Top8 - 06/10/2024

June 09, 2024 - 02:19 PM

It's a week into June, more than halfway through the year, nothing ever worked out, and we are that much closer to death. At least there is new music. Send all encouragement only to I don't want to hear it.

I am extremely excited about the new Mediogres album. I was lucky enough to catch their show at The Shop this past week. They performed the whole new album and sounded fantastic doing so. Also caught the debut of the film companion of the album at The Snack Institute, which was also really entertaining and funny.

Mediogres - River Day

With "How Long Do We Have To Stick Around This Hen House?" Mediogres have released one of the best albums I've heard this year. I promise you'll like the whole thing. If you guys know me, you know I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it, even though the band are my friends. It's solid all the way though, no skips. The band is also really good at singles, and "River Day" is the song of the summer for me. Everyone needs a hell-with-this-ima-go-jump-in-some-water song. You will be singing along by the time the chorus comes back around.


Sqürl - Castle of Dice

Sqürl is the music project of Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan. If you know about the band, it's probably because you like Jarmusch's movies and you've seen that they did the soundtrack. I've been a fan of Jarmusch's movies for a while. When Jarmusch's excellent "Only Lovers Left Alive" came out, it was accompanied by an equally excellent Sqürl soundtrack. This is what really put them on my radar. A while after that, I caught Sqürl performing a live soundtrack to the Man Ray films. A version of that has now made its way into a studio album. Man Ray's films were extremely avant garde and experimental projects created when cinema was in its infancy. Silent films usually had a live musical performance as the soundtrack, and so it makes sense that when they are shown today, they still do. Castle of Dice is typical of the rest of the soundtrack. The music is a soundscape well suited for use as a film score. There are sweeping swells of noise as the guitars feedback and reverb. Sqürl is great at creating a vibe for seeing an accompanying piece of art. Put this on and do something creative.

Matt Hecker - Swannanoa Tunnel

I first got turned on to Matt Hecker because of his stunning version of "No Ash Will Burn" for the Youtube channel GemsOnVHS. If you're not tuned into GemsOnVHS, you're missing out. Hecker is a North Carolina Appalachian folk musician. "Swannanoa Tunnel" is a typically riveting performance with Hecker sounding like he's about to bow his way completely through his fiddle and his fine mountain voice cracking and searching for a meaning only found in music. Don't miss his regular studio recordings. 


Long Lost Somethins - Phantom Pain

I've decided I am not going to get into why Huntington's The Long Lost Somethins' new EP "Farm" is heartbreaking and bittersweet. If you know, you know. If you don't, find out somewhere else. I will say that this was a particularly beautiful band fronted by someone who should still be here. The world is a cold, ugly place, but we have each other and a few perfect moments if you're lucky enough to catch them. And we have songs like "Phantom Pain" which, for me, is one of those perfect moments.


Dalchord - Be Alright

When I think of Dalchord, I may always think of walking into The Roq in Charleston and feeling like I was entering a film. The band was performing as a duo that night, and their harmonies were, as the saying goes, high and lonesome. Something I love about their new single, "Be Alright" is that at first you have no idea what kind of music this is. An insanely catching and gorgeous guitar lick kicks things off. This could be "Electric Counterpoint" by Steve Reich, or a Midwest emo / math rock band. But the moment you catch the bassline, you know you're dealing with something with roots in trad americana or bluegrass. There's a space in Dalchord's music that leaves room for you and your heart. They sing, "I'm gonna be alright," and maybe it's true.

Taleen Kali - Ava Adore (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)

Let's start by saying that I hated Adore when it came out. In my youth, I was a LOT more conservative about music. I usually felt put off by anything too synthy. While I eventually learned to love this album, and by extension, synths in general, it's fair to say that if The Pumpkins' version of Ava Adore had sounded like Taleen Kali's, I'd probably have liked it from the jump. Kali leans into the darkwave elements of synthesizers, but it also feels more guitar-centric. The result is a slinky but dense cover that evokes the original without really quoting it verbatim.

CalicoLoco - Can You Drive Me Home?

"Can You Drive Me Home?" is more solidly dreampop than some of CalicoLoco's other work which often leans more in the direction of jangle. Still, it feels like comfortable territory for the Chicago band. This has the big, crushing guitar sound that I always respond to. This will pair well on a playlist with bands like Ringo Deathstarr or Summit Point.

Split Dogs - And What?

These guys sure like their swearwords. And good on them for it. This is firmly in the vein of Amyl and the Sniffers, but adds a little more filth and is a bit more tongue in cheek. Nonetheless, "And What?" goes hard and is exactly what I'd like to hear on the car stereo when I drunkenly pile into a friend's car on my way to a bad idea at 2 am.

And this week's extra innings, just a few other things I have been into. 

Toner - God's Hammer 

Major Holley - Red Dressed Baby

YYYs - Art Star

Hello Mary - Sink In

And a playlist of everything.

Thanks for reading and listening.