Top Jam: “Sour Candy” by Bleached
If I was Little Steven, Bleached's "Sour Candy" would be the coolest song in the world. I'm not Little Steven, I'm Bill, so "Sour Candy" is a top jam that wouldn't sound out of place on Little Steven's Underground Garage. It has that vibe of that period in the '70s where the lines between punk, power pop and hard-rock were blurred and no matter which scene you identified with, you could find something to love about the lady rockers in Bleached.
Jam On It! New Jams by Cat’s Eyes, Yuck, and Purling Hiss
Why doesn't anyone make lists on the internet any more? Here's a list, a list of some of my favorite downers in rock:
Nick Cave, Elliot Smith, Robert Smith of The Cure, Spiritualized's J Spaceman, Faris Badwan of The Horrors and Cat's Eyes.
Faris who? I feel like I say this every time I write about the Horrors, but Badwan's post-punk downer band, The Horrors, have been criminally overlooked here in the States release after release. 2009's Primary Colors should have been album of the year, everyone's album of the year. Hell, I don't know if it was even my album of the year. Someone google that. What I'm getting at, is that this man, here paired with the classically trained Rachel Zeffira, is capable of stop your heart and drop moments.
Play Me: “Another World” by Royal Headache
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.
Mikal Cronin’s New Jam, “ii) Gold,” Is the Jam
The best power pop artists, from Big Star on through Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, and Sloan, make it sound so easy that they leave you wondering why aren't more bands capable of the perfect three-minute rock single every time? After all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or even a drummer, to write a simple melody and put a guitar on it.
Jam City: New Jams by Lightning Bolt, Blaxxx, Joanna Gruesome and Colleen Green
Six years is an eternity in modern music. In six years, your old fan-base has grown up, moved to the suburbs, and bought a baby-hauling, suburban utility vehicle, or two.
It's not like the influential, noise duo, Lightning Bolt, intended such a long delay between albums, either. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Brian Gibson and Brian Chippendale recounted multiple recording sessions that simply fell flat.
Play Me: “Made My Mind Up” by Mikal Cronin
Mikal Cronin's newest record, MCIII (out 5.5 on Merge), is being billed as his attempt at going big. For power pop artists, like Cronin, big is a relative term: ask Big Star or Sloan or Teenage Fanclub or Matthew Sweet. In terms of money and in terms of exposure, there's only so big a power-pop singer like Cronin can get, especially in today's music landscape where rock music has had to learn to accept its second-tier status.
Play Me: “Nights in the Dark” by California X
Don't be alarmed by the D&D inspired album art on the embed below. California X are still the same band of rippers who make motorcycle rock for people who'd rather stomp a Steppenwolf LP than consider the possibility that their old man has good taste in music
A Jam Packed Friday with Ty Segall, Nude Beach, Sloan, Lower Plenty, and The Afghan Whigs
Ty the Ripper is back. After a quiet end to 2013 with the downcast, and appropriately named solo album, Sleeper, garage-rock guitar hero, Ty Segall has returned to doing what he does best -- Ripping, shredding, going apeshit on guitar, giving zero fucks about being able to hear past the age of 40, sounding like Kurt Cobain stuck in San Francisco circa 1973, etc, exclamation point.