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Indie Rock





Teen Blush "Other Faces"

Teen Blush recently released a new single called "Other Faces". The new single is accompanied by unofficial video below.

This is the Vapor Wave of Kenneth Voss and "Other Faces" is his second single of 2022.

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Countdown: Top Five Song Intros Of All Time Or Maybe Just This Week

photo by Ada Chen

Song intros! You’ve likely heard of them! Did you know one estimate says that roughly 92.7% of songs actually begin with “an intro”? It sounds fucking mental, I know, but it’s true! And as any motivational speaker will tell you...you only get one chance to make a first impression! That is, unless you have a rag soaked in chloroform handy! But most people don’t! Or shouldn’t! So yes! Song intros!

Bearing all those exclamation points above in mind this column is hereby dedicated to the "Top 5 Song Intros" from the past week, or month, or year, as a means of promoting Greater Song Introduction Awareness before it's too late. So now with no further ado…

05) Kissed By An Animal “Be”

First off, any song that starts off with a certain mid-tempo bass drum and snare rhythm (you know the one!) as in the one that makes you think you’re about to hear Joan Jett’s “Do Ya Wanna Touch Me” automatically makes the Top 5. And that’s not to dunk on Kissed By An Animal either because this is a cool song otherwise too—cool enough that I’m not even mad when it doesn’t turn into “Do You Wanna Touch Me”—with an intro that builds layer by layer with bass and guitar and the whole thing is a fun rock ’n’ roll journey. “So” can be heard on I Don’t Have To Explain Myself To You, an album released exactly a week ago.



And hey I don’t wanna dwell on Joan Jett too much here but if you'll humor me just compare the two versions of “DYWTM” below and tell me the Top Of The Pops version isn’t much superior to the "official" music video because the video makers had the nerve to lop off the iconic drum intro part which completely ruins the whole thing I mean wtf were they thinking?! (but at least this nicely illustrates my argument re: song intro importance…)

04) Joudy: “El Renacer”

This New York-via-Venezuela three-piece has the right idea on their single “El Renacer” (released a few weeks ago aka “The Rebirth” if you're a gringo) thrusting the listener directly into the most pit in medias res (Latin for “throw the baby into the deep end”) with the thrashing triplet guitar that's actually the chorus to the song so you see how Joudy pulled a “She Loves You” on us except of course it’s an instrumental version of the chorus here.

Joudy recently signed with Trash Casual which is a pretty groovy record label so good on them. And take it from me, these gents are totally sick on stage so wear a mask if you "catch" them tonight (7/15) at Arlene Grocery

03) Monarch “The Risk” 

Ok, you seriously didn’t believe you'd get through this list without any wind chimes did you? HELL NO! But wind chimes are in short supply these days in Brooklyn thanks to the global supply chain crisis so it's lucky that the instrument/patio decoration is native to Hudson Valley which means we get this charming track by Monarch who return to play NYC on 8/26 at Pianos



“The Risk” opens on a sustained guitar chord and a swell of everything else (including wind chimes!) and yeah I know this intro may only last for three seconds but that’s what makes it work—it wipes the sonic slate clean with a quick smear of sound before launching into a “Blue Moon progression with vocalist Sarah Hartstein sweetly intones some linesw about the night sky and the mysterious interconnectedness of the universe. Also, check out the soaring choruses and a very active bassline played by Jesse Hartstein.

02) Pan Arcadia: “Leaving Paradise”

Released last week or thereabouts, this is what’s known in the industry as a “statement song.” And as for the six rapscallions who make up Pan Arcadia they’re here to tell us they wanna rock and dammit if I believe ‘em because this song slaps. Which isn't to say these six gents haven't always rocked, but this is a more raucous affair than they’ve committed to tape before (live I've seen 'em rock to this level maybe but that's another story) and they assert this new rockatude right from the first microsecond of the intro (crucial!) which opens with a peal of feedback and a gliss down the guitar neck and then a Crue-worthy riff and a Who-worthy power chord/feral scream and would somebody please remind me when they’re leaving for the tour with Aerosmith again?

In the meantime, Pan Arcadia will appear at Bowery Ballroom tonight (7/15) opening for Quarters of Change. Apparently it’s a mostly if not entirely sold out show but a small clutch of tickets will reportedly be released at the door early this evening. Plus rumor has it they’re been cosying up with a former Rolling Stone editor lately so here’s hoping they remember the little people when they hit it big.

01) Johnny Dynamite & The Bloodsuckers “The Last Ones”

“The Last Ones” has been billed as being for fans of The Cure, M83, A Flock of Seagulls, and MGMT. And if you’re bold enough to propose such an esteemed musical familiy tree then you better get your song intro game on point son and boy did Mr. Dynamite nail it on his new single released just yesterday called "The Last Ones".

And when it comes to this particular musical demi-monde it's the achievement of the perfect chiming, twinkling, crystalline reverb-laden guitar arpeggiation tone and texture that's absolutely crucial if you even plan to aspire to be in a band with a fighting chance of getting a song placed on Stranger Things Season 5 and peeping the music video above for “The Last Ones” with its neon hues, pretty young things and graphic bloodletting makes me think this was maybe Johnny’s plan all along—a plan that now seems entirely plausible after hearing “The Last Ones.”



And yes it’s true that JD&TBS have already nailed the arpeggiated guitar intro once before with “Can’t Stop My Love” with its well-honed admixture of acoustic guitar and electric bass but still I think the new intro potentially nails it even more (even if it’s shorter) because it sounds like a glass menagerie in sound and more Cure-esque to boot, especially vis-a-vis the guitar line in the intro to The Cure's relative obscurity “To The Sky” or at least to my ears (don’t worry Johnny, I won’t sic Robert’s lawyers on ya!) and truly I could write a whole ‘nother article on Cure song intros because well I mean many of their song “intros” are more lengthy than the actual "song" (i.e., vocal) portions of thee songs themselves and just go listen to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me if you don’t believe me. Song intros!! (Jason Lee)

The Cure long intro: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheCure/comments/ib0m76/what_is_the_best_super_long_intro_to_a_cure_song/

TO THE SKY: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/By7QW2_7dh4" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>





The Alright Maybes "Gone"

The Alright Maybes recently released a new single called "Gone". This is the first new music from the group since the release of the 2021 EP "Always Almost".

This is the work of Angela Riehnhart (Lead Vocals), Luke Ray (Guitar and Vocals), Julian Daniell (Drums and Vocals), and Aidan Epstein (Bass).

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Modern Dairy "Scream Down the Stairs"

Indie Rock quartet Modern Dairy recently released their second EP, "Scream Down the Stairs".

This is the work of Geoff Cronin, Levi O'Brien, and Pat and Bobby Sullivan.

You can catch Modern Dairy at Schubas with Midcentury Llama and The Trenchies on August 25th.

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Queen Kwong shoots out the lights on Couples Only LP

I'm just gonna say it right off the bat. The new album by Queen Kwong (aka Carré Kwong Callaway) under the title Couples Only (Sonic Ritual) is an instantly worthy entry into the pantheon of classic "divorce albums" seeing as how it takes elements from past divorce classics like the bittersweet melodicism of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the sexy psychotherapy of Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, the heartbroken lyricism of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, and the harmony-laden fatalism of Richard and Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out The Lights and remakes them in Queen Kwong's own image.


Because Couples Only doesn't sound like any of those albums but it does take some of their broad contours and rearrange them into a modern sonic architecture like on the opening track “I Know Who You Are" which is a glitchy, twitchy, glam-damaged ride into the emotional heart of darkness that beats to a clattering, martial rhythm and a pulsating two-note bass groove overlaid with waves of fuzzed-out guitar and squealing feedback and withering dissses.

The next track “EMDR ATM” opens with hovering horror movie strings laying a tense foundation for layer after layer of sonic embellishment that builds to a crashing wave apex matched by lyrics that go from hushed epiphany (“you nearly had me convinced / that I am to blame for this shit”) to caustic taunt (“play your violin / say I’m a mean bitch”) to full-throated fury (“GIVE UP MY BABY AND THE HOMEWRECKER WON”) and it's kinda like watching an A24-style situation-spinning-out-of-control movie unspooling in someone's head.

But here’s the probably more relevant point of comparison when it comes to indie films and Queen Kwong's album and that’s the quasi-"method acting" process undertaken to create Couples Only, quoting here from the press release: 

"Couples Only was entirely improvised and recorded on the spot—nothing was pre-written lyrically or musically. For three weeks, Carré and longtime producer Joe Cardamone (The Icarus Line) crafted about one song a day, which would eventually be whittled down to the final 11 songs. A primal scream of freestyled lyrics that contain the anger, fury, frustration, and sadness that was dealt to her in a quick succession of events that started with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis in 2018, the dissolution of her marriage two months later that left her exiled with nothing but a suitcase and two guitars. “I was homeless for nearly a year, just living on friends’ sofas, and I’m still in the process of rebuilding my life," she says, “but it’s reassuring that we can survive things that feel unsurvivable.”

So, first of all, WOW, it’s no wonder this album is so full of rage and remorse and gallows humor but don't worry Carré seems to be doing quite well now and speaking of gallows humor, the next track is a Leonard Cohen-esque number called “Sad Man” that takes satirical aim at the kind of aging hipster who may be prone to lamenting “I’m too old for this shit / paying rent by selling guitars / and DJing shitty bars” with no bigger ambition than being "another sad man in a sad band.” (blog reader, know thyself!)

The next number, "Death in Reverse," is dare I say the most sultry track on the album, in the vein of early Porthishead perhaps, that fills in some of the backstory of the still in-love lovers ("nothing was planned , nothing rehearsed / with the lights off it was death in reverse") while copping to some co-dependency ("we were floating / I felt complete / your chemical imbalance / balancing me")...

...and from there, dear reader, I’ll leave the rest up to you to explore but not before mentioned a couple interesting twists-and-turns like the Twin Peaks Season Four featured (one hopes!) “On The Run” and the major-key dream-pop closer “Without You, Whatever” and not before filling you in on the album's musical personnel with Queen Kwong "assembling a notable cadre of contributing musician friends including the Cure’s Roger O’Donnell, Swans’ Kristof Hahn (lap steel), and Blood Red Shoes’ Laura-Mary Carter (backing vocals) who appear on assorted tracks, Carré worked closely with friends and allies, including Joe Cardamone of The Icarus Line, and Tchad Blake (Arctic Monkeys, Elvis Costello, Fiona Apple), who mixed the record." (Jason Lee)


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