Author Archives: Jimmy Palmer

Needle Drop: Holy Bouncer, “Anticipation”

Surf rock has found its way far from the west coast. Barcelona based five-piece, Holy Bouncer recently released their single “Anticipation,” a groove that takes the staples of the genre and fuses them with surprising new accents.

So far, Holy Bouncer has released four official tracks and a few covers online, like the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” Although their catalog may be slim, every track seems wholly composed, traversing through different tones—from ripping solos to more mellow interludes—underscoring the group’s sound as one full of startling twists.

Take “Anticipation.” It starts slow, ambling through a catchy riff. A few bends on the guitar signal an energetic break—the only place the song’s going is up. The wait for this melodic explosion lingers through the first verse, then suddenly, the track evolves into a full-on crescendo of howling vocals and bright guitar solos. A kid’s choir enters later singing the chorus, showcasing the band’s penchant for bringing the unexpected. The video is simple, splicing studio shots with live recordings, presenting fun in its most elementary form—playing good music.

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Needle Drop: Vandaveer, “But Enough On That For Now”

DC-based duo Vandaveer has released The Wild Mercury, an album that shows just how far their sound can stretch.

The Wild Mercury marks Vandaveer’s fifth LP. Even on this album, the duo’s signature sound still lays in the brilliant contrast between the two singers—Rose Guerin’s vocals reach for a celestial inflection while Mark Charles Heidinger’s remain more corporeal. Together, they tailor a tone that feels eerily whole.

At times it’s light and loose, with soft chords and wandering arpeggios, while at other moments heavy and precise, not letting a stray note amble away. The album nicely balances these polarities, showcasing Vandaveer’s patient technique of bringing contrasts into harmony.

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Needle Drop: Max Jury, “Numb”

Des Moines musician Max Jury has given us “Numb,” a one-song preview from his self-titled album. It’s a warm track that gleams bright riffs and gospel echoes—providing the perfect escape from the cold winter. The full album is out this June, but until then, “Numb” will certainly suffice. During the wait, Jury plans to take his Midwestern spirit across the pond, embarking on a European tour that covers London and Bristol among other cities this May.

On the surface, Jury’s style seems undeniably American—big chords, a room-filling sound, and an open road on the album cover—however, a closer listen reveals underlying licks that seem to have a slight mod influence. It’s carefully crafted, revealing new timbres with every listen.

“Numb” opens on slow ascending background vocals, full chords on the piano, and a fervent crackle. Jury soon enters, singing in a longing tone. At the one-minute mark, the drums and bass fill in and an early guitar solo shatters the song’s somber start. This lively crescendo continues and Jury’s lyrics begin to rhyme effortlessly. By the end, the song has turned into an alluring synthesis of slick arpeggios, a strong bass-line, and electric vocals. It’s a track that’ll do well on repeat until June.

Pre-order Max Jury now via Marathon Artists.

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Needle Drop: Cayman Kings, “Memory Lane”

Cayman Kings, a French-born rock band, have just released their first LP, Suffering Chelsea Boots, and they didn’t hold back—it’s an energy filled debut. The group takes the traditional garage rock sound and ups the tempo with howling vocals and quick chord progressions.

The band flirts with different tones—from mesmerizing pop riffs to grittier blues fills—forging something new from these staple sounds. Almost every song on the LP ends right under the three-minute mark, but still manages to pack a strong bite. A marked momentum trails through the album, making the whole thing a lively listen from start to finish.

Each track pays its rent, contributing its own finely-nuanced sound to the LP. For example, “Memory Lane” starts with a with a low-octave riff accompanied by a deep drum bellow. The lead vocals enter in a raspy falsetto, providing the perfect contrast to the song’s heavy start. The group effortlessly reaches the chorus, which is a cheeky reminder of how the past is permanent and there’s no way to change it. It’s a quick tune that illustrates garage-rock’s power when properly executed.

Suffering Chelsea Boots is available now on vinyl via Bandcamp.

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Needle Drop: Furies (s/t)

Sometimes simple is best. Meet Furies, a Spanish-born trio that leaves the empty frills behind—not letting worthless racket disrupt their clean glam rock.

Although they hail from Madrid, the band has clearly borrowed a few licks from the American musical canon. Their new EP has the swing of the ’50s, with riffs reminiscent of Chuck Berry and other memorable founders of rock ‘n’ roll. It even includes the group’s own rendition of “Nutbush City Limits” by Ike & Tina Turner. However, their music isn’t simply a cheap copy of rock icons. Furies have taken these tones and filtered them through their own Spanish energy—finding an exciting new sound in the interstices of European and American rock.

Take the track “Tell Me Why.” It starts simply—with a punchy guitar riff underscored by a well-paced drum kick. Suddenly the group’s lead vocalist, María, enters singing English lyrics tinged with a foreign inflection, giving the track a distinct, almost uncanny feel. It invites the audience to listen carefully, rewarding their effort with a solo, packed with quick slides and full bends, that ends the song.

Furies’ self-titled EP is out now via Bandcamp.

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Needle Drop: Son Little, “Carbon”

Aaron Livingston just can’t stand still. Originally from LA, he traveled cross the country to New York and Philadelphia, eventually collaborating with hip-hop legends The Roots. Last month, he released an album under his solo monicker, Son Little, and he’s scheduled to tour Europe this December, eventually making his way back through the states in March. 

Son Little’s varied geographic influences are clear in his musical style and he picks up the subtleties of every spot he visits on the map, creating an intricate, and highly memorable, blend of America’s musical terrain. His new self-titled album eludes the bounds of just one genre—beginning at the confluence of rock and R&B and trailing down a river banked by the blues.

“Carbon” opens with a gritty riff against strong chords beating in the background, giving the track its hip-hop punch. Livingston’s vocals fill the song with a soulful fluidity, providing the perfect contrast to the guitar’s overdriven staccato. The track ends before you even realize it, clocking in it at only two-and-a-half minutes.

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Needle Drop: Red Haven, “Glass House”

Contemporary folk sometimes falls to one flaw, losing its bite between dull arpeggios and slow coos. Enter Red Haven, a band who takes a creative approach to avoid this problem.

Although they’re rooted in the West Coast, the group tells a story that’s also tinged in southeastern spirit. After a trip to New Orleans in 2014, band members Brendan Steele and Jennifer Charters realized the draw of the city’s Cajun charm—returning home only to spike their own tracks with the Bayou’s raucous energy.

Their music is a unique blend of the calm nature of the West with the flowing current of the Mississippi River. The group has played a range of shows—from the warm walls of a living room to the street outside—tackling any venue with genuine alacrity. Their 2015 album Vilified tells a complex story full of interesting twists.

“Glass House” begins with heavy chords atop a crashing cymbal, giving the song a powerful pulse. Charters creates a mysterious tone with her lyrics, “I’m writing for a paper nobody can read.” The song has refreshing wit, and in the latter half the band shatters the expectations of an audience accustomed to traditional folk—a saxophone takes the solo instead of a guitar. It’s quick and gritty, yet soulful—staying true to the New Orleans zeal that glows in many of band’s tracks.

The full album, Vilified is in stores now.

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Needle Drop:
Adia Victoria,
“Stuck In The South”

Nashville based Adia Victoria certainly has a mysterious aura. With just three singles out so far, she’s puzzling listeners as to what she’ll do next. Per her Facebook, she just finished up an album—with an expected release early next year.

Victoria sports an elusive bio with few facts—she was born in SC, built a band in Nashville, released a striking single in 2014, and is quickly becoming an indelible voice in modern music. The aforementioned single, “Stuck in the South,” is a rancor tinged tune that speaks to the South’s muddled past.

The track begins with a lone guitar playing in a pronounced staccato—giving every note a brief moment in the limelight. The tempo picks up and suddenly everything draws together in a mesmerizing rhythm. Victoria enters with her raspy vocals, creating an eerie mood with lines like, “Don’t know nothing about southern belles, but I can tell you something ‘bout southern hells.”

The song grows more gripping with every second and by the time the chorus hits, the rest of the band has seamlessly filled the space around Victoria, giving the track a sturdy howl. Victoria sings through a gritty guitar solo—ending in a roaring crescendo. The track has a haunting melody and unforgettable lyrics, certainly something you don’t want to miss.

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Needle Drop: Greyhounds, “What’s
on Your Mind”

Austin, TX houses a renowned musical landscape—from kickstarting the career of SRV in the ’70s to hosting SXSW today, the Live Music Capital of the World certainly has room to brag. Austin’s Greyhounds is no exception. A product of the late ’90s, the band has established a distinct following through their spirited live shows.

Quite frankly, the duo’s draw lies in their passion for high quality tunes. They stand on the doorstep of the blues, occasionally stepping off into a field of raffish rock ‘n’roll. Their vocals have a weathered finish, a perfect touch for their soul soaked style. “What’s on Your Mind,” a track from their 2014 album Accumulator, is a warm groove the bleeds honesty.

Guitarist Andrew Trube begins with a slow haunting guitar lick, and singer/keyboardist Anthony Farrell quickly fleshes out the full song with deep lyrics. Occasionally he reaches for the falsetto, creating a unique tension of highs and lows. It’s an emotional interrogation with traces of funk and R&B lingering in the background.

The song ponders the shaky ways we talk to each other, hinting at the inherent flaws of communication. No need to say more—the song’s better at it anyway.

Greyhounds’ new live LP, Heaven on Earth is in stores now.

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Needle Drop: Natural Child, “Out In The Country”

From the cool blues of the Mississippi Delta to the swampy southern rock of the ’70s, the American south certainly has a textured musical record. Enter Natural Child, born and bred in Tennessee, the band’s blazing new trails off the southern rock avenue while never forgetting where their roots lie.

The Nashville rockers take the old, gritty music of the south and serve it up in a modern outfit. Their 2014 album Dancin’ with Wolves meets at the intersection of blues and punchy garage rock. The album is full of laid-back grooves tinged in mellow twang, frequently belting out solos with the bottleneck slide, a renowned accessory in the southern musical canon. Tracks like “Out in the Country” welcome city life with weary arms, longing for simpler living.

“Out in the Country” is an ode to the pastoral—celebrating the area’s lack of pretension and urban frenzy. Beginning with a perfectly paced bass line the song quickly weaves together a range of styles—from rock to country—into a distinct patchwork. The song sets up a space that lets in an alluring sense of wildness, part of the band’s style. Take a minute—or three—to check out a change of scenery with Natural Child.

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Needle Drop: Vandaveer, “Spite”

Since 2006, Mark Charles Heidinger has fashioned a noteworthy form of folk with his DC based project, Vandaveer.

Vandaveer’s mesmerizing melodies cut down to the bone—speaking on an almost subliminal level. The group circles around playing venues of all sizes, from living room shows to festivals. Their song “Spite” weaves a pulsing rhythm with tense, striking lyrics.

The track begins with a haunting drum knock, growing more mysterious when singer/guitarist Heidinger comes in with his raspy vocals. Rose Guerin enters with her softer tone—providing the perfect cadence to balance out the harmonious duet. The lyrics adhere to a strict structure, creating a powerful aural pattern within the song.

Heidinger sings, “I’m gonna hold my breath to spite the air,” a quick-witted lyric repeated in both verses, serving as a lead for the rest of the lines to follow.

Although filmed in France, the video brims with Americana—dark storytelling with gothic influences. Two stories are twisted together, a baleful vignette of an unnamed man and a traditional video of Heidinger and Guerin, both clad in vintage style, performing the song. Both stories reach their respective peaks around the two-minute mark. The short video is certain to add some depth to your day—you can’t ask for much more.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, 9/26–9/27

As we’ve noted over the past few weeks among our 3 Landmark Music Festival ticket giveaways, it’s often said that Washington, DC lacks for very little. It’s literally ground zero and the epicenter of national and international politics, there’s nightlife from the urbane to the DIY, and a thriving cultural and arts community—yet there’s a discernible absence of a festival scene in DC proper along the lines of say a Lollapalooza or Austin City Limits. Sure, there are any number of smaller enclaves self-promoting shows and specific scenes that are thriving—just nothing to the scale of “America’s Front Yard.”

Enter the Landmark Music Festival, content to not just throw a huge party for DC but to aid in the restoration and preservation of its host, the National Mall. As the organizers C3 Presents—who actually produce the aforementioned Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits (among others)—explain on the festival’s website, “The National Mall is more than just our country’s premier national park. It’s America’s Front Yard, the world’s window into the American story, and home to some of our nation’s most recognizable monuments, memorials and historic moments. It represents our country’s collective voice, its heroes, and its timeless values. But today, the National Mall—and all that it stands for—are at risk.

The Trust for the National Mall—an official partner of the National Park Service—is leading the charge to restore and improve the National Mall and honor its ideals for future generations through the new Landmark Campaign. Landmark Music Festival kicks off this monumental national campaign to bring awareness and funds to America’s Front Yard—all in a single Festival weekend unlike any other.”

We have two pairs of tickets left to give away leading up to the inaugural shindig on the Mall, and for the last of our giveaways we’re touching on the international acts that will rival the Pope for your attention this weekend,

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, 9/26–9/27

As we noted last week upon the launch of the first of our 3 Landmark Music Festival ticket giveaways, it’s often said that Washington, DC lacks for very little. It’s literally ground zero and the epicenter of national and international politics, there’s nightlife from the urbane to the DIY, and a thriving cultural and arts community—yet there’s a discernible absence of a festival scene in DC proper along the lines of say a Lollapalooza or Austin City Limits. Sure, there are any number of smaller enclaves self-promoting shows and specific scenes that are thriving—just nothing to the scale of “America’s Front Yard.”

Enter the Landmark Music Festival, content to not just throw a huge party for DC but to aid in the restoration and preservation of its host, the National Mall. As the organizers C3 Presents—who actually produce the aforementioned Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits (among others)—explain on the festival’s website, “The National Mall is more than just our country’s premier national park. It’s America’s Front Yard, the world’s window into the American story, and home to some of our nation’s most recognizable monuments, memorials and historic moments. It represents our country’s collective voice, its heroes, and its timeless values. But today, the National Mall—and all that it stands for—are at risk.

The Trust for the National Mall—an official partner of the National Park Service—is leading the charge to restore and improve the National Mall and honor its ideals for future generations through the new Landmark Campaign. Landmark Music Festival kicks off this monumental national campaign to bring awareness and funds to America’s Front Yard—all in a single Festival weekend unlike any other.”

We have four pairs of tickets left to give away leading up to the inaugural shindig on the Mall, and for the second of 3 giveaways we thought to introduce you to some of the bands making the trip across the country for Landmark. Next week in our third installment we’ll treat the international acts who are headlining the festival.

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