You might not be totally aware of it but chances are you’ve encountered Robert Earl Thomas before. Perhaps most recently as a member of folk-influence experimental pop outfit Vensaire but maybe even more famously as one half of the guitar duo that is Widowspeak. Well, it seems like laying down shreddy riffs in two rather eclectic sounding bands wasn’t enough for him as Thomas has a solo project up his sleeve. Enter Mustang. There’s not a whole lot of hullaboo being made about the project, and I wouldn’t really have found out about t if not for the promotion of Vensaire but Mustang is here and Mustang is wonderful.
Mustang’s “Little Bighorn” features Thomas in a new role as singer/songwriter flexing his smoky vocals over the track’s dusky, folk ramble. It’s minimalist and retro without trying to access the coolness of either of those things as some acts are wont to do. There’s a paltry psychedelic sheen and a climactic amount of fuzz but other than that it’s a rather straight forward plod down the old dusty trail. “Little Bighorn” is a slow-burner, reminiscent of vaqueros at high noon without any of the camp.
Here’s hoping Robert Earl Thomas isn’t too busy with his two bands to offer up some more Mustang jams and soon.
I thought Weezer was back on the rise when Wavves and Surfer Blood were getting over, but the truth is the Weezer aping wasn’t even a twinkle in Nathan Williams’ eye then compared to what’s up now. The churning of out-of-fashion music into a seemingly new, authentic subgenre usually occurs around two-three decades after its heyday, maybe a decade after it fell completely out of fashion. I think we can all agree that Weezer never stopped being fucking awesome, but nonetheless it has been quite a while, so let’s see what the millennial kids are up to today:
Let me hop off my high horse and tuck away my visual-impaired-assisted loudspeaker with the big buttons and labels for a few minutes. Okay, Porches., even with that stupid period at the end of your name throwing off my grammar game, “Townie Blunt Guts” is a God among Weezer-copping songs (see also, Happy Diving’s “Sincere”, as the equally excellent yet meta, self-reflexive of the two). Punchy power pop guitars and color-by-number vocal melodies were a Weezer staple, and Porches. do it about as good as anyone else I’ve heard, of course wrapped in stoner anthemics. “Townie Blunt Guts” is a bit of a backwards anthem for me (having gone to a private liberal arts college in a small, backwoods MA town), but it illuminates the plight of the townie in ways I hadn’t imagined.
Progressively nostalgic, retrospectively educational. The Porches. way. . . .
“Townie Blunt Guts” is from a split of like-minded bands via Bird Tapes. Buy it on coke bottle vinyl here »
IGIF continues its war against Winter with the debut music video from Louisville, Kentucky trio The Debauchees. Their incendiary debut single “I’ve Got Energy” along with video’s drive-in movie setting are hopefully enough to combat the rapidly dipping temperatures with that nostalgic feel of long, warm summer days with nothing to do but whatever you damn well please. It’s fitting that the majority of the video features The Debauchees at play since that’s what they do oh so well. A couple visual effects and personality-establishing footage aren’t enough to distract from the fact that the intrepid young twenty year olds are laying down a good old fashioned Grade A shred fest. ”I’ve Got Energy” is classic cool, alternating between barreling forward feverishly and down tempo moments of understated but restrained grit. Pairing that with shots of fun loving youths enjoying themselves is a juxtaposition that just works oddly enough.
The Debauchees’ debut album Big Machines and Peculiar Beings is out now on SonaBLAST! Records. You can nab a digital copy on iTunes.
It’s hard to believe that German indie rock outfit The Notwist have been making music for the totality of my existence but yeah, they have. Not only that, the foursome have undergone a rather impressive period of re-invention/innovation covering a wide variety of genres.
New single “Close to the Glass”, from their upcoming album of the same name, sees the group continuing more or less right where 2008′s The Devil, You + Me left off as the group grew steadily more proficient in the digital. “Close to the Glass” is a far cry from the Notwist’s indie middle period, emerging triumphant with electronic elements on full display. But the remarkable thing about the jittery bit of experimental pop is how organic its sounds feel. True, there’s a more digitized slant in the way the glitchy skips and stutters but there’s still a very human presentation. Maybe it’s all in the hand clap-like percussion but it’s evident that The Notwist haven’t forgotten that they’re a band — they’re not about to hide behind their computer screens stitching together a set of unperformable effects (Ed. – “dancing” while pushing a button to trigger a sample is not a music performance). Underneath the myriad of programming, beneath the track’s digital architecture, there’s still a band at its core cemented by Markus Acker’s tender vocals and the telltale signs of experienced musicians unafraid to try something new.
The Notwists’ Close to the Glass is out February 25th on Sub Pop Records. Preorder the 2xLP here for just $18 »
No descriptor approaching anything resembling “summery” can be easily applied ’round these North Eastern parts anymore. I savor our fleeting 50-degree days the way an Alzheimer’s patient clings to fading memories, looking everywhere for some palpable signifier to catalyze my ass back to that warm dreamland mercilessly viced between June and August. My latest invention comes through world traveler Abram Shook‘s hazily buoyant single “Coastal”, which, just, sweet Jesus, is all Mai Tais and panting dogs and just take me, already:
Abram Shook‘s debut album Sun Marquee (beautiful album art above) is out on Western Vinyl on January 21st. Preorder here »