Trailblazing a distinct chronological spate of significant releases coming out throughout June and July—including Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Far From Saints, Killer Mike, Queens of the Stone Age, Dominic Fike, and George Clanton—the mighty Foo Fighters are back. This time scathed. Dropping this past Friday 2nd June, But Here We Are counts as the alternative rock mainstays’s eleventh studio LP—their first since the untimely death of their longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins, early last year. The project comes orchestrated and arranged by returning production consigliere Greg Kurstin, whose royal pop knack and undeniable chemistry with the band made him an obvious choice for such a critical artistic statement in the group’s timeline, even after the mixed bag success collected in the wake of his work on both 2017’s Concrete and Gold as well as 2021’s Medicine at Midnight.

Unsurprisingly, and perhaps fittingly, frontman Dave Grohl traveled back to handling percussive duties on the whole record, marking his first official drum credit on a Foos album in almost twenty years. Not only that, the stickman-turned-ringleader also saw fit to lace a familial spin into the recording process for the first time, inviting his 17-year-old daughter Violet to sing prominent background vocals on the hazy, hollow, and dreamy “Show Me How“—the formidable third single in the lead up to the full album. Unveiled a mere seven days before the entire collection of songs, the track eerily journeys through plateaus of both reverb canvasses and gnarly distorted licks alike, before unboxing an unexpected sense of finality woven into the narrator’s bounce-back arc: “I’ll take care of everything / I’ll take care of everything from now on“.

In the album’s relatively packed and crammed promo roll out, said slow tempo number was preceded initially by the stark and stoic lead single “Rescued” (released on 19th April), as well as the gold-striking throwback grunge belter “Under You” around a month later. Both cuts carry a musical ethos that translates as an earnest return to form for the Seattle-gestated band. Raw and unfiltered aches of grief bleed through the somewhat low-fidelity taped instrumentation on the former, only to be snapped out of their emotional stalemate by two robust sets of verses with lots and lots of teeth (“It came in a flash, it came outta nowhere / It happened so fast, and then it was over; I fell in a trap, my hеart’s getting colder / It’s coming on fast, it’s over my shouldеr“). Conversely, But Here We Are‘s sophomore single triumphs in its catchy, anthemic, and heavily Hüsker Dü-indebted refrain, all the while lodging slews of nostalgic sonic moods that were first successfully forayed into as part of Dave’s inspired first three album run (1995-1999).

Hardly earning enough grandfathered rights to be considered an official single, the RCA Records-affiliates released a final teaser a few days before the arrival of the full length in the form of the 10-minute epic fever dream “The Teacher“. Sequenced as the album’s penultimate cut, before the unplugged, jagged, and forlorn coda “Rest“, the song unfolds and crumbles before the listener’s ears by way of proxying obsessive and thick stanzas atop of an unhinged baseline jam impetus, the latter ultimately binding the whole herculean effort together. It’s indulgent, inconclusive, and far from the most memorable moment on this thing—once again, definitely not single material. Yet this exploit’s biggest merit, standing as the Foo Fighters’ longest recorded track to date, is to allegorize the loose and unconstrained ethos that served as the album’s through line on here, whilst its constituent human parts rebuilt themselves amidst junctures of grief and mourning.

Aside from the aforementioned first two promo cuts, the record’s side A sports quite a lot more to write home about. At number three on the tracklist is “Hearing Voices“, a groovier and more contemplative affair wholly anchored by Grohl’s helpless cries, lamenting whatever part of letting go of someone who’s no longer there somehow still involves unfulfilled promises—in all likelihood reaching for a hybridized and spiritualized pastiche version of both Hawkins and his late mother Virginia (who passed away mere months after the drummer last year): “I’ve seen you in the moon / I wish that you were here / You promised me your words / A whisper in my ear / Every night I tell myself nothing like you could last forever“. The album title track follows suit, with its impervious and claustrophobic gain six-string riffs, pummeling a sense of utter paranoia and unsettlement into the track’s otherwise conventional late Foo Fighters formula. Dave Grohl’s soaring vocals reach husky heights rarely heard on a deep cut before, especially with such a quasi-psychedelic drawl, spookily adding to the tune’s disorienting sentence.

Wrapping up side A is perhaps the poppiest and most sanitized cut on the whole thing: “The Glass“. Flexing evident Concrete and Gold muscles on the peppy beat and flow front (cue “The Sky Is A Neighborhood“), the song does stick out a little bit like a sterilized thumb amidst the sea of musical roughness and lyrical rawness found elsewhere on the project. Don’t get it twisted, it’s far from the worst thing the Foos have ever put out, but the sensation it would’ve felt much more at home on any of their previous two LPs is one to not be easily shaken off—even after repeated listens. But Here We Are‘s flip side picks up strong again with “Nothing at All“, a Frankenstein’d power pop voyage starting off all but approachable and sticky, before completely transforming into an abrasive and savage chorus wave wholly obliterating the previously collected brownie points with casual listeners.

The aforementioned gorgeous ballad “Show Me How” follows on the tracklist at number seven, before deep feels continue to run at full steam thanks to the subsequent “Beyond Me“; an austere and truthful slice of emotional rock and roll, doubling as perhaps the most beautiful track on the record. “If it all just went away / Would you be kind? / Would you be so kind?; Are you well? / I can’t tell / Do tell / Do tell“, asks the former Nirvana percussionist, in a custom and manner that is so believable it hurts. “The Teacher” and “Rest” end the 48-minute runtime listening experience on a somewhat weaker note, although not less honest or compelling. More in particular, the latter cut’s second half suddenly photosynthesizes into a haunting and unsettling wall of distorted sound around the 2:40 mark, moonlighting as the farewell sendoff to this album’s dedicated dearly departed, and anyone else in the listeners’ minds for that matter: “Rest, you can rest now / Rest, you will be safe now“.

Safe to say with But Here We Are the Foo Fighters have made their best set of cohesive songs since Wasting Light. More than a decade and a pandemic later, and one core member down, they attested once again that resilience and defiance are two key ingredients in their raison d’être, whether they like it or not. If nothing else, they both have proven to be powering some of their best and most existential songwriting. With a set of ten new songs under their belts, and after having put to rest most rumors around seeking closure in order to move past their recent hardships by announcing celebrity session drummer Josh Freese (of Devo, Guns N’ Roses, and Nine Inch Nails fame) as Hawkins replacement, Dave, Nate, Pat, Chris, and Rami finally seem ready to move on and go back to being the biggest arena rock band on the planet. To do the easy part, in other words.

We’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and we hope to feel your interest again next time.




2023, Roswell Records



Standalone singles killed the album star. If it weren’t for a grieving Foo Fighters—now sans late drummer Taylor Hawkins—fitting to the standard industry mould with their lead single-and-LP announcement combo (“Rescued“, teasing the release of their eleventh studio album But Here We Are next month), one would be fooled to think better of the notion that focus tracks need to exist as part of a far-sighted project roll out. Thus, by way of rounding up a batch of recently unveiled solo records, here we dare put forward a non-definitive reflection around the seemingly dissipated importance to lend a monetizable roadmap to new music.

Beginning chronologically and alphabetically with vaporwave heavyweight George Clanton. Nearly cracking under the pressure to follow up his spotless and watertight Slide record from 2018, the 100% Electronica label founder unveiled his latest smash hit single “I Been Young” early last month—only to not be accompanied by an official announcement about a potential full length container. Sure, while it is true that the 35-year old electronic musician has been all but half-jokingly teasing his newest project on social media since his incandescent Nick Hexum collaboration, given his humorous and self-deprecating ethos it’s hard to gauge how founded that pipeline might actually be.

Lest we get it twisted here: prioritizing autonomous singles is nothing inherently new and unchartered. Over the past decade, the complete digitization and platformization of music consumption has made it so that its industry specifics design a clear incentivization scheme benefitting the ‘waterfall’ release of smaller projects (read: singles) over full bodies of work. Partly due to the major music services’s editorial playlisting leitmotivs, partly pushed by the opportunity of creating more ‘release events’ by staggering smaller drops over time, artists and labels alike have not been shy to tap into the predicament headfirst. Whether pundits mess with it or not—such tidal wave is not to be stopped and rather ubiquitous today.

Interestingly enough, instead of selling out to such rabid cheat code demands of the modern streaming economy, Clanton saw fit to take a somewhat different homegrown path, by creating a subscription-like community around 100% Electronica. He then elevated the concept to a whole new level with 100% ElectroniCON in 2019, effectively the first vaporwave music festival in the world. As the planet deranged and all live entertainment ground to a halt, he kept it going through so-called Virtual Utopia gigs, as well as by establishing a weekly VR talk show, THE BIG STREAM. Clearly, an adapted approach to a changing paradigm in the machinery—yet, still no unequivocal announcement to anticipate a next record. Here’s to hoping a Slide follow up does in fact materialize, for “I Been Young” sounds just as dreamy, hazy, and sticky as anything on it. Alas, it is also not exactly the type of material that would sit naturally next to “Fucking Up My Life” (his other standalone drop) on an LP’s tracklist.

This specific sample of latest releases seems to be doubling as something akin to a final straw. Especially on account of the fact that these artists have historically made it a point to curate and elevate full album experiences in their discographies. Let’s take 28-year old Brooklyn, NY MC Joey Bada$$ as further exhibit. His newest R&B-infused joint “Fallin’” quickly followed on the coattails of last year’s brilliant 2000, the highly anticipated spiritual successor to his groundbreaking debut mixtape 1999 (2012). With a street date of 7th April, and featuring production from Powers Pleasant, DJ Khalil, Chuck Strangers, Adam Pallin, and McClenney, the 4:30 minutes-crooner finds the Pro Era founder coasting through a butter-smooth neo-soul canvas for the song’s greasy first-half, before switching gears into sets of convinced and stern 16s that all bring out his spitting prowess on the backend—just in case anyone needed reminding.

The record is a welcome change of pace for the up and coming thespian, who flexes both singing and compositional proficiency on a cut that would have admittedly felt a tad out of place on his jazz rap-indebted third studio LP last year. Most suspiciously though, it’s the lack of cliffhanging substance attached to the headline drop, leaving fans with little to nothing to look for forward to musically past this point. For at this time it is wholly unclear whether “Fallin'” is to lead up to a new sizable project from the progressive rapper, or if it’s to exist as an isolated statement à la his impeccable and faithful Mos Def cover “UMI Says“, performed live for Australia triple j‘s storied Like A Version series at the turn of the new year.

Meanwhile, just mere days ago on 27th April, it was high time for the welcome and highly anticipated return of New Jersey alt rockers The Gaslight Anthem. Their newest track “Positive Charge” represents the first taste of original music after their seven-year indefinite hiatus—and since their lukewarm 2014 fifth studio LP Get Hurt—thanks to frontman Brian Fallon getting them back together to much fan acclaim last year after a successful solo stint. Ever the quintessential album-oriented group, their fans had however hoped their comeback single would be splashed together with a more robust dispatch, hopefully revealing details around their long-awaiting next studio project; tough luck for them too.

Musically, the song plugs straight into Brian Fallon, Alex Rosamilia, Alex Levine, and Benny Horowitz’s trademark punk-indebted heartland aesthetic. Dirty, distorted, ragged, yet undercut by a melodic emotionality that affords them certain of liberties to structure their tune around pop tropes. Thing is: no album release date as of yet. Granted, The Gaslight Anthem are the type of salt of the earth band from whom it would be outright unthinkable to not imagine a full album transpiring from a singles release cycle, especially when it’s a long-anticipated reunion one. What’s particularly uneasy here though is the complete lack of LP forethought in burning such comeback card, unlike say the aforementioned Foo Fighters—a band most people would likely claim The Gaslight Anthem are cut from a similar clot of.

Much like “Positive Charge”, the final record scrutinized today comes courtesy of distribution from Sony Music-owned Thirty Tigers, and marks the surprise-release of a new loose joint called “SentRock” by legendary Chicago lyricist Lupe Fiasco. Named after fellow Chi-towner and visual artist SentRock—real name Joe Perez—the tune is being dished out as part of a cross-media collaboration that resulted in limited-edition autographed prints of his A Westside Bird’s Eye View painting, doubling as its front cover. The abstract and jolty single is the MIT visiting professor‘s first taste of new music since his watertight Drill Music in Zion project last year, and yes, you guessed it right: no indication has hitherto been given as to whether it is to function as teaser to something bigger in the pipe. In Lupe’s defense, he appears to be keeping fairly busy on the heels of his recent nomination as Saybrook Fellow at Yale University—highlighting the conscious rapper’s latest honor in a series in the realm of academia.

As media outlets and online fan communities alike all heavily debate around the likelihood of full length collections of songs by these four acts in varying degrees of speculation, there’s no denying the notion that most artists and labels largely do so to protect themselves and the sacredness of their writing process. Chances are, all aforementioned creatives currently fall into that category. With that being said, there exists a foreboding sense of aftermath from a chasm that was perhaps long bound to happen, and that now seems to be reaching what were once immaculate corners of a revered space, that used to actually care about the craft of an album, and that wouldn’t stick their necks out unless there was one to announce. For as much as we find it convenient to throw around the self-protection argument when faced with their absence, what if the artists themselves have stopped giving a damn?

We’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and we hope to feel your interest again next time.




2023, 100% Electronica



2023, Columbia Records



2023, Thirty Tigers



2023, Thirty Tigers


Nashville, TN-natives Kings of Leon are the type of modern day alt/arena rock band that one would figure receives abundant questionable coverage from dime-a-dozen mainstream rock music blogs, and then some. Be it their envied stratospheric popularity, their early-to-mid noughties universal critical acclaim, or the clickbait-y inside family job they’ve got going for themselves—there is no such thing as scarcity of press icebreakers as far as the 1999-formed quartet. It’s therefore all the more surprising how this here unfolding before your very eyes gets filed as the first official album review by this site of anything lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Caleb, bassist Jared, lead guitarist Matthew, and stickman and BV-journeyer Nathan Followill have put out over more than two decades. Yet, as another reviewing taboo was demystified last summer, the time has come to entertain a virtual watercooler-blabbering conversation about Kings of Leon’s eight studio full length When You See Yourself, out worldwide just this past 5th of March Friday on the mighty RCA Records.

Whether one likes to admit it or not, Kings of Leon are one of only a handful residual overhyped, gentrified, and focus grouped bands to have come out alive the other side of the early 00s garage-rock revival mania. While it can be argued that at least some of their MO employed to withstand such ruthless and repellant industry plant cycle can attributed to, well, selling out, as well as shamelessly embracing the role of poster-children record business mercenaries (whatever that means in the current post-selfie, TikTok-era), there is quite a lot in the way of originality, refinement, and quality as part of their Southern rock-informed familial affair. One does certainly not need to be reminded of the radio-friendly and commercially-appealing ubiquity of their multi-platinum selling 2008 project Only By the Night, or the fact that the three brothers and one cousin stand hitherto nominated for as many as twelve Grammy Awards in their career—snatching four of them including Record of the Year and Best Rock Song for “Use Somebody” in 2010—to realise how warranted, highly-anticipated, and of ‘public interest matter’ any coverage of the issue of their first LP in five years oughta be.

This latest release of the collection of eleven new records on When You See Yourself represents the culmination of the longest gap in-between studio projects to date for the rock band, who chose once more to enlist British producer Markus Dravs after his work on the their preceding full length WALLS in 2016. What’s more, said limbo was reportedly slated to be less significant than the full five years it turned out to be, for main songwriter and lyricist Caleb allegedly began to mess around with first rough draft ideas of songs that would eventually land on KoL’s latest album as early as January from two years back. Unsurprisingly, had it not been for the largest public health cataclysm in a century, the record would have most likely seen the light of day at some point last year. Evidently though, that did not materialise, translating into an unsolicited epiphany affording the four Followill relatives a long and enduring de-briefing phase that helped them digest, marinate, and perfect the final batch of tracks that ended up being sequenced on this thing, making up for a robust 51 minutes of runtime by the way—almost a length colossus in the streaming age.

It is not just an unusual and business-allergic, if not externally-imposed, self-reflection that envelops some type of idiosyncrasy to this record, but perhaps even more un-analogue and old-school is the group’s unorthodox and avant-garde decision to employ distributed ledger technologies—also known as blockchain—to beef up the promotional cycle surrounding When You See Yourself. Partnering with US technology company YellowHeart, through a promo campaign wittily dubbed NFT YOURSELF Kings of Leon became the first band to offer an album as a so-called non-fungible token (NFT), a cryptocurrency-like artefact set to unlock unique perks for its holders such as limited-edition vinyl, multimedia artwork pieces, and front row seats coupled with premiere concierge treatment to all future concerts. So the band’s creative director Casey McGrath on the futuristic stunt: “We approached the release […] in such an analog way, from the band’s approach in the studio to shooting everything on film and went as far as literally pulling out the scotch tape and glue sticks, and dry transfer lettering. To approach NFT YOURSELF with a digital art mindset sent electricity through the work. For those in the space that understand, they’ll appreciate the techniques of audio-generated imaging, pose detection, and pixel morphing that we used to create this collectible art. For those that don’t, we hope they’ll appreciate the undeniable power and emotion that results from the collision of analog and digital.”

Now how does one follow that one up? Arguably only by delving head-first into the music lied to wax on this album. It was first premiered earlier in January this year by two lead singles “The Bandit“—a gritty and rough-around-the-edges trip down sonic KoL memory lane with Far West saloon-ish lyricism such as “Chiseled their names in stone / Heavy the load you tow / And the red horse is always close / And the fire don’t burn below“—as well as “100,000 People“, a clearer and more linear successor to some of the most subdued and contemplative work off WALLS, stretching over almost six minutes of dejected and defeated romantic balladry, with an appeal perhaps stronger for motion picture synchronisation than radio spins. Speaking of which during an informative and riveting chat with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, airplay potential and easy rotation were endgoals the four American purposefully tried to deliberately not chase during the studio and writing sessions for their latest outing. It is not hard to believe them in hindsight, with a finished body of work sporting just two cuts under four minutes of playtime, and as many as three fiercely running for longer than five minutes without ever overstaying their welcome. The latter crop of tracks include the nocturnal, hypnotic, and emotionally draining opener “When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away” as well as the tastefully dour “A Wave“, which according to KoL’s frontman Caleb “has to stand out as one of the proudest moments in our career”.

Truth be told, the four Tennesseeans packed in reasons to be proud in spades on their latest studio effort. Look no further than the groovy, gorgeously self-aware and blue-eyed funk rock swagger of “Stormy Weather” at number four, or even the pernickety and luscious layered six-string work of the Come Around Sundown-sounding “Golden Restless Age” opening the LP’s C side. Having said that, the record’s back-end does suffer from a mild case of complacency and phoning-it-in-ness, found particularly severely on the symptomatically tired and underwhelming authoring underpinning the core of “Supermarket” as well as the bland, second-hand, overheated riff soup of the otherwise lyrically inspired “Echoing” sequenced on the album’s penultimate slot. Luckily for fans and the Leon royals themselves though, Caleb and bros. appear to outdo themselves compositionally on the extraordinarily exquisite curtain closing ballad “Fairytale“. The four minute arrangement comes in the form of a boneless and skeleton-free experimental number that sounds as if an algorithm synthetised the utmost worthy elements of their Only By the Night standout “Closer” and soaked them in the energy, vibes, and instrumental configuration of their most hardcore WALLS-era imprint. It thus becomes clear that whether in form of PR antics, or just bona fide songwriting, creative hybridity seems to be the only way Kings of Leon appear to push forward nowadays, particularly when they see themselves.

I’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and I hope to feel your interest again next time.




2021, RCA Records


It’s Foos season all over again—after skipping a whole year and seeing their original roll out plans affected by the public health crisis bought upon by COVID-19 alongside the rest of the entertainment industries, the beloved, accomplished, and marquee alternative rock group saw fit to pick February’s first eligible new music Friday to unveil their tenth studio LP Medicine at Midnight. Following up on 2017’s slept-on and widely ignored Concrete & Gold, the post-grunge sextet currently composed of frontman and principal songwriter Dave Grohl, drummer and background vocalist Taylor Hawkins, bassist Nate Mendel, lead and rhythm guitarists Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear, as well as keys wizard Rami Jaffee reportedly chose to go into a fully groovy, dancey, and rhythmic power pop direction on their latest offering. Premiered in early November last year by something fairly faithful to said instruction coming in (the colour and) the shape of “Shame, Shame“, the record is out on RCA Records and sees the renewed inclusion of mainstream hit pop producer Greg Kurstin on production duties, after his work on Concrete & Gold four years ago.

With the exception made of 2014’s ambitious and only ever so slightly pretentious HBO-earmarked Sonic Highways project, which from a tracklist-length perspective sports a mere eight tracks on its sequencing, Medicine’s similarly scant nine cuts make for the Foo Fighters’ shortest studio album to date, with just 35 minutes and change of runtime. For as weird and zany as it sounds, Dave Grohl and band attribute the concise and efficient recording sessions, as well as their meagre output, to spooky ghosts and paranormal activity experienced in the Californian house-turned-studio they recorded the album in. The former Nirvana stickman is widely known as the earnest nicest man in rock n roll, so there should be no reason for one to doubt this—but one’s gotta hand it to them, if that is not entirely true, at least it’s a pretty darn good promo stunt. The aforementioned first lead single “Shame, Shame” had enough percussive intricacies and instrumental experimentation to have listeners both attentive and salivating over more teasers. Too bad these would be misguided shortly thereafter by second single “No Son of Mine“, a subsequent abrasive red herring dropped on New Year’s Day 2021, packing a by-the-numbers Lemmy and Motörhead worship, going as far as retooling and reverse-engineering his iconic and seminal hit “Ace of Spades“.

Whilst “No Son of Mine” is this album’s “White Limo“—therefore a trademark and formulaic MO project inclusion for the outfit at this point—third and final single in anticipation to the full length “Waiting on a War“, released in mid January just weeks prior to the official street date, is instead a true blue encapsulation of Dave Grohl’s elemental songbook down to a T: relatable universality in its lyrics, lush and climactic six-string arrangements culminating in fan-favourite, stadiums-ready sing-along choruses topped with epic outros, as well as that old familiar dash of conscientious je ne sais quoi typical of Dave’s best work hitherto. It’s predictive, run-of-the-mill, and terribly safe territory for Foo Fighters, but it’s amongst the best tunes on this thing: “Every day waiting for the sky to fall / Big crash on a world that’s so small / Just a boy with nowhere left to go / Fell in love with a voice on the radio“. Furthermore, the song is indicative of a counterintuitive pattern emerging inherent to Medicine at Midnight, where its most tasteful and effective moments might just be found in slower ballads and their acoustic compositional manifestation. Take penultimate cut “Chasing Birds” for instance, a gorgeously orchestrated Bowie-esque chanson with unplugged guitar ornaments to die for. A record that somehow manages to transcend this album’s dance floor flair and rise to a whole other life of its own above the clouds of rock and roll pantheon.

Incidentally, the latter would have made for a much more memorable and compelling closing chapter than the manic and jovial “Love Dies Young” sequenced at number nine, which despite its glossy reverb and chorus-soaked guitars set against the greasy palm muted distortion sounds just like “No Son of Mine”s illegitimate sister song, as if it were gestated from the same writing session, but after two more drinks and a puff of marijuana for all intents and purposes (the BVs on the refrain are irresistibly angelic and ethereal though). It is not a bad song and there is nothing inherently wrong in ending a consciously sought after dance rock record with the uplifting and cinematic sound design of “Love Dies Young”s back-end, though perhaps morphing this tune with its ancillary Lemmy-obituary hymn could have made for less lukewarm fillers overall. Speaking of fillers—a word that should ideally not come up in a nine-track album review—”Holding Poison” at number seven on the tracklist has got to be amongst the most underwhelming, subpar, and one-dimensional material the Seattle group has issued in years. What was probably intended to be a premiere arena rock fist-bumper and foot-stomper joint in Dave’s mind and intent, actually comes off sounding like the 101 of a hard rock tune one would teach a group of pimple-adorned pre-teens as they’re learning their analogue instruments coalesced in a world tainted by DJs and TikTok (and it’s the longest tune on the album, no less).

Need not worry too much dear readers, as there are musical reasons to rejoice aplenty to be found on the Foo Fighters’ tenth body of work. Start by hitting play on album opener “Making a Fire“; if one can make it past the cringeworthy and gentrified “na na na nas” cheaply leading up to each of the verses, the tune goes on to reveal both enthralling compositional prowess and topical meritocracy: “But if this is our last time / Make up your mind / I’ve waited a lifetime to live / It’s time to ignite, I’m making a fire“. Track number three “Cloudspotter“, with its greasy and fat guitar riffs shredding, rhythmic swagger, and catchiness in spades, is potentially the best representation of what the band set out to do from the jump when it affirmed that it went into production aiming to capture its “love of rock bands that make these upbeat, up-tempo, almost danceable records”. A similar flavoursome balance is to be experienced on the title track here, where sampled drum machines effortlessly complement slick basses and lush choral arrangements, all the while being enveloped in sticky refrains and bouncy grooves. Truth be told, such a somewhat successful creative heist at this point in the band’s career should at least be getting an ‘A for effort’. However, whether Dave Grohl likes it or not, the songs we’ll be remembering most fondly from Medicine at Midnight years down the line will still be those pulled from his diamond-in-the-rough punk rock lore—something that no matter how hard he tries to tame or shoehorn away into a focus group-ed thematic north star, still tips the scale in his favour.

I’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and I hope to feel your interest again next time.




2021, RCA Records

HERE COME(S) THE G.I.R.L | 2017-09-16

EMS started with absolutely no pre-conceived notion of editorial structure or journalistic discipline in mind, and to be fair if you’ve made it thus fair into its lifecycle I’m pretty much assuming you were able to realize this for yourself pretty quickly. Throughout about two years and a half the site has touched upon a wide variety of themes and topics, ranging from the more obvious and critically acclaimed “Alex Reviews Music”-column, to scattered and rather isolated notes and commentary on TV series, books, and even fashion brands. I guess the reason why I’m beginning this one with such a disclaimer is to try to legitimise my current inability to choose a single key topic to write about this time round, conflicting in conjunction with my lack of time and resources to split a list of different themes across multiple blogpost, as well as my very immediate need to bookmark what and why I want to say to this very specific timestamp. In fact, feel free to scratch the first excuse – as one can and ought to always find the time for the life domains he/she loves –, it’s really all about the necessity to make y’all aware of a couple things, so please be cautious that said awareness construction will materialise itself in form of a miscellaneous patchwork post.

Without too much further ado, in this writing I’d like to bring your esteemed attention to Los Angeles-based – yet universally addressing – independent lifestyle brand Gentlemen in Real Life, that has just recently released its second major run of products to the general public and boy, it’s simply wonderfully crafted. Brilliantly abbreviated in the catchy acronym GIRL to highlight its gender-neutral and boundary-less fashion approach, the alternative apparel and grooming brand was founded by former letlive. vocalist and principal gentleman Jason Butler back in early 2015, and likes to present itself to the world with the following:

“We believe the traditional definition of ‘gentleman’ is outdated. To us, it’s more than a refined look, or dapper presentation. It’s a lifestyle that transcends. Being a Gentleman is about taking the extra step to do what’s right. And we offer everyone a chance to be part of it.”

“We’re a small group of creatives and artists that make things we want to see made. And we’re committed to the fine details that we know they deserve.”

“The only way to truly endorse something is to create it yourself. That’s why we’ve made sure all of our products are designed, sourced, and manufactured in the USA.”

There’s really nothing else that should be added in my opinion to either spark or increase interest and concern for such valuable and especially honourable endeavour, which not only fully adopts and embodies the ethically/socially conscious values listed in the descriptions above, but also creates an organic and sustainable network of collaborations around their hometown of Los Angeles, CA, as documented on their extremely visually appealing Instagram page. Said manufacturing, productive, and marketing collaborators-ecosystem includes, for instance, the gorgeous graphic design brand Hate Street (H8ST) – which took care of the majority of the designs and visuals for GIRL’s latest drop – and the group of talented audiovisual producers that go by the name of Standard Issue Films, which enabled a series of promotional clips that were employed by Jason and GIRL when approaching their recent launch date on 1st September.

I hope it’s needless to say that I’m obviously not getting paid or in any shape or form compensated for writing this, for this enriching appreciation I feel for the brand truly stems from my complete alignment with both the mission and the cause of GIRL, besides clearly finding tons of delight and inspiration through the actual manufactured goods themselves. Thus, I’d simply suggest you all take even a quick look at what Jason and what he calls his family are doing with their company, as I fully believe it’s the minimum one could do when confronted with such praiseworthy and universally binding values as the ones brought forwards by GIRL.

As far as I’m concerned, at the time I got to learn about the overall GIRL project, it was an immediate no brainer for me to seek out means and ways to support what Jason and his crew were crafting, and for the record I have been doing so since the company launched their first online collection back in January last year. Furthermore, it should also be said that to me all things related to GIRL got significantly amplified by Jason’s artistic and especially musical undertakings that were going on at the same time (enter primarily letlive.), which I certainly strongly felt connected to and was able to rely on multiple levels on. Speaking of which, recent warmer months have brought back loads of excitement after letlive. tragically announced their break up earlier this April. Said excitement comes in form of The Fever 333, i.e. Jason’s brand new incendiary musical project kickstarted with the help of former The Chariot guitarist Stephen Harrison and impressive Night Verses drummer/digital percussionist Aric Improta.

The alternative-punk trio presented itself to the wider world via a memorable and unique unauthorised pop-up event in the parking lot of legendary drive-through landmark Randy’s Donuts on the last 4th July in Inglewood, Los Angeles. The band documented their incredible performance in a dedicated videoclip recalling the experience and explaining that the impromptu live performance was first and foremost:

“[…] an effort to demonstrate the power of assembly and protest. This particular event was in opposition to the displacement of citizens due to their race, choice of identity, or economic standing to remind ourselves that we are the largest piece of any community. Not politicians, not corporations, not the authorities, but US – the citizens. The people are what make communities successful. Before the release of any music we released specific pieces of information containing a location, a date, and then a message. In that message we called to those who wanted to see change and a reminder that it starts locally. On this day over 150 people showed up in a parking lot in Inglewood in support of an idea. That idea was to empower the people that serve as the heartbeat of their community.”

The Fever 333 has so far released two radically angry and raging standalone tracks (“We’re Coming In” and “The Hunting Season”), and have officially blossomed at their first “authorized” hometown live show that took place at The Roxy Theatre in Hollywood on 31st August, with prestigious guest appearance/endorsement of blink-182 drumming God Travis Barker as well as A-list punk producer John Feldmann, whom the band has so far worked with for the release of its first two songs. It’s still unclear what’s next for the politically-charged protest punk outfit, although judging by the way they hinted and released both information and actual material in the past, it all seems to be predominantly short-noticed and revolving around the 333-digits hook, presumably originating in their underlying credo “B3 FR33. STAND UP. RESIST.”. Watch their space as they don’t stop repeating it: There’s a fever coming…

Before pulling the curtains on this multi-dimensionally inspired, Interweb-hosted essay, yours truly would like to consume a little more of this digitised ink to address the recent release of mighty Foo Fighters‘ new LP Concrete and Gold, out just one day before this writing on 15th September. I’m fully aware that in a recent (and upcoming) sea of hugely highly-anticipated releases, with new records out (either now or fairly soon) by the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, The War on Drugs, The Killers, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Stereophonics, and many more, there’s no way I could truly pay respect to any of those if not through a dedicated ARM-instalment (although nor am I promising this will actually materialise). Yet, very similarly to the aforementioned The Fever 333, I do like to break the rules and therefore allow myself the freedom of a couple paragraphs discussing the Foos’ recent massive album, trying to frame this discussing from a slightly different standpoint than regular ARMs so as to maintain a cautionary “apples-to-oranges” comparison basis.

The context surrounding the release of Foo Fighters’ ninth studio album contains in itself a number of fascinating insights, from the rather unconventional record producer’s choice (the bird and the bee‘s Greg Kurstin), passing through the addition of a sixth permanent group member in long-time touring keyboardist Rami Jaffee, to the juicy line-up of stellar fellow musicians who guest on the album, including Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, and Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman. There is of course a fundamental, and arguably more important, musical layer to the whole aspect as well, with almost 50 minutes of brand new recorded running time spread across 11 different songs. Furthermore, one could also have noticed an hilarious and deeply informative radio interview touching upon a wide variety of topics with frontman Dave Grohl hosted by none other than Metallica’s iconic drummer Lars Ulrich on his Beats 1’s show It’s Electric!.

Yet, in spite (or precisely because of) all of the above highly intriguing and valid starting points for a genuine conversation on the Foos’ new album, what I’d like to stress out is an unbelievably fun, diverse, and effective promotional stunt utilized by the band. What I’m referring to is a promo video published in conjunction to the album release that tells the story of how Concrete and Gold was made in all its nuances, with more than worthy behind-the-scenes anecdotes and fun facts. By packaging a great amount of information relating to a process that lasted over multiple years in form of a 6-minute cartoonish, brilliantly animated clip, the Foo Fighters not only produced a promotional item that is quite unique and characteristic (especially for a mainstream act), but by processing the highest consumed format of digital consumption (video) they also managed to squeeze a great deal of valuable insights regarding the making-of the album that I’m sure would otherwise have been done through multiple separated elements that may even have not fit that well together. Hat’s off to the Foos thus, who to be fair have always flirted with the more comical and funny end of the spectrum when creating music videos for their songs. Pick any of theirs on YouTube to prove this point. Speaking of points, this was the last one for now, I promise. But remember to always B3 FR33.

I’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and I hope to feel your interest again next time.