Friday, January 27, 2017

This Week In Music: Jan. 27, 2017

Influenced in part by the gritty industrialization of Van Nuys, Calif., The Knitts have finally got around to producing a full length debut that digs deeper than their previous Brit Pop musings. The new record, Retreat, pushes past previous outings by capturing the energy of performances.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their single "Sorry Sonny," currently representing Retreat on Soundcloud.  The track makes a bold impression, an easy harmonic groove and catchy refrain.  Look for it on digital formats March 3 via Knitting Factory Records. In the interim, enjoy some their grittier works from Simple Folk EP. LHRS: 3.2

On Apple: The Knitts - Simple Folk EP
On Soundcloud: The Knitts - Sorry Sonny Single

Los Angeles post-hardcore veterans Senses Fail are releasing their new acoustic EP, In Your Absence on March 3. Two of the five tracks are already making the rounds with "Jets To Peru" especially promising. "Lost and Found is a much quieter classic, sad and sappy vocals that will make you long for the original.

Overall, what really works is that the band has come full circle, putting out songs that are throwback to their older style. Somehow they manage to connect with mostly the same weight as the original cuts, especially "Jets To Peru," a perfectly cast post punk acoustic ballad. LHRS: 3.2

On Apple: Senses Fail - In Your Absence
On Amazon: Senses Fail - In Your Absence

Since their formation in 2012, Dangerkids has dished out a dynamite blend of rock, post-hardcore and rap. Five years later, the band has come an even longer way from their roots in Dayton, Ohio to produce some catchy alt-metal tracks that are sometimes reminiscent of the stuff other bands put out a decade ago.

Blacklist_ is enjoyable — especially for fans who waited too long for a followup — and maddening — in that they don't always feel original. The opening track "Kill Everything," "Things Could Be Different," and "blacklist–" are the best. Check out "Summoner's Rift" too. LHRS: 3.2

On Apple: Dangerkids - blacklist_ - Dangerkids
On Amazon: Dangerkids - Blacklist_

Japandroids released something steadier and more mature anthem-heavy album, but not so much that they can't carry on their reputation for being in tune and accessible. The more punk-commited mixes are missed, but these eight crushing stadium-sized tracks will complete their shows in ways their older material never did.

Many people will tell you to start with the opening track "Near To The Wild Heart Of Life" because of the party-anthem chorus, but its "No Known Drink Or Drug" that earned our admiration. Even so, every track works well enough, start to finish. LHRS: 3.2

On Apple: Japandriods - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
On Amazon - Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

These make up four our frontrunners, but there is plenty of more music out there this week. Honorable mentions with links: Lady in Blue by Color You, Things Are Right with You by Cloud Nothings, The Trigger Complex by - T.S.O.L., and Modern Ruin by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. All on iTunes.

Friday, January 20, 2017

This Week In Music: Jan. 20, 2017

The first few weeks of new music setting the pace for 2017 seem promising enough. Poison City Records delivers a must-listen split from the Melbourne indie rock trio Camp Cope and their more boisterous and gritty Philadelphia counterparts Cayetana.

The 4-track pairing works as well as lime and salt, after the bands had a chance to bond on tour in Australia. While fans of either band will already be familiar with two of the songs, both wrote originals to round out the experience as raw as their trek together. All four tracks are gems, especially the bouncy roughness of "Mesa" by Cayetana and measured ebb of "Footscray Station" by Camp Cope. LHRS: 6.1

On Apple: Camp Cope & Cayetana - Split - EP
At Poison City Records: Camp Cope & Cayetana - Slipt 7

Although not nearly as boisterous as the aforementioned, there is a addictively relentless undercurrent in the new single "Down To The Sea" by Brooklyn singer-songwriter Christina Rubino. Lush and smokey vocals make for a more anthemic indie rock aesthetic.

The track is the first release off Godspeed and Guns, which carries the same contemplative meanderings but not always the same moodiness of the dusk cut to "Down To The Sea." Check out the title track, "Orbit," "Feather," "Ha Ha," and "Lullabye" for the solid cross section of progression. "Irish Blessing," with its bagpipe accompaniment, is something to hang onto as well. LHRS: 4.1

On Apple: Christina Rubino - Down To The Sea
On Amazon: Christina Rubino - Down To The Sea

Changing gears, Dune Rats is all about keeping the buzz alive as a stoner pop indie band that hails from Brisbane. There is a certain surfer vibe to their restless suburbia existence that eventually manifests itself into a collection of lo-fi party songs.

Dune Rats isn't nearly as sharp as the Wavves, it's still pretty clear they can accompany Nathan Williams anytime with their new album The Kids Will Know It's B******t. The craziness inspired by the stories stolen weed and drug-themed house parties makes for a pleasantly enjoyable mess. LHRS: 3.3

On Apple: Dune Rats - The Kids Will Know It's B******t
On Amazon: Dune Rats - The Kids Will Know It's B******t

After eight years of growth and evolution in the unlikely city of Las Vegas, female-fronted metal band .bipolar. is ripping their blistering 4-track EP Seven. The band, now consisting of bassist Chris Kmit and guitarists Kevin Lemus and Jaisen Hinds along with Charlie and drummer Brian Hanks, has finally found the right technical mix to make something remarkably listenable for DIY metal fans.

Expect to be left breathless form the very first track "Ernest" as Charlie dispenses with her new found sense of savagery. All the same, don't expect it to let up as the band pounds out "Pyrite" chugs "Habitual" or flys by with the instrumentally lighter "Overnighter." LHRS: 7.3

On Apple: .bipolar. - Seven - EP
On Amazon: .bipolar. - Seven - EP

These outings round out our top four this week. Honorable mentions: "Sheep" off Astrovan by Mt. JoyNosebleed Weekend by The Coathangers, and Machines of Our Disgrace by Circle of Dust on iTunes. "Keeping Hope Alive" by The Two Tens via Bandcamp is also worth a listen. A few more tracks caught our interest over the last two weeks. We'll drop them in when and if we can.

Friday, January 6, 2017

This Week In Music: Jan. 6, 2017

This week breaks with a nod to 2016 releases, leading off with the retrospective Rude Boys of Bar Rock LP by Steady Hands. The 20-track album pays homage to the band's previous contributions.

The first gem, of course, is "Under The Rug," a punk-laced folk rocker that feels like the single Steady Hands has been working toward all along. After that, everything beyond the first track proves what began as a side project of Sean Huber (Modern Baseball) now has a timeless quality like the singer-songwriters that inspired him. LHRS: 5.8

On Apple: Steady Hands - Rude Boys Of Bar Rock
On Amazon: Steady Hands - Rude Boys Of Bar Rock

The Flats Ohio-based addiction to chaos still resonates with the dream-pop hit "Machinery," as the alternate indie-pop band braces for another EP due out today. Auburn In The Everlast rolled out three new singles and videos over three days before today's release.

The first of the three, "Unviable In Your World", is an up tempo gentle alternative pop ballad about shadows left behind — good, bad, and indifferent silhouettes when everything is over. "If this is war, we are all unviable and you are flawless," sings Chris Kerekes (brother of Citizen singer Mat Kerekes). LHRS: 3.9

On Apple: The Flats - Machinery
On Amazon: The Flats - Machinery

The reunion of singer-songwriter Autumn Wetli with rhythm section Shelley Salant and Amber Fellows revives Rebel Kind's stripped-back meanderings of discontentment, paranoia, and hazy confidence. Some attempt to channel Crow and Phair for flair— is infectious, even if the lyrics never reach the same complexity.

Where it works at getting under the skin is in its fuzzy punk poppiness. The undertones of  UK’s Dolly Mixture and New Zealand label Flying Nun are a nice touch. No track disappoints, even if "Billy Broke His Mind," "At The Party," and "Kiss You" are the big crowd pleasers. LHRS: 6.1

On Apple: Rebel Kind - Just For Fools
On Bandcamp: Rebel Kind - Just For Fools

For something harder, it is impossible not to give a nod to Austin-based Ritual Damage. Adoration Destroyed is a solid industrial alternative rock outing with "In Elegant Decay"serving itself up as an excellent introduction to the 13-track debut. The band calls them raw, visceral chronicles.

"Count Torn Apart," "Voices Carry," and "Here To Bleed" are your first pick listens for a cross section of the dark pop ambience and industrial electronic. It is a sound that the band has been chasing for years. There isn't any question Erik Gustafson (vocals, synth), Jon Gilyeat (bass), and Elrik Ashe (live drums) caught it. LHRS: 7.0

On Apple: Ritual Damage - Adoration Destroyed
On Amazon: Ritual Damage - Adoration Destroyed

Those albums round out our top four out the door for the first week in January as a warmup for what promises to be a great year for music ahead. Most weeks we'll feature three new albums and one throwback to last year or earlier and drop in a few mentions along the way. Enjoy the exploration.