I’ve said it before: there must be something in the water in Scandinavia. How else do you explain the incredible music coming from the area? Much has been written on Popshifter about Iceage as well as the band Lower, both from Copenhagen. They’re friends who’ve toured together as well as collaborated on music, film, and photography.
Iceage singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has now released a solo album under the enticing moniker of Marching Church. No doubt there are those who see the phrase “solo album” associated with a 23-year-old guy who looks like Leo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet and roll their eyes to the heavens. But we were all 23 once. I’m certain that a lot of people reading this never unleashed music as stupendous as the last three Iceage albums when they were that age, so let’s hold off on the snark.
I’d never heard Blasted Canyons, Mayyors, or The Mall, so references to these San Francisco bands failed to pique my interest when a link to Male Gaze’s “Cliffs Of Madness” single made its way into my inbox last year. What I did like about the song was that it reminded me a bit of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (in its nervy, post-punkishness) and a bit of Modern English (in the way Male Gaze singer Matt Jones sounds like Robbie Grey). It’s a real thunderstorm of a track with vocal and guitar melodies that present themselves at just the right moments.
Rock and roll is nothing if not incestuous. Everyone likes to talk about who stole from whom (or if you’re less curmudgeonly, who influenced whom), but when music scenes are small, close-knit, and under the radar, such through lines are nearly impossible to pinpoint.
And so it is with the Ork Records Ork: Box, out on Record Store Day 2015, from the always-impressive Numero Records. You might wonder how bands as seemingly disparate as The dB’s, Television, Mick Farren, Link Cromwell (a.k.a. Lenny Kaye), and Cheetah Chrome would nestle so snugly together, but one listen to this dazzling collection of singles will dissuade any doubt. What’s even more remarkable is that the tracks are arranged in chronological order but play like the most cohesive mix tape ever.
Who doesn’t love Record Store Day? Piles of picture discs, odd singles, repressings of things you’ve always wanted but couldn’t shell out the car payment-prices for on Ebay. Numbero (an offshoot label of the amazing Numero Group) is releasing Lows In The Mid Sixties, Volume 54: Kosmic City Part 2, on vinyl for Record Store Day 2015, and it is . . . odd.
By Tim Murr
There are so many sub genres in heavy metal that black metal progenitors Mayhem stand under the same umbrella as pop glamsters Poison. Which is kind of cool when you think about it. There’s so much that you can do with metal, so many styles you can mix in, so many identities that exist shoulder to shoulder.
Beale Street Saturday Night is a historical document that you could dance to, if you were so inclined. In 1976, James Luther (Jim) Dickinson (who played with loads of people, from the Stones to the Cramps, and produced Big Star, The Replacements, et al) set out to document the music and the musicians that played on the storied street where rock and roll arguably began. He recorded blues musicians at home, at clubs, and at the Orpheum theater, creating a sonic trip with spoken reminiscences from the artists cut in to their songs. The resulting album, Beale Street Saturday Night, was released in a limited run in 1978 and fetches astounding prices for original copies.
On the song “Too Old To Die Young” from their self-titled album, The Damnwells’ Alex Dezen sings, “We could have been Everclear.” Herein lies the problem with the record. The Damnwells make accessible pop/rock that would not be radio-unfriendly in the mid-’80s to ‘90s. It seems wholly inspired by The Outfield (sans clarion vocals) or the Goo Goo Dolls. Someone likes that sort of thing; those bands sold lots of records. It’s just not inspiring music. It’s not music that makes you yearn for more, music that makes you feel something, that makes you excited, happy, mournful. It’s the one-ply toilet paper of music. And the Damnwells’ new album is that. Meh.
“Seminal” is a funny word which makes the 12-year-old boy who still lives inside my adult body giggle. Yet, this is the word most often used to describe the band, Wire. They are a “seminal” New Wave band. Maybe they’re a “seminal” art punk band. They might be simply a “seminal” rock band.
Nobody writes a lead-off single like Todd Rundgren. When that guy is on, he is all the way on. “Evrybody” is no exception. With its simple demand to clap your hands and some clever lyrics, this is the closest thing to a rave-up you’ll find on Rundgren’s new album, Global. It’s also enough to make you believe, at least for a moment, that he’s made another fantastic record.
Ray Wylie Hubbard is the kind of artist that it takes the world a bit to catch up with. Making a sort of bluesy, country-tinged, mystic-thinking, completely rocking sound, he should have been huge in the Outlaw Country days. Instead, his fame was mostly limited to Texas, despite having made critically acclaimed albums.