Lando Chill shares new video “Break Them Shackles” off his powerfully insightful album The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind (Mello Music Group) which was released this past Friday*. It’s a video rife with imagery depicting a struggle that’s continually gripped a country for centuries. The physical aspects may be far removed from that time but the mental chains and ropes still remain.
Texas’ Super Thief premieres the video for its single “Liberosis.” The track is off the group’s Stuck album which was released earlier this month. According to the group’s own bio they’re “A would-be Touch and Go/AmRep band formed years after the glory days of noise catharsis rock when Jesus Lizard, Cows, Arcwelders and Amphetamine Reptiles roamed the fruited Midwest plains” which isn’t far from the truth. But it just seems the group has much more to offer than just that. With “Liberosis” the band showcases the bludgeoning force they can put to tape in just under 2 minutes along with shifting dynamics.
6/28 Austin, TX
6/29 Denton, TX
6/30 Little Rock, AR
7/1 Columbia, MO
7/2 Evansville, IN
7/3 St. Louis, MO
7/4 Madison, WI
7/5 Milwaukee, WI
7/6 Minneapolis, MN
7/7 Chicago, IL
7/8 Kansas City, MO
7/9 Tulsa, OK
8/8 San Antonio, TX*
8/9 Austin, TX*
8/10 Dallas, TX*
8/11 Lafayette, LA
8/12 Beaumont, TX
*w/ Tunic (Winnipeg)
It’s been quite the week. I don’t normally share anything personal but the intensity of this week borders on insanity. Medical issues surrounded me but everything and everyone seems to be healing, thank goodness. Situations force you to put things in perspective on occasion but as the week rolls by you have the sound of reality bludgeoning your eardrums, asking you to please pay attention. My life is filled at times with movie quotes an song lyrics because sometimes they just make sense at the moment.
That seems to happen sometimes with Lando Chill whose new album The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind (Mello Music Group) seems to be the resulting product of a systematic problem many have faced throughout the years. While his debut For Mark, Your Son was tribute to his father, his sophomore release is a rallying cry. Where group’s like Public Enemy were at the forefront of establishing a formula of noisy elements filtered in its powerful music along with Chuck D’s clear and precise imagery of oppression and revolution, rapper/wordsmith Lando Chill takes a different approach. He wants you to take in his words, but he won’t force you to do what he says. That’s not his style. Chill wants you to comply but he’s not going to make you. “Break Them Shackles” is filled with metaphors that tells a story about an oppressed culture but he knows one thing though, and when he shouts, “We about to look good when we break them shackles one day” you know exactly what he’s referring to. It’s all set to straight-forward beat, driven by a few notes on a piano that’s infectious. “The King Of Salem” doesn’t stray far from the theme but when he mentions “…to Malcolm, Martin / and some voodoo from Wakanda / and still they call my tribe people savages…” he’s telling the story of intelligence and power that hasn’t been silenced. All this under a dark and spooky timbre of a backdrop which has a haunting bassline. Chill’s humor isn’t missed on “People Are Evil,” where he sings “All of my people are evil” and “Now why are we so evil? Why they killing all are people.” He uses this catchy laid back joint to draw on images of death because of misconception and perception. Possibly one of my favorite tracks on the album, that is until we get to “No Paz” (no peace) which has a bouncy beat that follows a Family Stone-type intro. It’s interesting how clearly his vision is expressed. It shows his anger without being angry. Lando Chill isn’t strictly about politicizing what he sees on a daily basis as “o sicario e o padre” he raps about struggle with his art and how “Everybody wants to ride that train to Basquiat / but they ain’t about that life / they ain’t never hit that rock bottom.” The gospel of Chill has been edited here where the struggle of the black man takes precedence on The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind but it doesn’t overshadow who Lando Chill is: a fierce artist who gets his point across through the imagery his words display. The album isn’t an easy listen, which it shouldn’t be. It should make you feel uncomfortable at times because as a society and as people, we’re all complex. This release holds 14 tracks; 14 powerful songs.
For some reason I find Terence Ryan to be quite the conundrum. Everything I’ve read about Ryan I probably would have pegged him as something different but the way this 20-something year old does leaves me confused is a good thing. Born to and raised by working class parents, this suburban kid didn’t grow up with anyone else who was musically inclined surrounding him. But that’s of no consequence because with his debut full-length Don’t Panic (3QTR/Kobalt Music Recordings), he’s on a clear path to domination. Ryan seems to have more soul in his blood than one would believe. From the moment this album begins it reveals nothing but sincerity, hope and strength. “Mean It,” comes across as pop wonder, with so many nods to an R&B culture that came before him. From beginning to end, even at its quieter moments there’s power within the song. When Ryan sings “I want to mean it/ Lord, give me meaning” he holds nothing back, never wavering. But the power of this one track doesn’t overshadow what follows with the remaining numbers on the album, not by a long shot. “Nothin'” trails off the path, much more laid back but brimming with so much swagger and beauty. But it isn’t as if Ryan is a one trick pony because his quieter moments are just as urging. “Just A Spark” begins with a ballad-esque feel but then morphs into a slower jam with a contained will to explode. He’s a fascinating character that switches thing up on more than one occasion, blistering through his acoustic guitar on “Agoura CA A Particular Time In Eternity.” This is where Ryan shows his range and it’s scary. When he hits those higher notes, images of Jeff Buckley haunt me. It will leave you paralyzingly awestruck. I want to say something negative about Don’t Panic because nothing should be so perfectly wound tight, but there’s nothing I can hold against Ryan. “Rock Bottom” showcases that same beautiful voice of his and musically there’s a play on dynamics here and songs like “To Live And Die In New England,” an ode to his home territory, shows how he can just do it all. I’m dumbfounded as to why Terence Ryan isn’t a huge star. He has the talent and the chops to take it all. The world just needs to catch up to him.
Rounding out the trifecta of releases this week is Precious Art (SideOne Dummy), the fourth release for Rozwell Kid. The album leaves the band on the precipice of its career. Some group’s have to wonder on occasion if they should regroup, press the eject button, or simply move forward and continue to write and release music. It’s a good thing the members decided to continue because the album is rife with clever pop songs with a hook at just about every turn, which is what the kids love. Throughout the years the West Virginia act has honed its skill and there’s no argument that all four members are tightly wound together, so much so where I’m sure they know where one’s instrument ends and the other begins. But one thing about Rozwell Kid though, I’m not sure if I’m completely sold on the band. Sure they write those clever pop songs but there isn’t something that makes me want to listen to them over and over again. I’m not discounting Precious Art because it does have happy, cheerful songs that you can dance to around in your bedroom but I can’t easily distinguish this band from any other groups if I heard their songs being played on the radio. In other words, Rozwell Kid isn’t identifiable. In a line-up, I probably wouldn’t know who they were but hey, it’s a well crafted album.
Guided By Voices is on a roll. You could argue, but please don’t because I have a headache, that GBV is never not on a roll, that Robert Pollard’s output plows past the word “prolific” like prolific is standing still in a snowbank; and that’s true, but this new version of the band (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Shue, Kevin March) has given Pollard new tools to complement his song-hammer. Thus, ergo, quod erat demonstrandum: roll. They’ve shared the single “Just To Show You off the group’s
Hot on the heels of the smothered-in-plaudits double album August By Cake comes this hot and heavy fifteen-tune long player, a melody-dense thwack to the earholes that will both energize you and deplete your body of its remaining music-appreciation enzymes. Recorded by the band in New York, and by Bob in Ohio, How Do You Spell Heaven capitalizes on the current incarnation’s tour-buffed shine without sacrificing eternal GBV verities such as but not limited to: off-kilter rhythmic jolts; krazy chords; purposefully imperfect harmonies; and fragmented structures that start and stop on a coin of small denomination and go somewhere else, and quickly.
For example: Lead off track “The Birthday Democrats” features a surfeit of pop hooks and swaggering sure-footed wordplay before dissolving like a perfect dream into Beatles-esque sound collage. “King 007” starts off like an acoustic demo from Tommy before shifting gears into a galloping riff-driven hyperspace guitar battle, before pivoting back to some kind of weirdo hybrid of the two… and then stops short just when you think you’ve got the thing pinned down. “Pearly Gates Smoke Machine” opens like the best thing Marc Bolan never wrote and then stubbornly refuses to cohere into an actual song, instead serving as a platform for some entertainingly normcore guitar pyrotechnics, while “How To Murder A Man” channels David Bowie channeling Scott Walker. Is this enough? Is it ever? How about “Nothing Gets You Real,” a deceptively straightforward breezy number that sounds like Pollard looking back at his life-in-rock and nodding, with a melancholy smile, at past versions of himself. It’ll make you cry, if you have a human heart.
So how do you spell heaven? “G-B-V”
Guided By Voices Tour Dates:
28 – Chicago, IL. @ Beat Kitchen – SOLD OUT
29 – Chicago, IL. @ Wicker Park Festival (suggested $10 donation at the door)
16 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward
17 – Bloomington, IN. @ The Castle Theatre
19 – Minneapolis, MN. @ Hilde Performance Center ^
20 – Milwaukee, WI. @ Turner Hall
31 – Baltimore, MD. @ Otto Hall
01 – Asbury Park, N.J. @ House of Independents
08 – Rehoboth Beach, DE. @ Dogfish Head Brewery (FREE SHOW)
(^ = w/ Soul Asylum and The Suicide Commandos)
How Do You Spell Heaven Track listing
1. The Birthday Democrats
2. King 007
3. Boy W
4. Steppenwolf Mausoleum
5. Cretinous Number Ones
6. They Fall Silent
7. Diver Dan
8. How To Murder A Man (In 3 Acts)
9. Pearly Gates Smoke Machine
10. Tenth Century
11. How Do You Spell Heaven
12. Paper Cutz
13. Low Flying Perfection
14. Nothing Gets You Real
15. Just To Show You
Texas’ Toadies are set to release their next album The Lower Side Of UptownSeptember 8th on Kirtland Records. This will be the band’s seventh studio album and a ‘return to form’ as explained by frontman Vaden Todd Lewis: “This album is ‘roots Toadies”, full of riffs and time shifts.’ The Lower Side Of Uptown is the follow up to 2015’s Heretics which saw the band taking a change of pace with a stripped down sound and mostly acoustic. When they were preparing to enter the studio this time around there was no set idea for what was to come but, the process ultimately had the band going back to their signature sound: “I feel that subconsciously we thought that this record would have ended up incorporating some of that quieter sound, but that didn’t happen. When we got to the studio with nothing more than a pile of riffs, what came out of the band was really loud and heavy music. So not only is this album louder than Heretics, I think it’s louder and heavier than the last couple Toadies albums” guitarist Clark Vogeler said of the sessions, which were recorded Arlyn Studio, a favorite of the legendary Willie Nelson, and The Bubble in Austin. One thing about the Toadies throughout the years; they’ve continually written explosive music that captivate fans.
The Lower Side Of Uptown Tracklisting:
When I Die
Take Me Alive
You Know the Words
Mama Take Me Home
Broke Down Stupid
I Put s Spell on You
The band is set to tour in support of the album’s release.
Tour Dates: More TBA
Sept. 6 – Denton, TX Rockin Rodeo Sept. 7 – Oklahoma City Diamond Ballroom Sept. 8 – Kansas City, MO KRBZ Beach Ball Sept. 9 – St. Louis, MO Delmar Sept. 10 – Cincinnati Bogart’s Sept. 12 – Knoxville, TN The Concourse Sept. 13 – Nashville, TN Exit In Sept. 14 – Memphis, TN New Daisy
Sept. 16 – Possum Kingdom Lake, TX Possum Hollow Sept. 19 – El Paso, TX Tricky Falls Sept. 20 – Tucson, AZ Congress Sept. 21 – Las Vegas, NV Beauty Bar Sept. 22 – Phoenix, AZ Crescent Sept. 23 – Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Sept. 24 – Los Angeles, CA Troubadour Sept. 26 – Anaheim, CA House Of Blues Sept. 27 – Berkeley, CA UC Theater Sept. 29 – Seattle, WA The Crocodile Sept. 30 – Portland, OR Star Theater
October: Oct. 1 – Boise, ID Knitting Factory Oct. 3 – Salt Lake City, UT Metro Music Hall Oct. 4 – Grand Junction, CO Mesa Theatre Oct. 5 – Denver, CO Gothic Oct. 6 – Omaha, NE Waiting Room Oct. 7 – Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Oct. 8 – Minneapolis, MN 1st Ave. Oct. 10 – Chicago, IL Metro
Oct. 11 – Louisville, KY Mercury Oct. 12 – Indianapolis, IN The Vogue Oct. 13 – Detroit, MI St. Andrews Oct. 14 – Cleveland, OH Grog Shop Oct. 15 – Pittsburgh, PA Rex Oct. 17 – Washington DC Black Cat Oct. 18 – New York NY Gramercy Theater Oct. 19 – Philadelphia, PA TLA Oct. 20 – Boston, MA Brighton Oct. 21 – Asbury Park, NJ Stone Pony Oct. 22 – Norfolk, VA Norva Oct. 24 – Durham, NC Motorco Oct. 25 – Wilmington, NC The Muse Oct. 26 – Atlanta, GA Masquerade Hell Oct. 27 – Orlando, FL Plaza Live Oct. 28 – Ft. Lauderdale Culture Room Oct. 29 – Tampa/St. Pete Ritz Oct. 31 – New Orleans, LA Tipitinas
November: Nov. 4 – Carrolton, TX Carrollton Festival at the Switchyard Nov. 10 – Austin, TX Stubbs BBQ
Columbus, Ohio wordsmith Illogic is back, along with producer Lucid Optics, premiering the new video “Clones & Robots” under the Lucid Logic moniker. The track showcases Illogic’s penchant for beautifully spinning words together while Optics lays down the soundscape. The song is the single off the duo’s self-titled release set to drop 6/27/17 on all digital platforms.
The two musicians originally met 4 years ago at a show in San Francisco at the Honey Hive Gallery. Within that four years, both Ill and Lucid had been working hard on their project. It’s 10 tracks of beats and rhymes that are filled with life.
Today Grandaddy share a video for “Brush With The Wild,” a track off their recent album, Last Place which was released this Spring on 30th Century Records / Columbia. The video stars actor Jonah Ray (Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Nerdist Podcast, The Meltdown) who is a massive fan of the band and was directed by Aaron Beckum. The band’s Jason Lytle notes, “I really love the way the video turned out. So funny, and scrappy. and sad, and actually kinda hopeless……but in a hopeful way…”
Arizona Hip Hop is an ever increasing genre building on the talent of a multitude of talented rappers and producers who refuse to play second fiddle to anyone. Denzel Davis shares the video for his single “Concrete Beauty” which features two other artists from Phoenix, Arizona Bag Of Tricks Cat and Spit Hell Manuel. On the heels of the release of the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me, “Concrete Beauty” is an ode to the prolific rapper and activist who’s left his mark on a culture from the States to the ends of the universe.
Dizzee Rascal drops a new single “Space” and some are touting it as his best new music in years. The English grime tactician is set to release his first album in four years. Raskit, a 16-track rap album dropping July 23, 2017. According to Rascal, “It’s a real rap-based album at the moment, there ain’t really no dance music on there.”
02. “Wot U Gonna Do”
04. “I Ain’t Even Gonna Lie”
05. “How Bad Do You Want It”
06. “Make It Last”
08. “Business Man”
09. “Bop N Keep It Dippin”
10. “She Knows What She Wants”
12. “Everything Must Go”
13. “Slow Your Roll”
14. “Sicka Dis Shit”
15. “Way I Am”
16. “Man Of The Hour”
It’s the majesty that is Dälek. After last year’s Asphalt For Eden release slowly crept through speakers of unwitting listeners, the reformed group had announced a new album, Endangered Philosophies, dropping on September 1, 2017 (Ipecac). The group has shared first single off the album “Echoes Of…” an explosive track with haunting imagery of current events and days past. The new album will most assuredly be a force to be reckoned with.