The Fresh & Onlys continue to move away from the reverb-drenched garage rock of their early records and toward something more grandiose on House of Spirits. From the outset, it’s clear they mean business, with more precise songwriting and cleaner production than ever before. Tim Cohen’s lyrics take a darker turn—he sings like Rosemary’s Baby grown up on the rollicking “Who Let the Devil,” claiming Satan bottle fed him with blood, fitting in nicely with co-singer/songwriter Wymond Miles’ typically gothier songs, such as the country-Cure style “Animal of One.” The band turns in one of their loveliest songs ever with “Bells of Paonia,” a throbbing, fuzzed out shoegaze ballad with a dreamy romanticism that suits the band nicely. Mostly, these updates work for the band. Occasionally you miss the early rock stuff, though they go balls out on “Hummingbird,” and the lack of reverb reveals some weakness to the vocals. Still, I’ll take earnest and scrappy any day over easy or lazy, as the band leaps past the tired garage-rock moniker that has previously tailed the band and lands in exciting new territory.
Warning: There Will Be Spoilers.
Even with last week’s thrilling fight that ended in the deaths of two characters and the fate of Tyrion Lannister looking grim, last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” might have been the most exciting yet. Dramatically though, it’s a different story.
The episode began with Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly talking about love like it’s a damn Lifetime movie, not a TV show where people are regularly bludgeoned to death onscreen. Cheesy as it might have been, we knew it was just the calm before the storm. And what a storm it was—basically a Gallagher concert’s worth of blood sprayed onto viewers for about 45 minutes, with the occasional flick of storytelling thrown in the mix. Look! There’s Gilly, miraculously finding her way to Castle Black. Hey! Janos Slynt is kind of a wuss, hiding from the battle in the food cellar with her. And we were all waiting to see what happened with Ygritte and Jon Snow. But mostly it was just one big bloody battle.
On one hand, the battle was a spectacle to behold. And for a fantasy show set in a place beset by constant battle, the show is surprisingly light on actual fighting (aside from, you know, major characters dying in terrible ways all the time). Barring the battle of the Blackwater in season two, this was the mother of all fights in the show on an episode that smartly eschewed the regular multitiered storytelling to keep us held in the grips of the battle. Truly stunning were the wildling giants riding on mastodons, terrifying and even seemingly realistic.
Father’s Day is just a few days away. To celebrate, we’re gathering some of our favorite “dad rock” albums. What is “dad rock,” you might ask? We’re talking about those staples your parents owned on vinyl, the ones that weren’t cool enough for you to discover on your own—no Black Sabbath, David Bowie or The Doors here—but that nonetheless are essential albums in rock history. Listen to one of these ol’ classics this Father’s Day and think about how your dad was right all along—“Hotel California” is pretty far out. Here they are, in no particular order:
Now Fleetwood Mac are cool again, but there was a long period when they weren’t. You don’t make one of the biggest albums of all time without some backlash. But after a Smashing Pumpkins cover, a high-profile reunion special and extensive touring, the Mac came back into public favor, and you can see their influence in a huge way these days, especially in young, female-fronted rock bands like Best Coast, Haim and Beach House. Anyway, Rumours kicks ass and pretty much every baby boomer owns it.
Zig Zags – “So Stoned” video
L.A.’s Zig Zags have been steadily building steam by teasing out chunks destructive garage-rock with heavy doses of Sabbath and hardcore like this one, “So Stoned,” whose video is a glam-rock ode to getting stoned and watching YouTube videos. Ty Segall was behind the boards here, giving “So Stoned” that terrific feeling of barely being contained—too much rock! The trio’s self-titled debut album is due June 16 on In the Red.
EFG – “Singing Bridges”
The new song by L.A.’s EFG (aka Electric Flower Group) starts as a lonely, spaced out Jesus & Mary Chain-esque pop tune before a throbbing bassline and absolutely corrosive guitars take over, sending the song into the stratosphere. The band’s fuzzed-out psych rock continues to develop nicely, so much so that the band is playing a plum slot at Chinatown Summer Nights on June 14, a free, outdoor fest once a month in Chinatown over the summer.
Tickets are $3 with RSVP. The show is 18+. Get to the show early if you want to get in—it’s first come, first served.
Portland’s The Thermals have been at it since 2002, churning out socially and politically charged songs with ferocious, catchy power-pop riffs. Their latest is last year’s Desperate Ground.
The show will also feature L.A.-based openers Gothic Tropic and Beach Party and is hosted by Tapioca and The Flea. Gothic Tropic’s jungle-pop bounces on tribal beats and Cecilia Della Peruti’s animalistic vocals. Beach Party’s garage rock is heavy on hooks and attitude on their recent EP! Tapioca and the Flea blend modern psychedelia and electro-pop on songs like “Take It Slow.”