Archive for the 'Recommendations/Reviews' Category


Lights Up, Let’s Make Moves…

It turns out there isn’t only one Australian dynamic duo constructing beats and grooves. Perhaps Flight Facilities are bouncing harder than the archeologists, there isn’t a doubt their latest “Lights Up” with Compton’s Channel Tres bumps. His deep, smooth G-Funk spit accentuates this hard to sit still beat. As the song kicks off, Tres speaks of hitting him up earlier because the collaboration of Facilities with Tres on the vocals could be crazy. The energy of this combination is addictive, it’s hard to sit still and not want to strut into the club, throw up your arms, and immediately make moves.


Roisin and Crooked Man’s Alternate Machine…

The amount of remixes constructed on a yearly basis is incalculable. Which is okay because most fall flat and are an inferior product to its original. This caliber of shoddy work exists in all artistic formats. We as listeners, consumers, and those in need of something more desire the best experience. The creative process rarely has only one ideal end product. But certain projects do require the right artist.

We have a contractor who specializes in houses like ours. His specialty is repairing, updating, and building better homes. By choice, he’s exclusive to this neighborhood because there is a similarity that these homes share: their period of origin. Most are a century plus old. This craftsman understands the ins and outs of these homes. When someone desires a reinterpretation of their current home, it’s not even a question of who you need. When Roisin Murphy gave her blessing to a complete reinterpretation of last year’s Roisin Machine, she didn’t hesitate to grant her producer Crooked Man full access to the record’s DNA.

Roisin Machine is a brilliant, near perfect dance record with Chic-grooves and an energetic bounce crafted for long, sweaty nights on the dance floor. Crooked Machine is a record by its original producer to be another way of viewing these themes of regret, lust, and the entrepreneurial spirit to create your own happy ending.

Calling this a remix album doesn’t do it justice. Most remixes fall flat and are as functional as chewed up gum, used floss, or a poorly aged record. It’s far from a sequel to last year’s monster Machine; this is an album that doesn’t need an accompany piece, it formidably stands on its own.

If Version I was full of shimmer, illuminated multi-color floors, and steamy tales from front to back, Version II hits harder with traces of techno and heavy house; each track is allowed to build around a pulse with Murphy’s voice scattered throughout. The evening has just began, drop that needle on Roisin Machine, let your party come alive with its raw, upbeat energy. As the evening progresses, and some begin to bow out, grab your Crooked Machine record sleeve and inject the dedicated with a dose of heavy hitters. Both are soundtracks to lose ourselves to. It’s gonna be your choice which sound is going to get you lost in the groove because in the end, both are meant for a lifetime of dancing.


I’m Perfect…

I’m a guy, I so happen to be white, too. I got it easy. But the opposite sex, regardless of race, though that compounds the challenges, is a different story. There is a societal expectation for women to look a certain way and act a certain way. You’re not perfect if you don’t fit that mold. It’s not right, far from even beginning to be fair. Thankfully, we have strong women standing behind the microphone armed with instruments of mass destruction. With fierce, insightful vocals, and riot-inducing instrumentation, Philadelphia’s Mannequin Pussy want to grab you by the collar and shake all misogynistic BS out of our not trying hard enough society with their latest single, “Perfect”. A blistering tsunami of a track off the forthcoming Perfect E.P. set for a May 21 release.

When you’re redlining, going forth with everything you have in the moment, you can only sustain a short duration. Why not plug in, crank the dial, and ramp up the intensity for a mesmerizing 82 seconds? Front woman Missy Dabice vehemently confronts this societal dilemma over raging, burst an ear drum instrumentation. A peaceful demonstration will only get you so far. If you want to truly stir shit up, cause a ruckus, and get someone’s attention to shift society’s mis-actions, you have to come armed with the immense power this punk trio is brandishing all over “Perfect”.

Look at my body/Tell me it’s it

Tell me I’m royal/Tell me I’m rich

Kiss all my holes/Call me a bitch

Tell me I’m perfect/Tell me I’m “It”


Crooked Machine…

When is your artistic endeavor finished? After the 102nd iteration, can you declare it ready to ship? I dunno, really you could work on something forever and not be satisfied; or not achieve the point of perfection you had envisioned upon that first spark. Something can always be moved around, said differently, played in another key, or looked at through an entirely different lens than you initially viewed it through. Last year’s triumph still holds endless potential. All it needs is to be reimagined and then rebranded.

Soulwax took their 2004 rock meets groove explosion Any Minute Now and let it spin around for a year before they reinterpreted it as Nite Versions. Where the former involved plugging guitars into amps and turning the dial to 11, the latter was meant for the club with its dirty, loud electro. Both excellent releases with their own unique sound and objectives. Roisin Murphy stepped into the laser heavy disco club last year with DJ Parrot, AKA Crooked Man, to create one of last year’s most heavily played records with Roisin Machine. Safe sounds, hypnotic grooves, a propellant for my day with its heavy house bounce. Everything about this infectious sound was what I ask of a dance record. But perhaps this album was only the beginning, the man behind the boards takes the original blueprint of this record and reimagines it as Crooked Machine.

Crooked Man takes the record opener “Simulation” and runs it through a breezy pulsating processor to create “Assimilation”. Maybe a remix of the original, maybe what was intended to begin the album. Regardless, this soon to be released record has Roisin stating about her collaborator and his latest output, “I left him and Fat Dave to their own devices on this and they have outdone themselves! I absolutely love it!! I think I prefer it to the original album, slightly less me and all the more ‘cool’ for it!”


Since I Left You…

Jesus, I can’t spin The Avalanches debut without hearing something new almost every time. With over 900 samples used to create something original, dreamy, and damn catchy, it’s no wonder each listen yields a new discovery. It’s been two decades since its release. To commemorate, they excavated their archives to provide us with a Deluxe Reissue of what might be the most creatively engineered album ever. Seriously, name another.

These audio archeologists plucked out sound after sound from dusty, unheard records. This duo masterly assembled these samples into an intricate jigsaw puzzle that became one hell of a brilliant aural tapestry. The minds of this duo are otherworldly, not many can hear a snippet of a song or spoken word track and envision blending it with other sounds to create something unique. Let alone a song worth playing over and over again that seamlessly blends into other works of art that thematically fit into Since I Left You.

The mash-up world that came at us full force owes so much to these sample-happy masterminds. Where some records from that era sound dated, or at least their novelty has worn off, there is a timeless element to this album.

“I remember very clearly a few things – “we decided to not have any of our voices on it, which made it last because it’s a kind of transmission; nothing date-stamps it to that time. “Music lovers get it, and that’s what we ultimately are. It’s almost like an exploration of our relationship with the world and with music. “Looking back, I’m proud of this record as a pure expression of joy and love, heart on its sleeve and is free from irony.”

To whet our appetite for which is inevitably the reissue of 2021, The Avalanches share the title track “Since I Left You” re-worked by none other than Prince Paul, an uncredited 4th member of De La Soul. Who was a true pioneer in his ability to push the production boundaries of what a backing track could sound like. Prince Paul helped to lay the groundwork for The Avalanches to concoct such a genre bending mindfuck that is Since I Left You.

Prince Paul’s remix sees him injecting a whole new surging pulse into the title track. Where the original eases us into this genre hopping journey, this version scratches, incorporates additional female vocals telling their ex how it is, and adds an extra punch care of Paul’s rhyming. An excellent glimpse into what this Deluxe reissue has in store for us.


I’m Ready…

Opportunity may strike at your lowest point. It seems to hunt you down when you’re least expecting it. You’re down and out at work; but oh, shit, an exciting project now has your name on it. The day was already long enough, and you’re scheduled to attend this meeting; but oh, shit, it was just canceled – a gift of time. 60 minutes ago you were psyched to step into a workout, now you’re far from your house and out of gas; but damn, look what just rolled on.

There are different states during a ride for me no matter the duration and intensity: warm-up, huff and puff, feelin’ good, beginning to lag, and the adrenaline rush of near completion. Though I know a well-timed and appropriately themed playlist would generate more ummph and tenacity, creating a synchronized set of songs isn’t my thing. Instead, it’s a few E.P.s and albums placed in my queue upon sitting on my saddle. My spontaneous choices have been working.

The energy, the nostalgia, the impeccable songwriting, and the combustible instrumentation of Triple Fast Action’s Cattlemen Don’t is what I continue to return to. A great majority of this record is fully charged and ends up exploding sonically. Albums deserve to be experienced with headphones, the brilliance shines brighter, all the expressive nuances of each song ring truer when you’re immersed within that song’s world. Headphones almost force you to be present and one with the song.

While in the huff and puff phase of my ride, after a gradual, loose climb, my energy was waning. I was capable of staying in motion but the pace was the speed where being passed was likely. On a beautiful day, in a heavily populated open space, there is always someone creeping up. I own my age and how my muscle fibers aren’t what they once were. But like electrical paddles hoping to resurrect a normal heart rhythm, an under three-minute song possesses a similar capability: let’s rip! The surge that courses through my body upon hearing “I’m Ready” gave me an instant restart. I was ready for whatever was left ahead. This jolt of opportunity hit right when I needed it.


The Offspring’s We Don’t Have Sex Anymore…

It’s not a surprise this is 2021 Offspring. Back in ’95, they were expressing similar concerns: his girl was sleeping with his friends because she pegged him as a disease. The self-reflective “Self Esteem”, off 1994’s Smash, clearly stated its protagonist wasn’t capable of communication. He was okay with being steamrolled by his ex. Speaking up is hard, not many have the confidence and tools to initiate it, let alone be effective.

Well, I guess I should stick up for myself/But I really think it’s better this way

The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care/Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah

And as desired as sex is, it’s often the most challenging topic to discuss. The Offspring don’t have sex anymore. This is according to their latest single, “We Never Have Sex Anymore”, off forthcoming record Let The Bad Times Roll. Perhaps it’s because of their inability to voice their opinion, or simply state their instinctual needs. Maybe it’s a long-term relationship and no one wants anything to do with the other anymore.

Its lively energy presents itself as the ideal walk out song. Or theme song to some slapstick comedy of a TV series. A rolling rhythm, quirky antics, and horns make this sad and dark topic sound as playful as you wish your current relationship was today.

As corny as many of their hits were, there are hooks galore, sing-along choruses, and instant nostalgia. Cringe-worthy songs seem to never truly leave our psyche. It’s not a mistake this Orange County act is over three decades old and appears to still be pumping fists, creating potential anthems, and showing up in my Release Radar. Like you, Smash was on repeat for me in the mid-90s. Those singles off that record were hard to ignore. Any rock-based station had them on regular rotation. Props, Gentlemen. The industry isn’t conducive to you putting out more than a record, let alone 10. Let this single be a reminder for you and your relationship: speak up, keep lines of communication open, and know that if alt/punk veterans The Offspring are on a dry spell, it’s okay that you are, too.


Lifers Retour 2021

The rumor is we all have a purpose. Not everyone’s is created equal, where some might have a great undertaking, others appear small. But by no means less vital. Leaders seem to be more revered than others. And rightfully so: their responsibilities are great and potentially life-altering for many. This role comes in all forms and looks different depending on the field one leads in. During a global pandemic, one where initially no one knew what to do and what the rules of engagement were, many sat static. But some opted to quickly step up and continue what they do best: ROCK.

A decimation to the live music industry happened. For some, finding an alternative profession was never an option. As desirable and stable as some jobs are, there is a special feeling stepping in front of an audience, plugging in, and having music course through your audience’s body. For Local H, this is their purpose. Amps, drums, and uniquely modified guitars are their tools of choice.

We knew that one of the first artists to announce a national tour would be Local H. Last year’s album debuted a few weeks into the beginning of the pandemic. They took it in stride, knew their fans would be ready when the green light was given for venues to open their doors again. This Fall will mark the point where there is light at the end of this long, infectious tunnel that has been COVID-19 as Chicago’s Local H announce their Lifers Retour. Never one to half-ass anything rock related, the duo has secured 27 dates.


Hometown Love…

There aren’t many topics you should know more about than your hometown. You know, big up my hometown, my territory, my state. It’s the area you spent a great amount of your formative time in. And if you’re like some, you are damn proud of this area and have something to say. Perhaps even write a memorable ode to. Bonus points if it makes me get up and move.

There was a time that I was the opposite of these loud and proud artists. I was born outside of Chicago, one of the best metropolises in the States. It’s a place I was grateful to spend a minute in. But when I met anyone new, not from the Chicago area, I never repped my true hometown, a ‘burb outside of the city. I claimed “Chicago” as where I was from. Poser, man. Be real, be proud of what raised you, why front. It took me awhile to accept that our birthplace isn’t our choosing. I thought being from a desirable urban location would automatically give me credibility. Sure, a specific location shapes us but we are the ones who choose who we become, not a city or state.

This is why I love songs like Atmosphere’s “Shhh”, of his 2003 Seven’s Travels:

So if the people laugh and giggle when you tell them where you live
Say shhh, say shhh
And if you know this is where you want to raise your kids
Say shhh, say shhh
If you’re from the Midwest and it doesn’t matter where
Say shhh, say shhh
If you can drink tap water and breathe the air
Say shhh, say shhh

Or Local H’s Western sounding joyride “Another February”, a subtle love letter to the other season opposite construction in Chicago, winter:

Come on (x2)
You’re digging out your car again
The chair left in the yard
Has another life again

Songs penned to one’s hometown tell a story, they further prove wherever you’re from is great. It’s genuine, you know they’re not trying to be something they are not.

Nick Waterhouse is a proud Californian. A few random plays on his discography will prove this. On his latest single, “B. Santa Ana, 1986”, this has never been more apparent as he spouts off various states he’s not from. The Wurlitzer, tricky bass, and Nick’s rippin’ guitar are driving this grab your significant other and cut single. Early on Nick is proclaiming, “I’m from California, I’m from California, uh, I don’t mind!” Where others may scoff at another California song, Nick proudly adds this single to the hometown canon.

“I’ve spent a great deal of my time wandering through the world, and being mistaken for coming from somewhere else. Certain people seem better at branding themselves based on a sort of… spectacular regional mythos. And what I have observed in regards to my own pedigree is what I could only describe as a lifelong superficial conception of the Californian identity. I got to thinking – what’s a regional identity anyways? Especially in this digitally flattened era. How funny, I thought, would it be to turn this little droll talking blues I had been demoing into an off-handed delivered ‘anthem’ chorus (“uh, I don’t mind)? How Californian?”

“B. Santa Ana, 1986” is off Waterhouse’s forthcoming Promenade Blue record debuting in April. A big year for the soulful gentlemen, as he’s recently announced a 2021 European tour. That’s twenty twenty one. Live music is in our future. While we wait for the air to clear and our hometowns to welcome back touring musicians, let’s turn up something that makes us realize where we’re from is damn great, too….


I ain’t gonna work here no more!

We’ve all had moments where we want to tell someone to take this job and shove it. The day sucked, your co-workers are all morons, or you’re way better than this. When I was in high school, a friend of mine inspired us all. He set the bar high for going out in style.

His short-lived employer was the national restaurant chain Chili’s. Just about everything they did and offered was sub-par except for their ability to police their employee’s choice in dress. My friend was a busboy, and per Chili’s dress code, he was required to wear black Levi’s 501 Regular Fit jeans. He’s young, an aspiring busboy, and broke. He chose to wear what he had in his drawer: black Wrangler jeans. After a few shifts, he’s been warned about his attire. A ridiculous expectation, and my friend had had enough. After his boss reprimanded him again about his lack of Levi’s during a dinner rush, my friend instinctively ripped off his Chili’s t-shirt, chucked it at the wall, and paraded through the dining room heckling and ridiculing as he stomped out the front door bare chested.

Back in ’65, the exemplary songwriting folk-king Bob Dylan was tired of being taken advantage of by his record label. He penned “Maggie’s Farm” to voice his frustrations. Dylan wrote “Maggie’s Farm” through the lens of a slave to the record label. It was his protest song against the commodification of artists. The music industry had, and still continues to have, one objective: squeezing every cent out of their artists. Instead of directly attacking the suits, Dylan places himself on Maggie’s Farm, a place of dirty floors, menial compensation, unapproachable bosses, and pressure to fit in even if you’re not like the rest.

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more/No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more/Well, he hands you a nickel, he hands you a dime/He asks you with a grin if you’re havin’ a good time/Then he fines you every time you slam the door/I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more

The same year, the King of Rock N Soul, Solomon Burke made an immediate connection to Dylan’s stomper: blacks are not inferior citizens. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is still fresh. A groundbreaking law takes time for people to acclimate to. Most would argue today the nation continues to adjust.

My guess is Burke hears Dylan’s rallying cries and viscerally senses connection after connection to the original. Are the dirty floors the equivalent of most people of color not having equal job opportunities? Are the nickels and dimes the scraps he sees people like himself receiving in place of quarters and half-dollars? Is Maggie’s Pa the White Man? Are the pressures to be like the masses a form of conforming to who and what society says you are? Or maybe it’s not a rallying cry against social injustice, Burke saw the potential to put his unique sonic signature on recording history. And that he does: the track smokes with its jazzy horn stabs, a relentless groove, scratchy rockabilly guitar all complemented by Burke’s formidably frustrated-sounding vocals. When I throw my shirt off and go out with a ruckus, a soundtrack is a must.

Upcoming Shows:


May 2021