Indie Rock

OR “Pariah”

Math Rock trio OR is preparing to release their debut album, Pariah, on April 8th via the local label Dog & Pony Records. The group released the album's lead single, "Manly Robes" two years ago and that video can be streamed below.

This is the trio of Frank Hryniewicz (Sidekick Kato, Damp Hay), drummer Matt Precin (American Draft, Sacha Mullin), and bassist Erik Bocek (Ghosts & Vodka, American Heritage, Joan of Arc).

The latest single from the new album is called “Vulgarian” which was the first song the trio wrote when forming back in 2016.

   

Savak’s elaborate single-releasing strategy revealed

ultranyc.com/legacy-artists-tiktok/

Between October 1982 and September 1983 Michael Jackson released seven count em seven singles off his paradigm-shifting sixth solo album Thriller with each of the singles in question charting in the Top Ten which set a record that wouldn’t be broken until Drake put out Certified Lover Boy (also his sixth studio album) late last year. This is a turn of events that obviously sticks in the craw of Savak, nearly as much as in mine, because the band have released five advance singles to date off their upcoming LP Human Error / Human Delight to be released on everyone’s favorite day of the year April 15 (via Savak's own Peculiar Works label in partnership with Ernest Jenning Record Co. and btw note how the album’s title is a clever nod to Thriller’s “Human Nature”) no doubt in an obvious bid to knock the Digrassi High School grad off his high horse and while none of their singles has cracked the top 10 as of yet I’m sure this blog entry will turn the tide because I mean could it be mere coincidence that this will likewise be Savak’s sixth full-length release having put out four LPs and one EP between 2016 and 2020.

What makes this singles-going-steadily-along strategy all the more impressive is that the three gentlemen who make up Savak are what’s known in the music biz as “veterans” or as “legacy artists” in the latest parlance, but they sure as heck don’t act like it because they keep popping off one razor sharp single after another like clockwork at the start of each month—at least they we they’re not pregnant!—songs that are overstuffed with garage rock grit and power pop glint and with hooks a’ plenty at the ready to the point where honestly I’m concerned the trio may be taking a few too many gas station pep pills but hey whatever works. 

In core you were wondering the core of Savak is made up of Michael “Jaws” Jaworski (Fifth of May, The Cops, Virgin Islands), Sohrab Habibion (Kid$ For Ca$h, Edsel, Obits) and Matt Schulz (Holy Fuck, Enon, Lake Ruth) accompanied on their soon-to-come album by six count em six individual bass guitarists and at least two saxophonists and overall this is a band that’s got more punk rock cred than a warehouse full of Subaru Imprezas (if you thought you’re punk as f*ck you’d better think again my friend) I mean heck Sohrab even has a Youtube page full of digitized Betamax tapes of DC hardcore punk shows that he filmed back in the day during the scene’s salad days.

So anyway on the heels of their last LP Rotting Teeth in the Horse’s Mouth by almost exactly two years which was a lyrically downcast politically-minded record about “fallacies, narcissism, and slime” (the perfect slogan for 2020!) Human Error / Human Delight takes a more varied light-and-shade approach as indicated by the record’s title, kind of like a melding of Rotting Teeth and the overall brighter Mirror Maker EP, it makes sense that the album-opening “No Blues No Jazz” explicitly makes reference to no arbitrary boundaries / no districts…no lines to redraw” in its pro-overturning-of-geopolitical-and-musical-boundaries-and-pledges-of-allegiance-of-all-kinds stance.

In a sense this makes the Savak album-opener the equivalent to the MJ/Paul McCartney duet “The Girl Is Mine” off from Thriller which is also a song rooted in dialectical materialism and the struggle between contradictory forces. And then I’d have to say “Cold Ocean” is the “Billie Jean” of Savak’s Human Error / Human Delight because it opens with a propulsive/plodding repetitive riff which later goes into a killer-hook refrain (can you feel the sand / slipping through your fingers / do you feel the tide / pulling you in) and similarity as you can tell by those lyrics it’s also a song about the pull of paranoia and dark romantic intrigue (the music video captures this as well in both instances). 

And hey I don’t wanna give away which Savak song is the “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” of the album but my vote goes for the highly danceable and highly philosophical “My Book on Siblings” because obviously Mike, Matt and Sohrab totally gets the Foucauldian subtext of that MJ classic (seriously, read the lyrics again and tell me it’s not about the Panopticon) and I’d better end it here before the theories get totally out of hand but in the meantime listen to those five Savak singles (ten songs in all) and try to make your own correspondences. (Jason Lee)

   

Warren Franklin "Second April"

Warren Franklin are preparing to release their latest EP, "Second April", via Count Your Lucky Stars on March 25th.

The EP's lead single is called "A Year In-Between" and is a perfect example of this trio's ability to blend Emo and Alternative Rock.

You can catch Warren Franklin on April 2nd at Beat Kitchen with MT. Oriander and Joie De Vivre.

   

Friko @ Downstairs on 3.9.22

Friko has released two outstanding singles, "Half As Far" and "IN_OUT", in the last month.

This is the trio fronted by Niko Kapetan and featuring Luke Stamos on Bass and Bailey Minzenberger on Drums.

You can catch Friko at Downstairs (at Subt) on March 9th with Creeping Charlie.

   

The true meaning of Hello Mary "Sinks In" with latest single

photo by Nolan Zangas


The first time I heard the name Hello Mary I instantly assumed it must be the name of a Christian puppet show like the ones put on by the inimitable Tammy Faye back in the day (RIP) on her TV programs (PTL Club, The Tammy Faye Show) with the phrase “Hello, Mary!” being the first words out of the resurrected Jesus’s felt mouth after He has risen from the dead, waking with a start and one hell of a hangover, and then taking a stroll outside his tomb to see what’s up nevermind that pesky giant boulder in the way only to find Mary Magdalene and “Big Mama” Mother Mary right there outside waiting faithfully for Him to whom He speaks the aforementioned salutation.

Anyway, it’s a theory. Except in this case the reality is even better than the theory because in reality Hello Mary is a young and upcoming NYC-based-indie-alt-rock trio whose combined age is probably less than the age of Axl Rose’s oldest hair extensions and, I’ll just go ahead and say it, each one of Hello Mary’s songs to date rocks harder and more convincingly/compellingly than the entirety of Chinese Democracy.  

Take their latest single for instance released just days ago, “Stinge” backed by “Sink in,” or “Sink In” backed by “Stinge,” these things are difficult to parse in the streaming age. But anyway “Sting” comes first in the running order, a song addressed to a mercurial character who “may be the one for good” but who “leave[s] just as it gets fun” which is precisely why “they said I should run” and sometimes “they” know best and yes I realize there's an unreasonably large gap between the Bandcamp embed above and this text which I blame on the new Spotify-people owners.

Meanwhile the music of “Stinge” (definition: a person or other entity who is stingy) ably captures the emotional whiplash of the narrator’s romantic longings and loser-induced frustrations flipping back and forth between the grinding riff of the song’s intro, the jangly shoegazy float of the verses with some nice off-kilter chords, and the bridge section that sounds something like an underwater waltz. 

“Sink In” comes next which is quite possibly a song about the stark reality of the previous song fully sinking in where “it starts to drift and fall away / mostly from saying all I had to say” which I gotta say jumping straight to the fifth stage of grief in the second song is an encouraging sign of psychological health and if this is what acceptance sounds like then sign me up because this song rips starting off with a James Iha-esque alternation between a contemplative riff and head-drubbing power chords (the “sink in” part) before bursting open like an overpollenated flower full of “oohs” and “ahhs” ascending to the heavens (one of my fave musical moments of the year so far) and oh yeah there’s a guitar solo too with heavy reverb and note bending and more oohs and ahhs over some altered chords and it’s a pretty exciting ride and a pretty one too.

Across these two songs Hello Mary continue to hone their appetizing mix of heavy musical dramatics spiked with an enticing sense of play (cuz dammit these young ladies know how to write a catchy hook that’s for sure just see "Ginger" below) and a trippy psychedelia-adjacent vibe (see “Take Something” above for another example) and when you put together this mix of heavy and light and just plain weird it’s not entirely unlike (wait for it…) a bizarro Christian puppet show or a close encounter with Axl Rose’s dreads. (Jason Lee)