Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Altameda, the nom de tune of Edmonton (Alberta) duo Troy Snaterse and Erik Grice, are launching a new album in April entitled Born Losers. From this album comes this driving Springsteen-ey track “Nightmare Town.” This upbeat ditty tells the irrational dreams of an angsty youth that thinks he would do almost anything to get out and start his adulthood. He recounts fantasies and memories that ring of youthful freedom. It’s got that kind of foot-stomping beat that is classically North American rock. For me, it calls up imagery of warm spring nights in the suburbs, corner-store sodas, and dusklight games of hide-and-seek. It’s got a really solid blend of piano and vocal that feels wistful but not quite desperate. Compared to the similar story in Tracy Chapman’s classic “Fast Car,” “Nightmare Town” is less of a plan and more of a wish. I get the sense that the young protagonist does more dreaming than doing, a recipe for unfulfilled wanderlust that feels more like cruising down the highway on a road trip than running away. It has some vague hope underneath, even though it is a reminder of how I used to look at my hometown through brown-colored glasses, as I now shop for houses in that same town. Oh, life. A good listen, check ’em out.

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This song makes me woozy and a little tense, in all the ways a really engaging piece of experimental music should. “God Complex,” is the newest release by chamber pop trio Gentle Party. The song starts off with breathy vocal notes that posit a tonal wondering. The song becomes lush and delicate like an edible flower, and it stays in the back of your mind, strumming its inquisition. Then the lyrics come in and ask the most frustrating question every fan of everything has had to ask themselves in the last few years – can you separate art from artist? But it’s no matter – God Complex is less about answering the question and more about pointing a finger at every fake and fraud that begs forgiveness because they got caught. And in that, they may be a “gentle” party, but “please forgive me while you pray at my feet” is a statement wrapped in barbed wire scraping the bleeding arms of the patriarchy. “I hope you diligently pray” is a beautifully veiled threat.

The video expresses the concept in a gorgeously surreal narrative as the “god” and his black hands play paper doll with the otherwise powerless protagonist. She’s caught in the narrative of a figure that admires her beauty but controls her every move when he’s not swallowing her whole in his palm. He adorns her life with symbols of control like crucifixes, instruments of torture, and chess pieces. A couple of moments make me wonder if he thinks himself Zeus, and his doll an amalgamation of his many wives represented by many legs. Either way, it’s gorgeous, start to finish.

Time to rant: Does an artist deserve to be separated from their art? This question has been bugging the funk out of all of feminists for eternity and everyone else since #MeToo. I struggle with this as someone who LOVES a lot of art from men. I’ve been let down by so many artists, ones that I really connected with and whose art has illustrated pivotal moments of my life. I’ve navigated that with all of the same dissonance. I can never forgive some performers, but I can forgive others once I weigh my discomfort with their crimes. I try to forget some songs and consider others guilty pleasures. There are performers who go unscathed despite multiple reports of violence, and I watch them and seethe. And then there are performers now that would deeply hurt me if they ended up #MeToo-ing someone. I force myself to keep remembering to “kill my idols” but it is so hard when the voices that often speak to me belong to to the same half of humanity that commits 97% of sexual violence.

“God Complex” is the second single from the upcoming album God Complex, hitting the ground on February 17th. Check them out!

Gentleparty.com

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A big thanks to my buddy Soda for giving me the space to share some tunes with you!

Thumpasaurus greeted the world with their 2018 sensation “Mental Karate,” and now the rest of us will have to spend our lives scouring eBay for hard copies of their brash debut, Book of Thump. Now they’re back with their sophomore effort Thumpaverse, a flavor bomb of dance, punk, funk, and jazz that has already gathered over 100,000 album streams on Spotify.

Thumpaverse’s twelve tracks are a journey.  The album opens with “Emotional Pain,” a building tidal wave of funk that hits the peak of falsetto tension before slamming you against the beat.  From there it’s like you’re listening to rest of the album through your hips. Try to stay still when songs like “I’m Pissed” and “Struttin’” cross your eardrums.  These tracks are guaranteed to get your body shakin’ at maximum wiggle and laughing at their ridiculous setups.  But this is not a one-note band – they bob and weave through musical genres with equal parts appreciation and irreverence. Vocalist/Guitarist Lucas Tamaren gives every song a whole different persona. There are no two songs on this album that sound alike, and yet they all THUMP.

These guys are eclectic and often swing in unpredictable directions.  Zeppelin reminiscent “Reaching” weaves delicate instrumentations and tense vocals through a journey until the song literally gives birth to itself. But they can also swing in the entire opposite direction and deliver something folky and sweet like “High School.” Somewhere behind the beat and humor is a kind of emotional self-awareness that can sneak up on you after a few listens, like in “Emotional Pain” or auditory hug “End of the Night.”

Thumpasaurus is a band that is at home in the cosmos (by way of Los Angeles).  But a real ride on the Space Barn can only happen when you see them live.  Fortunately, they recently recorded a live album, an exciting development we hope to see soon.

Buy Thumpaverse on Bandcamp

Thumpasaurus.com

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“Similar to social anxiety or social phobia, anthropophobia is the fear of people. Unlike social anxiety, however, which often relates to feeling uncomfortable in crowds or a group context, anthropophobia symptoms can occur when the patient is in the presence of a single person.”

And now that you know the definition of Anthrophobia, can we change it to “absolute badassery”? Man! This new EP, Altered States hits so hard on each track and every single note. Certainly played with conviction, these guys have delivered a great package that’s a bit aggro, a bit punk and a whole lot of shit-kicking rock. These PA vets know exactly how to grab you by the ear and then by the throat. Singer Frank Phobia goes for the final blow with each syllable and the band is so no nonsense that you can’t help but bang thru the EP 3 or 4 times in one sitting. Lead single “Ghosts” is 1:57 of pure fast driving bliss. Anthrophobia is nailing a sound that is sorely missed without sounding dated or desperate.

*For enthusiasts of Corrosion Of Conformity, Clutch and old school White Zombie*

https://anthrophobia.bandcamp.com/music

Order the limited edition vinyl at their Bandcamp page which also features the EP Grind plus bonus tracks!

THE FLOWERING

Part two in the Black Sugar Transmission trilogy of 2020 continues this week with, The Flowering. Like any other great trilogy you cannot wait for the counterparts to arrive, I’m waist deep…and not disappointed. When an artist dares to release three records in a year you wonder how a blueprint may be laid out for such an endeavor. In the case of The Flowering (successor to Wandering Into the Bullseye) it’s not necessarily a step up, but more like a dynamic dart to the left. Which is wonderful. An intriguing thing I’ve always felt about Andee’s music is that it’s very familiar yet completely fresh at the same time. As The Flowering blooms, it is at times jarring like a classic NIN record (“Death Is Breathing”) and at others like a soundtrack to an 80’s movie drenched in neon (“Through the Torture”). Savory and decadent, it does its share of glamage to your ears but also has real proper indie rock street cred. This is just another trophy in the glitter lined sonic case in the Black Sugar Transmission world. I will await this quicksand to fully engulf me when part three arrives but for now I’m fully content clinging to the branches of The Flowering to stay afloat. Check out lead single and video “This Is Crazy Town” just below.

BST-WITB

Listener beware, you’re in for some intoxicating sensory overload courtesy of, Black Sugar Transmission. BST head-hancho Mr. Andee Blacksugar is at it again with new record, Wandering Into the Bullseye and it is everything you want in a musical meal. It’s got a ballsy dose of a cappella (“Like Glass”), a touch or two of nightclub danger (“Rescue Sirens”) it’s even got some 1980’s style snuff (“Padlock’s On The Cage”) and oh so much more. Look, it’s 2020 and we are overloaded (and overburdened) with computer and celebrity, we’ve digitized our brains to coma. Those of us surviving this chaos so ache for a troubadour like Blacksugar. Intelligent, witty and sharp-tongued. Andee certainly uses all his beta brain waves and frantic little fingers to the nth degree, presenting his sonic offerings as true artistic statements rather than just songs. This guy really wants to make it all matter. And, not to mention, this album is one part of a trilogy. Certainly prolific and poignant, this release sees Blacksugar isolating himself completely to perform it entirely on his own. This is music in a category all it’s own, from an unknown time and place. If you get it, then you GET IT. And if not, we don’t need ya. It’s always a pleasure to review a BST record, certainly one of MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE’s faves.

So, here’s your new soundtrack for a new year. Let’s dance, let’s break some shit. Let’s roll around in glitter and solicit sex from circus freaks while high on pixie sticks, and don’t forget…turn it up! Wandering Into the Bullseye will see the light in February.

“Don’t blame the horse cause you wandered off course”-BST

BST HQ

andeefence

Katie Toupic - Magnetic Moves

Jeepers! I AM SO HAPPY that this record was put on my radar! (Directly by the artist herself, mind you). If I were to put into words, quite literally, a vibe that I get from this wonderful piece of work…it would be (now picture this)…playing 16-bit video games in a 1950’s style ice cream shop at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Pretty F’ing rad, no? Now imagine that vibe translated to an album of songs and you get Magnetic Moves, the debut full length LP from Katie Toupin (former Houndmouth).

Title track and lead single is a fuzzy little dancey number that could have been plucked from the late 80’s or early 90’s in all it’s disc drive glory (accompanied by an equally nostalgic video). “Here’s my heart, my dignity too. Take it slowly like, most men do.” And you better listen boys AND girls (to this, and the rest of the record).

Although the album gives you a fun starting line as a launch pad there is a lot to offer here that digs a bit deeper. “Moves” is romantic, honest and at times even gospel and so well crafted in both lyric and arrangement. It’s the slow dance that is “Someone To You” and the yearning beauty of “The Hills Are Calling” that can get you really wrapped up in this record. And then there are songs on here like, “In Your Dreams”, a fun bopper you can put on while you clean the house. Katie’s got ya covered here.

Magnetic Moves is a record that is commercially and structurally sound without losing any of it’s indie street cred. And that is a huge nod to Toupin for penning such a wonderful record as that is certainly a fine line to tred. So, don’t sleep on this one gang!

KATIE TOUPIN

(For enthusiasts of Amy Correia, Metric and Amy Winehouse)

“I’m not here to tell you about a dying world, I’m here to tell you that you’re not dead yet…”

Blindside - Gravedigger

THANK GOD FOR BLINDSIDE. They have returned with new single, “Gravedigger.” Precise and urgent and full of power and soul. Plain and simple.

Almost exactly 8 years ago Blindside left us with their 2011 record, With Shivering Hearts We Wait.  If this new single is a sign of what’s to come, well, it could not come fast enough. Maybe I am biased as I absolutely love this band, but let’s face the facts here. We want to be moved and shaken and feel, it’s long overdue. Where is that passion? It’s right here. For what so many others lack, this quartet from Sweden are desperately trying to pick up the slack for. Blindside is that type of band, continuing to wear their heart(s) on a tattered and dirty sleeve that has survived storm after storm. – The band had done some teasing on social media late June and announced the new single on the 24th. After a brief delay it went live early July accompanied by a lyric video (see below). Waking from their slumber Blindside has let out a scream that must be heard. As perfect and tightly woven as “Gravedigger” is, the rawness that the band possess is still honored, and every shattered piece is spit shined. Have they outdone themselves? Quite possibly, but it is hard to say with just one song. That being said, the band always sounds fresh and well rested on every record and better and better. No need for unnecessary bells and whistles on “Gravedigger”, it stands firmly on it’s own with no disguise. – LISTEN AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

SATE takes NYC

Posted: February 13, 2019 by Soda in Music, NYC, Rock, Sate, Toronto
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last Tuesday night, it was Springtime in February in NYC, but…it was HOTTER. THAN. HELL. over at Berlin on Avenue A as Sate and her band took the stage for a free and early show. Small in size is Berlin but that did not deter the Toronto native and her beast of a band from making it seem like the biggest show in town. As her boys walked onto the stage the energy already felt different, a statement was about to be made. Moments later Sate would arrive right behind a sample from The Exorcist film… “Do you know what she did? Your cunting daughter!” looking like a powerful goddess with her braids tied back to appear like long ram-like horns with her head shaved on the sides in literal leather and lace boasting a shirt that read “Be Polite You Fucker” we were already all sold – You know how sometimes you’re at a gig and halfway thru it the band really hits their stride? Well, right out of the gate this outfit was absolutely on fire. As someone who reviews shows I don’t really like to be on my phone during them and I often don’t take a lot of photos or notes at gigs either, if any at all. I just stand there and try to absorb everything I can. – And on this night and millions of others I did just that –   “Sate”: Satisfy a desire to the full – no namesake could ever be worn more true as this woman, this powerhouse, lead her band thru a fierce 8-song set. Covered in sweat, Sate blurs the lines of everything you think you may know…about anything. It’s so goddamn refreshing. Don’t come to her shows with any preconceived notions, cause your ass best stay out in the cold. The chemistry between the singer and her band was so powerful, I’m talking Godzilla baby! It’s just a group of people absolutely on the same page, tight and in tune. These are real songs from real people and there is very little to apologize for.

Sate setlist 2.05.19 Berlin NYC

Sate setlist 2.05.19 Berlin NYC

Sate writes songs about making her mark (Famous), Family (What Did I Do), power (Warrior) and everything in between. During this show I felt like we were all a part of some killer party. The audience was a melting pot and hung on every song only wanting more in the end. To say that we were satisfied would be very true, but sated? Not at all cause everybody in that room wanted more and more and more! Brave and bold, every song was a burner, especially new single “Dirty Little Lie” which also has a killer new video to go along with it. Plain and simple, if you have the opportunity to see this outfit live, DO IT and thank me later, but thank them first.

SATE

 

Sadartha - Eden cover

Richmond Virginia based, Sadartha return with their sophomore release, Eden. Sadartha is the type of band your Mother would always yell at you to turn down. Loud, nasty, raw, imperfect. These are all ingredients that make up something truly great. Few bands today possess an effortless punk rock attitude like these guys. It’s simple because IT IS just simple, and genuine. Album opener “Nautilus is an instant eye-opener, hard and fast. Singer/Guitarist Johnny Noxious groans his artful lyrics “Singing siren, pull me deeper. Like the Kraken, hold me tighter” over a swimming pool full of flange and distortion while the drums and bass drive you into instant madness. The record continues on the creaky tracks of it’s fairly gloomy rollercoaster ride until it uncomfortably parks you at the top only to be screamed at in “You Lack The Courage of Your Convictions, Sir” which just begs for a mid 80’s CBGB’s style moshpit to erupt out of thin air scaring the shit out of the suits as punk rock aliens invade – “Fire in the sky, dance in the ashes!” – This brings me back to what I had said earlier, simple and genuine and it all just works so well. We now push forward to the part of the ride that leads you to loops and uncomfortable twists and turns. From the Silverchair style “Dragon Opal Goddess” to the dark tunnel that is “Deep As Blue”, which is probably one of the most cohesive tracks on Eden up until the final slow burning cliffhanger, “Dancing Flames” only to make you want to take the stomach churning ride all over again. Did these guys reinvent themselves from their debut, Heavy Sound Damage? Nope. But the growth is there in every aspect. Production, songwriting, vocals…everything has been brought up a notch but not to the point where Sadartha loses themselves. They stay true to their style and message. The grunge band from the future flying their dirty tattered flag true and proud. Another year or two and I feel like album number three will be THEIR album. You have been warned.

Buy SADARTHA music here

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