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Showing posts from November, 2019

VIAL - "Grow Up" | New Music

(Cover art by Elaine Mozey)
Back for week two! VIAL is keeping up the hype with a second video before Grow Up blows all your minds on Nov. 29.

The band's second single, the album's title track, is a cry for arrested development. You know what's more relatable than wanting to be a kid again? Pretty much nothing! With lyrics by guitarist/vocalist KT Branscom, "Grow Up" lists off the miseries of adulthood (hating how you look, hating your job, bills, the innumerable pains of capitalism). But they find catharsis by just...kinda freaking out a little. After about two minutes of relatively straightforward indie rock, the song shifts to something almost doom-y. The tempo turns to molasses and slows the band to a fudgy near-halt. Katie Fischer's drums thud with just a bit of extra oomph. All four VIAL boys repeat the chorus ad infinitum - it's half a chant, wholly catharsis. Buy the song on Bandcamp, or stream it on your platform of choice.

Grow Up by VIAL
Since VIAL…

Gully Boys - "New Song No. 2" | New Music

(Album art by Jacob Allers-Hatlie)
Not many bands or artists can blow up the internet with a 15-second video clip. Beyoncé, probably? MCR, sort of? Gully Boys, definitely. When the inimitable trio put out a teaser for their new song (aptly titled "New Song No. 2") about a week ago, it was literally all that anyone in the Twin Cities music scene talked about. And rightfully so. They reinvent the boy band in a way that no one else could.

Taken from their forthcoming EP Phony, "New Song No. 2" focuses on everything that has made Gully Boys great and unleashes it. Their sound has always been a blender of alternative and indie rock influences, but this new one edges into pop territory. It's pop and punk, but it's not pop-punk — it's a more pure combination than that (ponk? punp?). The emphasis of the vocals unifies the trio into a singular unit of musical astonishment. Kathy's melodies are too catchy and fantastic to be entirely rooted in the anti-pop of m…

The Dead Century - "Bombay Beach" | New Music

I'm amazed that this is a new song. How this song didn't come out last decade is honestly a miracle. With new single "Bombay Beach," the Dead Century has reached some sort of Jack White-blue rock timeless transcendence.

One of the most straightforward ways to identify a song like this is by how dirty it is. Dirty, as in the-groove-is-so-gnarly-you-can't-help-but-make-a-stank-face-every-time-you-hear-it. Another way is in its sense of drunken wistfulness. This song has both in spades. Inspired by and describing Bombay Beach, CA (duh), it finds its own unique sense of place. Nick Check's storytelling has never been as potent as it is here. Narrative blurs with history in a drunken, loathing haze.

The band is in top form as a unit as well. The rhythm section of Robert Muehlbauer and John Paul Check play the game of restraint; it pays off in spades. Austin Peterson's lead guitar has never been filthier or nearly as robust. They all chug along, letting the inten…

Atomic Cafe, Shrinking Violets, Natalie Fideler, & Mister Wes | LMR

Atomic Cafe - "Stranger" (self-released)

We love a good charity single. Especially if it's as good as "Stranger." Atomic Cafe follow up their Flamingo EP from May with this one-off; all proceeds go to the Battered Women's Justice Project.

If I didn't know that this single came out last month, you could have easily convinced me it came in the mid-20th century. The folk-y guitar and vague sheen of psychedelia paint a vivid impression of what your dad listens to in the car (and I mean that in the best possible way). The only thing that might clue you in that "Stranger" didn't come out in the late 1960s is the recording quality - the song has a stellar, clean mix. From the idyllic cover to rollicking lilt in the rhythm, Atomic Cafe rest easy with a pure and classic tune. If only it had been released in August, it could have soundtracked the unhurried end of summer. Purchase the track below (c'mon, it's for charity) or stream it wherever.

VIAL - "Rough" | New Music

(Album art by Alexis Politz)
It's not quite Thanksgiving yet, but we have been given good reason to be thankful. Indie punk quartet VIAL have blessed us with their debut single and video.
"Rough," off their forthcoming album Grow Up, sets the scene for another fantastic entry in the hallowed halls of stressed-out punk anthems. Regrets and rapidly accumulating angst pile up faster than you can say "get to the gig." The lyrics are shameless in their catharsis. VIAL offset the restlessness by setting their diaristic poetry to a catchy and jaunty punk banger. Buy it on Bandcamp below or stream it on the platform of your choice. 
Rough by VIAL

The video, directed by Emily Nordstrom and shot by Sophi Dudley, lightly parodies Scream and is very good. There's some good ol' kidnapping and murder. Revive the spirit(s) of Halloween and get spooked. But not too spooked - VIAL has another video out next week! Wow!

Grow Up will be released November 29 via Brace Cove Recor…

Juniper Douglas - "fibastimpastastan" | New Video

Well, it's the end of an era. After what feels like an eternity, the Toms of Juniper Douglas are finally going to sleep. What a way to go out - with a video for the first single from Error to Introspection, the group's 2018 record. The chapter is closed, the book has been shut.

It's unclear if the video's air of finality was intentional. All the Toms are gathered together for a rescue operation and a final (squirt gun) battle. Countless visual motifs are thrown at the viewer, from the languorous shots of bike riding to the absurdist sense of comedy that seem to be found at the heart of every Juniper Douglas video.

As per always, the "fibastimpastastan" video is directed by Robindeep Singh. His continuous collaboration with Juniper Douglas has yielded some of the strangest yet visually striking videos in the entire Twin Cities community.

Watch the final Tom-era video below, and make sure to offer up a wish of "sleep well, gentle Toms" before going to be…

NATL PARK SRVC - "J.W.A.P.R" | New Music

2019 has been an exceptionally busy year for NATL PARK SRVC. In some King Gizzard-level shenanigans, the band put out two EPs — Oliver and Psychic Friends Fair — and now they're prepping to put out a third EP, The Future is Now, later this month (all while preparing for their debut album). The band is back with a new single, "J.W.A.P.R," or "Josue Was a Punk Rocker."

On this track, NATL PARK SRVC show that they haven't lost any of the irreverence they've shown in previous releases. Guitarist and vocalist Dylan Woytcke sings about living large despite the malaise of being stuck in a place that isn't ideal — the pop-punk theme of leaving your hometown. 

The music video for "J.W.A.P.R" matches with NATL PARK SRVC's lo-fi, often campy, aesthetics. It depicts the band performing on what feels like an old VHS that you found in a musty basement at your parent's house.

The video for "J.W.A.P.R" is the second directed by Alex Woytcke…

Last Import - "Hollywood Forever" | New Music

After putting out a debut record and getting a US tour under their belt, Last Import is back with a brand new single "Hollywood Forever," just in time to embark on a new tour.

At the beginning of "Hollywood Forever," it seems the band is starting to feel the effects of their newfound fame. The single alludes to the dream turning into a nightmare, begging vocalist Emily Bjork to ask, "Are gonna make it out alive?" However, like most of Last Import's back catalog, there's a swagger and determination mixed in to let you know that they've got this. Add in some western-tinged surf guitar, a driving rhythm section from drummer Jane Halldorson and bassist Grace Baldwin, a few easily shoutable "Hey, Hey's," and you've another absolute ripper from the band.

Last Import will be touring the US again during December as a part of the "Hollywood Forever" Tour.  You can get their new single and see those tour dates below.

Hollywood F…

Harper's Jar - "Dandy Golden Blue" | New Music

Harper's Jar has released the first single their long-awaited debut album "Dandy Golden Blue." This song is the band's first release following their EP Ode to a Luna Moth, which was released in November of 2017.

To put it lightly, "Dandy Golden Blue" absolutely shreds. The trio combines the best elements of jangly power pop with punk rock breakdowns and frantic noise freakouts. Harper's Jar makes these gigantic leaps in dynamics where they explode from a near whisper to a furious roar. Like we mentioned when a live video of the band playing this song was put online, "Dandy Golden Blue" almost demands you to move.

The album's title has not been announced yet, and no release date has been given at this time. So all we have is this single to tide us over. You can listen to (and purchase) "Dandy Golden Blue" by Harper's Jar by clicking the link below.


Dandy Golden Blue by Harper's Jar


Partition - "Get Clean" | New Music

At long last, we have the "debut" single from Partition. Technically, the band has put out a demo and a live EP, but this is the first official single they've put out. Not only is it as wickedly unhinged as their shows, it brings news of a forthcoming debut album, Prodigal Gun.

Despite a sense of chaotic irreverence, "Get Clean" is about frontperson Taylor Nice's journey to do just that, get clean. Underneath a mask of outwardly tongue-in-cheek lyrics and chugging fuzz is a somewhat chronological progression from self-misanthropy ("Once upon a wasted space / and I'm a waste myself") to sobriety. It goes from, in Nice's own words, "making fun of my childhood trauma" to being a big middle finger "to all the people who [they] would be nothing more than a junkie." Stream the song below or get it on Bandcamp.

The video for "Get Clean" takes the title quite literally. Taylor is thrown into a kiddie pool by Seth and Ev…

Fragile Canyons - "Here It Is" | Sunday Single

After the release of their 2018 EP Slow Dancing Beyond the Silverdome, the purveyors of folk-influenced indie rock, and resident meme lords, Fragile Canyons are back with their new single leading up to the new album Here It Is which will be out later this month.

Playing like one long run-on existential thought, the album's title track "Here It Is" has the band waxing about the seemingly endless cycle of living in an imperfect world. Whether it's knowing that those in charge do not have your best interest in mind or having to take part despite knowing better, bandleader Andy Engstrom spends "Here It Is" wrestling with how flawed even the most responsible consumerism can be. Each chorus Engstrom comes to terms with this reality, and over a lilting, almost hypnotic instrumental Engstrom sings, "First accepting the blame / Then admit who you are / Where does your money come from."

Here It Is will be out on Friday, November 15, and Fragile Canyons will b…

Coyote Kid - "The Skeleton Man" | Album Review

Coyote Kid (formerly Marah in the Mainsail) has been slowly crafting an expansive universe that could easily rival most blockbuster movie franchises. Starting with 2015's debut Thaumatrope, the band has grown from an indie folk/folk-rock group with a gothic tinge and a healthy respect for murder ballads to the cinematic alt-rock juggernaut we have before us. If you aren't up-to-date on the current Coyote Kid cannon, Bone Crownleft us standing in a wasteland of a former forest that was burnt by a tyrannical king. Now several years after that apocalyptic event, The Skeleton Man tells the story of a group assembling to reclaim a dark world that is overrun by these monstrous, flesh-eating creatures.

The band wastes no time throwing you into the world with the album's opening monologue, "The New Dark Age." Instantly, you can feel the upgrade in production and vision from previous works. This is now a world you are stepping into and living within instead of listening to…