At a very important time, Kansas City-based alt garage rock band The UK’s – comprised of Noah Bartelt (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Scott Combs (Guitar/Vocals), Katelyn Miles (Bass), and Tarquin Eugene Kellough (Drums) – has released a 5-track EP, affectionately and poignantly titled American Way of Death. From the very first, melancholic sounds of “Why Don’t You Go” – which hits a stride that makes you want to add it to your “walking the streets of the city like a badass” playlist – through the 60s punk-influenced soundscape of “Wake Up”, all the way through third track “AWOD” which follows suit, there is an electricity that makes you realize that incredibly underrated music comes from the midwest. (Hello, Holy White Hounds and Mess!)
Cut to “The Poison Squad” and you’ve got a track we could easily find ourselves barbecuing to on a chilly autumn day, dancing to at a sweaty basement party, or driving to down the Kansas City streets. It all comes to a head with fifth and final track “Other Team”, which brings in that fun, vintage, upbeat feel again. If you’re not careful, you just might find yourselves on the ceiling too…
Keep up with The UK’s here.
One part June Carter sassing Johnny Cash along with two dashes of Itzhak Perlman on a midnight hayride, Mad Crush’s songs contain theatrical, back-and-forth performances between their singing protagonists Joanna Sattin and John Elderkin. Complete with humor and heartbreak, their songs are in fact bright little dramas about fussing, fighting, and occasionally making up—universal truths sprinkled with brand-new magic dust. Below, Elderkin discusses his first musical influences, which are readily apparent upon listening to Mad Crush’s recently-released debut LP.
I have a habit of dismissing great albums on my first listen. I had friends with an advanced copy of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” who freaked out when they heard it, but when I listened, I thought it sucked. Later, I gave it another try and realized I was way wrong. Like the rest of the world, I ate it up. I had a similar reaction to R.E.M.’s first EP, called “Chronic Town.” Friends I respected said that it sounded unlike anything they’d ever heard anywhere. I listened and shrugged. It was different, but what was it? But when I pulled the record out again a few months later, I was flabbergasted. Those guys were speaking my language!
The one time I got it right came before these albums, on my first listen to The Clash’s “London Calling.” I was a teenager but I’d never heard of The Clash, and I bought it because I liked the cover picture of the bass player smashing his guitar on stage. I turned on my record player and by the end of the first song I was jumping up and down on my bed like a maniac. When my younger brother came in to ask what the hell was going on, I pointed to the record player and sure enough, he jumped on the bed, too. The only time I got down was to turn over the sides. I didn’t own a lot of records yet, and afterward I probably assumed that most albums would knock me out this way, that life would be one “London Calling” after another. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t so impressed later with other records that were supposed to bowl me over. Or maybe it’s just that great…
Keep up with Mad Crush here.
Chicago-based shoegaze/pop collective Lightfoils releases new five track EP Chambers today, and we’ve got your first listen below! (Or fourth, or fifth, or twelfth… who’s counting?) The five-piece – comprised of Zeeshan Abbasi (guitar), Jane Zabeth (vocals), Cory Osborne (bass), John Rungger (drums), and Neil Yodnane (guitar) – wastes no time getting into the psych feels with the kaleidoscope intro to first track “The Bitter Over”, which layers into a cacophony of sound that seems to envelope your senses. “Duende” brings the same level of otherworldly vocals to it, a little more depth to the guitar parts than its predecessor. While “This Time Is Up” brings with it a punk garage band instrumental soundscape, we’re still left wondering how Zabeth can reach such insane places with her vocals. But I digress.
“Summer Nights” might, at first, make you feel a little bitter about the warm evenings being long behind us, but it also provides that whirring nostalgic feeling that makes it feel like summer might not ever end. (And it doesn’t have to if you don’t want it to!) Last track “Honeydew” brings with its title the same lust for warmer months, though we know we can relive those nights with this as the backdrop any time we damn well please.
Pick up this EP. It’s well worth it.
Keep up with Lightfoils here.
The world has waited since 1997’s RAPT to hear a follow-up from folk singer-songwriter Rebecca Blasband. Having spent some time producing sound design and music for television and film, she clearly has a knack for what works with her audience, a fact evident within the tracks on Here. Rebecca wastes no time, jumping right into gorgeous ballad “Love Is”, getting a little more primal with the percussive instrumentals. The title track seems to slow the pace down a bit, a lot more introspective than its predecessors. While “Walking On Water” is a song you could see yourself singing around a fire with your closest friends, while “Who The Hell is Peter Brown?” might get a little more attention at a karaoke bar. (It’s got an edge to it a crowd can’t deny!)
“Those Happy Days” picks the pace back up of course, quirky and fun in its existence, while “Ghost Song” slows it all down a bit more, getting very real with lines like “Sometimes I think I’m just gonna disappear / Waste away / In thin air.” If you feel a little out of control of your life right now, this track will resonate in its entirety. “Way Of The World” is a slap of reality, while “Gotta Work It Out” reintroduces that edge we fell for earlier. “Target” is soulful, psychedelic and perfection in most situations, though you might want to be careful about playing the beginning of it while driving. “Long Distance Love Affair” rounds it all out in a bittersweet and beautiful way, as mention of a long distance love affair brings a level of melancholy to an already meandering and blues-y song. It’s the perfect end to the album, as it makes us all feel a little detached by the end of it.
Here is available now. Keep up with Rebecca Blasband here.
When I made a list of my favorite songs, I realized that all the songs chosen had deeply influenced me in one way or another. To be honest, it was my first time creating a compilation playlist. The process was quite enjoyable and enlightening.
All of these artists are unique, expressive, innovative and have made a lasting impact on me. Although exposing my roots leaves me feeling a bit naked… I hope you can enjoy these songs as much as I have!
At the end of the day, I still think of myself as just a music lover and mega geek.
Pavement – Mellow Jazz docent
The Breeders – Off You
The Cardigans – Starter
Portishead – Sour times
Aimee Mann – Red Vines
Beck – Pay no mind
Pixies – Hey
Smashing pumpkins – Hummer
Mannequin Pussy – Romantic
Autolux – Here comes everybody
Sonic Youth – Becuz
Garbage – Queer
Nirvana – Sliver
Red hot chili pepper – Warm Tape
Cornelius – New Music Machine
Ks choice – I smoke a lot
Dinosaur Jr – In a Jar
Keep up with Cream with a K here.
Photography: Kenta Karima
Styling: Yuuki Sakamoto/Shop Yaiya
Hair & Make up: Rina Taniguchi
I am celebrating girl power with this playlist! These are women who have inspired me to write my music and live my life from a place of strength. The list spans from my vocal idol Linda Ronstadt to my girl crush Sia.
I believe music is one of the best ways we can connect as human beings and heal together throughout this crazy journey. Enjoy!
Keep up with Brooke Moriber here.