Tag Archives: Jeff Yerger

The Sunday Best of 2014

Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

by Jeff Yerger

Remember me?

As I sit here in my new apartment (waiting for some water to boil so I can eat some damn pasta), I think about what a crazy year 2014 has been. For me personally, it’s been a tale of two cities: I entered 2014 cozy and familiar in New York and as 2014 begins to wave goodbye, I find myself living in Philadelphia, in a whole new comfort zone. My life has changed in oh so many ways, and I’ve had music with me every step of the way.

2014 has been a great year for music. It’s been a year full of unexpected (literally, being that one morning the whole world woke up with a strange U2 album on their iPods) and powerful music. Where 2013 saw the big guys like Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, and Kanye West remind us why they’re the best, 2014 brought us some fantastic newcomers and not-so-seasoned pros who produced damn-near masterpieces seemingly out of nowhere.

I love music, and since I don’t have all of your sock sizes, I wanted to share the gift of my favorite music from 2014 with you.

But first, some accolades…

Best TV Performance

It’s a shame that David Letterman will be retiring next year, especially because he brings in fantastic musical guests, and each musical guest he has always seems to bring their A-game. This performance by Future Islands is by far the performance of the year. I mean, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Here’s hoping they come back for an encore before Letterman bows out. In the words of the man himself, I’ll take all of that ya got!

Best Live Show

I really wanted to give this to Sleigh Bells, who always seem to deliver (and more) during their live show. I also wanted to give this to Foxy Shazam, another stellar live act. Hell, I even wanted to give this to Kanye West, who I didn’t even see live this year, but video evidence shows me I missed out big time. While all these artists have great live shows in their own way, I have to give this award to none other than The Replacements. Seeing them at Forest Hills Stadium in September was a religious experience, which is the only way I can describe it. Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg still rock like hell, and perhaps finally, after 30 years, they’re finally getting their due. If they come around at all in 2015, be sure to go see these heroes of indie rock.

Top 5 Pop Singles from 2014

(admit it, you like these songs and dance like there’s no tomorrow whenever these come on at the bar)

5. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – “Fancy

4. Ariana Grand & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”

3. Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – “Rather Be”

2. Nick Jonas – “Jealous”

1. Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”

Now for the good stuff…

Top 50 Songs of 2014

  1. Ryan Adams – “Gimme Something Good”
  1. St. Vincent – “Prince Johnny”
  1. Coldplay – “Magic”
  1. La Sera – “Fall in Place”
  1. Sylvan Esso – “Hey Mami”
  1. Run the Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
  1. Real Estate – “Crime”
  1. The Orwells – “Who Needs You”
  1. The Black Keys – “Gotta Get Away”
  1. Phantogram – “Fall In Love”
  1. White Lung – “Down It Goes”
  1. Foxy Shazam – “In This Life”
  1. Grimes feat. Blood Diamonds – “Go”
  1. Charli XCX – “Gold Coins”
  1. Dum Dum Girls – “In the Wake of You”
  1. Future Islands – “Fall From Grace”
  1. Bleeding Rainbow – “So You Know”
  1. The Raveonettes – “Sisters”
  1. Deluka – “Dead of Night”
  1. Spoon – “Let Me Be Mine”
  1. Cloud Nothings – “I’m Not Part Of Me”
  1. Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal”
  1. The War on Drugs – “Burning”
  1. Fucked Up – “Glass Boys”
  1. St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”
  1. Run The Jewels – “Blockbuster Night Part 1”
  1. Pup – “Resevoir”
  1. Angel Olsen – “Stars”
  1. Ryan Adams – “Feels Like Fire”
  1. Alvvays – “Archie, Marry Me”
  1. TV on the Radio – “Careful You”
  1. Against Me! – “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”
  1. Coldplay – “Midnight”
  1. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Kelly”
  1. The Horrors – “So Now You Know”
  1. La Roux – “Let Me Down Gently”
  1. King Tuff – “Eyes of the Muse”
  1. Bleeding Rainbow – “Tell Me”
  1. Merchandise – “Little Killer”
  1. Spoon – “Inside Out”
  1. Run the Jewels feat. Zack De La Rocha – “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)”
  1. Charli XCX – “Need Ur Luv”
  1. The War on Drugs – “Suffering”
  1. Fucked Up – “The Art Of Patrons”
  1. Sharon Van Etten – “Your Love Is Killing Me”
  1. Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”
  1. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
  1. Merchandise – “Green Lady”
  1. Sylvan Esso – “Coffee”
  1. Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Jackson”

As I mentioned earlier, I moved to Philadelphia back in September. It’s been a big lifestyle change for me. For the first time since college, I’m living on my own and really for the first time ever in my life, I’m fully independent. While it’s been a good thing, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss home in NJ at least a little bit. The song “Jackson” by Cymbals Eat Guitars captures this feeling for me perfectly. As the song builds up, Joseph D’Agostino yelps and strains words about hanging out in Jersey with your friends (more specifically, Six Flags). It’s a song about nostalgia and dear friends, and the music itself is uplifting and I love every minute of it. Make sure you at least give this song a spin, if anything. Truly a special song from a special album.

For the Spotifically inclined…

And now for…

My Top 25 Albums of 2014

25. Phantogram – Voices

24. King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

23. Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

22. Dum Dum Girls – Too True

21. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

20. Real Estate – Atlas

19. The Horrors – Luminous

18. Restorations – LP3

17. White Lung – Deep Fantasy

16. The Raveonettes – Pe’ahi

15. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

14. Pup – Pup

13. Future Islands – Singles

12. TV On The Radio – Seeds

11. Spoon – They Want My Soul

10. Charli XCX – Sucker

9. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose

8. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso

7. Fucked Up – Glass Boys

6. Bleeding Rainbow – Interrupt

5. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

4. The War On Drugs – Lost In the Dream

3. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

2. Alvvays – Alvvays

1. Merchandise – After The End

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Last year, my album of the year was Kanye West’s divisive Yeezus, and while that album is great and mind-blowing in itself, I did enjoy it as much as I enjoy After the End by Tampa Bay’s own Merchandise. In fact, I’ve come to realize that there are very few albums I love and enjoy as much as After the End. Admittedly, I had never heard of Merchandise before this summer. Since then, I’ve checked out their back catalogue, which consists of just a few small EPs of skuzzy, lo-fi post-rock. While these albums had their moments, I never would’ve expected something of this magnitude from Merchandise. After the End is a grand, triumphant album that sounds like nothing else in 2014. I honestly couldn’t pinpoint what exactly it sounds like; I hear everything from The Smiths to Arcade Fire to Duran Duran to The Cure to fucking Coldplay.

Where Yeezus was a beautifully distorted mess, After the End is absolutely flawless, and it’s apparent through the sound and production that this was the intention. After “Corridor” sets the scene, the run of “Enemy,” “True Monument,” and “Green Lady” is the best three-song punch I’ve heard in a long time. It takes most bands years to write just one song as good as those, and Merchandise has THREE of them at the beginning of this freakin’ record. After that, other standouts like “Telephone” and the excellent “Little Killer” are just icing on the cake.

Please do yourself a favor and listen to this album. Obviously, all of the albums I’ve listed on here are fantastic and worth a listen. The top 5, in particular, could all easily be number one here, but for me, I have listened to and enjoyed no album more in 2014 than After the End by Merchandise and I hope you will too.

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What Captain Callahan might be thinking now

Check out my guest post on the Rangers Report blog, which by the way is the best source for Rangers analysis and fan-banter.

http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2014/07/21/guest-blogger-yergs-what-captain-callahan-might-be-thinking-now/

2014 Songs of the Summer

Do you like summer? Of course you do, because you’re not a crazy person! This year, we New Yorkers endured a hellish, nut-numbing winter because we’re too stupid to move to like Florida or something. BUT WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT DA PURDY SNOW?!!!! Oh I don’t know, maybe work at Disney World then sit outside and drink Corona’s all day in the middle of January. Duh!

Thankfully, it’s June, so it’s high time to get outside, burn your skin off, and jump in that shark-infested ocean for a bit. The summer’s finally here… we did it! Well done, everybody. Of course, it wouldn’t be summer without some sweet tunes to go along with it. You know, the kind of songs you’d play at a BBQ as you try to drown out those annoying neighbor kids who are either playing tag or getting brutally murdered next door. Or maybe, these are the songs you blast in your car on your way down to the shore, until you get stuck in traffic and maybe you should turn it down a little because the guy in the white van next to you looks a little angry.

However you may listen, summer songs are important because they’re going to forever remind you of a particular year’s summer fun. I mean, tell me you don’t smell sunscreen whenever you hear “Steal My Sunshine.” Oh, just me? Anyway, it’s all about good times and good vibes maaaan. Last year, for me, the song of the summer was a tie between “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” (thanks Pharrell!), and if it were up to me, these would be the songs of the summer EVERY year. But alas, out with the old and in with the new, right?

So, without further ado, below is a playlist of songs released since Labor Day 2013 that just got that summery feel to them, and I think they’ll bode well in the heat. Put your shades on, lather that sunscreen on your ghostly pale body, crack open a cold one, and turn the music up!

Feel free to complain/praise in the comments. TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!

(Writer’s note: I was so tempted to include “Latch” by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith on here, because I really hope it makes it big this summer in the mainstream, but that song came out like 2 years ago, so I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Think of it as an honorable mention, I guess.)

(Also, damn right I made a playlist with both Justin Timberlake and Fucked Up in it! Wanna fight about it?!)

One more thing: the following song is not available on Spotify, but it damn well better make your summer playlist. Why? Because I said so!

That Sunday Barrel’s 2014 Songs of the Summer

 

The Bandwagon Guide to the 2013-14 New York Rangers

2013-14 Eastern Conference Champions New York Rangers

by Jeff Yerger

Can you feel it – that buzz in the air? For the first time in 20 years, the air smells fresher, the sky seems bluer, and the sun feels warmer, because the New York Rangers are finally back in the Stanley Cup Final. Is this real life? How did we get here? It’s been such an incredible journey, and as Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault put it, if you told me back in October… hell, even four weeks ago… that the Rangers would be the hottest team in hockey playing for the franchise’s 5th Stanley Cup in June, I’d ask what you were smoking.

The elation we die-hard Ranger fans are feeling right now is hard to explain to someone who isn’t a huge sports fan. You might get some weird looks, a scoff, a “pssh, whatever”, or a “you can’t get a tattoo of Henrik Lundqvist THERE!” from people, but we know this is a special time and it’s truly a special feeling. The Rangers are in the Stanley Cup Final… I mean, just typing those words made me giddy. There is a buzz about the city and the tri-state area that’s usually reserved for the New York Giants every four years. You can’t walk five feet without talking about the Rangers or seeing someone wearing Rangers apparel. Just the other day, on the way into the city, my friend and I struck up a conversation with this random dude only because he was wearing a Brian Leetch shirt. We spent nearly 40 minutes talking about the Rangers and their magical playoff run. For those 40 minutes, the three of us were the bestest of friends!

Being a Rangers fan is like that. Once you discover that a person is a Rangers fan, they immediately become family. It’s cool, no worries, just as long as you know who Mark Messier is. Wait, you don’t? I’ll give you a minute to do a quick Google search. It’s okay, I’ll wait. [whistles and looks around aimlessly] … [checks watch] … [Googles Mark Messier anyway, gets lost for an hour watching Messier highlights on YouTube] … woah, sorry about that, where was I?

Yes, it’s a great time to be a Ranger fan, and if you don’t want to miss out on the Blueshirt Mania, there’s plenty of room aboard the bandwagon! But before you hop along, you’re going to have to know a few things first. So, I’ve decided to make the definitive Bandwagon Guide to the 2013-14 New York Rangers. Let’s get you up to speed…

At the end of the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the New York Rangers were in a bit of turmoil. They didn’t quite capitalize on the 2011-12 team’s success, and after losing to the Boston Bruins in 5 games in the second round, the Rangers management fired then-coach John Tortorella, and replaced him with former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. With this transaction, the Rangers went from a shot-blocking, defensive machine to an offensive and speed-minded philosophy. I’d like to tell you that it all clicked right away, I’d also like to tell you we were one of the top teams in the East this year, but alas, it didn’t quite go that way. The Rangers struggled adapting to the new system, which in hindsight, is understandable. Patience was needed, but Ranger fans are anything but patient. It was a struggle for this team, but around December and early January, things started to click. The Power Play finally looked like a Power Play, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (more on him later) started playing like himself again, and suddenly, the Rangers looked like a contender. Well, at least a playoff contender. In March, the Rangers made a trade deadline deal to secure their status as a playoff contender, trading beloved captain Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for superstar veteran forward Martin St. Louis, who, along with center Brad Richards, won a cup in 2004 with the Bolts. The hope was, with him and Richards reunited, their chemistry from 2004 would reignite.

The Rangers opened the playoffs playing against hated rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a rough series, but the Rangers prevailed in seven (and it also produced one of the greatest hockey gifs of all time). In the Second Round, the Rangers were pitted against Stanley Cup (and Pierre McGuire’s) favorites the Pittsburgh Penguins. After winning the first game by scoring twice in overtime, the Rangers suddenly found themselves down in the series 3 – 1, after a pitiful game 4 in which the Rangers were booed by their own fans (we’re not always that mean, trust me… it’s tough love). Following that dreadful performance, the next day news came out that the mother of Martin St. Louis passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. Despite a heavy grieving heart, St. Louis decided to join his Rangers team in Pittsburgh, and from there, the team bonded out of tragedy. St. Louis provided an emotional lift the Rangers desperately needed, and scored a huge goal in Game 6 at the Garden with his family present. The Rangers came back to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins and move on to play the Montreal Canadiens in the third round of the playoffs.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins

Following an emotional second round victory, the New York Rangers came out swinging in Montreal for Game 1, scoring 7 goals in an arena that has plagued the team for years. They won the first two games handily in Montreal, and in Game 4, St. Louis scored a magnificent game winner in overtime to put them up 3 – 1 in the series. Finally, in game 6 at a manic Madison Square Garden, Henrik Lundqvist stonewalled the Canadiens in a 1 – 0 shutout, securing the Rangers place in the Final. It’s truly been a hell of a run, and the previous paragraphs don’t even come close to conveying the waves of emotion we Ranger fans have been enduring these past couple weeks. It’s been fun, but there’s still a story yet to be written.

Here’s some Rangers-related music you need on your iPod:

The New York Rangers Goal Song

The New York Rangers Victory Song

The 2013-14 Rangers Locker Room Victory Song (for some reason…)

Here are some players you need to know:

Ryan McDonagh – #27 – Defenseman

Nickname: Mack Truck

The lowdown: Since joining the Rangers in 2011 after we practically stole him from the Montreal Canadiens, Ryan McDonagh has become an absolute monster of a defenseman. Not only is the kid smart as hell defensively, but he can really contribute offensively (he has 2 goals and 10 assist thus far in the playoffs). Mack Truck is going to be a true star in this league. Look for him to continue to improve in the final round.

Mats Zuccarello – #36 – Left Wing

Nickname: Zuuuuuuuuuuuuc!!

The lowdown: When he isn’t journeying across Middle-earth, Mats Zuccarello – a.k.a. the little Italian kid from Norway – is racking up points and creating plays like no other player on the ice. It’s incredible how well he can see a play develop. Perhaps the view at 5’7” is pretty good. The bite-sized forward will beat you with his speed and certainly isn’t afraid to fight the big boys.

Rick Nash – #61 – Left Wing

Nickname: Nashty

The lowdown: Despite being arguably the Rangers’ most skilled forward, Rick Nash hasn’t exactly lived up to the lofty expectations set by Ranger fans. Nevertheless, when Nash plays in the dirty areas of the ice and gets to the net as much as possible, he is an absolute force.

Derek Stepan – #21 – Center

Nickname: Steps or D-Step

The lowdown: If you watched the last few Rangers/Habs games, you might be wondering who that bionic man wearing that goofy obnoxious helmet was. Well, it was Derek Stepan, and here’s what happened: in the previous series against the Canadiens, his jaw was broken in Game 3 by former teammate and friend Brandon Prust after he blindsided Stepan with a vicious high hit. Stepan stayed in that game, despite his jaw being broken (though he didn’t know it at the time). He then had jaw surgery, missed only one game (!), and despite barely being able to talk and drink food from a straw, Stepan came back for Game 5 to score two goals. Hockey players, amirite?

Chris Kreider – #20 – Left Wing

Nickname: THE Kreider

The lowdown: Here’s another young budding star from the New York Rangers. Chris Kreider has 10 points in these playoffs (4G, 6A), but the kid has done a lot more than that. For a man his size (6’3”, 226lbs), he should NOT be allowed to be as fast as he is. And boy, is he fast, which is part of the reason the Rangers have been so successful in the post-season. Teams can’t seem to adjust to the Rangers speed, thanks to players like Kreider, Carl Hagelin, and Derek Brassard.

Brad Richards – #19 – Center

Nickname: Broadway Brad

The lowdown: Brad Richards has become the vocal veteran leader every good team needs. He leads both on the ice and off, and despite an inevitable buyout looming this summer that should send him packing and free up cap space for the Rangers, Richards is having quite a productive post-season run (5G, 6A). And to think it was only a year ago he was benched by Torts in the playoffs due to lack of production.

Martin St. Louis – #26 – Right Wing

Nickname: Marty

The lowdown: Along with Richards, St. Louis has become another veteran presence in the locker room. As mentioned above, he has persevered through some pretty tough times this post season due to his mother’s passing. Yet, despite his slow adjustment to New York and his recent personal troubles, St. Louis has been arguably one of the best players this team has to offer, and he has given this Rangers team a huge emotional lift.

Dominic Moore – #28 – Center

Nickname: Moorsy

The lowdown: If you should root for anybody this June, root for Dominic Moore. In 2012, Dominic Moore, while playing for the San Jose Sharks, left the team during a playoff run to be with his wife Katie, who had just been diagnosed with a  rare form of liver cancer, a disease that ultimately ended her life in January of 2013 (you can view their story in an emotional video here). Moore did not play at all last season. Last summer, he re-signed with the Rangers (the team that originally drafted him in 2000). Today, Dominic Moore plays in the memory of his wife Katie, and along with Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett , he is an essential part of the Rangers’ strong fourth line. On Thursday, in true poetic fashion, Moore scored the game-winning goal to send the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.

Henrik Lundqvist – #30 – Goaltender

Nickname: The King

The lowdown: Where do I even begin? Henrik Lundqvist, the biggest and best-dressed athlete in New York, has been the foundation of the New York Rangers for nearly 10 years. Did I mention he is also incredibly good-looking? Since first stepping on the ice for the Rangers back in 2005, Lundqvist has quickly become one of the world’s elite goaltenders. When Lundqvist is on his game (which is A LOT these days), he’s virtually impenetrable and he is on a whole other level than anyone else. Just take a look at his 2013-14 playoff stats: 12 wins (1st in the NHL), .928 Save Percentage (1st in the NHL), 2.03 Goals Against Average (2nd in the NHL), and a shutout (where he made this ridiculous save) to send his team to the Stanley Cup Final to boot.  The only thing missing from his resume is a Stanley Cup.

henrik-lundqvist5

Jack White’s Gimmicky Lazaretto Ultra LP

Jack White, the palest man on earth and occasional guitar player, announced yesterday that his new album, Lazaretto (6/10 on Third Man), will also be released in an “Ultra LP” format. The Ultra LP will contain all sorts of whozits and whatzits galore, per White’s site:

-180 gram vinyl
-2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels
-1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, one plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record
-Side A plays from the outside in
-Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.
-Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record
-Both sides end with locked grooves
-Vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format
-Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record
-Absolutely zero compression used during recording, mixing and mastering
-Different running order from the CD/digital version
-LP utilizes some mixes different from those used on CD and digital version

Wowee!! A 3 speed record?! What a GAME CHANGER! Let’s see your shitty-ass 128 kbps mp3 do that! Sarcasm aside, I’ll admit it that it’s pretty cool White is putting so much thought into this product, which will be available at a reasonable price too. I’m just surprised he left out all the other features of the “Ultra LP” in this press release. Here are a few more features of the upcoming Lazaretto Ultra LP Jack White forgot to mention:

– record can be used as Frisbee

– this vinyl will be more vinyl-y than regular vinyl

– free fedora hat with every purchase!

– if placed on a table, record can be cool decorative place mat

– blew a tire on your bike? Replace it with the Lazaretto LP!

– add tomato sauce and cheese for a delicious vinyl pizza

– use this LP as a cool belt buckle. The ladies will love it!

– Absolutely zero originality used during recording, mixing and mastering

– Dead wax area on Side B contains a hand-etched hologram of Tupac, the first of its kind on a vinyl record

– the end of the album features a never-ending loop of Robin Williams talking

– if played loud enough, you can drown out the sound of your pathetic cries and hopes for a White Stripes reunion

– when played backwards, this album will reveal satanic messages as well as the whereabouts of Meg White

– hidden tracks are actually just Jack White farting whilst talking about vintage guitars

– finally, you can trade this record for the new Fucked Up album Glass Boys, available June 3, which will no doubt be a better investment in the long-term than this gimmicky bullshit

Foxy Shazam Goes Gonzo

by Jeff Yerger

Foxy Shazam is about as unpredictable as they come. I lost sight of this for a while there. I was assuming their new album, GONZO, would follow the path of theatrical glam pop-rock its predecessors exceeded in. I was hoping this album would be their biggest and catchiest yet, but Foxy Shazam is anything but predictable.

I can honestly say that I never saw GONZO coming, because really, I never would’ve thought this band had it in them. This is a statement record, one few bands dare to make. They followed up a heavily produced glam rock record produced by Justin Hawkins of The Darkness (The Church of Rock and Roll) with a raw piece of angry indie rock produced by the master of angry indie rock, Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey). On GONZO, Foxy Shazam have ditched their theatrics for minimalism, and are quite literally having their In Utero moment.

Recorded all in one day on Halloween this past year, GONZO is about as authentic and stripped as they come. “[The album] was written in a room, recorded in a room, all together,” singer Eric Nally states in the album’s press release. “It was a shared experience, and an easier process, and things really started to come out. It was a very organic experience, and it shows. And I can read [GONZO] like a book, like a cohesive piece of art. It’s by far the most personal album to me.”

GONZO is in fact a very dark record. It follows a loose story line about a man (or Muppet?) struggling with fame and being away from his family (something which Nally has been no stranger to singing about in the past). For a band known in the past for not taking themselves too seriously, lines like “A picture of me with a smile that I’m not faking / I wish things were the way they are when the picture was taken” in the excellent “Shoebox,” hit pretty hard. Nally sounds hurt, tired, and frustrated (“I got no cash flow man I’m working… It’s a tragic thrill. I’m finding out who I was, who I really am”). His voice is shredded and strained to the limit, like a man on his last leg, especially as he wails, “I’m not afraid to die ‘cause I’m already dead,” on “Have the Fun.” While teenage angst may have paid off well for Kurt Cobain, Eric Nally just feels bored and old.

A friend of mine pointed out that GONZO kinda sounds like an unfinished demo. While it’s slightly more professional than that, he does have a point. Even for an Albini production, GONZO sounds REALLY sparse. As is typical with Albini, each instrument is mic’d far away and indirectly, making the room itself an instrument. You can hear the sound from each instrument reverberate off every corner and crevice, and because of the polished Foxy records we’ve come to know and love in the past, this album sounds extra bare. There are no overdubbed vocals and no double-tracked or layered guitars. Everything is exposed.

Bassist Daisy Caplan said in a recent Reddit AMA that all the songs on GONZO were recorded in consecutive order with everyone in one room, and with the same set up for each song. “There are less than five overdubs on the whole record, no overdubbed vocal harmonies, and about 1/3 of the songs are actually first takes,” writes Caplan. He also mentioned that the vocals, which usually require a separate booth for recording to reduce sound bleeding, were recorded live in the room with the guitar amps and drums. “Even Steve Albini thought we were crazy.” The result is a jarring change in sound for Foxy, but the energy and spontaneity of this record is undeniable and at times, downright beautiful. For instance, there’s a moment on “In This Life” after the second chorus where the guitar and piano build upon this riff they’ve been hinting at the whole song into an understated crescendo. It’s typical Foxy grandioso, but in a different way.

GONZO is going to piss a lot of Foxy Shazam fans off. That’s just a fact of life with a record like this, but I think at the same time, this record is going to earn them tons of respect. I don’t think GONZO their best record (that would be their last one), but I do think this is their most cohesive and honest effort to date. This is a scathing record; a therapeutic primal scream from a band that could no longer laugh away the hurt. I think this is something that they needed to get off their chest, and the fact that they recorded this all in one day shows that they wanted to get these demons out and not dwell on any of it. As I mentioned before, not a lot of bands have the balls to do something like this, so you have to give credit where credit is due. With GONZO, Foxy Shazam have taken a big step in their journey. Which direction this step is in I haven’t a clue, but I’m not even going to try to predict.

Stream and download the album for FREE at foxyshazam.com.

Who the F is Bleeding Rainbow?

by Jeff Yerger

There are some things I just don’t understand, like why is the sky blue, how come 7-Elevens have locks on their doors, who are all you people gabbing to on your cell phones at 7 in the morning on my way to work, and why in God’s name is Bleeding Rainbow not more popular than they are?

Yeah, I know, there are plenty of bands out there that are pretty talented  but don’t seem to gather enough ears to hear them, so they get labeled as “the greatest band you’re not listening to,” or something like that. But seriously people, why are we sleeping on Bleeding Rainbow? Is it because they’re from Philadelphia? I mean, I know they have some questionable sports teams (I’m looking at you, Flyers), but Philly’s not all that bad. Plus, Bleeding Rainbow abhors sports (except for basketball, but I mean, come on, does anybody really care about the NBA?), so you can breathe, New Yorkers.

Those two guys from Nirvana… what are their names again?… Kris Novoselic and, uh, Dave F’n Grohl LOVE Bleeding Rainbow! Not enough for ya? Well, how about just listening to the band’s newest album Interrupt, their second release in a little over a year. It’s a damn good record, and one of the most enjoyable of 2014.

Bleeding Rainbow’s brand of straightforward 90s indie rock is loud and grinding but never dull. While 2013’s Yeah Right was more about the band exploring the nuances of their sound a bit, Interrupt doesn’t fuck around, attacking you right from the get-go with “Time and Place.” It makes sense that Grohl and Novoselic dig Bleeding Rainbows, because songs like “Tell Me,” “Out of Line,” and “Images” borrow grungy choruses and guitar tones right from Nirvana’s playbook. The band also owes a lot to My Bloody Valentine (see: “Phrase”), but they know that and it’s totally cool; there is no shame whatsoever.

So, why haven’t more people listened to Bleeding Rainbow yet? I can’t seem to figure it out. Is it because everybody’s too busy crying to that other Philadephia band’s new record? One thing I DO know is that Bleeding Rainbow is truly a hidden gem in the Philly underground, but they deserve (and sound) more than that. I’m thinking Interrupt will finally get the people’s attention, because it should. If not, at least they’ll be our little secret.