For the past six years, published poet, novelist, visual artist, and musician, Nathaniel Bellows has been writing libretti for the composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. In fact, their last release, Unremembered (2015), was inspired by 13 of Bellows’ poems and illustrations.
Now back out front for his sophomore album, Swan and Wolf, Nathaniel Bellows offers a collection of ten new original songs. Today’s premiere track, “How High,” is from the new record and showcases the intricate complexity of Bellows art. One listen to Bellows deep sweeping voice and carefully thought out instrumentation, which features Timo Andres on piano, will keep your attention extremely focused. The song has a slow building catchy conclusion that ends with layered vocals of Bellows pleading “say how high.”
Bellows music moves beyond the ear as each track from Swan and Wolf is paired with one of his illustrations that integrates the song lyrics. This gives the project a depth you won’t find with many releases. Swan and Wolf will be released on March 30th and can be pre-ordered now on Bellows Bandcamp page HERE.
Nathaniel Bellows Website
Nathaniel Bellows Facebook
Fire Note Says: Ty Segall creates a very fluid classic double album in Freedom’s Goblin.
Album Review: The grandiose opening blare of instruments on Ty Segall’s new 75-minute double record, Freedom’s Goblin, really tells you all you need to know in its first 22 seconds. This is going to be a loose journey through multiple genres, musicians, styles, and tempos that will bring both highs and lows with a full-on twist of Ty. That description might make you run for the simpler times of Segall when there was a more dedicated direction like on his early garage singles or the mellower Ty found on Sleeper (2013) but don’t turn the dial yet!
Once you get over the massiveness of Freedom’s Goblin, the record will connect. It might start with singing the line from the opening track “Fanny knows what her name is” or humming the chorus to the additive strummer “My Lady’s On Fire,” but it will happen. The creepy bass groove on “Despoiler Of Cadaver” will get your foot tapping while Ty’s wife, Denee Segall, takes over the vocals in “Meaning” and just scorches your ears with strength and venom that drives this monster heavy rocker. The surprising cover of British soul band Hot Chocolate’s “Every 1’s A Winner” completely works as the third track which also features Fred Armisen (Portlandia, SNL, Trenchmouth) on drums. Grunge your thing? “Alta” has you covered while near the end of the record, “5 Ft Tall” keeps the momentum rolling and delivers yet another keeper. Not surprising really but both of those tracks were recorded by Steve Albini. You want some more big band jazzy moments – long time band member Mikal Cronin arranges the horns here for maximum effect as they appear on about a third of the record. Once again, giving Freedom’s Goblin an incredibly likable diversity. Regardless on where you leave off or enter Freedom’s Goblin – this album keeps you interested right down to the over 12 minute closer, “And Goodnight,” which is a much more electric reinterpretation of the title track from more acoustic Sleeper (2013).
With such a varied and ever expansive catalog, I believe it has been easier lately to not give Ty Segall his much due attention. Freedom’s Goblin is the proof of why that should not be the case. For me, this record is easily number three in his catalog behind Manipulator (2014) and Twins (2012) but given more time I believe it could climb even higher. This record has such a mix that honestly it should not work but instead comes off as genius. Ty Segall never makes a “bad” record but the colossal Freedom’s Goblin showcases his maturity as a writer and a willingness to push his own already expanded boundaries. The album is not only one of his best records but will easily be one of the top releases this year.
Key Tracks: “My Lady’s On Fire” / “Alta” / “5 Ft Tall”
Artists With Similar Fire: Robert Pollard / Konk / Thee Oh Sees
Ty Segall Website
Ty Segall Facebook
Drag City Records
– Reviewed by Christopher Anthony
TFN is always about the cover song. Give us a cover song and we will spin it till it won’t spin no more! Today’s Friday Fire Track is exactly that. Brooklyn-based punks Charly Bliss, which released an outstanding debut record last year in Guppy, take on Nada Surf’s “The Way You Wear Your Head.”
The song is from Standing At The Gates: The Songs of Nada Surf’s Let Go, a self-released charity album featuring a diverse list of artists covering the record in honor of its 15th anniversary. The album features Ron Gallo, Manchester Orchestra, Aimee Mann and more as you can see the full tracklist below.
Standing At The Gates is released digitally tomorrow and physically on March 2, 2018. Nada Surf supports the ACLU and The Pablove Foundation and this is a great way to donate. Enjoy your Friday!
Standing At The Gates: The Songs of Nada Surf’s Let Go track list:
1. Blizzard of ’77 (Manchester Orchestra)
2. Happy Kid (Ron Gallo)
3. Inside of Love (The Texas Gentlemen)
4. Fruit Fly (Ed Harcourt)
5. Blonde on Blonde (Rogue Wave)
6. Hi-Speed Soul (The Long Winters)
7. Killian’s Red (Holly Miranda)
8. The Way You Wear Your Head (Charly Bliss)
9. Neither Heaven Nor Space (William Tyler)
10. La Pour Ca (Adia Victoria)
11. Treading Water (Eyelids)
12. Paper Boats (Aimee Mann)
13. No Quick Fix (Victoria Bergsman)
Who: This is the debut record from Moncton, Canada punks Chiller. The band is a continuation of Feral Trash which released Trashfiction in 2014 on Dirt Cult Records. Chiller is Ilisha and Eric of Feral Trash with local friends Erin (Black Tower) and Tim (Mother’s Children).
Sound: Fresh melodic punk comes at you with both a male and female vocal. If you were a fan of Feral Trash, Chiller is for you along with other energetic sounding punk artists like Sonic Avenues, PUP and Jeff Rosenstock.
TFN Final Take: Chiller is a winner because they take their music seriously. Punk is not forgotten, it is not shelved, it is not underground. For Chiller, every delivered line on their self-titled debut sounds like it could be their last and that is what makes this debut fantastic.
The rush of layered melodies keep coming along with booming choruses that just thunder like on the first track when “Heretic” is called out multiple times. The band is completely tight, the album is a tidy 23 minutes and Chiller never stops moving. Time to turn up the stereo!
Dirt Cult Records
– Reviewed by Christopher Anthony
Mind Spiders have just released their new album, Furies, today via Dirtnap Records. Today’s Friday Fire Track is the first track on the record and it’s a mover. “Outside” captures Mind Spiders aggressiveness as the track just builds and builds and builds into a phonetic frenzy.
The group continues to morph into the Devo of the upside down as Furies is the groups fifth full length and most systematically electronic. You can hear the pulsing drums and synths just cruising in the background here as Mind Spiders still have their punk roots but have settled into this modern futuristic sounding niche.
If you are looking for something different – Mind Spiders will fill the void as these veterans will not disappoint. Enjoy your Friday!
Mind Spiders Facebook
Quiet can always be loud – it just matters how you tune in! That is the feeling that overtakes you in today’s premiere track from the Danish band The Captain Of Sorrow. “Siamese Scars” has an intense rhythm that is driven from the singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer of this record, Hans-Christian.
His calm demeanor rushes over you while he quietly tells the story of the issues an adult with alcoholic parents faces when meeting similar people at a rehab center. The song surges until a swirling chorus takes over and ends the track. Not the most uplifting material but the buildup in the song will keep your ear in place.
The smoldering strength found on “Siamese Scars” is the hook that pulls you into The Captain Of Sorrow. The track is instantly memorable as Hans-Christian’s sound could be compared to the hush vocals of a Dave Bazan fronting the slowcore stylings of the group Spain.
“Siamese Scars” can be found on The Captain Of Sorrow’s first international release, Racetrack Babies, which will be available this Friday, January 26th on Musikministeriet Records. If you like this song, we recommend seeking out the full release.
The Captain Of Sorrow Website
The Captain Of Sorrow Facebook
We love lo-fi around here at The Fire Note and today’s Friday Fire Track is from one of favorite underground indie heroes Graham Repulski. The Philadelphia artist releases a consistently good batch of songs every year and “Negative Highlight Reel” is one of the first in 2018.
The track is from the cassette EP of the same name along with its companion cassette release Permission To Love. 13 songs over 2 limited edition cassettes with unique art.
Just play the track and get onboard already. Graham Repulski should be on everyone’s lo-fi radar and if you were going to have a cassette catalog – this would be one to have. As the song asks “Do you love me anyway?” – the answer is Yes. Enjoy your Friday!
Graham Repulski Bandcamp
Who: Unlikely Friends (UF) is made up of veteran artists from the Northwest which includes D. Crane (of Seattle’s BOAT), Charles Bert (of Seattle quiet indie-pop band Math & Physics Club, Chris MacFarlane (owner of local indie-pop record store/label Jigsaw Records) on drums plus a rotating cast of talent that currently includes Mark McKenzie (BOAT), Jackson Long (BOAT), and Ethan Jones (Math and Physics Club).
Sound: Power pop at its finest that brings the likable sounds of those familiar with The Posies, Velvet Crush, The Young Fresh Fellows and Brendan Benson.
TFN Final Take: Unlikely Friends sophomore record, Crooked Numbers, is one of those albums that catches you by surprise. My expectations for a new album always start off somewhere in the middle and most of time, because of TFN submission volume, they are lucky to survive the quick scan. UF immediately connected and held my attention for its full 30-minute running time.
Song after song, UF lands big sing along moments that stick in your head like on the warm “Hey Sunshine” that captures the moment you see the light in a troubled relationship as you sing along with “and the sunshine crawls across my window, its been a long time I felt anything at all.” A track you can relate to along with others such as the just over a minute “39 Steps” that has one of the best lines “39 steps to get to your door – I think you’re a real nice girl but I just can’t keep walking these steps anymore.”
Unlikely Friends’ Crooked Numbers is full of fun from the layered harmonies and carefree rock from beginning to end. The band accomplishes this with a mix of lo-fi rock and big pop jams that can be summed up in either 39 seconds like “Kool-Aid-Smell” or the almost 3 minute catchy closer, “The Strangest Kind.” At the end of the day, you didn’t know you needed Unlikely Friends but you are totally glad you found them!
Unlikely Friends Website
Unlikely Friends Facebook
– Reviewed by Christopher Anthony
Fire Note Says: Australia’s psych rock heroes make good on their promise!
Album Review: Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard made the crazy announcement back in November of 2016 that the band would release five albums in 2017. Releasing this much music in a year is really unheard of unless your last name is Pollard. Well, as we were all ready to welcome 2018 King Gizzard held to their promise and delivered Gumboot Soup on December 31st.
What is more commendable and notable about King Gizzard’s 2017 is that not one of the records they released were throwaways and each one had its unique flavor. Gumboot Soup is no different and even though the album could contain the 2017 scraps to meet a deadline, that is not the case. The record is fully realized and finds the group forming some spectacular slower pop numbers that would have fit in nicely on Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015) like the opening track “Beginner’s Luck” but also giving the muscular, almost Sabbath like “The Great Chain Of Being” that just showcases the group can still rock hard like on 2016’s Nonagon Infinity.
There are plenty of other psychedelic numbers on Gumboot Soup to keep the faithful long-term fans digging this album as well such as “Muddy Water” and “I’m Sleepin’ In.” There is also the jazzy boogie of “Down The Sink” that highlights how King Gizzard continues to evolve and once again takes an element from Sketches Of Brunswick East (2017) and builds here.
Not sure what 2018 will hold for this continually surging band but 2017 was a game changer for King Gizzard. Concluding with Gumboot Soup, the band completed their promise and were a bright spot for an indie music scene that has been struggling lately to grab the headlines. King Gizzard still have not had the complete break through here in the US like Australia but trust me when I say this band is still on the way up!
Key Tracks: “Beginner’s Luck” / “The Great Chain Of Being” / “I’m Sleepin’ In”
Artists With Similar Fire: T Rex / Tame Impala / ORB
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Website
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony
Back in February of 2016 we told you about Brooklyn’s Acid Dad right here in The Friday Fire Track feature. At that time, the psych-punk group was releasing their new EP, Let’s Plan A Robbery, that just got us ready for more. And then we waited!
The wait is over as Acid Dad has emerged on Greenway Records with a new 7-inch for today’s Friday Fire Track, “Die Hard.” The band also made the announcement that they are targeting a full-length release in the Spring of next year.
“Die Hard” creates its magic in its first 20 seconds as its slow warm up hum launches into a full-on New York Strokes type guitar roll that will instantly hook you. This track from Acid Dad speaks for itself – enjoy your Friday!
Acid Dad Website
Acid Dad Facebook