Kleenex Girl Wonder Video at Three Imaginary Girls

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Kleenex Girl Wonder Song of the Day at Collapse Board

Have you ever tried to write a song? I mean, really sat down with a melody or a backbeat and tried to figure out what words fit in each nook? You should try it one day. Tap your subconscious and see what pours out. Me, I’ve been trying lately, and I find myself locking into a single idea per song, and laying down lyrics like train tracks. It’s OK, I reckon – I haven’t written a love song yet, anyway – but frustrating.


The answer is to re-think the concept, to substitute iron bars with rubber bands, to deviate from the straight route. If one were to draw a map of a Kleenex Girl Wonder song, one would create a fraying vine of arcs, intersecting at wingless birds and palimpsests and daytime talk shows. The real wonder, though, lies in how Graham Smith still reaches Point B from Point A, despite the dizzying journey in between. For, at the core, ‘Unrequitable’ is really just a sweet little pop song, the sort that Elvis Costello could pen at the drop of a hat, albeit one that nips at your fingers and reminds you of your own lack of self-worth. And that’s good, mind – sometimes it seems like other artists don’t even try to touch the truths in their lives, instead building billowy fantasies and rarefied philosophies. Kleenex Girl World, on the other hand, plot pulsing arteries to the heart of the modern millenial world.

And how easy they make it seem. Dang. Back to the drawing board for me, eh.


The Holiday Crowd at Austin Town Hall

You probably want to deny it at this point, but you love the Smiths. In a way, that’s important to note here, as there are some vocal turns in this brand new track from The Holiday Crowd that look at the Moz. Still, the musical quality provides you with a peppier spirit…the staple of great indiepop. I think at the moment as I play this tune, I’m finding all these little secret bits to love, such as the hi-hat work hiding beneath the mix at the throughoutthe song. Or, the “ha ha ha” that breaks out just after the 3 minute mark; this song is filled with bits of nuance that make the song last in your mind, like all great tracks. Shelflife Records will release the Holiday Crowd LP on October 21st, and it will sell out!


Kleenex Girl Wonder at Austin Town Hall

Are you tired of the emo revival? Tired of all those beats and blips? Well, then get ready to turn your speakers up and listen to classic power-pop from Kleenex Girl Wonder! Graham Smith and his project are ready to bring you a hook-laden record of the most literate piece of pop you’ll hear in 2016, filled with over 8,000 fresh lyrics and spanning over 70 minutes. The Comedy Album is a statement piece of art that surpasses its peers in this calendar year, and frankly, any of those in the past (I’m looking at you John Darnielle!). But, ultimately, a record’s only as good as the music, and if you don’t find your speakers begging to have the crisp guitar pop of this track coming through again and again, then you might need to take them to the shop.This brilliant collection comes your way on October 28th via Reesonable Records.


Eureka California at Get It On Vinyl

What got into to Eureka California? Just last year we were reviewing their sophomore LP, Crunch, and going off about how much we dig their ability to make power pop excellence with a minimalist line up, fierce guitars and gut pounding drums courtesy of Marie Uhler.

It would appear that with their new LP, Versus, they were simply waiting for the leash to be cut, and oh has it ever. Versus is a fast paced, white knuckle ride into pop punk supremacy. The A-side dominates in tempo. The opening track, “Eureka California’s Night In” sounds most like their previous work with the energy level threatening to blow out the speakers. Without hitting the breaks, “Sign My Name with an X” opens with so much thrash we fear the needle jumping the groove. Jake Ward’s vocals are mixed expertly and somehow do not get drowned out. Ward has that unique quality, being able to find distinction and rise above everything.

One of our favorite tracks is “Realizing Your Actuality.” The song sounds like a mid-90’s Tripping Daisy cut. The lyrics are short but the guitars absolutely dominate. The outro is a submersion into alt-rock paradise.

Luckily the album also allows you to catch your breath. Tracks like “Everybody Had a Hard Year” and “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City” give us Ward solo with an acoustic. While they certainly bring the energy level out of the stratosphere, they frame the LP sides nicely.

By far our favorite track on this stellar LP is “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac.” The lyrics grow deep, the metaphors are more cryptic, and between the soft vocals and guitar sessions everything melds together in full force and there is a moment of pure rock nirvana.

Whatever did happen to Eureka California that made them reach this level, it was an excellent move. Crank it up. Kick the amp. Versus is quite possibly best rock record you will hear all year.

The Vinyl

Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records continues their dedication to releasing top notch LP’s. Pressed on translucent green wax, the LP includes a full color jacket, download card, and lyric sheet. Pick up a copy from your local independent record store or directly from HHBTM Records.



Bloody Knives at Here Comes the Flood

Austin band Bloody Knives are into gritty industrial noise-rock with forays into drones, ambient, electronics and shoegaze. This latest album I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This is a sonic assault, a search-and-destroy raid that comes howling from the speakers, telling dark tales of doom and death. They don’t pause fro breath between tracks, but keep adding motifs and textures, building a towering wall of sound.

They offer a ride to the back alleys, where bad things are bound to happen. It’s a journey that will be too weird and downright scary for most – and they may scratch their heads at tune called —-. For those who wondered what a mix of the Sisters of Mercy and Sonic Youth would sound like, the answer is: the Bloody Knives. Handle with care.


Eureka California at AllMusic

Over the course of two albums, the Athens, Georgia duo Eureka California staked out a place as breezy, fast-working punk-poppers with a foot in the twee pop world and a healthy obsession with the slacker noise of the early to mid-’90s. Their third album, Versus, is still firmly in that realm, but singer/guitarist Jake Ward and drummer Marie A. Uhler have upgraded in two important ways. Firstly, their songwriting keeps getting better. The first two albums were catchy and fun, occasionally very sticky. This time around, almost all of them sound like half-forgotten gems from the ’90s or tracks that would brighten any modern noise pop mixtape. Secondly, the sound of the album is worlds ahead of the first two. It’s their first done in a real studio and the production by HookwormsMJ gives them a huge sound, with Ward’s guitar nothing short of immense. It sounds like he dropped his amp down a flight of stairs and shook everything loose in all the right ways. Another guitarist may have taken it into the shop for repairs; Ward cranks it up all the way instead. It’s fuzzy, thick, and heavy, and threatens to drown every song in gooey noise. Luckily, Uhler is up to the task of battling Ward’s noise and their duel is a thrilling thing to hear. Ward has to up his vocal game too, something that only gives the album more urgency and drama. Songs like “Cobwebs on the Wind” and “Sign My Name with an X” jump out of the speakers, ready to bludgeon everything in sight with frantic abandon. Others have a less energetic approach. “Realizing Your Actuality” and “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac” have some resigned restraint, though the guitar never stops sounding like a deranged and broken beast of some kind. Only the acoustic songs on the second half of the album give the listener a breather. Overall, the album is a giant leap forward for Eureka California, giving the duo’s fun songs and peppy outlook a welcome dose of slime and live-wire energy. Versus is a thrilling, skillfully done makeover that took a good band and pushed it in the direction of great.


deardarkhead at AllMusic

Active since the late ’80s, New Jersey-based dream poppers Deardarkhead only have a handful of releases to their name, and merely one of them is a proper full-length. That album, Unlock the Valves of Feeling, appeared back in 1998; since then, the group’s original bass player and vocalist Michael Amper departed from the group in 2009, and the band soldiered on as a vocal-free trio along with replacement bassist Kevin McCauley, who joined in 2010. Following Captured Tracks’ 2011 anthology of the group’s early-’90s EPs (Oceanside: 1991-1993), Strange Weather is Deardarkhead‘s first newly released material of the 21st century, and it reveals them as an impressive instrumental unit with no apparent need for useless, empty words. The EP is far more focused than one might expect of an instrumental EP from a band that formerly had a vocalist. The group’s music has often had an urgency to it — they’ve never been the type of shoegaze band to stick to hazy, stoned-sounding slow tempos — and here they sound positively energized and vibrant. There’s a bit of a post-punk, Cure-esque jangle to the guitars, but they don’t drown them in effects. The melodies are clear and upfront, and strangely enough, it almost seems like the band has gained more of a pop sensibility since losing its vocalist. All of the tracks sound different, from the thundering toms of “March Hares” to the slightly heavier, more psychedelic guitar textures of “Thinking Back,” so the songs all have distinct personalities rather than just sounding like variations on a similar groove. There’s a tinge of wistfulness to the melodies, but overall they sound bright and summery. Deardarkhead are commendable for their preference of the EP format, as their releases usually don’t wear out their welcome. Strange Weather feels like a fresh new start, even if it’s been at least half a decade in the making.


Eureka California at Broadway World Music

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Eureka California at Performer