Nick Hakim

Listen: “Roller Skates”

May 19, 2017

This is Nick Hakim's week. After an amazing homecoming performance at New York's Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night, both razor sharp and wide open, his debut album Green Twins dropped today on ATO Records (check out the album review today). Throw it on and it might just carry you straight through the weekend. "Roller Skates" is the joyously smooth park jam that moves this great debut right along. Listen Below and also check out its rad, tripped out animated video. Many good things to come from Mr. Hakim. 

Chris Cornell

“Seasons” Chris Cornell (R.I.P)

May 18, 2017

Goodbye Chris Cornell. The melancholy fire of your voice was a guide in the dark. You will be missed. "Seasons" embodied his musical spirit perhaps more than any other...Remember.

Blonde Redhead

Watch: Blonde Redhead - “3 O’Clock” Live Video

May 17, 2017

In March, alternative rock pioneers Blonde Redhead unassumingly dropped their 3 O'Clock EP and today released a live performance video from the title track, along with an announcement of summer tour dates. You can watch it below and check in on Blonde Redhead's summer moves.

The video was directed by Alex Caroppi and filmed by c and filmed live in Amsterdam at Paradiso Noord on March 10th, 2017, during a stop on their most recent European tour. It's great to see the relaxed savvy of singer Kazu Makino and the Pace brothers on stage and definitely piques interest in catching one of their upcoming shows.

The announcement fills you in on their latest release: "3 O'CLOCK was released March 10th, 2017 on the band's own label, Asa Wa Kuru Records. This melancholic EP, with an aromantic graft, follows the tour that, in 2016, saw Blonde Redhead reinvent their cult album Misery Is A Butterfly with a string quartet. The new atmospheres developed during this tour emerge occasionally in the pieces of 3 O’CLOCK, as the band pushes even more in the direction of a massive presence of strings and wind instruments such as the viola, cello, violin, clarinet, oboe, flute and trumpet. The EP was made with the help of, among others, the string quartet ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), and Eyvind Kang, an American composer and violinist who collaborated with Blonde Redhead on Misery Is A Butterfly and the latest tour in support of the album.

Blonde Redhead will be playing in New York the next two nights before resuming in July on a European festival circuit and a 4-stop tour of the United States West Coast. The European tour sees them performing at BBK Festival in Bilbao (ES), Festival les George in Fribourg (CH) and Dour Festival in Dour (BE), among others. The full list of tour dates is below. 

05.18.2017 / The Kitchen (Simone & Amedo Pace live score experimental films / NY, NY
05.19.2017 / The Kitchen (Simone & Amedo Pace live score experimental films / NY, NY
07.08.2017 / BBK Festival / Bilbao, Spain
07.09.2017 / Arti Vive Festival / Soliera, Italy
07.11.2017 / Erarta Stage / St. Petersburg, Russia
07.12.2017 / Flacon Design Factory / Moscow, Russia
07.13.2017 / Festival les Georges / Fribourg, Switzerland
07.14.2017 / Dour Festival / Dour, Belgium
07.22.2017 / Regency Ballroom / San Francisco, California
07.23.2017 / FYF Fest / Los Angeles, California
07.25.2017 / Wonder Ballroom / Portland, Oregon
07.26.2017 / Neumos / Seattle, Washington

Mogwai

Listen: Mogwai “Coolverine”

May 16, 2017

The lords of instrumental post rock are returning. Mogwai's new album Every Country's Sun will arrive September 1st on Temporary Residence Ltd. They've shared the first single "Coolverine". Listen to it below.

The new album marks the first recording without guitarist and original member John Cummings as well as a reuniting with producer and friend Dave Fridmann, who was instrumental in his work on early albums Come On Die Young and Rock Action. A press release describes the new work in this way: "In October 2016 they took their glimmering bounty to Dave Fridmann and his Tarbox Road Studios in Chautauqua County, New York State, surrounded by little more than woods, wild hounds and marauding deer hunters..The new album takes two decades of the band's signature, contrasting sounds - towering intensity, pastoral introspection, synth-rock minimalism, DNA-detonating volume - and distills it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock, and transcendental euphoria."

Mogwai co-founder Stuart Braithwaite offered a view into the inspirational background of Every Country's Sun, which formed during a time of frightening global unrest and change: "What's going on in the world politically and socially has to affect you," muses Braithwaite. "It was very much on our minds, especially in America. We were vaguely getting over the Scottish referendum, then the death of David Bowie, along comes Brexit, and then Trump. The album was written in a very turbulent, intense period so I think it maybe feels like some kind of shield from that? That's maybe just my take. Because it literally was for me."  

EVERY COUNTRY'S SUN TRACK LISTING
 
1. Coolverine
2. Party In The Dark
3. Brain Sweeties
4. Crossing The Road Material
5. aka 47
6. 20 Size
7. 1000 Foot Face
8. Don't Believe The Fife
9. Battered At The Scramble
10. Old Poisons
11. Every Country's Sun
 
MOGWAI US TOUR DATES
 
11/20 - Observatory N. Park - San Diego, CA
11/21 - Belasco Theater - Los Angeles, CA
11/22 - Regency Ballroom - San Francisco, CA
11/23 - Roseland Theater - Portland, OR
11/24 - The Showbox - Seattle, WA
11/25 - Commodore Ballroom. Vancouver
11/28 - Ogden Theatre - Denver, CO
11/30 - The Waiting Room Omaha, NE
12/1 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
12/2 - House of Blues Chicago, IL
12/3 - Majestic Theatre - Detroit, MI
12/5 - Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON
12/6 - Corona Theatre - Montreal, QC
12/7 - Royale Nightclub - Boston, MA
12/8 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY
12/9 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
12/10 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC

Blank Range

Premiere: Blank Range “No Aim” Video

May 11, 2017

Is there some sort of Neo-Country music emergence going on? Ok, that might not be a thing, but Nashville's Blank Range, who just released their sophomore EP Vista Bent, rolls in deep rooted americana rock that enlivens the fabric of the genre. The band met and formed with some happenstance back in 2012 and have since found sweet harmony, overcoming some demons on the shoulder along the way. Under the Radar is premiering a video for a b-side from the EP called "No Aim". Light footed picking from a custom made baritone guitar and soft organs carry you down a back country road, with a pleasant reminder of Dr. Dog. Enjoy it.


Holder of that guitar, and vocalist Grant Gustafson says of the hidden gem, 'No Aim' is a pessimistic poem written in a time of fresh societal tension. Maybe there was an engrained suspicion that was bursting at the seams, needing to be unpacked; Maybe just a blurry, lukewarm reality finally coming into focus. It's day one of a new epoch of self-sworn, eyes open, raised awareness. No blinking. Though my eyes may dry I took an oath...to never try your love as a rich man. Recommended reading: A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.” 

 

Blank Range's bio provides background of the varied influences to their traditionally textured music:

"Jonathon Childers’ songs are raw, they read like attacks on himself and his circumstances. His voice bears the imprint of more years living than he has been alive, getting gritty when he reaches: “Just take me back,” he pleads, in vain, as “Circumstances” approaches its refrains.

Gustafson’s questions of intent are communicated partially through a lens that was developed during his music studies at North Central College in Chicago, particularly improvisational jazz..Gustafson plays a baritone guitar, custom built by his brother, Alex Gustafson at Chicago Fret Works. An obsession with 1960’s Italian Spaghetti Westerns and soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone led Grant and Alex to collaborate on a baritone guitar that would become part of the foundation of the Blank Range sound.

Matt Novotny also studied music in college. Novotny gravitated toward the complexity of Latin rhythms. “Matt had a lot of ideas for subtle percussion additions that had been floating around in his head,” Childers indicates. “Seeing him get to realize some of those on Vista Bent was a real joy.” Taylor Zachry’s (bass/vocals) persistence for pursuing The Byrds’ four-part harmonies and Brown’s draw to Duke Ellington’s composition style, round out the Blank Range sound that is ever evolving..Their shared study of music gives Blank Range a wide sonic palette to draw from, and therefore, the ability to craft more refined portraits of feeling."

 

New Rose

Premiere: New Rose - “Waiting On Me”

May 10, 2017

New Rose is a new alt-country-rock quintet from Brooklyn with a nice name and the sultry familiarity of old sound. As is stated in their bio, "True country music is rare in modern independent music...the solitary sort, heartbroken, kicking around in dirty boots." Damn straight, and secretly, I've been wondering when I could move on from listening to Dwight Yoakam records. Thankfully, Under The Radar got their hands on "Waiting On Me", New Rose's first song released from their debut album Morning Hazedue out in June on Broken Circles Records.

The charmingly impressive Morning Haze was recorded with producer Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Ariel Pink). Including members of indie rock bands Big Eyes and RIPS, Morning Haze has the sound of slowly dripping tree sap, subdued in the same earthly sweetness. It ialso ssues the fresh breeze of country air found on Psychic Ills' brilliant record from last year, Inner Journey Out.

According to the bio, "The record contains 3 original tracks featuring the legendary JayDee Maness on pedal steel, best known for his emotive leads on Eric Clapton’s 'Tears in Heaven,' Gram Parson’s 'The International Submarine Band,' and The Byrd’s 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo', which is widely considered to be the first country-rock album recorded."  

Says vocalist/guitarist Daniel Wagner, "Waiting On Me was the first song we ever tracked to tape, which we were all really excited about. It was done live in the studio and then June West recorded harmonies remotely from Montana. I think the record and in particular this song is about getting to the next step in your life and everything that kind of comes with that – also a lot of daydreaming about being somewhere else while walking to work in Midtown."

Big Thief

Listen: “Shark Smile”

May 08, 2017

"Shark Smile" is the next song from Capacity, the highly anticipated sophomore album from Big Theif to be released June 9th on Saddle Creek. It follows the first single "Mythological Beauty".

Explains vocalist/guitarist Adrianne Lenker, "'Shark Smile' is the story of a car accident in which one dies and one lives. She recalls her lover leading up to the moment of the wreck, wishing she'd been taken into the next realm, too." The new songs emanate a maturity and refinement that sounds of a group of musicians truly hitting stride. The rolling warmth of bass lines wrapped around muffled snares invites repeated listens. And you surrender to the sweet sadness of Lenker's voice. Check it out here.

 

Their press release on Pitch Perfect sets up this next chapter for Big Theif best: "Capacity comes just one year after the stunning debut of Masterpiece, which brought Big Thief ever-expanding audiences and critical acclaim...recorded in a snowy winter nest in upstate New York at Outlier Studio with producer Andrew Sarlo, who also produced Masterpiece. Sarlo worked intimately with the band to arrange most of the songs for the first time at the studio"

"In Capacity’s eleven songs, Lenker introduces us to many different women...Lenker’s characters are often spooked and then soothed in a remarkably short amount of time, regenerating back into a state where they can once again be vulnerable. The band breathes with this swell, gasping in synchrony, hyperventilating with volume, and then suddenly the crisis passes and the band exhales with mutual relief."

“There is a darker darkness and a lighter light on this album,” Lenker says. “The songs search for a deeper level of self-acceptance, to embrace the world within and without. I think Masterpiece began that process, as a first reaction from inside the pain, and ‘Capacity’ continues that examination with a wider perspective.” 


Gold Star

Premiere: “It Ain’t Easy” Video

May 03, 2017

Los Angeles native songwriter Marlon Rabenreither, known as Gold Star plays "a special kind of stark guitar-noir Americana". Gold Star just released its second full-length, Big Blue on Autumn Tone Records. Under the Radar has the video premiere for laid back ballad "It Ain't Easy" from the soft glowing new album. 

"It Ain't Easy" is a slow burning flame, as is its nocturnal video. Check it out below. Says Rabenreither: “Aspects of the song were written reflecting on my friendship with the painter and founder of The Underground Museum, Noah Davis, who died in 2015. He always worked at a frenzied pace and was constantly moving, he tried to teach me not to take things for granted. I don’t know if I would still be doing what I’m doing now if I had not met him, but I don’t think this record could have been created without him.”

The foundation of “It Ain’t Easy” was recorded in 2 takes, live in a living room in East Hollywood and was produced by Rabenreither. The track features Carlos Laszlo on drums and Jeff McElroy on bass, additional overdubs consisted of Hammond organ played by Brady Leffler and background vocals by songwriter Lael Neale.

Rabenreither has been building Big Blue for years, drawing from the rich artistic fabric and history of his native L.A. and his home dwelling out of a Steinbeck novel, described as a "grand old shipwreck of a Hollywood craftsman..that somehow still survives (where) the freeway cuts through what was once the backyard, stray chickens strut across the street and loose cats curl up on cars in the driveway to get warm after it rains." The dawn of Big Blue began in that house, when Rabenreither recruited old friends to back his songs and rented the best musical equipment he could get—that had to be retunred in three days.  

Gold Star just returned from a busy SXSW run that featured performances at Jansport and Dr. Martens day party, Anti's showcase, Rachael Ray's Feedback House, and at Willie Nelson's ranch.