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Alt Rock

Oceanator says "Don't Worry, Maybe" on LP number two, Nothing's Ever Fine

Photo by Alex Joseph

The artist known as Oceanator lives up to her moniker on Nothing’s Ever Fine (Polyvinyl Record Co.), the Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist’s second full-length release—co-produced with her brother/longtime bandmate Mike Okusami as well as Bartees Strange—an album that rolls in on a gentle tide of arpeggiated guitar and loping drums before a crashing wave of power chords and glistening melody disrupts the dewy vibe of the opening track “Morning,” a tidal dynamic that’s also at play on the album’s final track “Evening” which depicts the “sky fad[ing] from black to red” in a waltz-time arrangement utilizing acoustic guitar, Mellotron, a choir of cicadas, and a final burst of sonic fireworks akin to that great yellow-red orb of ours putting on a fiery light show just before it slips under the oceanic horizon.

In other words, this is an album that captures both the ocean’s shimmering translucent beauty (see: the outro to “Summer Rain”) and its sheer, unforgiving raw power (see: “Post Meridian”/“Stuck”) and you’d best keep an eye out for its dark emotional undertow too (e.g., “Bad Brain Daze”) which can suck you under at a moment’s notice.

And just in case you think I’m blowing smoke up your funnel (who me?!) the high tide/low tide oceanic theme is made explicit in more than a few of the record’s lyrics which contrast, for instance, the American Pastorale of driving out to the beach with a “cherry coke and crumpled bag of french fries lying on the passenger seat” with the more fatalistic admission that “by the ocean is where I wanna be / when this all comes to an end / crack a cold one and watch the tsunamis come / surrounded by my friends” sung over a buoyant power-pop arrangement. 

This arresting mix of escapism and fatalism fits neatly within Elise Okusami aka Oceanator’s self-professed love of science fiction writing, in particular as authored by Black female writers, a literary genre known for exploring the extremes of utopian/dystopian thinking—consider for instance Octavia Butler’s deft interweaving of humanism and hope with her prescient depiction of this century’s convergence of climate crisis and reactionary politics in her two Parable novels written in the ‘90s—and it’s not hard to see why various protagonists on Nothing’s Ever Fine express the desire to “strike out on our own / trying to find a new home” allowing that “all I wish, all I want / is to be on another planet with you.” (Jason Lee)

Oceanator kicks off a 22-date national tour in Phoenix on May 20th, and plays seven dates across the UK in late August and early September.


TAFOYA "Shadows"

TAFOYA has released the lead single "Shadows" from their forthcoming debut EP "Freedom" which is due out on June 17th.

This is the Rock trio fronted by guitarist Mike Tafoya who is joined by Craig Cederholm (Percussion-Vox) and Leslidiana F. Biocic (Bass-Vox).


Alt Rock

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Night Sins show us how to "Kill Like I Do'"

As befitting their moniker, Night Sins make music that could easily and equally serve as the perfect soundtrack to a very good night out or a very bad night out depending on how and when the drugs kick in and by “drugs” I mean “hugs” of course (stay off the drugs, fool!) and if you’re a sucker like I am for highly-emotive-yet-emotionally-distant death disco that makes you wanna dance into the abyss and to never, never ever come back down again (as Jarvis Cocker once opined “at four o'clock [in the morning] the normal world seems very, very, very far away”) then you should take a listen to their new single “Kill Like I Do” (Born Losers), a euphoric eulogy that puts across this vibe to the extreme.

Night Sins is a project helmed by Kyle Kimball and “Kill Like I Do” is the second advance single off their upcoming fifth album Violet Age due out this summer, a single that proves you can teach an old goth band new tricks with Kimball honing his “Sisters Of Xymox meets Clan Of Mercy as fronted by Dave ‘Marty Gore’ Gahan” aesthetic and pushing it into new territory while still hitting all the sweet spots—like the driving gated-reverb drumbeat and menacing synth-bass hook, the serpentine guitar line that doesn’t skimp on the shuddering flange or the dirty distortion, and the infectious little sing-songy toy keyboard melody similar to those featured in an least half of the Cure’s song intros and some New Order ones too.

And all this before the vocals even kick in (come inside and burn this all down / spread my ashes on the ground) vocals alternating between a creepily seductive stage whisper (a crucial vocal technique for any self-respecting dark wave singer!) and a double-tracked Peter Murphy-esque baritone that sounds like Bela Lugosi’s not feeling at all well. And you may ask yourself, "Where did such a potent doomy-yet-danceable fatalism originate from?” Well, according to Night Sins' official bio, the project emerged “around 2010 under the oppressive skies of Philadelphia…fitly connected to a city engrossed in shadow-soaked vices and dilapidated architecture” which makes me think “hmm is Philly actually the North American version of Manchester?” and I’m willing to believe it. So look out for Grand Theft Auto VI: The City of Brotherly Vehicular Manslaughter coming soon.

And when it comes to “shadow-soaked vices” Mr. Kimball has described “Kill Like I Do” as being a “metaphor for having zero self control…about not being able to stop until you've hit the floor” and hey I don’t wanna make too many assumptions here but it's my guess that in his other life pounding the skins for the Philly-based shoegaze mainstay Nothing for over a decade must have taught Kyle a thing or two about this type of subject matter. Just take a gander at Nothing’s Wikipedia page or Spotify bio etc. after which you’ll likely come away saying “here is a band that has seen, and somehow survived, some seriously f*cked up dark times” which fortunately-for-us-all Nothing's frontman Domenic "Nicky" is expert at trans-mutating into eviscerating, ethereal art…

…which Night Sins does too, but in their own form and fashion, shining an icy cold cold-wavey neon light into the darkness that, far from obliterating the gathering gloom, instead makes it sound newly romantic. (Jason Lee)


Young Swan "Who's That?"

Young Swan recently released a new single called "Who's That?". This is the duo of Edmund Sinnott and Daniel Laumbacher and the single is their third of 2022.

Despite comparing themselves to Justin Bieber and Nickleback the duo is well worth a listen. They do lean towards the more polished and poppy side of Rock, but have an undeniable ability to craft something catchy.


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