Thursday, February 24, 2011

Keep Shelly In Athens

I was adding a few songs to my iTunes early last night when I dug into my wife's small CD collection. Stored kind of pitifully in a box in the closet, the last of a dwindling interest in physical product. The hardcore favorites remain: Morrissey & The Smiths, The Cure, Sade, Depeche Mode, and the band I was looking for, Saint Etienne. Shortly thereafter, I resumed checking my e-mail and scoping out contenders for the next Beat'cast. It was then I finally got 'round to listening to a band whose name I'd been seeing elsewhere: Keep Shelly In Athens.

Just an odd coincidence perhaps but Saint Etienne is the perfect reference point to begin describing this little known duo from, really, Greece. Vocalist Sarah P could easily stand in for Sarah Cracknell, girly soft with the icy cool of a Swinging London runway model. The music laid down by her partner RPR is a balearic dream pop cocktail not far from the work of, say, Husky Rescue. It's all very stylish, laid back and cool, baby. Works for both Happy Hour and Back To Mine.

Their debut EP, In Love With Dusk, came out last year on Gorilla vs Bear's Forest Family label. It quickly sold out and things having been moving at lightning speed since. Leave it to the coolest cats in the room, Transparent, to get on board, teaming up to release the single "Hauntin' Me" b/w "Song To Cheer You Up" earlier this week. It's rockin' my world. Sample it, and visit the Transparent site to download it. A limited edition of 300 7" singles have been pressed.

[STREAM] Keep Shelly in Athens - "Hauntin' Me" by Keep Shelly in Athens

[DOWNLOAD] Keep Shelly In Athens - "Song To Cheer You Up" (via Transparent)

And don't miss the standout from last years EP, "Running Out Of You".

[STREAM] Keep Shelly in Athens - "Running Out Of You" by Keep Shelly in Athens

BTW, Forest Family & Transparent are teaming up for a show at SXSW. Bands have yet to be announced. Keep Shelly In Athens is, so far, not scheduled to appear.

DOWNLOAD: TV On The Radio - "Will Do"

This past week has seen a flurry of news from TV On The Radio. After releasing details for an upcoming tour on Tuesday, yesterday they dropped the first song from their forthcoming Nine Types Of Light, out on April 12th. A slow burning jam, it reminds me of "Love Dog" from Dear Science. Sounds like another high card in the musical deck of 2011.

[STREAM] TV On The Radio - "Will Do"

[DOWNLOAD] TV On The Radio - "Will Do" (via Oh My Rock)

TV ON THE RADIO 2011 Tour:

Apr 8 Philadelphia (Electric Factory)
Apr 9 Charlottesville, VA (Jefferson Theatre)
Apr 10 Baltimore (Rams Head Live)
Apr 13 New York (Radio City Music Hall)
Apr 16 Boston (House of Blues)
Apr 17 Montreal (Metropolis)
Apr 18 Toronto (Sound Academy)
Apr 20 Detroit (St. Andrew's Hall)
Apr 23 Minneapolis (First Avenue)
Apr 24 Minneapolis (First Avenue)
Apr 25 Denver (Ogden Theatre)
May 2 San Diego (4th and B)

Jun 22 Zagreb, Croatia (T-Mobile Inmusic Festival)
July 3 London (Wireless Festival)
July 7 Bilbao, Spain (BBK Live Festival)
July 8 Bilbao, Spain (BBK Live Festival)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LISTEN: Rival Schools - "Wring It Out"

It's been a full decade since Rival Schools' United By Fate was released, a powerful antidote to the more tradtional emo sound on the rise at the time (Dashboard Confessional, I'm looking at you). Frankly, it was just better. After a follow-up record was shelved, the band went their separate ways. Singer Walter Schreifels went on to form Walking Concert, and guitarist Ian Love formed Cardia. They reunited a few years ago and now comes Pedals, the band's second disc, out March 8th month via Photo Finish / Atlantic Records. Check out the crunchy new tune "Wring It Out" right here, and buy it on iTunes.

Rival Schools - "Wring It Out" by Photo Finish Records


Mar 2 Chicago (Lincoln Hall)
Mar 5 Allston, MA (Brighton Music Hall)
Mar 6 Washington (Rock N Roll Hotel)
Mar 7 Philadelphia (Johnny Brenda's)
Mar 8 New York (Santos Party House)
Mar 10 New Brunswick, NJ (Court Tavern)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Tunes Tuesday / The Big Beat 'cast 10

I planned on delivering the latest New Tunes Tuesday / Beat'cast to you last week but considering Radiohead knocked everything to the back page, maybe its delay was for the best. As a result, Yorke & Co. figure prominently this week but so do The Strokes, Raveonettes, and Arcade Fire. We'll mark the return of Electrelane, delve deeper into Yuck's debut, get to a new one from Royal Bangs and introduce you to Niki & The Dove and Halls. Just press play to listen whenever you like.

RADIOHEAD "Lotus Flower" (self-released), from The King Of Limbs - They've proven once again that there's no band on the planet today that commands the attention they do. The album's nominal first single, it strikes me as the cousin of Kid A's "Idioteque". Watch the video here.

PJ HARVEY "Let England Shake" (Vagrant), from Let England Shake - You might be surprised to learn that by debuting at #8, Let England Shake marks Harvey's first appearance in the top 10 of the UK album chart. This extremely well-reviewed disc should do more to win over fans than at any time since Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea was released over 10 years ago.  Still, ruminating on the effect of war - from WWI to the present - to her beloved homeland is not an immediate listen and will probably keep her at arms length from listeners hoping for a hooky "Good Fortune" or two. (And really, how the hell was that not a major hit?  Oh wait: Limp Bizkit). Watch the video here.

[DOWNLOAD] ARCADE FIRE "Suburban War" (Merge), from The Suburbs - I may not be much of a fan, but I was still glad to see a legitimate indie band grab a big win. Certainly mainstream America had no clue, should that be a surprise? (Austin: May 3 @ The Backyard w/ Explosions In The Sky) (via The Music Ninja)

ELECTRELANE "I Want To Be The President" (Too Pure), single - Overshadowed in the week's other news was word of their reunion to play a handful of UK festival dates. Nothing beyond that has been scheduled, but let's keep our fingers crossed. (TBB coverage)

Friday, February 18, 2011

WATCH: Radiohead - "Lotus Flower". CD Coming Out TODAY

Radiohead continues to make headlines. The Guardian, who is live blogging The King of Limbs release fer chrissakes, posted an e-mail sent earlier today by a representative from XL Recordings:

Radiohead have brought forward the digital release of their new album "The King Of Limbs" by 24 hours with the album now being sent to those who pre-ordered it earlier this week. It is also available for new orders through at a fixed price of £6. A special edition is also available.

With everything ready on their website, the band decided to bring forward the release by a day rather than wait until the planned date of Saturday, Feb 19 to deliver the music.

Order The King of Limbs here. In the meantime, the band's released a video for "Lotus Flower", apparently confirming Thom Yorke's love for Marcel Marceu.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh

The Low Anthem was formed out of the friendship forged by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky while they were DJ’s at Brown University’s student-run radio station, WBRU.  Jocie Adams joined prior to recording their third record, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. After self-releasing the disc in 2008, they caught the attention of Nonesuch Records, who signed them and re-issued it with much wider distribution in June 2009.  Shortly thereafter, Mat Davidson made it a quartet.

Smart Flesh marks the band's first full-length as a four-piece and their proper major label debut.  It arrives Monday via Bella Union overseas, and Tuesday on Nonesuch in the States. Download "Ghost Woman Blues", watch the video and see their concert dates, currently under way, after the jump.

The Low Anthem - Ghost Woman Blues by Bella Union

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WATCH: Video Roundup, Vol. 2

It's Wednesday, and chances are the mid-week blahs are settling in, right? Take a load off with the latest clips from a few TBB approved artists. There's even more after the jump. Note the [NSFW] vids from Yuck and Austra.

PJ HARVEY "Let England Shake" (Vagrant), from Let England Shake

ELBOW "Neat Little Rows" (Fiction), from Build A Rocket Boys!

[NSFW] YUCK "Holing Out" (Fat Possum), from Yuck

Electrelane Reunites for UK dates

Yay! This Is Fake DIY is reporting that Electrelane, the all-female quartet, has announced they're reuniting for a handful of UK dates including the Field Day festival in August.

From their official website:

"This summer we're going to play some festivals, including Field Day in London, and a few gigs. We're still confirming everything, so will be announcing dates soon. It's very exciting for us to be playing together again after more than three years, and we're just sorry that we won't be able to make it to the US this time. At the moment our plan is just to play live this summer, so we hope to see you!"

The band released 4 full-length releases between 2001 & 2007 before announcing an indefinite hiatus in November 2007. Their music draws from wide range of influences, most notably the krautrock pioneers Neu! and their disciples Stereolab, in addition to the guitar-heavy work of The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. They went away too soon. Let's hope this turns into something more.

Electrelane "To The East" (live)

[DOWNLOAD] Electrelane "Bells" (via Letters Have No Arms)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Conquering Animal Sound - Kammerspiel

Growing up, my friend Tom and I surmised that a certain strand of music fans could be broken into two camps: Floyd fans and Dead fans. The Dead fans we knew were happy hippies: warm, outgoing and communal. Floyd fans were somewhat the opposite: a little icier, wary and aloof. I never liked the Dead. Jerry Garcia couldn't have written Wish You Were Here (or Animals or The Wall or...). I listened to Pink Floyd with my headphones, to disappear into their soundscape, to hear Waters' every last audio trick. It was often a solitary listening experience: on the sofa, eyes closed, headphones on. Probably still my favorite way to absorb a record.

Well, if that's you, then let me introduce you to Conquering Animal Sound. They're a Scottish duo, from Glasgow, for which icy and minimalist are apt descriptions. Singer Anneke Kampman clearly finds inspiration from Bjork and their debut Kammerspiel recalls her more restrained work (just don't come looking for "Earth Intruders", k?).  I doubt you'll want to listen to this blasting down the interstate with the windows down. It's a headphone - or better - an earbud record, so take it as such. I was struck by its fragile beauty and the delicate layers of atmospheric sound that is pitch perfect for a dimly lit room, a sofa, and the back of your eyelids.

Start with a few tracks and the vid for the single "Bear" before moving on to the whole album. Kammerspiel is out now via Gizeh Records.



Monday, February 14, 2011

You Heard About This, Right?

New Radiohead CD. Available this coming Saturday (Feb. 19). Pretty sure Lady Antebellum does not make an appearance. Details and ordering info.

That is all.

My Mumford & Sons Story

Mumford & Sons prior to last night's Grammy Awards

So, it appears that despite losing out to Esperanza Spalding for Best New Artist, Mumford & Sons turned a lot of heads last night.  First for their performance of "The Cave" and then (along with The Avett Brothers) backing Bob Dylan on "Maggie's Farm". I'm not here to claim that WOXY was the first in the US to get behind them, but we probably were the first to get behind them so strongly. Late 2008, early 2009 to be precise. It reminded me of when I booked them for SXSW in 2009...

(From his comfy sofa, your narrator cocks his head slightly and glances skyward, strokes chin and sees all vision blurring, finally to refocus on a radio production studio...)

Booking our SXSW sessions was one of the highlights of my year. My colleagues and I sought to put together an eclectic mix that would best represent our station, a lineup of established bands alongside some handpicked up-and-comers that would make not only for good radio, but provide us with an abundance of content.  Usually, this meant booking acts that were probably not going to pass through Cincinnati.  In 2009, we wanted to take full advantage of our long week and decided to go balls out: 6 full days, 5 sessions a day. We were determined to make this our biggest and best yet.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

LISTEN: The Strokes - "Under Cover of Darkness"

The Strokes, whose new CD Angles will be released on March 22nd, have made the first track from it available as a free download from their site for 48 hours. It'll be available to purchase digitally in the US via iTunes on February 15th. Here 'tis:

[STREAM] The Strokes – "Under Cover of Darkness"

Also, my guys at This Is Fake DIY took notice of a tweet from the band's manager Ryan Gentles that said "SXSW - The Strokes… more to come on". As I think there's still a few big names yet to be announced, color me unsurprised at that possibility.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

DOWNLOAD: The Raveonettes - "Forget That You're Young"

The Raveonettes return with their 5th full-length Raven In The Grave on April 5th (April 4th elsewhere) and have dropped the first track "Forget That You're Young" as a free download. They're scheduled to appear at SXSW next month as part of a larger US tour, which swings back around for another stop in Austin less than a month later. Dates and audio below.

Raven In The Grave tracklisting.

1. Recharge & Revolt
2. War In Heaven
3. Forget That You're Young
4. Apparitions
5. Summer Moon
6. Let Me On out
7. Ignite
8. Evil Seeds
9. My Time's Up

[DOWNLOAD] The Raveonettes - "Forget That You're Young" by thisisfakediy

The Raveonettes 2011 North American Tour

Mar 16 Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar 17 Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar 18 Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar 19 Austin, TX - SXSW

Mar 30 Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of the Living Arts ^
Mar 31 Boston, MA - Paradise ^
Apr   1 Montreal, Quebec - La Tulipe ^
Apr   2 Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix Concert Theatre ^
Apr   3 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick ^
Apr   5 Newport, KY - Southgate House ^
Apr   6 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall ^
Apr   7 Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line ^
Apr   8 St. Louis, MO - The Firebird ^
Apr   9 Kansas City, MO - The Record Bar ^
Apr 11 Dallas, TX - Granada Theater ^
Apr 12 Austin, TX - Emo's ^
Apr 13 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's ^
Apr 15 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade ^
Apr 16 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle ^
Apr 17 Washington, DC - Black Cat ^
Apr 18 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street ^
Apr 20 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
Apr 21 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg ^

^ w/ Tamaryn

New Tunes Tuesday / The Big Beat 'cast 09

Because you need a place to give you all of the good stuff in one place, there's The Big Beat'cast. It's my wrap-up of new tunes that I think you need to know about, plus a few others to season the mix.

THE WHITE STRIPES "Conquest" (Third Man / WB), from Icky Thump - Ah, it's the least I could do to commemorate their calling it quits. You can read about my own encounter with Jack White a few posts back.

[DOWNLOAD] DAVID WAX MUSEUM "Born With A Broken Heart" (self), from Everything Is Saved - A quick once over of The Big Beat would reveal that folk music isn't my favorite genre. That's not to say I disdain it. Let's just say I'm kind of particular about what floats my boat. In that regard, the David Wax Museum does nicely thankyouverymuch. A duo from Boston, their just-released 3rd disc is a spirited and uniquely exotic mix of rootsy Americana & Mexican folk influenced by son jarocho music from south of the border. Yes, dude's name is David Wax. (via Music Savage)

[DOWNLOAD] COLD CAVE "The Great Pan Is Dead" (Matador), from Cherish The Light Years - The Philly/NYC trio returns with their second Matador full-length on April 5th, and will hit the road with The Kills following their appearance at Coachella in April. Front man Wesley Eisold still has his David Bowie jones goin' on but if this track is any indication, the synths have got gotten harder, faster, and less blatantly pop.

[DOWNLOAD] PETER BJORN AND JOHN "Second Chance" (StarTime), from Gimme Some - The world was waiting for Peter Bjorn and John after Writer's Block but their inclination to take a dark, left turn on Living Thing confused listeners for whom "Young Folks" was all they knew of the Swedes. It was a missed opportunity, one they stand to correct with Gimme Some and they do. Virtually the entire record is upbeat and infinitely sunnier than their last. A "Second Chance", indeed. (via All Things Go)

Monday, February 7, 2011

WATCH: The Answering Machine - "Lifeline"

Manchester's The Answering Machine have just unveiled the video for their new single, the title cut to their second full-length Lifeline. The CD will be released via Heist Or Hit Records on February 21st. Pre-order the disc here.

Lifeline tracklisting:

1. My Little Navy
2. Lifeline
3. Animals
4. 3 Miles
5. Romantic And Square
6. Anything Anything
7. Hospital Lung
8. Rules
9. Video 8
10. So Alive
11. The End

The band will part of the British contingent at SXSW, March 16-19, before returning home for dates in Manchester (24 March @ Sound Control) and London (25 March @ Bull & Gate). Download first single "Animals". (TBB coverage & more)

[DOWNLOAD] Animals by The Answering Machine

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My White Stripes Story

It was 15 September 2000.

I'd never heard The White Stripes before seeing them open for Sleater-Kinney at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky, USA. Heard of them, yeah, but had never actually listened to them. Still a bit more underground than where I was at the time. In any event, I recall standing with WOXY's Digital Savant Bryan Jay Miller in some sort of dual, slackjawed amazement at the sound these two were making on stage.  More noise and more rawk than any had a right to expect.  Truth is, The White Stripes were perfect for Cincinnati.  Just down the interstate from Detroit, both historical bastions of gritty, blues-based rock, the cities were kindred spirits. I guess it was never surprising that Jack plucked two of the city's own, Patrick & Jack L. from The Greenhornes, to join him in the Raconteurs, Dead Weather, yadda yadda.

So, after Jack & Meg finished wiping up the SGH floor, I made it over to the merch table to ask for a CD. Not buy one, ask for one. At the time, I was still very much of the mind that since I'm going to play you on the radio and y'know, promote your music, then I shouldn't have to pay for one.   I don't know if he knew what 97X (WOXY) was or not, and probably didn't care either way but he just wasn't into it. (I also think I was low on funds at the time, and this was a cash-only deal)

LISTEN: Factory Floor readies new single

Echoing the spirit of Joy Division with a sound that recalls Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle, FACTORY FLOOR was one of my favorite finds during WOXY's last few months. The London-based trio has been around for a few years and have released a couple of singles, most of which are available online. Their hypnotic, pulsating sound leaves precious little room for lyrics. When called upon, Nikki Colk, unrecognizable from her days fronting the pop-punk KaitO, 'sings' in a wailing drone that adds another layer to the mix, never rising above it.

In the process, they made a fan of someone who knows a bit about a dark, brooding sound: Joy Division/New Order drummer Stephen Morris. He's produced the band's newest single "R E A L L O V E" which arrives on super limited 12" vinyl in April via Optimo (Espacio), the Scottish label/niteclub.

The b-side will be an Optimo remix of the song, which made its premiere on this week's 'Electronic Edition' of the All Songs Considered podcast from NPR Music.

[STREAM] Factory Floor - "R E A L L O V E" (Optimo remix) (via The Quietus)

A better grasp of what Factory Floor is about is captured in these two live performances:

FACTORY FLOOR - live at Rough Trade East June 2010

FACTORY FLOOR "Lying" (live at Offset Festival 2009)

Factory Floor supports Chris and Cosey at the ICA in London on Friday (Feb 4), and Caribou at Shepherd's Bush Empire on Feb. 22.

WATCH: Video Roundup

I came of age during the MTV's golden years, so I dig on videos. I'm of the belief that it helped fuel the rise of modern rock/alternative music in the 80s & early 90s and if a similarly programmed channel existed today, it could wield a fair amount of influence. Nowadays though the video channel of choice is on your laptop, splintering the audience every which way. So from time to time, I'll drop in a few new clips that are TBB approved. Feast:

THOSE DANCING DAYS "I'll Be Yours" (Wichita), from Daydreams & Nightmares.

JAMES BLAKE "The Wilhelm Scream" (Atlas/A&M), from James Blake

BRAIDS "Plath Heart" (Kanine), from Native Speaker

THE GO! TEAM "Secretary Song" [featuring Satomi from Deerhoof] (Memphis Industries), from Rolling Blackouts.

Echo Lake - Young Silence EP

Although I included a track from London shoegazers Echo Lake in yesterday's New Tunes Tuesday lineup, there's more from the band worth hearing.  Playing shimmering dream pop with plenty of reverb and a bit of electronic undercurrent, their debut EP Young Silence arrives on Valentine's Day via No Pain In Pop.  Watch the newly released video for the title cut, listen to a few tracks from the disc and download a non-EP cover of Ariel Pink's "Alisa" recorded for Pinglewood last year.   

Echo Lake - Young Silence from Dan Nixon on Vimeo.

Latest tracks by Echo Lake

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Tunes Tuesday / The Big Beat 'cast 08

This week on New Tunes Tuesday, sample the latest from a quartet of veteran acts: WIRE, GANG OF FOUR, SOCIAL DISTORTION, and the reformed FEELIES, who you may not know much about but were a major influence on R.E.M.. Are they still going strong or should they just go away? Plus, the usual array of new bands, tracks, rants and raves. It's the most robust Big Beat yet.

YOUNG PRISMS "I Don't Get Much" (Kanine), from Friends For Now -  - If ‘slacker’ means ‘purveyor of angst-ridden badass psychedelic rock,’ then the Young Prisms qualify. This San Francisco based quintet just dropped their debut of dark and edgy C-86 inspired rawk on the in-form Kanine label. Think of them as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's brattier younger sibling: the ones who might get you into trouble but you wanna hang with 'em anyway.  Opening for The Radio Dept. in the US now, returning to Austin for SXSW.

THE ANSWERING MACHINE "Lifeline" (Heist Or Hit), from Lifeline - Album #2 marks a progression from the Strokes-influenced Another City, Another Sorry to a more mature, layered sound that still has plenty of hooks to spare.  Returning to the USA for SXSW.

[STREAM] The Answering Machine - "Lifeline" by The Answering Machine

ECHO LAKE "In Dreams" (No Pain In Pop), from Young Silence EP - Shimmering dream pop with an electronic undercurrent and plenty of reverb to go around, this London quintet has spent the last year preparing for their close-up.  Fans of Beach House and Panda Riot will eat this up and come crawling back for more.

[STREAM] Echo Lake - "In Dreams" by Echo Lake

THE RADIO DEPT. "Liebling" (Labrador), from Passive Aggressive - Singles 2002-2010 - An early b-side from their newly released singles collection. In comparison to the current crop of chillwave/ shoegaze/dreampop bands, just how ahead of the curve were these guys? (TBB coverage)

THE JOY FORMIDABLE "Whirring" (Atlantic), from The Big Roar - Another UK band arriving to take their shot at America, the trio hits a homer with The Big Roar.  This re-recorded version of the Balloon Called Moaning single is expanded to nearly 7 minutes long with nary a second wasted.  A real tour de force and one of the new year's best tracks.  (TBB coverage)

JAMES BLAKE "Limit To Your Love" (Atlas/A&M), from James Blake - This halting Feist cover, issued as a single last year, earns an appearance on Blake's self-titled debut, out next Monday.  Advance reviews from the UK have been overwhelmingly positive.  SXSW is confirmed, but no other US dates have been announced.

THE PHOENIX FOUNDATION "Buffalo" (Memphis Industries), from Buffalo - Strong reviews of the Kiwi band's fourth album have propelled them onto critic's watch lists. They have a mature, full bodied sound that fans of Elbow and The Phantom Band should investigate. Available digitally in the US.

[STREAM] The Phoenix Foundation - "Buffalo" by EMI Music New Zealand

[DOWNLOAD] DIRTY BEACHES "Sweet 17" (Zoo), from Badlands - With its dark, blue velvety 50's vibe, I'll bet Frank Booth would love this song that sounds as like it was plucked straight off of a David Lynch soundtrack.  Canadian Alex Hungtai's debut record was all instrumental, and he mines an unexplored niche on his follow-up due in late March.  On tour with the Dum Dum Girls from mid-February right through an appearance at SXSW. (via Pitchfork)

[DOWNLOAD] THE FEELIES "Should Be Gone" (Bar None), from Here Before - Jangle pop pioneers and one of the originators of the American 'college rock' sound of the early '80s, The Feelies reunited for a few shows over the last few years and were rightly recognized as the influential force that they were.  Their first record in 20 years will hit stores in April.   I'm hoping they'll be a late addition to SXSW. (via Pitchfork)

WIRE "Bad Worn Thing" (Pink Flag), from Red Barked Tree - Forming in London in 1976, Wire was central to the development of post-punk. There've been a few stops/starts and a few lineup changes along the way, but through it all they've lost absolutely none of their grit and spirit.  Their contemporaries Gang Of Four may have a few more recognizable hits, but these guys still have all of the bona fides.

GANG OF FOUR "Who Am I?" (Grönland), from Content - Muscular track from their first album of new material since 1995. North American tour starts Friday in Toronto.

SOCIAL DISTORTION "Alone and Forsaken" (Epitaph), from Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes - I've never been much of a Social D fan save a few singles, "Bad Luck" in particular.  At a time, though, when many of Mike Ness' contemporaries are mellowing out, you've got to hand it to him for staying true to his rockabilly influenced punk roots. This Hank Williams cover is included on their first CD of new material in 7 years. 

LIGHT ASYLUM "Dark Allies" (self-released), from In Tension EP - New York duo Bruno Coviello (keys) and Shannon Funchess (vox) comprise the band, which sound straight out of Gotham's 1980's club scene. Dark, synth-heavy and oh so new wave, you'd better jump on board 'cuz I've gotta feeling the hype machine's about to jump on this train.

[STREAM] Light Asylum - "Dark Allies" by Light Asylum

(OLD SKOOL MYSTERY TRACK) - A landmark single, released 25 years ago, that sharply divided listeners but ultimately brought the perpetrators to much wider audiences. You think you know it?  You do...

[DOWNLOAD] CELESTIAL SHORE "Pals" (Double Denim), from California Eden EP - Presumably from Brooklyn, this quick hit of quirky, sun-kissed indie pop is taken from the band's debut EP that was "recorded mostly on a couch in West Hollywood and sometimes in a carpeted room in South Los Angeles". Oh. (via Pitchfork / Double Denim)