|1||CANNIBAL CORPSE||“Murderous Rampage” [Single]||Metal Blade|
|2||BORN OF OSIRIS||“White Nile” [Single]||Sumerian|
|4||SUFFERING HOUR||The Cyclic Reckoning||Profound Lore|
|5||SUNAMI||Sunami [EP]||Creator Destructor|
|6||PURGATORY||Lawless to Grave||Unbeaten|
|7||GULCH||Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress||Closed Casket Activities|
|10||ABOMINABLE PUTRIDITY||Parasitic Metamorphosis Manifestation||Inherited Suffering|
|3||BABY KEEM||“hooligan” [Single]||Columbia|
|4||NIKITA DENISE KIMBLE AND JONATHAN DAVID FLUMER||“Rider” [Single]||Self-Released|
|5||DIZZY FAE||“I’m Good” [Single]||Self-Released|
|7||KAMAUU||“Mango (feat. Adeline)” [Single]||Atlantic|
|8||ST. PANTHER||These Days||Nice Life/How So|
|10||POTATOHEAD PEOPLE||Mellow Fantasy||Bastard Jazz|
|1||ARCA||KiCk i||XL/Beggars Group|
|2||SOFIA KOURTESIS||Fresia Magdalena [EP]||Technicolour|
|3||BIICLA||No Place [EP]||Good Luck Have Fun|
|4||DANIEL AVERY||Love + Light||Mute|
|5||YEHNO||Tomorrow We’ll Be Here [EP]||Disques Durs|
|6||JIMMY EDGAR||Cheetah Bend||Innovative Leisure|
|7||MOLLY BURCH||“Emotion” b/w “Needy” [Single]||Captured Tracks|
|8||PLANET 1999||Devotion (Deluxe)||PC|
|9||OVERMONO||Everything U Need [EP]||XL|
|10||LEON VYNEHALL||Rare Forever [Advance Tracks]||Ninja Tune|
Punk is a reliable genre. Get the right instruments, three chords, some personal lyrics, and an attitude together and you have 95% of what you need for a post-hardcore album. With that accessible and, let’s be honest, quite basic formula, it takes an inventive band to really stand out in the field, and any group that doesn’t have a vision for their music is unlikely to get noticed.
So, what is it that Pinkshift is doing to get your attention? Well, their music is just so intensely sweet… Saccharine, you might say. This doesn’t mean their music is unserious or lightweight per se, in fact, they have more of an edge than you might expect, just that there’s a certain queasy pleasantness to it. The ep gives the aggressively upbeat and positive energy of a close friend on the verge of a total mental breakdown. There’s a compelling tension between the mall punk aesthetic and the understated, quietly dissatisfied lyrics, something like Avril Lavigne covering The Dead Kennedys. However, what Pinkshift nails in their music is a total lack of irony despite this rather angsty dissonance. There’s no sense that Pinkshift is above the kind of music they’re making, just an earnest and melodic sound.
This is a debut Ep, so doubtless Pinkshift have more to give. There are a few moments on the album that hint towards more musical complexity, especially on the one instrumental passage. It will be interesting to see if they embrace this or double down on streamlined punk formulas. Either way, take some time for this album, it’s only a 15-minute commitment.
Australia is home to an amazing indie rock and indie pop scene, one I had not discovered until a few years ago. Despite a few Australian artists breaking into the American mainstream over the years such as Vance Joy, Troye Sivan, and Natalie Imbruglia, I had not explored the depths of the Australian music scene. Without further ado, let me highlight some of my favorite songs by some of my favorite Australian artists.
Courtney Barnett – Indie Rock
- “Walkin’ On Eggshells”
- “Elevator Operator”
Mallrat – Pop
Alex Lahey – Indie Rock
- “Every Day’s the Weekend”
- “I Want U”
Last Dinosaurs – Indie Rock
Julia Jacklin – Indie Pop
- “Pressure To Party”
- “Someday – triple j Like A Version”
Hockey Dad – Indie Rock
- “Sweet Release”
Tame Impala – Psychedelic Rock
- “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
The Jungle Giants – Indie Rock
- “Creepy Cool”
Skegss – Indie Rock
- “Spring Has Sprung”
You can listen to this selection of songs on a playlist I made just for you.
Until next time,
CHAI is one of the best Japanese girl groups. Two of the members, Mana and Kana, are twin sisters; the other members met the sisters during high school and became friends through their school’s light music performance club. After the girls graduated and went to college, they began performing throughout Nagoya and Aichi Prefecture and eventually moved to Tokyo to pursue the band. Since their formation they have released two albums, most recently “Punk.” They’ve also gained a more global following in recent years, and have toured the UK and US and signed onto labels in both the UK and US.
As Japanese musicians, the band has strived to go beyond the J-Pop genre and beyond the geographic boundaries of Japan. CHAI creates music that doesn’t perfectly fit within the pop mold. The women also focus a lot of their music towards empowering themselves and all women. They also take a new approach to “kawaii”, or “cute” culture: promoting that everyone is cute in their own way. CHAI is a wonderfully expressive and dynamic band that everyone should listen to. I recommend their most recent album, “Punk”, especially.
Welcome back to the “Behind the Cover” series! This week, I’ll be diving into the story behind one of the most iconic album covers in the history of classic rock: “Led Zeppelin IV.” I first heard about the cover’s origin in rock journalist Brad Tolinski’s book, “Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page.” Filled with interviews and stories about the guitarist’s life, one of the points Toliksni touches on in the sixth chapter is the making of “Led Zeppelin IV.”
By 1971, Led Zeppelin was quickly reaching international success. Fans around the world worshipped them and their hard-hitting, experimental rock, but critics weren’t as adoring. They chalked the band’s fame up to “hype, not talent.” Their first three albums, especially “II” and “III”, had the band’s faces plastered all over the record sleeves, leading harsh music journalists to believe that Led Zeppelin was nothing more than a fad.
The band and Atlantic Records had a steady, gracious relationship up until “IV’s” release. They gave the foursome full creative control over every aspect of their music, including the album covers. The band took a “retreat” to Headley Grange, a two-hundred-year-old mansion in the English countryside, to record the majority of their upcoming album. Free from distractions at the remote, crumbling house, the band used the natural acoustics at Headley to experiment with new sounds in their creative seclusion. It was rumored that their fourth album would be otherworldly.
Needless to say, Atlantic Records was devastated when they found out the album would have no name, no cover title, and no artist credits. It is now known as “Led Zeppelin IV,” but it was originally meant to have no title at all. The record label tried to convince the band that they were “committing professional suicide,” but their choice was final. They wanted to show the world that Led Zeppelin was more than a trend.
The Cover Art
The final cover design shows an antique painting of an old man with a bundle of sticks on his back, hanging on a peeling wall. This painting was found by lead singer Robert Plant in an antique shop. It spoke to the band because of its reference to the “destruction of the old,” which they contrasted with the photographs of skyscrapers on the back cover. The entirety of “IV” and its cover is very much an ode to balancing traditionality with the new.
The inside is just as fascinating and mysterious as the outside. Depicting the Hermit, an ancient figure used in Tarot, it is meant to represent “a seeker aspiring to the light of truth.” The record sleeve has a gorgeous Arts and Crafts style typography, spelling out the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” (Jimmy Page, the producer and guitarist, actually found a clipping of the typeface in a vintage magazine and hired a designer to remake the entire alphabet.)
This is truly one of my favorite album cover stories. I think it’s so interesting how the band used it as both a representation of the music and as a reaction to their critics. They wanted to let the music speak for itself, and by god it did.
– DJ Butter
What’s going on Butcher Crew?! It’s your Master Butcher, The Saw, and I have another band up on the slab for The Saw’s Choice Cuts! Now, it is no secret that I love Alice In Chains. I am a big grunge fan and Alice In Chains is the band that got me into grunge. My mom and dad played them frequently when I was a child and I remember listening to them driving down a back road with my mom. Alice In Chains is the perfect combination of harmony, groove, and emotion. The riffs that are in their songs are influenced by metal and hard rock, and that’s why I will argue that grunge is a different sub-genre of metal. The lyrics are packed with emotion, especially the songs that have Layne Staley (RIP) on vocals. You can hear how much he is hurting within their songs and I think that’s why I love Layne and the band so much. I like music that captures true, raw emotion, and that is exactly what Alice In Chains does. You can feel the emotion in each song with every breath that Layne takes. His voice was so beautiful and he sang like a wounded angel.
In no particular order, here are my favorite Alice In Chains songs:
- Man in the Box
- Them Bones
- Dam That River
- Check My Brain
- Bleed The Freak
- Love, Hate, Love
- Angry Chair
- A Looking In View
- Get Born Again
What are some of your favorite Alice In Chains songs?
As I was looking for indie French bops to bump on those hot, sunny Spring days ahead of us, I realized there are so many indie French artists who are not getting enough international recognition. So there you go: here’s a list of French artists you should be listening to this Spring and keeping an eye out for in the coming months! You can find them all in this Spotify playlist I’ve made recently.
“Bleu ou vert” by BARON.E
The French duet “BARON.E” released their EP “Jeunesse Dorée” (“Golden Youth”) in 2020 and it’s one of the best musical discoveries I’ve made in the last few months. “Bleu ou vert” literally fits so well the happy mood that sunny days get me in, so I couldn’t resist sharing this song with you. It’s just too good.
“Été 90” by Thérapie Taxi
Bad news: Thérapie Taxi broke up a few months ago. Good news: the duet just released an EP to say goodbye to their fans before they continue their careers separately, and they have a tour planned post-COVID to say goodbye to their fans. “Été 90” (“Summer 90”) is going to be my official Spring and Summer 2021 anthem, in their memory. Long live Adélaïde and Raphaël.
“Feux ” by Poupie Feat. Jul
I am addicted to the chorus of this song and I’m listening to it so much it’s becoming alarming. That’s it. That’s the review. In all seriousness, the song was first released by Poupie singing alone, and Jul collaborated on a new version with her when it was time to work on her EP. I never thought I’d like Jul’s voice that much — he heavily relies on autotune and I usually HATE it — but I guess I do now.
“Étrange Mélange” by Claire Laffut
Claire Laffut’s voice is really sensual in this one. This song is perfect for relaxing sunny days. The lyrics are somewhat dark and mysterious but the overall mood really screams “sunny summer vibes” and I love it. 10/10 recommend to listen to while you’re soaking up the sun.
“Le temps est bon” by Bon Entendeur
This song has become so famous and mainstream in France that I feel weird recommending it to anyone, but I don’t think it’s well-known in the US, so I thought I’d include it just to make sure no one’s missing out on this absolute hit. It’s a remix of Isabelle Pierre’s song “Le temps est bon” from 1972. Bold move, but the result honors the original version perfectly.
— Lise Nox
“The Hellbilly,” Rob Zombie has returned with a new release on March 12, 2021, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast). His trademark eclectic style – Psychedelic Horror Metal, Go-Go Funk; sometimes folky, always spooky songs, samples, lyrics and instrumentals – is on display, and as all his album titles suggest you’re always in for a ride!
One of the constants on a Rob Zombie record as of late is his killer band – Zombie (vocals) John 5 (guitars), Piggy D (bass), Ginger Fish (drums). The other constant is the awesome musicianship of these veterans. If you’ve ever seen Rob Zombie live, then you already know the shock-n-awe of the visual expression of the psycho/horror sounds (all while Zombie go-go dances!). No matter what style the band employs on this newest record, it is incredible. And “The Hellbilly’s” multiple vocal ranges are, as usual, superb.
The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy has landed in the top sales spot on the Billboard Charts, a first for Rob Zombie. While there are two good records separating them, this is the natural follow-up to the masterpiece Hellbilly Deluxe, in my opinion. Excellent production is on display on this 17-track offering, and even a new genre of music at one point – Industrial-Country!
- Expanding the Head of Zed
- The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
- The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
- Hovering Over the Dull Earth
- Shadow of the Cemetery Man
- A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
- 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket on the Ghost Train
- The Eternal Struggle of the Howling Man
- The Much Talked of Metamorphosis
- The Satanic Rites of Blacula
- Shower of Stones
- Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass
- What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama
- Get Loose
- The Serenity of Witches
- Crow Killer Blues
Favorite Songs: The Triumph of King Freak; Shadow of the Cemetery Man; Boom-Boom-Boom