Walter Martin

Watch: Walter Martin on NPR’s Tiny Desk Ahead of New Album

Dec 01, 2017

Walter Martin has made hay since The Walkmen went on hiatus back in 2013, releasing three solo albums and today, Martin (co-writer/multi-instrumentalist of The Walkmen) announced the forthcoming release of his fourth - Reminisce Bar & Grill. The new album is set to release in early 2018 via Ile Flottante Music. 

He celebrated the announcement by appearing on NPR's Tiny Desk with a barbershop quartet, The Glen Echoes, a group of singers he found online and met for rehearsals the day before coming to NPR. Two of the three songs performed are from Reminisce Bar & Grill -  "I Went Alone On A Solo Australian Tour" and "Me & McAlevey." - the former being a wonderfully amusing call and response between Martin and The Glen Echoes about his observations and reflections from a recent solo tour to Australia. It's a refreshing reminder to not take yourself too seriously and that music can be light and funny.

Here's some background on Martin's new album from the press release:

Reminisce Bar & Grill is one that might throw fans of his two award winning kids' records (2014's We're All Young Together and 2017's My Kinda Music) for a loop. Listeners will still recognize the same affable narrator and quirky musical style as his previous solo work, but here the subject matter is shifted dramatically. With frankness and poignancy, Martin, now a 43-year-old married man with two young children, squarely tackles the subject of adulthood - specifically, his own.
"I think this is my mid-life crisis album," said Walter. "These days my friends and I all seem to be thinking the same dark thoughts - 'What the hell am I doing? What the hell's going on? I'm lost. I'm running out of time and I'm doing everything wrong. And I'm probably dying.' This is definitely an insane period," he continues, "but most of the time I kind of love it."
While Martin approaches these subject matters with candor and sincerity, he clearly also enjoys mining them for humor. "I wanted this album to be an entertaining discussion of marriage, fatherhood, work, fear, and weakness," he explained. "I'm definitely influenced by Woody Allen movies. No matter how serious or romantic or dark his story may be, there's always a strong undercurrent of comedy."


Amber Arcades

Premiere: Amber Arcades “Can’t Say That We Tried” - Stolen Sessions Live Performance

Nov 30, 2017

Back in the summer, Dutch musician Annelotte de Graaf, known as Amber Arcades, released the Cannonball EP, recorded during a two-day session in New York last fall. One of the beautiful standouts from the EP was "Can't Say That We Tried". The frayed innocence of De Graaf's voice rises over slow building organs to a finale of grandeur. It's an absorbing listen and recently, Stolen Sessions captured Amber Arcades performing the song live, with an added minimal drum loop. Under the Radar is sharing the premiere. 

Similar to NPR's Tiny Desk concert series, Stolen Sessions brings specially shot live tracks from the best new artists, traveling from all across the world to be captured in London’s most iconic spots. They’ve already filmed Danish three-piece Baby In Vain, electro-pop duo Anna Of The North and Nuria Graham, a young Catalan songwriter who just released her 3rd record with Primavera Sound’s label.

de Graaf had this to say about the song: "I feel like a lot of times when I am attracted to a certain person or situation, it is not so much the person or situation itself but more my idea of what they represent, and this idea does not necessarily represent reality in any way. Getting to know people is scary because it necessarily requires you to bury your idealized version of a person and thereby bury a little piece of yourself or your childlike dreams maybe. But then again if you run away the moment someone doesn't  seem to nicely conform to your idealized vision you can't really say you've tried or given anything a fair shot."

Well said. Amber Arcades just started mixing her next record due spring 2018.


Totally Mild

Premiere: Totally Mild Shares Second Single “Lucky Stars” From Forthcoming Album

Nov 29, 2017

Melbourne, Australia pop quartet Totally Mild will be releasing its sophomore album Her via Chapter Records on February 23, 2018, and Under the Radar is premiering the new album's second single "Lucky Stars". The band calls "'Lucky Stars" "...a love song to a band. It's about being thankful for the good things in an uncertain situation." The new song is an unassuming piano ballad of poignant truth.  

Her is the follow up to the band's 2015 acclaimed debut Down Time. About the new album, singer Elizabeth Mitchell says "Her is a record of failure and victory, new desire, stale romance, queer domesticity and what comes when the party is over. I was torn between a new domestic life and the impulse to tear it all away with bad choices. I fell in love, but I wrestled for independence. I was always trying to prove that I didn't need anyone; my wife, my friends, my band. Her is a document of a woman struggling with the idea of potential. We are told that we could be limitless, but we wrestle with unseen personal and structural walls." Her was produced by one-time Architecture In Helsinki member James Cecil.

Totally Mild started out as the solo project of Mitchell and has now become a lush pop quartet made up of guitarist Zachary Schneider, drummer Dylan Young and bassist Lehmann Smith. 

The Hold Steady

Listen: New The Hold Steady Songs - “Entitlement Crew b/w A Snake In The Shower”

Nov 27, 2017

The Hold Steady released a couple of new songs ahead of their four-show run at Brooklyn Bowl that has become an annual get down. "Entitlement Crew b/w A Snake In The Shower" was shared on Bandcamp with a note from the band:

We recorded these in Brooklyn just this month. We hope to play them at the shows, so we thought we’d share them in case you want to sing along. These will be available for the fans here on Bandcamp for this week, and next week we will make them available via the major digital music providers. 
If you choose to download these two songs, a donation will be made to benefit the K+L Guardian Foundation. ALL monies received from downloads will be transferred to the K+L Guardian Foundation. The K+L Guardian Foundation was formed to benefit "Jersey" Mike Van Jura's children after he suddenly passed away in November 2012 at only 36 years of age. Jersey Mike was the unofficial leader of The Unified Scene.  


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


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."

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

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:


“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 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.