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!
Unlike this solo project’s last coverage on Pop Occulture, Gregory Richard’s “Hoop Earrings” is far less Psychobilly than an expertly crafted combination of Nick Cave and Tom Waits that lies somewhere between a psycho-sexual drama and the compulsive ruminations of a murderer (maybe both? definitely has a murder ballad feel).
So far, listening to Gregory Richard’s album, there’s no doubting how talented he is as a musician and how far reaching his influences are. Definitely worth checking out.
Sounding more like MGMT, than they themselves have for over 3 albums now. argonaut&wasp’s “Psychedelic Freak”, contains all the right psychedelic and 80’s synth that brought the previous band such great acclaim.
This song song has a booty shaking synth bass and drums a song designed to get you up off your ass, along with funk guitar and fellseto vocals that bring to mind everyone from Prince to well… everyone who’s ever successfully imitated Prince. Worth the listen!
Slightly more ambient than our previous outing with Pink Milk “Kill 4 U”, and fades out painfully short of what feels like a total pay off, their new outing “Muscles” is still a worthy investment of your listening hours.
The visuals alone are a hallucinatory Liquid Television vision that will keep you wondering what someone put in your drink.
Coming straight out of a cloud of what I assume to be patchuli smoke comes the Pansies’ “Green Apple Eyes”, it’s hard to think of a more authentically pop-psych sounding song that has come out in recent memory. With it’s Nuggets style production down to it’s authentic sounding effects. It’s definitely a song that knows what it’s trying to sound like.
Pansies new album is coming out soon, and will definitely be on my list of things to pick up.
The Coffinhunters are a post-punk band from Ohio, their haunting and hunted sounding song “Get Lost” sounds like it came straight off of a compilation put out by Projeckt records. It’s tight and churning, and has been stuck in my head since the first time I listened to it over a week ago. I don’t know what started all the post-punk bands forming lately (Killed by Deathrock, maybe) whatever started it it, I applaud all of the great new bands coming out.
Sometimes I just have a post-punk itch that needs to be scratched, and The Foreign Resort’s “Suburban Depression” fits that bill to a t. From the gated reverbed snares, to the Peter Hook-ish bass. The Foreign Resort plunders the genre for all of it’s best trappings, and put their own spin on it.
There is just something deeply satisfying about when “goth” is done right, as it has definitely been done here – like the feel of the 8th day of wearing the same depression bathrobe while you sit and watch the weather turn a little more gray outside of your window everyday. Oh, did I just reveal too much about how I’ve spent my week? Sorry for that.
Definitely a song to check out, I’ve also been delving deep into their Part Time Punks sessions. Be sure to check them out.
From second one, you know what kind of song that Angry Skeletons’ “Floating Awkwardly” will be. Coming in like a track off the second half of Incesticide, the song is the kind of brazen furious tracks that feels as cathartic as a session of Primal Scream therapy.
“Floating Awkwardly” might just be one of the most aggressive tracks to come along in a long time that doesn’t sound like the typical 90’s grunt rock or metal knockoff. Definitely a band worth checking out further, if I had any kind of rating system this song might break it. Listen up!
Oddly the most out of the ordinary song that I’ve posted in a while is a pretty straight forward and well written indie rock track by the one and only Sonny Baker (strike that, there’s probably a lot of Sonny Bakers, but this one is pretty damn good and has a good sound) “Reluctant Thief” is a slow burn that nearly sound krautrock in it’s locked groove minimalism that keeps the song moving forward to it’s mini-meltdown at the end.
“Reluctant Thief” is the kind of indie rock song that would have gone global circa 2000, while that sounds like a bad thing it’s actually a bad thing for the rest of the world because this song is a damn good song that has possibly one of the most solid singles I’ve heard in a really long time.
I can only assume that Snuffed by the Yakuza’s “Trippin” is a literal representation of what it would sound like walking into a hardcore show out of your mind with a head-full of windowpane. If you don’t know what that is kiddos don’t go checking it out, drugs are bad, fun to read about but very very bad for you. Now back to this song that I fully endorse that suggests that we all take hallucinogens.
“Trippin” is a really interesting combination of off kilter drumming, odd delays and a powerful blast of energy that keeps the whole rickety roller-coaster going to the end. This is a vibe that is rarely heard and even rarer to pull off with this much skill and ingenuity.
Built around a 50’s Sci-Fi B-Movie theremin keyboard part and the type of guitar playing that I last heard on episodes of Ren and Stimpy (and this is a very sad fact of life, that Gregory Richard has gleefully rectified) “Napalm Blonde” puts you into a state of mind only a light psychosis could possibly replicate.
Manic and stompy Gregory Richard plays a style of Psychobilly that is far from over the top as many other acts in the genre which brings an immediate listenability that is often lacking.
Giant Kitty is back again with a great new single “Et2YT” (waits a beat for the people who are really good at deciphering license plates gets the name) For the past year or so people have been touting the “return of punk” solely based on the fact that punks really have the best new target in the White House since Regan. However, the truth is that there’s always been good punk and great targets. It’s just great new bands like Giant Kitty are just getting started in this political claimant.
In the video for “Et2YT” we see Kitty and Co. satirizing the 24hr news cycle, and everything that comes along with it. The tongue in cheek sensibility of the band is in full display, and it doesn’t hurt that this is yet another powerhouse of a catchy song either. Check it out above, or better yet you should have been listening to it rather than reading this long and overly elaborate explanation for “Hey, great song!”
“Grrrls Like Us” finds the band in a very buzzy/poppy mood and reminds me of something that would have come out on Merge back in the day.
Luckily for all of us Leggy is getting around to remastering/re-releasing their limited edition compilation “Leggy” on vinyl! This compilation of their early EP tracks is chocked full of their uniquely tongue in cheek version of mid-90’s indie rock/RiotGRRL that we’ve featured here before. Definitely something that will be worth checking out.
Pop Occulture favorites are back with another sparklingly bright slab of 60’s pop. As always this song doesn’t have a note out of place, and the vocal delivery style is so achingly Phil Spector that it’s undenyable to resist.
The bass on this track, along with it’s Rentals-esq Moog line will keep this bouncy track stuck in your head for days.
Coming off with all the cool of 90’s Kim Gordon, Field Trip to the Moon’s Angela Christofilou successfully melds her cooing delivery style along with one of the tightest post-punk riffs that I’ve heard in years.
The whole song has an angsty/paranoid vibe that spills out from under it’s cool and cold exterior, that really is captivating. I’ve probably listened to this song a dozen times in the last day. Definitely worth checking out.