The Shinola | Spiritual Cramp, Deer Tick, GBV & More Of The Day’s Bestness

Every day I get hundreds of new singles, videos, EPs and albums from artists, publicists, managers and record labels around the world. And here’s the honest truth: Most of them are crap. You know it. I know it. Even the people pitching me know it, whether or not they’ll admit it. But within that avalanche of mediocrity, I sometimes find nuggets of awesomeness. And I compile them into this all-killer, no-filler rundown. You’re welcome. Let’s get to it:


Spiritual Cramp | Better Off This Way

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Just a few weeks from releasing their self-titled debut album, Spiritual Cramp share final single Better Of This Way. An epic, shoot-em-up-inspired music video, it was directed by Sean Stout, and features the band members as Guy Ritchie-esque characters as they chase one another through the warehouses and canyons of L.A., trying to take possession of a mysterious suitcase. The video also features friend of the band Ian Shelton of Militarie Gun. Out Nov. 3, Spiritual Cramp was produced by Michael Bingham and Michael Fenton of the band and includes additional production from Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, M83, The Linda Lindas), who also mixed the album.”

Deer Tick | Dancing In The Dark

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Deer Tick have shared their raw, fervent cover of the Bruce Springsteen classic Dancing In The Dark, recently recorded in the band’s Providence, RI, studio. “For me, Dancing In The Dark isn’t a song about romance, but instead a desperate plea to break out of some degraded, stagnant situation. The narrator is filled with angst, self doubt, and the only way out is to the sheer force of unwavering willpower,” explains guitarist/vocalist Ian O’Neil. “Bruce really shows us who he is on this one and it looks an awful lot like the rest of us.” The band’s most recent album, Emotional Contracts, was released in June.”

Jetstream Pony | Sixes and Sevens

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jetstream Pony play a mix of indie-pop, power-pop and scuzzy post-punk. The band consists of Beth Arzy on vocals and drums, Shaun Charman guitar and vocals, Kerry Boettcher on bass and Hannes Müller on drums. Sixes and Sevens brings out the best in Beth’s wonderful voice, with reverberating guitars and thick, heavy bass, a hymn to the Medway.”

Frida Kill | Zine Song

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Frida Kill’s sound is equal parts post-punk revival, filthy garage-rock and experimental noise. Frida Kill’s music melds relatable grooves that point to a time when rock ’n’ roll was more visceral than cerebral and pairs that with avant-garde flourishes synonymous with the sound of New York City’s most iconic bands. Frida Kill have a special love for bands like L7, Bikini Kill, Sonic Youth, Coathangers, The Slits, Hole, FIDLAR, Together Pangea, Plasmatics, X, PJ Harvey, ESG and Breeders. The stew that is the Frida Kill sound is being stirred by four women of marginalized backgrounds living in post-pandemic Brooklyn who have perspectives that will make you stop and listen. “Zine Song is a semi-autobiographical song about working multiple jobs, while also trying to party and keep on top of things,” they say. “It’s unsustainable and eventually everything gets blurred, and nothing makes sense. The song explores feelings of confusion about what’s real or what’s a dream, anxiety and depression, trying to fall in love, but also finding comfort in nightlife. This fast-paced, reckless lifestyle is one that a lot of musicians and artists in N.Y.C. have.”

Dan Palotta | Kickin’ A Stone

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Massachusetts singer-songwriter Dan Pallotta is sharing Kickin’ A Stone, the latest single from his upcoming sophomore album Winnebago Dreams (due Nov. 17), a folk reflection which is imbued with child-like wonder. Pallotta paints the scene that inspired the songwriting: “I go for a three and a half mile walk each morning on narrow country roads around our home. I pass cows and chickens, sheep and their little lambs, sometimes a few miniature horses pulling a small coach that my neighbor Peter drives around. It’s my favourite time of the day, and over the years I’ve developed a group of friends that are passing the other way and we stop and chat. So, what inspired the song was, literally, kicking a stone down the road like I used to do when I was a kid — like we all did‚ trying to see how far I could get it to go, and realizing that such a pursuit is not a frivolous waste of time. Doing the mindless things we did as children — daydreaming, playing with direct, kicking rocks down the road, these things are good for the soul.”

Yawning Balch | Flesh Of The Gods

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Yawning Balch is the collaborative outfit uniting guitarist Bob Balch (Fu Manchu, Big Scenic Nowhere) and desert rock progenitors Yawning Man, currently incarnated by founding guitarist Gary Arce, drummer Bill Stinson and bassist Billy Cordell. Their sophomore record Volume Two is part of a set carved out of a single five-hour jam between Balch and the trio. Balch says: “No riffs were planned. We just plugged in and played. The only discussion beforehand was that Gary Arce and I wanted to mess with tons of guitar pedals. I knew that while we were jamming it sounded great, but it wasn’t until I got home and listened to it all that I realized we had something special. It’s hard to believe that we jammed for five hours and got two full-length LPs and then some out of it. Every player killed it on these recordings and I’m beyond grateful to have my name involved with this legendary band. Fingers crossed they invite me back out annually for more jam sessions.”

Tar Of | Ey Vaay

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn’s Tar Of return with their sophomore album Confidence Freaks Me Out, an exercise in patiently constructed joyous absurdity. Each compositional choice was guided by a desire to confound and amuse: if an arrangement felt too serious, it was reworked with a silly premise, “bad” decision, or dumb inside joke tucked into a supporting wall. Any or all parts became interchangeable, permuting and transmuting ad nauseam. As the pieces unspooled, they became completely untethered from their original meanings, generating new and increasingly wacky artifacts: melodic mondegreens spinning off into miniatures, placeholder syllables begetting dissonant symphonic breakdowns, toy pianos quantizing into shaky Hindustani talas.”

Uncle Lucius | Civilized Anxiety

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Beloved Austin band Uncle Lucius have released the gritty new track Civilized Anxiety from their first album in five years, Like It’s The Last One Left, out Dec. 8. As a pulsating drum beat fades in, a biting guitar riff cuts through followed by lead singer Kevin Galloway’s guttural vocal that exudes the feeling of the song title. “There’s a certain madness that comes with living in a city like Austin, TX,” Galloway says. “People, like ants, move to and fro upon an infrastructure that will never catch up to the pace of population growth. Sometimes the cacophony and gridlock can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to drop everything and run toward the peace and tranquility of nature.” Civilized Anxiety was written by Uncle Lucius co-founder and original bassist Hal Jon Vorpahl, who now serves as the band’s producer and unofficial seventh member. “Civilized Anxiety was written about feeling the pressure of overpopulation and the experience of that pressure sometimes being too much to take,” says Vorpahl. “I wrote the song after having an experience like this in a packed grocery store very early post-pandemic. Fighting for a parking spot, fighting for a grocery cart, fighting to get down the aisle for some oatmeal… it all became way too much, way too fast. I left my cart in the middle of the aisle, went home to grab the dog, and headed out to the middle of nowhere East Texas for a couple of weeks.”

Tonn3rr3 X Bikaye | Balobi

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Congolese rumba, mythological storytelling and computers forge a hybrid, borderless strain of mutant Afro-electronic experimentalism on new single Balobi, the third from the album It’s A Bomb, a cross-cultural collaboration between Congolese singer Bony Bikaye and French trio Tonn3rr3. The album’s opening track and latest single builds slowly but forcefully to a euphoric and foreboding endgame with Bony’s vocals growing ever more erratic whilst the bassline keeps pumping through. It is exactly 40 years since Bikaye forged an unlikely and much heralded creative partnership with French composer Hector Zazou on their Congolese electronic album Noir et Blanc. Now Bony makes an incredible return to music as lead protagonist of a project that Bony and Guillaume Gilles dreamt up, loosely crafted around the metaphor of an electronic jungle.”

Gotts Street Park | Tell Me Why

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With their focus firmly on 2023, Leeds trio Gotts Street Park share the final preview from their anticipated debut album On The Inside: The single Tell Me Why. Their forthcoming 12-tracker is to be released on Oct. 13. Tell Me Why seamlessly brings together the band’s timeless blend of vintage soul meets alt-R&B, with the effortless dulcet Jazz-folk tones of long-time collaborator Olive Jones. It’s a union from its early notes that submerges listeners into another cinematic experience. Gotts Street Park say “Olive Jones is a good friend of ours who we met in Leeds over a decade ago! She’s been singing in our live show for the past year or so, and we wanted to have her featured on the album. This tune seemed the perfect fit for her voice and style to shine — we had the instrumental tracked out a few years ago and she jumped on recently and gave it a new lease of life.”

Guided By Voices | For The Home

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Guided By Voices‘ third album of 2023 (and 39th overall) is a sprawling, wild masterpiece. In stores / streaming on Nov. 24.”

Native Cats | Tanned Rested And Dead

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The first two singles from Hobart, Australia post-punk duo The Native Cats’ upcoming fifth album The Way On Is The Way Off (out Nov. 10) were both hardly two minutes long. To make up for all this incisive brevity, Tanned Rested and Dead is a seven-minute epic that starts urgently and then builds the tension even more, finishing with a group chorus (with guest vocalists from Tassie bands Slag Queens and Philomath) that delivers a cathartic payoff. “This song is about longing to win the affection of the United States, and about watching the United States slowly combust and float further and further away,” says vocalist Chloe Alison Escott. “I wanted it to sound like our version of a fantastic apocalyptic ending to a movie, every loose end tied up with death or ascension, like Akira or End of Evangelion, in structure if not in scale or style. The title is from an old novelty T-shirt I saw once: ‘Tanned Rested and Dead — Nixon in ‘96.’ ”

Spyres | The Thing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Glasgow four-piece Spyres have announced their new EP Karaoke Sellout, due Nov. 24. The Thing is yet another galloping indie-pop earworm that continues to mark Spyres as a band with considerable smarts. On The Thing, Spyres bring forth a brisk sugar-rush attack that joins direct songwriting with addictive call-and-response vocals. It’s a song that revels in ambiguity, the unknowable, and the things you can’t quite find the right words for. The band explain: “The Thing just speaks for itself. When those words were brought up in a writing session, we thought there were so many avenues to go down and so much it could be about hence the extensive lyrics in the chorus and bridge. We never actually come to a conclusion of who or what The Thing is as we wanted to give it a real edge and leave the listener wanting to know more.”

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