Alternative Rock

New album: The Revivalists || Pour It Out Into The Night

“Hey kid // Just sing the songs // That wake the dead then // You keep them ringing in your head, yeah.” American 8-piece rock ‘n’ roll collective The Revivalists are back with Pour It Out Into The Night, their 5th LP, and its opening song makes clear what it’s all about. David Shaw (lead vocals, guitar), Zack Feinberg (guitar), Andrew Campanelli (drums), George Gekas (bass), Ed Williams (pedal steel guitar), Rob Ingraham, (saxophone), Michael Girardot (keyboard, trumpet) and PJ Howard (drums, percussion) recorded 12 radio-friendly tracks – hits – with big ideas and a rich sound. It’s hard to pinpoint what they are reviving (the 2010s?), because the music here is quite original, especially in terms of diversity and orchestration. You will automatically sing along anyway: “These are the good old days.”

Pour It Out Into The Night, produced by Rich Costey (together with the band), is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Concord Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Concord || Discogs || The Revivalists

New album: Wisconsin Anger Team || Beyond the Everest Crater II

Wisconsin Anger Team are from (duh!) Wisconsin, which my foreign brain somehow always misspells as Winsconsin. Their new album is called Beyond the Everest Crater II and it follows Beyond the Everest Crater I. It was recorded between February and May of this year, and these cuts are as fresh as they sound neat. Wisconsin Anger Team play altpop infused punk rock that is noisy enough to scare away a mainstream audience but sufficiently melodic to become a new favorite band of outsiders who like their pop music hidden beneath loud guitars and fast drumming, their hooks huge yet unpolished. Do you love Hüsker Dü at its most melodic – think Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely? Do you love Green Day’s 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours? Do you like Neutral Milk Hotel? If a mix of those three sounds good, you will probably like this one.

I always try to include two or three songs in my posts as gateway songs for new listeners. It’s usually a good sign when I can’t decide which ones to share. This is that kind of record.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of May 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.

May brought us new cover releases of Munlet (Plays Devo), Dropkick Murphy’s (Okemah Rising, with lyrics by Woody Guthrie), Leftover Salmon (Grass Roots), Jarko & the Kandy Jar Joyride (Vagabond’s Delight), Healing Potpourri (Lagniappe Session) and Murder By Death (As We Wish), and various artists doing cartoon theme songs (Saturday Morning Lineup) and T. Rex (Elemental Child – The Words and Music of Marc Bolan). There was much more to choose from, but we would like to give the following ten tunes a prominent place on our stage. Perhaps our most eclectic selection to date?

Tall Cool One || Cover: Thomas Lauderdale & The Pilgrims || Original: The Wailers
In 1997 Portland, Oregon-based jazz orchestra Pink Martini released their debut album Sympathique. Reportedly, their bandleader Thomas Lauderdale also collaborated with the surf musicians – fellow townsmen – of The Pilgrims in the same period. The 13 tracks they recorded at the time are finally seeing the light of day: Thomas Lauderdale Meets The Pilgrims (Heinz Records) is out now digitally and on vinyl LP. It includes this showy cover of The Fabulous Wailers’ Tall Cool One, a favorite instrumental from the early days of garage rock – both the original and cover still sound contemporary.

New EP: The Redlines || Kick Out Tomorrow

The Redlines are a rock ‘n’ roll four-piece from north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, featuring Brian Seese (vocals, guitar), Jason Lizzi (guitar, vocals), Tony Vinski (bass, vocals) and Sandro Campagna (drums). They now follow up last year’s Kick Out Today EP with Kick Out Tomorrow, five new songs in which influences from garage rock, alt-country, heartland rock, blues and soul merge into a characterful travelogue. They kick things off in high gear (“Black wheels rolling // Tank full of gas // Pedal to the metal // Getting nowhere fast”), continue their way melodically (Drown in Gin), and then slow down in a heartfelt cover of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World. Next track Take What You Can Get is the big hit here, an infectious sing-along stomper, and then they leave us behind with a Hold Steady-esque life lesson (“A good haircut // and a great pair of boots is all I need”). This is a record full of energetic fun, not innovative but quite imposing.

Kick Out Tomorrow, produced/recorded/mixed by Eddie Ashworth and mastered by Gene “The Machine” Grimaldi, is out now digitally and on CD through Swade Records, and soon also on vinyl LP (the two mentioned EPs combined) through Katzulhu Productions. Kari Rutushin’s soulful backing vocals deserve a special mention here.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Katzulhu

New album: Delicious Monsters || Freedom Plastic Realistic?

Milwaukee quartet Delicious Monsters are something else. It’s not that they are left of the dial, they are the kind of band that erect their own radio station. By sheer conviction and their level of creativity, not because their music is too weird, or too extreme. In fact, you could make a case that the individual parts of their debut album Freedom Plastic Realistic? are in fact quite conventional. The vocals are melodic, and almost twee. The guitar work is a post punkish mix of angular chords, riffs and sweet tones. The bass and drums complement and contrast nicely. On paper, nothing to get all that excited about per se. In practice? Wow. Once Delicious Monsters put it all together, they become a force to be reckoned with.

I am going to namedrop Sleater-Kinney as a frame of reference for the music of Delicious Monsters. But, that’s just a starting point to manage your expectations. You’ll probably need only a couple of songs to know whether Delicious Monsters are playing at your wavelength or at a wavelength you aspire to hang out at. If so, you may very well have found your new favorite band.

Buy Freedom Plastic Realistic? on Tape at Tetryon Tapes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp ||  Tetryon Tapes

New album: JSR || The Other Women

The John Sally Ride is a New York City-based power pop project from multi-instrumentalist John Dunbar and drummer Sal Nunziato. John never liked it when the band name was abbreviated, yet he released this new LP under the JSR moniker, but now with a different meaning: The Other Women is John’s Solo Release. It’s a concept album that grew out of his curiosity: every time he met a woman whose name was associated with an iconic song, he used that as a conversation starter, and again and again he heard that such a tune was detested, especially because it’s always sung to her when she introduces herself. John saw it as a challenge to offer the victims an alternative narrative, and started to write new songs with those names in the title but with a contrasting theme. A commendable initiative that works out better than you might expect, although A Little Bit Of Rosie, Christine Sixty and Sheena Is A Prog Rocker don’t beat Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC), Christine Sixteen (KISS) and Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Ramones) in terms of sing-along scores. The ten songs on this coherent entity feel familiar, thanks to both the references and the sentimental pop melodies, but the fresh insights are captured in charming portraits to cherish.

The Other Women, produced by John Dunbar & Len Monachello, is released last January – digitally via Heartpunch. All instruments and vocals by John Dunbar.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Good Looking Son || Confirmed Bachelor

I love Keith Harman’s band The Cowboys, one of the more original punk bands in recent years. Harman also fronts Good Looking Son, a band in which he teams up with Jerome Westerkamp (Vacation), John Clooney (Vacation, Tweens), and Andrew Jody (Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Long Gones). Good Looking Son debuted in 2021 with a promising EP, and last Friday they released their highly anticipated debut LP Confirmed Bachelor. It’s a good one!

Confirmed Bachelor is suprisingly conventional and consistent for a Keith Harman record,  but special just the same. The LP has ten timeless outsider pop and rock originals with roots in the ’60s and ’70, and closes with an electrifying cover of the Bee Gees’ I Don’t Think It’s Funny. Some songs are instant crushes, like the powerpopesque Long Form Girlfriend and the psych pop-ish Forty Night Stand. Other songs take multiple plays to reveal their qualities or appeal. That mix between instant and delayed rewards is a testament to great songwriting.

Give Confirmed Bachelor multiple plays, fall for it and buy the LP sooner or later through Feel It Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Feel It Records

New album: Frankie Traandruppel || Castling

Named after Suicide’s Frankie Teardrop, Frankie Traandruppel (Belgium) is a project by Lee Swinnen, who has a past in Tubelight, Ero Guro and Double Veterans. After several EPs, Frankie Traandruppel is finally making his LP debut with the 19-song Castling. The LP compiles four EPs: Who Is Me Is You, Octospider, Yadda Yadda and Nature Calls – The latter makes up the final four songs of Castling and is released more or less simultaneously with the LP. It includes one of my favorite Frankie Traandruppel songs yet with And I Did Love You.

Castling has much more gems like that to offer – listen below for some gateway songs. The music of Frankrie Traandruppel is probably best described as slacker indie rock where the guitar work is in constant battle between janglin’, riffin’ and rockin’. Meanwhile Swinnen’s vocals are closer to talking and reciting than singing. It’s pretty great!

Castling is out now on LP through Ronny Rex, Démarrage Records and Feles Music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Feles

New album: Kicking Bird || Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Kicking Bird is an alternative rock band from Wilmington, North Carolina (US), Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is their full-length debut album without a movie attached (no, we’re not going to talk about Dances with Wolves). Tom Michels (bass, guitar, vocals), Shaun Paul (guitar, bass, vocals), Shaylah Paul (keyboards, vocals), Robin Cooksley (guitar) and Greg Blair (drums) claim to have stolen chords and melodies from some of our favorite early 2000s’ indie names, who of course had also been inspired by their predecessors themselves (telling lyrics in closing track Rip Off: “He said: it sounds like Townes // I said: everything’s a rip off”), yet everything here sounds quite fresh and original in 2023. You’ll hear eleven guitar-driven rock tracks with influences from punk, Americana, 60s girl groups and power pop – energetic music with relatable stories, infectious hooks, woo-hoo’s and hand claps, and awesome harmony vocals. This just might be one of those records that future artists will be stealing from in 20 years.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Fort Lowell Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Fort Lowell

New album: Single Mothers || Roy

Although Single Mothers (better found online as SM Worldwide, if you want to avoid ads for dating sites) broke up in 2009 according to their bio, they are releasing another full-length six months after their previous album, Everything You Need. Drew Thomson’s London, Ontario-based indie punk band wasn’t supposed to be a band, but that doesn’t stop them from recording great songs and delivering impressive live shows. The cover art of their Roy LP nicely depicts that they have (and had) different faces in every way – band members, topics, genres and sounds may vary. On the ten new songs, the punk roots have shifted to the background in exchange for dynamic indie rock (post-hardcore? post-punk? post-rock?), and that suits them well. The clever (more personal) lyrics and fiery (distinctive) vocals are again quite amazing, the music is energetic and at times incredibly catchy. Standout track Sad Dumb Game (watch a live version below) is an earworm that should be a big hit, but there are many more reasons to add this record to your wantlist.

Roy is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Dine Alone Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dine Alone || Discogs

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