New Music Tuesday: Fences – Failure Sculptures [Album]

 

Let just kick things off here by saying one statement that should sum up everything I am about to say: Holy Shit! I’ve found a new favorite songwriter in Chris Mansfield, and Fences is incredible! Now I will continue with the fluff, but honestly if you just stop reading this right now, and do your own research on Fences and their incredible album Failure Sculptures, I would not be mad. In fact, I would prefer it. Go away.

Still there? Alright, well, I guess I can say more. Failure Sculpture is basically that small, almost unnoticeable, diamond lying snug amidst the coal. But once noticed, and given further inspection, it may just be one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen. Mansfield actually says a line in the track “Same Blues” that is how I would describe the entire album: “It’s a burn that I like”. That’s what this album is at its core. It’s a collection of sweet yet melancholy tunes that sound as they were meant to be sung in a cigarette smoked filled barroom. Of course, I know that Fences is a Seattle based group, so their probably not doing that. But maybe a smoke filled studio apartment? Anyway, there is just so much singer/songwriter goodness happening throughout this album.

 

Christopher Mansfield. Photo by Christian Sorensen Hansen.

 

As of lately, I have tried to avoid singling out one particular track on an album, as I would like to appreciate the entirety of Failure Sculpture as a whole. And I really do. But, fuck, my hands can’t assault this MacBook fast enough to tell you all how much I love the cut “Paper Route”. I have probably ran through the album a dozen times, but if it were still possible, I would have worn out this track. Seriously Folks, every time Mansfield proclaims “Some people stay face down / they’re lucky that way”, my fucking heart straight up sinks. And while I don’t know the exact specifics of what he is expressing in this song, I know what it means to me, and it is a confrontation within my own soul that is thriving and desperately trying to overtake my body, but through a track as sweet as this one and some self-realization, I will overcome. Now, I know I kind of went of the rails there, but it truly is an amazing track, and I’m certain it will enter my rotation of one of the best songs of all time.

You gotta check out Failure Sculptures, Folks! I’m not kidding when I say it is one of the best albums I have heard in a very long time. We proclaimed in April that we had already found the best album of 2019 with Tom Speight’s masterpiece, Collide, but I have to say I am perplexed now. I guess we will see when the end of year lists start to roll out. Either way, Fences has had a real impact on me, and I won’t soon forget it! Check it out!

 

Failure Sculpture is available everywhere courtesy of GRNDVW. For tour dates and more information, check out the Fence’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Onesie – Umpteenth [Album]

 

First of all, I have to kick this thing off by stating that I have been listening to Onesie’s brilliant second album, Umpteenth, almost on a loop now for weeks. I had every hope to get something up here about it, damn near a month ago. Unfortunately, the time I was spending listening to this absolute gem of an album happened to be in while I was too busy playing on-line class-clown, and struggled to find the time to write about something I actually cared about. But, fuck it, here I am. And if there is something I truly care about, it’s letting you all know just how great Umpteenth is, and why you need to check it out ASAP, as it is now currently available.

As I stated earlier, I have listened to this album so many times that if Ben Haberland walked into my house at this very moment and told me that my cats were disgusting and should be put down….I would eventually be a bit hurt, but I would at first be starstruck. Having insults hurdled at me from the man who has sung the words of “Final Days Of Nineteen” to me for all this time is in my home! And full disclosure, I don’t believe he would actually ever do this.

 

In all seriousness Folks, the genre-bending group that is Onesie is hand’s down one of the those multi-faceted acts we are (or at least should) be looking for when it comes to listening experiences. There are so many different sounds on display throughout Umpteenth, yet it all blends ever so nicely to create a magical sound that is unique to them and them alone and it is a damn good one. With power-pop elements that clash perfectly with a big guitar sound, the entire track list of this album is destined to blow you away. But what I respect the most about Onesie and what they have done here is their obvious lack of “give a shit” in trying to fit into any sort standardized sound. And with that, I firmly believe that Onesie has created one of the best albums of 2019 thus far.

 

Umpteenth is available now from Dadstache Records wherever you get your music. And check out other releases available on the band’s Bandcamp page.

 

 

Beck(er) & Call Music Tuesday: Hepcat – Right On Time [Album]

 

So, there was a time and place in which it was possible that you didn’t really realize that two things that you truly loved were actually co-existing in a place. For me personally, it was a time when the internet indeed existed, but it wasn’t as prevalent as we now know. It was also the time when 3rd wave ska was absolutely devouring the airwaves. Which, would in turn lean towards the world of reggae hitting the main stream, as the two world were absolutely colliding in such a beautiful way. I lived this shit Everyone, it was a really fun time. We could move in between the worlds of Barrington Levy and Reel Big Fish, and often meet the same people. I’m sure it’s still out there, but I don’t see it to be as prevalent these days.

My main point here is actually this: In the late 90’s and early 00’s, I really enjoyed the music of the Hepcats. I was only vaguely familiar with them, as I didn’t have all of the research available as we do today, so I didn’t get to truly fanboy out as much as I should have. I specifically loved Right On Time. It is a brilliant blend of Ska music, mixed with a beautiful Reggae vibe, yet composes itself in an unorthodox fashion between but times of music in an absolutely beautiful way. But, what am I really getting at here? Well, apparently, I had no idea that a member of Hepcats happened to be someone I already truly admire for absolutely different reasons. And that man was the one and only Alex Désert. And for those of you who are new here and only tuning in because we are obsessing over the television show Becker (first of all, Welcome!) you will probably know that Alex is the man who portrayed Jake for 6 wonderful years on this show we love so damn much and have dedicated this week to for our own personal enjoyment and because the show deserves so much love.

But Becker be damned, Hepcats were, and are, an absolutely amazing group that I truly love/loved for their ability to perfectly blend the idea of modern ska music, with the rocksteady and reggae (more so which the later) that is absolutely wonderful to let slowly caress your ear drums. Our beloved Jake from the Newsstand (a.k.a. Alex Désert) wasn’t always with the group during their run, presumably he was a bit busy working on an absolutely incredible television show. But, the music has always been enjoyable and extremely entertaining. And their album, Right On Time, is one that I have always kept on the ready for background music at any part I have ever hosted. Honestly, there haven’t been many, but if there have been any, the Hepcats were involved.

According to Wikipedia, “No Worries” is the modest hit of the album, and that seems fair. But, I do have to say that my favorite track from this album is “Goodbye Street”, and I will stand by that decision until this Earth no longer has a need for me. The entire album is incredible, and is truly meant to be celebrated and listened to as a whole. Which, yes, is a strange concept for this day and age, but if you only listen to two tracks, I would definitely suggest these two in the very least.

So, there you have it Folks, I found a way to combine the New Music Tuesday session of our little site to include a member of the cast of Becker who happens to be an extremely talented musician as well as an obviously brilliant actor. Hell yeah!

 

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Greg Felden – Made of Strings [Album]

 

Hello Folks! I will be damned if we don’t have another brilliant singer/songwriter to share with you all here today. Hailing from our beloved Pacific Northwest, Greg Felden is another performer from our original location that I was so happy to discover. Now a Los Angeles transplant, Felden has been creating beautiful Americana and sort of country based tunes for a number of years and is now bringing his talents to what will be his first full length album entitled Made of Strings. And Folks, it is good. Really good. I know we tend to say this a lot. But, it’s only because it is so true. Felden has a beautiful batch of 10 tracks to share with you all that he has been cultivating for years and has fine tuned them and has called in some additional very talented folks to bring the entire concept of the album together. And again, it’s so damn good!

As per usual, it would be damn near impossible to pick out a stand out cut amongst the damn near perfect selection of tunes that Felden has assembled to become Made of Strings. “When the Change Comes” Is definitely one that jumps out runs the gauntlet on your emotions with its catchy hook and hopeful lyrics. But, the album’s closer “Ghost” is probably the track that has stuck with me the most. Greg’s voice echoes through billowing sadness into a hopeful future in his stellar songwriting. This is one of the best of the year Folks, I truly cannot recommend it enough.

 

Made of Strings will be available wherever you get your music on June 14th, 2019.

 

New Music Tuesday: The Black Tones: Cobain & Cornbread [Album]

 

Holy Shit Folks, this is probably one of the most exciting and unique New Music Tuesday features we have done in quite a while. We’ve been pretty steady with our usual singer/songwriter and hip hop trends, even digging into some standard rock n roll gems, which have all been absolutely wonderful in their own right. But now, we have something truly special to share with you all. Folks, we are talking about The Black Tones. Have you ever listened to a something that is such an incredible combination of so many different styles of music that it tends to transcend average misconceptions of what something should sound like, and sounds incredibly original? For some of us, this isn’t really a new concept, but in this day and age, it is the mark of some true artists. And that is exactly what is happening on The Black Tones aptly titled album, Cobain & Cornbread.

The entire track list of Cobain & Cornbread is absolutely the standardized definition of solid. It is an insane jazz-fused collection of blues influenced rock & roll with some absolutely stunning guitar work. The unorthodox way in which The Black Tones choreograph a song is probably one of the most impressive feats in which they manage to step up to. My absolute favorite track on the album, “Chubby & Tubby”, entails about 2 minutes of Eva, one half of the band, riffing in such a manner that it simply sounds like the guitar is speaking directly to you. And it continues on with the wailing and whining that would put a smile on an aging Hendrix fan today. And this is just one example. It has been quite a while since I have heard just true musicianship being showcased in such a manner. Maybe I’m not listening hard enough anymore, but I truly believe that something as original as The Black Tones is such a rarity in this day and age, and I am so excited to have been introduced to these phenomenal artists.

 

 

I am dead serious when I say this folks: The Black Tones are an uncategorized & genre-bending couple of masterminds. And while there is obviously a little bit of punk influence in their sound, it is more about the organized chaos that within their sound, which is also similar to the also very obvious blues influences. But then, they will riff so fucking hard into something that sounds like early grunge music of the late 80’s and you just don’t know what the fuck to think anymore. Which is perfect! Again, it is the truest of indications that you are listening to something truly unique and original. And The Black Tones and their incredible album Cobain & Cornbread are nothing if not incredibly talented and insanely original. You absolutely have to check this one out, Folks!

 

Cobain & Cornbread is available now wherever you get your music. To learn more about The Black Tones, check out a few dates below, and be sure to check out their website, theblacktones.com.

 

Live Shows:

 

18 May – Seattle, WA @ Bothell Block Party and Brewfest 2019

23 May – Bellingham, WA @The Shakedown (w/ SISTERS)

19 July – Seattle, WA @ Capital Hill Block Party

24 Aug – Historic Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA @ THING

19 Oct – Clarksdale, MS @ 2019 Deep Blues Festival

 

For a preview of the genius you are going to hear, listen to “Chubby & Tubby” right now:

New Music Tuesday: Tom Speight – Collide [Album]

 

My oh my, Folks. Do I have an absolutely tremendous record to talk to you all about today. Tom Speight has not only created one of the finest albums of the year thus far, but one of the finest albums I have ever heard. I am not kidding. I honestly believe that based solely on the 13 tracks he has given us with his debut full length album Collide, we are witnessing the evolution of the next big pop star to come out of the United Kingdom. This is even without looking back on Tom’s earlier work, which I surely will, and I am certain it is fantastic as well.  I simply cannot imagine a world where Tom Speight doesn’t start to dominate the charts and, more importantly, the hearts and minds of audiences across the globe. He’s already left his mark everywhere from Brazil to Bulgaria, so it’s not hard to believe that he is proverbial eagle that is just waiting to soar.

The track list that makes up Collide is a real whirlwind of emotion. Tom comes in at about an 11 with the opening tracks (my favorite 3 tracks, by the way) “Waiting”, “Little Love”, and “Strangers Now” with anthemic chorus lines and a beautifully progressive build ups. He drops it down to around a 7 for a while with some beautiful ballads and perfect showcases of his impeccable ability to write the hell out of a song. And then it is back to 11 again with the clear stand out single “My Name” that will inevitably be played amongst a crowd of 20,000 people, microphone pointed to the crowd that is echoing his every damn word. I sincerely believe this will happen. Then, just to bring it all around, the opus that is “Evermore” pieces together all the elements that we had come to love about Tom through the 13 tracks.

If I haven’t made myself crystal clear, here: I fucking love this album! And again, I see nothing but wonderful things happening for Mr. Speight in the near future. I firmly believe that the unfortunate medical issues that have held him back in the past are the only reason that his name hasn’t yet infiltrated the American airwaves as intensely as at least one other UK born sensation. We all know who I’m talking about. No need for name dropping. He’s great, but dare I say Tom Speight is the best singer/songwriter in the world of pop music that I have heard in several years. He’s already selling out his own shows, and amazing audiences as a supporting act, but look the hell out people. Tom is here to dominate!

Collide will be available on April 12th, 2019, wherever you buy music.

And look for Tom out on the road through 2019. Here are some UK dates to look out for:

April 17th – Dublin @ Whelan’s

April 18th – Cork @ Cyprus Avenue

April 20th – Belfast @ Voodoo

April 23rd – Birmingham @ The Cuban Embassy

April 24th – Bristol @ The Louisiana

April 25th – Manchester @ The Night & Day Cafe

May 2nd – Leeds @ Hyde Park Book Club

May 3rd – Glasgow @ The Hug and Pint

May 4th – Edinburgh @ Sneaky Pete’s

May 5th – Newcastle @ Hit the North Festival

 

Check out this wonderful video for “Strangers Now”:

 

New Music Tuesday: Richard James Simpson: Deep Dream [Album]

 

Hello Folks! I have to say, since my departure from only writing about music close to a decade ago, I rarely have the experience of listening to a full album and thinking, “Well, that was a fucking experience!”. But, I have to say, listening to Richard James Simpson’s sophomore release Deep Dream was indeed a motherfucking EXPERIENCE. I wasn’t just listening to the normal singer/songwriter love affair that I have become accustomed to and have fallen in love with over the years. No, I was sent on a god damned journey listening to this beautifully produced and satanic collection of rhythms and fears that were delightfully packaged as an “alternative rock” album. If “alternative” were to be something that is still packaged as an actual genre of music, this album is definitely something that goes even further beyond that weird ass wave. There is something different about this collective. There is something special hear. It obviously can’t be defined. It is noise. It is beautiful fucking noise. It is a collection of sounds. Wonderful, delightful, and David Lynchian worthy sounds.

There are indeed elements of Deep Dream in which you think that the tracklist is simply coming around to a more recognizable sound, like when “Mary Shoots ‘Em First” comes on and you feel taken back to a the confusing yet recognizable times that we called the 1990’s with the an obvious grunge ode, but fear not dear hipsters, the weirdness comes back instantly. And dammit if it isn’t fucking beautiful! It has been a while since I have heard an album describe in a press release as “sonic”, and it actually range true in any sort of way. But when it comes to Simpson, I feel as this is entirely accurate, and yet, a bit of an underselling.

 

The ballsy attempt to make “I Couldn’t Be Happier” as the lead off track from the album was a genius and sellable idea. But, the seemingly 80’s anthem rock turned truly weird as fuck track “Free” is bound to be the best track that this album has to offer. Yes, it is catchy yet dark in a way that melds a couple of decades of the past together like melted barbed wire, but it is the epicenter of the entire album. After listening to this entire album even the utterly hip and weird “Half Brother, Half Clouds” with its abundance of pterodactyl screams can’t waver my mind from loving the more simple elements of this wonderfully bizarre album. Don’t get me wrong, the entire thing is wonderful. As I said before, Deep Dream is more of an experience than it is an simply an album. And overall, no matter what it is that you decide to find the most joy out of this album for, you are going to know that this is a wonderful experience. I guarantee it. And if you don’t, well, that’s on you. Please figure out what is wrong with you if those obvious Devil nostril exhaustion don’t fuck with your mind just a little bit. The Sabbath like riffs of “Job” should be enough for you, you god damned psychopath.

 

“Deep Dreams” will be available wherever you get your music on April 12th, 2019.