Maps is the third album from Sacramento quintet Soft Science on Test Pattern Records. The ten tracks show the dreamgaze auteurs taking the best parts of shoegaze and dreampop, and crafting a sound as tasteful as pizza. This is an album from a band that has matured into one of the most articulate and irresistable bands to come out of California in a long time. With enough musical chops to fell a forest and the siren like musings of vocalist Katey Haley, the band bangs through tracks that will stir the loins. This is an absolute must have. Stream and buy Maps at the link below.
Monday, June 25, 2018
The Limits of Men is the debut album from Seattle singer/songwriter and Darto frontman Nicholas Merz. The nine tracks have a definite Nick Cave vibe going on. That's a heady comparison that we wouldn't wish on any artist, but Merz rises to the challenge with an album of lyrical depth and musical quality and immense songwriting chops. The album brims with interesting melodic twists, inventive instrumental sounds and an artistic maturity lacking in much of modern music. This is an absolute must have. Stream and buy The Limits of Men at the link below.
Friday, June 22, 2018
New Jersey band High Disciple have released their S/T debut album. The six instrumental tracks come across as free form jams, highlighting a style that channels reggae vibes and some glitchy flourishes. What is lacking is the forceful beat and engagement expected by most modern electronic music listeners, or compositions that would showcase the variety and chops to attract a more rock leaning audience. In the end this is an album that lacks a compelling raison d'etre, leaving a release that falls short, both thematically and musically. Stream and buy High Disciple at the link below.
Promise Of The Light is the new EP from Australian singer/songwriter Tom Richardson. The six tracks are carefully crafted folk rock pieces, where emotion flourishes and expression is foremost. The EP is laid back like Jack John, but is not as overtly commercial. This is a singer/songwriter album that serves up deep lyrics, alluring arrangements and stylish production. Richardson is an artist that is interesting and original, offering plenty of chops to engage with. Stream and buy Promise Of The Light at the link below.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
The Room in the Wood have released their debut Magical Thinking EP. The three tracks recall the era of prog rock bands like King Crimson, but with their own unique originality. This is music that goes from Bohemian folk to mystical rock vibes effortlessly. At the same time, this is a hard record to class or relate to in terms of modern music. It seems to inhabit a nether region of musical theatrics, eschewing any recognizable genre, lacking a commercial swing or captivating presence. This is adventurous music for those that like art for art's sake and will hold an allure for those that like to venture into unknown waters. Watch the video for the title track then stream and buy the Magical Thinking EP at the link below.
Righteous Woman is the third album from Toronto synthpop artist For Esme. The ten tracks recall artists like Chvrches, less repetitive stylistically than Purity Ring and less tritely commercial pop than Grimes. The songs speak to the personal struggle of women and deliver the music with a smart vibe catchy arrangements, with the weak hooks enhancing the overall message and affect of the songs. With a captivating sonic presence and interesting lyrical and musical depth this is an album that will stay on repeat. Stream and buy Righteous Woman at the link below.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Isle of Man indie rock auteurs Circus worlD are back with their Dandelion Radio Session EP. After twenty years together, the duo took advantage of an invitation to record a Dandelion Radio session to revisit some of their older material and introduce it to a new audience. The six tracks showcase the band's compelling take on post-punk, with an edgy melodic bent and lyrics of depth and emotion, all coupled with accomplished rock arrangements. Mark Sayle and the prolific Mikie Daugherty continue to turn out music for the ages. Stream and buy The Dandelion Radio SessionEP at the link below.
Brooklyn literary art rock duo Lusterlit are back with a new two track EP, You Were Never Really Here, inspired by Johnathan Ames' new film of the same name. The two tracks are dark, deep post punk, blending a Joy Division vibe with a denser, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark sheen. Lusterlit continue to be a FZB favorites with their, original and unique take on rock. Eschewing formula and commercialism, they chart new ground and expand the genre in ways few would have imagined. A definite must have. Watch the video for EP track River, then stream and buy You Were Never Really Here at the link below.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Stucco Thieves is the new album from NYC band The Sediment Club, on Brooklyn indie label Wharf Cat Records. The nine tracks showcase the band's own brand of dissonant punk rock, crafted over their ten year history. This is jagged music, sharp enough to saw off a leg. Brash, unapologetic and in your face, the band takes punk to a more experimental realm, where convention is discarded for a vibe that challenges the listener and opens up the genre to a more avant garde mode the way early Lydia Lunch did. Grab your balls and jump right in. Stream and buy Stucco Thieves at the link below.
Dirty Water Records brings us the debut S/T album from London pop-punk band Lucy and the Rats. The ten tracks marry an edgy postpunk aesthetic with catchy pop songs to deliver an album that keeps your arse moving. Melodic and inventive, with an infectious vibe, sinuous vocals and enough twang to make Duane Eddy blush. This band has hit upon a winning sound. Stream and buy Lucy and the Rats at the link below.
Monday, June 18, 2018
The Silence Came After is the sophomore album from Ottawa singer/songwriter Claude Munson. The nine tracks wander from uptempo indie rock, to progressive folk, all the while showcasing an accomplished musician, writing engaging songs and delivering a superlative listening experience. This is an album of stylistic depth, expressive phrasing and smart arrangements. An altogether strong album that is a definite must have. Stream and buy The Silence Came After at the link below.
Austrian indie label Cut Surface has released All You Want, the sophomore album from Munich synthpop stylist Tom Wu. With a dark vibe and a post-punk take on synthpop, Wu serves up an album that is original and enticing. The nine tracks are fitting for a heavy drug hazed night in the German club scene. Irresistibly sinister and inescapably intimate. Get your edge on, stream and buy All You Want at the link below.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Here at FZB there is one internet radio station that is miles above the rest, NBTMusic Radio, curated by the irrepressible Martin. Now we can tell you that publishing a daily music blog is hard work, but that's nothing compared to running a radio station. NBT gives play to the length and breadth of the indie music community and is an indispensable place to hear all that is new and wonderful in emerging music. This new compilation, released to help fund station operations, is as good as it gets. With tracks by sixteen different artists that span the range of genres and styles that make emerging music great, NBTMusic Radio stands out as the premier purveyor of all this wonderful music. So you have only one mission, stick a crowbar in your wallet and pry out enough money to buy this compilation and keep NBTMusic radio on the air for a long time to come. The music you save may be your own. Stream and buy the Comets, Karma And Radicals Compilation at the link below. By the way, you can also support NBT by a monthly donation through Patreon like we do.
Uruguayan musicians Wilder Gonzales Agreda and Gabriel Pereira Spurr have released the album Sudamérica Electro-Underground on Peruvian label Superspace Records. The three extended tracks are dark, spritely ambient music. Sounds right out of a video game or thriller video. Challenging to listen too and a bit of a discordant edge. Original and experimental, for those that seek a more unique musical experience. Stream and buy Sudamérica Electro-Underground.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Synthpop auteurs Spray are back with their first full length in ten years. To call the album a monster would be an understatement of galactic proportions. From the title track's original hook to the infectious beats, the style and songwriting prowess, this album is a pop triumph that should be celebrated with the best of Human League, Lori Anderson and other leaders of electronica. This is a record that is inventive, totally compelling and totally engaging; an absolute must have. Watch the video for title track Anthologized By Cherry Red, then stream and buy Anthologized By Cherry Red at the link below.
Wowsers is the sophomore album from Greek novelty rock band Chickn, on Inner Ear records. The nine tracks are bombastic, theatrical rock, with elements of Queen meets KISS meets The New Pornagraphers. A huge sound, pretentious and cliched at times, innovative and interesting at others. The album as a whole is a bit of a stretch to engage with due to the stylistic cacophony. Challenging and exasperatingly charming, this should be on everyone's player to check out. Stream and buy Wowsers at the blink below.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Kentucky based Nova Flares, aka Jason Wagers, is back with a full EP on the heals of his single Gut Splinter. The five tracks are nice melodic guitar pieces that are perfect background music for any number of activities. Therein lies the rub, this type of instrumental indie rock will always be background music. The songs are solid and with lyrics and vocals, could be made into something great. As it is, an unfinished after thought is the fate of this EP. Stream and buy Nova Flares at the link below.
Is It Funny When It Hurts is the new album and seventh from Edinburgh based Quiet As A Mouse. The eleven tracks are a nice mix of styles and influences, yielding an album that will satisfy fans of alt-rock, post-punk and indie. The songs are catchy, the instrumental parts are skillful and the vocals are engaging. There is a bit of a lack of energy and edge, as it all seems a little too polished and practiced. That said, this is a band at the height of their powers and the album is solid through and through. Stream and buy Is It Funny When It Hurts at the link below.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Italian indie rock band The King Moses have released their debut album, Another Plastic Sunday. The thirteen tracks are hard edged rock, with touches of post punk, EMO and alt-rock.. The album has a familiar sound without being overly derivative. The songs are nicely arranged, but the production is lacking, with a bit of a muddled sound instrumentally and the drums especially seem to have no body. Musically it's all there and leaves one wishing there was a bit more clarity to the tracks. A good solid debut from a band that shows promise. Watch the video for album track Matilda, then stream and buy Another Plastic Sunday at the link below.
Sense is the new album from Toronto singer/songwriter Kira May. The ten tracks are tight and alluring, with both musical and lyrical depth. The songs deal with themes such as emotional sensitivity, over stimulation, panic and depression. The album features highly original arrangements, interesting synth pads and May's stunning vocals, which show a seasoned sense of phrasing, delicate timber and full rich sound. This is an album that scores high with engaging music and compelling themes. It is an absolute must have. Stream and buy Sense at the link below.
Monday, June 11, 2018
The Hoax is the sophomore album from Wild Animals on Barcelona based indie label BCore Disc. The ten tracks have a heavy retro alt-rock sound drawing from bands such as Panic At The Disco, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. The tracks are very derivative, formulaic and radio ready, with a sound that has been heard many times before. The album is solid, well played and well produced. If you like your music usual and commercial, this is the record for you. Stream and buy The Hoax at the link below.
Death Beneath The Waves is the latest EP from Toronto based Century Thief. The three tracks are an interesting mix of styles, sort of a cross between Real Estate and Chicago; yes that is a stretch. The music is original, deep and a bit uneven. The EP is nice enough, well written and well performed, but at the same time is not catchy and lacks energy. Comes across to us as a band that can't settle on a style of their own, so they've thrown in everything they like. Just not much to grab hold of here. Stream and buy Death Beneath The Waves at the link below.
Friday, June 8, 2018
Welcome to another installment of Feature Friday, This time introducing Novo Management & Publicity and the head of their Chicago Office August Forte.
Hi FZB readers, August Forte here and I handle press and marketing at Novo Management & Publicity (http://novo.net/).
Novo is a music management/press and marketing company with offices in Nashville and Chicago and I run the Chicago office, which is located in the Fort Knox/2112 (http://2112inc.com/) complex in the city’s Portage Park neighborhood.
I have been doing press and marketing for a wide range of solo artists, bands, indie labels and festivals full-time for the last six years, and before that, I worked in radio promotions, record retail and as a freelance writer and editor. Music has been my life’s vocation and I still try to get out to DJ once a month and see new bands regularly. Here are some of my current clients via BandCamp:
Chicago’s Razorhouse has followed up 2015’s Codex Du with their third EP in the “Codex” series, Codex Tres Lingua. The EP, which was released on via band leader Mark Panick’s imprint Underwear Factory Toy Records, is streaming at:
Chicago progressive tock outfit Tautologic released the album Re: Psychle earlier this year and have been racking up reviews and airplay globally. I am currently advancing press for a couple shows here in Chicago and look forward to introducing the band to a wider audience. Re.: Psychle streams at:
Windy City singer-songwriter Jaren Rabin has his upcoming EP, Wondering About the Weather, where you can stream the first single, “Back to You” and preorder the EP at:
Chicago-based indie soul group Hood Smoke dropped the album Cannonball Porch in late February and it is available for digital download and on vinyl and CD at:
Finally, you can pre-order the new album, Someone Will Love You But It’s Just Not Me, by Chicago psych band Umbra & the Volcan Siege at:
Thursday, June 7, 2018
L.A. pop punk band Superbean is back with their latest album Shit Show. Originally formed in 1990 as Bean, the band became super with their 2014 release Let's Hear It For Superbean. On their new release, the twelve tracks are irreverent takes on retro rock style, think The Standells meet The Ramones. This is full on rock the way it was meant to be played, loud, fast and snotty. This record is everything that is true and good in rock and is an absolute must have. Stream and buy Shit Show at the link below.
FZB favorites Birds of Chicago have released their debut full length, Love In Wartime, the followup to their superlative EP American Flowers. The duo of JT Nero and Allison Russell make music so addictive it should be a Schedule II drug. The eleven tracks are music for the soul that goes straight to the heart. Superlative vocal phrasing and songwriting are the hallmarks of an album that is compelling and engaging on every level. This duo is going places, so don't miss the bus with this absolute must have. Stream and buy Love In Wartime at the link below.
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Minneapolis based electronic artist KPT has released the new virtual 7", Fluid Bonded b/w Disarm. The two tracks are minimalist electronica with understated beats and a dark sheen. The synthpads weave a foreboding aesthetic of sinester soundscapes that intrigue and entertain. KPT is forging an original sound that eschews conventional glitch and cliche to foster an ethereal aural experience all his own. These two pieces fall somewhere in between the background of ambient and the foreground of more moving electronica such as EDM and House. An interesting in between. Stream and buy Fluid Bonded b/w Disarm at the link below.
Wallow In The Hollow is the debut album from singer/songwriter Matt C. White. The thirteen tracks are totally compelling folkrock, with an intensity of delivery and wonderful Americana instrumental flourishes. What you'll hear is accomplished musicianship, that expertly ranges across folk genres, matched with strong songwriting and a singer who delivers with every phrase. This is a super strong debut and is an absolute must have. Stream and buy Wallow In The Hallow at the link below.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
The Scanners is the S/T debut album from the French punk sensations on London indie label Dirty Water Records. The twelve tracks are space inspired electro-punk, that comes across in the best tradition of bands like Devo. Dense, lofi, hard and edgy, this is music to bang heads together, get drunk and tear up the club. Some of the music sounds like it could be straight out of a 50's sci-fi flick, were it not for the modern instrumentation and harshness. One of the most imaginative punk bands we've encountered in awhile. Stream and buy The Scanners at the link below.
Changing Dice is the sophomore EP from Isle of Man singer/songwriter David Woodgett on FZB favorite Small Bear Records. The three tracks have a dense, muddy, lofi sound, with some tasty guitar licks. This EP would have greatly benefitted from better production as the overall sound comes across as a bit of a muddled mess, which detracts from being able to engage with the goodness that's obviously there in the tracks. None the less this is an EP of heavy imaginative sounds and is one to definitely listen to. Stream and buy Changing Dice at the link below.
Monday, June 4, 2018
Nervous Calm is the new EP from San Francisco band The Lamps. The four tracks are nice journeyman indie rock. A bit derivative, a bit of the expected and a bit underwhelming. The EP is good, but lacks a compelling sound and delivery, sounding like what one would expect walking into any local bar. Solid, well performed, but also unmemorable. Worth a listen but not something that will be on repeat. Stream and buy Nervous Calm at the link below.
The Weight Of The World Leaves A Broken Back is the new EP from NYC punk band Decisions, on Brooklyn indie Wharf Cat Records. The four tracks offer up a band that can be thought of as Riot Grrrl meets The Damned. This is lofi, extreme hard core that shoves it in your face and demands that you don't move away. Music that want's to agitate you out of your worthless suburban existence. Music that shows anarchy can be an artform, transcendent in its brutality and intimate in its reality. A definite must have. Stream and buy The Weight Of The World Leaves A Broken Back at the link below.
Friday, June 1, 2018
Underneath is the debut album from NYC based British singer/songwriter Daniel Morrow. The massive fifteen track work is an accomplished excursion into a myriad of blends of rock and pop stylings. Dark and edgy, the record gives us a window into an artist stretching their wings, while working to find a musical identity all their own. What comes from this is highly original music that is satisfying, interesting and engaging. A definite must have. Stream and buy Underneath at the link below.
One of our favorite indie labels, Vienna's Cut Surface Records, brings us K.T.F.T. the new album from Dazed Pilots. The nine tracks are stark, raw punk rock that recalls early bands like Sex Pistols, and Dead Kennedys, with a little Iggy Pop thrown in for good measure. This is stiletto to the heart music, dark dank dangerous club music, everything that is true and right with the world. The kind of music to make you want to get a flat bed truck, the biggest sound system imaginable and pull up in front of the White House and play at full volume. Oh yes, this is as authentic as it gets. Buy this record or stand in front of a mirror and admit you're a pussy. Watch the video for album track Fall From Grace, then stream and buy K.T.F.T. at the link below.