Indie Rock

IVERSON "The Blood of Time"

Alt-Pop IVERSON has released visuals for their latest single "The Blood of Time". The sound of the single leans heavily on '80's nostalgia bringing to mind bands like Scritti Politti and elements of Prince. Lyrically, the song is very modern focusing on the reality and importance of blurred gender lines.

   

2020 Year In Review: Woods

Jam (noun): a sweet, sticky edible substance made of fruit and sugar, boiled to a thick gelatinous consistency that’s yielding and spreadable

Jam (verb): to push, shove, squeeze or otherwise manipulate an object into a constrained space, often implied to be aggressively or even forcibly realized

Contained in this little three-letter word are at least six or seven distinct meanings according to this thing once referred to as a dictionary (it’s like a papery blog). And while we’re talking semiotics it’s interesting to note how the two definitions above are on opposite ends of the spectrum in some ways: yielding vs. forceful, sweet vs. aggressive. 

Another meaning of jam: “An extended, semi-unstructured musical passage, or entire musical work, in which synchronized, partially improvised interactions between musicians are of key importance--often with the objective of achieving a concentrated, intensified, and/or ecstatic state of perception among both musicians and listeners. The formal properties of the jam (aka “jammers”) tend to revolve around an optimal balance between repetition and variation; and on the macro level, a continuous ebbing and flowing in terms of tempo, dynamics, and/or texture before ultimately reaching a climactic release, with the notable exception of “mellow jams” or “droney jams” where such macro-level formal developments are de-emphasized or not sought at all.”

The long-running bands Woods are masters jammers (but not a “jam band,” you won’t find too many patchouli-besotted noodle dancers at their shows). And in their jamming they capture all the dictionary meanings of jam described above--playing music that’s alternately and sometimes at once both sweet and aggressive, ethereal and ferocious, disciplined and sprawling. 


Besides their proclivity for jamming Woods are master songwriters as well with a musical palette stretching from pastoral folk rock to driving alt-pop to resplendent psychedelic rock. If you need proof of any of this I’d recommend spending New Year’s Eve and Day listening to their eleven albums (the latest being Strange To Explain released earlier this year) plus the compilation released out in October called Reflections Vol. 1 (Bumble Bee Crown King) that brings together rare and unreleased recordings made between 2009 and 2013. One standout on the latter is an early demo of “Bend Beyond” that’s a good deal more jammy than the version on the Bent Beyond album (2012). And below you can hear how they stretched out the song even more when they played it live. 

Strange To Explain is a fitting epithet for the year that just passed, featuring songs that act as a gentle balm for dreamers (“Where Do You Go When You Dream?”) and insomniacs (“Just To Fall Asleep”) alike. Here is an album that puts the “vibey” back in vibraphone and the “mellow” back in Mellotron, both instruments featured heavily on the album.

The writing of Strange To Explain overlapped with the band’s Purple Mountains project, a collaboration with Silver Jews’ frontman David Berman. The reclusive songwriter and genius poet came out of a decade-long retirement from music to record the album with Woods. Sadly, after a life-long struggle with depression, Berman committed suicide in 2019 just weeks before a widely-anticipated Purple Mountains tour.


And so as we say good-bye and good riddance to 2020 let’s pay tribute to those we lost and those among us who feel lost. And give thanks for the transcendence granted by the music that we love--whatever it may be--more important than ever this past year. Personally I’ll be riding it out with “Weekend Wind,” the mellow jammer that closes Strange To Explain. (Jason Lee)

   

CalicoLoco "Dreaming About Max"

CalicoLoco has released a new single, their 6th of 2020, called "Dreaming About Max". This is the work of singer/songwriter Danny Robles with Zeke Ramsey, Curran Chapman, Xavier Morla, and Sarah Dodge.

The group plans to release a few additional singles in early in 2021 as they prepare to released their debut album Everybody Loves You.

   

2020 Year In Review: Hypoluxo

Imagine if a parallel-universe version of the band Television wrote songs about actual televisions with lines like “tell me all the things that you see in me / can it be explained through the TV? / cuz that’s all I know.” Now listen to “Ridden” and imagine no more.  



On Hypoluxo’s third album which is A) self-titled, B) self-possessed, C) self-reliant, or D) all of the above the Brooklyn-based quartet makes the kind of post-punk-inflected guitar-oriented music that critics love to refer to as “angular.” It’s a fitting description but let’s face it there’s lots of different kinds of angles. Any geometrist worth her weight in protractors will tell you there’s acute angles and right angles and obtuse angles just for starters. On Hypoluxo, Hypoluxo has all these angles covered and more.

For sharp-and-severe acute angles take a listen to “Night Life” with its martial drum beat, slithering bassline and twin-guitar sheer heart attack. The song’s ricocheting melodies (headphones recommended) capture something of the anticipation and the anxiety, the potential desperation and potential catharsis of its subject matter, culminating in a frenzied freakout on the dancefloor.

Next, for some obtuse angles check out “Shock” which confronts the vague but pervasive sense of fear hanging in the air as of late. “Well it’s a SHOCK / working up / to realizing this is not a DREAM” is the immaculately articulated opening gambit, going on to describe a mind stressed and dulled by 2020 PTSD. Guitars circle overhead for much of the song, like a flock of angry-but-one-hopes-not-predatory birds, with the fog finally broken by the Rent Is Too Damn High refrain in the song’s coda.

And finally, on “Nimbus” Hypoluxo gives the listener the right angle (heh heh) on how weathermen (and weatherladies let’s be fair) are the scourge of humanity or at least one of them anyway. And wouldn’t you know it, the 1% own all the umbrellas. Michael Stipe once posed the question: “Should we talk about the weather [or] should we talk about the government?” But Hypoluxo make it abundantly clear that they’re one and the same thing. So let’s talk about both and hope for better weather in 2021.
(Jason Lee)

   

Mia Joy "12th house stelluim"

Mia Joy recently released a collection of demos she has recorded over the last three years since the release of her debut EP, "Gemini Moon". This EP, called "12th house stelluim", is a collection of LoFi bedroom recordings that beautifully explore the world and space that Mia has been in over the last three years. She is releasing this to clear the air and begin to welcome in a new era of music for her and her band in 2021.

As we enjoy the sounds in this collection we eagerly look forward to the next phase in the Mia Joy journey.