The other day I was watching/listening to a great interview Rick Beato did with Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots. As soon as that interview was over, I immediately went into STP mode and started with Core all the way to the final album with Scott. While listening to all these great songs and albums, I went back to Core when it was all done because there has always been a song on that album that to me has never gotten the due it deserves. The song I’m talking about is “Sin.” This track is right smack in the middle of the album and it’s a truly remarkable song. Then when you combine the instrumental track “No Memory” before “Sin” it makes for one hell of a combination. “Sin” is one of those songs in the STP catalog that shows just how good of a band they really are. From Scott’s vocals, lyrics and melodies on this one, to the sort of behind the beat but right in the pocket drums of Eric Kretz, then you have the bass parts by Robert DeLeo that adds this really cool pseudo jazz/70’s rock element that makes the guitar work of Dean DeLeo brighter, plus the guitar solo towards the end is just so perfect for the song. A song like “Sin” is a perfect deep cut. It’s also one of those songs I wish got played live more, it’s that good!
Punk music has had many ups and downs over the years. At some point it got highjacked by all these pop loving wannabe bands that made it watered down and took away all the elements that made the genre great. Thankfully there are still bands and labels out there that champion the genre the right way and make it dangerous and fun again. One of my favorite independent labels, Dune Altar, has been a huge champion of countless genres that I love and with this new release by The Lungs, both the band and label should be pretty damn stoked about how killer this new single “Sacred Stains” is. Speaking on the song bassist/vocalist Billy Goldstein said “Sacred Stains’ is a quick blast on the dichotomy of the belief of God’s plan v. Satan’s hand. Is a brain tumor part of God’s scheme? Does Satan wave his claw and impart metastases? Or is it all just inconsequential — insignificant in any way. And then you die.” Now that’s pretty thought provoking for a song that is a blast of only a little over a minute. The Lungs are also not just your everyday punk band. They have an added element of post-hardcore that takes the songs to new heights by having the right balance of melody and aggression. I like to think of The Lungs as a garage punk rock band that has a love for all sorts of different genres and styles and they have subtly sprinkled bits of those into their sound to develop a style that is true to the genre while also evolves themselves as players and artists. Their new EP, Vein will be out May 19, 2023 via Dune Altar. So make sure you pick up a copy!
Well this is awesome! For the longest time I’ve been hoping for an Operation Ivy reunion and though that hasn’t come to fruition just yet, this new band I will gladly accept in the mean time. Tim Armstrong (Operation Ivy, Rancid, Transplants), Jesse Michaels (Operation Ivy), Joey Castillo (Circle Jerks, The Bronx) and bassist Spencer Pollard (Trash Talk) have unveiled their new project BAD OPTIX and released their debut single “Raid.” The sound of this single features a classic Jamaican influenced ska contrasted with a vocal approach aligned with the brute force of punk for a vibe that’s updated but not completely disconnected from early ska legacy.
Officially forming in March of 2021, the ska-punk pioneers of Armstrong and Michaels, have over 35 years of history together. Even with the gap between Op Ivy to now, Michaels says, “our creative connection seems to be stronger than ever and all the music we loved back then, we still love.” The idea to form a band came organically one day when Jesse and Tim met up purely with the intent to reconnect. Of course the topic of music came up and when Armstrong started to play some of his new tracks, Michaels was immediately inspired and sparking ideas for vocals. He explains, “As soon as we started writing together, we found that we had the same collaborative energy that we had in the past, so it was natural and fun just to keep going.” Tim also adds, “It came back, just like that. Like when we were kids. There is a special chemistry between us and I don’t take it for granted.”
Now this isn’t Operation Ivy or is it pretending to be. Instead this is something a little different with a vibe that I have a feeling once there are shows, the intensity will be ever growing and bombastic. But my fingers are still crossed hoping for that OP IVY Reunion!
Back in 1996 there was a debut album that was released and it was one of those albums that would go on to influence and inspire countless other artists and bands. The album I’m referring to is Fiona Apple’s, Tidal. This album is not only a game changer. It’s one of those classic albums that sets a standard. When you listen to this album it’s fully immersive as everything about it hits you the moment it starts. Which brings me to track one, “Sleep To Dream.” The way this song sets the tone and vibe for the next nine songs is astounding. The intro has this bit of tension with the drums and subtle bass line that is gently caressed into a sweet melody that introduces us to the glorious voice of Fiona. Interestingly, supposedly “Sleep To Dream” was reportedly Apple’s first lyric, penned when she was 14. Which at 14 writing a song like this is pretty damn exceptional. One of the things I love most about this song is that it it’s a perfect one to kick off the album. “Sleep To Dream” is a song that at times is often overlooked due to the success of the song “Criminal,” but, I do think this song is an absolute standout and even a better song than “Criminal.” If it’s been a minute since you put on Tidal, I highly recommend that changes for you. This is one of those albums that should be celebrated and regarded as not just a great debut but a quintessential album of the 1990’s.
Fiona Apple- Sleep To Dream (Official Video):
Fiona Apple- Sleep To Dream (Live On The Howard Stern Show 1997):
Way back in the mid 00’s on IFC, Henry Rollins had a really great talk show. It was a really good show with interview guests as well as musical guests. The majority of the episodes are quite good and Henry always had really interesting questions for his guests. One of the best parts of the show was the musical guests. Henry had a plethora of great music guests including Slayer! There is one episode that I’ve always been fond of and that happened back in 2007 when Placebo was the musical guest for the show. During their stop on the show the band played 2 songs “Blind” from their amazing album, Meds, as well as their cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” which is still the best cover of this song! I do have to emphasize that the performance of both songs are exquisite but, “Blind” takes the cake on this one. I’ve seen Placebo live a few times in my life but, I’ve never seen Brian Molko sing “Blind” quite like this. It’s otherworldly! This is genuinely one of my all time favorite TV performances ever! Enjoy!
Placebo- Blind (Live on The Henry Rollins Show- 2007):
Placebo- Running Up That Hill (Live on The Henry Rollins Show- 2007):
This is really exciting. One of my favorite bands I’ve written about here, MAL, have released “Come To Light” the first single off their upcoming new album! MAL are a very unique band that will absolutely capture your attention. Combining different genres and elements, MAL’s sound is otherworldly. When you listen to this band you hear all sorts of different things from 90’s alt rock, art rock, prog rock, and even a tinge of post-hardcore but the combination of all this and more is what makes MAL special. They aren’t your run of the mill rock band and this song without a doubt proves that. I’ve had the pleasure to hear this song live a few times now at Cobalt Presents shows and let me tell you, it’s an absolute certified banger. I look forward to what’s to come from MAL and when they are coming through to your town, make it a point to see them live!
I keep finding myself going on these artist catalog deep dives and finding things I’ve forgotten about. I love when that happens. Recently in the past few days, I wound up going on a Nirvana deep dive. I’m not quite sure how I wound up here but, while going through all sorts of their songs, albums, demos, etc, I remembered that they did a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Here She Comes Now.” When I listen back to the Nirvana version, it’s kind of interesting that at moments, Kurt really does sound like Lou Reed. The cover is a pretty solid and good version. As a huge fan of both The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, I can get behind this version. Plus it gives me an excuse to take a break from my Nirvana deep dive and go listen to The Velvet Underground!
Nirvana (The Velvet Underground)- Here She Comes Now:
Nirvana- Here She Comes Now (Live 1991):
The Velvet Underground- Here She Comes Now (from the album White Light/White Heat):
A few weeks back I was introduced to the band Common Wounds and from that point I’ve been hooked. At first I had only heard their song “Phantom Limb” but, that was enough for me to know that this was a band right up my alley. Their style of post-hardcore, part noise-rock and full on crushing rock is just what the rock world needs. The five songs that make up this fantastic EP, are hard charging, heavy and fully inspired songs. This is the type of record that when it ends, you immediately want to start it over. Common Wounds are the type of post-hardcore band that really gets it. They have the ability to mix the right amount of heavy with a side of emotional hardcore. Take the right parts of Fugazi and Rites Of Spring and add a bit of Helmet (Strap It On/Meantime era) and what you have is a recipe that Common Wounds have come storming out of the gate with. Each song on this EP, has a life of its own. There is a natural aggressive tone to it but, there’s also a bit of a melodic sensibility that gives the songs the space they need to explode. The production on this release is exceptional. Being able to hear the instruments with the right tones and having a mix that encapsulates the entire sound is the perfect harmony. It’s also very refreshing to hear a band like Common Wounds. There are so many bands out there that straight up copy their influences verbatim but, when you hear Common Wounds, it sounds inspired and fresh. I look forward to what Common Wounds have coming up and seeing this live. Do yourself a favor and take this EP for a spin!
For the past few weeks I’ve been on a big kick of listening to the Pixies. In my deep dive into their catalog, I’ve come to the conclusion many others have as well that Doolittle is one hell of an album and highly influential to so many bands. There really is something special about this album. One day in the near future I will put it all into words but, for right now I just want to focus on the absolute perfection of the final song on the album and that is “Gouge Away.” Every time I hear this song, I don’t want it to end. Sometimes I wish it had a 10 minute solo in the middle of it just because this song is so damn great. Interestingly this song is based on the story of Samson and Delilah. Some think Frank Black is referencing his relationship with bassist Kim Deal, as Frank represents Samson and Kim, Delilah. Other’s think it has to do with heroin addiction. Either way, this song is one hell of a gem and ends Doolittle in perfect fashion. Cheers to the Pixies and their absolute classic album, Doolittle!
I was recently introduced to a band that really has me intrigued. They have a sound that is experimental while at the same time very hard charging. The “noise-rock” genre has been really exploding more and more lately and this band should be on your radar. Allow me to introduce you to Tunic. Hailing from Winnipeg, Canada, Tunic is armed with a sound that features an assault of pummeling drums, distorted bass, discordant guitar, and wild-eyed vocals. After listening to this band, I get a bit of an early Helmet vibe from the Strap It On era mixed with a little bit of Fugazi. So if you are into those two bands, this is right up your alley. The bands new single “Whispering” is chock full of bits of all the things that make this sub-genre what it is. The way they take experimental parts and add interesting melodies and thought provoking lyrics makes Tunic a must listen. Their new album Wrong Dream will be out on April 28 via Artoffact Records. I have to say, it’s really nice and refreshing to hear bands like Tunic try new things and get deeper into the sounds, inspirations and realness of what rock music is all about.