Jeff Whalen overdoes it, Black Mountain destroy, Tami Neilson gets bossy and more in today’s Roundup. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
1 If something’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. If that isn’t Jeff Whalen’s credo, it ought to be. And I mean that as the highest compliment. The L.A. power-popster’s music — including The Alien Lanes, his latest single from his recently released solo debut 10 More Rock Super Hits — is a brightly coloured, sugar-frosted confection of instantly addictive melodies and hooks. Yet it almost pales in comparison to the anything-goes surreality and hyper-driven creativity crammed into every effects-laden frame of the eye-candy video for the track. If you can make sense of what’s going on here, you’re way ahead of me. All I know is it easily the coolest video I’ve seen lately. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Alien Lanes is about a magic girl in her room who transforms after listening to the radio, and the illusion she shatters, freeing us from the grim tyranny of our programmed limitations and exposing the incredible miracle of our authentic selves and our true reality.” And introducing Dracula:
2 You might think that the “space-rock psych warriors” of Black Mountain are paying tribute to the KISS album, the Kinks song or fellow Vancouverite Dan Bejar’s band by calling their next album Destroyer. But you’d be wrong. Apparently it’s named after a discontinued 1985 Dodge muscle car. Fine by me — as long as the rest of the May 24 release rocks as mightily and majestically as the intergalactic fuzzbuster single Future Shade. And if doesn’t fully blow your tiny mind, the kaleidoscopic, community-television video should finish the job. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Their blistering lead single Future Shade has a riff that “travelled around the world then hit the bong with a chorus a year and a half later,” says Stephen McBean. “A last attempt at double frosting produced a chorus on chorus death match. Anxiety is the new heavy metal.”
3 Looking for a song to mark International Women’s Day on Friday? You could do a lot worse than Canadian-born New Zealander Tami Neilson’s retro firecracker Big Boss Mama. Its empowerment message is no-duh obvious from the title. Its video celebrates Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Annie Oakley, Cleopatra and other female icons. And just to ice that cake, it also happens to be an irresistible blast of hard-grooving, butt-shaking soul that’s funky as all get out. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I had a conversation I’d had with a girlfriend of mine, another big boss Mama, kicking around in my brain. She’s in the world of hip hop and said, “You know how hip hop is all about strut and swagger and confidence, telling people how badass you are? You should write a song with that attitude for your genre. You don’t hear women talking boldly and unapologetically about themselves like that.” Until now:
4 Seattle indie-rockers Versing have a new musical offering to share. Literally. The latest single from their forthcoming album 10000 is titled Offering. And it’s well worth accepting, assuming you’re partial to noisy and surprisingly groovy sonic cyclones that make you feel like you’re surrounded by a swarm of bees at a My Bloody Valentine gig. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I just really enjoy that droning line of guitar feedback,” says the band’s frontman Daniel Salas. “We use a lot of feedback on our songs, but I think that’s one of the more deliberately musical uses we’ve found for it. It’s a fantastical song about traveling through a mystical portal to stop an encroaching force of evil, and the feedback is like the whirring sound the portal makes. Really it’s about making the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of others, and thinking about what you’d want to be remembered for after you die.” Catch the buzz:
5 My French is atrocious. But even I know enough to understand that the name of Quebec punk oddballs Crabe means Crab. And while I don’t have any clue what the lyrics to their audaciously eclectic single Festival mean, I don’t have to, since they were kind enough to explain them to me. I think. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Festival, the album’s first single, is about the lack of crazy, tubular, noisy music in Quebec’s popular festival circuit. Then comes the day when you see a Klo Pelgag show on psychedelics, sitting alone in a muddy field under the pouring rain. In the end, you realize that it doesn’t even matter. It’s a good time and we can learn from our differences when we’re all in the same boat, chilling and doing our best.” Easy for you to say:
6 Claude Fontaine sounds like the name of an old Francophone jazz crooner. Or perhaps the handle of a hipster indie band trying to confuse you. In fact, Fontaine is an L.A. singer-songwriter who appreciates the sound and style of classic reggae and Brazilian music. The former was showcased in her recent live-in-the-studio video for the song Cry For Another. The latter is on display in Pretending He Was You, a breezy samba from her upcoming self-titled debut disc. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I hope this record will transport people,” said Fontaine. “I want it to feel like those lost records, like it got lost in the dusty bottom bin of some world music store in London because that’s how I felt when I walked in to that record store. I want it to be its own world.” Mission accomplished: