Last month, New Orleans-based indie rock duo Generationals released their third full-length album, Heza. This week, they debuted a video for “Spinoza,” featuring vocalist Ted Joyner dashing through the streets of NOLA while Grant Widmer rides around in a truckbed struggling to play his guitar as he slides all over. If there’s a point to it all, I’ve missed it, but it’s certainly a delight to bask in the sights of one of my favorite cities — vendor booths in Jackson Square, iron-fenced balconies throughout the French Quarter, horse-drawn tour carriages. For more views of The Big Easy, check out the band’s video for Heza‘s lead single, “Put a Light On.”
Pop-punk’s pulse beat strong in the mid- to late ’90s, but somewhere around the turn of the century, it seemed to trickle out. That’s not to say it disappeared, but the sound in general grew stale, as new styles of rock (often borrowing from old styles) emerged in the forefront. With Allison Weiss‘ new album, Say What You Mean, that brand sounds fresh again. Weiss doesn’t necessarily bring much new to the table, but something about her interpretation of the genre brought it back to life in my ears. Her solid power chords, classic yet stimulating, and vocals that convey emotion as much as the lyrics themselves probably have a lot to do with it.
Music can be so powerful when its effect on you is not only visceral, but emotional. I think that’s where Weiss won me over with this release, because her heartbreak is so relatable — as heartbreak is wont to be, I suppose. She covers a decent range of scenarios that can come from a rough break-up, using varied levels of sass to drive her point throughout the album.
Say What You Mean opens with “Making It Up,” a relatively light, poppy tune, implementing a bit of synth atop the basic guitar/bass/drums set-up. The song pleads to an ex-lover who’s acting like whatever they had together never happened: “Am I making it up? Was it not what you said? Was I never the one? Was it all in my head?” This juxtaposition of cheerful melody to despondent lyrics is always a satisfying angle, because instead of burying the listener in sad feelings, it uplifts them.
Break out your dancin’ shoes, because !!! is gonna make you wanna move with their new album, Thr!!!er. Nic Offer blends pop music styles like a boss, and it’s all founded on sumptuous bass rhythms that make it tough to sit still. It’s all so obvious in the new music video for “One Girl / One Boy.” Offer dances around in his super-sweet short-shorts while singing about how a song keeps him connected to a former love.
No amount of heartbreak can really separate us from our musical memories of dancing with someone we once loved, and Offer’s plea is that it may not matter anymore, but when that song plays, he can’t help but feel like he’s in that place again, when things were good. Because let’s face it, nothing is bad when you’re dancing. All your troubles dissipate on the dance floor like droplets of water burning off a hot skillet (that’s how I learned to know my pan was ready for pancake batter, anyone else?). The awesome Sonia Moore provides guest vocals on this tune, and I can’t help but be a little jealous that she gets to groove with this fresh gent, because that guy looks like a choice dance partner. And seriously, more dudes need to wear short-shorts. Ain’t nothing wrong with showing a little leg, fellas!
Let’s talk for a second about Fleet Foxes. You know the band. We all do. They’re a mild mannered group of folk superheroes who wear beanies and have beards. A fair few years back, I got the chance to see the Seattle-ites at Lollapalooza and while I was impressed, I never would have expected that the man stowed behind their drum kit had moves like this…
After years of doing double duty as both a Fleet Fox and the super serious mountain man J. Tillman, one can only assume that Tillman finally reached a sense of nirvana or ego death, fueled by massive drug use, and emerged from the desert in a Peyote-drenched glow, flanked by shirtless witch women, shaking a tambourine, and possibly riding a winged cougar. Thus, Father John Misty was born.
Sure, the music is pretty fantastic…
…but let’s face it. This man has the most gif-able dance moves of all time.
Pop culture aficionado and singer-songwriter Allie Goertz released her debut full-length album this week. Cossbysweater is a fan-funded collection of send-ups to “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Simpsons,” “Arrested Development,” Dungeons & Dragons and other geek faves. Goertz’s new music video for “Stagnant’s Fine” seems to stand apart from the rest, seemingly without any blatant pop culture references. Just a nonchalant song about being stuck in place and apathetic. Most of Goertz’s songs are presented beneath a sheer shroud of melancholy, with “Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse” serving as a candid look at the blue-haired character’s pathos, or “Tonight” emphasizing a D&D campaign as an escape from the drudgery of real life. And I’m okay with that, because it’s a strangely beautiful and unexpected perspective.
Just Because I Was In A Shower In My Music Video Doesn’t Mean You Can Objectify Me, Thanks: Sexism In Indie Rock
I’m no stranger to sexism in indie rock. The subject has been oft-written about by me for various sites that I’ve contributed to, namely the now-defunct Awe Chasm, and one I’ve had to deal with in various forms for a number of years now, being a young woman in the music industry. As a music journalist, my second interview ever walked out on me when I refused to get sexy with him, even though I was on the job. I remember the horrible feeling that accompanied the scene as it played out before me and the crushing realization I had as I drove home: Being in the music industry is one small step above prostitution. I comforted myself with the idea that, well, isn’t any job one step above prostitution? Especially as an artist, you’re being forced to sell yourself, your art, your ideas, and thus, you let others appropriate it as they see fit.
There’s a number of things glaringly wrong with that statement, namely the fact that journalism in any form should not make you feel like a whore. No job should, except for maybe prostitution itself.
In the subsequent years since that realization, I’ve seen friends, colleagues, musicians, and strangers treated similarly to how I’ve been treated and all of these groups had one thing in common, other than being in an artist’s industry. They were all female. It’s very rare that you see an article concentrating, say, on Matt Berninger’s physique, however women like Lana Del Rey and Grimes are commonly referred to as “cute” with their music being a slight afterthought.
It’s offensive but the fact of the matter is that it’s something I never truly grasped the complete grossness of until recently. You see, readers, I’m not just Amber Valentine, your friendly Michigan pal who likes to force her musical tastes upon unsuspecting interweb strangers. As of late, I’ve also been the gal behind Amber Valentine’s Shriveled Heart & The Skeletons Left Behind. Recently, we released a new single and an accompanying video. In the words of my bandmate, the incomparable Zunk, the vid was meant to leave the viewer feeling “a little f–ked up after watching it.” When Hearingade’s own Abby said the finished product “made me feel nauseated,” I knew I could borrow George W.’s Mission Accomplished banner, wrap myself in it like a human burrito, and sleep soundly.