EP Highlight: Boyfriend Material – Self-Titled EP

Cross posted at Interstellar Radio Shower

Now this is catchy. Boyfriend Material has a new EP out on Community Records.

This first song “Small Talk” is absolutely promising. It’s a sort of indie pop/singer songwriter without being too poppy. “Two Steps Back” starts out like a Rainer Maria tune. In fact, this song could be a Rainer Maria song both lyrically and instrumentally. It’s really quite enjoyable.

“Good Graces” tones things down a bit. It’s pretty in a navel-gazing kind of way. Navelgaze should be a recognized genre. Whereas emo has become a certain brand of pop punk which sometimes is great, sometimes really sucks, navelgaze would focus on a certain brand of songwriters like Shauna Healey and Lou Barlow.

Anyhow, the last track is “Absentminded” which features the ukUlele. This calls back more to her earlier stuff (see below). This EP is a very worthwhile listen. The EP in it’s entirety was released on Friday. Here is another review worth checking out.

This is more of a full band sound. The core of Boyfriend Material is singer-songwriter Shauna Healey. On her first LP “Far From Home”, also on Community Records, her music is very stripped down. It’s that bare acoustic ukulele combined with raw honest vocals that is popular in certain circles these days. I just love this stripped down sound. In any case, there is much to love here.

JuliaWhy? – Painkiller

Good day. So, my fault but i failed to figure out how to get into the building for the holiday radio show. So no radio show last night. But today is a new day and i’m all ready to go for next week.

Apparently we got a new JuliaWhy? cd in at the station and it’s pretty good music. Here is a snippet from last year’s “Wheel” lp. And keep an ear out for their new lp sometime soon.

LeftyFish – Code Name: Mosquito

Time to stop with all of this melancholy stuff. Some horns and some noise. Ranging from God is My Co-Pilot styles to Boredoms experimentation to metal riffs, this song from LeftyFish is just great. Glorious kinds of great.

Be sure to check out the rest of their You, Fish! EP and not just track. All kinds of goodness. LeftyFish hails from Yogyakarta. So this is more Indonesian fun. Here they are live from the Nevada Cafe. Indulge yourself!

7″ Highlight: The Manhattan Love Suicides – Bikini Party / Birthday Kill

Cross-posted on Interstellar Radio Shower

Reviving my effort to highlight particularly good new 7″ releases, today I want to bring your attention to the Manhattan Love Suicides new single on Odd Box Records. This single starts out with a bang on Side A with “Bikini Party / Birthday Kill”. First the industrial sounding drum beat. Second the repetitive tilting guitar riff, third the spoken haunting vocals.

I don’t know what’s up with the slashes, they clearly aren’t separate songs so I gather they are just compound concepts. I think this is true for the B side too which is titled “Deserted Coastal Town / Action & Memory / What Am I Supposed to Do?”

The B-side is much less aggressive at first. Soft and haunting to start. From there it builds to some Joan Jett-esque rock ‘n roll. In the last minute the song really climaxes with more aggressive guitar and reverb effects on the vocals. In this way it becomes more affecting. It’s well worth the listen as the pay off is great.

Nothing – Eaten By Worms

Once again we return state-side for some Philadelphia shoe gazers. The band Nothing is a bit heavier and deeper with their sound than the Italian bands I just posted.  They can sound a bit too alt-rocky at first glance, but this song really got to me and I think they are worth more than a casual listen. Be patient with it as it matures.

One track or album doesn’t do them proper justice. Check out “Downward Years to Come” from the same-titled EP:

OK, one more track from Nothing. That sounds profound and it kind of is. This New Order tribute is worth checking out.

Kimono Lights – Aurora

Since we are on the subject of Italian shoegazey music, this song really grew on me fast. The video itself seems to recall elements of Smells Like Teen Spirit with the dancing images.

They have much more for you and yours on bandcamp. “Give Me” features that pretty pop to noisy shoegaze thing pretty well.

EP Highlight: JAMBOX – Spleen EP

Crossposted on Interstellar Radio shower

When it comes to new music from 2016, this is so far one of my favorites. Jambox is from Turin, Italy. This EP really grooves. It’s shoegaze indie rock. Sometimes I really struggle to describe music. OK, maybe all the time. But here is the thing, this is good music. Worth sharing. Let them describe their own EP:

“Spleen” wants to communicate the sense of anxiety, anguish and alienation that is the result of modern life monotony. The music is characterized by heavily distorted dreaming guitars, a strong rythmic section and almost-spoken vocals.

After giving it a listen, visit their bandcamp page and buy some of it!

Broncho – Señora Borealis

Sticking with some psychedelic influences, Oklahoma’s Broncho really delivers on this new video for their song Señora Borealis.

Their new album “Double Vanity” is set to be released in July via Dine Alone Records. They aren’t a psychedelic band per se but have generally strong garage rock influences as with the track below:

One more thing. They also ca be a bit poppy. This very 80s style song and video for example. I love 80s music but I don’t love this. Maybe it would grow on me. It’s certainly catchy. In any case, judge for yourself.

5/23/16: isotria blaring – 10pm to midnight

when there are bikes on the street, horns on the sidewalks, orchids in the woods, and noise everywhere else. that is isotria blaring. every monday at 10pm, only on wrct pittsburgh.

I’m on the air. Listen in at 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh. Or stream it here. You can follow along to the music via the WRCT website or using the playlist below.

On Sarah Wolfe (1975-2014)

Sometimes I write when I need to write. I’m sitting here finding myself acutely affected by a loss. It’s not new news, but the verdict came in today, and it feels like it’s new, raw, all there.

I went out with Sarah Wolfe twice. For several months each time. When we got together for the second time, I was all in. I loved her. I dove in completely. And then after several months I got scared again. My commitment issues. I broke things off awkwardly, not fully understanding why. I knew she was special. I know it still.

I keep doing this. It’s not unique to Sarah, which isn’t to say that our bond wasn’t unique. Sarah was an incredible womyn. A staunch helper of others. She was a really skilled psychiatrist and just loved working with children. And she was obviously really skilled at her work. She would talk about it, in a limited sense due to confidentiality laws and such, and it was just so obvious that Sarah cared so much for the children she worked with. And that she was so skilled at finding solutions that work for them.

Sarah was a vegan and it wasn’t just a dietary choice. She loved animals. She loved life and had incredible, meaningful empathy. And above all else she loved cat videos. OK, maybe not above all else, but it’s truth – She really fucking loved cat videos! And cats obviously. She lacked social confidence. Which was ridiculous because she was insanely witty. And creative. I have really fond memories of her wit and her company.

I’ve struggled to write about Sarah since her death. For one, things ended poorly between us and it was entirely my fault. I have not been super successful at relationships. And as the result of my own bullshit and her completely justifiable anger about it, we weren’t really talking. She had a new boyfriend and when she was killed (and yes, it is weird and difficult to write those words) I just felt awkward. I wanted to be there for her funeral and such and i’m sure I could have been. I just felt too insecure and embarrassed about being a shit boyfriend in the end. And I doubted my presence would be considered helpful to her family and boyfriend. So I kept my distance. And that’s fine btw. No one should feel bad due to my own lameness. But still, I’m learning that I haven’t fully processed her loss. And that is I guess the point of this.

The last time I saw her was in December of 2013. I still had a few of her things so we e-mailed and arranged for me to stop by her place in Sheridan for the age old tradition of swapping items with the ex. I remember her opening the door and handing things over. It was sort of awkward because I think maybe she intended to let the screen door close but I wasn’t sure. Maybe she wasn’t sure. So I sort of awkwardly held it while we talked. It felt invasive to hold it open but it was apparently too awkward to communicate clearly about it. So I did nothing but hold the door. She said that she had bought a house and was moving into Pittsburgh. I was so happy for her. It sounded like things were going well with her new boyfriend and, well, I always thought she was a bit isolated in Sheridan. She’ll be closer to work and I saw this as a positive step for her socially because she struggled with her social confidence.

I want to go back to that moment and tell her not to move. Or something. I know you can’t change events like that and I am sure that everyone she knows is having similar thoughts about similar moments. Of course, there was no way to know what would happen next. There is no three eyed crow to look into the past or future and potentially change it. It is what it is. It’s just hard to accept.

Most of all I think a lot about how Sarah would talk about Past Sarah, Current Sarah, and Future Sarah. She would look at her perceived flaws and say something like “But that is past Sarah, future Sarah won’t do that anymore!” It’s hard to get across, but the way she said it, how could I not smile? Maybe i’d re-assure her that she shouldn’t be so down on past or current Sarah. That she was great and wonderful. But how could I not smile with the way she said it?

There are some things that happen, where there is no more good news. I know it’s not exactly unexplored territory. Many people and stories have explored grief and how attempts to seek relief through justice often fall short. But still, I thought that today, with the conviction of her killer I would feel at least relieved. I knew the trial and details would be tough. But why is the conviction of her murderer the hardest for me?

It’s true that i’m not thrilled for the sentencing phase and for a possibility of the death penalty. And maybe I expected a conviction all along but it’s the sentencing that burdens me. But I don’t think that’s quite right. I think that when I think back to all of her wit and her intellect, and except for being entirely grateful for being able to get to know her and love her, what I remember most right now is her talk of “Future Sarah.” Obviously, we never live up to our future selves that we dream up. She didn’t need to be better than she was. She was a great person already. But I can’t stop thinking about those words and how much it would mean to me if there just could be the promise of a Future Sarah still.

I’ll always love you Sarah. Thanks for being such a wonderful human being.