I’ve been getting so many cold, reverbed out, angsty songs I started thinking that someone has hacked 4AD’s site to have me be the person handling their demos. However, Pink Milk’s “Kill 4 U”, gives more credibility to the darkwave revival than any other song I’ve heard this year. Free from a lot of the retro-worship of a lot of their contemporaries, the song sounds fresh and glistens with a tight atmosphere that’s given weight by the distant heavy guitar chug.
Pop Occulture favorites Dream Nails are back with a buzzy new track that builds upon the Feminist Punk Witch sound of their previous outings. “Tourist” might be the most on the nose song for today’s political climate, as it deals with a woman’s right to own themselves, and not have to worry about what anybody else thinks. This is a great song with a great message, and it has it’s fingers on the pulse of this exact moment and time — more than any other song I’ve heard recently.
Dream Nails continues to be a yard stick of which I judge political punk these days, definitely a band worth following.
Early this year we covered “Pale Skin Latin Girls”, but now NEW EViL are back with a video for this great track. While the song title might sound like a questionable Google search, NEW EViL’s “Pale Skin Latin Girls” is one of those songs that brings in the right amount of diverse sounds from RiotGrrrl to haunted blown out garage rock. After forming off of Craigslist, this L.A. band is already off and ready to take over the world.
And the winner of the video that’s going to give me weird nightmares about cats award goes to… (opens envelope) Kristeen Young “Catland”. This might actually be one of the most of the box songs I’ve covered in a long time, but there’s an undeniable spirit to the song that will worm its way into your head for days to come. Definitely worth checking out.
The Whisky Circle’s “Sweet Darlin'” takes all the best elements of bar-room country and adds a thick layer of Shoegazer distortion for good measure. Vocalist Leanna Patterson summons up a great witchy vibe that rides over the top of one of the best rhythm sections I’ve heard in ages. Definitely going to have to check out the rest of their new album “Into the Valley”
Swedish Death Candy’s new single “Last Dream” is buzzy and dreamy, just the kind of song to lull you into the coming malase of autumn slumber. Pulling elements from Shoegazer to Stoner Metal, the song has the kind of riffs that Billy Corgan wishes he still did.
Leather Girls’ “She” comes out of nowhere with a Bo Diddly shuffle and enough enough distortion to make a shoegaze act jealous. It’s an ear grabbing, toe tapping, undeniable catchy buzz saw of a single from a band that is just doing everything right.
What can I say about Ramonda Hammer that I haven’t already said in the umpteen times that I’ve feared them on this humble blog. Right towards the top of my favorite bands making music out there right now. Go buy all their music!
While, Pop Occulture in and of itself isn’t a politically leaning blog. I think that these days there’s at least one thing that most people can agree to and that is, it’s okay to punch Nazis. This catchy little number that recalls some of the best 90s riotgrrl acts, hits just that spot. (a Nazi’s face) Over and over again in such a desirably cathartic way, that maybe, just maybe every non-Nazi will finally be able to come together under a common flag and make like 40’s Captain ‘Merica and beat some National Socialists to a pulp.
New York’s Megaweapon occupies the space between indie rock and 90’s feminist punk. With humongous hooks and and undeniably poppy sound, “I Won’t Die” will have you chanting along with the chorus by the end of the song.
Iowa’s hardest working man in show-business is back with the sophomore effort from his most recent project Gloom Balloon. For those of you unfamiliar with his body of work, Patrick Tape lemming has toured the country many times over with the Elephant 6 flavored psychedelia of the Poison Control Center. With the latest band however, he along with Chris Ford (of Christopher the Conquered) have built up a world of distorted minimalist beatboxes, and intricate orchestration lead by Christopher’s horn playing into a new kind of post-psychedelia that’s both emotionally devastating yet uplifting.
With their new album, they have taken this world into what sounds like a mid-70’s recording studio with tinges of production techniques straight off of a Lennon or Nilsson album from that period. While this flavors the album, it’s unmistakably a continuation of their 2013 debut album “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Disaster/Fix The Sunshine Pts. 1-7 (An Ode To Bill Doss)”, in it’s ability to create cathartic and deeply personal songs into songs that you’ll want to listen to on repeat for days. “Drying the Eyes of the Goddess of Gloom Underneath the Stars and the Moon” comes out soon on Maximum Ames Records. The first 100 people will get a bunch of interesting bonuses for ordering the vinyl, so order soon!
Based off of the cult classic Emilio Estevez movie Repo Man*, Toronto’s Dearly Beloved presents us with “These Data / RIP” video/short film which recreates a lot of the head-scratching surrealness of the original movie. The songs themselves are buzzy, rippers, that often boarder just this side of sludgy. Definitely a band that needs to be investigated further.
* Which, honestly, if you haven’t watched. Go rent it, listen to the soundtrack a few dozen times and then come back.
Probably the most consistently great bands to grace Pop Occulture, Ramonda Hammer’s “Too Much, Too Recently” is just as emotionally raw and amazingly blistering as their last single “Bender”. “Too Much…” has about as much drama and emotional gravity as you can fit into a song, the blistering solo that hits right around the 2:30 mark is well worth the price of admission.
Just over the last year or so, Glasgow based four-piece The Van T’s have been… well everywhere. Including opening up The Jesus and Mary Chain in Amsterdam! Much like these fellow pioneering Scots the Van T’s mix blistering guitars with coaxingly sweet vocals. That combined a bewilderingly blood-soaked video, it’s really an experience that you’ll have to take in.
Blood Child bring out the pure unadulterated post-punk sound of the late 70’s in their new live recording of the song “Suicide Boy”. Tight in all the right areas while the free floating pain-filled lyrics drift into another dimension. Definitely a band I’m curious to hear in a studio setting.
Whispering Jackie’s “Breaking Up This Time” is an interesting song that is thematically timeless, while also being completely inscrutable if the song was recorded any time since the late 70’s. With tight performances from all three members of this Sydney based garage punk trio, it has the sunshine but also the bite and wit of So-Cal punk.
If you’re familiar at all with the wake of homespun garage pop the 77″ punk movement left across Europe in it’s wake, you will have a great head start placing the sound of the marvelously shambolic Freak Genes’ “Playtime”. Nostalgic without a hint of being derivative “Playtime” is timeless and infectious.
Straight outta the Netherlands, The Heck’s “Waiting in Line” 7″ is a raucous piece of 60’s influenced proto-punk straight out of a Pebbles compilation, and then cranked up to 10. Out soon on Dirty Water Records.
This album was sent to me months ago and somehow I overlooked it until now. These New York City, surf-punk weirdos know exactly how to pull off killer but off kilter riffs that will get stuck in your head for days.
Featuring our previously reviewed “Dead End Doll”, Lucy Gucy has just released their latest EP “Down Down Down” these lurid, melodic garage-pop gems make melancholy sound appealing. Why are you reading this rather than listening?
While metal isn’t entirely outside of the scope of Pop Occulture, I believe that Smoke Mountain might be the heaviest thing that we’ve ever featured on the page. Their song “Demon” should be featured in every mid-70’s to late 80’s horror movie where the kids are sitting around getting stoned right before someone gets stabbed through the eye. Heavy, but not marred in the growl-laden incomprehensible tendencies of the last 20 years of the genre. Smoke Mountain is currently working on their next release and if this EP is any indication, it should be fantastic!
Ramonda Hammer is back once again with their own brand of hi-fi emotionally raw 90’s alt-pop. “Bender” was written while binge watching Shameless, and the grit might have rubbed off as this is one of the most angsty songs I’ve heard so far from the Hammer. The new EP is shaping up to be something really special!
For those of you out there who are obsessed with organ heavy proto-punk, there’s no better example of bands doing it right as Minneapolis, MN’s Narco States. Their album Wicked Sun came out a few years ago, and really has stood the test of time compared to a lot of the other releases from 2014. It’s definitely something you should throw on, turn off the lights, and expand your mind to.
Ema’s “Down and Out” finds former Gowns front-woman, and indie-rock’s own William Gibson of dark futuristic visions, stripped down and vulnerable in the most inimate that she’s ever presented herself in song. The truth is I’ve never heard anybody depression sound this appealing, I’m going to crawl into bed now and cry.
In recent years Burger Records has had a great undercurrent of great bands that evoke that great 90’s flavored woman-centric pop punk, and Winter’s “Jaded” is another shining example. The song finds Samira Winter writing solid pop hooks, with just the right amount of grunge in order to create a sing-along chorus that would fit well on a teen movie soundtrack.
Foxholes make the kind of unadulterated power-pop / post-punk that is only made to to be catchy and undeniably enjoyable. Following up their 2013 LP “Can’t Help Myself”, “Foxholes” finds the band that is more comfortable in their skin and willing to bend the boundaries of their sound. It’s hard to believe that this is a band that’s only been around a few short years, as they have a mature sound that many bands take an entire career to come to.
Any time these “Back from the Grave” inspired rockers release anything it’s a time to celebrate. Their third full length release in just as many years, “Criminals” find the band refining their wobbly and raucous music into a singular vision of re-writing the history of rock’n’roll.
One of my personal favorites The May Company came to me and asked if we wanted to share with all of you the video for their new single “Hair, hair (is heir)” a video featuring Sasquatches (or possibly Yeti’s, forgive me I don’t want to be politically incorrect) and psychedelic swirled craziness. The answer? Fuck yeah! This is one of my favorite videos I’ve seen in a long time, doesn’t hurt that the band is amazing as well. Have I mentioned for you to go out and buy everything that they’ve ever touched? Do it, well worth it. Also don’t forget to support your local Bigfoot.
On the lighter side, here is SLOWKISS’ new single “Pink Death” with breathy 90’s harmonies, the band reminds me of a few of the super obscure bands from the 90’s LA scene that were criminally overlooked, but let’s not let this happen to SLOWKISS. Straight out of Chile, they combine grinding guitars and pretty melodies in a way that many bands couldn’t get away with.