Graveface Records artist Night School will be releasing a debut 10-song record called Blush on June 17th (my birthday — if anyone wants to buy me a copy), which follows behind a 2014 debut EP “Heart Beat” and a split EP Carousel with label mates Dott. Currently, the trio of ladies (Alexandra Morte, drummer Baylie Arin and bassist Cheyenne Avant) are streaming a deliciously catchy single “Last Disaster” via soundcloud (along with a new video below) — a cool blending of garage-guitar slunk and retro 60s girl-group harmonized vocals that are pretty and bubblegum enough to conjure thoughts of synchronized hand movements and The Marvelettes, but for the scuzzed-up reverb and power chord anthemic build ups. The sound of “Last Disaster” will appeal to fans of Colleen Green, Eleni Mandell’s ‘The Grabs’ work and Waxahatchee — hell, even the Ramones. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Paranoid Radiohead is the Radiohead I love best. Especially when the band interprets societal convergence as mob rule, like they do in their latest song, “Burn the Witch”. Mob rule in the face of complacency. You get these wonderfully dark fairy-tale-turned nightmare sequences of witch-burning and generally people losing all sense of reason: “Stay in the shadows / Cheer the gallows / This is a round-up / This is a low-flying panic attack / Sing the song of jukebox that goes / Burn the witch.” You can speculate as to what real-life events have summoned these metaphors, but I can think of many that are applicable — including politics on this side of the Atlantic. This Radiohead mode feels like Amnesiac (2001) with its warning songs, grotesque as Grimm folktales, like “Knives Out”: “Look into my eyes / It’s the only way you’ll know I’m telling the truth / So knives out / Cook him up / Squash his head / Put him in the pot.” Even the music of “Burn the Witch” sounds mistrustful and suspicious, a long drone groans underneath frenetic and nervous strings that oscillate between cutting sound and lithe prettiness. There’s a kind of warped beauty to this new track, not unlike “Like Spinning Plates”. Frankly, “Burn the Witch” is a frightening indictment of culture. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Chicago’s Saba is streaming a new track, “World In My Hands”, on soundcloud — and he and Smino deliver on it. It doesn’t get much smoother. The track name drops Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and recently-deceased A Tribe Called Quest member Malik Izaak Taylor (aka Phife Dawg). One particularly slick rhyme and tongue-twister is this one delivered by Smino near the end of the track: “Screaming reparations ’til my respiration meet the expiration.” You can follow Saba at facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Sales is streaming a new song, “Ivy”, from off the Florida natives’ upcoming April 20th LP release. Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih couldn’t have written a more lovely track. It opens with a kind of distorted drumbeat and a repeated guitar riff, but really takes off with the introduction of Morgan’s gentle opening lyrics: “Ivy, baby — sweetheart — you’re so insecure.” Her vocals remind me of that gauzy, alluring quality that Jana Hunter of Lower Dens achieves. But there’s also a kind of childlike pitch to Morgan’s pretty vocals. “Ivy” is easily one of the best songs I’ve listened to this year. Sales on facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
“Lines” is the first single off Lil Silva’s (aka Bedford’s TJ Carter) new EP, JIMI (Journey Inside My Imagination), available May 6. Lil Silva is coming off having worked with the music of BANKS and Adele — but now finds time to unleash this frenetic techno cut featuring his own vocal phrases, utterances, and some distinct sub bass blasts and changes of pace. You can order the EP on i-Tunes. Follow Lil Silva at facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
I just purchased one of the limited-edition 300 cassettes of Bay Area band Plush’s latest EP Please, due out April 29 via Father/Daughter Records. Mostly, I made the purchase on the strength of their streaming single, “Sheer Power”, a gigantic piece of fuzzed-out sonic bliss, before indulging in their one-word titled back catalog: Pale (2014) and Pine (2015). “Sheer Power” builds off light ambient guitar, rising into a tower of layered guitar noise that’s as sensual as it is substantial. Early in the song, lead singer and guitarist Karli Helm (formerly of The Sweethearts) sings with an inching timidity and fragility that goes hand-in-hand with the vulnerability expressed in the first verses. But that doesn’t last for long as the song takes a turn: “Untangle my body like thread in a loom / Take me hastily, or write it off / Right now it’s none or all / I have the sheer power of knowing I still haunt you when I’m gone.” Plush is a San Francisco four-piece featuring members from The She’s. Guitarist Eva Treadway and bassist Sinclair Riley are active members of The She’s and they’re teamed up with Helm and drummer Dylan. The band’s sound will cause some shoegaze faithful to think of groups like Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine. — David D. Robbins Jr.