Death Cab for Cutie

Listen: Death Cab For Cutie’s First Show On 20th Anniversary

Nov 22, 2017

Today marks the 20th anniversary for a little band from the little town of Bellingham, WA called Death Cab for Cutie. So they released the audio recording of their first show at The Pacer House in Bellingham. Pretty cool. Listen to the rough but endearing session, interruptions and all.

Here's a message from Ben Gibbard on the band's Bandcamp page:

This is a recording of the first ever Death Cab for Cutie show. It was made by our friend Trevor Adams on his dictaphone at The Pacer House in Bellingham, Washington on November 22, 1997. Sprawled across couches and sitting crosslegged on the floor were 25 of our closest friends and fellow musicians. Everyone played acoustic or semi-acoustic with no PA. Trevor made and passed bowl after bowl of microwave popcorn because he was (and I assume still is) a great host. 

Chris Walla and I had just finished the You Can Play These Songs with Chords cassette and we thought it would be fun to play a few shows around Bellingham to celebrate the release. We recruited Nick Harmer to play bass and Walla’s childhood friend Nathan Good to play drums. None of us thought we were starting a band nor did our ambitions for DCfC extend very far past this particular evening. We simply thought it would be fun to play these songs for our friends before moving on to other things. 

I remain forever grateful to Trevor for inviting us to play in his living room 20 years ago today. It was one of the greatest nights of my life at the time and its significance has only grown since. 

Benjamin Gibbard 
Death Cab for Cutie 
November 22, 2017
 

Grooms

Premiere: Grooms - “Softer Now” Video

Nov 21, 2017

Brooklyn's Grooms just released a new album Exit Index, the follow up to 2015's Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair. Under the Radar has the premiere of the video for "Softer Now," which offers a portrait of alienation.

Exit Index, mixed by Collin Dupuis (Angel Olsen, Lana Del Rey), "combines the abandon of pop with the unease of American life in 2017, cloaking its hooks in a clamor of samples and distortion, its agitation expressed in its dream-poetry lyrics," states a press release. What's cool is that much of it was recorded in a flurry of playing in the last slot at New York's famed studio The Magic Shop before it closed its doors. "It was the end," recalls singer-guitarist Travis Johnson. "We ended up bashing out 13 or 14 songs-of which we kept 10-in about six hours, because it was the last day. The engineer was like, 'I can't believe it. This is like working on a record in the '60s, where the band comes in and they know everything super well, because they have to.'"

Says Johnson about the significance and relevance of the new record "In a way, I feel like it's a really appropriate record for this time... It feels unintentional, though-I wasn't thinking, 'I want to soundtrack 2017,' or anything like that. It's hard for me to listen to it now, because I'll listen to it and I'll be like, 'God, I wish that this were a fever dream, but it's not.' But that lines up with what's going on in the world, too."

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Jim James

Watch: “The World Is Falling Down” Visualiser From Forthcoming Jim James Album

Nov 20, 2017

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has a new album Tribute To 2 coming out December 8th on ATO Records. It's a collection of cover songs "that reverberate with hope and blur the boundaries of time and genre." To celebrate the release, Jim James is also re-issuing Tribute To, an EP of George Harrison covers recorded shortly after Harrison's passing in 2001 featuring little more than James' vocals and acoustic guitar. Take a breather to the "visualiser" for "The World Is Falling Down" from the new record below. Jim James released his terrific solo album Eternally Even last year.

Small Reactions/Dot.s

Listen: “Dinner Song”/“Rose Lens” From Small Reactions/Dot.s Split Release

Nov 16, 2017

Atlanta's Small Reactions and Dot.s will be combining new track releases tomorrow via Chunklet. The bands will also play a release show together tomorrow in their hometown at 529 Bar. Listen to Small Reactions' "Dinner Song" and Dot.s "Rose Lens", both equally tantalizing, below. 

Here's some info about both bands from the press release:

SMALL REACTIONS :

“I’m dying for your light,” Small Reactions’ singer and guitarist Scotty Hoffman sings on the band’s new single “Dinner Song.” Serving as the track’s brief refrain, the line is perhaps more like a mantra for the band’s current state. Small Reactions has always written pop songs, but noise, grit, and reckless abandon helped to not get too comfortable with the label “pop music.” On “Dinner Song,” though, the band lets the track stand on its own as an unapologetically catchy single. Trimmed to a taught 3:02, the song finds the band as relentless as ever, but its crystalline post-punk foundation is embraced head on. Polish might not be the right word (it intentionally never will be for Small Reactions), but clarity of sound and purpose is. 16th notes hi-hats, 12-string guitars, a kettle drum, and a file cabinet: it’s a good look. Perhaps pop music is subversive after all? 

DOT.S :
Dot.s is the little baby that Ryan James and his friends Bonnie, Joe, Nick, and Garrett brought into the world under their mutual love for drums and synthesizers and the way people move when the two are put together in the right way. Since their initial formation in 2015, Dot.s have released two full length albums {Jellyfiss (2015) and We Swim (2016)}. While the two are different in theme and scope, they both attempt to take “dance music” to a place that is unfamiliar and confusing and sweet. “Rose Lens,” their third official release and first official one-off/not-on-an-album thing. It was recorded with Damon Moon at Standard Electric Co. in Atlanta, Georgia.

Wallows

Premiere: Wallows - “Pulling Leaves Off Trees”

Nov 14, 2017

The Southern California indie-rock trio Wallows has attracted a surge of industry attention ever since releasing their debut single “Pleaser" and getting out of the starting gate in a blur, selling out a string of sold-out shows that introduced it to the music world. Zane Lowe gave follow-up track “Sun Tan” its radio debut on Beats1 and did the same for Wallows' latest "‘Pulling Leaves Off Trees". Under the Radar has the online premiere of the track that brims with the band's 90's alt-rock influence. Listen below.

Despite forming less than a year ago, Wallows members Braeden Lemasters, Dylan Minnette and Cole Preston have been playing music together for nearly a decade. You may recognize Minnette from his lead role in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and the super creepy horror thriller Don't Breath. Turns out he's in a good band as well. "Pulling Leaves Off Trees", engineered by the band's friend Stefan Mac at his studio in Lake Forest, CA, is yet another in a sequence of buzzworthy songs the band has released since its formation. 

Says Minette about the song,“On one magic, fateful day, Braeden and I were going to a movie together, and before we left, Braeden said ‘Hey, we should just try to write a song really quickly before we go.’ What resulted, was the music of ‘Pulling Leaves Off Trees’ in about 3 minutes. Over time and after piecing it all together, it became a personal song about the insecurities of affection in your youth and letting it take over.”  

 

 

Wallows is set to keep the buzz going in 2018 with its first headlining tour in North America, kicking off January 24th in San Francisco. Check the rest of the dates below.

 

Wallows Winter Tour 2018

January 24 - San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall

January 26 - Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge

January 27 - Vancouver, BC Rio Theater

January 28 - Seattle, WA Chop Suey

January 30 - Santa Barbara, CA Velvet Jones

February 1 - San Diego, CA House of Blues Voodoo Room

February 2 - Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre

February 3 - Santa Ana, CA The Observatory

February 22 - Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall

February 23 - Detroit, MI Third Man Records Cass Corridor

February 24 - Toronto, ON Mod Club

February 26 - Cambridge, MA Middle East Downstairs

March 1 - New York, NY Bowery Ballroom

March 2 - Philadelphia, PA The Foundry at The Fillmore

March 3 - Washington, DC Union Stage

March 5 - Richmond, VA The Broadberry

March 6 - Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle

March 7 - Asheville, NC The Grey Eagle

March 9 - Nashville, TN Third Man Records

March 10 - Atlanta, GA Vinyl

March 12 - Dallas, TX Club Dada

March 13 - Houston, TX House of Blues - Bronze Peacock Room

 

 

Young Jesus

Watch: Young Jesus “Feeling” Stop-Motion Video

Nov 14, 2017

Chicago's Young Jesus is the latest addition to the Saddle Creek label roster that keeps filling out with strong new artists. The Los Angeles via Chicago experimental outfit joins other young groups like Big Thief and Twinsmith on the label and will be releasing its new album S/T on February 23rd. "Feeling" is the great ten minute single that lands somewhere in the Slint / Pavement area with expansive post-rock scope. Check out the stop-motion video directed by Jordan Epstein and guitarist-singer-songwriter John Rossiter. below.

"The video is a stop motion animation/series of poems I made and wrote, a broadcast from an imagined and ethereal space I've been working within through various zines and recordings called Conceptual Beach." Says Rossiter. "Along the Beach I hope to investigate confusion, complexity, and anxiety with playfulness and sincerity." 

Tennis

Watch: Tennis “I Miss That Feeling” Video

Nov 11, 2017

On Friday, Tennis released it's new and excellent new EP We Can Die Happy. The five new tunes continue Tennis's maneuvers in nostalgia pop. They also released the video for one of the tracks "I Miss That Feeling", which take the duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley back to an Ed Sullivan like scenario. Check it out below. 

Parks

Premiere: Parks “Fools” Video

Nov 09, 2017

Boston five-piece Parks did not ride the facile road toward its emergence, encountering one setback after another in putting together its self-titled debut album. They're here now though and here's to perseverance. Their first single, "Sweater Weather," released in earlier this year, won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and inspired folks like the Lumineers and Tennis to ask them to share their stages. Under the Radar has the video premiere of their next single and lead track from the forthcoming album "Fools".             

Parks' frontman Brian E. King describes how all of the difficulty turned out to be a blessing in disguise: “All the delays and the record taking so long to come together gave me the opportunity to explore more abstract and vibe-y sounds to push the songs beyond catchy melodies and average lyrics,” says King. “The songs are deceptive since they never stay on the same path for too long. There are lots of twists and turns....Making this album coincides with the worst time in my life. My mom died. The band lineup was in flux. My girlfriend, also my bandmate and best friend, and I broke up. I got diagnosed with stage-zero stomach cancer. It was a complete roller coaster,” says King, before adding with a laugh, “But I couldn’t be happier with this record."

King had this to say about "Fools": "The song is about leaving behind the seemingly endless obstacles in life — whether they're personal, romantic, or even creative ones. But also leaving behind negative people and not-so-great friends, too. I've felt a lot of loss in my life, and the concept of running out of time is terrifying, so hopefully, this is a little anthem for everyone dealing with the bullshit of everyday life and feeling trapped."

Parks is King, Stu Dietz on guitar, Andrew Jones on drums, Rob Johanson on bass, and Robin Melendez on backing vocals.