Alex Greenwald, Yo


INTERNETS. NESSIE HAS SURFACED. Alex Greenwald has put his solo record out – it is called Yo – and mysteriously not said anything about it. In the event this is because he’s conducting some sort of marketing experiment, I offer my data-point, which is that it took the Tumblr-tide three weeks to bring the news to my door. Anyway, I have now listened to it four times in a row, and my reaction is: Mmm. Hmm. Interesting. It’s pop music with some echo and wubble-bubble, and for all one of the songs is a love song about a knife, there’s none of the fuzzy rage and jagged aggression that showed up in Phantom Planet’s sound. Lest that make it sound like a weightless, disposable confection, know also that lyrics have razor-sharp edges, sometimes in unexpected places. It is very much the kind of thing that becomes richer with repeated listening. Simulacre and Still Too Soon: The first two tracks are, in order, a 13 second sample of something I didn’t recognize and a song about how all the sunshine in Los Angeles can really mess with your head. This was something I wondered about when I visited, actually, if all … Continue reading

Bobby Bare Jr. and Young Criminals’ Starvation League, Undefeated


Undefeated, which comes out today (April 15) is Bobby Bare Jr‘s first full-length release since Storm — A Tree — My Mother’s Head (2010). Storm was a solo effort, and landed more on the country end of the spectrum. On Undefeated, he’s backed by a full band, and the tunes are pure roadhouse rock n’ roll: sometimes gritty and aggressive, other times playful. The first thirty seconds of the first track – North of Alabama by Mornin’ – is a burst of static, the audible of equivalent of a fuse being lit and slowly burning down. The rest of the song – the rest of the record, really – is a meditation on the shape of the resulting explosion. The Big Time, a dry, biting, carefully observed exploration of changes wrought by success, is an example of the lighter fare: He’s currently on tour with Cory Branan – New York, your show is this Saturday, at the Mercury Lounge – and in some cities, the documentary about his life Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) will be screened before the show. You can also rent it from the REELHOUSE website.

Milan Jay, Get Ghost


And now, from Milan Jay (scrappy little band of my heart, west of Ireland division:): Get Ghost. The song drops this Friday, and on Saturday, accompanied by their brand new drummer, they play their first show in 18 months in Egan’s Basement in Ballinasloe, Galway. The rest of the new record will be along later this year; in the meantime, if you liked that, take a skimmy through their back catalog. It’s good stuff.

Late Night Listening: Two Songs from Arum Rae

Photo by Dominic Neitz

Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Arum Rae (formerly White Dress) is from Brooklyn via Austin, TX. Warrented Queen, her first EP with producer Sanford Livingston, is due out in late April. Consider these two songs a taste of the whole: 2001: This one jammed its claws into me in a weird way. I was here, that September. Sitting on the train on the Williamsburg Bridge, watching the towers burn. Standing on Houston Street while tanks rolled downtown. Leaning on the bumper of a U-Haul on John Street, during a brief pause in helping my sister move while the fires still burned and everything was covered in ash and unnatural silence, reading the note someone had written on a nearby windshield: You can knock us down but you cannot knock us out. A year later I moved away. Several years after that, I came back. When the anniversary comes around, I don’t watch the news. Warrented Queen: If you need a palate cleanser after all … Continue reading

Late Night Listening: Still Parade, Fields


Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Fields, the title track of the latest EP from Still Parade (Niklas Kramer and friends; due to arrive in May) is a delightfully dreamy pop song and a little bit bouncier that some of their other work, which tends to be fuzzier and slower. All of it is perfect for winding down after a long day.

The Mercy Beat, Sweet


The Mercy Beat are (possibly international) gentlemen (and maybe ladies?) of mystery for right now, so all I can tell you is 1) they are currently in Los Angeles 2) this is their most recent song and 3) it is mellow and lovely. Also, I am pretty sure the sly echo of “Mersey Beat” in their name is not an accident. And I have a very strong suspicion that I should know that voice.