For the first half of the 1990s, if Redd Kross was involved in something, I was interested. Any band they toured with or recorded with or even name-checked was a band that I would check out. I was rarely disappointed. Enter The Muffs, who I associated with Redd Kross originally because they were both from Southern California and had both punk rock and bubblegum pop cred. And there was the Bill Bartell connection. Plus, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen were ex-Pandoras members, a band I was fond of after hearing them on WTUL New Orleans in the mid-’80s.
Not long after the band’s eponymous debut, Melanie left and former Redd Kross drummer Roy McDonald replaced original drummer Criss Crass. So I was extremely interested in hearing Blonder and Blonder, The Muffs’ 1995 release from Warner Bros./Reprise Records.
By Ben van D
The truly terrific soundtrack should be harmonious with its narrative and transcend and elevate the work as a whole. After all, Psycho isn’t Psycho without its violent shower strings; Star Wars isn’t Star Wars without its “Imperial March;” and the panther isn’t pink without Mancini setting the palette. JG Thirlwell is equally inseparable from the DNA of the Venture Bros., and this collection is hard evidence as to why.
By Tyler Hodg
The genre of country music is one of the worst offenders in producing soulless drivel. J.D. Malone and the Experts’ latest effort, Town and Country, is superior to the work of most mainstream artists in the same classification, but that’s not saying much. Where the album succeeds in exerting passion, it lacks in quality songs.
By Tim Murr
You know, I don’t talk enough about Frank Hennenlotter. He made six insanely funny body horror/exploitation films including the cult favorites Basket Case, Frankenhooker, and Brain Damage. If you take the heady, wet horror of David Cronenberg and the gleeful sleaze of John Waters and drag them through the gutters of 1970s 42nd Street, you’ll still be surprised at how crazy a Frank Henenlotter movie can get.
Post Plague Record Release Show
June 24, 2016
At last year’s NXNE, Odonis Odonis played a show with A Place To Bury Strangers and Iceage and despite both of those bands having huge reputations of being incredible live, the Toronto trio more than held their own. This past Friday’s show was even better. The band has an impressive light show to accompany their newer material and this time, they weren’t plagued with the technical issues that threatened to overpower last year’s Opera House performance. In fact, they almost literally blew me away. But more on that in a minute.
Back in the days of MTV’s 120 Minutes, C86 darlings Close Lobsters were a fave. “Let’s Make Some Plans” reminded me of the heady days of when I first got into college radio. Granted, those days were just a few years earlier, but when you’re a teenager, that stuff matters. I listened to their ’88 releases Headache Rhetoric and What Is There To Smile About? fairly obsessively well into the early ‘90s.
After a hiatus of almost 20 years, the Scottish band returned briefly in 2009 with a retrospective singles collection, but reformed for real in 2012 for a few live shows, releasing the EP Kunstwerk In Spacetime in 2014. On June 3, the band’s newest EP, Desire and Signs, was released by Shelflife Records.
“Wander Epic Part II” is the B-side to the latest single “Under London Skies” and here’s what the band has to say about it:
“’Wander Epic’ is a yarn/yearn of disorientation in the spirit of Close Lobsters. Saudade for the vast and endless sea. Who are we and what do we need to do to be part of the world? If you listen to all three parts as a continuous (w)hole the streams that run down to the sea are revealed.”
After several years paying her dues in various Toronto bands, Robyn Phillips was visited by a vision. Adopting the name of Isabella Rossellini’s character from Blue Velvet, Phillips began writing songs informed by this persona, eventually gathering other musicians to complete a full band. Vallens’ first album Consent is out today and it reveals that Phillips’ commitment paid off: it’s a stunning debut.
By Tyler Hodg
There is little that hasn’t been said about Neil Young over his 56-year long career (and counting), yet the prolific musician continues to give people reasons to talk; through the constant delivery of unique additions to his catalogue both musically and visually, and an unapologetically-high standard for passion, it’s no wonder he has been, and will remain, universally respected as an artist.
Young’s latest project sees him joined by Promise of the Real for a two-disc compilation simply titled Earth. The album, which features live tracks from his extensive repertoire and the pairing’s 2015 effort The Monsanto Years, is a 98-minute long collection of what Young describes as songs about “living here on our planet together.”
Photo by Shelby Fenlon
We get a lot of music press releases at Popshifter and sometimes it’s a slog to sift through them, always hoping to have our ears dazzled by a new band but frequently being disappointed.
This is not the case with Toronto, Ontario’s Vallens, the brainchild of guitarist, singer, and songwriter Robyn Phillips. Vallens makes the kind of music that makes you sit up and take notice. The title of Vallens’ stunning debut album is Consent, a word with a lot of connotations—especially for women. Thankfully, the songs don’t shy away from such emotionally charged issues but explore them. Musically and lyrically, Consent is moody, mysterious, and captivating… and definitely deserves your attention.
By Tyler Hodg
Foxy Shazam came to a premature end in 2014, and the musical loss is still an open wound for a lot of fans. The Cinncinatti-based group presented a unique product, consisting of eccentric band members, catchy tracks, and a larger-than-life stage show that was needed to be seen to be believed, but it was their ability to consistently deliver on all of those aspects that made them an anomaly.
Sure, it’s only been just over a year and a half since the band announced their hiatus, but there are valid reasons why Foxy Shazam deserves a triumphant comeback.