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Alt Rock





Alt Rock

Time: 
20:15
Band name: 
TV Moms
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/tvmomsband
Venue name: 
Our Wicked Lady
Band email: 
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New song & music video premiere: Pan Arcadia "You Are Who You Remain"

Pan Arcadia are a band with a very dog-like energy which is something that I appreciate because it seems like rock bands have become more and more cat-like over the years—aloof and elusive, venal and preening, prepared to scratch your eyes out at a moments notice, which to be sure are all admirable qualities in a rock band. But for the six gentlemen of Pan Arcadia (Brian on drums, Henry on bass, Dylan and Gabriel on guitars, Jimmy on trumpet, and Eamon on the mic) there's an appealing throwback quality in their strong canine energy, an energy that’s especially evident live where they rock out in a manner that’s unassuming and ardent and impassioned, to the degree that if one of the Pan Arcadians were to jump off stage and eagerly lick your face for a full minute you probably wouldn’t even mind because it’d just make you think of Fleegle the Beagle and make you wish they were playing at an amusement park.

Tongue baths aside, with their resplendent manes there’s also the fact that many of the Pan Arcadians resemble Llasa Apsos (granted not so much as the Allman Brothers Band though) which is fitting to this writeup because did you know Llasa Apsos are believed by Tibetan Buddhists to be the breed of dog that the soul of a priest is most likely to inhabit in its final stage of reincarnation before being re-born as a human? Likewise, Pan Arcadia’s new single “You Are Who You Remain” has a mystical bent to it which you may have guessed from its title alone, a song that's about “being here now” once the external world’s bells-and-whistles are all stripped away (stripped away by, let’s say for instance, a global pandemic) a theme presented through a series of lyrical aphorisms delivered here with such swooning conviction that even a familiar phrase like “where there’s smoke there’s fire” is turned into a Zen kōan, and a theme that's further enhanced even further by the music video's "still center point of the unverise" time-lapse visuals.

According to songwriter Eamon Rush, "YAWYR” started off as a Dylan-esque acoustic guitar number (written while he was quarantined over his birthday) which makes it all the more remarkable that the studio version is the best representation of Pan Arcadia’s live sound yet—the sound of six musicians who seem to be telepathically linked...an immersive sound that’s big but not overly busy (all the better for the melodic hooks to cut through) with a kind of stately rock elegance that’s less U2 and more INXS (“Don’t Change” most especially) assuming we’re forced to make 80s-era comparisons (we are, at gunpoint) a comparision that's highly apropos for a brass-enhanced six-piece after all. 

Final thoughts: And so, for any aspiring bands out there in the same mold, it’s highly recommended you all live together in a small ramshackle house tucked behind an alley with a basement space perfect for practicing (see music video above) but which is oft-times lacking in cold water (yup you heard me right cold water!) thus necessitating 30-second-long scalding showers, in order to develop the strong sense of rapport and cohesion necessary for writing and performing songs like “You Are Who You Remain.” (Jason Lee)





Liz Cooper brings the hot sass on new live EP

On 2021’s Hot Sass, Brooklyn-via-Nashville-via-Baltimore-singer-songwriter-axe-wielder Liz Cooper conjures up a unique fusion/contusion of tight-as-a-tick's-ass-Music-City-worthy songcraft (e.g.,”Shoot the Moon”) crossed with a Brooklyn-worthy tendency to drive finely honed songcraft straight over the edge of a cliff (or better yet off the side of the Williamsburg Bridge, that is, if it wasn’t all caged in) in the process exploding/imploding traditional song structures with excursions into (for instance) nearly eight-minute epic Krautrock-style locked grooves infused with acid-fried-psych and a cappella inserts as on “Lucky Charm” or (for another instance) sexy glam rock stomp outfitted with fits of pummeling hardcore feral-freakout riffage alongside fragments of floaty musique concrète soundscapery as on the eponymous “Hot Sass” (a song which totally captures what it feel like to have a freakout episode in a Kroger parking lot and I grew up in Dallas so I oughta know).

The end product of all this musical assembly/disassembly was a compellingly schizoid album that felt highly apropos to last year and still feels it today—equal parts dreamy pop reverie and jittery anxiety dream—so that perhaps it makes sense Ms. Cooper made the move to Crooklyn when she did because some of the tracks on Hot Sass may be just a little bit too sassy for Nashville these days and it’s not a city that’s generally short on sass either even if there’s a growing sass supply shortage (RIP Katy K’s).

And now to our main attraction: the five-song live set posted yesterday on Audiotree Live (Chitown in the house!) by Liz Cooper and her current band—and lemme tell ya she’s assembled a crack band to help realize her post-Liz-Cooper-And-The-Stampede musical vision (the Stampede was also a crack band to be sure, tho’ one I hasten to add a band that was never known to take crack, a drug that doesn’t lend itself to mellifluous steel guitar infused alt-country).

Take set opener “Je T’aime” for instance (see the top of this page) which features a flinty/flirty shaker-assisted groove that brings to mind some of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra’s classic mid-to-late ‘60s sides (not to mention how Liz can shift her voice from coyly supine, to aggressively vulpine, on a dime, and back again, not unlike Frank’s favorite daughter) a parallel that’s further enhanced by the song’s pregnant pauses and these-boots-are-gonna-walk-all-over-you lyrical message if less so by its space-alien-summoning keyboard solo and final serrated guitar chord.

So check out the full live set in the video at the top of this page and/or in audio form at the streaming platform of your choice and don’t worry I won’t spoil the other four songs for ya cuz I ain’t sassy like that. (Jason Lee)





Bummer Camp learn(s) to "Laugh All Day"

A lot of times when I'm writing these reviews or rants or whatever they are exactly it's sometimes difficult to decide if a band’s name should be followed by a singular or a plural verb. Like most people would say “The Doors were on tour in Miami when Jim Morrison was arrested for indecent exposure” because to say “The Doors was on tour when Jimbo etc etc penis etc etc” just sounds weird. But to say “Duran Duran is a band known for their sometimes risqué music videos” versus "are a band known for..." isn’t so weird at all even though there’s at least two “Durans” in the group. It’s all darn confusing sometimes.

What’s also darn confusing sometimes, and just about as common these days, is the question of whether a “band” who’s really just a single dude or dudette or charcoal briquette (whatever!) should be treated as a singular entity or a collective identity. And to complicate/simplify matters further it’s not unusual for individuals to refer to themselves as “they” these days. So hey, why not use the plural form of verbs for these individuals-cum-bands like for instance: “St. Vincent are known for being romantically linked to Kristen Stewart” which isn't bad actually because this makes it so much easier to have sex with entire bands at once and to describe such encounters in grammatically precise terms. 

Anyway what I’m really driving at here is that Bummer Camp is/are one of those “one-man bands” that gives verb-tense fixated music blog editors headaches (and don't even get me started on one-woman bands!) but for the rest of humanity Bummer Camp is/are simply purveyors of good head music, that is, if you’re chill enough for it because Mr. Bummer has a way with entrancing songs built around looping repetitions and layer-by-layer wall-of-sound constructions like a DIY musical paper mâché project made up of Rick Rubinesque Def Jam-era drum loops, bedrock bass riffs, and circling, swirling layers of guitar (plus the occasional synth natch) pasting scraps of melody-upon-melody and texture-upon-texture but while never losing the minimalist feel of each basic building block either. And by any given song's end you may feel like you huffed a little too much Elmer's glue

Bummer Camp's latest single “Laugh All Day”—his/their third single in the preceding five months—provides a good case-in-point for the points above. The song also fits his/their social-media self description to a tee, i.e., “gothy folk pop from Queens” and lyrically it's either “about my life, my friends, my family, my job, [or] my car and the inadequacy it feels because it only has one headlight" because that's what Bummer Camp songs are about.

"Laugh All Day" opens with a chugging chord progression that would do Paul Westerberg proud with its restrained “aging punk rocker aging gracefully” raggedy folksy vibe but accompanied by a primitive drum machine and catchy as hell to boot. Then about half a minute in there’s a lead part that enters with this distinctive mid-tempo-contemplative-melodic-goth feel to it where you just know that if Molly Ringwald were in detention she'd go up onto the library's stairwell landing and do her preppie anarchy dance, a mood that's intensified further by the swampy echo on the vocals sung with a Richard Butler-esque sunglasses-at-night insouciance. Ergo, gothy folk pop from Queens. 

“Laugh All Day” bops along contentedly but it also keeps slipping in these subtly spectral moments too—like how the guitar line mimics the vocal melody at first but then starts to detach until it spins off into its own curlicue melodic figures finally reaching escape velocity about halfway through the song, and then dissolving into a shimmering halo of sound, and then a plucky palm-muted surf’s up section, and then a rhythmic drop and a cascading guitar line soaring over the top, and then a wordless vocal croon soaring over the top of the soaring guitar line, with the end effect something like a chorus of cicadas on a still summer night. 

So with these recent single releases who knows if Bummer Camp is building up to full EP or an LP or a fold-out-gatefold-triple-album concept record that'll come with a full set of van decal stickers illustrated by Roger Dean. But wherever it all ends up I'd say it’s a safe to say this one-man band will keep us oscillating wildly (or oscillating mellowly) until we reach the end of the ride. (Jason Lee)





Alt Rock

Time: 
21:00
Band name: 
The Backfires
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/thebackfires
Venue name: 
Mercury Lounge
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