Nik Talbot – “Switchblade Silhouette”

“Switchblade Silhouette” is an audiobook EP by singer-songwriter Nik Talbot. Nik’s LinkedIn page says that his day-job is singing and playing guitar in The Dull Blades. Legend goes, the Melbourne duo were in the midst of recording their second album, when Talbot hit creative oil and began forming the idea that would become “Switchblade Silhouette”.

Not quite audiobook, not quite EP, this conceptual western is a mix of scripted dialogue and song. Each track is introduced by a short scene that pieces together the overall narrative. Talbot pulls his best John Wayne meets Raoul Duke in the main character, Felix Blisskill. Felix is chasing The American Dream and hopes to find it in a desert. Drugs are his tour guide.

The music itself doesn’t stray too far from The Dull Blades’ usual fuzzed-out twang. Talbot’s vocals add to the story’s atmosphere; it’s as if Rango picked up a Big Muff. As for Felix’s American Dream, it fades into the dust while he repeatedly sings, “I’m going to leave this road behind.” Enjoy.

Washer – “Rot”

Is it possible for a song to be beautifully lazy? If the lethargic elements in question add to the song’s overall tone, then I’d say yes. Case in point, NYC duo Washer’s couch-locked anthem, “Rot”. The vocals are less-than-eager. The slide guitar slinks around, as if to say, “eh.” When the song explodes, it does so out of idle frustration. “Rot” is about the realization that your life is slipping away, but knowing you lack the motivation to do anything about it. “All I wanna do is rot.” Enjoy.

Hear more from Washer on their Bandcamp.

The New Lows – “This Crime”

Fuck you, pop punk. Seriously, anytime I hear the term “pop punk,” all I can think of is washed-out guitar music, drained of all real punk attitude. Pop punk is not punk music with sweet melodies – hell, most songs of any have some sort of catchy element – it’s punk music at its most generic: repetitive guitar, lackluster vocals, and whiny bullshit. OK, you get the idea. Unnecessary rant over.

I say all of this, because Orlando boys The New Lows‘ new track “This Crime” is the antithesis of my earlier ramblings. It has soul – punk soul, but soul all the same. The guitar is repetitive, but with purpose. And vocalist Mike Levin is no Susan Boyle, but his spitfire lines are not short on passion. I’m glad to hear The New Lows continuing to carry Orlando punk scene’s black flag – pun intended – with joyous new anthems. So thank you, The New Lows. And fuck you, pop punk. Enjoy.

The New Lows are playing The Fest 13, so get on that shit!


Hear more at The New Low’s Bandcamp.

ButterQueen – “I Like To Stay Home” (R. Stevie Moore Cover)

Orlando trio ButterQueen take on lo-fi legend RSM for r/cassetteculture’s latest compilation tape, Rituals. In July, ButterQueen was named “Best New Band to Rep Orlando Hard” by Orlando Weekly, a fitting title given the band’s admiration for Orlando underground landmarks in songs like “Dinner at Wally’s”. This is a band that sticks to their roots. Whether it’s singing about their hometown or paying homage to a musical hero, ButterQueen is dedicated to keeping the gristle of the underground alive and kickin’. Enjoy.

Album Review: Karen O – “Crush Songs”

Karen O is best known for her work in the art punk band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but has also sang on a number of film scores, and wrote, directed, and starred in the musical Stop the VirginsCrush Songs is Karen’s first solo album, and is comprised of a collection of songs written and recorded in 2006 and 2007 at her NYC apartment. Enjoy.

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I have adored Karen O ever since the first time I heard Fever to Tell. I knew Crush Songs wasn’t going to be Karen at her most bombastic, but the other side of her voice, the gentle, sometimes comforting, sometimes heartbreaking side that we first fell in love with on “Maps,” shines throughout the album. “Rapt,” “Beast,” and “Other Side” showcase Karen’s somber coo that is both eerie and touching. When we do catch a tiny glimpse of her animalistic self, at the zenith of “Body” or on “Native Korean Rock,” the juxtaposition feels explosive.

Most of the pieces on Crush Songs’ are incredibly brief; they feel like quick diary entries that we have sole pleasure to read. Although the majority of the album consists only of Karen’s voice and light guitar, this incredible closeness makes up for any lost elements.

Of the 15 small sketches, my three favorite appear in the middle, one after the other. “Days Gone By” is a moving picture of everything that is love. “Body” has a love-yourself-before-loving-someone-else message that climaxes with primal screams directed at our world’s heinous view of body image. Finally, “King” is beautiful ode to Michael Jackson containing charming lines like, “Is he walking on The Moon? I hope I don’t find out too soon.”

The album’s closer “Singalong” evokes the part of any memorable evening in where everyone’s feeling more than a little drunk, and way more than a little sentimental. A metaphor I find fitting for the entirety of this album. Because Karen’s Crush Songs’ home isn’t an extravagant discotheque, nor is it a sleazy basement party, instead the album’s aura is like the cluttered New York loft in which it was made. And although it’s no massive event, it still feels great to be invited inside.

Music Video: Cancers – “Moral Net”

It’s time to put the kids to bed, because their’s a cloudy new video from members of Noisy Ghost family. Cancers’ “Moral Net” features the light-as-air vocal stylings of Ella Kasper floating above grimy, punchy guitar chords. The duo’s debut album Fatten the Leeches is out September 16. You can read the band’s bio here. I wrote it. Enjoy.


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