New Tunes from Weird Radicals, Lane Change, Zero Degrees North and More

Photo by Chaz Carlson

Weird Radicals – “John Lennon (Headbangin’)”

I feel like if the Elephant 6 Collective was still in active existence Weird Radicals would be immediately brought into that roster of garage pop monsters. Last year this band was on fire with one delicious single after another which they eventually compiled into the strictly digital Strictly Business EP. They will be releasing their completely new Flight Of Fancy EP at the end of this month and “John Lennon (Headbangin’)” is the first taste of this wonderful new record. Though they’ve assembled a pretty impressive live band, their studio work is still the core duo of Andrew Cline and Nick Florence doing everything on the record. The video is a surreal piece of film that’s as amusing as it is confusing, but all delightfully so. Luckily you can watch it again and again while never tiring of the song to try to arrest some sense for it. Props to whoever thought up the guitar skiing idea and the possible nod to The Darjeeling Limited with the dance on the hillside. No matter what the video is trying to say, or the song, this is just brilliant power pop in every way. Having heard every song this band has done and then some, I’m beginning to think that Weird Radicals can do no wrong. ¬†Still this is an infectious little minx, you must be warned, and I have a feeling I’ll be waking up with this earworm in my head on more than a few mornings in the future.

 

Lane Change – “Floodwater”

Lane Change has been kicking around since 2013, but I’m only just now catching up with them. They recently released the four track Rise EP, the follow up to their 2015 self-titled debut. Lane Change are Myles Vann (Vocals), Jake Galambos (Guitars), Lizzie Shafer (Bass and Vocals), and Cameron Holladay (Drums) and they are dealing some pretty exciting rock vibes these days. You don’t expect the near Gospel start to “Floodwater” in the context of the record, but soon the killer guitars kick in and all is right in the world. The vocal duel between Vann and Shafer are the star attraction here and no amount of guitars here could say otherwise. This is filled with a refreshing dynamism that get’s you moving no matter the mood. Possibly their most fascinating composition to date and one of my favorite songs of the year.¬† I can literally listen to this on repeat, because it has so much to offer in one song. It’s the right combination or rock ‘n’ soul with a blistering blues lick to boot. The video is pretty great as well, but it drives home the fact that I haven’t seen Lane Change live yet and I have a feeling that will be an amazing experience. The entire record is worth checking out, but after a few months reflection this still stands as my favorite track.

Photo by Josh Globke

Zero Degrees North – “March Of The Idiots”

In the last 24 hours I’ve listened to everything Zero Degrees North has put out on record about five times through. I’m not sure how I missed out on them last year, but I did. Luckily, they recently released a magnificent new record called The Life of Randy Randleson EP. Per the virtual liner notes “The Life of Randy Randleson is about some poor dude’s life. It kinda sucks hardcore”, however in the telling of this tale Zero Degrees North show that nothing sucks about them, hardcore or otherwise. They just put out a video but I’m saving that for a later day, because I’m going to be talking about this EP all damn year. “March of the Idiots” is the finale to this geek punk manifesto and it’s a wry commentary on the corruption of wealth. It’s a bit more subdued than the rest of the record, but it underscores the bands brilliance in sound and vision. Every lyric here is solid gold and even though this isn’t necessarily as punky as the rest, it’s an anthem for the ages. If you like what you hear I’d advise you check out the whole record, as well as last year’s full length Mandatory Story Time, then head to 51 West this Friday, June 9th where they will be joining Phantom Party and Cheap Hotels in support of Sunlaand‘s Goth Grrrl Zine release party.


 

Photo by Good Grief


Good Grief – “Nothing Left”

Good Grief dropped the amazing full length Rum For Your Life last month and it’s an absolutely killer record from beginning to end. They also just released a video for the title track, but like Zero Degrees North, I’m saving that for another day, because I want as many opportunities to talk about this band as possible. Another reason that I wanted to spotlight “Nothing Left” is because it has all the elements of the band that I love showing up in one song. It’s always a little worrisome when a band describes themselves as “A refreshing mixture of Indie, Alternative, and Punk music,” but goddamnit if that isn’t spot on. I can’t argue with it, usually that’s a way of covering up mediocrity, but that’s far from the case here. Every time I’ve played this album in the last week I keep coming back to “Nothing Left.” Maybe it’s the pounding rhythms that lead you marching in, maybe it’s the chugging, stuttering guitar, maybe it’s the depth of that vocal…I can’t quite nail it down. I’d make references to musicians that no one remembers, but this crew has just found a unique sound that could be as easily compared to Frank Black as it could be to what Lloyd Cole would have sounded like hopped up on amphetamines. I don’t know when there next show is, but I sure want to go. Reward yourself and check out all of Rum For Your Life.

 

Rival Coast – “Red Lights”

I found Rival Coast’s last single “Pixelated” a month or two after it had been released and well into the new year, if it had been a timely find I’m pretty sure it would have figured in the top twenty of my singles list. “Red Lights” mysteriously appeared on You Tube around the same time there were whispers of a forthcoming record release and while it may not rock as hard as its predecessor, it’s damn impressive on nearly every level. I could see this song going far on “alternative” radio, but it may actually be too good for that kind of easy on the palate mainstream action. Lyrically, it’s pretty standard fare with some poetic flourishes, but it’s the wall of guitars and the atmospheric action that swirls within your skull fiercely that makes this song what it is. The vocals are more subdued than they were on “Pixelated”, but they become absolutely mesmerizing within the hurricane tossing cymbals in the gale force winds, the words blur and no longer matter as the voice becomes another instrument. It’s a stunner and I’m eagerly looking forward to the other tracks that will be coming with it. I’d recommend heading to Crescent Ballroom this Sunday for the Red Lights CD release where they will be supported with a stellar lineup of The Ricky Fitts, The Breaking Pattern and Rio Wiley!

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