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Laura Jane Grace

Hole In My Head

    Following the release of her debut album, Stay Alive (2020) and the At War With The Silverfish EP (2021), Emmy-nominated artist, author, musician, activist and Against Me! founder/songwriter, Laura Jane Grace, returns with Hole In My Head - her beautiful new album featuring eleven tracks that showcase her undeniable power as a songwriter & storyteller. The album features her most personal and emotionally gripping songs of her career - stripped down masterpieces like Dysphoria Hoodie paired with blistering distorted anthems like Hole In My Head and Birds Talk Too, tracks that demand the listener’s attention with an immediacy and urgency unlike anything Grace has written before.

    Recorded at Native Sound in St. Louis, Missouri by David Beeman and mastered by Matt Allison (Lawrence Arms, Rise Against), the album is a sonic curio cabinet containing multitudes. Featuring warm 50s-rock-influenced guitar riffs and rock style melody a la Jonathan Richman and Eddie Cochran, saved-for-later lyrics, love letters to St. Louis, dysphoria apparel, and thoughtful reflections on a punk life lived, Grace's forward vocals are backed predominately by her performances on guitar and drums but are bolstered by Drive By Trucker's bassist Matt Patton.

    The record's title track Hole in My Head takes off with a driving guitar-heavy approach that will be welcome to long-time fans of Against Me! electric machinations, while first single Dysphoria Hoodie has been a staple in Grace’s setlist, and one which is as personal as it is pertinent in today’s climate.

    Choice cuts I’m Not A Cop and Punk Rock In Basements are written through a post-pandemic rose-colored lens, the latter looking back on the formative underground spaces of Grace’s youth. Basement shows for decades were hallmark experiences for anyone involved in their local punk scenes, shaping movements, connections, and culture through the forced, sweaty proximity necessary to pour over raucous punk music.

    Hole in My Head is a record which captures the nuances of humanity and experience in a strangely optimistic manner. The lightness of its influence and the journalistic recollection of experience set against a battered and warm folk-punk delivery from beginning to end makes Hole in My Head a fun comfort. It is a welcome embrace of life and just the start of a new chapter in Laura Jane Grace’s raucous journey.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Laura Jane Grace's journey has been a storied one, starting her career in one of the most beloved new wave punk rock bands in the late 90's, and ending up as a prolific and gifted composer, multimedia artist and writer. 'Hole In My Head' is once again a brilliantly balanced, fiery and dynamic solo outing from Grace.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    1. Hole In My Head
    2. I'm Not A Cop
    3. Dysphoria Hoodie
    4. Birds Talk Too
    5. Punk Rock In Basements
    Side B
    1. Cuffing Season
    2. Tacos & Toast
    3. Mercenary
    4. Keep Your Wheels Straight
    5. Hard Feelings
    6. Give Up The Ghost

    We Were Promised Jetpacks

    The More I Sleep The Less I Dream

      The More I Sleep The Less I Dream marks a new chapter in We Were Promised Jetpacks’ career. It’s about going back to the heart of who they are, a high school band that never stopped. It’s about four people who have grown up together, making a conscious choice to keep writing music and seeing where that takes them. Sometimes you have to go back to basics in order to find yourself again. But once you have, then what? It’s one thing to say you want to take a step forward, it’s a much more daunting prospect actually doing so. The More I Sleep The Less I Dream contains the essence of what the band have grown into, both as artists and as people. They’ve taken their experiences, both from their ten years as a touring band and from the changes in their personal lives, and forged them into an album that represents a new phase for the band.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Swooning shoegazey melodies, throbbing bass guitar and those unmistakeable vox, We Were Promised Jetpacks provide a thrilling and multi-faceted listen, dynamic and exciting but eminently listenable. Brilliant stuff.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Impossible
      2. In Light
      3. Someone Else's Problem
      4. Make It Easier
      5. Hanging In
      6. Improbable
      7. When I Know More
      8. Not Wanted
      9. Repeating Patterns
      10. The More I Sleep, The Less I Dream

      We Were Promised Jetpacks

      A Complete One-Eighty

        We wrote and recorded Enjoy The View in the first 8 months of the pandemic, initially working separately before joining up in the studio to finish the album. We always felt like this album was a chance for us to try some things out and approach writing music together differently than we had done before. After getting back out on the road again we thought it may be fun to revisit some of those songs and take another new approach. So after our mammoth six-week tour of North America finished in April 2022 we decided to have another crack at some of these songs and see where else we could take them. Our idea for this EP was to go into the studio and just see where we went from there… I think making music is just making hundreds of tiny decisions that ultimately give the final feeling and sound of a song. We have absolutely loved playing music and spending more time with Andy Monaghan and jumped at the chance to head into the studio with him and make some different decisions! We also thought it would be great to see where other people could take some of those songs and are so delighted that we’re lucky enough to have Andy, Manchester Orchestra and Zoe Graham put their own spin them and make them something that we could never have done.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. If It Happens (Manchester Orchestra Remix)
        2. Fat Chance (EP Version)
        3. Nothing Ever Changes (Andy Monaghan Remix)
        4. If It Happens (EP Version)
        5. Fat Chance (Zoe Graham Remix)
        6. All That Glittered (EP Version)

        We Were Promised Jetpacks

        Enjoy The View

          Since releasing 2018’s ‘The More I Sleep The Less I Dream’, We Were Promised Jetpacks’ Adam Thompson, Sean Smith and Darren Lackie have embraced change head-on. Amicably parting ways with guitarist Michael Palmer marked a transitory moment in the band’s acclaimed career, one that would be cemented by events to come. Entering 2020 as a trio with a handful of songs written and a small tour under their belts, the world around them came to a sudden halt. Yet despite the unquestionable hardship that the lockdown brought with it, for a band looking to rebuild following a dramatic change, it also proved to be a blessing in disguise. “I guess it ended up being a lot more collaborative between the three of us,” Sean notes of their fifth studio record, ‘Enjoy The View’.

          As well as providing the space to think more broadly about their own roles in the band, isolation also allowed them to approach their collective sound in new ways. “If you’re trying to write a part when two other people are smashing their instruments it’s not the easiest thing,” Adam laughs. “Writing remotely, you could mute parts and work on things in your head. It just gave us a bit more creative freedom to try different things.” With the space to focus on the structure of the songs over what is immediately possible in a practice room, the band shifted gears. “We’ve always considered ourselves a live band more than a studio band,” Darren notes, explaining how the past twelve months have forced a change. “This was more about focussing on making a really great album rather than thinking about how we play it live.”

          Fifteen years into their career, the trio are more focussed than ever. “We are doing this for ourselves and the people who like our music and get something out of it,” Adam gleams, “I’m really excited about being able to show them the new record.” “We’re all very appreciative of the people who are still listening to us,” Darren adds, “it pushes us to keep getting better”.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Not Me Anymore
          2. Fat Chance
          3. All That Glittered
          4. Don't Hold Your Breath For Too Long
          5. What I Know Now
          6. If It Happens
          7. I Wish You Well
          8. Blood, Sweat, Tears
          9. Nothing Ever Changes
          10. Just Don't Think About It

          Funny thing about kicking: it’s one of the first and last things we do. In the womb, a fetus kicks to announce an immanent arrival. Meanwhile, laid out on a stretcher, the dying man is “still kicking” up until his final moment, when the last thing he kicks is the bucket. All through life we take our kicks: teenage kicks, modern kicks, kicks in the gut. These days, with the worldwide rise of fascists, demagogues, abusers, and hypocrites, the kick we feel most often comes while we’re down.

          From their sudden and deliberate first chord on Love Keeps Kicking, beloved British punk collective Martha announce their intent to kick back. Across 11 tracks, these daughters and sons of Pity Me, England, show that, while our world might be in spiral, there is still plenty worth fighting for. In many ways Love Keeps Kicking is a breakup record, with each song inhabiting different parts of the process. “This year blew my world apart” sings guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ellis on album opener “Heart is Healing.” With lush vocal harmonies (and one of the best riffs in Martha’s discography) “Healing” explores the uncomfortable period between love’s end, and when the heart is ready to move on.

          Elsewhere, the opening chords of “Orange Juice” (arguably the best song Martha have written to date) echo the kicking of it’s narrator’s heart, as they suddenly realize with fearful clarity that their longtime relationship is ending. “I didn’t know it then, but you were falling out of love with me / It’s a new development in the plan / a painful change in circumstance,” Nathan Stephens-Griffin sings, wringing out the imminent meaning in each word. Ending just as it begins, “Orange Juice” is Martha at their most heartbreaking, hitting a tender, bittersweet, middle ground between Paul Westerberg and the Pastels as Stephens-Griffin confesses “I don’t know what to do now.”

          But while many songs are openly about romantic breakups, most could just as easily about the pain of seeing the world swing dramatically towards the far right. As Pitchfork noted in their glowing review of 2016’s Blisters in the Pit of My Heart, Martha explore the “intersections of reality and emotionality.” For a band whose identities are political whether or not they want them to be, daily life in 2018 is often a kick in the teeth. On Love Keeps Kicking, this vulnerability becomes one of Martha’s greatest strengths. Again and again, the band lovingly gives voice (all four voices) to lives lived on the edge: institutionalized children (“Mini Was a Preteen Arsonist”), outcasts (“Wrestlemania VIII”), lovesick demonologists (“Love Keeps Kicking”), and feminist sci-fi writers (“Lucy Shone a Light On You: The Ballad of Lucy Connor Part II”). These are the people Martha celebrate, reminding them (and us) that love might not be there now, but it’s still kicking.

          Maturity in punk is often code for “boring”. Sometimes that’s true, but if Love Keeps Kicking illustrates anything, it’s the importance of growth in a stunted world—of knowing how to love what you have, and how to celebrate the loves you’ve lost. Martha have already made a case for themselves as this generation’s Buzzcocks (if not this generation’s Clash), and with Love Keeps Kicking fans will likely find themselves discovering even more about the band to love. Because even if the world’s going to shit, love keeps kicking.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Channelling the spirit of late 90's skate/pop-punk Matt and I have been rinsing a bit of late, Martha have a singular talent of bringing the chord sequences and progressions of American frontrunners firmly into British territory with a wry, anglican wit and a warmingly Northeastern accent. Snappy drums and soaring, fuzzy thrashed guitars condensed into three-minute bursts of energy and optimistic glee.

          TRACK LISTING

          SIDE A
          1. Heart Is Healing
          2. Sight For Sore Eyes
          3. Into This
          4. Wrestlemania VIII
          5. Mini Was A Preteen Arsonist
          6. Love Keeps Kicking

          SIDE B
          1. Brutalism By The River (Arrhythmia)
          2. Orange Juice
          3. The Void
          4. Lucy Shone A Light On You
          5. The Only Letter That You Kept

          There aren’t many stories like the American Football story. They formed in the late ’90s as one of the many bands of frontman Mike Kinsella (who had already drummed in Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc beforehand, and who started his Owen solo project shortly afterwards, among other things), released one EP in 1998, one album in 1999, and broke up the following year before ever really making much of a widespread impact. Owen became Mike Kinsella’s most prolific and longest-running project, but American Football’s debut album became his most legendary over time, gradually gaining a cult following that got so big it caused the band to reunite in 2014 and play their biggest shows ever.

          American Football (LP3) is the third album from scene giants acclaimed American Football (LP2), and features an array of guest turns from such collaborators as Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk). 

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Silhouettes
          2. Every Wave To Ever Rise (feat. Elizabeth Powell)
          3. Uncomfortably Numb (feat. Hayley Williams)
          4. Heir Apparent
          5. Doom In Full Bloom
          6. I Can't Feel You (feat. Rachel Goswell)
          7. Mine To Miss
          8. Life Support

          Quiet Slang (Beach Slang)

          Everything Matters But No One Is Listening

            Since Beach Slang came into being, bandleader James Alex has taken to performing his group's heartfelt anthems as more intimate solo renditions. Appropriately dubbed "Quiet Slang," these alternate reality versions of Beach Slang's music have now simultaneously been stripped down and fleshed out in the studio to include piano and cello. Following on from the recent We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags EP, Quiet Slang now bring you a full album of such songs - 'Everything Matters But No One Is Listening' .




            TRACK LISTING

            1. Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas 
            2. Noisy Heaven [
            3. Future Mixtape For The Art Kids
            4. Filthy Luck 
            5. Dirty Cigarettes 
            6. Too Late To Die Young 
            7. Spin The Dial 
            8. Young Hearts
            9. Throwaways 
            10. Warpaint

            Beach Slang's second full-length is a crash-and-thunder collection of songs about what it takes to keep yourself going, to make it through the rest of the night—hell, through the rest of your youth—and beyond. Frontman James Alex wrote much of A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings on their first album’s support tour, during which he spent a lot of time with the kids who’d picked up the record.

            “A lot of the songs [on Loud Bash] are the stories of the kids who got turned on to Beach Slang by the first album,” says Alex. “They’re autobiographical, too, but kind of at a remove—I’m not that young kid anymore, but I used to be. You know how it is; rock and roll is a new crop of 15-year-olds picking up guitars every year and having at it. There was something really cool about documenting someone elses life, but seeing myself in it. I suppose that’s why we connect. We’re all kind of one big gang.”

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Future Mixtape For The Art Kids
            2. Atom Bomb
            3. Spin The Dial
            4. Art Damage
            5. Hot Tramps
            6. Punks In A Disco Bar
            7. Wasted Daze Of Youth
            8. Young Hearts
            9. The Perfect High
            10. Warpaint

            Dudley Corporation / Querelle

            Split

              The Dudley Corporation, were summed up nicely in the much respected record collector magazine: "The Dudley Corporation purvey toe-tapping melodies, great vocal harmonies and crystal-clear guitar behind a voice so gravelly that it makes Leonard Cohen sound like Julio Iglesias". Querelle have been described as a cross between the Lapse, Blonde Redhead and Unwound, and have picked up a reputation for amazing live performances with words such as "beautiful", "powerful" and "blown away" often being uttered in their direction.


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