Neil Young With Crazy Horse – Toast

In the early 00’s Neil Young headed into Toast Studios in San Francisco, CA and cut 7 songs with his most famous – and best – backing band, Crazy Horse. The songs were bluesy and lyrically showed Neil dealing with some heavy issues within his marriage. For reasons only known to Neil, he scrapped the album and released 2002’s inferior Are You Passionate? Neil Young 1st started talking up the unreleased album in 2008. Release has been imminent for over a decade, but Neil Young fans have learned that Neil operates in his own universe. That “imminent” date is now here, 14 years or so after it was first mentioned. Reviews so far have been mixed, but for me it is a perfect Neil Young album. 7 blistering songs of heartache and longing given to us in a way that only Neil Young can do.

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Bliss Foxx – Sugar Coated Romance Junkie

I first became acquainted with the mighty Bliss Foxx in 2020, as a side gig with a local newspaper was winding down. In fact, I think their debut EP was my final submission to the paper before I moved back to the East Coast. No matter – the Salish Sea and the music from the region will always be near and dear to my heart. The band has released a track here and there over the last trying two years, but the new EP is their first batch of songs released since the debut. I hesitate to say “post pandemic” but it is a close approximation of what is being presented. The band has gone through ch-ch-changes – striving to find a consistent sound and band members in the face of – well, a series of cataclysmic events worldwide. Singer K. Rose credits finding that stability to band member Dakota – whose musical contributions to the band are incalculable. Fortunately for us, the band’s new EP is just as strong as what came before – if not stronger. Sugar Coated Romance Junkie rages in all the right places with hooks galore.

Carried Away sets the scene for this 3 song EP. An infectious slice of pop punk that will have listeners singing along in no time at all. Ride The Ghost hints at darker pastures, Sonic Youth like guitar tones matching the lost love vibes of the lyrics. There’s a menacing quality in Rose’s vocals that demands to be listened to. Killer instrumental outro, white noise & sound f/x galore. Marina is my favorite tune on this release – just pure punk rock aggression. 2 minutes of catharsis. “Eyes of a sailor / Eyes of the sea / Eyes of a lover / Staring at me.” A nice Mudhoney vibe as Rose spits out those lyrics. A great way to end this stunning EP.

You can pick up the EP here and follow the band on The Social Network here. Here’s hoping the band is playing around the Sound on one my trips back to the Seattle region – these songs probably sound amazing live. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Verdict: Another stunning EP

For Fans of: Bikini Kill, L7, Mudhoney, Dickless, Luscious Jackson

 

Moon Under Water – First Quarter

I’ve been living with Moon Under Water’s debut EP for so long that they’ve just released the follow up – before I’d had the chance to post this long-promised review. Moon Under Water describe themselves as “..a meeting of musical minds from Leicester, Liverpool, and Basildon (England). A post-punk core but pressing beyond that….” As a longtime fan of bands such as The Chameleons, The Sound, and Joy Division, the blurb caught my eye. Fortunately, the music more than lives up to the band’s own description. The band is comprised of Audrey Eade on vocals, Elliot Wheeler on guitars, Robert Eade on bass & keyboards, and Adrian Janes on drums / percussion. My first thought was that the songs reminded me of the more ethereal qualities of the Cocteau Twins with a healthy dash of guitar work reminiscent of The Chameleons. High praise indeed, and yet that opinion has only solidified with additional spins.

Golden Age kicks the proceedings off with a bit of jangle pop, a bit of C-86 vibes coming through strong. The lyrics are suitably cast in shades of regret, a perfect introduction to the band. Nostalgia for Now is even stronger than the opener, a post-punk inspired masterpiece. Sighing vocals, shimmering guitar work – everything you’d want in a post-punk song. Lyrically, this is inspiring stuff – about days gone by. “Wanting to free an instant / And keep its warmth somehow / It’s melting away.” Take Your Burden lightens the atmosphere after the 1-2 punch of the openers. A dreamy song that soothes musically and lyrically. EP closing number Reflective reminds me of View From a Hill by The Chameleons – in a positive way. A slower anthem that burns brightly. Beautifully layered guitar interplay makes for an enchanting listening experience. A perfect way to end this debut EP.

The EP is available right now via Bandcamp. I’m looking forward to spending time with the just released follow up – this is a band to start following.

Verdict: Promising debut

For fans of: The Chameleons, The Sound, Cocteau Twins, BMX Bandits,

 

Death Threat Cassette – Infinite Trick Pony

I’ve been following England’s Death Threat Cassette for about a decade now. Death Threat Cassette rose from the ashes of Jack Endino produced grunge influenced band Solanoid – singer Lee Pecqueur gone solo. A one-man band, this is truly bedroom rock. And yet – the quality of these Death Threat Cassette albums is nothing to sneer at. The albums still feel imbued to a bit of the Seattle sound whilst adding in elements of country, hip hop, and whatever else comes to mind for Lee. Each album provides an exhilarating listen and demand repeat spins from the listener. After a brief period of inactivity, Death Threat Cassette released their 3rd album, Use Your Delusion in early 2021. The 4th album was just released a few weeks ago – barely a year later. Infinite Trick Pony delivers the goods in spades, with a few unexpected diversions.

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Friends of Our Youth – That Was Then

The most exciting new indie bands conjure up visions of acoustic guitar, singing with friends around a fire, and an authentic approach to the music and lyrics. We are living in the golden age of up-and-coming bands that need to have their music heard. In my opinion, indie music at its best can incorporate country, folk, and rock n roll along with a healthy dose of psychedelia. When you combine all of those disparate elements you end up with a band like Friends of Our Youth, who will soon be releasing their debut album, That Was Then.

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