May 18 is a big day in the life for Brooklyn’s Saint Marilyn: The synth-pop duo of Che Houston (how freaking cool is that name?) and Kevin Marksson will release its debut EP, Tangle (Really Great Gum; pre-order here). The two started playing together toward the end of 2013 as a drums-and-guitar outfit but soon excommunicated the six-strings and began worshipping at the altar of vintage synths. It was then that Saint Marilyn rose from the ashes.
Houston and Marksson will be celebrating the release of the self-produced Tangle on May 19 at their hometown’s Alphaville (get tickets here). So if you want to go and also be familiar with the songs from the EP, we’ve got you covered: We’re streaming Tangle exclusively at magnetmagazine.com. Says Houston of the EP, “The songs on Tangle are filled with lyrics about how much we get hurt by the things that we love the most. Whether that’s about the frustrations of writing music on ‘Matchless,’ our homes and the city we live in on ‘Jaws’ or, in the case of ‘Burn Burn Burn,’ the intensity of loving another person. We talk a lot about push-and-pull dynamics, and even the title of the album means two things: Tangle is a fight, but it’s also an embrace. I think we do the same thing instrumentally. It’s big rock ‘n’ roll drums and bass, but it’s also filled with quiet synths and anxious energies that needed to be expressed.”
Let Tangle be your guide to recognizing your patron saints of expression.
It’s been nearly half a decade since Matt Costa‘s last proper album, a self-titled effort he recorded with members of Belle And Sebastian, but the lifelong Californian (who usually puts out a new LP every couple years) wasn’t exactly slacking off during that period. He issued a handful of self-produced EPs, did the soundtrack to acclaimed documentary Orange Sunshine and finished an entire album that remains unreleased. Which brings us to Santa Rosa Fangs, co-produced by Peter Matthew Bauer (Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf (French Kicks) and out May 18 on Dangerbird. The dozen-track LP follows the story of a woman named Sharon and her two brothers, with Costa injecting some of his own adventures growing up in the Golden State into this fictional tale of love, loss and the California landscape.
While not the first single from Santa Rosa Fangs (that would be opener “I Remember It Well”), “Sharon,” the second track, is both pivotal to the album’s somewhat-skewed storyline and, musically, the perfect example of Costa’s knack for writing timeless, accessible pop/rock songs with enough of a bent to keep music snobs from getting their torn-and-tattered T.Rex T-shirts in a bunch.
“‘Sharon’ is the imaginary classic-rock-radio single—and lynchpin—to this strange record that feels like both Matt’s own autobiography and also a kind of dreamy made-up nostalgia,” says Bauer.
“‘Sharon’ is an effortless-sounding song that could have come from any time,” says Stumpf. “Costa’s strength is his ability to create these worlds that feel familiar and easy to sink into but also have threads of the dark and sinister. California noir.”
Though the video for “Sharon” exquisitely captures this surreal California-noir vibe, there’s only one minor problem: It was shot in Great Falls, Mont., at the one-of-a-kind Sip ‘N Dip Lounge (the number-one bar on earth worth flying for, according to GQ), which is located at the O’Haire Motor Inn (home to “the kind of western hospitality that you would expect to find in the heart of Montana”).
“It couldn’t have fit the song more perfect,” says Costa of the clip. “My close friend and veteran photographer Pamela Littky directed the video and was able to bring the vision to life with a gilded suit and signature Blue Hawaiians. In the song, Sharon frequents the aquarium bar with her aquarium friends. In the video, I croon the turquoise corners and dive into the same vices as Sharon.”
“The video is exactly as I always think of Matt,” says Bauer.
After watching “Sharon,” the video is exactly as we will always think of Matt, too. We’re proud to premiere it today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now, and catch Costa on tour later this month (dates below); no word yet if he’s bringing the mermaids on the road with him.
And as a bonus, check out the teaser trailer for Santa Rosa Fangs:
May 19 — Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia
May 21 — Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
May 22 — Rough Trade, Brooklyn
May 23 — The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
May 25 — Longboat At Great Hall, Toronto
May 26 — The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
May 27 — Schuba’s, Chicago
May 28 — Shank Hall, Milwaukee
May 30 — The Turf Club, St. Paul, MN
June 5 — The Troubadour, Los Angeles
June 7 — Live in the Vines, Carmel, CA
July 7 — Café du Nord, San Francisco
July 9 — Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
July 10 — Tractor Tavern, Seattle
July 11 — Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver
July 12 — Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
August 16 — Bluff Park At Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point, CA
We first introduced you to Dan Rico at the end of last year with “Flesh And Bone,” telling you he was one to watch in 2018. Well, we’ll pat ourselves on the back now for being right. The Chicago-based singer/songwriter/producer is back June 22 with Dreamy. His cassette-only sophomore album comes courtesy of private-press label TMB Limited. “Hot To Please” is the first single off the record, and it sounds like Win Butler and Buddy Holly joined forces in the early ’90s with the hopes of inking a deal with Sarah Records. (For those not in the know, that’s a good thing.) “Hot To Please” is out later today, but fear not: We’re premiering it for you right here, right now. Says Rico of the track, “‘Hot To Please’ is about a state of delirious melancholy, halfway between the inevitability of heartbreak and the transcendent excitement of moving on.”
Check it out before your friends do, kids. And if you’re in the Windy City, catch Rico with the Shacks at the Virgin Hotel on Sunday. You can bring your mom if you’re hot to please her on Mother’s Day.
Curse Of Lono formed in London three years ago, and we were fans shortly thereafter. The quintet, led by vocalist/guitarist Felix Bechtolsheimer, is back August 17 with sophomore album As I Fell, and the LP continues the band’s exploration of its patented Amerigothica sound—one that comfortably rides right alongside both Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Drive-By Truckers. Speaking of the road, Curse Of Lono will be on tour all around Europe leading up to the release of As I Fell. (Tour dates below.) But in the meantime have no fear and loathing, as we have the first single from the LP ready for your listening pleasure today.
Says Bechtolsheimer of the track, ”Valentine’ is about the kind of murderous jealousy that twists you up until you don’t recognize yourself anymore. The sort of dejection that will make you do things you know you will regret. I think the vocal harmonies floating over the tribal beat, distorted bass and filthy baritone guitar going through a tiny 1950s Selmer practice amp really capture that feeling.”
We are proud to premiere ”Valentine” today on magnetmagazine.com. If you don’t check it out now, you might do things you know you’ll regret.
May 17 — Alternative Escape (The Mesmerist), Brighton
May 24 — Fat Lil’s, Witney
May 25 — The Lexington, London
May 26 — Dot-To-Dot Festival, Bristol
May 30 — Sheffield Greystones
May 31 — Hug & Pint, Glasgow
June 1 — Gullivers, Manchester
June 2 — The Ent Shed, Bedford
June 22 — Isle Of Wight Festival, Isle Of Wight
July 7 — Maverick Festival, Suffolk
July 12 — Oltrivierenhof, Antwerp
July 14 — Paradiso, Amsterdam
July 18 — Fabrik, Hamburg
July 19 — Kaufleuten, Zürich
July 21 — The Sage, Gateshead
On June 1, S.M. Wolf will release sophomore album Bad Ocean via People In A Position To Know (Joyful Noise’s sister label). Lead by multi-instrumentalist (and elementary-school special-education teacher) Adam Gross, S.M. Wolf is a one-off, one-man project that’s grown into a full-on band. The 11-track Bad Ocean finds the Indianapolis-based outfit mining the same power-pop-leaning territory of its previous releases but adding some Elephant 6-like instrumental touches (theremin, baritone guitar, air organ) that lend the proceedings a familiar ’60s feel. First single “The Station” is one of the LP’s highlights, a groovy, breezy indie-rocker whose subject matter is a little darker than the upbeat instrumentation would lead you to believe. “It’s about depression and trying to overcome it,” says Gross. “It’s about having ups and downs and the fact that we just have to keep on trudging forward in the face of whatever may come.”
S.M. Wolf just released a video for “The Station,” and like the band’s clip for “We All Decided No” (off 2015’s Neon Debris), it involves claymation. “I just kind of started playing with the clay and came up with this character,” says Gross. “At the time, I was pretty inspired by some of Art Clokey’s claymation shorts like Mandala. So I started animating this character walking through a desolate, post-apocalyptic style world, and it began to take shape and meaning almost on its own. I realized he was searching for something, yet that thing was undefined, and that he would keep encountering obstacles along the way that slowed him down or could’ve stopped him, but he always keeps going. It’s a little bit Sisyphus, which ended up relating to the song quite well.”
We are proud to premiere the video for “The Station” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and catch S.M. Wolf live this summer.
6/1 – White Rabbit Cabaret, Indianapolis
6/15 – P H Â R M Â C Y, Philadelphia
6/24 – Surfside 7, Fort Collins, CO
6/25 – Kilby Court, Salt Lake City
6/27 – The Sunset, Seattle
7/2 – El Rio, San Francisco
David Hawkins ran his own personal Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp, and all you got is his great new album. When the Venice Beach-based Hawk leader, an abstract painter who also fronts the orchestral-folk-leaning Be, set out to record his band’s fourth LP, Bomb Pop (out tomorrow), little did he and guitarist Aaron Bakker know their backing band would end up being the kind of outfit any musician would kill for: drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Elliott Smith), multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Ken Stringfellow (Posies, R.E.M., Big Star) and vocalist Gary Louris (Jayhawks, Ray Davies, Golden Smog); Stringfellow and Louris also served as engineers for the sessions. While previous Hawk albums I’m On Fire (2014), Rock N Roll (2007) and Princess America (2005) established former Souled American manager Hawkins as a versatile songwriter well-versed in all the good stuff (Dylan, Stones, Velvets, R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo), Bomb Pop—true to its title—shows a power-pop-leaning side of Hawkins not apparent before.
“This album is a blast,” says Hawkins. “It comes from my love of bands like Big Star, the Beatles and the Jam. And of the pristine production sound of ’60s pop gods the Wrecking Crew. Of shiny psychedelia and Velvet angst. All wrapped up around that thing that makes my stories mine. The exuberance in the music is palpable, while the lyrics explore life’s struggles and triumphs, mercurial lovers and magical parades. It seems a fitting blast of pop catharsis for the moment; it’s a summertime record for the end times.”
Well said. And it’s not lost on Hawkins that he was able to achieve this career highpoint in part due to the contributions of pros such as Thomas, Stringfellow and Louris, three men who live to play music. “We had a lot fun making it,” says Hawkins. “With this band, we can finally capture the songs the way I hear them in my head. It’s like a dream.”
See, kids, dreams do come true. We’re proud to premiere Bomb Pop today on magnetmagazine.com. Do yourself a big favor, and check it out right now before it explodes.
2018 marks the 16th year of Berry‘s existence, and to mark the occasion, Joyful Noise has issued the quartet’s third LP, Everything, Compromised. Though the album is the only first from the Chicago-based outfit since 2010’s Blue Sky, Raging Sun, Berry is nonetheless a very prolific band, having already written and recorded more than 100 songs. The gap between albums stemmed from a couple of factors, including band members moving across the country as well as finding the right producer to complete the LP after a whirlwind recording session generated 11 songs. The producer came in the form of Paul Klimson (John Legend, Erykah Badu), and soon after, the nine-track Everything, Compromised was finished. Trust us, it was worth the wait.
“Fragments” is the second single from the album, and it’s a pretty-yet-slightly-spooky slice of indie prog with a killer, laid-back groove. Frontman Joey Lemon shares how the new video for the track came together: “Summer of 2017 marked a full seven years since Berry’s last tour. The tour, which previewed tracks from Everything, Compromised, was as much a chance to reconnect with old friends as anything else. College friend Trae Carson hosted Berry’s final tour rehearsal in the warehouse of his artisan microbrewery, 405 Brewing Co., and old tour buddy Seth McCarroll, founder of acclaimed pedal company Old Blood Noise Endeavors, was on hand to document it. The result is a live video of the apocalypse-by-internet-inspired ‘Fragments.'”
We are proud to premiere “Fragments” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check out it now.
If you want to impress your friends by saying you got in on the ground floor with Cheer-Accident via the band’s stellar new album, well, you’re only about 37 years too late. Yes, this virtually uncategorizable Chicago ensemble formed around the time the members of Animal Collective were still learning how to form full sentences about panda bears and strawberry jam. Impressively named multi-instrumentalist Thymme Jones has been Cheer-Accident’s mainstay since day one, with a revolving cast of numerous members and guests in and out over the years, though the band has had a solid core lineup for a while now.
On May 25, Skin Graft will issue Fades, which, by our guess, is Cheer-Accident’s 19th album. (This would put Jones and Co. one behind Guided By Voices in the LP department; what’s with the Midwest and hyper productivity?) Like the band’s previous albums, Fades is a dizzying and evolving array of disparate styles—psych, prog, pop, punk, post-punk (and those are just the “p”s)—that Cheer-Accident somehow continually manages to cohere into a sound that’s unmistakably its own.
The 10-track Fades kicks off with “Done,” a mini motorik masterpiece that your Stereolab-loving older sister will be singing along with at the gym. Jones calls “Done” the “most kraut-poppy song on the record. It’s great to jog in place to—or jazzercise. And the dual trombone/mouthbone solo equals the dorkiest moment on the album.”
We music dorks couldn’t agree more, so we’re proud to premiere “Done” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and catch Cheer-Accident on tour (dates below).
5/21 – Midland, TX, The Scorpions Nest
5/22 – Albuqurque, NM, TBA
5/23 – Tucson, AR, TBA
5/24 – Los Angeles, Hi Hat
5/25 – Sacramento, CA, Blue Lamp
5/26 – San Francisco, Cafe Du Nord
5/27 – Santa Cruz, CA, Crepe Place
5/31 – Petrolia, CA, Mattole Valley Community Center
6/1 – Portland, Mississippi Studios
6/2 – Seattle, Columbia City Theater (Seaprog Festival)
6/4 – Salt Lake City, Metro
6/5 – Denver, Larimer
6/6 – Kansas City, MO. Record Bar
6/7 – Minneapolis, 7th Street Entry
6/8 – Madison, WI. The Frequency
6/9 – Chicago, Beat Kitchen
Did you ever wonder what would happen if Us Weekly and USA Today merged? Well, the result would decidedly not be Us, Today, an experimental-leaning instrumental trio from Cincinnati. Vibraphonist Kristen Agee, guitarist Joel Griggs and drummer Jeff Mellot formed eight years after meeting at a coffee shop (how totally 2010) and immediately went to work, releasing three albums: 2011’s RH Sessions, 2012’s Beneath The Floorboards and 2015’s Tenenemies. The LPs were the result of weekly improvisational jam sessions that the band then used as the basis for completed songs.
On new album Computant (out June 15), Us, Today pushes things ever further, adding synths and electronic-drum elements to its sophisticated sonic stew. Perhaps most impressive is that the trio recorded the entire record over the course of one weekend, with most of the tracks only needing three or four takes. New single “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit),” however, “we did it in one take,” says Agee. “After we did one pass of this song, we all agreed that it was exactly what we wanted—no need to do another pass. The song was done. That is a huge win in my book.”
“‘Spellcaster’ is very different from a lot of other tunes on the album,” says Mellot. “It seems to be more straightforward from a time-signature standpoint, and it relies on relentless energy from the band. This was a tune we felt we needed our attention in the studio. One of our crowning achievements is only doing one take.”
“The middle section was designed to kind of act like being in space after taking off in the first section,” says Griggs. “The guitar and vibes drift lightly before descending into full, rock-out cacophony assault on the senses. We wanted to come back down to drone to end the song like an airplane landing.”
Mission accomplished, Queen City cosmonauts.
We’re proud to premiere “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and let these spirit doctors cast their spell on you.
“It’s everything you asked for: sardonic humor, guitars and the type of energy normally only found in the type of invitation that lands you in a cult. The ‘Club and pertinent board members are overjoyed to present the Minneapolis Uranium Club as you’ve never seen them before—in Italy!”
So says Brendan Wells of the Twin Cities-based Uranium Club, a four-year-old outfit that sounds and looks like it’s been around a hell of a lot longer than that. (Speaking of looks: These guys certainly wouldn’t seem out of place at a Conflict-subscriber reunion bash.)
Following releases on labels you’re nowhere near cool enough to know about (Lumpy, Fashionable Idiots, Static Shock), the Uranium Club has joined forces with the relatively higher-profile Castle Face label (Thee Oh Sees, Kelley Stoltz, Ty Segall, Coachwhips) for Uranium Club: Live For The Very First Time (In Italy), an eight-track LP for those of you who couldn’t get on the guest list for the show. The Uranium Club’s brand of sarcastic, spazzy post-punk would’ve fit perfectly on a triple bill between Death Of Samantha and Phantom Tollbooth circa 1988 at 7th Street Entry, which around these parts is high praise indeed.
Live is out Friday the 13th, but lucky for you, you can stream it at magnetmagazine.com right now.