AUDIO: Preoccupations’ “Degraded”

Not even ten seconds into this and I’m already looking forward to hearing the debut album from Preoccupations, whjch has a nice aggressive pop rock vibe while showing hits from the alterna- 80’s and 90’s as if its strength has continued or never ended. This is called “Degraded”. Preoccupations’ self-titled album will be released on September 16th through Jagjaguwar Records and can be pre-ordered below via

REVIEW: The Blessed Isles’ “Straining Hard Against The Strength Of Night”

 photo BlessedIsles_coverSML_zpsgys3cwow.jpg If you still enjoy getting lost in the dreamy soundscapes created by Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD), you will find the dreams of The Blessed Isles to be your reality. “Straining Hard Against The Strength Of Night (Saint Marie) is a title consisting of nine syllables, which is two more than the pop music norm but these guys do not want to be anyone’s norm. No sir or madam, they simply make enchanting pop music that is engaging and easily addictive if you allow it to be, from the gentle guitar work of Aaron Closson and Nolan Thies to the keyboards they play together to create something that has a nice and unifided vibe that lets you know there are in this for the long haul. While I could hear a song like “Confession” be remixed for a new musical territory, I enjoy hearing it and other tracks on the album as is. This is a durable one.

REVIEW: Jeff Runnings’ “Primitives And Smalls”

Jeff Runnings photo JeffRunnings_cover_zpsish8yu2u.jpg You may remember him from his time with the group For Aganst but Jeff Runnings is now going at it solo with his debut album, Primitives And Smalls (Saint Marie). Fans of his dreamy side of music will immediately love what he does on the opening track, “Maze” and that is a bit of code to let you know where he’s headed, an unpredictable journey that will still make you feel like you’re at home. Imagine of Scritti Politti was less about soul and groove and more about rock and new wave tendencies and you’ll get a slight hint of what Runnings is trying. His songwriting is as strong as it has always been and one can make this the continuation of his musical and life journey. Job well done.

REVIEW: “Typical Girls” compilation album

 photo TypicalGirls_cover_zpsd7mjyask.jpg Typical Girls is an excellent compilation album from Emotional Rescue that gathers 16 different punk bands from a female perspective but don’t allow that to be the only reason you’ll want to hear this. The entire album is full of incredible independent spirit by groups from around the world who aren’t afraid to go crazy, from the feedback-drenched insanity of Nots’ “Reactor” to the gutsy jingle-jangle rock of Daskinsey4’s “Optic Nervous System”. It reminds me of the kind of post-modern compilations I remember as a kid, taking a chance and discovering new bands doing new songs and discovering most of it is damn good. I say “most of it” because if there was something you weren’t too fond on, you kept on listening any way until you catch yourself singing the chorus as if it was your favorite song all along. That is Typical Girls, all playing atypical music because it matters to them and they love it. The goal is that you’ll love this too.

REVIEW: Cantina’s “A Sea Of Keys”

 photo Cantina_cover_zpstxggzqu3.jpg Indie pop can go anywhere and everywhere but the main thing about is to allow the artist to take you where they want you to be. In this case, Cantina want to show our adventurous they are with their songs and musicianship and while it sounds like nothing else you’re listening to today, you want to be there and stay. That is the case with A Sea Of Keys (We Know Better) where the five-piece combo will bring in keyboards, bankos, ‘ukulele, drums and things that could be found in a closet or garage and just make awesome pop songs for now people. I like it when someone opens up their world and allows everyone to sit and enjoy what’s going on, and that is what John D. has done, making some songs sound like it was straight out of Athens, GA or perhaps somewhere deep in North Carolina. Some songs are barel even two minutes in length but what they do is have you become familiar with their surroundings and when it’s time to leave, they’ll let you know and you’re on towards another adventure. Cantina are all about sonic adventures but in a minimalistic sense, acoustic pop where the only electricity is the chemistry between them, and it’s a good chemistry heard here.

(A Sea Of Keys will be released on July 22nd.)

SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity to remaster Rage Against The Machine debut

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The debut album from Rage Against The Machine is still a favorite among alternative music fans and remains discussed long after the 90’s were over. Now, the album has been remastered by Audio Fidelity and it will be released as a hybrid SACD.

This new remaster is being done by the one and only Steve Hoffman, so you know it has to be good. If you have an SACD player, you’ll be able to hear it in that matter and for everyone else, you’ll be able to play it in standard stereo originally produced by the band along with Garth Richardson (who some of you may also known as G-G-Garth Richardson). The SACD will be out on June 24th and is available to pre-order below through

VIDEO: Happyness’ “SB’s Truck”

This may look like nothing more than wallpaper to hear just the audio of Happyness’ “SB’s Truck” but it’s the actual video for it.

If you are in the UK, be sure to check them out as they are on tour:

May 21… London, England (Electric Ballroom)
May 22… Southampton, England (Engine Rooms)
May 23… Nottingham, England (Rescue Rooms)
May 24… Newcastle, England (University Of Northumbria)
May 26… Glasgow, Scotland (The Art School)
May 27… Belfast, Northern Ireland (Limelight 2)
May 28… Dublin, Ireland (The Academy)

SOME STUFFS: Official Melvins documentary film on its way

When the filmmakers behind The Colossus Of Destiny: A Melvins Tale were looking for anything for people to contribute in the making of their Melvins documentary, I passed along some letters Buzz Osborne sent to me when I was a high school radio disc jockey between 1986-1987. I mentioned how I had bought a 7″ single from Green River and getting the record and a letter from one Mark Arm. Arm was nice enough to include a free record as a way to say thanks and for me to check out. It was Melvins’ first record, a 6-song 7″ EP released by C/Z Records. I ended up liking Melvins far more than I liked Green River at the time. A year later, Melvins released their debut album called Gluey Porch Treatments and Buzz was nice enough to say thank you for the airplay I was giving it. I was only 16 or 17 at the time. Not as a souvenir but I simply kept the letters as I always thought it was cool.

A few years later, when Melvins were signed to Atlantic Records, I asked for a chance to interview them and I did a phone interview with Buzz. At the end of the interview he goes “where are you from now?” and I told him. He then goes “wait a minute? John? You’re the guy from that radio station who played us in high school, right? How have you been?” Back then, I had my own fanzine and was doing a one-off Melvins issue called I Love You Melvins: rah, Rah, RAH and to make a long story short, 30 years this fall, I will be a Melvins fan for 30 years despite the fact I’ve never seen them live, other than on video tape and what I’ve seen/downloaded from YouTube.

What do my last two paragraphs have anything to do with this documentary? Well, I had thought I could be a micro-contributor with one of my letters but I don’t think any of my notes were used but nonetheless, I will watch The Colossus Of Destiny: A Melvins Tale, which was directed by Bob Hannam. They are currently looking for places to screen the film, be it film festivals or “other” so if you’re someone who is able to present this, please head to for more information. When it gets near you, please watch it and remember: we can go to church and you’re naked.

VIDEO: Annabel Jones’ “IOU”

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Annabel Jones is signed to Crooked Paintings via Atlantic Records and she will be bringing you a style of pop you may not have heard in a long time. It’s a chance to hear something that has a lot of power and strength without being boastful. Have a look at “IOU” and find out the truth in what I said. More truth needed? You’ll hear more when she releases an EP called Libelle but until then, if you’re into the song, you can purchase the MP3 below from by clicking the cover.