All posts by Eddie Ugarte

TK The Architect walks a fine line, or a crossroad somewhere between Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop music. The kid from New York released his album Blue Season last year which was welcoming mixture of feel good vibes which had him backed by the Getback Kids. The album remains a favorite and now the ever evolving Architect takes a different approach now, sharing “Floor,” with altered vocals over beautiful instrumentation but keeping true to his roots that keeps his tree fruitful. TK The Architect says, “It’s a further evolution of the sound I cultivated on ‘Felt,’ another single he released at the tail end of 2016.

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What happens when you get David Bazan (Pedro The Lion), T.W. Walsh (The Soft Drugs), Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) Trey Many (Velour 100, Starflyer 59) together? Well, what turns out is Lo Tom, the quartet’s new project that was recorded over two different sessions when they could find the time to spare. The group is set to debut its release on Barsuk although no date has been given. Here they band shares the first single “Overboard.”

 

 

Sometimes you come across an artist simply by happenstance.  That’s the case with 21 year old Londoner Nilüfer Yanya who released “Golden Cage” a few days ago. This is her second single released in 2017. The track, a jazzed up joint with a funky beat, glimmers with sparseness as her unique commands the song. Her voice is unique and the horns accompanying the track helps it shine. The song itself defies classification and like many musicians today, bend and combine genres for something more… refreshing.

 

Brooklyn’s Big Thief shares “Shark Smile”, the new song off the band’s album Capacity which drops 6/9/17 on Saddle Creek Records. Singer/songwriter Adrianne Lenker said about the song: “‘Shark Smile’ is the story of a car accident in which one dies and one lives. She recalls her lover leading up to a moment of the wreck, wishing she’d been taken into the next realm too.”

 

The weather’s getting warm and I was fixing lunch for my first born. I was doing that this morning but I figured I’d throw that first line in there as a tie-in to this week’s Friday Roll Out(!) and I’m sure some will understand before I even write another word about it. Patience please. But regardless, it’s another Friday and the weekend is upon us, as is el Cinco de Mayo. Yeah, it’s another day that’s been usurped by American culture into a nonsensical day to get drunk and yell, “Woohoo! Happy Cinco de Mayo.” I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it, it ain’t pretty. But there are a bunch of releases that came out today, which is a beautiful thing. I had to give the Black Lips a mention because I just couldn’t get to their new album Satan’s Graffiti Or Go a review. That shit was pretty dense and would’ve required so much focus. Just so you know, I love it when things are dense. But it wasn’t going to happen.

But we’re focused today as we begin with the new album by none other than the pragmatic Brother Ali. The Minneapolis emcee has spent some time away from music but never distancing himself. Ali has been in this game of music since 2000 and to say that he’s grown as an artist would be an understatement. While you will no longer hear him rap lines like, “I bitch slap rappers so hard I give them whiplash,” (off a track on his Shadows On The Sun album, like the first line I mentioned previously) the power his voice commands is still prevalent on his new album All The Beauty In This Whole Life, (Rhymesayers) Brother Ali’s 6th full-length album and possibly his most realized work to date. Once again his musical collaborator remains Atmosphere’s Ant who’s able to capture Ali’s essence from song-to-song. The album opens with “Pen To Paper” which features Amir Sulaiman, one poetic powerhouse in his own right whose words showcase clear juxtapositions that are amazingly clever right before Ali starts spitting his words without venom, but clear with an as-a-matter-of-fact eloquence. He dictates the pace and drops self-assured words that are far from sounding self-gratuitous. He’s controlled that anger you could once find seething through his songs and replaced it with more love that anyone could imagine. Ant pulls out the magic on “Own Light (What Hearts Are For),” with a hypnotic beat, bassline and guitar & keyboard notes. Ali’s rhymes directly attack authority when he raps “You’re not using your hearts for what hearts are for / They’ve been trying to shut us down our whole life.”  It’s an amazing piece of work.

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Brother Ali: All The Beauty In This Whole Life
Brother Ali: All The Beauty In This Whole Life

Brother Ali doesn’t stray from sharing his light with others on this release, “Special Effects” features rapper deM atlaS who sings here and provides the hook. But it’s tracks like “Dear Black Son” that could have listeners falling into somber moods but Ali’s delivery on this heartfelt letter to his son keeps it from sinking into the morose. When he raps “Dear Black Son, I can’t protect you like I want to / I never judge you, all that I can do is love you” and “They say it takes a man to raise a man / You’re slipping through my hands like grains of sand” a listener can feel Ali’s emotion and the love he gives. He gets realer than most artists do like with “Uncle Usi Taught Me,” binding his words with nothing more than truth on how authority views people like himself and Muslim Americans. The beat throbs under his words. It’s difficult not to fall in love with this album where once again, the juxtaposition between the music and his words on “Pray For Me” make self-reflective subject matters feel lighthearted when it fact, it’s not. It may be self-deprecating but his self-efficacy obviously rose above it all. We can go on and on, attempting to dissect every nuance of All The Beauty In This Whole Life but…why? I want to just let it play, and play on I shall because Brother Ali got me. Again.

Switching gears here, we move on to Pretty Pretty, this Columbus, OH band that’s just released their new long-player Demo II (Superdreamer Records.) It follows up their 2012 album Demo of course. What can you say about the group aside from “lo-fi” or “punk”? Well, charming for one thing. Calling Demo II would be a misnomer since it’s only 8 tracks and clocks in at about maybe 16 minutes. Some tracks just go over the minute mark but they don’t need much more time than that really.  This gritty release jams all out. And aside from the opening “Are You Waiting,” it’s usually sans drums or any percussion. But it’s done well. I think I’m enjoying this one more than I ever did the Demolition Doll Rods, but that’s a story for another time. “Shufflin’ Shit” is on constant repeat and I can’t help but think those early Pavement and Sebadoh recordings weren’t much different and turned those groups into monstrosities at their own respective levels. Could Pretty Pretty go the same route? One never knows but they’re onto something.

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Pretty Pretty: Demo II

When I get to AJ Davila all I can think is, “Man, I know this kid is going to throw a monkey wrench at me.” What I tend to like are those moments people advance forward with unexpected elements in music. Davila, originally hailing from Puerto Rico, whose nomadic life finds him trekking across countries in South America and Mexico, tends to do that. He last released an album in 2014 with his group Terror Amor and now, El Futuro seems bright in 2017. While he’s honed his skills back with his original garage rock outfit Davila 666, Terror Amor augmented his sound and continued to blast, and knock down those garage walls. Now with El Futuro, he doesn’t disappoint in that respect (It should be noted for this album he was backed by the Crocodiles band.) While being equally addictive, AJ seems to try his hand at more melodies and harmonies with his new release. The lead track, “Beautiful” is all of that and an extra dose of sweet, sweet chocolate thrown in. It’s your standard verse-chorus-verse but it’s so much different because you can’t help but sing or hum along to it when it comes on. AJ mainly sings in Spanish but when he hits those English words, they’re accentuated clearly. English or Spanish, it doesn’t matter because it’s a beast of a gorgeous pop song. He’s not averse to hitting “baby baby’s” and “Oh ohs” as you can tell on “17,” what seems like a throwback to better times of youth with little responsibilities. This punk little rock jam is simply fun. Then there’s “Mi Vida” which continues with the easy flow and lightheartedly anthemic. It’s translated into “My Life” and the words ring with laid back forcefulness  and when he says “No me jodas” (don’t bother me) it’s obvious he doesn’t want you to bug him but he’ll just walk away telling you that. “Hoes Seeking The Ghost” is a raucously sweet number that’ll have you dancing in your seat, like me while “Dolores” plays a little with dynamics as the song slowly crescendos into a noisier little number, a bit more fuzzy, drawing vocals that sometimes sound near and far. AJ is playfully showing his range musically which should be appreciated.

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AJ Davila: El Futuro

He’s not relinquishing his roots on this release though, because “Post Tenebras Lux” starts off dark and dirty before evaporating into a catchy chorus and then takes it to the bridge.  AJ’s also showing his punk/wave leanings with “El Nucleo,” where he takes a nod to early-Cure-like guitar interplay, again smothering it with “ooo’s” and “ahs.” On El Futuro, AJ Davila has perfectly captured the pop sensibilities he’s always leaned towards with the sonic corrosiveness of his garage rock past. The beauty is in the album.

Brother Ali – Twitter // Facebook // Instagram
AJ Davila – Twitter // Facebook // Instagram
Pretty Pretty – Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

 

(Aforementioned Black Lips)

!!! is probably New York City’s premiere dance-punk band. The group’s new album Shake The Shudder drops May 19th on Warp Records and just dropped the video for the new single “Dancing Is The Best Revenge.” It’s a drag culture celebration.

Lead singer Nick Offer describes the idea behind creating the video:

When we recorded ‘Dancing Is The Best Revenge’ I pitched up my voice, becoming Nicole Fayu in the studio – much like Prince became Camille and Morrissey became Ann Coates. The groove felt like a strut or walk and I imagined it akin to drag or ballroom culture.

 After ‘The One 2’ video featured such strong dance performances, and was filmed in the historic LA venue Jalisco, we decided to give the song to some girls who could really walk the walk and perform the song as in the spirit of reinvention. We traded outfits and makeup tips and they helped me become IRL Nicole Fayu. Dancing with them was a blast, and it was great to finally see the song walked. I have to admit, I’m not used to being out performed in a video.

 These ladies ignore a world that tells them who they should be – they take the stage, walking as whoever they want to be, and that’s their best revenge. Maybe you’ll never put on heels, maybe you’ll never walk onstage, maybe you’ll never be anyone else, but maybe this song/vid/story inspires you to try something you haven’t before.” 

Live:

May:

26 – DE – Immergut Festival

27 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega

 

28 – Liverpool, UK – Liverpool Sound City

29 – Bristol, UK – The Fleece

30 – Brighton, UK – The Haunt

31 – London, UK – Oval Space

June:

1 – Paris, FR – Trabendo

2 – Lourmarin, FR – Yeah Festival

3 – Barcelona, ES – Primavera Sound

4 – Barcelona, ES – Primavera Sound, Plaça Joan Corominas

8 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall

9 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts

10 – New York City, NY – Bowery Ballroom

11 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall

13 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz PDB

14 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern

16 – Detroit, MI – UFO Factory

17 – Chicago, IL – Taste of Randolph

21 – San Diego, CA – Casbah

22 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex

23 – Sacramento, CA – Harlows

24 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

26 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge

27 – Vancouver, BC – Fox Cabaret

28 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile

29 – Boise, ID – The Olympic

30 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court

July:

1 – Denver, CO – Globe Hall

27 – Praya Fluvial do Taboa, ES – Low Benidorm

28 – UK – Standon Calling

August:

18 – Japan – Summer Mania Festival

Throwback Thursday

It’s another Throwback Thursday and this time we have Stanley. Maybe you’ve never heard of them and maybe you have but regardless, New York City stalwarts Stanley were relentless. Whether the band was playing for 5 people or 500, they always gave a strong and hearty performance. The group’s first album Clobbered (Triple Crown Records but the band doesn’t even warrant a mention on its site) was well received and mirrored the group live. You don’t know what you’re going to get from that first track, the lone guitar opening “Redeem Your Weathered Soul” sets the tone and shifts dynamics with a reckoning as explosive as the next coming. This is where they would suck many fans in. Phil Doucet’s guitar was augmented by cacophonous rhythm section made up of bassist David Kramer and maniacal drummer Mark Levy.  Other tracks like “Fat,” and “Spreader” would capitalize on Doucet’s gritty hollered vocals but the group was more than just dissonance and howled vocals. “Cal Jammers” fucked you up when after the initial barrage, the members got a little more melodic but then burst back into pummeling your eardrums.

The band explored things a little bit more with the follow-up The Decorator (Triple Crown Records) but received very little, if any promotion. I think I got a hold of a copy back in ’97 but that’s my best guess. The band varied things up from hard-edged tracks like the title track that slowly beat you into submission, into heavy rock influenced jams like “Answer Me” and “Shovelhead,” but the band struck gold with “Queen Of Heat Transfer.” The band’s love of 70s rock and melody filled speakers here with this one. Kick out the motherfucking jams because when the needle dropped on that track I was nothing more than a dancing fool. You probably won’t find this one anywhere unless someone uploads it like Clobbered.  Ideas…

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But currently you can find Phil Doucet playing in Hy Irons and Mark Levy beating those skins in Ranges, both bands very different from their earlier rooted works.

If you thought there wasn’t anymore sludge left around the surrounding areas of New York and New Jersey you’d be dead wrong. Taking cues from the likes of Helmet, Cro-Mags, Judge, and Prong, NYC’s Blackout shares the track “Let Em Ride” off the trio’s forthcoming album The Horse, dropping May 26th, 2017 via RidingEasy RecordsThe Horse was recorded over 4 days in September 2016 at Spaceman Sound in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, which the band describes as “a whirlwind session laced with loads of buds, Petey’s burgers and lipstick.”  Or you could go with the other description Blackout gives: “What you have before you now is a messy plate of meat, slathered in weird sauces. A haunted steak from from Centaurus A to sink your dirty fangs into. Sit back, crack a semi cold one, maybe get some snacks… and turn this motherfucker up to 8.”

 

 

 

At last year’s New York Comic Con, the cast the Netflix show Defenders was announced, which includes the Alien(s) franchise star Sigourney Weaver. Netflix just shared the new trailer for the show which will debut on August 18. You have the characters from the respective shows; Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist who will all be part of the superhero team. This should be good. To be continued…

 

Those ladies that are known as the Coathangers share new video “Captain’s Dead” off the bands new EP, Parasite, slated for a release date of June 30th on Suicide Squeeze Records.  They can do no wrong in my book.

When The Coathangers first stormed on the scene over a decade ago, their power resided in their ability to craft a crooked hook out of a grimy guitar line, a delightfully crass chorus, or an enticingly ham-fisted drum-and-bass groove. With each successive album, the Atlanta garage punk ensemble has increasingly tempered their brash charm with sharp-witted pop. Not that the band ever fully excised the primal howl of The Gories or the sparse strut of ESG, but with the trio’s latest EP, Parasite, The Coathangers explore the space between their initial unbridled expressionism and their recent nuanced song craft. “I’d like to think the EP takes you on a journey through the band’s existence,” says guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel of the sequencing of the five songs on their latest offering.

Parasite kicks off with the title track, a rowdy throwback to a younger, angrier incarnation of the band. Crafted in the wake of the election and during a tumultuous period in the band members’ private lives, “Parasite” is pure catharsis. “During the making of our last album, I didn’t want to scream anymore, I just wanted to sing and focus on melody. When we came to this recording, I just wanted to scream and curse.” If the EP is meant as a journey through the various stages of the band’s career, it certainly storms out of the gate with the same kind of piss-and-vinegar of their eponymous debut. And while “Wipe Out” is another rowdy venture, with bassist Meredith Franco taking over the lead vocal duties over a steady barrage of pointed power-chords, it also showcases the rousing choruses that elevated the trio from underground heroines to an internationally renowned garage act. Despite the adverse times, The Coathangers’ mastery of pop cannot be contained forever, as is evident in the EP’s single “Captain’s Dead”, with its sultry verses, triumphant chorus, and a bombastic freak-out of noisy guitar. The journey through The Coathangers’ musical evolution leads to a revamped version of “Down Down” off 2016’s Nosebleed Weekend LP and the smoky twang of “Drifter”, in which drummer/vocalist Stephanie Luke demonstrates her knack for solid Dusty Springfield-style ballads.

Parasite’s cover features an illustration of The Coathangers as sirens of the sea, an image that aptly captures the nautical themes of the EP. But the notion of The Coathangers as both mischievous and enchanting is certainly fitting too, as is evident in the alternately piercing and beguiling tracks on their latest EP. Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer Parasite as a one-sided 12” on Sea Green vinyl with a b-side etching with an initial limited pressing of 2000 copies. The EP is also available digitally. Parasite is available worldwide on June 30th, 2017.

TOUR DATES:
05.12.17 – UK Manchester @ Night & Day
05.13.17 – UK Brighton @ The Joker
05.15.17 – UK Bristol @ The Exchange
05.16.17 – UK Oxford @ The Bullingdon
05.17.17 – UK London @ Oslo
05.18.17 – UK Hastings @ The Printworks
05.19.17 – UK Leicester @ The Cookie
05.20.17 – UK Leeds @ Gold Sounds at Brudenell Social
05.21.17 – UK Sheffield@ The Harley
05.23.17 – UK Ramsgate @ Music Hall
05.24.17 – BE Gent @ PSYCH OVER 9000
05.25.17 – NL Eindhoven @ Stroomhuisje
05.26.17 – NL Rotterdam @ Girls Go Boom Night @ Roodkapje
05.27.17 – NL Amsterdam @ Pacific Park
05.28.17 – NL Utrecht @ dB’s
05.30.17 – DE Hamburg @ Molotow
05.31.17 – DE Berlin @ Cassiopeia

06.01.17 – DE Munich @ Orangehouse
06.02.17 – DE Cologne @ MTC
06.03.17 – FR Paris @ Le Batofar
06.06.17 – IT Ravenna @ Beaches Brew Festival
06.07.17 – CH Yverdon-Le-Bains @ L-Amalgame
06.08.17 – FR Clermont @ Ferrand Le Barraka
06.09.17 – FR Nimes @ This is not a Love Song
06.10.17 – FI Helsinki @ Sideways Festival
06.17.17 – San Francisco, CA @ Phono del Sol