Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new local music in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
Injury Reserve — "All This Money"
Injury Reserve is at it again with their second single from their forthcoming album, Floss. Quick on the heels of "Oh Shit!!!" comes "All This Money," and one thing is for sure, Floss cannot get here soon enough based entirely on these first two singles. I'm not alone; if you Google "Injury Reserve Floss" the second choice that pops up is "Injury Reserve Floss release date." No word yet when that will happen, but I have to hand it to them — they know how to build anticipation. "All This Money" is so fucking good I can hardly stand it. I just keep watching the video over and over again, playing the track on an endless loop. First of all it's clever, lyrically and musically. Add to that the fiercest delivery possible and an amped-up energy that makes you want the song to be nine minutes long. At times it's self-deprecating and certainly makes a wry commentary on hip-hop tropes, it even has a hilarious commentary on H&M and shirts with zippers up the side ( I don't get it either). The video underscores the fact that Injury Reserve is not taking themselves too seriously. The group flips the script where the women are out on the town like bros, while the men are lavish eye candy. It's as much of an homage to turn-of-the-century hip-hop imagery as it is an indictment. I would love to hear what the ducks from W.A.S.H. could do on a remix of this track, because the whole thing seems right up their alley. This album is going to blow minds for a living.
The Sink Or Swim — "Blame It On Me"
A few weeks ago, The Sink Or Swim released their second EP of the year with High Tides, and it's really three more singles. In the early '90s this would be called a maxi-single, featuring two or three a-sides. "Glass Eye" was the first one to really catch my ear, but after a few dozen listens to the collection, "Blame It On Me" seems to have made a nest in my head. It may be due to seeing them live a few times since the EP release, but this song is always a stunner in their live set, and I haven't left a show of theirs in the last month or so where that's not ringing in my head. Part of the reason is that this is a vocal masterpiece for lead singer Nate Zeune. He's got one of the most distinct voices emerging in the scene right now, and it's captivating. Here we find him on the edge of Eddie Vedder (the restrained Into The Wild era). The entire song revolves around the simple guitar line and that vocal hook, with Louis Resnick just thrashing the hell out of the skins. Meanwhile, Niel Erlich's bass playing is ridiculously good, but particularly the way he works with the drums here.
Saddles — "Face Paint"
It seems consistent with the inconsistent Saddles to put their second single out two weeks after their first single in over a year with murmurings of the forthcoming Yoke album, their first full-length since 2013's monumental Shell Art. Not unlike Shell Art (one of my favorite local releases), Yolk is completely recorded by Charles Barth and George White, while on stage they expand to a five-piece full-blown band. "Face Paint," like the just released "Tarot," is more atmospheric and textural than their previous efforts. The synthesized landscape seems softer, but more confused, but it's as lush as ever. Yet, the brilliance is that there's a stark minimalism at play here, which is the charm and genius behind Saddles' records. They understand the artistic aesthetic that less is more, which is why some prefer Saddles on record versus full of sounds as a live band. For others, the reverse is true. Still, they seem especially revered by people who I consider to have impeccable taste in music, and that's comforting because it means Saddles makes music for music geeks. Yolk is clearly going to be a very different beast than its predecessor, but I have every reason to imagine that it will be every bit as brilliant.
The Real Fits — "Take A While"
The Real Fits are the band formerly referred to as Fits, so now, in real life they are the Real Fits. Same fantastic lineup, just a slightly altered name. I suppose to celebrate their rechristening, they released a new single with "Feels Like Mine," the first single from their forthcoming debut EP, Drown In Gold. It's a slow burner that takes well into the first minute before Raquel Willand's vocals kick you in the head. The Real Fits have a real interesting sound, and I'm looking forward to the new record to listen to how it translates across the entire EP. On this track, they explore a lot more groove territory than on their previous singles. There is a slightly lounge feeling in parts, part synthy disco hints, a rocking rhythm section, quirky clipped guitar, it's a fascinating conglomerate of so many influences it reads like something of a peculiar, indie rock pocket symphony as it dances through its various movements and musical themes. You're not sure whether to be seduced by Willand's sultry vocal or get into the total head trip of the music backing her. It's a captivating song in its subtle psychedelic complexity, and not your usual single. I am sincerely looking forward to hearing Drown In Gold in its entirety.
Painting Fences — "Here I Stand"
Painting Fences recently released an amazing full-length album that I've been indulging in all week. I had checked their Soundcloud earlier this week and was surprised to find Through Glass ready and waiting. I figured I'd give the first few tracks a spin, and then went through the album twice. Painting Fences is Seth Norman (bass and vocals), Johnny Norman (guitars), and Nick Martin (drums) and Through Glass is simply just great rock 'n' roll through and through. I keep coming back to "Here I Stand" because it crosses KISS with Cheap Trick, with wonderfully strident vocals by Norman in the vein of Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks or Feargal Sharkey from the Undertones, and drums straight out of the hair metal days. It's a goddamn great combo, and this is easily one of my favorite songs of the year. It drives me completely out of my mind because it's so steeped in all the right things about all sides of the glam rock era. It's as much punk as it is power pop as it is straight-up shoulder-to-the-boulder rock 'n' roll. It comes off as a celebration of sound, of a love found in a groove, and it just goes with it. This is the kind of vigor that makes rock so goddamn great. You can catch them tonight, Thursday, October 27, at the Rogue Bar.
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