Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Stuff from Winter and Dirty Fences

Dirty Fences recruited Christina Halladay of Sheer Mag for their latest single.

Post for a Tuesday

Hey, I'm sorry if it's been kind of quiet here. I'm still not feeling it 100% I guess. Some days are harder than others; and a boring, quiet Tuesday is one of the tough ones. If you've sent me something or tried to get in touch, I apologize for being a little slow. I guess working alone and at home affords me the luxury (Is it a luxury, though?) of not really having to get anything done if I don't feel like it, and that's dragged on for a little longer than I would have liked. Everything in its own time, I suppose. Also, sorry if I sound like a broken record with all of this. Thanks for bearing with me.


While digging through my emails today, I came across a couple of things right at the top that caught my attention (See, that's what happens. I try to play catch-up, but interesting stuff keeps rolling in...)

Winter and Trabants, "Just Stay"

Winter is the dream-pop project of LA via Brazil singer / songwriter, Samira Winter. The band, which also includes Justine Brown, Chelsea Brown, and Anders LaSource, just finished up a stint at the Desert Daze festival in California and, today, released the video for single "Just Stay" featuring LA surf band, Trabants.

I came across this one in just the last hour; and it has that surfy, reverby, shogaze vibe I always love mixed in with a little bit of one of my other great obsessions, twee pop.

"Winter aspires to connect others with their inner child by making blissful, beautiful and ethereal pop music," says the band's Facebook page. I'm not sure about that inner child part; but I'm all in with the blissful, beautiful, and ethereal stuff.

Dirty Fences ft. Christina Halladay (Sheer Mag), "One More Step"

And in a totally different vein, we have the latest single from New York's Dirty Fences whose Goodbye Love comes out on 10/27 via Greenway Records. On "One More Step," Sheer Mag's Christina Halladay duets with Dirty Fences bass player Max Comaskey.

The result is a retro and soulful 50s-influenced ballad. If you went to some super-cool, gritty, rock and roll high school, this could very well have been the big slow dance number at your senior prom.

Dirty Fences, a relentless touring machine, are currently over in Europe. They'll be back on 11/3, though, for their record release show at Brooklyn's Diviera Drive.

Dirty Fences on Tour:

10/17: Zurich, CH - Dynamo/Werk31
10/18: Tubingen, DE - M├╝nzgasse 13
10/19: Erfurt, DE - Cafe Tiko
10/20: Wurzburg, DE - Immerhin
10/21: Berlin, DE - Lido
10/26: Kiev, UA - Mezzanine
10/27: Helsinki, FI - Lepakkomies
10/28: Tampere, FI - Vastavirta klubi
10/29: Turku, FI - TVO
11/03: Brooklyn, NY - Diviera Drive (record release show)

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Videos from a Couple of Our Faves: Charly Bliss and Screaming Females

Screaming Females announced their 7th studio LP.

With Bonus Buffy and Shellshag

It's been a pretty cool couple of days in terms of new videos showing up on the YouTubes. Two of my absolute favorites released new videos recently, and I had to share them with you.

Charly Bliss, "Scare U"

So, take a band I've been enjoying all year. Mix in an homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's pretty much all it takes to win me over. Charly Bliss put out the album -- Guppy -- that I've probably listened to the most so far in 2017. It's unabashedly pop. It's sugary sweet while still retaining some big rock and roll sounds.

The band themselves show a pretty good sense of humor in both their songwriting and in their videos. The Andrew Costa-directed video for "Scare U," released on Friday the 13th, is a two-and-a-half minute sort of remake of the Buffy episode, "Doublemeat Palace."

"Doublemeat Palace" is the 12th episode of Season 6, a season that finds the Scoobie Gang dealing with some adult problems like depression, addiction, and fraying relationships. To me, "Doublemeat Palace" is far from the season's (or the show's) strongest episode; but part of that could be because it's intentionally kind of boring as it tries to convey the mind-numbing effect of being stuck in a job at a fast food restaurant.

Charly Bliss's video, on the other hand, like much of Guppy, doesn't suffer from a lack of energy. And it got me going back to check out some of my favorite Buffy episodes over the weekend.

Charly Bliss continue their quest for world domination during their tour with the reunited Wolf Parade. That tour brings them to Philly's Union Transfer on 10/19 and to Brooklyn Steel this Saturday, 10/21.

Screaming Females, "Glass House"

Screaming Females made it official today by announcing that they'd be releasing their 7th studio LP, All At Once, with Don Giovanni Records on 2/23. The band, once again, headed to Seattle to work with producer Matt Bayles (Rose Mountain, Pearl Jam, Mastodon) on the album. They accompanied the announcement with the release of the video for single "Glass House."

Directed by Kate Sweeney, "Glass House" finds the band sitting stoically while taking glassware to the head. It took me a minute to notice, but the blows are delivered by none other than John "Shellhead" Driver of Shellshag. The song goes from subdued to thunderous, growing progressively more manic as the band remain stone-faced. Bayles's deft hand for the heavy rock and roll is apparent on the track.

Screaming Females are currently on tour with Street Eaters, a tour that made its closest pass to us on its opening night in Philly; but fingers remain crossed for a NY / NJ area show sometime soon.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Echo Of Pleasure, 2017

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

Last May, when announcing the new The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart album, The Echo Of Pleasure, Kip Berman (the group's leader, lead singer, and songwriter) also announced the reason for this record being put on hold for a bit. It has been three years since the glorious Days Of Abandon, although the "Hell" single was released in the interim.

It turns out Berman and his wife had had a baby the previous April. "Her name is Viola, named after the instrument that my Grandfather plays," he wrote. "I've been staying home and taking care of her the last year."

The band chose the singles, released via email blasts, according to Berman, because Viola listened to them more than a few times; and they chose the ones she danced to the most.

I mention Berman dancing with Viola because I'm a great fan of dancing around to music you love with your kids. My kids and I had a great time dancing to songs like, most memorably, XTC's "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead." Some Billy Bragg B-sides ("Heart Like A Wheel" and "Ontario, Quebec and Me") made for a slow dance with their feet on top of mine.

And the songs Viola chose as the singles are prime dancing-around-the-living-room tracks: "Anymore," "When I Dance With You" (of course), and "My Only."

For the band's fourth album, Berman worked again with Days of Abandon producer Andy Savours and was joined by, among others, previous Pains collaborators like vocalist Jen Goma on "So True," who also added wonderful lead vocals to "Kelly" and "Life After Life" on Days Of Abandon, Jacob Danish Sloan on bass, and by Days-alumnus Kelly Pratt on horns.

For the most part, the arrangements on the new album sound more like the band's amazing self-titled debut than the widescreen Belong, which fans feared would send Berman and company to arena stages, and Days Of Abandon, which introduced horns into the mix. The beautiful "Stay," to my ears, is the only song on the new album that makes more than a passing use of horns.

But widescreen mix or horns in the mix, it's the tunes that have always made The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart such an essential listen for pop fans. And Berman also has a great talent for building walls of sound in his songs. And I think many of us can agree that these are the only walls we're interested in building.  The Echo Of Pleasure is full of terrific pop tunes including the title song, "When I Dance With You," "So True," the very new-wavy "Garret," and "The Cure For Death," another dancing-around-the-living-room song; but, with a title like that, certainly not for very young children.

The Echo Of Pleasure is out now on Painbow Records.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Premiere: New Video from Avery Mandeville and The Man Devils


Way back at the beginning of 2017, Avery Mandeville released her debut EP, Salty. We had the honor of being the first to share that set with you. Since then, Mandeville assembled her live band, The Man Devils, took a bit of a summer sojourn down to Nashville, and filmed a video for her latest single, "Blood."

The subject of "Blood" is clear from the song's first line: "I bought a pregnancy test and rainbow hair clips from the Rite-Aid on Saturday night." The video, shot mostly as a commercial for "Avery's CLAMPAX: Mega Absorbant," contrasts the worry-free, active lifestyles of CLAMPAX users with Mandeville's sleep-deprived preoccupation with her own menstrual cycle.

Then there's blood everywhere.

Both the song and the video showcase Mandeville's razor-sharp sense of humor. And, really, so does the fact that she debuted her band's video about pregnancy scares and menstrual cycles at a blog run by a clueless, middle-aged dad and called CoolDad Music. We're grateful for the opportunity, and that's why we love Avery around here.

Check out "Blood" right here. Avery Mandeville and The Man Devils perform live on November 9th at The Well in Brooklyn.