Manchester (UK)
03 Sept Hare and Hounds, Birmingham (UK)
04 Sept End of the Road, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset (UK)
06 Sept Into the Great Wide Open Festival, Vlieland (NL)

Ought @ Bandcamp
Ought @ Twitter
Ought @ Facebook
Ought @ Constellation Records

Feel Bad for You, June 2015

Fine, so it’s nearly July, but this summer-themed mix by the FBFY bedraggled crew of music lovers will be good for a couple of months yet. Drunken comments are encouraged.

“Feel Bad for June! Just in time for the first New England heat wave of 2015, and my bum is sticking to my vinyl chair. Ahhh summer! Long hot days, warm breezy nights. Sitting in your overly air conditioned office all day, wishing you were at the lake. Being an adult sucks.

Thanks to our main man Phil for the killer artwork!”



1. “It Must Be Summer”
Fountains of Wayne
Utopia Parkway (1999)
Submitted By: @philnorman
Comments: It must be summer, because I’m falling apart.

2. “This Summer”
The Royal Sea
The Royal Sea (2011)
Submitted By: The Mad Mackerel
Comments: The Royal Sea’s album was a particular favourite for us in 2011, although never seemed to get the acclaim we thought it deserved. A beguiling mix of surf rock, garage and indie pop, lead track This Summer opens with a spectacularly catchy drum beat before the vocals of Timmy Sunshine come in like a rush of sugar coated adrenalin, plaintively announcing:

We crashed everybody’s parties,
we drank cheap wine and whiskey.
We partied up on the rooftops,
I’m glad it was just you and me.

One of our favourite songs of that, or any other year, “This Summer” should have been the woozy, feel good hit of that summer.

3. “Acceleration
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’
Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones EP (2012)
Submitted By: @tincanman2010
Comments: My iPod gets a spring cleaning to get ready for road trips. No point trying to listen to delicate little songs with their pretty little lyrics when you’re booking down the highway with windows wide open. Thirty years these Atlanta dudes have been racking up the miles.

4. “Summer’s Kiss”
The Afghan Whigs
Black Love (1996)
Submitted By: hoosier buddy
Comments: I nearly submitted Chuck Prophet’s “Summertime Thing,” but something made me keep looking until I hooked into “Summer’s Kiss.” The intro builds from an almost space jam to a driving, Lindsey Buckingham-style one note guitar solo; then explodes with big drums, bigger guitars, and Dulli. “Do you know the words? Sing along with me; and put on your rose fur coat, baby, it’s 1973.” Demons mess with his head and heart. He wishes he had her back, but admits he is alone. We are all alone.

5. “Summer Babe [Live]”
Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe (2002)
Submitted By: @BoogieStudio22
Comments: Slacker rock at its best!

6. “Constructive Summer”
The Hold Steady
Stay Positive (2008)
Submitted By: @BoogieStudio22
Comments: When The Hold Steady was good, they were great!

7. “Summertime”
Janis Joplin
18 Essential Songs (1995)
Submitted By: @BoogieStudio22
Comments: This song still gives me chills, even in the heat of the summer.

8. “Sleep All Summer”
Crooked Fingers
Dignity and Shame (2005)
Submitted By: @Rockstar_Aimz
Comments: Try not to spend your summer brooding over lost love. Or something.

9. “Summer School”
Liquor Giants
Every Other Day At A Time (1998)
Submitted By: @toomuchcountry
Comments: I was ready to listen to this band when their first album was released. Ward Dotson fronted the Liquor Giants, and I was a fan of his previous band, The Pontiac Brothers.

10. “Your Frown’s My Friend”
Greg Summerlin
The Young Meteors (2005)
Submitted By: @toomuchcountry
Comments: OK, so it’s not a song ABOUT summer. But it’s still a pretty kickin song by someone WITH summer in his name.

11. “Over The Red Cedar”
Charlie Parr
Sumpjumper (2015)
Submitted By: @Truersound
Comments: Great song off his latest

12. “Rainbow Sign”
The Buckstankle Boys
The New Young Fogies Vol. 1 (2012)
Submitted By: @Truersound
Comments: Met these guys at Mt. Airy, which is where they hail from. Some astounding talent.

13. “Strictly Business”
Strictly Business (1988)
Submitted By: @Truersound
Comments: Summerjam

14. “Summer Wine”
Digging You Up (1998)
Submitted by: @simon2307
Comments: Great cover of the classic Lee Hazelwood / Nancy Sinatra tune

15. “Summer Wine”
Lana Del Ray
Unreleased? (Youtube rip)
Submitted by: @simon2307
Comments: ditto

16. “Long Hot Summer Days”
Turnpike Troubadors
Diamonds and Gasoline (2010)
Submitted By: @Rockstar_Aimz
Comments: Fantastic John Hartford cover. Can’t wait for their new album to be released this coming fall.

17. “You Keep Me Hanging On”
Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge (1966)
Submitted By: @PopaTunes
Comments: While there are plenty of newer summer songs, summer takes me back to my youth, spinning records on a portable record player in the woods in the mountains, sharing new music with my summer friends. This one was a staple summer after summer. One I remember most though is Archie Bell and the Drells tighten up, which is at my kid’s house.

18. “Red Umbrella”
Klassics with a “K” (1996)
Submitted by: April @ Now This Sound Is Brave
Comments: Not about summer, per se (the lyrics talk about a rainy day, in fact), the vibe of this song by Kostars is summery as fuck. This song from the side project of Jill Cunniff and Vivian Trimble of Luscious Jackson brings to mind the tropicalia sound of classics like “The Girl from Ipanema” and feels like a cool breeze blowing in off the ocean.

19. “Far From Any Road”
The Handsome Family
Singing Bones (2003)
Submitted By: Trailer
Comments: True Detective returns June 21. What better time to recall the haunting theme song from season 1?

20. “Boss”
The Rumblers
The Roots Of The Cramps (2009)
Submitted By: @annieTUFF
Comments: I can’t get enough surf music, what says summer more than surf? I love how dirty and gritty this is. The whole comp “Roots Of The Cramps” is really great. I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t know how many of the Cramps songs I loved were covers until years later, and it’s fun to check out the originals.

21. “Two Kegs In The Swimming Pool”
Mike Kelly
Wake The Dead (2010)
Submitted By: @RomeoSidVicious
Comments: It’s looking like it’s going to a damp, hot summer here in Houston and I didn’t want to go with the obvious songs complaining about that state of affairs so I dug deep and pulled out this Mike Kelly tune. The summer relation is that there’s obviously a swimming pool involved and for most of the country those are only involved in summer activities. I think plenty of us have lived the night described here, although I’ve never been able to afford two kegs…

22. “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
Sly & The Family Stone
Greatest Hits (1970)
Submitted By: Blabber’n’Smoke
Comments: Reminds me of hot days in the excellent summers of the seventies.

23. “The Warmth of the Sun”
The Beach Boys
Endless Summer (1974)
Submitted By: @Rockstar_Aimz
Comments: A little melancholy to end the mix, but what’s a summer mix without the Beach Boys? This song was originally released in 1964.

Better to Burn Out: A Farewell



Apparently, this is my 600th post on Now This Sound Is Brave; it’s also my last post as owner. As the song goes, it’s better to burn out than to fade away, but I think I did both. I don’t have the fortitude to recount the whole thing in new words, so I’ll steal from a personal post I made yesterday:

“My music blog is set to turn four years old around the end of this month… but I’m thinking about shutting it down. I took an official hiatus from posting when I started my current day job in early 2013, but I’d slowed way down on writing before that. I thought the seasonal layoff from the day job would give me time to get back into the spirit, but the spirit seems not to be there for me anymore. I haven’t even listened to much music in the last few months. And very little in the way of new music (I listened to an old A-ha album a few days ago, and those songs are still bouncing around my head because there’s been nothing in the meantime to replace them).

I did go much longer with the blog than I expected. And I loved the shit out of it. It was rewarding on so many levels, and I’ve made some great friends because of it, seen some great shows, gained favorite new bands, met people who’ve contributed to my musical identity since I was a teenager… It’s been an amazing, singular thing that has helped me reveal some of my ability and worth to myself.”

It’s like breaking up with a long-term lover, leaving NTSIB – it wrenches my heart. But I’ve decided not to shut the blog down. Instead, I’ll be handing the reins over to my brilliant, rock-steady, strong and capable co-blogger Jennifer, and it is a salve on my broken heart to know that it will go on.

And I may be back with the occasional post. There are upcoming albums from the Wind-up Birds and the Payroll Union, after all.

My gratitude and love to every musician who has allowed me to hawk their wares, to every PR person who has pushed the right thing at the right time, to every fellow blogger who has offered their support and friendship, to Jennifer, to our beneficent benefactor, and to every reader who has stopped by even for a few seconds. As patron saint Joe Strummer said, without people, you’re nothing.

So I’ll take my leave of you now and hope everyone will join me in wishing Jennifer the best, eager to see where she will steer this craft next. Mutts are going to play me out with a song that seems appropriate.


Strummer Remembrance Day



Joe Strummer, who we take as our patron saint here at NTSIB, died 11 years ago today. The above song, “Mega Bottle Ride” by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, ends with the line “And it’s time to be doing something good”, and it seems to me that one of the best ways that anyone can pay tribute to Joe is by doing good in his name.



A lovely example of that ethos is the Tumblr blog “What Would Joe Strummer Do?” A recent post on the blog itself beautifully sums up what’s going on there.


letsagetabita-rockin asked: Hello, Joe. Do you like the idea that there’s someone who lets people ask them rather serious questions on the internet and answers them as if they were you?

This blog was started as a fun project, a bit of punk-rock silliness we could share with others. We didn’t expect serious questions, but we got them – and now, those questions are the reason we keep doing this. If people stop asking us questions, we’ll stop answering.

In the meantime, there are people out there who have real questions and life-changing problems and no one to talk to about them. If we can give those people a hand; if we can cheer them up a little when they’re miserable; if we can encourage them to give life another chance, then we are going to do it. People feel safe talking to Joe – and everyone deserves to feel safe talking to someone.

We are obviously not Joe Strummer, nor have we ever claimed to be him or to be affiliated with him in any way. Everyone who comes to this blog to ask us questions knows this, and it’s stated clearly here in our disclaimer. But if there are people asking us questions because they have no one else to ask – because they feel alone or lost or hopeless – and we can help by running this blog, then we are going to.

This isn’t about us. This is about what we can do to help other people.

WWJSD receives questions ranging from just asking Joe’s opinion of other musicians to relationship questions to pleas for advice from people who are at the end of their tethers in very serious ways. Each question is answered with compassion, love, and encouragement, and each answer is accompanied by a charming illustration featuring cartoon Joe by artist Giles, like the ones you see above and below.



And, of course, there’s always the wonderful Strummerville – The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. Pay them a visit – it’s worth your time.

If you know about other ways people are doing good in Joe’s name, please share it in comments.


The Mad Caps: Stretch Pants

The Mad Caps - Stretch Pants


The Mad Caps have a new (well, new-ish) single out called “Stretch Pants”, and it’s full of dirty, dirty, dirty fuzz, like a deep city back alley at 3 o’clock in the morning where you’re pretty sure touching the pavement would direct-connect you to at least ten communicable diseases.

The video for the single seems custom-made for Friday afternoon viewing. WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS SHAKE WEIGHT. Proceed with caution.



The Mad Caps Official Website

The Mad Caps @ Twitter

The Mad Caps @ Facebook

Fonda: Sequence Dream

Fonda - Sequence Dream


Ever have it happen that you dismiss a band as “not my thing” for a while, then, one day, you hear a song that makes things click? “Oh, I get it now!” you say.

I had that moment today with the band Fonda and a new single they released in late November (on Minty Fresh), “Sequence Dream”. There’s something about its sweep of dream pop, the layers of diaphanous vocals and gossamer keys and guitar, that sits perfectly here in the early winter days. It’s music for sitting by a window with a hot cuppa and being self-indulgently melancholy.



The b-side, “Another New Year’s Eve”, is, as you would expect from the title, custom-made for wallowing in holiday heartbreak.

Fonda, if you didn’t know, have been recording since the late ’90s, just released their most recent album, Sell Your Memories, last February, and already have a new album in the works.


Fonda Official Website
Fonda @ Twitter
Fonda @ Facebook

Tony Fitz: Cut Me Up

Tony Fitz


Face front, true believers! I’m back in action! At least for the time being… As I’m on seasonal layoff from my day job through January, I’ll have enough time and brain power to contribute to the blog again, instead of just harassing you all on Twitter.

The NTSIB crew (can it be called a crew when there are just two of us?) love taking part in the Couch by Couchwest festivities every year, not least because we always manage together some new friends who also happen to be very talented. This past CXCW got us acquainted with Tony Fitz when he organized a very lovely Irish showcase.

Aside from all the behind-the-scenes work Tony does in production, recording, and sound engineering, he also makes music with his band Susie Soho. And in between everything else, he has began recording solo songs, releasing them on an as-ready basis, the first of which is “Cut Me Up”, which includes Ciaran Brady from Heritage Centre on drums, along with Jason Maher and Niall Campion on bass and guitar. Breaking my own rule of never comparing musicians, this song does slot easily beside Tony’s fellow countrymen the Frames in its laying bare the raw emotions of disappointment and anger while making you want to stomp, head bang, and fist pump to the jagged blasts of guitar and drums.



To check out Tony’s work on the technical side of things, you can listen to his production work for Red Sails on their EP We Still Build Forts, his live recordings for the Chapters, and his sound work for Homebeat.


Tony Fitz Official Website
Tony Fitz @ Twitter
Tony Fitz @ Facebook

On Joe Strummer’s Birthday: Reinvention

Time to raise a glass to NTSIB patron saint, Mr. Joe Strummer a.k.a. Woody Mellor a.k.a. John Mellor, who would have been 61 years old today.

Joe had a nervous energy that never let him settle in one place, one role, one style, one identity for too long, as outlined in a new article from The Atlantic website Joe Strummer and Punk Self-Reinvention. When Joe passed away in 2002, he was in the midst of yet another renaissance with his young group of lads, the Mescaleros. Below is an artifact from that time, a full Mescaleros show filmed at the Roseland Ballroom in New York in 1999.


A Change Is Gonna Come

First, I want to emphatically state that I love Now This Sound Is Brave, and I love every single person who has ever stopped by to read even a single post we’ve made in the last three years.

Love, at the risk of sounding precious, is what NTSIB has always been about, founded on and powered by love. I’ve never made a cent from this gig… though I have reaped all kinds of rewards. I just do this because I love music, and I want to share the music I love.

That being said, it has become more difficult to keep up my four-posts-a-week schedule, and now that I’ve started a new day job, it’s become all but impossible.

Don’t toll the funeral bells yet, though. This ship will keep sailing, if I may jump metaphors, tethered by my always-reliable superstar co-blogger, Jennifer, but I will be pushing my opinions on you all less often. (Though I plan to keep hanging around Twitter to retweet and harass everyone.)

It’s not an end, just a shift. And I hope you will all continue to hang with us because we love hanging with you.


“A Change Is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke

A Change Is Gonna Come -- Sam Cooke (Original Version in HD)