5 Great New Songs from Local Bands Wolvves, Rob Kroehler, Dent, and Others
Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new music in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
Wolvves — "Ivory Drive"
Around this time last year, Wolvves released its debut full-length debut album and, upon doing so, immediately disbanded. It was a shock to their fans. Lead visionary Aydin Immortal suggested in an interview that he was starting a new project called Paradox Valley and that Wolvves would be no more. The band played only a couple more shows after that and, then, nothing. Until this week that is, when out of nowhere, Wolvves dropped a new single, "Ivory Drive." It was funny because I had just been wondering what the hell happened to the Paradox Valley idea last week. "Ivory Drive" appears to be a new direction. It's not the Wolvves you remember; it's more refined and comes across a bit like a hip-hop crew using the Velvet Underground as a backup band. It might not be classic Wolvves, like you may expect, but it occurs to me that is exactly what Immortal was tired of and why he wanted to disband. That said, the new track is truly compelling, and the rap delivered over the atmospheric space rock behind it is a brain-twisting, mesmerizing combination. I am hoping that this means live performances are to follow and a new full-length album is in the works. In the meantime, I'll be keeping my ears open and listen to this track on repeat endlessly, as I am continually more fascinated with their new direction on each listen.
Rob Kroehler — "The Gadabouts"
Rob Kroehler has been the leading man in two of my favorite local bands of all time, Loveblisters and Ladylike. Now he is embarking on a solo project involving many of his favorite musical partners and friends and clearly is using his songwriting gifts to suit his own vision. In addition to Kroehler's involvement in two of my favorite bands, he has to be one of my favorite songwriters in this city. His piano pop treads a line between Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, with a true sense of storytelling. He recently released "The Gadabouts" on iTunes just last week, and it's a perfect synthesis of his anachronistic sound and the closest to Nilsson that he's been — clever asides and all. "It's a (mostly) autobiographical tune. Musically and lyrically honest" he says. It could be a song from a distant time, like 1972, when artists could incorporate music-hall sounds and nostalgic elements that made you instantly smile. It's steeped in the American music tradition. And I'll save you the time of googling it — "gadabout" is an archaic term for a habitual pleasure-seeker. With that in mind, the song comes together perfectly. You can hear this song and many of the others that Kroehler has been working on tonight at Valley Bar, where he will be joined by The Vanjacks and New Chums.
MC/DC and Andy Warpigs — "I Got Your Back"
MC/DC (folk/rap/punk featuring Daniel Suber of Something Villainous/Naked Pizza) along with Andy Warpigs have just released one of the most unusual EPs of the year, combining the hip-hop groove of MC/DC and the folk punk of Andy Warpigs, all produced by local rapper Dadadoh. The results are unexpected, to say the very least. The story goes that Warpigs crashed at Suber's house one night, and the next morning they recorded the entire EP. This is so fucking indie and DIY it's beyond the realm of reason, but in that there is this beautiful charm about the entire affair. I've listened to the EP over and over again since Dadadoh gave me the heads up, and I love the simple charm of "I Got Your Back," since how many people write songs about unconditional friendship? Not only that, the song gets really philosophically/intellectually deep lyrically. I don't know many rappers that reference tachyons, much rhyme something with "asterisk." Best lyric that has me smile every time: "If you’ve got the gumption to function and fight for your cause, in spite of your flaws, the you deserve the right to applause . . . Unless you’re a Nazi . . . that probably goes without saying, but the line left room for interpretation." That is so fucking clever that I can't stand it, it's also as postmodern as the lyrics could possibly get, as the song self references itself. The entire project is a breath of fresh air.
Photo by Bill Goodman
dent — "Halfway"
It's actually been over a year since dent released its debut single and last recorded release. During that time, the band has played all over the Valley and toured the Southwest, and I've been able to catch the group a half-dozen times. Each time I've seen them, I've wanted them to release more music because it seems to me that they've got an album's worth of material waiting in the wings. Last week, they finally dropped another single, "Halfway." The track will be featured, along with another new song on a split seven-inch single with Twin Ponies, in April. The band also seems to hint that this is the first single from a new EP as well, with a release date later this month. All in all, it's exciting news for fans of dent, which includes Josh John, Jeff Taylor, and Bryan Ohkura. "Halfway" seems to owe more to math rock sensibilities than their previous release from last year, but this is still safely in the zone of their spacey garage rock sound. If you dig the sounds of indie rock pioneers like Sebadoh or Pavement, with a touch of Syd Barrett, you might like dent. My only recommendation is to turn it up loud.
Painted Bones — "Jaw Drip"
Painted Bones are new on the scene. The band has just dropped the first single from its debut EP, Dragon Ride. Painted Bones is Brandon Blaise, Don Sherrick, Arthur Detrie, and Michael Muriett, and their debut, "Jaw Drip," is impressive to say the least. They describe themselves as "alternative fuzz rock," and that's pretty apt. What that doesn't say is that this is catchy as hell rock 'n' roll. The hook and guitar lines will remain with you long after the song has finished. It does have a hint of what made alternative music great in the '90s, but it's not lost in that sound and comes across as completely contemporary. I have to say I dig any song in which the bass comes out to play and this is definitely one of them. I hope the rest of their debut EP has this amount of energy packed into it, that's for sure. Painted Bones will make its live debut at Club Red this Saturday for the Testicular Cancer Awareness event Ball-A-Palooza, which will run for 12 hours straight, starting at noon. They will be joined by more than 14 other local acts from around the valley including Day Before Plastics, Japhy's Descent, Ana Log, Prehab, Ten Cent Dinosaur, and many, many more.
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