Indie Rock

The Poison Arrows "Shallow Grave"

The Poison Arrows have released a second single, "Shallow Grave", from their long awaited 4th studio album, War Regards, which is due out via File 13 Records on February 25th.

This is veteran trio of Patrick Morris (bassist), Adam Reach (drummer), and Justin Sinkovich (guitarist/vocalist).

You can catch The Poison Arrows at Metro on February 5th with FACS and Girls Against Boys.

   

Single Premiere: Uma Bloo "Marguerite's Novels"

We are proud to be able to premiere the second single, "Marguerite's Novels", from the forthcoming album, Don't Drive Into the Smoke, from Uma Bloo which is due out on March 23rd via Earth Libraries.

Uma Bloo is the twisted dream pop of Molly Madden (guitar, vocals), Mike Altergott (lead guitar/keys), Luke Blanco (bass), and Steven Rutledge (drums).

When asked about this song bassist Luke Blanco had the following to share. "It may just be the name, but it is absolutely not a misnomer. This song is the sonic equivalent of finding a dusty book, unearthing it for the first time in 30 years. You used to love this book and fall into a romantic sense of nostalgia upon reading the opening paragraph. The verses and their staccato instrumentation are reminiscent of a plucked string section, conjuring up images of Victorian times, a time where you could only read the novel by candlelight. The final outro of the song, the most passionate and intense affair on the album, strikes a tear as it falls onto the yellowing pages."

"The death of anything (a body, a relationship, a career, a core belief, etc) is nothing to fear," he continued. "Death isn’t something we fully understand, but at least within the realm of the living endings aren’t anything but a catalyst for transformation."

Photo by Cailey Davern

   

Paul Cherry "No News No Blues"

Paul Cherry has released the first single, "No News No Blues", from his forthcoming album, Back on the Music, which is due out on March 11th via Sunset Records.

This is the first new music from Cherry since the released of his debut album Flavour back in 2018.

Cherry will be touring the country (and Canada) this Spring and you can catch him with Dougie Poole and Sedona at Lincoln Hall on March 21st.

   

2021 In Review: Been Stellar's "Kids 1995" is like a lucid dream

Been Stellar dropped “Kids 1995” in late November 2020 and it’s a pretty rockin' song, but with a strong undertow of melancholy too, not unlike a lot of the best alt-rock songs released in actual 1995—songs that make you wanna head-nod along, and hold your head in your hands, if both were possible at the same time.

This impression is only heightened when it comes to the hook (when the time is right / you just have to take it... / …with you, Jesus Christ / it’s like time is naked / and you feel all right / I’m not feeling too good myself) because for one thing it’s unclear whether “you just have to take it” is intended as positive-incentive or punishment or something else. And it's set to a propulsive rhythmic chug and a soul-laid-bare melodic hook that only heightens the "lucid dream" quality of this twisty four-and-a-half-minute song, all fuzzy around the edges but yearning for...something...it's difficult to say what exactly when dreams and realities get all blurred together in a lucid dream state.

And as it turns out "Kids 1995" is about a dream in reality so there ya go. More precisely, it's about a dream that's loosely related to the movie Kids (I watched the movie Kids / and then had a dream about you and me / but things are different / you’re holding a camera and yelling ‘Cut’), the notorious 1995 flick that opens and closes with Lou Barlow-penned songs (credited to Deluxx Folk Implosion and Sebadoh, respectively) and one of these songs is even name-checked in Been Stellar's lyrics (and then the credits rolled / ‘Spoiled’ Sebadoh) which is fitting since "Kids 1995" is Lou Barlow-level on the emotional resonance-o-meter.

And although the song's not 'about' Kids, the movie does echo through some of the lyrics (how did you get to this place / how many hits did you take; or; he died of old age / in the prime of his youth) and either way there’s a "fall from innocence" theme happening for sure. What’s more, singer/lyricist Sam Slocum says the friend with the camera in the opening lines basically acts as "a foil" of the song narrator’s own internal struggles and uncertainties. And in the same interview where I stole this tidbit from, he also reveals that "Kids 1995" was originally written a couple of years ago and even though the song has evolved “it almost feels like I’m watching a movie of my past self” in releasing it recently.

So let's see if I've got this right? Been Stellar have written a song about a dream inspired in part by a movie, but also about a guy shooting a movie, but the guy in question is a projection of the dreamer in part at least, a song about a dream which to one of its creators feels like watching a movie of his own past life. Cool. I'm digging the whole Hall of Mirrors thing going on here—fragments of dreams, realities, memories, fantasies all reflecting back against each other ad infinitum—which only heightens the lucid dream impression I'm already feeling from the music.

Plus I'd say Larry Clark’s Kids is a perfect reference point for capturing this vibe because it's about as lucid as movies get (maybe a little too real at times) but equally dreamlike too (the handheld camera and 'total immersion' aesthetic make it feel like you're on as many drugs as the kids) plus when it comes to "loss of innocence" what movie could be more fitting which is probably why when it was originally unleashed into theaters some reviewers deemed Kids an instant masterpiece (or later, an enduring masterpiece) while others deemed it “nihilistic pornography.” Likewise, the fates of the actual kids cast in the movie (a motley crew of skate kids, street kids, and scenesters, not a single professional actor among them) diverged widely with two of the kids becoming cinematic critical darlings and superstars (including the 19-year old screenwriter) while a couple of the kids sadly ended up dying tragically young which is the kind of life's crossroads that "Kids 1995" is about...so full circle!



The other big selling point for watching Kids today is how it functions as a lurid love letter to pre-gentrification New York City, and Manhattan in particular, having been filmed just before the borough was transformed forever by the Giuliani administration which is more than mere nostalgia for anyone who’s lived in NYC long enough, past or present, likely to identify with the eternal struggle against the corporate merchants of conformity. 

And Been Stellar appear to side with the iconoclasts in valuing the vital energy of 'New York Gritty' and in doing their part to capture and preserve the city's energy in song and also in music visual form—with Kids-reminiscent shaky, handheld camcorder footage as witnessed across their video output.

The band even maintain this vital energy when they slow things down a bit as on the "Kids 1995" B-side “Optimistic”—a shimmering deceptively mellow tune that builds to an emotional peak about 2/3 of the way through before receding back to a more contemplative vibe but giving notice that "now you must decide / does this mean we speak our truth / or are we just getting by?" thus distilling down what I'd consider (rightly or wrongly!) the core question behind the A-side's lucid dreaming plus much of their other output so far. (Jason Lee)

Band photo by @drake_lcl

 

   

The Mini Projects "Sweet Memories"

Dream Pop trio The Mini Projects have released a new single called "Sweet Memories".

This is the group of sibling second single since the release of their debut album, Pattern Dreams, back in 2020.