Seven Eyed Crow make a run for it, Crooked Ghost hit the highway, Nov3l shoot themselves, Townes returns and more in today’s Roundup. Does anybody else find it cold in here?
1 Five guys run into a bar … And start playing a tune onstage in their blood-spattered suits. That’s the intriguing beginning of the cinematic new clip for the song Lizard Brain by French alt-proggers Seven Eyed Crow. And trust me, things get weirder (and much more violent) from there in this dark, action-packed mini-epic. The song isn’t half-bad either. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Seven Eyed Crow starts in summer 2013, with Aurélien (guitars) and Tom (bass). After a few years playing with their former bands, they chose to form a new project, on strong progressive rock basis. Alex (guitar) gets on board, to bring colors and power to strings. Then Fred (drums) joins the team, with his own experimental metal past and influences (Mister Bungle, Bumblefoot…). Hit the deck:
2 Fun fact: As of this year, it’s legal to collect and eat roadkill in Oregon. Much darker and less fun fact: That is definitely not the kind of roadkill that masked North Carolina post-punks Crooked Ghost are howling about in the video for their new single Roadkill, a preview of their Feb. 15 album Skeleton House. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It sounds like going on a blind date with Buffalo Bill, speeding down a long Vegas highway, while listening to Blondie’s Heart of Glass. The accompanying video was created by Devan Burger, shot at the band’s practice space and along the Blue Ridge parkway in the freezing cold. In paranoid b-film style, this is a creepy ode to going on dates with serial killers, fast cars, being a teenage runaway, dead animals and secret desires.” Ah-oooooooh!
3 Everything comes back in style eventually. You just have to hang on to it long enough. Which suggests that Vancouver’s Nov3l have definitely been hoarding a stash of danceable British post-punk from the era of Wire, Gang of Four and The Clash. Because that’s what their new single To Whom It May Concern sounds like. As if that isn’t enough, the DIY collective also filmed the stylish accompanying video in their bunker. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The video To Whom It May Concern embodies an open call to contemplation during a time of intense societal transition influenced by mass digital communication and media. The 20th century has given rise to a transitory generation whose formative years have been spent participating in the rise of the unignorable internet and the initial stages of a transformation in humanity. In this context, how do we allocate our energy with lifetimes of content and avenues to explore? What kind of communities and relationships are we building? How do we want want to influence and shape the future?” It’s the politics of dancing:
4 Blondes really do have more fun. Even if they’re not blonde anymore. Look no further than Jean-Sebestian Audet, the Montreal musician who used to go by the musical handle Un Blonde. How he’s un-Un Blonde and calls himself Yves Jarvis. But none of that dilutes the cheery, mellow vibe of his George Clintonesque new number That Don’t Make It So, accompanied by this endearingly laissez-faire and creatively underproduced video. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “That Don’t Make It So starts to life with a stuttering bass groove, cheeky keys and layered, slightly staggered vocal harmonies. “Society has set that tone but that don’t make it so / Despite how it appears to you, that don’t make it true.” These are the only words in the song – it runs less than two minutes yet still manages to burst with beautiful horn melodies, mirrored by Jarvis’s voice and laced with record scratches.” Easy does it:
5 A few days ago, I wrote about Steve Earle’s new Guy Clark tribute album — the followup to his Townes Van Zandt disc of a decade ago. If any of that whetted your appetite to hear some Townes tunes, you’re in luck: A collection of unreleased Van Zandt songs from 1973 called Sky Blue is coming out in March — and here’s a sneak peek in the form of the gorgeous acoustic cut All I Need. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “In addition to a handful of old favorites, Sky Blue also includes two new songs that have never been heard before — All I Need and Sky Blue — as well as covers of songs by Richard Dobson and Tom Paxton.” Go out on the highway and listen to them big trucks whine:
6 Piroshka sounds like something you’d see on the menu at an Eastern European restaurant. Apparently, it’s actually the Hungarian name for Little Red Riding Hood. And the name of a new British indie supergroup featuring former Lush vocalist/guitarist Miki Berenyi, former Moose guitarist KJ (Moose) McKillop, Modern English bassist Mick Conroy and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. Not surprisingly, they sound a little bit like their shoegazing pop forebears. Also not surprisingly, their single What’s Next — a preview of the Feb. 15 album Brickbat — is a charmer. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “What’s Next started life as a guitar-and-drums demo from Justin that he’d called Protest – the drums being inspired by the idea of a protest march. It’s one of the very first songs Piroshka worked on together. The lyrics are inspired by the shock and fallout regarding current political upheavals – how this finger-pointing and rage and blame are so damaging, how we need to get back some kind of solidarity if we possibly can because the divisions between us are playing into certain people’s hands.” Next:
7 As Freud reminded us, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Presumably, it’s also true that sometimes a wall is just a wall. Except these days, when you can pretty much count on any song that includes the word wall to be a commentary on you-know-who and you-know-what. That goes doubly true when the band in question is an outfit like L.A. punk trio Flat Worms, featuring bassist/vocalist Tim Hellman (Thee Oh Sees), drummer Justin Sullivan (Night Shop), and guitarist/ vocalist Will Ivy (Dream Boys). Their old-school new single Shouting At The Wall, recorded at home by Ty Segall, comes from their upcoming EP Into the Iris. Which probably also means something. Or at least will by the time it’s released Feb. 8. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Lead single Shouting At The Wall is a tightly wound, buzzing hard hitter that “serves as a reminder to avoid temptations of self-indulgent anger and to stay focused.” Tear it down:
8 Some things make sense right away and some don’t. For instance: If you found out that the new R&B singer you just heard is from Detroit or Atlanta or New York, you would probably not be surprised. But if I told you he was from Calgary, you might raise an eyebrow. Well, be prepared to raise both: Not only is Ruben Young from Cowtown, his new single Golden Hell is as supple, smooth and seductive as it gets. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ruben’s raspy timbre and modern soul- crooner vibe breathes influence from Marvin Gaye, to Anderson Paak, to Amy Winehouse.” Given the litigious nature of the Gaye clan these days, he might want to put the ix-nay on that eference-ray:
9 This is the time of year when people — or at least the people who live where I live — start thinking about going to places like Bali. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have the time, cash or inclination to go to all that trouble. Here’s something way easier: Just listen to guitarist Ryan Dugré’s new single Bali, a short, sweet number from his forthcoming instrumental album The Humors. Granted, it won’t give you a tan. But you won’t have to worry about your house being burglarized while you’re there either. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Recorded once again with Sam Griffin Owens (Sam Evian) at Figure 8, this follow up to his 2016 debut Gardens takes his minimal, precisely arranged webs of fingerpicked guitar and incorporates layers of synthesizer, piano, drums, and strings. The Humors also features guest appearances by Ian Chang (Son Lux), Jeremy Gustin (Star Rover, Jesse Harris), and Eric Lane (Joan As Police Woman, Cautious Clay), and a beautiful cover of Sibylle Baier‘s Tonight.” Bon voyage: