Author: Reflektor

Jeff Tweedy’s debut set of original solo mater…

Jeff Tweedy’s debut set of original solo material reminds all of us of what’s gotten him here, and a lot of what’s gotten us here too

Kyle Crockett 

December 6, 2018

For me, it was Being There. It wasn’t the first Wilco record I’d heard and it still might not be my end-all favorite, although sometimes it damn sure is. I was a sophomore in high school headed north in a hulking breaking church bus—the crimson-stain’d letters were peeling tiredly away from the van’s yellow white sheen—on a straight shot to Memphis, riding shotgun, crushing on a girl in my 5-person youth group who sat a row or two behind, and listening to our driver’s music selection. I’d turned over the reins only moments before, begrudgingly. But we were talking about Wilco because Wilco (the Album) was coming out and I was a new fan who acted like he’d listened to more than he had. So he put his favorite Wilco record into the CD player.

The screeching discord of Being There’s first minute groped at my bones and I heard for the first time what was happening in the chaos of my aching inside, manifested here on the stereo, for everyone. (Now, before you say anything, get over it. We’re all aching this much, all the time, about something.) Seconds later, a simple piano and a man named Jeff Tweedy painted my thinking and feeling heart every color.

The six and a half minutes of “Misunderstood” were my first introduction proper to the most important band and songwriter of my life. In those lines of loss, wandering, anger at the world for not getting it, condemnation of the self for taking too long to figure it out, rage at the dead ends of never figuring it out the right way, and finally thanking everyone for none of it, I felt a universe. I felt my universe. We drove on to Memphis and listened to every minute of that double album.

Tweedy has had this effect on me ever since that bus ride. Each time I listen to his music I can sense some semblance of this original feeling. It’s the feeling of knowing completely that another person sees you, which is confounding. A musician has no right to see us and we have no right to see them, much less are either of us ever even realistically able to. But the great ones do see us. Like Van Morrison’s heartbreaking Astral Weeks, there’s an empathy to Tweedy’s musical worldview—it creates a feeling like he’s actually with you, dealing just like you are. He’s been doing this with his music for thirty-five years now. It’s been true since the Uncle Tupelo numbers.

Thirty-five years removed, Jeff Tweedy has finally released a first set of original songs under his own name.

On 2018’s WARM, Jeff Tweedy seems keenly aware of his effect on people and of his place within American musical and social culture. He addresses this immediately on “Bombs Above” which makes this awareness seem more like a new, slightly unexpected struggle for Tweedy rather than an unwelcome but long-foreseen outcome. It’s a terrific burden to bear, and Tweedy spends much of his time on WARM exploring what it means to have contributed a body of work that has deeply affected the musical perspectives and emotional palates of thousands for multiple decades, while also devoting space to the effects that relationship has had on him personally. Only one track after “Bombs Above,” he delivers “Some Birds,” a devastatingly guilty condemnation of himself as a prod rather than a salve to the masses’ suffering. Tweedy even finds his own form of redemption in this strange metacognitive realm—on “From

Far Away,” the singer contemplates his own hypothetical death and upon it he humbly asks us, his fellow dealers, to take everything from him.

It’s a total comfort to hear this songwriter’s first love letter to his friends, family, and massive worldwide audience with only his name on it. It feels like it’s taken him all this time to figure out exactly what to say, to us and to himself. “When a sunny day turns to rain, think of me,” he soothes on “I Know What It’s Like.” He’s told us this before, over and over again. On and on and on, Wilco will love you baby, because Wilco hurts the same as you and we need each other to get through all this shit. It’s not that Tweedy’s musical career has been the only one to commit to this duality of thrilling personal coping mechanism and unflinching listener support system; it’s just that there aren’t many musicians out there who can accomplish the feat with such sweet, heartbreaking sincerity as to confess to all of us that he actually means it. And we feel better because we know he does. For years now, I’ve known exactly where to go when I haven’t known how I could possibly proceed. Wilcoping has stitched and restitched my feeling fabric for a decade, and there are thousands who’ve experienced this for three times that long.

WARM feels somehow like an arrival for Jeff Tweedy, even though the first thing you may notice are his aged vocal cords. It reignites the classic question of when a song stops being a Jeff Tweedy song and starts becoming a Wilco song, since the ones here are so original, fully fledged, and by this point heroically familiar thanks to the timeless musical style of its creator. The pieces of Tweedy are all here, from haunting poetic nonsense that screams truth to the evolved nervy guitar solos that owe much to Neil Young’s fragmented genius, from how-did-he-do-that strumming techniques to how-was-that-so- obvious surprises of melodic bliss. A Wilco fan can almost hear the parts of the other members, which is probably aided by Glenn Kotche’s eternally perfect percussion. And by record’s end, like all of the things in life that demand our thoughts and feelings’ attention, or like a house from some past moment that was so comfortable it hugged you, we want to return to it. We recognize the value not only in moving forward, but in knowing that to do that the right way, we must see the value in the world around us as it is right now, no matter if that’s the best or the worst place we could be.

I’d like to thank you, Jeff Tweedy, for everything.

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Why You Should Listen to: Ekatarina Velika&rsq…

Why You Should Listen to: Ekatarina Velika’s ‘Ljubav’

Daniel Lester

November 14, 2018 

Welcome to the weekly-series “Why You Should Listen to”, where we will discuss great albums worth every music lover’s attention. In today’s society, while we do have all the possible access to everything and anything on the Internet, it can often happen for us to miss some music we would love to hear. That’s why, every Monday, we will try to help you discover some awesome music in this series of articles. The focus will mostly be on studio albums, be it classics or underrated gems and records that have been forgotten by time. Our focus will also stretch out across the world, from the USA and UK to the African continent, Latin America and even the Balkans. Today, we’ll talk about the legendary ex-Yugoslav band Ekatarina Velika (Ecatherine the Great) and their classic album “Ljubav” (“Love”). NOTE: Since this album is not in English, the translations will most likely be literal and possibly inaccurate at certain points.

The 1970s and 1980s new wave movement may have originated in the UK and US, but it quickly spread all over the world and influenced countless bands from many different countries. It also reached the now-defunct country of Yugoslavia (or as it was fully named the Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia), which was going through many changes at that time, which would ultimately lead to its demise.

The ex-Yugoslav pop culture was quite influenced by what was going on in the UK and US at the time. In the 1970s, the predominant genre was hard rock fused with some traditional elements, dubbed “shepherd rock”, a sound created and popularized by the, arguably, most popular ex-Yugoslav band Bijelo Dugme (White Button). While it had a gigantic following, the younger generations wanted to rebel against the primitive sound and silly themes of that genre. The emergence of punk and new wave gave many young bands from the former Yugoslav countries a new theme and a new idea of what kind of sound should be popular.

With new wave came many great bands such as the iconic band Idoli (Idols) and many pivotal releases, one of them being the highly lauded new wave compilation album “Paket Aranžman” (“Package Deal”), often considered the best former Yugoslav album. On that compilation, one could hear the cult band Šarlo Akrobata (Charlot the Acrobat, which was how Yugoslav people referred to Charlie Chaplin), the band that would lead to the formation of Ekatarina Velika. It was a young new wave band of rebels Dušan Kojić “Koja” (who would later on form his own influential band Disciplina Kičme), Ivan Vdović “Vd” and Milan Mladenović (who would later on become the founding member and frontman of Ekatarina Velika). After their incredible and critically acclaimed debut album, the band fell apart in 1981 and the members went their own separate ways.

Milan and Vd would become part of a new band known as Katarina II with Milan’s guitarist friend and band co-founder Dragan Mihajlović “Gagi”. Between 1981 and 1984, many line-up changes occured and the band’s final core line-up consisted of Milan Mladenović (guitar, lead vocals), classically trained pianist Margita Stefanović “Magi” (keyboards, vocals), Bojan Pečar (bass), with the drummers constantly changing. In 1984 they released their debut as Katarina II, an album that did not reach a wide audience. After a name change to Ekatarina Velika (further referred to as “EKV”, as fans of the band liked to call them), the band’s next two albums would bring them a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim, but also some rivalries with other post-punk and new wave bands of the time.

EKV is often compared to the likes of Joy Division, The Cure and Talking Heads. They reagrded themselves more as a European band, rather than a Serbian band and were influenced by the likes of Elvis Costello, XTC and Joe Jackson.

from left to right: Bojan, Milan, Magi and drummer at the time Ivan Ranković “Raka”

Since EKV is not a very well-known band around the world, it might be appropriate to introduce the band, in the line-up that recorded their fourth studio album “Ljubav” (“Love”), as we will talk about it in detail.

Milan Mladenović (1958 – 1994) – legendary frontman of the band, who was also the guitarist and main lyricist of the band. He was known for his deep and cryptic lyrics, strong moral values, recognizable and powerful voice that could emit the most blood-curdling and banshee-like shrieks and screams, but also some very smooth and emotive vocals, as well as minimalistic, but integral guitar-playing. While he spent most of his life in Belgrade, he also lived in Zagreb and Sarajevo in his childhood, due to his father’s military obligations, which gave Milan a strong connection to his Yugoslav identity. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1994.

Margita Stefanović (a.k.a. “Magi”) (1959 – 2002) – the second most-known band member, known for her fantastic musicianship and anthemic synth and piano lines. She was loved by fans and bandmates alike, and recognized as a kind and unique spirit. She appears on the front cover of the album. Magi died after being diagnosed as HIV positive, due to intravenuous drug use.

Bojan Pečar (1960 – 1998) – was known for his incredible bass guitar skills and iconic basslines. He was a very proficient musician and contributed to the grooves and dynamics of the band’s music. He is remembered as the third core member of the band, despite leaving the band in 1989 to move to London, where he also died of a heart attack in 1998.

Srđan Todorović (a.k.a. “Žika”) (born 1965) – was the band’s drummer at the time, and is one of their most well-known members. His primary career is in acting, and is one of the most famous ex-Yugoslav actors, who is still active today.

The album “Ljubav” was the band’s fourth album. It came after the band’s sophomore album “S’ Vetrom Uz Lice” (“With the Wind Against My Face”) that gave them the necessary and well-deserved mainstream attention in Yugoslavia. While some critics accused them of “selling out”, fans approved of their success and continued to support them throughout.

The recording of the album started in the summer of 1987, and was completed in one month. It was produced by Australian gutarist Theodore Yanni, and carried the band’s signature new-wave and post-punk sound to new heights.

The opening track, and also one of their most well-known, is “Zemlja” (“Land”). It is a song driven by a flanged guitar playing a very anthemic and repetitive riff, while the bass and drums carry the groove and set the foundation for Milan’s voice and lyrics. Magi’s keyboard playing is present, but is a bit more subdued on this track. Milan’s lyrics seem to symbolize unity, brotherhood and love, making this song one of the more brighter cuts in the band’s often dark discography.

The title track is also a fan-favorite, opening with a punchy and loud drumbeat that welcomes the rest of the energetic instrumentation, in the form of the ever-dynamic bass and quite punkish guitar riffs. Magi’s synth lines add a light melody that makes the energetic track more refined and help Milan delve into the topic of love not being as its advertised to us. Lines such as “I boli, i boli, i boli/Boli nas ljubav” (And it hurts, and it hurts, and it hurts/Love hurts us) or “Uz lažni smeh/I naše reči od milja su navika/I naša imena od milja su navika” (“With fake laughs/And our nice words are just a habit/And our sweet nicknames are just a habit”), clearly paint Milan’s idea of love as being just a habit, rather than a true and constant feeling, meaning that relationships aren’t always pure and genuine as we want them to be. The vocal harmonies in the chorus make this energetic, yet bittersweet track all the more worthy of listening.

Nilüfer Yanya is fascinatingly idiosyncratic o…

Nilüfer Yanya is fascinatingly idiosyncratic on ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The Year’

Austin Nguyen 

November 14, 2018

2018 has been a big year for Nilüfer Yanya, with a nomination from BBC for the Sound of 2018 and an international tour as an opening act for Interpol and Sharon Van Etten. It’s no secret why her talent is being recognized; Yanya’s guitar-propelled narratives and unique, mixed timbre of “Plant Feed,” her debut EP, easily entrance any listener. “Heavyweight Champion Of The Year,” the artist’s newest single, is no exception to this vulnerability, but distinguishes itself through the use of her full vocal register, from the crooning ooh’s of the intro to the jagged vocal breaks of the chorus. Despite its prosaic title, the track is Yanya’s most complex to date, trading in the traditional verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure for a simple refrain and outro. Accompanied by Mitski-like viscerality with breathy desperation and blunt one-liners like “Game over I’m/ Heartbroken, and/ I gave you up,” Yanya leaves no doubt as to why you need to watch her in 2019.

Dream Chief’s Luke Tuttle talks tour with The …

Dream Chief’s Luke Tuttle talks tour with The Band Perry, modern influences and Indianapolis

Michael Cottone

November 14, 2018

Indianapolis based electro-pop duo Dream Chief – consisting of cousins John and Luke Tuttle – have become one of the city’s most intriguing up and coming acts in recent years. Dream Chief have released a handful of singles since their origin, displaying introspective lyrics and catchy rhythms. Their most recent single “Can’t Get Enough” released in late October mixes elements of dance and confessing lyrics. While it’s a formula used often in music today, Dream Chief achieve the sound in a way that sounds fresh.

I got a chance to sit down with Luke and discuss different topics related to Dream Chief, including their recent tour with The Band Perry, lyrical and modern inspirations, and the city of Indianapolis.

Michael Cottone: So to start off I thought it’d be appropriate to ask how you and your cousin John brought Dream Chief to fruition and what inspired it to come about?

Luke Tuttle: Well John and I have been super into music since we were little kids, it was always a big part of our dad’s lives. We grew up playing together, he played guitar and I would play piano. At first my Grandma would have us play stuff at Christmas, fun stuff like that, but as we got older we continued to play shows together at the Hoosier Dome under the name “John & Luke,” it was hilarious. That was like sophomore year of high school, but when we got to college ages we were like “let’s do this for real and make what we want to make,” so three years ago was about the time Dream Chief became a thing.

MC: Your music’s themes often hone in on certain emotions and states of mind, but what would you say inspires you lyrically?

LT: So I can be very like, neurotic sometimes, and it can be very frustrating. Sometimes you can’t stop thinking about something, so John and I’s writing styles are different because mine is kind of just to let it all out, let your feelings dominate the music. When I write something, it comes from past relationships, or I’ll describe thoughts about my general state of mind at a certain time. Looking back on the song “Payphone” I think to myself “would I write that again?” and I really wouldn’t, but when I wrote that I had a whole setting in my mind and everything. I didn’t know if it would make sense to people, but I just wrote it because my mind chose words that described the feeling.

MC: So you just let it flow out.

LT: Exactly.

MC: So right now your guys’ discography is very spread out having single after single come out periodically. Is there a strategy you guys have to what song gets released when or have a certain time in mind?

LT: Well as you know, it’s a singles market out there right now because of streaming, but I think our next move is to put out an EP probably. We’re going to get a lot of weight behind “Can’t Get Enough,” and push that hard. We have a video for that one done that’s being edited, once that’s out the push will start. But to answer your question, it has being single after single because after “Can’t Shake U” came out we got mixed up in some talks with a label. So we were making a lot of songs on the DL, and we would show them these songs we would make and that’s why there was a gap between “Can’t Shake U” and “Novacaine.” Right now we’re just releasing stuff when we can, but our next effort is an EP.

MC: That’ll be exciting!

LT: Yeah, and we’ve got a lot of songs that are ready to go. Owen Thomas (manager) told us that we should take time to release songs and choose what we really want. Like if we’re about to release a song and something better gets written, and you want to release that instead, ya know? You got to account for things like that. John and I also watched this interview with Diplo I think where in essence he says that he had written 500 songs or some ridiculous number, and he had released them and he doesn’t look back or question it. Because if you sit on something for a long time you don’t get as stoked about it anymore, ya know?

MC: Yeah, like if you keep looking at something new it just loses its excitement.

LT: Exactly, and you’re in a different state of mind and are on to new ideas.

MC: So what artists inspire you two collectively?

LT: I would say Empire of the Sun is a huge one for both of us. I know for me I think Travis Scott and Vince Staples are the two hardest rappers in the game right now. A lot of oldies inspire us too though, like America, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Supertramp inspired my keyboard play a lot, Disclosure’s up there too.

MC: I hear a lot of Disclosure in your guys’ stuff.

LT: Right on, that’s actually sick. There are a lot of players in that house, underground area.

MC: The electro-pop scene.

LT: Yep, exactly.

MC: So what do you think being from the city of Indianapolis has done for you guys as artists?

LT: I feel like we’ve had a lot of support from the Fountain Square community, especially the Hi-Fi. The guys at the Hi-Fi really got behind our stuff and started graciously letting us open up shows for certain artists that we would fit with. That was really cool because those shows got us really good exposure and have gotten us lots of new fans.

MC: So is Fountain Square the spot local bands should be looking toward for opportunities?

LT:
Oh, absolutely. That’s where it’s at right now. There are other random joints in the city that support music and put on shows that are really cool. But that whole MOKB community is really prominent now. I’m not really sure what the Hoosier Dome is up to these days, is it still metal shows mostly?

MC: I believe so, ahahah.

LT: Yeah, that was kind of the culture when we first played there.

MC: So how was your guys’ opportunity to tour with The Band Perry a few weeks back?

LT: It was an absolute blast. That was our first, like, actual tour. We had booked shows regionally and locally but that was the most extensive it’s been for us. They were really nice to us and it was very new for me and John.

MC: How did it come about? Did they come to you or did you go to them?

LT: Owen Thomas does creative direction for the Perry’s for a good while now with Absorb. And about a year ago I went to visit my sister in LA and they invited me over. They had this place in A Thousand Oaks right outside Malibu, and I went over and hung out, got to see some of the stuff they’ve put out. Owen introduced me and showed them our music, and they had already been talking about doing a little tour, 16, 17 dates, something like that. They had to ease back into the scene since they had been out of it for a little while, and they’re like a whole new band now. Seeing them live was awesome, but there were always these very country fans that got confused at the shows. I thought it was cool because they weren’t afraid to switch genres, because there is a lot of hate that comes with it. But at the same time, do you want to make music you hate just to satisfy the masses?

MC: Exactly, you got to keep it authentic and true to yourself.

The road ahead for the Dream Chief boys is certainly bright. You can stream their new single, along with the rest of their discography here.

Meet Exek, Melbourne’s Most Eclectic TroupeMax…

Meet Exek, Melbourne’s Most Eclectic Troupe

Maxwell Denari

October 30, 2018

Beyond what we already know about the Australian music scene, there are plenty of diamonds in the rough. Arguably, some of the groups that would qualify for this kind of description are some of the most rewarding sound manufacturers of the current moment. None better than Melbourne’s Exek, who have released two sonically different yet synonymously enthralling records this year.

“Ahead of Two Thoughts” and “A Casual Assembly” are two projects that appear so foreign on the surface, though, make complete sense based on the wholly different and enthusiastic approach to music that Exek procure through every track. The anxious slew of spoken word on “A Casual Assembly” is eerily captivating in partnership with the intricate drone of sound in the background of every tune. Conjuring the feeling of a soundtrack to a melancholic storybook. “Ahead of Two Thoughts” is a separate kind of beast. Filled with groovy, gummy basslines that wooz you into a haze of movement. There is an expert kind of musicianship involved when a song makes you want to dance, yet makes you feel isolated at the same moment in time. Exek have succeeded in bringing such emotional conflictions into the totality of their sound… and are truly making it their own.

With all this being said… I recently had a chance to talk with one of the members of Exek, Albert. Speaking briefly on a handful of different things… from what they have witnessed since touring through the US this past month, to what Albert deems some of his inspirations to be.

Maxwell: So, to start… who all makes up Exek… and how did you all come about forming the band?

Albert: Exek was formed about 5 to 6 years ago. I had a sound in mind and needed to get it out of my head and record. Got a crew of misfits together and that obviously helped with playing shows. Several different members over the years makes it fresh for me and the audience.

Maxwell: How has Melbourne’s music scene been an influence on you guys as musicians?

Albert: Melbs enables us to play shows. Cos there’s such a massive scene and so many venues. Even though we don’t play live much. Much rather stay in the studio. But the attitude there is great. It’s very competitive cos there’s so many bands. Some good. Some great. Some shit.

Maxwell: Who are some Aussie bands that you all think deserve more recognition over here in the states?

Albert: Essendon Airport. Pretty much anything that Phillip Brophy was affiliated with. Criminally underappreciated.

Maxwell: With that being said… who are some collective artists/bands that you guys have taken inspiration from… in terms of the sound that you all create as a group? Who are some artists you lot have been listening to recently?

Albert: As above. Also, any of Geoff Barrow’s work. Lately all I’ve been listening to is hip hop. Got to see Tommy Wright lll as we both played ‘Cropped Out’ in Louisville. He’s amazing and such a nice guy.

Maxwell: Going back to local music… what are some things that you’ve seen throughout your tour in the US that are different/similar to the local scene in Melbourne… as well as around Australia in general?

Albert: Melbourne is an over privileged city where political correctness is its dark overlord. I like it in the states where no one gets crucified if a bill is all white dudes. I never have and never will give a fuck about who is making the music. It’s not important. And it’s a real shame that sexual and racial labels play a part in people lives. If the music is good, that’s all that matters.

Maxwell: Speaking of music… you guys have released 2 projects in 2018 alone… how often are you guys writing and recording music? Is it easy to find time on the road to write and develop songs?

Albert: No writing on the road. No need as we have a new record that’s finished and should be released around March. And the follow up to that is written and sequenced. It’ll be recorded once we get back to Australia. Might start writing LP5 next year.

Maxwell: So, what is next for the likes of Exek?

Albert: Europe tour 2019!

Exek finishes their tour October 31st in Los Angeles @ Teragram Ballroom alongside Thee Oh Sees and Prettiest Eyes.

Be sure to check out Exek’s two releases from this year on their Bandcamp or any streaming service.

https://exek.bandcamp.com


On ‘Fudge Sandwich’, Ty Segall reveals a compl…

On ‘Fudge Sandwich’, Ty Segall reveals a complex, reverent understanding of his idols through the lens of his own relentless spirit 

Kyle Crockett

October 29, 2018

2018 began with a particularly gleeful iteration of Ty Segall’s typically unhinged bang. His Freedom Band that emerged with 2017’s eponymous release found their footing on Freedom’s Goblin, unleashing over an hour of Segall’s indelible brand of garage rock, elevated always by his sacrosanct commitment to glam, fuzz, and power pop in the midst of his evil space psychedelia. Goblin reasserted Segall’s place among the West Coast ranks, reminding everyone of the kind of fully formed composer he has become.

But the show stopper on Goblin wasn’t a Segall song.

When I looked at the track listing and saw “Every 1’s a Winner,” there was no question what was coming. I could hear the riff, I could see the leather and polyester combos, I could taste the Hot Chocolate. When track 3 rolled around, sure enough, Segall unloaded perhaps the best cover song he’s recorded in a career that is chock full of them.

Segall has always had an attachment to the cover song, and he’s always treated the endeavor with a greater urgency than many of his peers, be they contemporaries or influences that are years gone. He holds a special reverence for each song he chooses to arrange, and he channels it through a relentless amalgam of pure fun and pure devotion to the style and attitude of the song’s origin, often drawing out a full portrait of his heroes while reimagining their identities, allowing them to play anew in a universe all Segall’s own. In this way, Segall offers his listeners a unique answer to the question of his musical influences and tastes.

Fudge Sandwich appears in the blink of an eye and somehow before what was supposed to be his fourth full-length album in 2018. Ty has dived fully into his sandbox of musical portraiture to deliver a lightning bolt of purely fun rock and roll, and a gleaming love letter to his diverse idols. The stunning rendition of John Lennon’s “Isolation” flies thanks to an eerily on-point vocal performance that practically reincarnates the Beatle, while Segall’s trademark glam and fuzz explodes the ballad into a relentless freakout. He somehow recreates the unhinged guitar and vocal tones of Amon Düül II on highlight “Archangel Thunderbird,” ripping and howling amidst typically funkified Freedom Band percussion. On the album closer, Segall captures every ounce of the heartbreak and longing of Sparks’ near-perfect “Slowboat” to remind everyone just how special the rocker is at balladic arrangement.

Elsewhere, it’s Segall’s deranged explosion of his source material that achieves these tracks’ transcendence. Ty growls out War’s “Low Rider” like some cursed thing atop a pit of synths that swirls and screams. Neil Young’s “The Loner” and Dead’s classic “St. Stephen” both get almost complete retreatments, shoved through a meat grinder of punk and freak out and unleashed as euphoric exercises in heavy. In one of the record’s softest moments, Segall casts The Dils’ frantic “Class War” in an entirely different light. Segall delivers a top-shelf LA power pop gem with a majorly satisfying Segallian solo to boot.

Fudge Sandwich arrived out of nowhere, but it feels like one of Segall’s’ most natural installments. The psych master has paid respects to his musical heroes throughout his career with consistently impressive covers, and a whole album of them is just a peach of a thing for Segall fans. He somehow manages to make an album of novelties stand all the way up as a record of real value, delivering a truly inspired celebration of his predecessors and a first-rate rock record at once.

Photo Gallery: Young the Giant and Lights at E…

Photo Gallery: Young the Giant and Lights at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre Indianapolis, IN

Tony Vazquez

October 26, 2018

Young the Giant along with special guest Lights kicked off the second night of their fall tour together at the Egyptian room in the Old National Centre. Canadian singer/songwriter Lights opened her set with “From All Sides” a deep cut which was a bonus track on her 2014 deluxe version release of Little Machines. The rest of her set was a heavy dose of songs coming from her latest release Skin & Earth, which was released just last year.

Young the Giant wasted no time jumping into new material from their latest release Mirror Master. The band did mix some tracks from their self-titled album Young the Giant and Home of the Strange. The guys ended their encore and the night on a high note with “My Body” with the crowd all singing along. More info about the current tour can be found here.

Click here to see the photos. 

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Greta Van Fleet return with a refined and nuan…

Greta Van Fleet return with a refined and nuanced sound on their second album, ‘Anthem of the Peaceful Army’

Katja Timm

October 26, 2018

The neoclassic Michigan rockers Greta Van Fleet have finally released their long-anticipated follow-up to their 2017 debut album “From the Fires”. Within the past year, this band has seen their following grow tenfold from the release of their first studio EP “Black Smoke Rising” in April of 2017 to playing over 50 dates and festivals on their upcoming tour all around the United States, U.K., and Australia.

From the very start of their eruptive rise to popularity, Greta van Fleet’s classic rock revivalist sound has been donned as the “modern Zeppelin” or “Led Zeppelin junior”. From lead singer Josh Kiszka’s howling vocals to his lead guitarist twin brother Jake keeping the guitar solo alive in the modern day, critics and fans alike have continuously likened the band to the revered Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Their ostentatious clothing and grandiose stage presence show the image they’re aiming to create: personifying classic 70s rock in the modern age.

Although the archetype that they’re trying to follow is obvious, the band has definitely begun to branch out and evolve from their more cut-and-dry, subdued first album on “Anthem of the Peaceful Army”. As opposed to most of their songs from their debut album being distinguished by caterwauling vocals and lengthy guitar solos, it’s clear that they’ve experimented more on this album with varying musical techniques such as a higher emphasis on bass and drum solos, new slide guitar sounds, and even incorporating some tracks that could be categorized along the lines of a ballad.

The opening track of the album, “Age of Man”, begins with some dramatic isolated vocals, slowly climbing to a higher tempo and intensity. This is definitely a song suited for an opening track, and sets the defining theme for the rest of the album to follow. Josh Kiszka’s soulful belting vocals go in tandem with bringing out the triumphant, coming-of-age theme of the lyrics.

The second track, “The Cold Wind”, falls straight into the category of unadulterated rock pleasure. Other songs like, “When The Curtain Falls”, “Watching Over”, and “Brave New World”, from the album seem as though they were created solely for the purpose of an on-stage jam session that is a sure way to energize a crowd. Josh Kiszka himself has even said while introducing “When the Curtain Falls” live that it was written purely for the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

Some of the more experimental and less mundane tracks that were unexpected from the album include the upbeat, almost sing-songy tracks such as “Mountain of the Sun” and “You’re The One”. One attribute that specifically makes “Mountain Of The Sun” unusual but good is the touch of Jake Kiszka’s twangy slide guitar opening the track and later on in his solo, and the bridge later on in the song highlights drummer Danny Wagner’s skills with an unexpected combination of drums, the tambourine, a cowbell, and Josh’s vocals. “Mountain Of The Sun,” is undeniably a unique, upbeat song that pushes the boundaries of most other Greta Van Fleet songs. Along with the peppy and lighthearted track “You’re the One,” they’re showing much more musical versatility than their usual heavy, harder-rock songs.

Other less intense songs from the album such as “The New Day” and “Anthem” focus heavily on acoustics to exude a more buoyant and jovial feeling. “Anthem” itself can possibly even be categorized more on the side of a slow ballad, keeping a subdued tempo throughout the track.

Then there are two of the more definitive songs of the album, “Lover, Leaver,” and the extended version, “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)”. These tracks have a definite prominence about them that highlights them as some of the defining and tracks from the album and are bound to be one of the most popular. “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” is sure to be a crowd pleaser to play live, especially for the lull at the bridge of the song that leads to a dramatic build-up, and has even lasted for 26 minutes in one live recording they’ve released playing the song on tour already.

All in all, on this album, Greta Van Fleet have definitely taken risks and pushed boundaries on the limits of finding their sound. As still very young artists with only two studio albums out, they show immense potential in introducing the current generation to unfiltered rock music and allowing the older generation to revel in the times of classic rock. Of course, no artist will ever be able to emulate the monumental impact that Led Zeppelin had on the history of music itself, Greta Van Fleet seems to be paving a path for their own unique legacy with their changing and evolving sound with this solid second album.