New Music | Friday Roll Out: Friendship Commander, Sulu And Excelsior, Middleman, White Lung

Intrigued, this is apparently the long-awaited debut by London’s Middleman, a three-piece with Noah Alves (vocals, guitar), Harper Maury (bass), and Lily Pym (drums). The band’s 4-song release, Cut Out The Middleman (Brainrotter Records), is misleading. The opening “Train Man” will have you believing the trio is moving in one direction but then completely fuck with your perception entirely. It’s the seemingly disjointed rhythm that bounces one way and moves in another. The fuzzed-out guitars will have you believing it’s a garage band while having post-punk leanings. The band’s timing keeps you guessing here and is surprisingly clever. The band’s “Turn Away” leaps around with chugging rhythms coupled with frantic guitar interplay and Alves’ sparse, yet harsher vocal delivery. But it’s “One Day We Will Be Strangers” that moves with punk enthusiasm and unyielding passion. Cut Out The Middleman is only four tracks but you’ll want more, lots more!


If you haven’t noticed, you’ve probably become a more discerning music listener as you’ve aged, and some things that you enjoyed in the past may no longer be as palatable as it once was. That’s not to say you won’t throw on an old LP you have in your collection, but a newer group toiling in the same genre(s)? You might find some hesitancy in your step.

This brings us to Nashville’s Friendship Commanders, made up of vocalist/guitarist Buick Audra and drummer/bassist Jerry Roe, which has just released the new E.P. Release The Rest, a collection of songs recorded between 2020 and 2022. The E.P. opens with “And If My Body,” a clear response to political upending laws in an attempt to control women, driven by distorted guitar rhythms and thundering percussion. The melodic “Altar” somewhat follows the same formula and never pauses to take a breath while the sludgy “Land Of Men” is reminiscent of one of your favorite 90s grunge bands. It’s a good song but the similarities are astounding.

We could go on and on regarding Release The Rest but it would probably be descriptive in the same manner only worded differently. I’d like to say there’s more to be offered by Friendship Commanders but the songs that comprise the E.P. are strong, they’re sorrily dated. Standing firmly footed through a time warp is fine so long as you bring more to the music than just rehashing a genre or two.  

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


When a group decides to bow out, it usually comes out of death, anger, or just being tired of weathering storm after storm. After five albums Vancouver’s White Lung call it quits with Premonition (Domino) as its proverbial swansong. What does this mean? Well, no more music, tours, etc. Now while White Lung was good at what it did, rattling punk & hardcore through its unique vision, there will be others to fill the void.

Honestly, Premonition shows how White Lung combines intense melodic vocals through a barrage of quick-handed musical backdrop. It’s good but our days will go on with our without the group.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Sometimes you may find the road traveled is rocky, and things may take a turn leaving you questioning what your next move is going to be. So Ends The Honeymoon (Slow Jam King) is the first vocal release for Steven Mallorca, the brainchild behind Sulu and Excelsior, since recuperating from lung surgery. This is the band’s third release, and one would probably wonder if the music would ever be the same again. Here, Sulu and Excelsior return with an attempt to reimagine itself, collecting a wide range of influences. Where does Mallorca go from here?

The road wasn’t easy, but Mallorca makes it look so. It took work but the songs throughout So Ends The Honeymoon are fully realized and capture the full essence of Sulu and Excelsior. While some may believe this project to be a soulful lounge act, there’s much more to it than attempting to pigeonhole it into simply one thing. Throughout the album, there’s an abundance of sounds moving from one side of the spectrum to another but it’s not difficult to focus from point A to point B. The Antimatter Suite was what I once thought, the pinnacle of Sulu and Excelsior’s capabilities. I never thought the band was going to be able to outdo its last album. It’s one of those moments when you’re happy to be proven wrong.

Referring back to “Galaxy Girl” again and again isn’t difficult to do. This is where it seems Sulu and Excelsior show off its intergalactic dance moves. Its bass groove attached to a xylophone with just a few notes overlayed is magical. Mallorca’s dual vocals, one filtered with vocal effects is literally dope AF. This leads us into the sprawling pazazz of the jazzed-up “Penny For You,” as the scratching upends it all as it’s capitalized by Mallorca’s flow. Piano, drums, and horns play an integral role as neither one overpowers one another. But it’s the title track that’s surprising here. A soulful vocal delivery over Ska-like guitar moves doesn’t go unnoticed. A lovely song? A perfect melody juxtaposed against fading love lyricism.

The musical palette under the Sulu and Excelsior umbrella seems to reach far and wide, and within the stormy “Harder To Hear,” the punctuation on the song’s rhythm adds a poignancy to it. It’s a 70s summer breeze filled with an unexpected guitar play that adds wonder. If that’s not all though, throughout “Wait For You I Can’t” we can figure out Sulu and Excelsior isn’t averse to utilizing Latin rhythms, made obvious from the piano work but Mallorca compliments it with the harmonies filling the hook and chorus. If there was ever a “WTF” moment, this just might be it. By the time we reach the album’s closer “Relativity,” you might begin to wonder if this is meant to be one of Sulu and Excelsior’s greatest moments, much like “Mercy Mercy Me” or “What’s Going On” was for Marvin. The song seems to surpass time & space. It’s also the allure of the toddler’s voice somewhere in the background singing on the chorus.   Whatever it was that knocked Mallorca to the ground, wasn’t a knockout blow. He’s picked himself right up to begin where The Antimatter Suite left off, pushing the boundaries for Sulu and Excelsior. In actuality, with So Ends The Honeymoon, it doesn’t seem like there are any boundaries at all.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram