The Ex-Optimists, Phantom Freight

More and more these days, I find myself admiring bravery when it comes to rock music; it’s a whole lot cooler, to me, to do something strange and different than it is to ride the same damn riffs and song structures and whatnot (well, okay, as long as the music itself works, but we’ll get to that)…

A Sundae Drive, The Senseless & The Sound

Midway through listening to A Sundae Drive’s most recent full-length, the followup to 2011’s excellent, You’re Gonna Get Me, it hit me just how, well, how dark it is. There’s a murky, bitter edge to the band’s sound on here, despite the seemingly cheery pop melodies…

The Ex-Optimists/A Sundae Drive, “Burn Bright”/”Labor Day”

It’s always nice when you see your high expectations for something get validated; that’s the way I feel about the brand-new split-7″ from two of my favorite damn bands from this great state or any other, The Ex-Optimists and A Sundae Drive. When I first got word that this was underway, I was a little bemused — the two didn’t seem to necessarily fit all that well together…

The Ex-Optimists, Bee Corpse Collector

With Bee Corpse Collector, The Ex-Optimists sound like a band resolutely out of time, out of step with anything that’s happening today. To which I have to say: awesome. More power to ’em. They’re not that far retro, of course, skipping…

The Ex-Optimists, “Nitemare City”/“February”

I’m honestly kicking myself now for not listening to this sooner. College Station band The Ex-Optimists have been on repeat in my headphones for a while now, drowning me in a turbulent squall of Sonic Youth guitars, driving ’90s indie-drone-rock melodies…

Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Something Fierce + Young Girls + Gold Sounds + Illegal Wiretaps + French Horn Rebellion (MP3!) + More

Dammit, dammit, dammit. I’d thought I was going to get the drop on Saturday, April 23rd, and get this thing posted last night, but then the Gods of the Internet intervened and took me completely offline for the rest of the evening. Argh…

The Dee Use, Shave or Make Massive

The Houston electronic noise band The Dee Use have a delivery that is very similar to a swarm of angry bees attacking. Angry robot bees. Short and not-so-sweet, the band’s 4-song EP Shave or Make Massive is a little gem…

Female Demand, Female Demand

Of the four tracks on Female Demand’s self-titled EP, the one that hits the hardest is the opener, “Sweet Nothing” — it starts off with almost wah-wah-sounding bass and stuttering, barely-restrained drums, then stomps its way into two minutes and change of driving, thundering, bass-and-drums instrumental rawk…

Atarimatt vs. great unwashed luminaries, I Was a Teenage Metalhead

One of the more intriguing artistic trends in recent years is the reconstitution of the debris of mainstream culture and industry into forms standing at a substantial distance from their original intent. From the sardonic collages of advertising and news broadcasts by Negativland…

Machine Meets Land, Forgot About the Whistle Industry

The music on Forgot About the Whistle Industry starts promisingly, with distant, Radiohead-ish guitar and funky drums, but man, when guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Vanecek starts singing…it’s all downhill from there. It’s not the voice, mind you, but the words Vanecek’s singing that make me cringe…


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