Posts Tagged ‘Review’



Over the past few months a handful of my friends have been talking about Joywave. Most of them are into stuff a bit poppier than I am, but I wanted to check them out before they start getting super popular. When they released their recent single, “It’s A Trip!,” I wasn’t too excited by it. The latest song, “Doubt,” is much more in tune with my tastes.

The song is a bit darker, more synth-pop with a New Wave 80’s influence.Produced by vocalist Dan Armbruster and Sean Donnelly, you can feel a lot of the bands that they’ve been opening for over the last couple years starting to seep into their sound. They’re about to head out for some dates with Cold War Kids and Young The Giant later this summer, and the fans of those bands should be prepared to show up early to hear a group they’re sure to love.

Check out the band’s website for details on the new album Content, as well as tour dates (also to hear the new song if you can’t check it out via Spotify below).

Floco Torres-You!


Photo by Maryann Bates

Music videos don’t always have to be big-budget, high octane thrill rides. Sometimes it’s better when they’re just a fun and honest depiction of the artist. That’s exactly what you get with this clip from Floco Torres.

The Akron, Ohio-based MC has over 20 releases to his name over the past 9 years, and will be dropping Again, his latest EP, on July 7th.

You can navigate some of Floco’s older stuff and see where he started and how he’s evolved over the years. My  favorite discovery was a little remix of Kate Nash’s “Dickhead” he posted back in 2013.

Good Morning Midnight-Basket Of Flowers


It’s strange how well Good Morning Midnight‘s new album flows. The songs themselves are quite different, ranging from somber folk to indie-pop to raucous 70’s style AM radio tunes. The influence of bands like Wilco and songwriters like Elliot Smith are heard pretty easily throughout, and GMM’s Charlie Cacciatore captures their spirit with ease.

Produced and engineered by friend of the site Dana Telsrow and Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios in Iowa City, Basket Of Flowers is a polished, easy listen that lets the work speak for itself. No need for bells and whistles when you have quality songwriting and musical ability.

The first song I heard from the album was “Permanently Red,” a wordy tune with a lot going on sonically on which you can chew. It’s available over on GMM’s bandcamp page as the lead single off Basket Of Flowers, but don’t think for one second that you’re going to get 11 more songs just like it. I’m particularly enthralled with the closing track, “UNIVERSE or Donald J. Trump Vs. The Winchester Boys Choir.” It’s a ten minute epic, not unlike “Let’s Not Shit Ourselves” on the Bright Eyes album Lifted. Even without the Trump stuff, this is a really great song.

“Loneliness knows no limits at all. Expands like the universe. Demands like a black hole.” There’s a bizarre simplicity to this, but the way it’s sung makes it feel like a new idea I’m hearing for the first time. And that’s true of much of Basket Of Flowers. There’s a lot of sounds that I’ve heard before, but never like this. Delivered in a fusion of Radiohead and Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s really a great listen.

The album isn’t officially out until July 21st, but if you catch Good Morning Midnight at a show, you can get a physical copy. He’ll be in Chicago this Saturday, June 3rd, at Roach Manor (Western and 19th).

Secret Bad Boy at Empty Bottle 5/26/2017

As a long-time Ben Joseph fan, I was excited to check out his new band Secret Bad Boy when they opened for Happyness at Empty Bottle on Friday night. I’ve seen Ben play keys and guitar with Ezra Furman + the boy-friends a dozen or so times. He’s always struck me as someone who understands a lot more about music than I ever will, and seeing him as the frontman for this new band only solidified that impression.

With only two songs out on Spotify, it was tough to know what to expect. Live, their set jumps from genre to genre, never settling in to one specific vibe. There was an instrumental intro with R&B and funk sounds. That led to a song with a synthy disco feel. When Joseph picked up a guitar things flipped to a whole new thing. At times reminiscent of Lou Reed with his speaking/singing, he’s also no less experimental.

I particularly like the guitar-heavy songs. The others are good, but I feel like there’s an energy to songs like “Chicken” and “Fleeting Love” that can’t be replicated by the keys. 

It’s definitely worth following up and checking out the rest of their music. They had cassettes for sale at the show, but I don’t have a tape player. The Minimal Beat premiered one of their songs a couple weeks ago, so you can check that out here.

You can also hear their song “Double Platinum,” described by Joseph as being about the second-worst thing he’s ever done.

Making Movies-I Am Another You


I am by no means an expert on Latin music. I’ve enjoyed it from time to time, whether listening to my dad’s Los Lobos records or picking up a Gypsy Kings album because I heard their version of “Hotel California” in The Big Lebowski. Most recently I’ve been listening to Natalia Lafourcade’s record Musas after I really liked a couple songs from her last release Hasta La Raiz. So there are some things I really like, but I don’t go out of my way to find it.

Making Movies are about to head out on the road with Hurray For The Riff Raff, and The Navigator is all about the struggles of early Puerto Rican life in America, so that got me a little more interested in Latin-leaning music. Alynda Segarra features on one of the new songs by Making Movies, so I wanted to check it out and I’m really glad I did.

I Am Another You is all over the place, combining rock with folk, cumbia, folk, psychedelia and everything in between. Lead singer Enrique Chi has an enigmatic voice that can be sticky sweet or coarse as a rough sandpaper. Some of their songs feel heavily influenced by early Radiohead while others are wholly unfamiliar.

Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, I Am Another You goes to places you might not expect from a band out of Kansas City, Missouri. There’s a lot of hope and love involved, but also some bigger themes about immigration and the dangers of isolation.

You can stream the whole album here. It comes out on May 26th. Sadly, the tour with Hurray For The Riff Raff doesn’t bring them to Chicago (HFTRR are playing here June 22nd at Millennium Park). Check out Making Movies website for full tour info.

K Flay-Every Where Is Some Where

April 10, 2017 Leave a comment

The first time I heard “Blood In The Cut” was at a festival last summer. K Flay ended her set with a brand new song-a bold move for any live show. It was completely different than anything else she played that day, leaning much more toward the rock end of the spectrum, but somehow it fit.

Ever since hearing that song I’ve been waiting on the edge of my seat for this new album to show up. It was preceded by another single, “Black Wave,” which only raised the level of excitement in my mind. Every Where Is Some Where feels like the music finally catching up to what she’s been trying to do since she was mixing it up on her own when I saw her open for Passion Pit in 2010.

It’s interesting to hear trap beats mix with driving guitars, synths and drums that would feel perfectly at home on a Nine Inch Nails record. The sound brings an added level of depth to the desperation that permeates the album. Much of it is spent searching for something to fill the void of a lost love.

On “Champagne” she sings “I feel it, I want it, I need it, I love it, I’m looking for something to make me feel nothing.” Sometimes numb is all you can feel because it’s better than dealing with the hurt and anger inside-it’s not healthy, but we all do it. The fast-paced delivery of the lyrics on this track are a manic expression of all those feelings trapped in our heads.

The album gets more upbeat in short intervals, with songs like “The President Has A Sex Tape” (timely) and the ode to familial love “Mean It.” These little bursts of distraction from the demons in your head are what propel you toward recovery. In this context, they move the album from being a little too one-note. 

Every Where Is Some Where is easily one of the best things I’ve heard this year. You can listen to it on Spotify or Apple Music, but you’re best bet is to just buy it here.

Categories: Music Review Tags: , , , , ,

Mount Eerie-A Crow Looked At Me

When Phil Elverum dropped his old moniker, The Microphones, in favor of Mount Eerie, I didn’t pay it much mind. In all honesty I wasn’t invested in his old stuff and didn’t have much interest in anything new. That probably seems blasphemous to some; I know he has a great following and is revered among songwriters for his talent. With A Crow Looked At Me, he’s definitely shifted my focus.

The new album, a tribute to his late wife Geneviève Gosselin, is one of the most heartbreaking works I’ve heard in a long time. You can feel the pain in every word he’s written since her death (pancreatic cancer took her life last summer). Elverum is doing his best to raise their young daughter in his own, but the constant reminder of his lost love takes its toll day after day.

The opening lines, “Death is real, someone’s there and then they’re not. And it’s not for singing about,” give you a good idea of what this album is. I don’t think he wants to be singing about this, but it’s the only way he knows how to cope. It is perhaps the saddest recording ever made. Later in the song he sings about receiving a package addressed to Geneviève a week after she passed. It was a gift for their daughter she had purchased, and I challenge anyone to not well up at that thought.

On “Forest Fires” Elverum sings about throwing out her clothes during a heatwave that’s caused a forest fire. “I missed you, of course. And I remember thinking ‘the last time it rained here you were alive still’ and that this same long heat that I was in contained you.”

It’s these little moments of complete devestation that fill these 11 songs. It’s also the resilience of the human spirit to endure this much suffering and continue forward, finding the beauty and meaning in your life to keep going. “We are all always so close to not existing, except in the confusion of our survived-bys grasping at echoes.” This serves as a great reminder that we’re all going to meet the same end one day, which could be scary or a sliver of hope depending on your perspective.

Elverum delivers an emotional album with pieces from his life that anybody who’s lost a loved one will recognize from their own. It’s these universal truths that keep the world spinning. It’s a microcosm of our shared reality that might just help you out if you’re feeling sad or alone at some point.

%d bloggers like this: