video premiere: "I Am Almost Perfectly Awake" – NRVS LVRS

In a video awash with day-glow colored hues NRVS LVRS use fantastical and otherworldly visuals to set an imaginative stage for single "I Am Almost Perfectly Awake". The track comes from the band's upcoming album Electric Dread out June 30. There's a pulsing undercurrent throughout the track, humming and buzzing pop weaving a tapestry of saccharine sounds as intricate and mysterious as the video. Bevin Fernandez's angelic soprano rises above it all, directing us in an invitation to imagine. Joined by husband, Andrew Gomez, we can hear the band's cited influence of Kate Bush and Massive Attack through the video. "I Am Almost Perfectly Awake" glides with an effortless ease, the band's sparkling electronics appealing to your ears in a way that seems dark, but also beautiful. It's a moment you just have to experience for yourself and you can do so by pressing play below.

mp3: "Plants" - Crumb

photo: Haoyan of America

photo: Haoyan of America

The latest single from Crumb is magic, plain and simple. It's fluid and evolving, beginning with a slow jazzy strum and rising with a funky, unrestrained groove that seems content to float about the atmosphere. "Plants" is undefined, packing in so many sounds and ideals, and each one is beautiful. From the serene vocals of Lila Ramani to a backing of instrumentals that shine and fade away like stars twinkling in the night sky, it's a trip from start to finish. It's unexpected, surprising you with each passing second. Look for their EP out June 23.

split: Walter Etc. / Diners

The glorious arrival of summer deserves an equally glorious soundtrack and thankfully Walter Etc. and Diners have teamed up for a split on Lauren Records that should become a necessity for any poolside playlist. 

A sun-soaked welcoming tone is set from the split's outset with the perfectly named "Night Swim." Its bubbly, bouncy nature continues into follow up tracks, "No One Hits Me Up Anymore" and "Every Lousy Paradise." Together, the three singles echo the feeling of a hidden glimmer of sunshine that's peeking out even during cloudy days. Even confessions of "I'm just no fun anymore," on the tropical track "Every Lousy Paradise," are earnest and golden, a soft chorus of whistles carrying you into Diners' contribution.

When we previously wrote of Diners we remarked of a simplicity that evokes the excitement and feelings accompanying a new crush. That same rush of feeling and the desire to dance off into the sun continue with opener, "Sunrise." While their split counterparts sang of a "Night Swim," Diners talks of the morning after and the hope to "wake up on my own." A persistent drum pattern and just a dash of fuzzy guitar will have you swaying and swinging, as the warped "Blankly at the Sun" begins. The track wraps around you like a tight hug, comforting you with a whispered message of doing something for yourself. The split closes with an alternate version of "You've Got It," and its playful synths and proclamation of - "know that it's okay to feel down," should make you wanna hop and skip off into whatever summer adventure awaits you outside or just on the couch. 

album: Typical Girls Vol. 2

words: Kat Harding

Emotional Response Records, run out of Flagstaff, Arizona, now has a second volume in their Typical Girls compilation series. Typical Girls is a trip around the world, featuring artists from Spain, Germany, the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. A unifying theme runs through the compilation - women, girls, and nonbinary folks are angry. All around the world, these groups are treated as second-class citizens, watching old white men politicians slowly chip away at their rights and future happiness. But not all hope is lost, as long as there are engaged young people, ready to fight, and people willing to lift up voices different from their own.

Named for the Slits’ 1979 question “Who invented the Typical Girl?” the compilation is a searing group of high-energy punk songs. Every song will have you kicking and moshing 'til the end. Standouts include a trip across the pond for the UK’s Skinny Girl Diet’s track “burnouts” and an even longer journey to Australia for Bent’s “Space is Bent,” the opening track. With plenty of atonal guitar work, wailing, and crashing drums, Bent’s track is just over a minute of a pure intensity.

Discover your next favorite punk band on this record. Since listening, I’ve been hooked on Juanita y Los Feos, whose track “Vallecas” is featured on the compilation. It’s catchy garage rock, sung in Spanish, which is a favorite genre of mine. Every track on the comp has something for you to discover, whether it’s an unreleased single from a band you already enjoy, or a new band to check out across the planet.  

Pick up a copy from the Typical Girls Bandcamp page.

EP: Rock Product - Mommy Long Legs

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Mommy Long Legs is daring and bold, a group so unafraid to be themselves, and create some of the most entertaining and gnarly garage rock you'll ever hear. We've long known their signature fuzz and bratty-punk was fun (I mean hell, they sang of puking on sorority girls), and new EP Rock Product continues that trend.

From taunting teases of "last ones there a penis pump" on opener "Diva Night" to a desire to "be left alone on a permanentvacation" at "Bitch Island" to the hilarious callout of a "Dick Move," this EP is one gunning thrill ride. Their melodious shout-outs will have you singing along, dancing along, and embracing every quirky, fun thing that makes you well, you! Mommy Long Legs make fun, energized punk that's exactly what we need when the days seem grim and you can't find an ounce of good. Rock Product is a reminder to don your crown, wear your brightest colors and find a "Bitch Island" escape you can be ruler of. 

mp3 premiere: "Warriors of the Old World" - Dream Version

photo: Helen Schenck.

photo: Helen Schenck.

The world needs Dream Version. In this current political climate we need a punk soundtrack to shout along to, a band to be boldly their own and encourage us to lift our fists in the fight. Dream Version's upcoming album Fight Fair out 7/7 is the answer and on single "Warriors of the Old World" we're given the first stomping taste of their message. Their gritty, snarled proclamation that salutes "warriors of the old world...they know their flags are being taken down," wears the inspiration of The Kinks and Wire proudly on its sleeve. An unchanging guitar and drum line provide a bolstered means of support for their cries, Find your own cause to fight for and take a trip back in time with Dream Version's vintage punk. Here's what Alec Jensen had to say about the track:

"Warriors of the Old World" is essentially about the folks who showed up with torches at the Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia last week. But it also comments on the response to the Ghostbusters reboot that was coming out when I wrote it, and the uproar against taking Jackson off the 20. It's like something old is rotting right now, but before it goes away, a bunch of trolls are gonna make sure they rub our faces in it. I suppose it's ultimately an optimistic song, because it suggests that greater inclusion and equality are inevitable and our current political situation is just the drying breath of a nostalgia for a less inclusive time. But it seems as though we're gonna be smelling the stink of that breath for quite a while still.

album of the week: Powerplant - Girlpool

words: Sarah Hojsak

A few months ago, when Girlpool unveiled “123,” the first single off their sophomore album Powerplant, something took everyone by surprise that usually isn’t so much of a shock: the presence of drums. This new addition to the duo’s sound – formerly comprised of just guitar and bass backing Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s voices singing in unison – is not so much a departure for the L.A.-based group as it is a sign of their growth. Their distinctive vocals aside, Girlpool is one of those bands that’s always marveled at for their ability to stand out among other musicians, maybe partly because of their age – Tucker and Tividad were teenagers when 2015’s Before The World Was Big was released. Powerplant is a testament to where Girlpool, now in their early 20s, have been the past few years, and where they intend to go. 

Twelve tracks long, Powerplant clocks in at just 28 minutes, and when those drums kick in a minute into “123,” the tone is set for the rest of the record. The songs are short but potent, each is strong on its own but they come together beautifully as a cohesive whole in the kind of way that allows you to listen to this album on repeat seamlessly (I’ve been doing just that for the past few weeks). Girlpool may have a bigger, more filled-out sound with this release, but Powerplant maintains the duo’s ability to pair their refined use of vocals with songwriting that comes alive in distinctive vignettes. On shorter, smaller tracks like “Fast Dust” and “High Rise,” Girlpool keep their sound soft and hushed, but the songs are no less powerful for it – Tividad and Tucker’s voices remain the central feature in all the songs and are goosebump-inducing whether singing higher in their range in softer intertwining harmonies or belting in unison, on songs like “123,” lines like “Looking pretty at the wall is my mistake in love installed.” Louder, reverb-filled moments on “Corner Store” and “Static Somewhere” add further variance to the small moments that bring the album together. 

On Before The World Was Big, Girlpool asked introspective questions like “Do you feel restless when you realize you’re alive?”, the uncertainty and vulnerability of which evaporate a bit on Powerplant, though the self-reflection this provoked still lingers. Girlpool’s new sound may be less jarring and urgent then when they demanded “Eat me out to American Beauty,” but their words, crafted around observations and experiences framed in the way only Girlpool can, are no less memorable. Tucker and Tividad share songwriting duties as well as vocals, and while the duo reportedly wrote this album more separately from each other than before, they both have the remarkable skill of making phrases so seemingly idiosyncratic something we as listeners can understand in our own way, interpret for ourselves and make our own. One of Powerplant’s best lyrical moments comes on the haunting, crescendo-ing “It Gets More Blue,” with the lines “The chase is trite as the story I stage / a projection I write in a book on a page / but I won’t do what I ought to / that vacant stare I make to fool you / I’m watching from bodegas on the street / and I’ll say just barely how highly I can think” – a confrontation of the struggle of authenticity that resonates with anyone who rests most comfortably in the role of the observer. With contemplations like this, Girlpool remain remarkably self-aware, defining their own world while still searching for something that may be out there: be it in plain sight between the shelves at the corner store, or somewhere among what they coin the “static somewhere.” 

mp3: "Go" - Yowler

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The music of Yowler has always served as cathartic confessions, Maryn Jones sending shivers down our spines with the previously released The OfferWe fell in love with the atmospheric darkness and moodiness of the record, along with the intimate and unhurried storytelling. The Offer is getting reissued in June through Double Double Whammy and will include two new tracks, the first of which is "Go." Despite the playful nature of a keyboard and drum machine, "Go" showcases the hallmark honesty and sincerity of Yowler's previous work. "Let it go, let it go," her voice urges before questioning, "I wonder just how far down it goes?" As the song goes on, the height of Jones' vocals increase, floating upward and outward, matching her mantra of moving on. There's a comforting nature in Jones' work, a reminder that we're all putting the pieces together, finding what fits and what doesn't, learning to let go. 

video: "Heart of Me" - Dianas

It's appropriate Dianas make their return with a seemingly vintage video sprinkled with visuals of skateboarding and summer fun that lasts deep into the night. Their music has always had a dreamlike, playful quality to it, and "Heart of Me" is no exception. Awash in reverb and striking melodies, the track and video epitomize the jubilant, childlike but lazy nature of summer adventures. Their fuzzy, romantic tune surrounds you with ease, inviting you to make your own summer adventure and memories. Look for a new album from the band soon.