The Fratellis Release New Music Video “Starcrossed Losers”

by Ford Parson

In the mid-2000s, there was no shortage of guitar-based indie bands coming out of Britain. In the wake of the Arctic Monkeys and the Libertines came a slew of similar-sounding bands, the sheer volume of which led the UK press to adopt the term “landfill indie.”

Out of the many British bands lumped into this category, Scotland’s the Fratellis were among the most influential. Their debut album Costello Music charted high on the UK charts, and the stadium-friendly single “Chelsea Dagger” gained the band some traction in the States. Today, the Fratellis are still going strong, boosted by a steady following in their native Britain.

This week, the Fratellis released a video for their new single “Starcrossed Losers.” The track will appear on the band’s upcoming fifth album, In Your Own Sweet Time, which drops March 16. The video depicts daily interactions between a couple at various stages of life, all shot in reverse. Meanwhile, the lyrics invoke Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to craft a tragic love story set to music.

The video for “Starcrossed Losers” is streaming now via Billboard, alongside a new interview in which frontman Jon Fratelli talks about its creation. In support of In Your Own Sweet Time, the Fratellis will tour the UK and North America later this Spring. The tour includes a stop at Nashville’s Exit/In on May 21st. Tickets are on sale now at the band’s website.

Starcrossed Losers by The Fratellis on VEVO.

Shannon and the Clams Rock a Modern Sock Hop

by Sarah Schulte

Shannon and the Clams are the surf rock band that the world didn’t know it needed.

Shannon Shaw (lead vocals and bass), Cody Blanchard (guitar), Nate Mahan (drums), and Will Sprott (keyboard), came together as Shannon and the Clams after Shaw and Blanchard met at the California College of the Arts and began performing together. Hailing from Oakland, California, the indie garage-punk group fuses doo-wop, R&B, and psychedelia into a nostalgic dreamscape.

The group debuted in 2009 with their album I Wanna Go Home, which featured such tracks as the pulsing Troublemaker that exemplify their raw energy. Their debut album was followed by Sleeptalk (2011), Dreams in the Rat House (2013), and Gone by the Dawn (2015).

The Clams released their fourth LP Onion on February 16th. The Clams take their listeners on a journey through youth and love with this album. Shaw’s gritty rasp is complemented well by Blanchard’s crisp guitar throughout the record.

Even with the simplest melodies, Shaw’s lyrics rip themselves into the hearts of listeners in an amazing display of honest songwriting. There’s just something about them that transports the world back to the Buddy Holly era, so throw on your Sunday best and head on over to the high-school hop.

Shannon and the Clams have kicked off a tour with Dan Auerbach, and they will be at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Sunday, February 25th. You can listen to their new album Onion on Spotify.

 

Muse Reveals Details About Upcoming Album, 2019 World Tour

by DJ Jazzy John

Up until this past Thursday, “Dig Down” was the only glimpse of Muse’s eighth studio album we could get. Now, with the release of their new single, “Thought Contagion,” Muse has been more outspoken about their forthcoming project.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Matt Bellamy was not shy about revealing the band’s aspirations for their latest record. He stated that they actually have quite a bit more recording to do before the album is finished, and that he doesn’t expect everything to be completed until this fall.

Because of the prolonged completion, we may not see this record get released until early 2019. However, Bellamy also says that the band plans on releasing at least two more singles leading up to the album’s release date.

Although Muse has never really approached an album in this fashion (releasing several singles before the full length album), Bellamy believes that this will be Muse’s “greatest album in terms of the quality of individual songs.” The lead singer also stated that this format has been “really refreshing to just work on one song at a time and take each song to completion.”

In addition to revealing details about their new album, Muse also spoke about a 2019 headlining world tour while being interviewed at the NME Awards. Matt Bellamy claims:

“We’re going to do the biggest tour and just blow people’s minds with stuff they’ve never seen before. We’re always interested in the latest technology and what’s cutting edge, so we’re always thinking of the new thing that nobody’s ever used before in a concert. And we found something and we’re going to use that.”

On Muse’s previous Drones World Tour, the band performed on an in-the-round type of stage that featured floating “drones” that came out from the ceiling throughout the show. It will be interesting to see what they will have in store for fans in the next couple of years.

Smashing Pumpkins Reunion Tour Sans Bassist: Why?

by Ryan “The Lion” Henning

Smashing Pumpkins is going on a reunion tour. However, not everyone is included.

The tour was introduced quite a few months ago, but it wasn’t until recently that SP, according to Entertainment Weekly, announced the Shiny and Oh So Bright tour on would feature “singer/guitarist/guru Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who are the other three original members, along with guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who has been with the band since 2007.”

The original bass player, D’Arcy Wretzky, was left in the dark. “I only just found about it yesterday that the band has decided to go with a different bass player,” the original bassist said.

New player Jack Bates is playing for Smashing Pumpkins instead. To add more to the secrecy, lead singer Billy Corgan noted, “I’ve been in communication with D’arcy for the first time in 16 or 17 years.”

If this is a reunion tour, why isn’t everybody here? Normally the reason for new members is that an old member splits off or passes away, but in an interview, Wretzky says she wanted to join in despite a shoulder injury. She was upset that Corgan locked her out.

What do you think? Does Corgan have permission to pick up a new bass player? Or should D’Arcy stand her ground as the original? After all, the tour will consist of songs from the group’s beginnings. Will Bates hold up to the legacy, or be unable to fill the spot once held by Wretzky?

Interested in the tour? Find more info on Smashing Pumpkins’s official site.

What BØRNS’s “Electric Love” Says About Romance

by Ryan “The Lion” Henning

In the era of Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift hits about hooking up in bars and breaking up with crappy people (or not? Make up your mind, Tay-tay!), it’s nice to have a refreshing take on what makes love truly special. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, leave it to Garrett Borns (AKA BØRNS) to give us a foot-tapping, mesmerizing song about the girl who has a grip on his heart.

Electricity contracts your muscles, making it impossible to let go. His baby’s love is like “lightning in a bottle,” and he can’t let go now that he’s got it. Ignoring the risk of cardiac arrest, it takes a special kind of love to pull you in and course through you at the thought of someone special like that.

The drums are like a heartbeat, further emphasizing the feelings of his mind running around her and getting “louder and louder and louder” as the snare picks up into the chorus in a release of all that energy. The vocals swell, just like his heart pumping electrical dopamine through his veins.

“Electric Love” says, “If they have a grip on your heart, you’ll be able to feel it like electricity.” So this season, ignore the weather that would make Katy Perry write another song about opposites, and turn “Electric Love” into the special tune you can dance all night to with your SO. It’ll help burn some of the calories from the heart-shaped chocolate you paid too much for.

Still “The Man?” The Killers Wonderful Wonderful Tour Without Founding Members

by Madi Martin

I’ve been a victim since high school: The Killers’ music helped me get through teen angst and Brandon Flower’s lyrics were soothing to my soul. As such, it was a priority to see them in concert, and see them I did at Lollapalooza 2013 and Hangout Fest 2014.

College has happened and music tastes change and (hopefully) refine. The band’s tracks are no longer the only tracks I turn to when I need a pick-me-up, but even so, here I am, going to see them a third time at the United Center in January as they promote their new album, Wonderful, Wonderful.

20180116_192441

A lot has changed for the band, something any casual fan without prior knowledge could see during this particular tour. Unfamiliar faces sprinkled the stage, to make up for the two that were sorely lacking: Dave Keuning, the lead guitarist from day one, dropped the band to spend time with family; and bassist Mark Stoermer decided to go back to school.

Of course, the stars of the show were always whimsical singer Brandon Flowers and the energetic Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. drumming in the background. No longer is Flower’s synthesizer obscured by their classic retro-bulbed lightning bolt; instead, a fluorescent-pink Mars symbol stands centered on the stage. Three new female background singers similarly chime in to tracks while standing behind three Venus symbols.

Even so, Brandon was as vibrant as ever. Fun costume changes, short knowing asides to the audience – the man is a natural performer. Ronnie gave it his all in the background, those same soldiering-through facial expressions I’d delighted in during their hard sets in the past. I sang their music from previous albums with fervor all the way through by myself. Hey Brandon, put me up on that stage – I’ll be another Venus.

The main single from the 2017 album, “The Man”, was outrageously fantastic, and felt like it’d been a part of the show all along. The other new and strangely slower material, though? Unfortunately, not so much. I think much of it is going to be something even loyal fans will need to get used to.

It was different, and unfortunately not in a good way, but I’m glad I had a notion of this coming in. It seems that the days of anthems and bangers from Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town may be spent for the boys.

Wonderful, Wonderful and its tour may not be as wonderful as I would have wanted for the band at this stage in their career, but I still hold out hope that whatever may come up in their unsure future, they move with magic and dignity, and not fizzle out like their iconic bolt.

Review: Franz Ferdinand’s Always Ascendin

by DJ Jazzy John

In early February of 2018, Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand released their fifth full length studio album, Always Ascending. This record is the group’s first complete project in nearly five years. It is also the first album to feature new member Julian Corrie.

The album opens up with the title track, which also serves as the lead single for the record. Compared to the some of the other songs on the album, this one definitely stands out as one of the more catchy tunes. Most popular singles often end up that way, so that wasn’t too much of a surprise. It was also one of the more enjoyable songs to listen to.

Following the title track comes “Lazy Boy,” “Paper Cages,” and “Finally,” which were a little harder for me to appreciate. I don’t know if it was because I was expecting something different, but the awkward undanceable beat as well as the lyricism in “Lazy Boy” was a huge turnoff for me.

The other two tracks left much to be desired as well.

However, the following song, “The Academy Award,” stood out in a good way. As I played this track while driving down the expressway in the middle of the night, I found myself enjoying it simply because it was the only song on the album that gave me a good reason to think about what I was listening to. The music was ominous, and the vocals were slightly haunting, which coupled nicely with the band’s lyrics in this particular song.

Unfortunately, much of the rest of the album was like pulling teeth to listen to, save a fairly enjoyable funk track titled “Huck and Jim,” and the extended outro found in “Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow.”

Overall, I would recommend this album only to those of you who enjoy the current style of Franz Ferdinand. Personally, I wish the band would go back to their roots. Specifically, I feel like I would be more satisfied with similar to that of “Take Me Out,” as opposed to the techno-oriented tunes they’ve been rolling out more recently.
Highlights: “Always Ascending,” “The Academy Award,” “Huck and Jim”Low Points: “Lazy Boy”, “Lois Lane”Overall

Rating: 2.5 out of 5  

Who knew the Night Sweats could be a good thing?

by Dedria Jelks

Nathaniel David Rateliff, singer and songwriter, is from Denver, Colorado. Genres that he is classified with are Indie Folk, Folk Rock, Soul and Gospel.

With “The Night Sweats” Joseph Pope II on bass, Mark Shusterman on the keyboards, and Patrick Meese on drums, the artists have been in a band since 2015 and not regretted this decision since. As a “last ditch effort”, Ratliff explained to the Los Angeles Times that if this didn’t work, he would leave the music industry.

“When we made our last record, it looked like it wasn’t going to come out – everything took so long…I was like, I don’t know if I want to keep doing this.”

The studio album, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, gained critical recognition from Paste giving the score of 8.1 out of 10, while Rolling Stone gave the album a 3 out of 5 stars. Reaching #1 on the U.S. Folk album and #2 on the U.S. Top Alternative albums from Billboard, Rateliff explained that the song, “S.O.B.” was ironically a joke song.

From an interview with BBC, he says, “Initially, I didn’t want to record the song; we have a good time playing it and the reaction from the crowd is always good”.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “S.O.B.”

Now, the band is releasing a new album called, Tearing at the Seams on March 9. Their current hit, “You Worry Me” is climbing the charts and is currently #1 on the Adult Alternative song chart from Billboard. The band’s tour already has sold out shows.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “You Worry Me” Lyric Video

Thank goodness for the combination of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Who knows where they’d be now if they hadn’t gotten together?

Review: BØRNS Returns with Blue Madonna

by Sarah Schulte

BØRNS released his sophomore album Blue Madonna last month as the follow-up to 2015’s Dopamine. While Dopamine is a glam-rock anthem, Blue Madonna dives into the soul behind the pin-striped suits and floral print: Garrett Borns.

This isn’t to say that Dopamine was shallow; in fact, tracks such as Past Lives and The Emotion reveal a romantic rawness. However, Blue Madonna expresses vulnerability in a new and searching way.

God Save Our Young Blood kicks off the 12-track LP. The song features crooner Lana del Rey, whose voice weaves smoothly around Borns’s, easing listeners into a dreamlike trance of nostalgia.

Borns’s self-described “lamentation of [his] morality” follows in the pulsing Faded Heart. The song expresses the inter-connectivity of the universe and humankind and how that relates to one’s perception of themselves. Heavy stuff. Regardless, you won’t be able to get it out of your head for weeks. Borns seems to have tapped into an otherworldly concoction of vocals and instrumentation.

Sweet Dreams is whimsical heartbreak. Featuring a hooting owl and various percussive effects, the song sets the stage for a starry night and the smell of burning incense. The soaring but soft vocals push the heartbroken toward closure with the words, “Consider this a lullaby, Bye and sweet dreams.”

Reminiscent of the instrumentation of The Beatles’ Within You Without You and the lyricism of Bowie, Borns’ We Don’t Care is different from anything else on the album. The song transports listeners to a beach in 1967, utilizing classic guitar tones and fuzzed out bass. Lyrics like “Shake off the shadows, freak out the phantom’s love” point to Borns’s taste for science fiction magazines and adds a playful mysticism that goes beyond anything Borns has touched before.

Man uses keyboard synths and picturesque lyricism to send listeners on a journey around the world. If you’re looking for something to dance to, this is the track for you. This contrasts nicely with Iceberg, during which Borns’s vocals grip listeners with an almost a cappella moment. The metallic guitar is jarring but necessary against the smooth Stranger Things-esque synth riff. It’s perfectly weird.

Meanwhile, the trap-like Second Night of Summer expresses the feeling of being left by one’s lover and is likely to be an anthem for the broken-hearted this Valentine’s Day. I Don’t Want U Back is the fitting follow-up for those who have recently recovered from heartbreak. Despite its empowering message, this track falls short of the rest of the album and is easily the most forgettable. Similarly, Tension is a minute-thirty interlude that feels like it could have been something but never got the chance. The idea is there, but it would have been more effective as a completed piece of music.

Much like I Don’t Want U Back, Supernatural is a smooth ride that fails to leave an impression. While it’s pleasant to listen to, that’s about all there is to it. On the other hand, the title track Blue Madonna is a sensual joyride enhanced by Lana del Rey’s background vocals. The imagery will leave your mouth watering.

Bye-bye Darling is the most organic piece of music on the album, and it’s a suitable choice to finish it. It feels like the end of a coming-of-age film that just radically transformed your life. You’ve laughed, cried, realized something about the world, and now you’re hearing this song. It feels like an end, but it also feels like starting over. Time to hit replay?

Vampire Weekend’s Debut Turns 10

by Cliffhanger

This week marked the 10th anniversary of Vampire Weekend’s debut self-titled album. Released on January 29, 2008, Vampire Weekend was a forerunner for what would be a flagship year for indie rock, and turned four Ivy League students into some of music’s hottest new stars.

Vampire Weekend brought together a group of gifted Columbia University students, whose diverse musical backgrounds helped them create a cohesive worldbeat sound on their debut. Early singles “Mansard Roof” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” displayed the quirky lyricism of Ezra Koenig and the rich, dense production work of then-member Rostam. With early buzz from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork under their belts, Vampire Weekend was ready to start 2008 off with a bang. Their debut album was a surprise top-20 hit in both the U.S. and U.K., and garnered praise from the music press as well as Paul Simon, a key musical influence for the band. Meanwhile, the singles “Oxford Comma” and “A-Punk” became charting hits on both sides of the pond.

Vampire Weekend launched an exciting career for these new indie superstars. They followed in 2010 with the Grammy-nominated Contra, while their third album Modern Vampires of the City earned them a trophy for Best Alternative Music Album. The band’s individual members have stayed busy through various side projects: members Rostam and Baio have launched solo careers, and drummer Chris Tomson records as Dams of the West.

Ten years on, Vampire Weekend’s debut album serves as a perfect time capsule of indie rock in the late aughts. The band’s cutting-edge worldbeat style still sounds as fresh as ever today. With the band announcing its first live show since 2014 earlier this week, one can only hope for another big year for Vampire Weekend.