"Serious Business" - United Nations
United Nations is still a thing, which is amusing in itself. The fact that they’re reemerging the relative “biggest” they’ve ever been is beyond fascinating. I remember buying Never Mind the Bombings, Here’s Your Six Figures years ago and reading the brief diatribe about how the real UN made the new UN take down their website, or some such thing.
I never quite knew how seriously to take the band behind the presidential masks. They were another one of those bands always somewhere between thought-provoking and trolling, both more and less overt about it. That seems to hold to this day. You can’t call a song “Serious Business” without people seriously questioning just how serious you are. And really, I hope “Serious Business” as a title is a joke - otherwise it’d be way too… well, self-serious.
The band’s membership has always been something of an open secret, regadless of whether it was Glassjaw or Pianos Become the Teeth members who permeated it. They return now with the latter, along with an album called The Next Four Years that’s due July 15 from Temporary Residence Ltd. Judging by TRL’s description, the “Serious Business” title isn’t wholly in jest, what with phrases like ‘a furious homage to the pioneers of punk, and a scorching critique on the current state of “punk.”’ The mystique fades. The enigma emerges from its beloved shadows.
My own jesting aside, the song is fittingly ferocious and earns a fair amount of that smugness. That moment at 2:05 - mmhmm. I’ll certainly be listening, even as I make silent, smug asides of my own.
- Tyler Hanan
Pineapple Flex promo trailer - Devereaux
It’s a good clip. The specific color scheme, the height difference, the tension between nerves and seduction… the pineapple… it’s fun. The music, catchy and playful, quite ably pulls the trailer. I’m left intrigued as to whether all of Pineapple Flex will follow suit. If it does, I’m certainly down for another serving.
There’s even a good fashion pro-tip. It’s too bad about young Sims, though. He just wanted to enjoy his pineapple.
- Tyler Hanan
"Solo Dancing" - Indiana
There’s a vicious disconnect between US and UK music circles. Indiana, for instance, has already had two hits on the British and Irish charts, with no marketing campaign or even release date in America. I’d be interested to know the label’s promotion strategy considering how the internet is such a huge tool in pushing an artist into the spotlight.
So here’s “Solo Dancing,” an Ellie Goulding/Robyn/Gaga/Italo-Disco cut from a Nottingham based debut artist; hopefully, about to make a breakthrough.
No Romeo is out August 14th (UK) on Sony
Review: Kyle Minton
Change is frightening. Wye Oak’s latest record, Shriek, isn’t a snapshot of a metamorphosis—the album is well developed and well on the other side of Wye Oak’s changing shape. There’s a finality and crisp across each song that speaks to the gravity of the changes made to the duo’s sound. The guitars are gone, but in their place is a deluge of synth and a better showcase for Jenn Wasner’s improved vocal range.
"Rekindle" - Brave Bird
Brave Bird, hailing from my home state, is one of the most intriguing groups on Count Your Lucky Stars - a structurally elusive bunch that feel just a tad bit unpredictable. Basement emo bands aren’t often the place to look for differentiation, but Brave Bird have some of that head-cocking perplexity in just how they jangle.
We’ve now been given “Rekindle,” a song measured in its musings, to pair with the more rousing, A.V. Club-debuted “T-Minus Grand Gesture.” Both come of T-Minus Grand Gesture, a 10” following up 2013’s Maybe You, No One Else Worth It.
- Tyler Hanan
"Sun Glass" - Fucked Up
"Sun Glass" is, like just about every Fucked Up song, so very, very much a Fucked Up song. Even as the band has evolved from its hardcore roots, each new thing has delivered paired shots of thrilling adrenaline and a refreshing nostalgia. It cleanses even as it fills.
Soft guitar intro with just a hint of feedback open. Damian Abraham busts through like the Kool-Aid man (except more svelte!). An anticipatory bridge, a pause like a roller coaster car pausing atop a crest and kissed by sun, teases the horizon-chasing ending with its gang vocals. Really, the only twist that caught me was the calm, almost fade-out of an ending, which might be more a function of construction of album than that of song.
It’s all familiar, and it’s all fantastic. I’m not sure how the whole of Glass Boys, out June 3 on Matador, will follow-up the monumental David Comes To Life - could it possibly be bigger in any way? - but I’m eager to find out.
Also cool - I always, without fail and without shame, refer to Fucked Up’s anthemic rock as sun-kissed, sun-glazed, bathed in rays, and so forth. Andy Capper (and also Fucked Up’s own Mike Haliechuk) get it. There is so much sun and light and joy in this video, with a ferocious bearded man writhing in the sun-soaked (see?!) glory - it’s like they filmed the music itself, somehow getting past its actual waves.
- Tyler Hanan
NSB Podcast: Ep.1
Tyler and Kyle inaugurate the first Nothing Sounds Better podcast with talk of Record Store Day, that new Wye Oak album, and a lot of ranting about the perils of attending Bonnaroo.
- Record Store Day (0:40 - 14:03)
- Festival season (12:07 - 27:44)
- Wye Oak’s Shriek (28:00 - 32:00)
- Cloud Nothings’ Hear and Nowhere Else (32:50 - 37:36)
- Featured Artist for intro and outro: Black Santa. Songs used: “Arthur’s Song,” and “Ted Turner interviews Dr. Sagan.”
- Tyler Hanan & Kyle MInton
"Hollow" - Alex G
Who is Alex G?
I first fell into the land of lofi indie pop quite accidentally. I befriended Malcom Lacey of Arrange, who has always displayed a far greater knowledge of music than I have ever had. Through him - his blog, his recommendations, his conversations with other people that I creepily took note of - I first found Warren Hildebrand’s Foxes in Fiction and Sam Ray’s Ricky Eat Acid. The floodgates opened. I’ve been scrambling to find all these wonderful artists I’d never known, awash in a flood of a sounds I’d never heard.
It took too long to find Alex G. It was a name I saw tossed around reverentially, akin to how film friends speak of the enigmatic Shane Carruth. Just as it took me until recently to find Carruth (with Upstream Color), it wasn’t until the split with R.L. Kelly for Birdtapes that I fell in love. There was something different about it, a peculiar particularity to it. Alex G’s songs were special, fantastical. I was still woefully ignorant as to who Alex G was, but the music had finally caught me in its sway.
Now I’m caught up with the bandwagon and have the opportunity to get excited at the same time as everyone else. I’m late. I’m slow. I’m just glad to be here.
Today, Orchid Tapes announced Alex G’s twelfth release and first full-length vinyl release: DSU, due June 17. Accompanying the announcement, the Fader had gifts. It had a fantastic new song, “Hollow,” and an article about this scene’s favorite son. The title? “Who is Alex G?" So easy. So apt.
- Tyler Hanan
"Water Fountain" - tUnE-yArDs
That wackadoo video tUnE-yArDs promised yesterday is here. Much as a tUnE-yArDs video should be, “Water Fountain” is big, bright, and absolutely bonkers, it’s zaniness inspired by Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Nate Brenner, the other half of tUnE-yArDs, plays the dancing chef, and we even get the end of Franklin Ruehl’s science lesson.
Read director Joel Kefali’s explanation for the origin of the video over on Pitchfork. Nikki Nack is still out May 6.
Science in action! Yes! YES! YES!
- Tyler Hanan
"I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore" - The Menzingers
The excellence of this song is already established. It’s a fist-pumping anthem both the dissatisfied youth and the not-so-youthful can immediately identify with without feeling like self-pitying mopes.
Coinciding with today’s release of The Impossible Past follow-up Rented World, The Menzingers unveiled this clever music video directed by Whitey McConnaughy. Our ambigutagonist has had enough of the lonely serial killer life and wants to turn over a new leaf.
The kicker - he’s kinda kicking ass at it. He’s really sticking with that whole “new leaf” thing. He’s staying positive, keeping at it, and putting that machete to a societally-beneficent use. I only hope he sanitized it. Sure he’s a little creepy, but it’s in that lovable, pre-00’s classic romance way.
After you’ve had some fun with the video, check out Rented World via your favorite legal music medium. The band will be on tour soon, and half the people who will be in those crowds already know every word to every song.
And spoilers, but finally he knows what it’s like to have the rug pulled out from under you when you’re home free.
- Tyler Hanan