ICYMI is a new series featuring new and notable releases you (and we) may have missed
Always Different, Always the Same – Native Sun
Whenever someone tries to tell me that guitar music is dead I’m going to shove this EP down their throat. Always Different, Always the Same is the second EP released by local favorites, Native Sun. There are plenty of bands that are playing a version of punk-infused, high-energy garage rock, but there are few that have demonstrated the songwriting ability and musicianship that Native Sun have. “Hippie Speedball” is a pulsating, bat-out-of-hell start to the album with a short vocal breakdown that reminds me of Parquet Courts. “11th Street” makes me wish I had a car to drive with the windows rolled down. “Big Succ(ess)” is fast and furious, punctuated by yells of “I. SEE. YOU.” and a dizzying guitar that reminds me why rock music is so much more exciting than any other genre. That’s followed by the slow, but not too sweet, “Swoon”. It’s laid-back and almost has a twang to it. If this were a physical release, it would be the perfect start to side B — a cool off, before the final push. The EP finishes off strong with “Modern Music” and “Sweet V”. While “Modern Music” is incomparably catchy, I think “Sweet V” might be the most impressive track on the release. It could be that I’m just not listening to the right shit, but I feel like people don’t make music like this anymore. There’s this melodic switch-up and a breakdown around 2-minutes in where the track could’ve been finished, but Native Sun takes you some place new yet again before bringing it home. It’s a super refreshing change to the typical song structure we hear 99% of the time and it’s actually well-executed instead of just being a trick they throw in for shits. I’m genuinely stoked about this release and highly recommend putting it on repeat.
Grapetooth – Grapetooth
I’m the last person that would be like, “Oh yeah, I’m into 80s Japanese new wave shit,” and yet here we are. Not that Grapetooth are exactly that, but that’s what is cited as a main genre of inspiration for the outfit. Clay Frankel (Twin Peaks) and Chris Bailoni (Homesick) have teamed up to create what’s my new favorite pre-game album of 2018. I feel like Grapetooth is the small piece of common ground that former tumblr girls and Patagonia wearing ex-frat stars can cohabit in peace. It’s weird enough to be cool, and catchy enough to have mass appeal. Their shows also have a reputation for getting pretty fucking crazy. The audience stormed the stage at their show at Baby’s and at their record release show at Thalia Hall in Chicago (in the round), the stage and audience became one in the same. For a band based around cheap wine, this is all pretty on brand. Standout tracks on the album are “Violent”, “Trouble”, “Death”, and “Blood”.
Gold – Daisybones
Daisybones are fairly new to me. I was introduced to them by their single “Choke”, which pretty much got me hooked. Gold is a solid first release from the Boston outfit. It’s a little surf-pop, a little garage-rock. Melodically, it’s slightly reminiscent of Vundabar, but vocally it’s much closer to FIDLAR, but with less anger and fewer drugs. The album was inspired by The Outsiders and is very much a coming of age record for the band, thematically and career-wise. I love the idea that some of the beachy sounding tracks were likely conceived in a frigid Boston basement, but likely performed in that same space, humid with sweat and energy from people escaping the cold and their lives for a moment. Daisybones are blowing through Brooklyn in the new year and looking forward to catching them in person.
Earthbound (Official Music Video) – Death Hags
Wondering what happened with NASA and the space race and all that jazz? Well other than being the basis for many a dull Hollywood enterprise that foolishly believes that CGI and graphics of the solar system will replace the need for an actual plot, it’s also the inspiration for “Earthbound”, the new music video from Death Hags. A space man comes to what looks like Los Angeles, but could also be the highway by Riverside Park. The imagery is very nostalgic sci-fi and pairs well with the the dreamy, almost alien vocal quality of the track.