mp3: "Middle School" - Hardly Boys

Much of "Middle School" is brash, loud and unruly - in a way it reflects the reckless up and down of adolescent hormones, the angst of going to school, figuring things out and growing up. Hardly Boys last shared "Low Power Mode" with us, the first taste of the upcoming Dear Diarrhea album. This track is completely different, a mash of seemingly angry guitars, thwacks of percussion and hollered vocals lamenting feelings and memories, threatening to "tear someone apart." It's the headache inducing anger you feel when you just can't forget someone and you're so eager for them to leave and "remember to take out the trash." And when they finally depart the dynamic changes completely, Hardly Boys shifting into hyper speed, declaring with ooo's and a shout that someone is simply no longer needed in their life. It's a kiss-off to someone bad, a throwback to when you were a  teenager and you made quick work of scratching out the name of your heartbreaker on your notebook. 

mp3: "Jaded" - Winter

Longtime favorites, Winter, take inspiration from all of our favorite 90s things for new single "Jaded". The track takes its cue from the Breeders and 10 Things I Hate About You, creating a noisy, glistening reflection on remaining dedicated to a creative practice. The vocals of Samira Winter take on an edginess, their attitude backed by a thunderous, fuzzy backing of guitar and drums. The signature syrupy sweetness of Winter's soprano stands in stark contrast to the aggressive instruments, making for a head-spinning single that will have you dreaming of high school dances where Winter is the special guest. According to a release, the track is "a meditation on being a musician or anyone working in an over saturated industry, at a time where you can
feel so overwhelmed and undervalued." "Jaded" will give you that extra morale boost of inspiration needed to continue, with a gentle nudge it pushes you to keep at it, and remember your dreams.

Soundtracks: GLOW

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Soundtracks are mixes inspired by our favorite television & movies.

words & mix: Jason Baxter

I only recently learned about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, via the 2012 documentary (that ought to still be up on Netflix). I've never even been much of a wrestling person, though I know a lot of great people who are, and I can appreciate it for what it is. I love that the original television show seems to have been almost more of a variety program at times. The characters, the costumes, the personalities--I was fascinated immediately. When I heard Jenji Kohan was bringing a fictionalized adaptation to Netflix, I knew I had to watch as soon as it was streaming, and that's literally what I did--watched all ten episodes in a single sitting late on a Saturday night. Totally worth it! GLOW was a compelling hoot from start to finish, and I thought did a pretty good job of addressing the original's...less progressive tendencies. This collection of songs are my attempt at capturing the legwarmer-ed and leotard-ed glory of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

Rewind: EP - Older Brother - Older Brother

words: Sean Deveney

Simplicity can be a hard thing to achieve in music sometimes. With infinite possibilities, it is easy to overthink or complicate a song. Some of my favorite bands are those who have been able to resist this temptation and realize that sometimes less is more.

Older Brother’s self-titled debut EP starts off strong with a fuzzy and simple guitar riff. “Regain My Footing” is then stripped down to just the vocals, bass, and drums for the verses. The guitar then kicks back in, and the listener has time to absorb what was just said.

“I wanna kill the keeper. Lick the blood off your face. Chasing those dreams away with that sucky tape, and I don’t mean to fake it when I’m feeling this way. I can’t regain my footing even to my close friends.” With the grooving bass and the tight drums accompanying this verse, it makes for an incredibly solid beginning to the EP.

 “Korean Flag” follows with an interesting reflection on an experience with a war memorial. “The Korean flag is upside down at the memorial downtown. Wouldn’t have noticed, but she pointed it out to me. Statue stands in commemoration of a forgotten war. Why did they fight? How can we forget it?” I can definitely relate to these feelings of guilt and confusion when noticing a monument. A single statue is supposed to represent an incomprehensible number of lives lost, which makes you feel guilty for not thinking about this event more often. Trying to make sense of such a tragedy feels strange in a downtown setting as people around you are going in and out of restaurants and shops, and you’re standing in front of a statue thinking about death.

 Mikey Bullister’s vocals are reminiscent of Stephen Malkmus as they are delivered with a sense of disconnection and straddle the line between speaking and singing. On “Wannabee” he sings “I’m not the wannabee I thought I’d be” as a noisy guitar and pounding drums carry the song to the end in a Pavement-esque manner.

The band consistently draws attention to the vocals in each song by giving them plenty of room, and then afterwards they let loose and take the song further into pleasant and fuzzy melodies. This is a good structure to follow not just because the vocals are sung in an intriguing way, but also because the lyrics contain great substance.

“It took me three years to find I’m not lonely anymore” and “I don’t wanna die” are lines that stick with me because of both their simplicity and their significance. The same idea applies to the music. The guitar riffs are simple yet memorable, the bass really draws you into the song when the guitar steps aside, and the drums give each song life without being overly complicated. This EP is a reminder of how refreshing music can be if you just focus on what’s important.

mp3: "Trouble" - Frankie Rose

words: Kat Harding

Frankie Rose, hailing from Brooklyn, has a new shimmery single for us in anticipation of her new album Cage Tropical. Due out on Slumberland Records/Grey Market August 11, the first taste of the record is an otherworldly synth pop anthem. Rose notes the song came “out of the simple realization that you can’t outrun yourself or your problems,” but with a dance track like this, we might be able to mentally escape them for a moment or two.

The video is a kaleidoscope of blurred, colorful swatches, flashing lights, and fuzziness. It’s a mesmerizing visualization of the track, featuring a Roswell, New Mexico-based hotline for folks to leave messages of their UFO/paranormal encounters. Check out the video and then give the number a call; your story might just be used in the Weird Night with Juan & Frankie podcast, launching this summer.  

mp3: "Feelings Gone" - ABADABAD

If only each of ABADABAD's singles could last forever. Like the previously released "10 Fingers," the band's newest track, "Feelings Gone" is lush, warm and inviting. Much like a sweet, sticky summer breeze, "Feelings Gone," totally engulfs you with ease, its lovely strings, distinctive vocal drawl and serene instrumentals culminating in two minutes of pure bliss. How quickly everything can change, in an instant we can become someone else entirely and the moment reflects that. We can all use a moment in music that allows us to close our eyes and drift off into daydreams or seek out adventure and the music of ABADABAD so often lends itself to that feeling, inviting you to just escape.

mp3 premiere: "Alpha Rats Quarterback" - Mrs. Hopewell

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There's a hopeful quality to the lead single from Mrs. Hopewell's upcoming LP Goodbyes Are Just Shitty See You Laters. "Alpha Rats Quarterback" rings with honesty, as singer Christopher Nicastro sings openly of a possibly misinterpreted college relationship. It's a confusion we can all relate to; the desperation that comes with looking back, and wondering. The shimmering, brilliant guitar acts in a whirlwind-like fashion, trapping you in its stunning noise, including the vocals of Nicastro that are tinged just a touch with warm fuzz. It's a moment that has so much to discover and you'll wish to repeat again and again. According to Nicastro the track comes as a result of renewed creativity. 

"After a pretty severe bout with depression that put this project on a number of separates hiatuses, I finally hit another wave of creativity. Anyone who liked previous Mrs. Hopewell material may very well hate this new stuff. It's poppy, it's groovy, it's easy to dance to: all the shit people didn't come to Mrs. Hopewell for previously."

TGE Recipes: Buñuelos with Lewis Gallardo of Sweet Lew and the Sweet and Lows

Welcome to TGE Recipes, a place where our favorite bands share the secrets straight from their kitchens. Think your favorite Food Network show except on a purple blog. Today we welcome Lewis Gallardo of Sweet Lew and the Sweet and Lows.

Buñuelos

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups - Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. - Baking Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. -  Salt
  • ½ Cup - Sugar
  • ½ Cup - Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup - Shortening
  • 2 Cups - Water
  • 1 Cup - Vegetable Oil

Directions:

Toss the flour and baking powder in a larger bowl, and start cutting in the shortening with a fork or two. In the culinary sense, I think “cutting in” means to mix shortening or butter with dry ingredients such as flour or sugar. That’s what my high school cooking teacher told me.

Once you’ve pretty much reached ~ equilibrium ~ (after cutting in the shortening for a minute or two) add some hot water to the dry ingredients. Not too much! If you added too much add some flour to the mix to dry things up. Things are about to get messy.

Use your hands to miix up all of your ingredients in your bowl to get a giant dough ball. Quarter up your dough orb and rip off pieces to ball up to about the size of a golf ball.

As you’re ripping off pieces, add warm water (about ¼ of  a cup at a time) so it can retain it’s shape and doesn’t get too dry. Once desired amount of pre-tortilla dough balls are rolled up, set a wet towel over the bowl lid to maintain a cool temperature  and set the dough balls to rest for about 10-20 minutes.

Once you’ve reached the point when you can’t wait any longer, grab a rolling pin and flatten each ball to so it winds up looking like a tortilla. Once an even circle, throw on a grill or flat heated surface stove thing to heat up. Air bubbles are ok!

We’re halfway done. If making handmade tortillas was your goal, then you’re all done. But most people signed up for a dessert, so let’s continue.

Put your vegetable oil in a pan so that it’s about an inch deep and heat it up so it’s very very very hot. This is where you bring out your oil splash guard if you have one. CAREFULLY slide the tortilla in the oil and let it “deep” fry. Flip it after about a minute. Once it’s golden brown and rigid, it’s time to toss it around in a plate with your sugars.

If your buñuelos looks similar to the one pictured, you’re probably done! Enjoy.

Interview with Lewis from Andrew Lopez

When you cook do you listen to a particular kind of music or genre?

I’ll get stuck on stuff.  I’ll find a song or an album and run it into the ground. Right now I’ve been listening to NxWorries, that Anderson.Paak & Knxwldge thing, I’ve listened to that record so many damn times.  Lots of motown, or African funk. Just stuff I could move around to while I cook.

I know you applied to be featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, how did you choose a song to record?

We’re sitting on like four songs right now and we chose that one, it’s called “Hard Knock”. It was super last minute and we recorded the day before the deadline. The video we uploaded was actually shot with a laptop and an iPhone.

“Shot on iPhone 6”?

Actually it was an iPhone 5 *laughs*. We didn’t have a PA so I couldn’t hear myself sing and we were trying to get it done by midnight because we thought the deadline was then but it was actually midnight the following day. It was super frustrating but also kind of nice getting to listen back to it. We also have another video of us out there right now where we did a benefit show for this place called the Liberation Institute in the Mission. They provide affordable mental healthcare in the Mission neighborhood for those who need it. You can go to an actual therapist and pay like $15 or $20 to have a full session with a therapist.

How’d that come together?

We linked up with a friend of ours in his band Jerry’s Timeshare who started Back Production Collective and hit us up saying that they wanted to put a benefit show on for us and when they asked me what organization we’d like to support and that’s the one that stuck out to us.

Sweet Lew and the Sweet and Lows plans on recording soon, so make sure to follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with the trio's upcoming musical endeavors.

mp3 premiere: "Ex-Best Friends" - Dollhands

"Ex-Best Friends" from Dollhands is the raucous, fuzzy garage rock that your summer absolutely needs. The single appears on the upcoming EP Scribbles, out 7/21 on Feels Alright Tapes, and showcases the band's continuing evolution from solo project to trio. This particular single is gunning and guttural, with energized guitar and drums providing an unrelenting force of noise and fun. With the vocals barely rising above it all, "Ex-Best Friends" feels angry, but carefree, the kind of whatever happens attitude that's needed throughout the hottest months of the year. Join the party and press play.