Photography by Andrew Volk
Photography by Shervin Lainez
Minus The Bear have returned from a near-five year absence with a new record, Voids. The record finds the Seattle-based band revisiting their early sound, filtered through the personnel and personal changes of their 15 years of music making. “Invisible” the first single, leads with a tense, finger-tapped verse that erupts into an arena-rock ready chorus. Minus the Bear are on tour this spring, dropping by Webster Hall on March 29 to perform with Beach Slang.
Voids is due out March 3 via Suicide Squeeze Records.
Twang may not necessarily be in vogue these days, but lilting songs about growing old and broken hearted always seem to strike a universal nerve no matter the genre or locale from which they hail. Dougie Poole came from Providence to New York, originally crafting dissonant tunes that took cues from R. Stevie Moore and Arthur Russell, and took them into his own melancholy direction. But noise and anonymity eventually had a ceiling for Poole, and more earnest songwriting began to take shape, and that's how we arrive at something beautiful like "Less Young but as Dumb." The lyrical content of the song is right there in the title, casting a disintegrated Roy Orbison pallette in the modern age, tossing traditional country tropes aside in favor of modern delusion, coping, and loss. It starts like a lament playing in a broken jukebox, before the weirdness and vulnerability of it all places it firmly in today's world.
"Less Young but as Dumb" is taken from Poole's forthcoming LP Wideass Highway, out February 17 on JMC Aggregate. Poole is playing a record release show that day at Shea Stadium, Brooklyn, with Wolvves; tickets are here.
Photography by Ebru Yildiz
Philly post-hardcore vets Pissed Jeans have been at it for a decade and change, but they insist on speaking to the now—even when the “now” falls outside of the antiquated romantic vocabulary of rock n roll. “Ignorecam,” is the newest single from their forthcoming record, Why Love Now. Where their previous single, “The Bar Is Low” spoke to the ubiquity of abuse among famous and powerful men, “Ignorecam” hones in on the proliferation of fetish cam shows where men pay women “to be ignored.” The track pummels the listener with a seemingly endless procession riff, sounding something like a boulder tumbling down a mountain side. The band will be touring in support of Why Love Now starting next month, stopping at Brooklyn Bazaar on February 24.
Listen to “Ignorecam” below. Why Love Now is due out February 24 via Sub Pop.
The Adverts were one of the most decidedly empathetic of first wave of British punk bands. “Bored Teenagers,” the B-side to their classic single, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” balances the time-honored trope of listless adolescence with a sense of ineffable wonder. In other words, it's the perfect track for a band as earnest and faithful to the power of guitar music as Beach Slang to take on in the opening track of their second covers mixtape, Here I Made This For You Mixtape Volume II. Beach Slang will be on tour starting this month, and are performing at Webster Hall with Minus The Bear on March 28.
Listen to the band’s cover of “Bored Teenagers” below. Here I Made This For You Mixtape Volume II will be available February 10 via Polyvinyl Records.
Illustration by Samuel Nigrosh
This article with originally appeared in AdHoc Issue 17. Download a PDF of the zine at this link, and look out for physical copies both at our shows and at record stores, bookstores, coffee shops, and community centers throughout the city. (Those of you outside New York City can order a copy here as well.) Lee Ranaldo plays The Park Church Co-op with Steve Gunn and Meg Baird on January 22.
Lee Ranaldo was seven or eight years old when he got his first guitar—“That is, one that wasn’t a tennis racket,” he says. It was a pink plastic ukulele silk-screened with pictures of the Beatles, acquired after Ranaldo saw them play on Ed Sullivan in 1964. Later, during his high school years, he graduated to a larger-body, Japanese Martin D-18 copy, on which he would learn Beatles covers and folk songs. And although he would eventually come to be known for his work with Fender Jazzmasters and Gibson Les Pauls, Ranaldo has been collecting acoustic guitars ever since.
In recent years, the Sonic Youth guitarist has been revisiting his beginnings, eschewing the noise- riddled sounds of that band and early solo efforts like 1987’s From Here To Infinity in favor of acoustic-driven, Americana-inspired songwriting. Calling from his Manhattan home, he says he’s especially interested in the stories of the people who make them. Here’s one he told us about legendary luthier Michael Gurian.
Lee Ranaldo: A friend of mine recently started bugging me about this early ’70s guitar-maker named Michael Gurian. As it turns out, some of the best guitar-makers trained in Gurian’s shop. The shop was on Carmine Street in the West Village, and as far as I know, he began building guitars there. When he started to get a little more serious, he had a shop on Bedford Street, also in the West Village, and built guitars there for a while. He later moved to New Hampshire and built guitars there. But all in all, he built guitars for about 10 years, and then quit.
Photography Landon Speers
Half Waif, the synth pop project of Pinegrove member Nandi Rose Plunkett, made waves last year with “Turn Me Around,” which set new age and choral music-inspired vocal melodies against a big radio-ready beat. “Severed Logic,” the first single from her upcoming form/a EP, continues in the same vein of eclectic electronic pop experimentation, this time in the form of a downtempo ballad. Plunkett has described form/a as an exploration of home born from a sense restlessness that comes from being the daughter of a refugee and a child of divorce. “Severed Logic” catalogs the home a body can make in familiar, and painful dynamics. “I’m so aware of all my moods around you,” Plunkett sings, her voice distorting unintelligibly as she tries to work her way out of the pattern. Half Waif will be touring starting this week through to March, stopping in Brooklyn to perform at Baby’s All Right with Forth Wanderers on January 13.
Listen to “Severed Logic” below. form/a is out February 24 via Cascine.
Photography by Samantha Marble
NYC-based industrial noise duo Uniform is following up their 2015 debut LP Perfect World later this month with the release of Wake In Fright via Sacred Bones. Lyricist and vocalist Michael Berdan and multi-instrumentalist Ben Greenberg give a taste of what's to come with "The Killing of America," the latest menancing and blazing single from their sophomore album.
Uniform will embark on a west coast tour this February but not before kicking off the month with their record release show at Brooklyn Bazaar on February 9 with Black Marble. The two will then fly to Seattle for a performance at Barboza on February 16 and make their way down the coastline and to the southwest for their closing show at Phoenix's Lunchbox on February 25.
Listen to "The Killing of America" below and catch Wake In Fright in full on January 20 on Sacred Bones.
Furniture, Zina’s debut EP, sees both the best in pop songwriting and a gut-wrenching longing. According to Night People’s website, the EP’s six songs were written from the perspective of “a divorced housewife [who] still had it.” On Furniture’s first single “Vacation,” Zina portrays the soon-to-be-divorcee attempting to draw her lover into an escape plan. “We’ll leave our troubles behind, and those papers on the table you did not sign,” she implores, before suggesting an alternative—“Let’s take a vacation. Where you go, I’ll go.” It’s idyllic and memorable, but proves unrealistic for the narrator, even buttressed by all the major key soundscapes and hooks housed in Zina’s impressive arsenal. It’s unfortunate for the character, but the rest of us have these pop bangers, so... it’s pretty sick.
Furniture is out January 10 on Night People Records.