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TRACK PREMIERE: SALT LICK “CALIFORNIA MUD”

May 1st, 2020

There were a lot of bands between Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum and that first Ramones album that came from nowhere and had nowhere to go. They were too crude for prog, too early for punk, too heavy for garage and way too weird for good-time dive-bar party music, although they surely spent plenty of time in dive bars. Now it's fifty years later but that's still the place where L.A.'s Salt Lick come from, even if their new "California Mud" offers just a little bit of 'proto' and a whole lot of 'punk.

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TRACK PREMIERE: KEVIN “SUN MOON URGENT CARE”

April 9th, 2020

Last time we saw L.A.'s Kevin, their overcranked synth-wave song "Bike" found them doing down and dirty Screamers-adjacent weirdness in the asphalt back alleys of the city. But now it's a year later and they've ... ascended.

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TRACK PREMIERE: VAGUESS “LOOKING FOR GOD”

April 8th, 2020

Every time Vinny Earley and his band-slash-autobiography Vaguess put out something new, it's like unexpectedly running into an old friend on the street—one of those times when you only get a few minutes to exchange why you're looking the worse/the better for wear before the gravity of the day pulls you both away. Now we live in a society where we have to do all that virtually, but that works for Vaguess still: whether in person or pixels, there's something about Earley's songs that slashes through any amount of distance.

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TRACK PREMIERE: def.sound “S T R U C K !” (PROD. BY ZHAO)

April 7th, 2020

There’s a moment in the third movement of def.sound’s latest potent-meets-ponderous funk jazz sojourn where the wit and tongue-in-cheek lyrics of the first two-thirds of the song give way to naked reflection, the song’s BPM crashing to earth as a quieter reality sets in: "Maybe for a moment, massage away the trauma. Maybe ..." def posits, a suggestion aimed at both the listener and himself. It’s tough to take this advice, right? Especially with our health in a vise, our heads in a shroud and our heartbeats double-timed. 

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TRACK PREMIERE: GEMMA CASTRO “FREE”

April 3rd, 2020

If Gemma Castro's new song "Free" had a video, it'd be a fragment from an oversaturated Kenneth Anger clip that catches fire in the middle—the kind of thing where image turns into light and then smoke. (See here for vivid demonstration of an arguably Anger-ian aesthetic.) But as a song, that smoke and light is all still there, along with that Cat Power / Mazzy Star / Sibylle Baier sense of isolation and desperation that pulls you closer even as it sounds like it's coming from farther and farther away.