The Rockometer: Feels Like by Bully
In a recent interview with Humanity Magazine, quoted by Rolling Stone, '90s rock goddess, Courtney Love lamented the sad state of women in mainstream alternative rock. "I'm the last chick on alternative radio that they’ll play, and it’s really kind of stupid," she said.
Bully's Alicia Bognanno has something to say about women in rock, too. Her band's debut album, Feels Like, is an adrenaline fueled trip down memory lane to a time that really isn't that too far in the past when the original Riot Girls inspired '90s chart toppers like Hole, L7, and, um, Lisa Loeb. No really, listen to Bognanno and one moment she shows all the vulnerability of a first-timer at open mic night, like a Lisa Loeb, and the next moment she's raging like Courtney Love, born and bred in the seedier spots of the rock scene.
The Rockometer: Success by KEN Mode
Success, the sixth album by Winnipeg noise-rockers, KEN Mode, is not a happy album. Look at the cover. Dude is down as down can get, and that's cool. Not everyone can make lemonade out of lemons, as they say. Some prefer to wade in life's shit canal with a fifth of cheap liquor and a full pack of smokes. We won't judge KEN Mode for preferring the shit canal over a lemonade stand, especially not when their low end, post-hardcore rumble proves such an apt compliment for a man's litany of grievances.
Play Me: “Starved For” by Strange Wilds
There's nothing fancy, or particularly strange, about "Starved For," by the Olympia, Washington power trio, Strange Wilds, and, that's exactly what makes it so enjoyable. Their plug-in, rock out attitude can be traced back to the '90s and bands like Mudhoney and Seaweed, and even contemporary neighbors like Milk Music. Clocking in at just under three minutes, the bullshit-free "Starved For," has enough time for some good licks and some good shouts. Give me ten more tracks like this one and I'll be a happy man.
The Rockometer: Perfect World by Uniform
Perfect World is not my perfect world, it is not your perfect world, it is not anyone's perfect world save for some dead existentialist whose idea of a perfect world is only shared by freshman liberal arts majors who've had their mind totally blown by pot and a longhair adjunct in intro to philosophy. This thing is dark and dreadful. It's the audio equivalent of city juice, the putrid brown-yellow waste water of unknown origins seeping out of urban streets and stinking the skies. Yet, this world created Ben Greenberg (The Men) and Michael Berdan (Drunkdriver), out of mashed and mangled guitars, harsh effects and harsher vocals is wholly necessary in that cliched only pain can bring happiness kind of way.
Play Me: “If Death Ever Slept” by Destruction Unit
If the lead preview track, "If Death Ever Slept" by Destruction Unit is any indication of what's to come, there will be no radio-friendly unit-shifters on the band's forthcoming album, Negative Feedback Resistor (out September 18th on Sacred Bones). Instead, the most apt named band in underground rock, remains steadfast in their singular intent to destroy things.
Play Me: “High” by Royal Headache
It's been far too long since we last heard from Sydney garage rockers, Royal Headache. Their debut album came out in 2011 in Australia, a year later hear in the States, and between then and now their recorded output consisted of a 7" for Matador Records' singles club. It was a sweet single, sure, but a voice like Shogun's, one of sandpaper and blue-eyed soul legends and lofty range, shouldn't be a secret held by Aussie rock aficionados. It needs to be heard.
Watch Me: “Ong Ong” by Blur
There's a Blur review of their new album, The Magic Whip, sitting unfinished in draft. It exists, much like The Magic Whip exists. Really, the only thing I can say about The Magic Whip is that it exists. It's not about to replace Parklife as everyone's favorite Blur album. It won't inspire new listeners to explore Blur's back catalog. Neither, is it an embarrassment. It's mature, idiosyncratic melodies exist in a state of blah.
Play Me: “Deeper Into Movies (Remake)” and “Automatic Doom” by Yo La Tengo
The tea leaves said something was up with Yo La Tengo. Recently the band played a surprise show by alter ego, Condo Fucks, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the NYC venue, The Cake Shop. You know Yo La Tengo, always playful and always challenging expectations, it could have been a one off. But I had suspected something else was up. Maybe a new Condo Fucks album was in the works? I was almost right. There is a new Yo La Tengo album (Stuff Like That There) on the way and it's a nod to their 1990 album of (mostly) covers, Fakebook, but as the two preview tracks show it's more in the folk vein, then the gnarly garage rock of Condo Fucks.