Hard to believe that Kim and Thurston from Sonic Youth have a daughter old enough to start her own punk band. When I first read the news clip over at Pitchfork, I was trying to do the math to figure out how old she must be by now, and it just made me feel old. Big Nils is her band, hailing from Northampton, Mass. And judging by my own teenage output, Coco Gordon is on track for greatness by comparison. Her band’s debut is on sale for $5 over at Bandcamp.
Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It and See: Despite the didn’t-even-try artwork, I can’t stop listening. Combining the darker leanings of Humbug with the story-arc songwriting of Favourite Worst Nightmare, Arctic Monkeys sound like a band hitting its stride on LP number 4. It just clicks better than the slightly awkward Humbug, which seemed to suffer from a decidedly indulgent stoner-rock pretense, probably due to aligning with QOTSA’s Josh Homme. Well, definitely, not probably. Either way, this performance on Letterman from a few weeks back is stellar. Still have yet to see this band live. Top of my list, if they’d ever play anywhere even remotely south of DC.
Originally lumped in with the unfortunately christened “grunge” movement, Tacoma, Washington’s Seaweed were really just a gritty pop-punk band that rose to prominence with a seemingly endless arsenal of memorable hooks and raucous riffs. Using Sub Pop as a springboard to the majors on the backs of two stellar LP’s (Weak and Four, respectively), Seaweed signed with Hollywood Records in 1995. Back then signing to a major label carried quite a bit more stigma than it seems to now, but Seaweed weathered the storm musically, as the resulting Spanaway album did little to diminish the band’s signature energy and plethora of sing-along choruses. They just happened to get in bed with the wrong devil. In the 90’s the Disney-owned Hollywood Records had a reputation for magically making bands disappear off the face of the planet. Back then when you read of a Hollywood Records signing in CMJ you instinctively shook your head knowing that some unlucky band was about to enter commercial purgatory. Seaweed didn’t go down without a fight. The band landed a few spins on prime-time MTV with “Start With,” but the vortex of the Hollywood Records curse landed Seaweed right where everyone feared: dropped. Three years later Seaweed resurfaced on the indie circuit with a solid follow-up for Merge Records (Actions and Indications), but it was a short-lived resurgence. So, I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that over twelve years after having last seen Seaweed live, I read that the band is putting out a new 7″ on No Idea Records. The reunion circuit obviously casts a wide net these days, but being annoyed by reunions at this point is almost akin to being annoyed by the wind. Plus, I’ll always be a loyal Seaweed fan, since the lead singer once pulled me back into a show from which I had been unceremoniously ejected. Some idiot moshing fruitcake had smashed into me during Seaweed’s set, so I retaliated with a pointed shove. The bouncer only caught my reaction and quickly booted me out of the show. Arron from Seaweed left the stage and immediately came outside to tell the bouncer I was cool and to let me back in. I had just interviewed the whole band on WUSC, so Aaron kind of knew me, but I like to think he would have done it anyway. Fan for life.
The Buddy Holly tribute Rave On: Buddy Holly is out June 28th and features quite an esteemed group of artists ranging from Paul McCartney and Julian Casablancas to Florence and the Machine and The Black Keys. Fiona Apple’s contribution has just been leaked and finds her once again teaming up with multi-instrumentalist/producer Jon Brion. Holly’s original charmed because of its overt simplicity. Apple knows better than to try to fuss up a winning formula, so she leaves the arrangement sparse and lets her voice do all the work. Her cadence lends more of a country feel to the melody, while adding a bit of a darker edge with her subtly tense vibrato.