Ahead of this year’s official Halloween Bomb Bash, The Bombats are releasing not one, but three songs: “FUTURE,” “SUPER,” and “SAVIORS.”
Lead vocalist and guitarist of The Bombats, Josh Boyer, says the title for this three-part single came to mind shortly after the group had finished the last record. “I got really into this idea of the triptych and wanted to challenge myself to write something based around three parts: exposition, climax, and resolution. I was also reading a lot about The Hero’s Journey wanted to make something that played out like a movie,” he says.
After he had the concept in mind, Boyer set out to figure out how to manifest the concepts both musically and thematically, while staying true to the three parts. “It became a whole page of these word associations: Future-Super-Saviors, Bubblegum-Frantic-Epic, Dracula-Wolfman-Frankenstein, Me-Mike-Doug.” Once the writing process had begun with the brainstorm of different word associations, Boyer says a lot of the initial concepts stayed intact for the remainder of the recording process. “‘Future’ became a guitar riffy, pop punk song with a rigid structure. ‘Super’ became a loose, drum heavy, noise monster. And ‘Saviors’ became this bolted together, bass led, finale,” he adds.
Throughout this process, the group says they were still working out what kind of band they wanted to be, but by recording this single trilogy themselves, that gave them the chance to continuously explore their sound and vision. “We recorded it ourselves which gave us a lot of opportunity (maybe too much) to go back and change things constantly. We took a long time making this because we were always trying new things and figuring out what we didn’t want to do,” Boyer says. “Sonically, it’s this exploration of us trying to become a better band and lyrically I was taking all these things I didn’t like about myself and kind of shutting the door on them. It’s pretty cathartic to yell and stomp around about that sort of thing,” he adds.
Now that you have the inside scoop on the new single, take your first listen to the three songs below, and grab your tickets to the Bomb Bash on 10/30 here.
Today we’re sharing an exclusive first listen to “Asleep On The Floor” from Kansas City’s Momma’s Boy.
The self-produced track was recorded and mixed in the band’s attic rehearsal space by bassist Jared Bajkowski and mastered by Shy Boys member Ross Brown. Talking about the song, the band says, “At its core, ‘Asleep On The Floor’ explores the exasperation and pain that comes with having said ‘sorry’ so many times that it’s lost all meaning — even if you still mean it.”
The single reflects the band’s rough-around-the-edges, made-in-the-midwest ethos via its lo-fi production style and western-flavored arrangement. Combining the raspy croon of singer Shaun Crowley with acoustic guitars and distant, dive bar guitars, the track conjures an atmosphere scattered with empty bottles and the perfume of regret, giving listeners a glimpse at the pain and futility of the worn out apology.
Now that you know the backstory, take your first listen of the song below!
Today we have your first look at Chameleon Treat’s video for “Honey Bee,” which is the first song off the duo’s upcoming album BASKETPUSHER.
Andrew Kruske, who makes up one half of Chameleon Treat, says that he and his counterpart Jake Edwards were influenced by bands like Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, and Spiritualized for this album. “I really just wanted to make a solid set of straight up ‘dream pop’ songs. This song in particular is about avoiding a bee that was trapped in my house…it’s about me going way out of my way for an insect, essentially. Through that lonely bug, the song broadly explores empathy (for bugs and/or human beings), stress, and avoidance,” Kruske says.
After writing the song, Kruske and Edwards were tasked with the challenge of making a visual accompaniment to the track on a very low budget. “We were faced with the struggle many independent bands are faced with: how can we make an interesting video with a budget of 0 dollars?” In order to do so, the band had to get resourceful and put in some remarkable DIY effort into the project. The answer involved a “rickety-yet-stylish” tandem bicycle, an oversized stuffed animal, and a lot of patience. “Aside from a few bad snowboarding videos in high school, this video was my first attempt at filming or editing something. It took a lot of planning, guessing, and tinkering, but I’m definitely happy with the end result,” Kruske says.
Kruske even got creative and crafty enough to add some special effects to the video. “The visual effects for the bridge section of the song were produced with an overhead projector and a variety of dyes. I attempted to give a visual indicator of a 60’s psychedelic feeling, in order to enhance the Beatles-sque vibe of the instrumentation of this section of the song. I’ve been consistently drawn to ‘liquid light’ as an art form, and I definitely want to work with it more in the future,” they say.
Although Kruske really spearheaded the efforts behind this video, he also had some help from his friends he says. “I’d also like to give a few shout outs really quick: first, to Emily Henley for playing the harp on this song. My good friend Susie helped me out while filming wherever I needed it. Jake [Edwards] was also there to help out and play the drums in a few of the shots near the middle.”
Now that you have the background story, check out the finished product for yourself with the exclusive premiere of “Honey Bee” below!
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The video stars Seasaw’s Meg Golz and Eve Wilczewski, and the duo describes the video as a visual examination of a battle taking place within one’s psyche. “The song is an arresting narrative of a person dealing with depression and the video that accompanies the song brings the reality of that fight to life,” they say. In the video, Golz is seen boxing a life-sized, photo-collage replica of herself, fighting to reveal the beauty within. Eve Wilczewski sculpted the replica herself, and was able to make the collage using large format newsprints printed by Parabo Press. Leading up to the filming of the video, Golz was kept in the dark about what the finished project would look like, and the fight scene with the replica was all shot in one take.
Talking about her experience filming the video, Golz says, “In order to prepare for this role, I took an hour long one-on-one boxing lesson (at Canvas Club Boxing in Madison - where we shot this video), where I did high intensity training, along with learning the correct form and pattern for boxing sequences. I'm not an athlete, so it was truly one of the hardest athletic experiences I've had. At one point in the class, I was running back and forth across the gym with a medicine ball and my coach shouted ‘I know you can do better than this! GO! GO! GO! GO!’ He told me after the fact, that he wanted me to have this experience to really understand how hard a boxer trains every day. It was seriously so intense, but definitely made me feel ready and comfortable to box in the ring!”
Today we have your first look at the brand new video for Anthony Worden’s song “Don't Wanna Hurt Anymore.” The single comes from Worden’s sophomore album, Slouching Towards Tomorrow, out September 21st.
Talking about the video, Worden says, “The concept for the video was primarily based upon 70s late night talk show appearances because the tune sort of has that same vibe. Shows like the 'Midnight Special' and the 'Old Grey Whistle Test' were the main inspiration but there are so many other wacky shows (especially German ones) that featured some of the biggest pop acts of the times that also inspired the video. We were able to work with a local vintage stylist, hair dresser, and theatre to pull this off and I think we're all happy with the end result. Its fun to play a little dress up and make-believe that we are in another time."
Check out the exclusive premiere of “Don’t Wanna Hurt Anymore” below!
Worden will be celebrating the new album with a release show on 9/21 in Iowa City- get details here, and catch him on the road in October:
10/11-St. Louis, MO
10/18-New Orleans, LA
10/21-Oklahoma City, OK
10/23-Kansas City, KS
Today we have your exclusive first listen of "White Noise" from Chicago's Martin Van Ruin. The track previews the group's upcoming album Current Day, out August 17th. Frontman Derek Nelson of the band describes the process behind the track below.
Sometimes, songs can come together in a moment and it’s tough to keep your pen moving as fast as your ideas. “White Noise” wasn’t one of those. The chorus melody came first, and then it was written over a bunch of months, almost passively. I listen to white noise (the real thing, not the song) sometimes to focus — it’s meant to calm you down, but if it’s on full blast, it can actually be hard to hear your own thoughts. That’s how the internet can feel sometimes. I guess that’s what the song’s about.
Once the idea came through, the song came together pretty quickly with the band. I love what Sarah [Goldstein] did vocally; and I love [Brian] Sharpe’s guitar solo on the final recording. As soon as we heard a mix, we knew it’d probably be the first song on the release.
Tune into the song below, and come celebrate the new album with Martin Van Ruin on August 17th; they'll be performing at Fitzgerald's and you can grab tickets here.
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Today we have your first listen of "The Wild What" by Oku, the project of songwriter, musician and producer Alex Katsaropoulos. Below, Katsaropoulos vividly describes the winding journey behind his debut single.
This song began over 3 years ago when the chord progression to a The War on Drugs song called “An Ocean Between the Waves” really caught my attention. It was a simple back and forth between D major and E minor for the entire song but that feeling of constant flux was something I really enjoyed. It’s funny to look back at the water imagery of the song that inspired “The Wild What” because the subject matter and title of the track came from another source.
Around the same period of time I was reading a book called “Things That Are” by Amy Leach, and in the book there’s an essay and an idea called "The Wild What." Essentially The Wild What embodies possibilities and potential, anything in the ether and the unknown. I thought that this was a perfect metaphor for the start of a relationship when things are fresh and it could be anything. At the time I had just started seeing someone so it felt right. To go deeper, that unknown can be like the ocean: exciting but often terrifying and overwhelming. I for sure was feeling that in the moment so that’s where all of the water imagery came back into play.
Originally the song was a lot happier the way the chords were played but as the rest of the album developed it was clear that it might need a slightly darker tone. So I changed the way the first chord was shaped to give it a tone that wasn’t as bright. It also had a totally different chorus for a while that felt too happy, so I rewrote that in the pre-production stage. We recorded the nylon string guitar and the drums at a studio called the Mixin' Administration in Chicago and then the vocals were tracked at my home studio in Andersonville.
All the pieces were there but something was missing, it didn’t have that THING that made the track stand out. Jonathan Alvin, the producer, suggested a string quartet for the chorus to try to mimic sinking into the waves, almost like drowning. I thought about recording live strings, but felt that I wanted something weirder and slightly more alien than usual. So after I wrote the part I began finding audio online of each note being played by different people and created a strange sample instrument with them that I could play. And that’s where the uncanny nature of the strings comes from.
Another thing that really draws your attention in this song is the distorted and pitched up vocals, which is a consistent theme throughout the rest of the album. Some of the really high parts are me singing the note in falsetto and then adding a higher octave to it. And that’s pretty much how the song came together. It reflects a lot of other ideas on the album as far as production and style goes but it’s unique in that it’s the only track that somewhat resembles a love song.
Now that you've got the backstory, dive into the exclusive premiere of "The Wild What" from Oku's debut album, which is due out this September.
Today we have your first listen of "Never Shy" from Ruins; the solo project of Cafe Racer's Adam Schubert. This single release previews Ruins' debut EP, which is the next release from the Chicago-based tape label, Dumpster Tapes.
Schubert put together the lo-fi project over the course of a transition, starting the process in his former Northside apartment shared with his then-girlfriend, and ending in the current three flat in Ukrainian Village shared with two Cafe Racer bandmates. Recorded entirely on an iPhone using just about every delay plug-in, the EP weaves in themes of isolation and loneliness, and Schubert says the track "Never Shy" was inspired by confident social animals who never carry any doubt or weakness. “Knowing people who are just tough—they are just so outspoken,” he says. ”It’s kind of cool to be around when you’re not like that. It’s interesting, they can bring you out.”
You can hear the EP live on Sunday, June 17th at Slippery Slope, at the Dumpster Tapes release show also featuring SPVD (Josh Condon from Glyders), but get your exclusive first listen of "Never Shy" below!
Chicago folk rock outfit Elk Walking are back with their first single since the release of their album Between Us, which they self-released last August. A duet between Julian Daniell and Savanna Dickhut of the band, "Ride The Tide" will be out on Spotify and other streaming platforms tomorrow, but we have your exclusive first listen of the chilled-out Summer tune below. First, see what Julian had to say about the track.
We’ve just finished the first two songs in our home recording venture, something we decided to try after recording the last two releases at professional studios. The process proved to be much more beneficial to us as a group than we thought. Without the time constraints and having the comfort of being in our own space I think we have created some of the most natural sounding recordings yet. I believe the latest and greatest Elk Walking sound has been captured on these upcoming singles. The first release, "Ride the Tide" is a duet, as is in character for this band. I very much like the way the delivery of the song flows with Savanna singing the verses and myself singing the refrain and chorus. I wrote it about the differences in ways people change and react to the world as they age. Some people I see, even sometimes having so much against them in their lives are still somehow able to thrive and bring positive energy to themselves and those around them. I wrote one verse for these people. Other people seem to let go of who they are as they grow up, in order to fit into a box that they think is expected of them. That was verse two, and then the last is about how special it feels when you fall deeply in love, when it feels like that person and you were created for each other, maybe could never live without each other again. And yet that feeling can fade and change, or… you live your lives together till death, but either way love is only temporary. The songs message is that life is temporary. Like a ride. I suppose some people may not think that's comforting but to me it's a positive, comforting message.
The primary goal for Birthdiy is to support smaller DIY bedroom artists by giving them a platform to release music and gain listeners. Releases will be obscure, digital-only, and promoted through the audience that Spirit Goth has organically grown since their start in 2016.
The first release from Birthdiy comes from Kalm Dog, the project of Californian Kris Nguyen. After taking a break from playing packed basement and house shows in Davis, CA, Nguyen is back with his third release; a catchy, garage-pop EP that was written and recorded entirely in his bedroom after he moved to the San Francisco area last summer. The melodies and riffs came easy to Nguyen, but the most challenging part was finding the time to record without bothering his seven other roommates with take after take.
The single “Fixie” is about those times in Davis, CA when Kris would ride his bike from his house to the liquor store, to the house show, and back to the liquor store with his college friends.
Accompanying the DIY-aesthetic of his music, the video for "Fixie" follows suit with footage shot using some thrift-store bought items, a fixie, half-broken Christmas lights, and a phone.
Get your first listen of "Fixie" and your first watch of the video Nguyen made below. If you like what you hear, be sure to preorder the EP, out 5/29, here.
What do cheeseburgers, human flight, and space travel have in common? They're all a part of Mountain Swallower's first ever music video. The group, which is one of our favorite rock bands from the Quad Cities, has allowed us to give an exclusive first look at the video below, which was done in partnership with a music video production course at Augustana College.
The vision was able to come alive with the help of five students; Jacob Pecaut, Bryan Ross, Nicolette Hampton, Paige Oucheriah and Kalena Willems. The students were grouped together and tasked with creating a music video for the band. The class, Song to Screen, requires various groups to help a band create, shoot and edit a music video while getting crash courses on production, directing and editing. The group says they had a great time with Mountain Swallower as they were easy to work with, had a clear vision, and easily accessible. The video features members of the band Garrin Jost, Steve Maule, and Kirby Calamari and was shot over a two day period in two different locations in the Quad Cities.
As you watch the video below, Mountain Swallower has provided a pro tip: Replace "I want it back" with a phrase of your choosing. Examples include but not limited to: "I want a snack", "My fanny pack", "I'm Bernie Mac", "I bought a yak", "I'm joining track", "This song is wack", or "I hurt my back."
This morning our fellow Chicagoans in The Slaps have a new video for their song "Where Were You Where They Were Also," and we're thrilled to present the premiere of it.
Talking about the process behind this music video, the band says the whole video came about really spontaneously. "We found out we were gonna get to shoot in this abandoned church like two days beforehand, and we called up our friends Cooper Wehde and Tommy Garrett, who helped direct our last music video for 'Houses.' They scrambled to get the camera equipment in time." they say. "The day of we just got together and did a one shot live take. Jake Tarlov did the audio engineering for it. We used one mic in the middle of the church as the only audio," they continued.
The Slaps also say that they started playing this song differently during their live show after filming this video. "Before that day we had never played it the way it sounds in the video, but I guess being in a church with the big, empty acoustics it sort of inspired us to switch it up."
Mixing elements of surf and garage rock with a hint of twang, Spirit Ghost is the moniker of Austin-based musician Alexander Whitelaw. In a few weeks, Whitelaw will release Spirt Ghost's second record on May 11th,, but for now we have your exclusive first listen!
Along with the premiere of the album, Whitelaw gives some insight into the album's process and journey below. Hit play on the record and get the inside scoop as Whitelaw shares his reflection of Spirit Ghost's new album:
Skeleton Surf Rider is the second full length album from Spirit Ghost. The album consists of 11 reverb-driven, jangly, pop songs; that jump from crooner ballads, to surf-punk, to heartfelt lamentations over failed relationships and family woes. The album was written over the course of ten months and recorded in a week with Joey Distasio of Petting Zoo. Fans of Spirit Ghost’s previous releases (Satan’s Hands, Kicking Gravestones, and their S/T) will have a lot to rejoice about upon hearing the new album.
Similar to Spirit Ghost’s past works, frontman Alex Whitelaw is the sole composer for Skeleton Surf Rider. It becomes clear upon first listen, however, that committing himself to this task has developed his sound and style. Whitelaw’s usual treble toned voice, is replaced by a more mature, seasoned tone. The adolescence of his choppy phrasing has been replaced with full bodied crooner melodies that carry through and finish strong. The new album was made with the intent of sounding a lot bigger than previous albums, with more lush backdrops of instrumentation and reverb. The rhythm guitar remains clean and shimmering while the lead lines cut through with a bright, reverb soaked twang. Although Skeleton Surf Rider is a departure from the naive, catchy hits of Satan’s Hand's and the garage crunch of Kicking Gravestones, it stands out for its fresh and developed sound, as a milestone in Spirit Ghost’s discography.
Chicago band The Knees are back with a new single today! Called "Take Care," the track is the first song that was written for The Knees, and it was written before the full band even started playing together, says the band's founder and frontman David Miller. "It’s the most straightforward song we play, in terms of structure and composition," Miller added.
To accompany "Take Care," the band also recorded a B-Side track; a cover of a 1960 piece by La Monte Young. "Our rendition uses an infinite sustain effect across 6 different guitars that build together to create a 5 minute drone. It’s definitely a test of people’s patience but it was a lot of fun to record and we’re proud of how it turned out," Miller says.
Start off your New Music Friday fix by getting your first listen to both new tracks by The Knees below!
Deeper Announces Debut Album, Plus New Music From Post Animal, The Vaccines, Frankie Cosmos and More!
Deeper has become a staple in the Chicago music scene over the years, and the time has come for the four-piece to finally release a full-length debut. The band released lead single "Pink Showers" on Monday and also shared the news that their self-titled record will soon be released via Fire Talk Records. Shuga Records is also offering their exclusive white colorway of the record, which you can pre-order here.
While you wait for the full album, tune into "Pink Showers" via our March Spotify playlist below! We've added some other new tunes this week, like "Gelatin Mode" by Post Animal, "Sha La La" by The Technicolors, and tracks from The Vaccines, Naked Giants, and Frankie Cosmos' new albums.
P.S- You can snag tickets to Deeper's album release show at The Empty Bottle on 5/18 here.
Today, Chicago's Post Animal finally released the studio version for their track "Gelatin Mode," which has proved to be a crowd favorite during their live shows. Along with releasing the song on all streaming platforms, the band also put out a hilariously weird video that goes hand in hand with the band's quirky personality. The video features the band members all taking on eccentric roles; Javi Reyes is a magical elf wizard dad, Jake Hirshland and Dalton Allison share a sweet fake nose boop, Matt Williams takes Dalton and his sword out with just a hat, and Wes Toledo proves that lime green really is his color. And there's more...Check out the whole surreal video below to see it all.
Post Animal will be on tour throughout the summer following the April 20th release of their debut album When I Think Of You In A Castle, via Polyvinyl. Pre-order the album here, and see all of their tour dates here. If you're in Chicago, do not miss their show at Lincoln Hall. Grab tickets here.
Thumbnail image by Pooneh Ghana
Happy Friday, folks! There's tons of great new music out today, from new albums to new singles. We've added some new songs and some of our favorites from the new albums to a playlist for the month of March, which will be updated weekly. Tune into the first round for March below.
The playlist features a lot of these albums, but the following are all worth a full listen on their own too. Click the link to give 'em a spin!
The Evening Attraction- The End, Again
Jonathan Wilson-Rare Birds
MT. Joy- Mt. Joy
Sonny Smith- Rod For Your Love
In advance of their sophomore album, The End, Again, The Evening Attraction share their next single "Ladaia"; a dreamy and building ballad that features a jazzy and layered instrumental bridge and outro. The track follows the upbeat, harmony-heavy lead single "Say You Will," which was released earlier this month along with a music video.
On the new track "Ladaia," bassist Paul Ansani says, "Miles [Malin] wrote the track as a two-part split between the unaccompanied vocals/guitar intro and then the Brazilian influenced jam progression. For the first half, he and I really wanted to accent the melody with some interesting harmony layers. The jam ending was pretty carefully orchestrated," and also gives a nod to the influence from The Beach Boys in the track.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Miles Malin chimes in about his writing process for the song, adding, "This song was a very emotional one for me. I wrote this one and many of these [songs on the album] during a hard time in my relationship. This one is definitely the most expressive of those times for me. It kind of poured out of me and really came together fast. I really loved the chord progression I made up on my nylon acoustic guitar and the melody spilled out very naturally, followed by a couple days of lyric writing. Without going into too much detail this song lyrically is written almost like a letter or message. It's a reflection of being in a sad, dark and lonely place and explaining to your lover your apology but also finding some self clarity during the hard times. It’s very true that hard times inspired beautiful art and I think this song is proof of that."
The song title "Ladaia" comes from the word for a Brazilian chant or cry, explains Mailin. "At this time I was listening to a ton of Brazilian Tropicalia, and samba music. The instrumental section showcases that style with all of the instrumentation during the second half of the song. It was a daunting task trying to orchestrate the arrangements with the band the way I saw it in my head. I wanted us to try to play jazz the best way we could for a rock and roll band and I think we succeeded that in our own right. This is definitely the deep cut of the record. I urge every listener to listen to the track all the way through because it has so many beautiful moving parts," he elaborates. Malin also recognizes the track "You Don't Know" by Caetano Veloso, which also references Ladaia, as an inspiration of sorts.
The tune all came together at Treehouse Records, where the band recorded all of their tracks to tape, but they called in some friends for this one in particular. "This is the one song on which we used every track on the tape. After the drums, bass, and guitars, and organs we had our friend Kevin Decker lay down the sax solo. He killed it, we were having a laugh in the studio at how perfectly that solo fell together. Nick [Tumminello] layered all of the percussion you're hearing on the jam just one after another. Guiro, triangle, claves, bongos, tambo, cabasa, and shaker I believe. The little triangle bit is my favorite," Ansani says. After all of the instrumentation was laid down, Ansani says he and Malin added the final touch; the backing vocals. "There are 4 oo's/ah's and then 2 divergent call back lines. We used a technique that we did on most of the record where both of us sang both backing vocal tracks in unison. So on this track, both Miles and I did the lowest and 2nd lowest "oo/ah" together. This worked very well as our voices blend but project differently at different notes. Then the highest 2 oo/ahs we had to do on one track because it was the last one available. Miles took the 3rd and I was on the highest. That took a couple takes but we got it. No problem," he says.
Take a listen to "Ladaia" below to see how all of their work came together for the finished track.