A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: High Priestess Nighthawk, Heavy Temple

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. Heavy Temple are from Philadelphia, PA, and their next release, Chassit will be out on January 27th. Sonically, they meld doom metal and prog rock with just enough jam band flair that the final effect is compelling rather than exhausting. They also do interesting things with the contrast of static and array of different pulsing … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and A Drink: Union Sound Treaty

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. Union Sound Treaty are based out of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Next Year is their first record. It was released back in November 2016, and the short version of my initial reaction is: “Awwwwwwwww YEAH.” The long version: It’s the first record for a while now that I let go on repeat because I liked … Continue reading

2016: A Year In Pictures

The more accurate title of this post would be 2016: The Year I Waited Nine Months to Post My SXSW Pictures, since that is where 99% of these shots are from. The remaining 1% are from New Year’s Eve 2015, taken too late to be included in last year’s round-up. So, yeah, anyway, here they are, better super late than not at all, I guess? Here’s the one from NYE: The Molly Ringwalds, Biloxi, MS, NYE 2015 SXSW was, by turns, glorious and exhausting. There is so much music, and so little time, and so many people. I was pleased to be there – to have been invited to be there, given the honor of a place on a panel, because honestly, otherwise, I would not have gone – but I did not really feel like I was among my people until the third day, when I walked into a grimy punk bar far from the main (festival) drag. At that point I was also so tired and people’d out I was about ready to just lie down on the (disgusting) floor and let the sea of noise wash over me. Here are the pictures I took: Day 1 HarMar … Continue reading

All Those Ships, Meteorology for Runners

[Editor’s note: This was supposed to be published the last day of November and . . . I screwed something up, so it didn’t, so, uh, here it is!] Meteorology for Runners is the second record from All Those Ships (Brandon MacNeil). It’s folky-art-pop, but it’s folky-art-pop with shoegaze undertones, surprising heft, and the occasional jagged edge. This is Head Up, the first song, and the one that persuaded me to listen all the way to the end of the record. My favorite song however, is Squish Spiders for You which is, as the title hints, a wistful meditation on squishing spiders for love. Also solid is Tiny Clouds which starts off spare and folky and gradually evolves into something heavier and fuzzier.

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Shroud Eater

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. Shroud Eater is – I think relentless is the word I’m looking for. That’s the first thing I noticed, anyway, that they start off with a grinding pace and a tight grip and they don’t ever let go. Depending on how you feel about sludge metal and/or the crash and thrum of heavy guitars, the … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Nikos Mixas, Twingiant

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. Twingiant are in a transitional phase, and by that I mean they are in the process of evolving from stoner/sludge metal to a more “traditional” sound. The two songs below are their most recent demo and serve as signposts for their new direction. Here’s what I like: It’s heavy, sure, but there’s some guitar wizardry … Continue reading

Two Songs From: The Garden

1. The Garden is a two person band, made up of identical twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears of Orange County, California. 2. California Here We Go is their most recent single and was the first video of theirs that I watched. My first response was whaaaaat followed by watching a whole bunch of videos by other people and then going back to watching The Garden again because they were by far the most unusual and interesting. Also I was trying to figure out why they were wearing clown make-up. I still don’t know, though it is a recurring theme in their recent videos. 3. The Garden are very much a law unto themselves. Their universe is unique and partially closed; their genre – “vada vada” – is their own invention and more symbolic than descriptive. Even with the sound on and the lyrics mostly intelligible their videos are an experience akin to watching surrealist art movies in a noisy bar. 4. When not rocking out, they’re models. Interviews suggest they have a very low-key approach to high fashion, and, sometimes, to gender. 5. They were on Burger Records, at first, but are now on Epitaph. This is All Smiles Over … Continue reading

Video: Ciaran Lavery, Return to Form

I saw Ciaran Lavery at SXSW, and was bowled over; it was truly a transcendent experience. The good people of the Northern Ireland Music Prize apparently felt the same way, because they just named his new record, Let Bad In, their winner for Record of the Year for 2016. In addition to that one, which you can get here, he’s also just finished a live record, called Live at the MAC, which was recorded at the MAC Theater in Belfast, Northern Ireland and will be out Dec. 9. It incorporates tunes from all three of his records, plus some covers and a Christmas song, and I very strongly recommend it to y’all. Here, as a taste of his sound, is the video for Return to Form, from Let Bad In:

Video: Social Distortion, When the Angels Sing

One Social Distortion show I went to – it may have been the last one, I don’t remember – my companion and I wedged ourselves into a spot on the risers near the pit (we were at Roseland) and, as is the way of things, started chatting with people nearby. About halfway through the show a man wriggled out of the pit and came to visit one of the ladies in front of us. He was sweaty and kind of battered but thoroughly happy. It was the kind of happiness that enlivens a group, as the energy of the pit rolled off him and enveloped us. That’s what I think of, when I think of Social D. That dude, and his lady, his tattoos and big grin, and how he shook himself like a wet, sweaty dog and we made rueful faces and then assured him he was never too old for the pit. This When the Angels Sing from White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996). It’s not as iconic as Ball and Chain or Sick Boy, but I’m fond of it.

Everything Dies, Des Ark

Des Ark is led by Aimee Argote, and lives at the intersection of shoegaze and folk music, but the shoegaze aspect, at least on this record, is applied with a light touch. Argote has sweet delicate voice, which she uses to sing songs that are sometimes sweet and delicate but are often gloriously vulgar. Also, 50% of the reason I listened to most of the record was I was amused and intrigued by the song titles. Or I guess I should say, the song titles were why I started listening. I kept listening because the music is good. Everything Dies by Des Ark