Monday, January 16, 2017

Album Review: 'Top Ten' by Spill

Title:  Top Ten (BandCamp, No Sleep Records, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  Spill (Facebook, Twitter, InstagramTumblr, BandCamp, Spotify)

Hailing from Lancaster, PA and boasting former members of Placeholder and We Were Skeletons, Spill has produced a captivating full-length debut in Top Ten.  Released at the tail-end of 2016 on No Sleep records, Top Ten is an enthralling mix of  indie rock, 90s emo, and post hardcore with vocals that have the feel and vibe of early shoegaze bands without at all sounding like vocals from a shoegaze band.  On the surface, this record is an unusual mix of disparate elements but somehow Spill make it work.  This is kind of hard to explain considering the similarities and commonalities found in emo, post hardcore, and indie rock bands, but Spill has done a tremendous job of taking the elements from those sub-genres that are the farthest apart, mixing them together, and coming out the other end with a staggeringly fascinating sound and record.
  

EP Review: 'Perfectly Competent' by Talk Show Host

Title:  Perfectly Competent (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  Talk Show Host (Facebook, BandCamp, SoundCloud, Spotify)

Hailing from Toronto, Canad, Talk Show Host is a power trio that plays poppy punk indie rock.  According to the band's Facebook page, they are "two recovering punks and an indie rocker" which is a very fitting description.  Their latest EP, Perfectly Competent sounds like a love song dedicated to the punk and indie rock of the early to mid 1990s, while at the same time feeling modern and relevant.  Released late in the year, Perfectly Competent is the second EP Talk Show Host put out in 2016 and is catchy collection that perfectly blends elements of pop punk, indie rock, and power pop.  The four-song record opens with the highly energetic "Library" perfectly setting the stage for what's to come.  All in all, Perfectly Competent is a fun release by a band to watch.  I can't wait to see what these guys do next.

Video of the Day: "No Sorrow" by The Superweaks


Song:  "No Sorrow"
EP:  Modern Baseball / Thin Lips / The Superweaks Split (Big Scary Monsters, Lame-O Records)
Artist:  The Superweaks (OfficialFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, BandCamp, Spotify)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 4


This week we discuss that most grand of times in a person's life -- high school.  Prompted by a status making the rounds on Facebook of 10 records that made a lasting impression on you as a teenager, host Dave Brown reminisces on his high school career and how music played a big part in shaping who he was and who he became.

Listen to "Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 4" on Spreaker.

Playlist: 
1.  "Only in Memories" by Great Cynics (from Only in Memories)
2.  "Evil Way" by Shit Present (from Misery + Disaster)
3.  "Out of Step (With the World)" by Minor Threat (from Complete Discography)
4.  "Velvet Room" by Buffalo Tom (from Let Me Come Over)
5.  "Totally Fucked" by Pass Away (from Totally Fucked)
6.  "Shaggy" by RVIVR (from The Tide b/w Shaggy)
7.  "Bottles Of Wine" by Don't Make Ghosts (from Death Ride)
8.  "Randall Commander" by The Rentiers (from Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land)
9.  "The Bad Parts" by Timeshares (from Already Dead)
10.  "The James" by Tim Barry (from Lost & Rootless)
11.  "Girl Talk" by Euclid Crash (from Euclid Crash)
12.  "Tightrope Walker" by Broadcaster (from Tightrope Walker)
13.  "American Love" by Aree & the Pure Heart (from Heartsongs EP)
14.  "What A Shame" by Classics Of Love (from Classics Of Love)
15.  "Two Out Of Three Ain't Rad" by Red City Radio (from Red City Radio)
16.  "Bored Teenagers" by Beach Slang (from Here, I Made This For You [Beach Slang Mixtape Vol. 2])

Friday, January 13, 2017

Album Review: 'Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land' by The Rentiers

Title:  Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land (Jigsaw Records, BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  The Rentiers (Official, BandCamp, SoundCloudSpotify)

In just two short years, The Rentiers appeared, knocked out a series of stellar EPs and singles, broke down genre stereotypes and walls, and called it a day.  The brainchild of Plow United and Ex Friend's Joel Tannenbaum, The Rentiers was a "band" that always defied definition by simply being great.  Hosting a revolving set of members (often a slightly different lineup for each release) the band mixed elements of power pop, indie rock, synth pop, and indie pop, with pure punk ethos resulting in a sound that was invigorating, melodic, and unbelievably catchy.  And that's just the music.  Lyrically Tannenbaum is an utter genius.  These songs are clever, poetic stories that are at times literal and at times metaphoric with their sophistication, heart, and nuance.

Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land collects nearly everything the band has recorded including the Here is a List of Things That Exist, Black Metal Yoga, and Amateur Hour EPs, the singles "The Early 2000s," "Don't Go to College," and "Brooklyn's Been Good to Me" plus four previously unreleased songs.  Often anthology's feel like a haphazard collection of songs that don't necessarily go well together or just present the songs in order of release (which in and of itself isn't a bad thing).  In purely fitting Rentier's fashion, Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land does neither of those things.  Instead the record flows like a traditional album, making it feel like a cohesive unit and not a collection spanning material written and recorded over a two year period by various people in multiple locations.  To illustrate this point, the record opens with the uplifting and inspiring anthem ""Hang Out or  Die Trying" which was the closing track on the Amateur Hour EP but works perfectly as the beginning to this collection and as an introduction to this wonderful band.  But because this band has always been defiant in doing their own thing, the last four songs of the record are the first four songs the band released and appear in same order they originally did on the Here is a List of Things That Exist EP.  There is a poetic symmetry in that conclusion, ending things where they began.  

If this really is the end of The Rentiers, then it is a fitting, complementary, and satisfying way to go out.  I have been a fan of this group since the beginning and have eagerly awaited and anticipated each release.  It makes me sad to know that this is the end.  Joel Tannenbaum is a tremendously talented musician and an extremely nice guy whose career I will follow wherever it takes me,  For those who have never heard The Rentiers, Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land is the perfect introduction and conclusion presenting everything that this amazing act had to offer.  This is a band that I am truly going to miss.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 3


Welcome to third edition of the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast.  Thanks again to The Spark Radio Network for hosting the show and if you are in a band or a label that would like to submit your music for the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast, please drop a line to oklahomalefty@gmail.com. 

Listen to "Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 3" on Spreaker.

1. "Cobblestones" by Nothington (from Cobblestones)
2. "Nosebleed Song # 2" by The Fairweather Band (from Meow)
3. "Electric Light" by The Flats (from Auburn In The Everlast)
4. "Crack Whore" by The Fluffy Whites (from Crack Whore)
5. "996 Tears" by Hard Girls (from A Thousand Surfaces)
6. "Sad" by Hagfish (from Buick Men)
7. "Don't You Forget" by Arliss Nancy (from Greater Divides)
8. "You're Gonna Be Golden" by Signals Midwest (from At This Age)
9. "East St. Louis" by Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds (from I'd Rather Die Than Live Forever)
10. "I Miss You" by Candy Hearts (from All The Ways You Let Me Down)
11. "Wave Goodnight To Me" by Jeff Rosenstock (from Worry.)
12. "Swann Street" by 3 (from Dark Days Coming)
13. "Girl's Got Money" by Kurt Baker (from Girl's Got Money b/w Yeah? Yeah!)
14. "Power Chords and Fragile Words" by Adam Darowski (from YAY!)
15. "Future Mixtape for the Art Kids" by Beach Slang (from A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings)
16. "Xenophobe: A Car" Armchair Martian (from Armchair Martian)


*Note* All music played on this show is done so with the express written permission of the artist, artist representative, and/or the record label.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Album Review: 'Dear Avalanche' by Lights & Motion

Title:  Dear Avalanche (Deep Elm Records, BandCamp [Deep Elm], Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  Lights & Motion (Facebook, Twitter, InstagramYouTube, SoundCloud, BandCamp, SpotifyDeep Elm Records, Wikipedia)

What word do you use when "epic" simply isn't enough?  To call Lights & Motion's fourth album Dear Avalanche epic would be an understatement.  The follow-up to the act's brilliant 2015 record Chronicle, takes everything that was great about that album rips it up, rebuilds it better than it was before, and adds new layers and elements making for a powerful, expansive, haunting, driving, and stunningly epic listening experience.  Composer and multi-instrumentalist Christoffer Franzen has truly outdone himself with Dear Avalanche by once again creating a masterpiece of gigantic sound, all performed by one man (minus the background vocals, which add a remarkable extra layer to the already fortified music).  The truly raw and dynamic emotions that Franzen is able to invoke without uttering a single word is astonishing.  This is cinematic post-rock at its finest and is a colossal tour de force of instrumental music magic that pushes the boundaries of what it means to be cinematic, instrumental, and fantastic rock 'n' roll.

Currently Listening


1.  "Still Be Around" by Uncle Tupelo (from Still Feel Gone)
2.  "Belong" by R.E.M. (from Out Of Time)
3.  "With You" by Dave Hause (from With You)
4.  "Lookers" by The Menzingers (from Lookers)
5.  "The '59 Sound" by The Gaslight Anthem (from The '59 Sound)
6.  "For All We Care" by Chuck Ragan (from Till Midnight)
7.  "Running To Stand Still" by U2 (from The Joshua Tree)
8.  "The Stairs" by INXS (from X)
9.  "Bedlam Bridge" by Midnight Oil (from Blue Sky Mining)
10.  "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" by Against Me! (from White Crosses)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 2 and # 2.5


Welcome to second edition of the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast.  This week you get episode # 2 plus an extra, episode # 2.5.  Episode # 2 was recorded early Saturday morning and dropped on New Years Day but I wasn't that happy with it so I decided to just do another one.

Thanks again to The Spark Radio Network for hosting the show and if you are in a band or a label that would like to submit your music for the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast, please drop a line to oklahomalefty@gmail.com.






Episode # 2
Listen to "Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 2" on Spreaker.
1.  "23" by Harker (from A Lifetime Apart)
2.  "Sometimes Dead Is Better" by Harker (from Great Thieves Escape II Split 7")
3.  "Closer, Closer" by The Warning Shots (from Closer, Closer)
4.  "Terminally Insane" by The Warning Shots (from Six to Midnight)
5.  "Labor of Love" by The Connection (from Labor of Love)
6.  "Southern Girls" by The Connection (from Just For Fun)
7.  "We Don't Cry" by The Rentiers (from Amature Hour)
8.  "Brooklyn's Been Good to Me" by The Rentiers (from Brooklyn's Been Good to Me)
9.  "Brand New Flag" by Two Cow Garage (from Brand New Flag)
10.  "Should've California" by Two Cow Garage (from Three)
11.  "Ft. Lauderdale" by Cheap Girls (from My Roaring 20s)
12.  "Big Surprise" by Cheap Girls (from Lousy)
13.  "Lonely Girl" by Hudson Falcons (from Desire to Burn)
14.  "Peace of Mind" by Hudson Falcons (from Peace of Mind)
15.  "Love Ire & Song" by Frank Turner (from Love Ire & Song)
16.  "Love Forty Down" by Frank Turner (from Positive Songs for Negative People)


Episode # 2.5
Listen to "Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 2.5" on Spreaker.
1.  "So American" by The Addisons (from So American / Standing Outside Your Door - Single)
2.  "Life" by American Television (from Reaction)
3.  "Hang the Moon" by Cables & Arms (from Framing Defeat For the Critical Eye)
4.  "Leaner Days" by Sinkhole (from Groping for Trout)
5.  "Abducted by Nazis in Hollywood" by The Staggers (from One Heartbeat Away from Hell)
6.  "Shame" by The Gomes (from Pronounced Nirvana)
7.  "The Tide" by RVIVR (from The Tide b/w Shaggy)
8.  "Sell Out" by Radio Reds (from Fire Academy EP)
9.  "Otto" by The Tim Version (from Dead Bars / The Tim Version Split)
10.  "Jesus, Satan, Gene Beeman, His Car, & Pizza Hut" by Scott Reynolds & The Steaming Beast (from Adventure Boy)
11.  "Miserable Again" by Worship This! (from Mint)
12.  "Planet Earth Nineteen-Ninety-Four" by The Copyrights (from Make Sound)
13.  "Led by Misleading" by Roustabouts (from EP)
14.  "Under Your Influence" by Dag Nasty (from Field Day)
15.  "Worry" by Northcote (from Borrowed Chords, Tired Eyes)
16.  "A Song for the Reptoids of Denver International Airport to Sing" by Deforesters (from Deforesters)

*Note*  All music played on this show is done so with the express written permission of the artist, artist representative, and/or the record label.

10 Questions with Michael Kane and the Morning Afters

Michael Kane and the Morning Afters is a new band from Massachusetts that mixes elements of punk, power pop, garage rock, and Americana.  Their debut EP Adding Insult to Industry is available on BandCamp, Amazon, and Spotify.

This interview was conducted via email with Michael Kane December 27-28, 2016.

For more information on Michael Kane and the Morning Afters check out the band's Facebook and BandCamp pages.

Dave:  When did you first start playing and writing music?  How did the band get together?

Michael Kane:  I first started when I was 12. American Girl by Tom Petty was the first song I taught  myself. The band sort of started as an accident. My cousin Jeff passed away. He was in just about every band I had ever been in. I could always count on him to follow me in whatever crazy musical direction I wanted to go in. After he passed away, I couldn't see myself doing the band thing anymore, nothing deliberate, it just seemed impossible to me. Then with the help of Kevin Parkhurst (who is Jeff's brother and my cousin) I decided to record the tunes I had, just to do it. My son played bass, Kevin played drums and did all the technical stuff and all the sudden I had the 4 song ep the ended up being "adding insult to industry". Before the record came out, Kevin and I wanted to restore Jeff's old SG. I got referred to Franklin and through that....we have our band. We have similar musical sensibilities, with also being slightly different. When I committed to doing this I didn't wanna put any expectations on what type of tunes we would play. Growing up I was always like "I'm going to start a punk band" or whatever. This was far less calculated. Then add Cheryle on bass and most recently John on drums. And that's it (sorry if that was long)


Dave:  What’s the story behind the name Michael Kane and the Morning Afters?

Michael:  I've always like the "and the" band names. Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty. To me it makes it so your name isn't pigeon-holing your band. I've always thought of it as pretty Rock N Roll. Charles from The Cheap Cassettes came up with the Morning Afters part (I keep telling him his check is in the mail) Kevin is in the Cheap Cassettes too who just signed to Rum-Bar records. Check them out. Super proud of those dudes.


Dave:  For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your music?

Michael:  Hmm. I'd say we are a Rock N Roll band. It's a term people have grown to be uncomfortable with. Maybe they think it's too broad. But real Rock AND Roll (gotta have both) isn't broad at all. I'd say influences you can hear are everything from Bruce Springsteen, Lucero, The Clash, The Replacements,  Jesse Malin, The Beltones, Dogs d'amour, American Steel and one of my favorite bands of all-time from Philly.. Marah


Dave:  You recently released your debut EP Adding Insult to Industry on BandCamp. What made you decide to go with BandCamp for the release of the EP instead of a traditional record label? What's the story behind the record?

Michael:  The bandcamp thing was purely due to my lack of patience. Now that I have a band and we are going to record a proper LP we will take our time a bit more. I think I gave away the story on the first question.


Dave:  Do you have plans to tour in support of the new record? What are some of your favorite places to play?

Michael:  We wanna get the LP done. And the plan is to get somebody to put it out. Then show THEM It was well worth their support to put faith in us, by playing a hell of a lot. Home base is Worcester,Ma so Hotel Vernon is our home. Just did a great show with Off With Their Heads and The Warning Shots, great little venue.


Dave:  Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?

Michael:  I write everything on an acoustic guitar. All of our songs need to be able to stripped down to 1 guitar. That's just the music I love. So all written on an acoustic in a quiet room with my dog Strummer usually at my feet.


Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in Boston?

Michael:  Well we are from about an hour west in Worcester. In the mid - late 90's Worcester was a hub. All the epitaph / fat bands came through and played small club shows. There is nothing like seeing the U.S. Bombs at the height of their "U.S. Bombs-ness" play and all ages, no booze venue haha. (There was a bar just next store, think that's where the band spent sound check) Boston though has some great bands. The Warning Shots, Bundles and Carissa Johnson are all great.


Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question. What are your top five favorite bands, albums, movies, television programs, books/authors?

Michael:  Oh shit this is tough....I'll just top of my head on a few.

Bands --
Tom Petty
Bruce Springsteen
The Ramones
The Clash
Marah

Albums (maybe not of all Time) --
Elvis Costello - My Aim is True
Bruce - Greetings from Asbury Park
Marah - 20,000 Under the Sky
Hold Steady - Separation Sunday
The Replacements - Sorry Ma, Forgot to take out the trash


Dave:  What’s next for the band?

Michael:  We have a great show in Worcester with The Real Kids at Ralph's Rock Diner on Jan 14th and that's a bit of a bucket list show. The Real Kids are power pop legends. Then beginning of Feb we go into the studio. We managed to coerce Mark Lind from The Warning Shots / Ducky Boys to steer the ship a bit for us. I've know Mark forever and have loved all his bands. He is one of the most genuine dudes, esp with music and the music business. I can also babble on about Bruce, Guns N Roses or any sort of hypothetical rock n roll quandary I think of and he is always all in.


Dave:  Any final thoughts?

Michael:  We do all the shitty things in life just so we can do THIS. We work, we deal with bosses, life stress, money etc. we do ALL of that so we can write songs and play them for people. For me it balances it all. We are gunna have a very busy 2017. Thanks for chatting! And Happy New Year!