Bim don't quit. Clevelander, Lamont "Bim" Thomas writes, records, and tours as Obnox as often as other musicians tweet their lamebrain opinions on shit they don't know shit about, which is all the damn time. 2015 has already seen to Obnox albums: Boogalou Reed and Know America, and today, we get the first taste of Bim's third release of 2015 in the form of "Look to the Sun" from Wiglet, due out later this year on Ever/Never. This one is a slow, purposeful crusher with deliberate, doom metal guitars rendered in static, and vocals, half spoken and half sung, blurred by the rumble. It's not a happy song, in the least, but damn am I happy Bim keeps doing his thing.
Not to be confused with The Ty Segall Band, Fuzz is that other band from the prolific, left-coast garage rocker, Ty Segall. And like Fuzz's 2013 release, "Rat Race" and "Pollinate" from Fuzz's forthcoming, In the Red Records release on 10.23, both feature that smoked out, heavy duty blues sound your longhaired uncle dropped out to in 1973.
Political punk rock comes with a unique risk. What if all the causes you've been championing have been overtaken by more pressing issues by the time your album hits the streets? In our era, dominated by hot takes and social media firestorms, remaining topical is even more difficult. When you consider anarcho-punk forebearers, Crass were left to question their own strategy after Thatcher began and ended the Falkland's War in the early '80s while the band worked for more than a year on the double album, Christ - The Album, a modern band surely faces an even more daunting task, right?
Who cares about Occupation Wall Street any more? In the past month gay marriage is the law of the land and the Confederate flag has (finally) become a poisonous symbol. A diplomatic, nuclear arms treaty with Iran has been agreed upon and a Cuban flag is flying outside of an embassy in Washington DC. The United States of 2015 is a far different place than the United States of 2012, when Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, and his long, dormant band, Desaparecidos reunited for a second round of incendiary arena-punk.
The fact that the music of Sydney's Royal Headache generates instant comparisons to past greats like The Nerves or The Jam is in no way a knock on the band. Rather, it's a compliment of the highest order. Listen to this new jam, "Another World," and how its gravely, high-energy mix cannot hide the quartet's pop acumen. It's perfect pop, played with vigor, sung with soul, as if Royal Headache first ones to stumble upon the formula.
Beautiful, simply beautiful. No, not that part about the apocalypse happening in the background as Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley calmly strolls through her neighborhood whispering a joyful song. I wouldn't wish the apocalypse on anyone. Yo La Tengo's cover of The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" is beautiful as its stripped down to its basics -- A light, uplifting melody supported by patient, thoughtful strums.
How in hell's infernal blazes to they get all that heft to fit on those blasted bits? It's a fair question to ask when pondering Virginia heavies, Windhand. Sunn O))) rivals Windhand in heavy, but Sunn O))) are slow and heavy, working with overwhelmingly black canvases, getting the most out of small variations in black, from total black to blackest ever black. Windhand actually, move, slowly, with measured, purposeful steps. And, not only do they move, vocalist Dorthia Cottrell does wonders with her voice that is one part enchantress (think psychedelic folk artist, Jesse Sykes), and one part cursed (here, your comparison would be long-passed grunge icon Layne Stayley). Time and again, I ask myself how do Windhand do it? You hear echoes of their work in grunge, metal and modern doom, but no one is quite like Windhind. So instead of contemplating physics and the bounds of modern electronics, I just sit and listen and take it all in. What a beautiful heavy!
So, hey, this new Libertines album is actually happening. The lads stayed sober enough to write, record, and even shoot a promotional clip for the first single, "Gunga Din."
This is all good, promising stuff, and even more promising when you click play below.
"Gunga Din," begins with a bottomed out shuffle of second-wave ska, recalling The Specials' "Ghost Town," more in spiritual manner than in a literal, note for note way. But instead of sulking about the streets, struggling to stay on their feet, as Libertines are wont to do, Pete Doherty and the boys perk up, rip shit up and turn this downer into a boisterous pub anthem.