Hard driving and ferocious Slut Magic’s “No Loyalty” is the type of song that makes me want to headbang for the first time in years. It’s got the right tone, swagger and bite to really get under your skin. Their seven song LP is out now, and definitely something I’ll be trying to get my hands on.
I feel like a broken record, but RiotGrrl is definitely making a comeback in a strong way, and bands like Slut Magic make it a welcome return!
Wax Idols’ “Mausoleum” has one of those sounds where you can’t tell if it was recorded any time in the last 40 or so years. This lack of a definitive stamp gives the song a strength and reliability of sound that isn’t following any fleeting trend.
The fuzzed out VHS aesthetic of the video also gives the song an out of time quality that gives the video a wight without resorting to cheap nostalgia.
Straight out of the vein of late 90’s K Records,“Feelings” by Seattle’s Anime Creek lay down pop perfect hooks with an arch humor that really reaches out to the listener to pull them in.
Listening to other tracks on the album “Dark Optimism, Dark Poptimism” it plays out like the long lost great Twee album that we never got at the height of indie pop. Definitely an album I’ll be listen to over and over.
St. Louis’ Pono AM delivers on the buzzy poppy hollowed out garage rock that we all love and desire. The video for their latest single “Creator” is a psychedelic whip-lash inducing dash in a claustrophobic space.
From the few other songs of their’s I’ve found online I would have to say that the band is showing a lot of potential, and I for one can’t wait to hear more.
“Live” by SKRRT brings back all the grit and grime of 70’s New York No Wave all the way from the sunny shores of California. These 6 tracks, coming in just over 12 minutes show a band that’s already evolving into something interesting and unique while exploring the genre’s twisted mania.
Rebecca Lou’s track “Bitch U Look Good” is a raw and powerful song about female empowerment in an age where songs like this are really needed. With powerful vocals and a massive guitar chug it’s definitely hard to ignore in all of it’s riotgrrl inspired majesty. It’s been on repeat for the last week or so, definitely an album that will have to be checked out.
Anyone who regularlly follows this blog would know that I would be hard-pressed to find something about this song that I don’t completely love, and that’s not hyperbole. This well charged burner is off of their album “Beauty Pageant”. It’s one of those songs that should be so painfully obvious in it’s brilliance that I kind of feel like I’m cheapening it by actually trying to put into words why you should like it.
This is the kind of music that keeps me excited to hear new bands.
The undeniable patchouli smell of 70’s stoner metal permeates the air around “Black Cats”, with humongous Sabbath-esq riffs the song is both catchy as well as heavy. It’s really good to hear metal music that isn’t just “grunting over music” again and The Strips are a great example of how to do melodic stoner metal well.
Checking out their soundcloud page, they have many solid tracks and are well worth checking out.
Off-kilter to the point of nearly being arrhythmic, Lost Talk’s “Chrome Alone” has a really unique and skittering drum sound that might not come across with the sheer brilliance that it portrays the first time you listen to it, but is well worth the investment for those brave enough to break through it’s tough exterior.
With it’s approachable vocals and bass, it’s interesting to see a band take these interesting challenges in their music. I can’t wait to hear more to see if the rest of the album is as complex and as interesting as this track.
The first word that comes to mind hearing “Sunburn” by Tongues of Fire, is tough. This hard hitting, rough and tumbled sound really stands out in a scene that is becoming increasingly coy and vague. Clocking in just over 2 minutes the song gets in and out leaving you wanting more. Definitely a track that’s worth investing multiple listens into.
Animal Hands’ “Mirror and the Blade” is the kind of dark and straight forward goth rock that made Souixee and the Banshees famous. I really can’t say enough about it’s naked unabashed desire to make a great rock song. From vocalist Danielle Whalebone’s solid coo to the tight post-punk of the band this is definitely a song worth checking out.
Netherlands punk act Abdomen play the kind of fuzzy / brash and in your face that can’t be ignored. Their single “Lies” is the first song from their upcoming LP “Emetophobia” is a lo-fi buzz saw that cuts through all the nonsense and simply rocks.
From the the rubbery bass, to the coo-ing vocals – “Projector” screams 90–early 2000’s indie pop in all the best ways. To say that fuxcanada is just a nostolgia act would bring the band a great disservice however, from their angular guitar sounds to their syrupy synth strings, they’re really bringing something new and fresh to the sound by making it their own.
If you are unfamiliar with Portland’s Young Elk or Minnesota’s Low, I hope that this is a good introduction to both of them. Straying (not too far) away from their late 90’s emo-folk aesthetic Young Elk brings us their interpretation of Low’s “Murderer” this softly sinister track oozes unease and menace.
This version of Murderer is coming out soon on vinyl through Holiday Breath, be sure to check it out.
As I told The Golden Web when they sent me this track, if I were to turn down this video, I’d have to change the name to something other than Pop Occulture. “The Emperor” is big hooky phased T-Rex rock at it’s best. Bouncy with just the right amount of flashy guitar playing, it’s hard to call this anything other than tasteful psychedelia in comparison to all the sloppy jam psych that’s been flooding my way as of late.
Considering that their album is titled “ACIDCHRIST SUPERSPICE & THE CANDYBOYS” I can’t wait to hear what kind of mind-blowing experience is in store.
When people ask me what kind of music I like, my canned response is “Big Dumb Rock”, while this might sound like I’m being dismissive of the very thing that I love, but The Ramones are big dumb rock, Suicide is big dumb rock, The Beatles despite all the charades of high artistry are a big dumb rock band. Banzai Cliff (I hope they don’t mind me saying this) fit squarely in that category.
“Too Young To Die” has hooks big enough to catch Jaws, and has one of those melodies that makes you wonder the entire time that you’re listening to where you’ve heard it before. It sounds like it could have been recorded nearly any time in the past 60 years without hallmarks of when and where it was created. This type of timelessness isn’t easy to come by, and every time I hear something like it I just have to press repeat until my head explodes.
So the second I say that something is a “first” on Pop Occulture, I then run over it by doing it again. Here are two tracks by Slow Roar, “Be The Bleed” & “Honey” with one foot in The Jesus and Mary Chain and one foot deeply into the PJ Harvey territory. These tracks both have a visceral quality that has one foot in the Dionysian and one foot in the Apollonian, it’s this cerebral hedonism that marks the songs as being too dichotomous to really put your finger on.
Sorry for the big words, I try to avoid theme. When music like this comes across my desk however, I turn into a huge drooling nerd over it. It’s hard to say how fucking good this music is without whipping out a few $5 words. Check them out, buy their stuff, show them your love.
It’s hard to think of a song that’s this dark that also swings, bringing together divergent sounds from 80’s new wave to early 2000’s industrial the track has a really good over all feel that also has the unique perspective of alternating male/female vocals. LA Transplants Vowws’ “Esseff” is one of those unique tracks that bridge the gap between what is dark and what is poppy.
BONUS Track (a first on Pop Occulture)
“Councillor” is a great track that brings a great VHS aesthetic to the video without it being stale or cliche. It’s definitely one of the better darkwave songs I’ve heard in ages.
Walking into this song, the thing that I wasn’t expecting was the industrial level of aggression in front-woman Bex’s vocals. If they hadn’t self-identified as punk I would have been more than tempted to slot them in with the Al Jourgensen(s) of the world. The production on “Bang Says the Gun” is massive, there isn’t an inch of sonic space that isn’t covered in this 2:30 onslaught of brilliant sound.
Checking out their back catalog, I was only disappointed for about 2 seconds when “Queen Bitch” didn’t turn out to be a Bowie cover, however, that’s another great song in it’s own right. Definitely a band I’ll be listening to their limited back catalog over and over for a while now.
I have to admit it, this is the first time I actually sat down to see what other people were saying about the artist that I’m writing about. It’s not because I’m a lazy hack writer who needs other people’s input to decide what I think about an artist. Alright, I’m not just a lazy hack… However, it’s the simple fact that “Sideways” is such an aberration of a song that I didn’t even know where to start.
Even after reading the other articles, I have no idea how to explain this song.
The first thing that strikes you about “Sideways” is the T-Rex styled cowbell stride of the opening, which leads into P.J. Harvey level vocals that are singing what feel like heavily confessional singer/songwriter lyrics. I’ve been listening to this song regularly for days, and I still don’t know how to describe it other than that it’s a song that you should be listening to right now.
As far as garage-pop psychedelia goes, there’s not much out there that is touching the Syd Barrett levels of lysergic insanity the way The Rotten Mangos are. This tight little two-piece from Texas, infuse their paisley lollipop with a raw earnestness that elevates it above the bland pastiche of many retro rock in the same vein.
If this was 20 years ago, I could easily see them slip into the midst of the Elephant 6 collective. Being so far removed from that, I would call a great anomaly that deserve all the sunshine they collect.
One of the fastest re-appearances in the history of Pop Occulture, Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS?’s new single “Bambi Act” is the shining example of Organ Pop that doesn’t fall apart into a mess of nostalgia or overt tweeness. For a genre that really hasn’t ever fared well in my opinion of it, “Bambi Act” as well as their previous single “Sheep” come alive and have a power behind them that is undeniable.
Already becoming one of the few bands I bother reading their press releases, because most just aren’t entertaining. HYESTJFAVHS’s Ekku Lintunen describes the song as follows –
“A man falls for another man. Man goes for a sex change operation, and now as a woman, charms her beloved; soon, we can hear their wedding bells. Happiness proves to be false, and she’s ultimately rejected. Shocked by this dreadful event, unhappy incidents occur, and through wrong choices she ends up on the street turning tricks with her decaying body. What’s your interpretation?”
Well I don’t know that my interpretation would be, but that might not have been the first thing to spring to mind. “Bambi Act” officially marks the fact that I’m a huge fan of the band and hope to see more in the future. Which is evident because I don’t even think I wrote this much about the last Iggy Pop record.
The song comes in with a stiff Factory Records beat that really sets the tone of how the song is going to be going from there on out. From the blurry vocals to the driving bass line, the song just screams post-punk in all the right ways, add in a little Psychocandy flavor and you’re just about there.
Comparing the song to these benchmarks really isn’t to detract from how well crafted Sunstinger’s “Polarized” is. It’s a spot on dark pop song supported by excellent song-writing as well as a dynamic performance. It’s really a shame that I’ve only been able to find two of their songs online.
Assertive sounding without shedding itself of the romantic emotionalism of the 3 minute pop song, Cooler’s “Buried” has the cinematic quality of a coming of age movie – all tears then good feelings. Not to say that the song is inherently sad, but there is a wistful quality that is shot through the song via distance and reverb.
This is one of those songs out of time, as I could hear this being recorded any year since the late 70’s and it wouldn’t be out of place. It’s a timeless quality that really gives the song a sense of strength that really keeps the song going after the 50th time you’ve listened to it. (Yeah, sorry 50 of those plays were me)
Cincinnati’s The Pistol Mystics come hot out of the gate with massive riffs that hover between nostalgic and fresh at the same time. Reminding me of a “hot-rod rock” version of how The Ramones took the classic girl-group sound and made it new again by stripping it down and making it raw.
Listening to the rest of the EP, it shows that The Pistol Mystics are someone to be keeping your eyes and ears on.
With sharp playing, and vocals that boarder on PJ Harvey territory, Swamp Child’s “Sweet Honeybee” focuses on the type of blues rock that bands like the Black Keys used to pull off so well.
Definitely a slow burner, but well performed and polished without losing any grit or personality. Recorded in Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone, you can really hear the analog sensibility without it hitting you over the head with too much grit.
One of my favorite songs that I’ve heard off of Burger/Lollipop in a while… The Prefab Messiahs “Everything U No” come in with all the pop smarts and guitar riffs that both labels have been known for. However, there is something very interesting about their focus on noisey guitar that’s been lacking in a lot of garage pop these days.
Not to mention the epilepsy inducing video that is one of the more interesting visuals I’ve seen in a while. “Everything U No” is a nice little package, and I look forward to hearing more from the Messiahs.
If I were to tempt you with the premise of Kim Deal joining Echo and the Bunnymen doesn’t get you to press play. Not only should you stop reading this article, but you should also probably stop coming to this page. Because we just won’t be able to be friends anymore.
With all the menace and malice of any of the best 80’s goth bands, the song keeps a steady trod while showcasing excellent guitar skills, along with the lovely vocal interplay between the male and female vocalists.. Going to have to check out their album when it comes out soon!