Profile: Elephant Rifle

Let me call it early: anybody who’s anybody who considers themselves a devotee of punk rock will consider Hunk, the recently announced third full-length from Reno quartet Elephant Rifle, to be one of the most anticipated records of 2018. That’s on the record, Skippy. While Party Child, the group’s debut, was great, the band really…

Review: Rachel Grimes – “Eights”

Composer/pianist Rachel Grimes orchestrates a soundscape of wonder on “Eights,” a digital one-off also available on the compilation accompanying Oxford American’s new edition on Kentucky music. The song was released, alongside sheet music, earlier today on Bandcamp. The premise for the piano etude is simple and one does not have to wonder long if the…

Review: Dw. Dunphy/Jeff Elbel/Randy Kerkman/Dan Pavelich – “Everything Goes To Hell”

For a song titled “Everything Goes To Hell,” this is pretty gleaming. Assembling for the Co-Op an indie supergroup of sorts – bassist Jeff Elbel (Ping, Farewell to Juliet), guitarist Randy Kerkman (Yonderboy, Beki Hemingway) and keyboardist Dan Pavelich (The Bradburys, The Click Beetles) – the synthetic-minded singer-songwriter Dw. Dunphy presents a version of hell on this online-only single that’s, overall, pretty…

Review: Tom Waits – “Alice”/”Blood Money” (Remastered)

Tom Waits never has sounded better, at least in terms of fidelity, than he does on the new, re-mastered versions of Alice and Blood Money – which were released, to much anticipation, on ANTI- Records. There are good reasons for these revelations, of course, and some of them are so obvious they don’t even need…

Review: Little Mazarn – S/T

I’ve always considered Curtis Eller to be the prototypical underground banjo player. He crafts song-stories about history (or more appropriately, history through a warped contemporary lens) with an Americana flare and P.J. Barnum hucksterism; his banjo, as vibrant as a ringing electric guitar, drives the compositions front and center. Little Mazarn, whose self-titled outing will…

Review: Radon Chong – “I Keep On Talking To You” (x2)

Radon Chong — a Pittsburgh act that crafts musical nooses out of knotted guitars — sets its sights high on I Keep on Talking to You, a debut cassette sitting at the intersection of post-rock’s interwoven trajectories and Captain Beefheart’s atonal laments. And, man oh man, does this band bloody and utterly batter those sights. In…

Justin Vellucci’s Year-Ending Top Ten: 2017 Edition

Yeah, yeah, putting the final nail in the coffin of 2017 is a little premature, seeing as there’s still more than 30 days left in the year. But, I’m the music writer compiling this list, so, here you go. It was an interesting year in underground music and, rather than present a conventional Top Ten,…

Review: The Sun Machine – “Turn On To Evil”

The Sun Machine certainly has its musical reference points down pat. On its evocative Turn On To Evil LP, which was released two days ago through Electric Church, the Austin “third-coast” quintet sounds like a band possessed by the sometimes-raw, lo-fi haziness of 60s garage-psych. And, on the LP’s 10 songs, they prove themselves mighty…

Review: Slow Decay – “Ghosts” EP

Hard to get into Ghosts, the new EP from Isle of Man’s Slow Decay. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the three-song outing; the vocals – delivered by a front-woman who sounds like the offspring of Bjork and Danzig – are well-studied and well-trained, the guitar crunches, the drums pop. It’s just that…