New Music Monday – 4/24/17

This week’s New Music Monday features new work from:

*The Weeks
*R. Ring
*Kendrick Lamar
*Ghost Bath
*Hot Rod Circuit
*Porno Arcade

The Weeks
Jackson, Mississippi (now based in Nashville)

It’s been about 3 years since The Weeks’ last full-length record, and I hope this talented foursome of childhood friends doesn’t keep us waiting that long for the next record. The band’s live shows are wildly energetic, but there’s a certain restraint in the studio versions of catchy new songs like “Bottle Rocket” and “Hands on the Radio”. That restraint is especially effective in the final song “Don’t Be Sad”, which showcases Cyle Barnes’ fine songwriting and vocal phrasing, as well as The Weeks’ brilliant sense of pacing. – bill

R. Ring
Dayton, OH
“100 Dollar Heat” from Ignite the Rest, out now on SofaBurn Records

Kelley Deal of the Breeders and Mike Montgomery of Ampline have been making music as the duo R. Ring since 2010. A trickle of singles have come out over the past 7 years…. off kilter, kinda hazy, lo-fi indie rock of the sort Kelley Deal is known for. The singles were collected, some new material recorded, and Ignite the Rest was born. If you like The Amps, later Breeders records or the Kelley Deal 6000, you’ll dig this, I certainly do. – tom

Portland, OR
“Falling Eyes” from or, out May 5th on Jealous Butcher

Eyelids includes members of The Decemberists, Guided By Voices, The Jicks and The Drive By Truckers, that’s some pretty serious pedigree. Polished, pretty, power pop with production by REM’s Peter Buck. Buck also stars in the video, reading a book like nobody’s business. More good stuff out of the Pacific NW. – tom

Kendrick Lamar
Compton, California

Similar to the period after each track listing, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is emphatic. Here are some other words: magnificent, painful, honest, and thick as molasses. The flow on this album is jagged, like a knife stabbing the point away through a myriad of Lamar’s thoughts. There are moments made of honey, and then an abrupt shift pushes the blade in for a unexpected course correction. In whatever way you hear it, DAMN. is a giant of an album; poignant and thick, requiring several listens to even scratch the surface. Lamar is a modern poet of the highest order. However, my vote for best lyrics ever are probably the album’s simplest: “be humble/bitch, sit down.” FEEL., HUMBLE., LOVE., and LOYALTY. are personal highlights. Achtung: LOVE., if you’re human, will give you the deep feels. — Joshua

Ghost Bath
Minot, North Dakota

I’ve recently fallen in strange love with atmospheric black metal; music in the Deafheaven, Harakiri for the Sky, Astronoid family tree. Not a lot of shock in Ghost Bath’s newest album, pretty much their same formula is at play here. (Check out 2016’s “Moonlover” too).Which is perfectly fine with me. Fast, sweeping rhythms, mellow, often dissonant breakdowns, consistent tremolo, low-end distortion, balanced by high-end solos, completed by guttural yells. Like a winter in North Dakota (of which I’ve experienced), Starmourner is dilated, dismal, stark, and gorgeous. It’s a black atmosphere, man. This band is terrible at naming things, but their artwork is pretty rad. WTF is a Ghost Bath? or Starmourner? Also, for a while there, everyone thought this band was from China. They finally corrected the record to North Dakota. I love weirdos. — Joshua

Hot Rod Circuit
Auburn, AL
“Default Setting”

Back in 2002, Hot Rod Circuit released one of the seminal albums of the indie/emo scene, Sorry About Tomorrow. It’s been 15 years since their debut album and the original lineup is now gearing up not only for a national tour, but also for their first album release since 2011. The angst the band projects has aged well as has the bands sound in general. If you’re one of the people raving about a certain band that’s recently reunited for Riot Fest (myself being included in that demographic) and you haven’t heard of Hot Rod Circuit, do yourself a major favor and check them out. ~ Petee

Franklin, TN
“Hard Times” off of the upcoming After Laughter due out on May 12th on Fueled By Ramen Records

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve always had an “on again/off again” relationship with Paramore. Their early years that were defined by tracks like “Emergency” and “Misery Business” had me hooked. Their blend of pop, rock, and a subtle touch of punk were right up my alley. After those albums though, I found myself drifting away from them, coming back every so often to relive my high school pleasures. The bands newest single though, “Hard Times”, shows that everything changes with time. The track opens with marimbas and bongos before opening up into what’s easily the band’s most pop-oriented release to date. If “Hard Times” is any indicator of what After Laughter has to offer, we can expect more of an 80’s, dancy vibe and I can’t wait for it. ~ Petee

Porno Arcade
Wise, Virginia
“No Chance” off of the upcoming G.Y.P.S.O

A throwback to pop-punk in the vein of Blink-182, Porno Arcade are a pretty straight forward band. They like to party, they like to have fun, and their music reflects that. Their latest release, “No Chance”, may be about messing up and striking out, but the video is a fun one all the same. If the band’s infectious energy and hooky guitar riffs don’t suck you in, well, I’m not sure what else you’re looking for in pop punk. ~ Petee