Posts Tagged ‘Release Radar


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.


Floorplan’s Right There/Holy Ghost…

At what age do you realize your father is the founder of a musical genre? Some grow up in their parent’s store, their plant, the kitchen of their restaurant, Lyric Hood may have grown up in the club. Consider yourself lucky if your parents were employed. Consider yourself fortunate if they were gainfully employed. Consider yourself hipper than most if your parent created a movement through music.

When your father is considered the founder of minimal techno, and a prolific DJ and producer known throughout the house and techno world, music has been your oxygen. Robert Hood and his daughter Lyric are Floorplan. Far from a misnomer, this funky duo creates foot stomping, move your body dance floor ready bangers. Hood understands what motivates people to move and take action.

Floorplan’s latest “Right There/Holy Ghost” begs you to exorcise all those 2020 demons by musical detox. House music laced with an uplifting spoken gospel is hard for me to ignore. It’s the energy, the pulse, and the adrenaline that courses through the beat. The tempo pushes your intensity, challenges you to try and keep up. It makes you crave a sweaty, packed floor of strangers cathartically healing themselves through music.

When the gates open back up for the dark and smoky club, I know you’re more than ready. Floorplan is prepared to fuel your evening with enough four on the floor propulsion to build that endurance you lost around this time last year…


Natalia Lafourcade gets re-worked…

I won’t be traveling in the near future. In the interim, I can drop the needle on a record for much needed escapism. When I was younger I was fortunate to immerse myself within cities of Latin America. I investigated the music of those countries and sampled their sounds. I wanted genres unique to those countries, music I wasn’t hearing stateside. Spotify is aware of this previous period in my life and continues to alert me.

My weekly Release Radar isn’t giving up on my Latin tongue. This sound, one of upbeat rhythms, a warm aura, and intricately plucked flamenco guitar is temporary bliss. Natalia Lafourcade, a diverse and multi-talented singer from Mexico City, is charming and possesses the ability to whisk me away. A new artist to me, but by no means in the infancy of her career. Switzerland’s Michel Cleis caught inspiration in her 2017 “Tu Si Sabes Quererme” and added an extra bounce.

A remix is hit or miss for me. Some bump, can inject a whole new dynamic to the original. Others fall flat or radically alter the original to the point of why did you bother? But when an artist and their catalog is new to me, and is given the remix treatment, I can objectively listen. The original is moving, Lafourcade’s light and beautiful voice complement the guitar and the song’s uplifting aura. Cleis likes a tribal, rapid-fire tempo, one that incites a benevolent riot amongst the village. His sound is Carnaval meets a hedonistic Ibiza 16 hour rave.

He ratchets up the BPMs, challenges our feet to attempt to keep up with the Latin rhythms, and begs you to move. His sonic signature asks us to keep pace with his tweaks and formidable maracas that make this version shake. If you’re not moving, my hope is your eyes are closed and you’re sitting outside of today’s reality.


Dan Deacon’s Take on For Sure…

Sometimes a great song doesn’t last long enough. It only blasts off once. This is where the remix, where the best parts of the original are kept intact, and maybe even used over and over again, become potentially better than what we first experienced. The synth maestros Future Islands brought their former roommate, and Baltimore neighbor Dan Deacon along for a remix of “For Sure”. The original is upbeat, full of percolating synths, a joyful shimmer, and erupts in an explosion of color. It’s what I ask of Future Islands, and though formulaic, it’s a sound that moves me.

If the original is too short, and the remix is glorious, don’t give me the edit. I want the nine plus minute version. Deacon delivers. He pulls Herring’s deep soulful voice to the forefront as he adds piano, strings, and an engaging electronic signature that makes this charge. The extended versions are what I want. Give me a chance to feel the music, get into that groove, and become lost in the sound. The added textures crank the intensity and emotions into overdrive.

Dan Deacon on how this potential Top 100 track of 2021 came to be:

“When the guys released ‘For Sure’, it really brought me back to memories of when we lived together and I could hear them practicing in the basement. “I kept listening to it over and over and wanted to hear it ‘more’, if that makes sense. I wanted to hear the individual parts, and I wanted to hang out with them and interact with them. “When I got the stems I didn’t really have a plan for the remix other than I wanted to hear Sam’s voice with piano and strings, and it just started growing from there in an organic way. It was a comforting project that brought me close to people I love and missed very much.


Gabriel Rios’ Mujer Divina…

Artists routinely look back on their upbringing and credit the music their parents played. What was consistently spun around the house impacted them. It’s fascinating to me when musicians credit their parents’ record collection for influencing them to become the artist they are today. This gives me hope that with the right nurturing, my children can have rad taste, too. Or at least appreciate the sound I routinely filled the house with.

Belgium’s by way of Puerto Rico Gabriel Rios wants to pay homage. He wants to thank his grandfather and father for the influences their listening had upon him. On his upcoming record, Flore, it’s a deep dive into his ancestors’ record collection. On “Mujer Divina”, he is recycling the Joe Cuba Sextet’s 1965 slow-burner of a salsa ballad through his own eyes. His feather weight vocals accentuate the haunting tone throughout, it’s an aura not out of place in a Tim Burton film. It’s gripping, symphonic, and a beautiful ode to his divine woman.

My initial introduction to Rios was via his poppy, ADD-like “Broad Daylight”; a rhythmic explosion full of positive vibes, young voices interspersed with female harmonies; and one of the first songs I deemed worthy of sharing here. This latest release flips the script and sucks you into the vortex of the period this album was birthed from: the global pandemic. But if the original composition, which Rios lyrically stays true to is any indication, all is right in the world with the right woman by your side.

Every week my Release Radar is refreshed, it’s been diversified thanks to my listening habits over the years. A name I know, though not an artist I’m well versed in shows his face. Gabriel Rios has been vetted and played enough to be worthy of a share a decade and a half after his “Broad Daylight” debuted here. Spotify’s aural nudge continues to assure that my listening habits do not stay the same.


Derrick Wants You to come on home…

Sometimes I wonder why this needed a remix. A 35 year old track is most likely crotchety by now, stuck in its ways, and would rather you leave it alone than try to get it up and moving again. Just last month, seven club-heavy remixes debuted of Fine Young Cannibals tracks. With six different reinterpretations of “She Drives Me Crazy” by various producers and one version of “Johnny Come Home” by Chicago house legend Derrick Carter. Like you, I want to take it into the dark and smoky club too to find catharsis through loud, overbearing dance music; it’s inevitable we will lose any and all inhibitions. But due to ignorance, I immediately questioned the validity and timing of this collection.

The original FYC track was fire, it made you jump up, strut and let loose. Even covers that stayed within the realm of the original were perfectly acceptable. But hey, Fine Young Cannibals’ eponymous debut was remastered and reissued with an expansive collection of goods. Including an extended mix of “Johnny Come Home”, amongst 36 other pieces of greatness.

My Release Radar included Carter’s remix. Thankfully I was curious enough to ask why. With a few seconds of research, I stumble upon this excellent remaster. This reissue didn’t make waves on the channels I follow. Again the Release Radar keeps me in the know. Dive head first into the sophisticated sounds this English trio has timelessly brought back to our attention…


Viagra Boys In Spite of Ourselves…

It took me awhile to see the brilliance in karaoke. The all eyes on me thing initially scared me. That egotistical mentality is half-baked though; the chances of the entire bar being fixated on me at any given time isn’t realistic. My first venture into the art of reinterpreting someone else’s art needed to come with a crutch. A duet.

The fear of failure impacts lives, and it caused me to pass on opportunities. Like stepping onto the stage to rage and be pumped of endless adrenaline because of the great sensation poorly singing into a microphone can bring. Someone walking onto the stage with me instantly boosted my confidence and gave me an excuse if we failed. Here’s where I let you down and conclude my story: a friend and I sang “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin.

The back and forth of a duet can build up sexual tension, playfully tease, and proclaim how absolutely rad your significant other is. My favorite Swedish maniacs Viagra Boys pay homage to the sly and brilliant folk songwriter John Prine with their take on “In Spite of Ourselves”. The original appeared on Prine’s 1999 honky tonk folk album In Spite of Ourselves, one consisting of all duets.

Sweden’s Viagra Boys don’t give a shit. They come at you full force with their raging post-punk sound. They are shameless and proudly display their life; drugs, BDSM, stupid jocks, etc. It’s noisy, often chaotic, and exactly what I need more of in my life: irreverent hilarity. On January 8, of the year we all can’t wait for, their sophomore album Welfare Jazz follows the raucously brilliant Street Worms. Viagra’s rendition of Prine’s ’99 duet begins ominous and fully charged but transitions into a moderate tempo ideal for back and forth pleasantries with your loved one.

The original has country twang, is comical and matter of fact as Iris DeMent shares; “he ain’t got laid in a month of Sundays/I caught him once, and he was sniffin’ my undies”. It’s a great ode to the love of Prine’s life; “she don’t like her eggs all runny/she thinks crossin’ her legs is funny/she looks down her nose at money/she gets it on like the Easter Bunny”. If I were to write something in the vein of “In Spite Of Ourselves” for a duet with my wife, it would look something like, “she don’t like my music because it’s crummy, she thinks my inabilities are funny, she earns way more money, and likes sex since it’s so yummy”.

Front man Sebastian effortlessly slides into Prine’s role with his carefree, cocky demeanor. Armed with a sexy Australian accent Amy Taylor of the raw Melbourne punk act Amyl and the Sniffers trades lovey dovey lines with Sebastian in a you’ve had way too much to drink this evening kind of way. Yea, put my name down with my wife, we want to rock Viagra Boys’ “In Spite of Ourselves” for any and all karaoke bar patrons….


Rhye & SG Lewis’ Time…

There was harmony in the music

There was harmony in the behavior of the people

And we had a good time

Harmony brings pleasure. The combination of “the white boy with soul” British producer SG Lewis and my go-to bedroom mood setters Rhye sets up any listener for a harmonious experience. On Lewis’ “Time”, with hypnotic and yearning vocals care of the androgynous Mike Milosh the desired outcome screams let’s bang: initially via the dance floor and then slide over to the bedroom for some more.

Now I’m leaning heavily on Rhye for disco infused dance tracks. Where previously they were the formal mood setters; scented candles, a dimly lit bedroom, a sound the equivalent of long and necessary foreplay before a love making session. But now, a lose yourself in the lasers and strobe light sound that ends in ecstasy-like orgasmic bliss.

When picking my ideal vocal squad for a heavy disco burner, Mike Milosh will be my reoccurring number one pick. Damn, let’s strut, close our eyes, and simply become immersed in the laser-infused bounce. Bang on….


Sandpaper with Jamie Lidell…

It’s reassuring to know that the mastermind who created “Multiply” might have relationship woes, too. We all are imperfect. All relationships have their ups and downs. The ones with our significant others can be the most trying from day-to-day. You’re running smoothly as a unit and then, POP, all of a sudden all shit is awry and both parties are flying off the rails. “If I play this game, what of me remains?” It’s those little things that beat you up over time and as Jamie attests, “wear me down like sandpaper…”.

My Release Radar typically contains artists I’m aware of. It trends towards anyone I have played over the course of my subscription. While perusing this past week’s, an unknown name was near the top. I clicked into the album to dig deeper and discovered the single had multiple tracks; one was a collaboration with soul meets beat boxer Jamie Lidell. The song in my Release Radar playlist was an instrumental by Lorenz Rhodes. But the algorithmic powers that be knew me as a fan of Jamie. This exploration of the unknown isn’t common practice – I question all the singles that have went past my ear by not opening up an unknown artist’s album/single.

Eight years ago Lidell teamed up with producer Lorenz Rhode to create the electric soulful “Any Kind of Pressure”. The experimental, let’s create a bounce duo have returned with “Sandpaper”, a rousing house explosion proclaiming the challenges of living, loving, and longing for others. Feel the bounce, bass, and commiserate with Lorenz and Jamie….


Moenia’s Labios Rojos…

I’m a sucker for a synth. Strategically layer those over a groove, perhaps a hypnotic beat, I’m in. Catchy lyrics help but it’s the feeling I crave. This sound needn’t be over the top creative to engage me. But if it’s an intentional listen to improve upon my ability to hear the message, the language, this formula will provide many repetitions.

While searching for an ideal language instructor, an 80s influenced synth heavy act caught my ear. It was billed as a Mexican Depeche Mode. At times, almost a facsimile of the English quintet. It can be challenging to get into a new sound, especially when the lyrics aren’t in your native language. Moenia, the Mexico City trio brandishing keyboards, synths, and a light club sound, are decades into the mix. The familiarity of Moenia’s sound created an instant rapport, one where I wanted to hear more and dive deeper into the Spanish language.

Dark at times, pulsing throughout, forcing consistent head nodding, they’re the dance act not many know outside of Latin America. Their latest “Labios Rojos” continues this trajectory. Sonic waves of club-heavy, let’s get sweaty and lose ourselves sound permeate throughout.

With the abundance of new music, and the ease of sharing amongst like-minded music friends, I don’t seek out new Latin music. This is where my Release Radar becomes invaluable. It’s a nudge, a reminder notification of the great collection of music that is debuted on a daily basis.

Upcoming Shows:


May 2021