On Friday, Kills Birds released a self-titled full length that is sure to keep you on your toes. From the very first frantic chords of “Worthy Girl” to the last lines of ninth track “Ok Hurricane”, there is equal parts surf pop and punk influence in this alternative collective’s new release, and we’re thrilled with the cadence of it all. Second track “Jesus Did” is something we would actually find ourselves moshing to in a dingy club, if you’re truly wondering, and “Ow” follows suit with a subtle, beautiful darkness and slower pace. “Volcano” builds like a vintage rock track, intricate percussion leading the way, while “New Friend” slows everything down and builds the instrumentals to a trudging, intense soundscape despite the more leisurely pace.
While “Only Yellow” feels melancholic in title, it’s a garage rock gem that is equal parts chaos and intricate observation. “Tear Up” finds itself in more of a Weezer realm lyrically and vocally, while “High” prefaces the last track with a hard bass line, the most Nirvana-esque of the tracks on this record.
Quite frankly, we have been waiting for a soundscape like this. Something to match the way the weather is going in North America, something to take us into autumn with appreciation and a sense of reality. So check it out below, then tell us what you think on Facebook!
The Berries‘ sophomore release — a full-length titled Berryland — is something of a commodity right now, as its focus on guitar riffs and an all-encompassing vibe has us begging for more. Mastermind Matt Berry has created a ten track masterpiece, that effortlessly blends Americana and Brit rock in an interesting and dynamic way. It starts with whirring guitar and an energy all its own with “Makes Me Sick“, adding more twang with “Lowest Form of Life”, and coming in hot with the leisurely, more radio friendly “Fruit“, two of these selections which have amazing 70s-inspired music videos to accompany them.
Continuing at a leisurely, backyard bonfire pace, “Passing Scene” gives us a hard glimpse into our autumnal future, slow motion jumping in leaves comes to mind. “Feral Eyes” revs it up a bit more, while “D.Y.W.I.B.” brings a more ethereal feeling to the piece. “Hell on the Speedway” has a title that would indicate it picks up the pace a little bit, yet it maintains a drawn out and beautiful disposition. “Along the Water” is delicate and incredible, while “Pedestal” provides a little more attitude. They round out the album with “Heavy Rain”, a track that will take you back in time right alongside some of rock’s greats (i.e. Jimi Hendrix). We’re big fans, and will most likely keep that track on repeat for quite some time.
This year, we had the insane pleasure of sitting down to chat with Throwawy for an imperfect Fifth podcast recording session. In fact, it was our very first one. We were honored then to speak with her, and even more honored now to be laser focused on her most recent release, a full-length titled What?
A collection of 8 high energy songs, What? boasts a relatable string of lyrics and an inviting disposition, despite the heaviness of the topics and the cadence with which the vocals are delivered. Titles like “Bonatan Jyers”, “The Brilliant Society of the Illustrious Mule”, and “I Work!” draw you in, with the unexpectedly wonderful blend of theatrical, edgy instrumentals (“The Revenge Society”) and attitude keeping you in place. As each new track begins, a sense of urgency — and, at times, insanity — appears for a moment, and then you relax into the layers of energy blasting from the speakers.
Definitely do not try to enjoy this album right before bed.
For more about the artist, check out our podcast episode under your first listen to the album!
Dori Freeman’s new album titled Every Single Star is a perfect follow up to her 2016 break out year. Produced by Teddy Thompson this album features a sparkling voice over simplistic instrumentals allowing her Appalachian style to fully shine through. The powerful way she talks about heartbreak in so many of the tracks allows you to feel a connection to the pain she has been able to withstand, leaving hope for women who are in similar situations. Though Freeman’s personal life has changed between the release of her first album to this one, her message remains clear as she is loyal to the roots that have gotten her this far in music.
Choosing to sing about motherhood and the music industry itself Freeman is able to bring to light a little-discussed topic in the business. Taking on the role of the contended mother instead of a rejected lover Freeman speaks to her experience making this album by saying, “Musicians that are also moms and have to juggle touring and being at home and spending enough time with your child; that’s something that’ really hard for me to find balance in.” In the track “Like I Do” she expresses her love for her child singing, “nobodies gonna love you like I do” a lyric I’m sure almost every parent can relate to. The song plays an important role in her need to include her daughter into the album without making it all about her; a charming tribute this song is definitely one to take note of.
Providing a classic feel Freeman does an exceptional job making her songs sound like they’ve been around for ages in a comfortable and quintessential way. As a listener, you will often experience hints of Reba McIntire, Loretta Lynn, or Dolly Parton through the old twang and lofty notes of the tracks. This is most noticeable in songs “How I Feel” and “Darlin’ Boy” with the way she utilizes the instrumentals to accentuate her lyricism.
The most unique track on the album is definitely “2 Step”, where produce Thompson joins in for a duet with Freeman, creating a mystical blend of dazzling harmony. As a song about dancing, it’s no wonder the track sets forth a desire to stand up and let yourself loose as the music flows through you with a strong mountain soul.
Creating an album with songs of all emotions, Freeman has done what so many artists strive to do in crafting a complete story of songs to settle into. Her sophomore album Every Single Star should definitely not be overlooked and will provide endless hours of joy and powerful feministic inspiration. Be sure to catch the release of Every Single Star and to follow Dori Freeman on Instagram.
Kansas City-based favorites Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear have done it again with their new release, a delightful full-length titled Started With a Family, which — to their credit — it did entirely. And they’ve packed it to the brim with their signature robust, at times raspy, and beautiful vocal harmonies. “Saturday Morning Cartoons” opens the collection, beginning with a beautiful sentiment of current and future happiness. But hang on through to the end and you will either be slightly disturbed or just completely worried about your future. Nonetheless, they speak truth and continue to do so through slower second track “Hell Better Make Room”. “Never Met a Mutha” begins with a soundscape similar to Death Cab’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, however it blossoms into a folk song that seems to be a testament to Mama Bear, though it could be easily applied elsewhere.
“Botticelli” slows things down again, a bit of a detached option from the relatable side of things. “Back to the North” has an interesting melody, prepping us for the more intricate “Started With a Family”, in which Madisen Ward addresses his family specifically. It’s simple, beautiful, and elegant in a way. Stemming from it is “Guts n Glory”, a bit more graphic than its predecessors, however still very relaxing in its disposition. “Crackle Lyn Wood” possesses both a clever name and a beautiful video, which can be seen below.
“Lightning Kids” holds its spot as the second to last track on this incredible folk album. It doesn’t have quite the pace we expected for having the term “lightning” in the title, but also leaves a lasting impression with its introspective lyrical content. The duo rounds the album out wonderfully with “Little Mountain”, showcasing Mama Bear’s (Ruth Ward) timeless, heartbreaking vocals. That packs a powerful punch, and we’re going to go ahead and hit “repeat” for a while.
Incendiary, vengeful, and all-around kickass: The first full-length album from New Zealand powerhouse Miss June slams from start to finish. Brimming with fiercely punk riot grrrl anthems and self-deprecating moodiness, Bad Luck Party spans captivating rock methodsacrosseras; from the stadiums of the early 80s to 90s alt-rock radio hits alike.
What do you get when you cross the youthful rebellion of 00’s pop-rock with contemporary punk? The answer is opening track “Twitch”; a smoldering, mile-a-minute plunge into the inferno that is Bad Luck Party. The first single of Bad Luck Party dropped in May of 2018, it acts an effective launch into the zeitgeist of the album, with dripping, electric fuzz stacked behind racing drum fills. “Twitch” especially stands out on BadLuck Party because it could fall first, central, or middle on the album’s track listing, and its catharsis would be perfectly timed regardless.
With track two – titled “Best Girl” – Miss June welcomes us into the first of many sarcastic rejections of the drags of femininity. A tongue-in-cheek nod to the album’s title, the chorus chants again and again: “It’s a bad luck party and nobody wins but me”, as voiceovers from vocalist Annabel Liddell whisper gossipy taunts over the anxiety of a tight snare.
Bad Luck Party never takes a breather, yet it does breathe a satisfying range of moods and dynamic differentiation. Tracks “Anomaly”, “Orchid”, and “Double Negative” are moody, narrative-focused, and feature toned-down vocals relative to their accompaniments on the album. Heart-swelling anthem “Anomaly” takes you right to a high school football stadium, where a protagonist fawns over a crush, with just a tinge of jealousy. Following suit in the spirit of reflective indie influences is “Orchid”; a pensive look into a dirty mirror that shatters if you stay too long. The lyrics of “Orchid” offer some of the clearest feminist commentary on Bad Luck Party, deftly melded with wracking heartache, as Liddell croons: “Ma says it’s easier for men to move on / There’s plenty of fish in the sea for a shark”.
The middle track on the album, “Double Negative”, is a simmering, melancholy beacon that carries with it an emotion not found many other places on Bad Luck Party; the urge to mourn. A cavernous cello carves out the space around Liddell’s vocals, creating a landing space for her regrets as she tosses them over the edge: “There was no time to talk”. An eruption follows, with any remaining boundaries combusting into unresolved questions.
There are more songs on Bad Luck Party album guaranteed to triple your heart rate than not. An anthem of repudiation, “Please Waste My Time” is arguably the wildest and most fun on Miss June’s spectrum of alt-punk. Just before her breakneck squeals send the chorus into chaos, Liddell’s contrasting shouts of “You make me feel old” break the tension, expertly shifting from frenzy back into musicality. On “Two Hits” and “Aquarium”, Liddell lobs rapid, ear-splitting screeches in rapid pace, demanding the forefront of attention, even over the thundering, metal-style guitars. Second-to-last song “Scorpio” is no less thrashing, but is marked by the softer, melodic singing of a ballad as opposed to the ravenous contempt wreaked on earlier tracks.
“Enemies”, a single released earlier in 2019, opens gradually and dramatically, drudging through a nightmarish yet fascinating landscape of stinging feedback and reverbing leads, before trenching into Liddell’s warning lyricism. This track is an ode to massive stadium rock acts of the past like Metallica, as well as extant subgenres like metalcore– all with Miss June’s defining riot grrrl explosivity. Matching the doom of “Enemies” is final track “Polio”, a finisher welded together with every trick in Liddell’s arsenal: Cautioning whispers give way to spoken directness, gradually ascending into screeching ferocity; nearly eclipsing the deafening crash of the surrounding scape.
Miss June is comprised of vocalist and guitarist Annabel Liddell, guitarist Jun Cheul Park, bassist Chris Marshall, and Tom Leggett. Next month, the group will begin their world-wide tour in celebration of the album’s release. The Bad Luck Party Tourwill kick off in Wellington, New Zealand and October14 sees the band play Brooklyn’s Rough Trade which marks the start of the North American run that includes shows in Toronto, Chicago and LosAngeles. All dates are listed below. Tickets and more tour info can be found here.