For the forthcoming Berwanger album, Exorcism Rock — the second for the band, and first for label Doghouse Records — frontman Josh Berwanger has more in mind than just 11 tracks of exceedingly catchy rock ‘n’ roll. As if four different vinyl variants weren’t enough, there’s going to be an action figure variant.
Yes, indeed. An action figure tied to a new album isn’t new, obviously — Major Lazer and Less Than Jake have both released vinyl toys to tie in with records — but this might be the first to be blister-carded to the front of an LP. It’s such a crazy and cool idea, we reached out to Berwanger, as well as the man making it, Aaron of indie toymaker, Retroband. Not only did we get to hear about the new collaboration, but we have the exclusive first look at the Exorcism Rock toy.
Combining the best of two worlds of classic cinema scores, the Night Terrors‘ Pavor Nocturnus is an absolute blast. Working in tandem as it does with sci-fi theremin and a huge pipe organ, all of this album sounds akin to modern rescore of something like Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires — horror in space, essentially.
Recorded on the largest pipe organ in the western hemisphere, which stands an astonishing 32 feet high and uses two motors to power the whole thing, one at 15 horsepower, and the other at 20. The sound this thing is far more powerful than any synthesizer could ever hope to be. There’s just a deep resonance to Pavor Nocturnus I’ve not heard in a recording before. The grandiosity of the pipe organ actually allows for quite a study in contrasts. Continue reading →
For those who love music and books, there’s nothing finer than Bloomsbury’s critically acclaimed 33 1/3, which examines individual, seminal albums, in pocket books that pack a punch. The 33 1/3 series celebrates its 100th book, on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, on Thursday, September 11 and will be having a party for its 10th anniversary on Thursday, October 2, at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn.
Ally Jane Grossan is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury. She edits academic books in the realms of pop music and sound studies and is editor of the 33 1/3 series, taking over from founding editor David Barker in November 2012. She is also co-editor of the forthcoming textbook, How to Write About Music. We spoke with Grossan via e-mail about the series and its history. Continue reading →
Soft Skull Press always presents a unique twist with its biographies or memoirs. It’s never just a straightforward history of the titular individual, but rather an analysis of the environment which produced the subject. In the case of W. Scott Poole‘s Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror, the author uses the ’50s horror host as an entry point to discussing the era’s social mores and how the woman born Maila Nurmi challenged the status quo.
The author has a wealth of information on which to draw. Sadly, little of it is regarding Vampira herself. There’s minimal evidence of her television program, and what remains of her work is, essentially, bit parts in a few films. The thing for which she garnered her initial acclaim exists only anecdotally, leading to a great amount of speculation on Poole’s part. Continue reading →
Three upcoming singles from Slovenly Records, as well as one (PUFF!) on their new imprint, Mondo Mongo. These all came into my inbox at the same time, so they’re all getting reviewed simultaneously. Each review was limited to a certain amount of space, and I kept to that, in the interest of brevity.
The Anomalys – “Deadline Blues” b/w “No More!”
Ignore the a-side, which is pretty rote, even though there’s a nice reverb on the guitar tone. The vocals are so high up in the mix as to irritate, especially given the tone-deaf delivery. The crazed drumming and insistent background vocals on “No More!” make it the far more interesting track on here. It’s frantic and the surf bridge makes it completely danceable. You can freak the fuck out on that one. Continue reading →
Due out next week from Sickroom Records is the debut release from Italian trio Kippi’s, entitled Semplice Como Nuvole. It’s a fascinating combination of motorik post-punk rhythms and psychedelic influences. The whole album is frankly hypnotic. Coming as it does right as the weather’s warming up, we can see this getting a lot of windows down, volume up play around the house, and especially in the car. We were lucky enough to get to ask frontman Daniel Mana a few questions about the band and their album via e-mail. Continue reading →
Potpourri of Pearls‘ We Went to Heaven has been playing down here in the basement, in the living room, at work, and various places over the past week. I’ve been trying to figure out if my initial impressions of it being amazing and weird have held up to repeated listens.
Honestly, the first time I listened to We Went to Heaven, the whole ’80s worship thing was a fun angle — especially the fact they were lifting Erasure, making this a refreshing switch from bands who’ve been swiping New Order’s sound for the better part of two decades. Continue reading →
Pairing Adventures with Run Forever is such a ridiculously perfect idea, it’s basically one of those “shut up and take my money!” releases. Adventures’ dreamy indie pop has a certain angular melodicism to it that hints at part of the band’s involvement with Code Orange Kids. It especially comes out in the feedback-drenched ends to their songs.
Run Forever, however, works it a little differently. Rather than fading out their songs, they opt for epic intros, leading into harmonies suited perfectly for lifted hands and heartfelt sing-alongs. The bands compliment one another, and they’re both on the rise, so why wouldn’t the two acts come together? Continue reading →
We’ve talked about asthetics I’m not down with before — the whole Hot Water Music thing being beyond my comprehension, for example — and I’m trying to figure out what it is about Ex Friends‘ full-length, Rules For Making Up Words, that turns me off.
Just a few months back, I was excited beyond all belief regarding their Twisted Around 7-inch. Now, listening to this record that they’ve released on Paper + Plastick, I’m just kind of watching it tick by in iTunes, waiting for the damned thing to be over.
For lack of a better thing, I think it’s kind of like my Dillinger Four preferences. I love D4 songs with Paddy on vocals, and get kind of ambivalent toward Erik songs, but I’m pretty all right with songs where they both sing. Same thing goes for Ex Friends — I love Audrey Crash‘s vocals, but am kind of turned off by Joel Tannenbaum‘s delivery. Continue reading →
Oh, man — can power-pop be the next big thing in underground rock ‘n’ roll? We got the ball rolling with the Exploding Hearts, Missing Monuments, and Mean Jeans, but it hasn’t seemed to become a “thing” like lo-fi, shitgaze, or whatever. However, given that we’ve got the #1s getting released in the states, and this Nightmare Boyzzz LP hitting about the same time, I’m hopeful.
Bad Patterns, out in two weeks on Slovenly Recordings, is truly wonderful. I’ve been returning to it more and more over the last week or so, and with each listen, I find something new to like about it. Granted, it’s not like these Huntsville boys are breaking out for new territory with this release. It hearkens back to quite a few other artists, taking pop-punk’s energy and the bouncy guitar rhythms of glam, and merging them with any number of early ’80s acts that came on the heels of the Buzzcocks and the Undertones. Continue reading →