A Chicago-based indie music blog featuring exclusive live sessions from our favorite artists. HearYa is an indie music blog that gives indie music enthusiasts a destination to cut through the clutter when discovering new music.
I caught Ian Ferguson last year opening up for Ron Gallo and really enjoyed that set. Now he’s set to release his debut LP on July 26 release on County Fair Records.
Ferguson stated “Worried Walk is a song about that feeling when you’re aware you are having an emotional and mental meltdown. It’s about that feeling when your mind takes off, all on its own. You try taking a walk to calm yourself down but you find yourself thinking more and more and continuing in a downward spiral.”
When you are a fan of an artist for a long period of time; consisting of multiple albums; it is natural to have you favorites and albums that you never play. Most people favor the early albums; back when the love was fresh and exciting.
Justin Townes Earle is one of those artists for me. While I really liked his album, Kids In The Street, I almost always find myself reaching for the older stuff. But I’m here to say that The Saint of Lost Causes is among his best work; his voice never sounding better. For his eighth album, Justin turned his gaze out – toward the state of America. Like the excellent, The Seduction of Kansas by Priests, JTE isn’t hitting you over the head with his rage. His imagery is pointed, yet subtle enough to requiring the listener to really listen.
Over the course of a dozen tracks, JTE paints little stories of Americans that are getting left behind in this current shitstorm. He isn’t shy in pointing out his targets. Flint City Shake It, a tune who’s boogie belies the serious subject of our gov’t letting down the people in Flint. Don’t Drink the Water is a bluesy number getting after the “sons of bitches” ruining the land and water in West Virginia. There’s the haunting Appalachian Nightmare about a drugstore cowboy looking for redemption after murdering a cop. It’s a powerful tune; digging so much deeper than the horrible outcome of a dead policeman.
Releasing such an outward looking album after the deeply personal and inward looking Kids In The Street was a nice touch. And he absolutely nailed it.
LA’s Girl Friday are the latest addition to the excellent Hardly Art roster of artists. In a broad sense, they play post-punk but there’s a whole of lot of shit going on there. Really excited to dig in to this EP to discover other influences, and more importantly – their take on them. Anywho, the EP is out on June 28th and here’s a little more of the Hardly Art site.
Girl Friday think of themselves as an explicitly feminist project, though not in the didactic way one might expect from that appellation. The L.A-based quartet, founded by bassist Libby Hsieh and guitarist Vera Ellen after they met at a UCLA house party a couple of years back, operates collectively, each member taking turns at the microphone and equal parts in songwriting; they’re all big personalities and big presences, but they find balance—and complement—in one another. There had been iterations of the band before, but none had truly clicked until drummer Virginia Pettis and guitarist Sierra Scott joined.
B Boys are back withe a follow up to 2017’s Dada. The New York trio play a high-octane brand of post punk that sits right in my wheelhouse. Really looking forward to this one. Dudu will see the light of day on July 26 via the fine folks at Captured Tracks. Here’s some more info from the PR team.
New York’s B Boys (Andrew Kerr, Brendon Avalos, Britton Walker) find inspiration in the chaos that surrounds them: the aggressive attitude and sonic lawlessness of the city they live, work, and breathe in every day. Their raw, yet meticulous style is characterized by rhythmic complexity, commanding riffs, and introspective lyrics that are as playful and self-aware as they are cutting.
I have been waiting for this one for awhile. Been loving the EPs for a couple of years now but am excited to sink my teeth into an LP. Fronted by Kenny Becker, Goon crank out a rambunctious brand of lo-fi rock that’s as gritty as it is enjoyable. Heaven Is Humming will see the light of day on 7/19 via the fine folks at Partisan. Here’s some more info from the Partisan PR squad.
Goon is primarily a vehicle for Becker, who wrote ‘Heaven is Humming’ while suffering from a chronic sinus condition that required surgery and periodically debilitated his senses – including hearing. The songs – fearlessly weird, yet also comforting and familiar – emerged during Becker’s brief periods of health and optimism. “I find encouragement in the fact that I’m able to be productive in the times that I’m not sick,” Becker explains. “People like to romanticize the periods in which, for example, someone like Van Gogh was suffering, but it was actually because he was sick that he would go outside and see a cherry-blossom tree and be struck by its beauty. It would make him realize, ‘This might be the last time I see this, I don’t know when I’ll have this snatched away from me again.’”
Charlie Collins is a twang artist from hailing from Australia and she’s set to release her debut on 5/31 via the fine folks Mirror Music Group. Her vocals remind me of Margo Price, which is about a nice a compliment as I could toss around. Here’s some info from the PR team.
Charlie Collins’ primary influences are perfectly versatile. She picked up a guitar at age 11 and learned to busk old country classics from the likes of Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Emmy Lou Harris. The sounds of dirt roads and dive bars lay a gravelly foundation over which her sheepskin-soft voice could ring. Charlie took to more modern sounds in her early twenties, fronting alt-pop outfit Tigertown. Now, she melds the range of experiences into something both grittily heartfelt and gleaming.
Modern Nature is the new project of Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting, Mazes) and Will Young(BEAK>, Moon Gangs). I’m more familiar with Cooper’s work as I’ve spent some considerable time with Ultimate Painting. This is definitely a little different but I really dig it. How To Live will see the light of day on 8/23 via the fine folks at Bella Union. Here’s some info from the PR team
On How to Live, urban and rural cross into each other. Plaintive cello strains melt into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drift through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shine with reflective saxophone accents, placing the record somewhere between the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs and the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.
Much like their set I took in during SXSW, Water had me skeptical a few tracks in, then I came around about midway through and at the end of it all; I said to myself, “Self, that was pretty fucking good.”
Chicago’s Dehd; comprised of Jason Balla, Emily Kempf, and Eric McGrady music sounds like scuzzy surf-punk that accidentally took one too many ambien. Born out of a break-up between Balla and Kempf, all but two of the thirteen tracks clock in under three minutes. They feel like little snippets of their lives; worked around these languid guitar riffs. Oddly enough, my favorite track, On My Side, is the longest. Balls runs point on the vocals but Kempf’s choruses are heartbreaking. It’s as if they are going through the healing process in front of you.
Other gems on this album include Lucky, Baby and Happy Again. Be sure to check em out live. They were one of my pleasant surprises at SXSW.
After seeing Priests at SXSW and reading numerous articles on Priests, I think they are going to be an iconic band of this generation. They have this brilliant combination of brains, style, talent and drive.
For their second album, the sound of Priests has evolved. Inspired by 2004’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? by Thomas Frank; drummer Daniele Daniele, vocalist Katie Alice Greer, and guitarist G.L. Jaguar have moved forward without original bassist Taylor Mulitz (now leading Flasher). They went out of their way not to recreate Nothing Feels Natural working in numerous influences, and the results are phenomenal.
Throughout Seduction, Priests combine some of lore of America with the current state of America. Jesus Son is a ripping opener, basically imagining a white man that has complained how hard it is to be a white man as the second coming. It is subtle and brilliant. A couple of tracks later on I’m Clean, channels her inner Karen O. Good Time Charlie is another brilliant track, chronicling the story of Charlie Wilson. Towards the end, Control Freak gets the hair standing up on the back of your neck as Greer spits out her venom.
Priests sophomore album is everything I hoped for. I’m already excited to see what to see what they do for LP3 beyond.
Carla Geneve is a Perth based musician whom I had never heard of before today. After hearing the tune below, Yesterday’s Clothes, I wound up in a YouTube wormhole listening/watching more stuff. I am a fan. This tune is a slow-burning rocker. Pay attention to Carla. She’s got something going on and I would like to hear lots more.
Carla explains the meaning behind the song: “‘Yesterday’s Clothes’ is about falling out of love with someone and feeling guilty about it. I wrote it at time when I was burning the candle at both ends and had no energy left to try to deal with the end of a relationship. Most of the words came when I was doing a long drive back from some gig or another in regional WA. I’d been up all night and had to be somewhere the next day, so I hadn’t had a shower or changed clothes. When you’re on your own driving for hours and hours it’s hard to avoid thinking about stuff that you don’t want to, so I guess I wrote the song to try to come to terms with my thoughts and situation.”