Alternative Rock

New album: The Goa Express || The Goa Express

Wednesday January 13, 2021, at 10:25 PM. That was the moment I discovered The Goa Express. The young five-piece from Northern England played at the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) showcase festival – an online edition due to a certain lockdown – and although their performance lasted less than thirteen minutes, it was the indisputable highlight for me. A few singles have been released since then, but it has been a long wait for the self-titled full-length album, which has now finally arrived (they say themselves that it not only captures their long lasting friendship together, but also a universal and shared feeling of growing up – hence the cover art). The band, featuring James Douglas Clarke alongside his brother Joe and best friends Joey Stein, Naham Muzaffar and Sam Launder, has only become closer and better through many, many hours of playing together over the last ten years. They deliver a dynamic mix of indie and garage rock – influences from Oasis meet those of The Strokes – that is gripping and inspired. The ten songs here (none from the ESNS show) are guitar-driven, with unstoppable melodies and charismatic vocals with a ragged edge. More than a few earworms, the best thing I never had.

The album isn’t on Bandcamp or Soundcloud in full yet, and I don’t like Spotify embeds, so I’ll leave you here with two of their videos – you can listen to the whole thing on all streaming services.

The Goa Express’ self-titled album is out now on vinyl LP (self-released).

Add to wantlist: The Goa Express

New singles: Amusement || Walk Out To Sink b​/​w You Will Never Hear This & Dead On The Inside

When a new band debuts with not one but two killer singles, I am going to make this short. Here’s Amusement, a new act by members of From Ashes Rise, Arctic Flowers and Deathreat that sounds like a major departure from those projects. The sole common denominator is its loudness, but Amusement opt for crunchy fuzzy guitars and pop melodies delivered with passion. Pretty sure the people involved looked at the Dinosaur jr., Hüsker Dü, Superchunk and Bob Mould portion of their collections and thought: wouldn’t it be fun to play something like this?

The first two singles by Amusement are statement releases. This band knows how to rock, and how to enter the scene with a bang.

The Walk Out To Sink b​/​w You Will Never Hear This 7″ is out now on Extinction Burst. Dead On The Inside 7″ is out now on Council Records.

Add to wantlist (Walk Out To Sink b​/​w You Will Never Hear This): Bandcamp
Add to wantlist (Dead On The Inside): Bandcamp

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of November 2023

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

In November there were cover releases from Cat Power (Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert), Juliana Hatfield (Sings ELO) and Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre (Call Me Animal: A Tribute to the MC5), but otherwise it was a slow month cover-wise. Yet we can once again list ten successful ones.

Enjoy the Silence || Cover: Iron Chic || Original: Depeche Mode
New York punks Iron Chic are back with the new digital single Ancient Pistol (self-released), featuring a heavy version of Depeche Mode’s 1990 synth-pop hit Enjoy The Silence on the virtual flipside. Dark, atmospheric and intense.

New album: Feeling Figures || Migration Magic

We stand on the brink of December, and we’ve cautiously started working on our Year-end-lists. It’s a time when late-year releases knock on the door of music bloggers, sometimes causing a bit of upheaval. Yet, occasionally, a release pops up that may bring the whole house down.

I’m talking about Migration Magic, the debut LP by Montreal’s Feeling Figures. This quartet unfurls a highly charged brand of outsider pop, weaving together elements of garage, (post)punk, twee, and indie rock into something that transcends categorization. Like a lost Velvet Underground record released by Flying Nun perhaps? But that description captures only part of the scrappy, ramshackle and wonderful appeal of Migration Magic. At the heart of Feeling Figures’ sonic landscape lies the songwriting synergy between founding member Zakary Slax and Kay Moon. Having Joe Chamandy and Thomas Molander of Retail Simps in the mix as well is kind of a big deal as well.

The raw, unpolished sound – mostly recorded live, the multilinguality and dual vocalism, it all contributes to the allure of Feeling Figures. Some of the songs feel like classics the first time you hear them. That applies to the original tracks, but in equal measure to the two covers. Feeling Figures turn Bobby Fuller’s Don’t Ever Let Me Know into an indie anthem with a chorus that practically demands to be belted out. The band’s cover of Harmonium’s Pour Un Instant is an even larger departure from the original, and it is a definite improvement and one of the funnest songs on the LP.

Listening to Migration Magic is like visiting a Theme Park full of wild rides, sweet treats, relaxed down time, short queues surrounded by the coolest people, and you never want the day to end. LP out now through K Records and Perennial.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers || The Age of Invention

This week’s imaginary award for most eclectic and exuberant album goes to Rory Danger & the Danger Danger‘s for their second full-length, The Age of Invention (their previous LP The Age Of Exploration was released in 2014, although they make it seem like it was 1914). We’re talking about New Orleans’ first and only theatrical stunt rock cooperative, a creative 7-piece that comes up with 22 tunes in which more happens than we can list. It’s a weird but effective melting pot of genres, styles, tempos and instruments, ranging from rockabilly and folk to musicals and soundscapes, from synths and saxophones to fiddles and flutes, from adventurous pieces of over 7 minutes to a cover of the Everly Brothers’ Bye Bye Love and advertising-like skits. Even the more straightforward songs (listen below) contain many inventive hooks and sounds, such as the organ alarm in Death Ray (“There are so many @#$$% buttons // And one of them is reddish in color, look at it”). Extravaganza rules, fun to the max.

The Age of Invention, produced by Bill Malchow, Andre Bohren and Aurora Nealand, is out now digitally and on vinyl 2LP (self-released). Featuring Rory Danger (vocals, saxophones, fiddle, flute, penny whistle), Pepe Peligroso (vocals, guitars, lap steel, cello), C-Jay Bongo Danger (guitar, percussion, vocals), Billy Digits Danger (piano, organ, synths, accordion, vocals percussion), Spike Danger (guitars, vocals, lap steel), Professor Potts (bass, screams) and D’Ranger Danger (drums), with various musical friends on selected tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Louisiana Music Factory

New album: State Drugs || Parade Of Red Flags

State Drugs are a sneaky good band from Denver, Colorado. Their latest album is called Parade Of Red Flags and is out now on Snappy Little Numbers & Ashtray Monument – the same labels that released their quite excellent 2021 LP Live. Laugh. Love.

On Parade Of Red Flags, State Drugs stay true to their signature sound. For the uninitiated, State Drugs play midpaced punkrock with a generous dose of alternative rock and pop. Get Samiam, Shades Apart and Buffalo Tom in a room together and you may end up with something sounding like State Drugs. As with their previous releases, Parade Of Red Flags is subtly captivating – like I said, this band is sneaky good. But opening with two standouts in Marathon To The Red Light and Crash Entry, it becomes immediately clear that this band wants you to be all ears. By the end of the record, they’ll have repaid you double.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Snappy Little Numbers || Ashtray Monument

New album: The Wanton Bishops || Under The Sun

About ten years ago, The Wanton Bishops made a very convincing debut with their Sleep With The Lights On LP, twelve tracks of irresistibly groovy blues rock laced with Middle Eastern influences. The genius behind the band, Beirut native Nader Mansour, then traveled through America’s deep south for a while, to experience the roots of Mississippi blues. That led to a freshly inspired musical vision and the long-awaited sophomore full-length album Under The Sun, both an exploration of identity and a love letter to his hometown. In the ten new songs here, the Delta swamps have made way for the Lebanese mountains, with a sound that is more eclectic and more electronic (and to be honest: less easy to grasp, which is not a bad thing). Nader explains: “It’s Lebanese rock, a new genre, a blueprint for future music. It’s not fusion, it’s confusion, it’s not world music, it’s rock music from the world, for the world.” Heavy, danceable, colorful and special at the same time. Ten years later, The Wanton Bishops manage to surprise and impress again.

Under The Sun, produced by Jules Apollinaire, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via gnu roam / Bucks Music Group. Featuring Nader Mansour (vocals, keyboards, synths), Jules Apollinaire (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Rene Van Diessen (drums).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Kartel Music Group

New album: Probleman || Kor har eg v​ø​rre i heile mett liv

Probleman (Trondheim, Norway) grabbed my interest with their debut EP last year. They hinted upon their debut album to be released in the first half of 2023. Apparently, it took a little longer but it is finally here. It is called Kor har eg v​ø​rre i heile mett liv (Where have I been all my life) and if it weren’t for the Norwegian in which these songs are sung, Probleman would be easily misidentified as an American band. But no, these emo tendencies and twinkly guitars are import only, Midtnorsk Emo for the win.

Kor har eg v​ø​rre i heile mett liv is out now on a very limited tape run of 60 at Slow Down Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Tyvek || Overground

Buckle up! There is no time for a warming up excercise on Tyvek’s latest album Overground. The race is on from the get-go, propelling you into a hyperactive collision of guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, and the free-flowing delivery of a talk-singer. While it might flirt with punk or post-something, Overground is unmistakably Tyvek, showcasing the Detroit band in all its frenetic glory.

After ten songs, Tyvek finally take their foot of the gas, letting you cool off and catch your breath to the closing title track. By its end, you are all ready for another tour of Overground. LP put now on Ginkgo Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Calling Hours || Say Less

Two years ago, Farside’s Popeye Vogelzang moved to Scranton (PA). Not because he’s a fan of the US version of The Office, but because he wanted to be with his soon-to-be wife. Landing in a different region, Vogelsang quickly started a new band with members of The Commercials and Don’t Sleep. Notably, this arrangement means that Don’t Sleep’s Garrett Rothman and Jim Bedorf currently share the stage with two iconic singers from the ’80s/’90s hardcore and punk scenes, with Dave Smalley being the other esteemed vocalist in the mix.

The Say Less EP is comprised of six heartland indie rock originals that are kind to the ears and a great vessel for the majestic voice of Popeye Vogelsang. Of the songs, Why Did It Have To Be Snakes and Heavy Future are probably closest to Farside, and Curtain Call stands out with its radio-friendly chorus. The EP ends on a high note with a masterfully executed cover of The Replacements’ Alex Chilton. Overall, I am enjoying this release a lot.

Like Farside, Calling Hours have found a home at Revelation Records. It blows my mind how much time has passed (and releases!) since REV: 69 (Farside’s final LP The Monroe Doctrine) and REV: 206 (this Calling Hours debut). Where did the time go?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Revelation Records

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