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.
Danny Nogueiras is the inspiration behind NO WIN. A founding member of FIDLAR and having produced albums by Mean Jeans and Together Pangea, among others, Nogueiras felt it was time to step out with his own project. The first track rips. Here’s some more info on how the album came to be.
Danny Nogueiras had one simple motivation for the 10 songs that make up downey, the debut album by his band NO WIN – honesty. This candor is evident from the very first notes, but with each subsequent listen the songs digs deeper and deeper, attaching themselves to the listeners own emotions and experiences until its songs become shared memories. “I worked to the bone on this record,” says Nogueiras, “I make this kind of music because I love it genuinely, and I want as many people as possible to enjoy it.”
This track has a certain grime to it that reminds me of Nick’s first album and I’m all in for this. The self-titled release will be out on 3/8 via the fine folks at Innovative Leisure. Here’s some more info from the PR team.
There’s a reason why Nick chose to name this, his fourth album, his self-titled release. While he has always had a “style is all his own” according to NPR, this album is a deeper reflection of the cultural and emotional firmament that has made Nick the artist he is today: his passions and influences; his love and outrage. The music of Irma Thomas and Chico Hamilton; the films of Robert Siodmak and Adam Curtis. The good old bad days in San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles. It’s an intoxicating world, and this album invites you to get lost in it.
Our love affair with Tim Showalter’s music is well known. He is one of my favorite musicians to talk to and read about. To read in this press release, that Oaks was almost over until his pals at MMJ wrangled him into a studio left me fraught with concern. But then I hit play on the first track and that was all washed away. Eraserhead will be out on 3/22 via the fine folks at Dead Oceans.
Writer-producer Timothy Showalter has always used the highs and lows of his own life as the source material for his gut punching rock songs. Each of his experiences examined, mediated on and crafted into confessional albums for the world to share. The therapeutic experience of making art this way was often short lived, leading Showalter to bouts of depression and after 2017’s Hard Love, he found himself spent. Empty and determined that he would never write songs again, dark thoughts crept in and Showalter, concerned for his own well-being decided to go on a spiritual pilgrimage – to the Jersey Shore.
Meg Baird is the woman behind Hand Habits. For those unfamiliar with her work, she is the lead guitarist for Kevin Morby’s band and she ca flat-out rip. Placeholder is the follow up to 2017’s Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void). This new tracks sounds a little more fleshed out, a little bigger and a whole lot better than her debut. Here’s some info from the PR team.
The name placeholder stems from Meg’s fascination with the undefinable. Their songs serve as openings — carved-out spaces waiting to be endowed with meaning. As a lyricist, Meg is drawn to the in-between, and the songs on this new album primarily confront the ways in which certain experiences can serve as a stepping stone on the road to self-discovery. “A big aspect of my songwriting and the way I move through the world depends on my relationships with people. The songs on placeholder are about accountability and forgiveness,” Meg says. “These are all real stories. I don’t fictionalize much.”
Sharon Van Etten has always has always had a voice that buckled my knees. Hell, I’d get emotional watching that Volvo commercial with Every Time The Sun Comes Up. In every article you read about her, she comes across as smart, sexy yet as approachable as the girl next door.
As the first PR pieces came out about her first album in five years, there was lots of talk about how synths were going to be prominently featured on this album. As a general rule, I don’t like synths. I think too often they are used a crutch to mask mediocre songwriting. But when used right, they can really bring something to the table.
Van Etten’s use reminds me of how Tim Showalter uses them with Strand Of Oaks. Neither of them let the synths wash them out which is why when I saw this tweet and Sharon and Tim’s response, I got a little excited.
Remind Me Tomorrow is a truly brilliant album. Seventeen is now my favorite SVE track. As I emailed to her publicist, “as a father to a 12 y/o daughter, it really hits home.” I sure hope she doesn’t wait five years til her new album but with all she’s got going on, it will be understandable. And it will definitely be worth the wait.
After the inevitable Best Of lists, we get the albums we’re looking forward to in 2019. Like many Best Of lists, they all seem to echo each other. I get it. We all want the new Sharon Van Etten album. Side note (Seventeen is fucking outrageous. My favorite SVE tune to date).
So with that in mind, here’s my list of 21. Let me clear, I have absolute zero insight as to whether any of these are going to come to fruition. This is just a selfish exercise.
1. Melkbelly – Put simply, there Pitchfork set blew my hair back. Best thing I saw that day and that day included Julien Baker, Big Thief, Lucy Dacus and Courtney Barnett.
2. Mikal Cronin – I know he’s busy with Ty but it has been 4 years since MCIII. I think we need to freshen up his roman numeral skills with MCIV.
3. Strand of Oaks – Tim’s been busy w/ Goshen Electric Co but I think it is high time we get a follow-up to Hard Love. (looks like Tim is leaking hints so we may be in luck).
4. Ratboys – I need some more of this Chicago band’s version of Post-Country. (they just announced SXSW so that is a good sign).
5. Lydia Loveless – Her last new material was 2016’s Real, where she really pushed down some barriers. Please push down some barriers.
6. Diet Cig – it seems about right for a follow-up to 2017’s I Swear I’m Good At This. One of most endearing live shows you’ll see.
7. Ex Hex – Caught a set by these ladies last September in Chicago. And I was reminded that they rock. (mission accomplished as they just announced It’s Real)
8. The Black Pumas – New Austin band that, if you dig Durand Jones and/or Charles Bradley, should be on your radar.
9. Annabelle Chairlegs – Speaking of Austin bands, this psych-rock quartet put on the best set I saw at SXSW 2018. Lead singer, Lindsey Mackin is a force of nature.
10. Mount Moriah – Heather’s solo album was phenomenal. But now, I would like more of Mount Moriah. Jenks Miller is one of the finest guitar players I’ve heard play.
11. Water Liars – A personal favorite of mine. Both Andrew and Justin put out great albums last year.
12. Lady Lamb – Been four years since Aly Spaltro graced us with After. It seems about time.
13. Vagabon – Been two years since Laetitia Tamko burst into my rotation with Infinite Worlds. As I said when that came out, she reminds me of Lady Lamb. Idea: Both release albums and do a co-headline tour.
14. The Yawpers – if for no other reason, the world needs their insane brand of pyschobilly.
15. Promised Land Sound – 2015’s For Use and Delight was a personal favorite of mine. Shades of Big Star and Wilco in there. I would like more please.
16. NE-HI – Another Chicago band that I would like to have more music from to shove in my earholes. These guys are killer live.
17. Margaret Glaspy – Been three years since the excellent Emotions and Math. Saw her last year with Julian Lage and she was fantastic. New album please.
18. Sheer Mag – Two years feels about right for Tina Halladay and crew to unleash their unbridled brand of rock on us again.
19. Blind Pilot – Been three years since And Then Like Lions graced our presence.
20. The Haden Triplets – Been five years since the ladies released their stellar brand of Americana. I would like some more please.
21. The Hold Steady – They’ve been releasing singles since 2014’s Teeth Dreams. I would like a full LP now that Franz is back.
Last year Ex Hex played here in Chicago and I couldn’t believe that it had been nearly 5 years since their excellent debut, Rips, had been released. But that show gave me hope that new Ex Hex music was on the horizon. And today my hopes were fulfilled. It’s Real will see the light of day via the fine folks at Merge on 3/22. Here’s some info from their website.
On It’s Real, the group’s forthcoming second album, Ex Hex’s commitment to larger-than-life riffs and unforgettable hooks remains intact, but the garage-y, post-punk approach that defined Rips has grown in scale and ambition. What started as a reaction to the blown-out aesthetic of Rips would test the sonic limits of the power trio and lead the band on a quest for a more immersive and three-dimensional sound. Vocal harmonies are layered ten tracks deep, solos shimmer and modulate atop heaving power chords, and the codas linger and stretch toward new frontiers of sound. On first listen, you might think you’ve unearthed a long-lost LP carved from the space where crunch-minded art rock and glitter-covered hard rock converge, an event horizon at the intersection of towering choruses and swaggering guitars.
Priests are in their 8th year as a band and in 2017, their appeal and notoriety really took off with their debut LP, Nothing Feels Natural. I saw them a couple of times that year, including once at SXSW. They’ll be back on the road this year, including a stop in Austin. Here’s some info from the PR team.
It is dark and glittering—though there is still something fantastically off about it, decadent and uneasy at once. As journalist Thomas Frank explored in 2004’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?, the ideological sway of Kansas has often predicted the direction in which the U.S. will move—whether leaning socialist in the 1800s or going staunchly conservative in the 1980s. Illustrating Kansas’ potent place in our national imagination—as well as “a chorus of whoever is trying to persuade the social consciousness of Kansas”—Greer sings brilliantly of a “bloodthirsty cherub choir” in a cornfield, of “a drawn out charismatic parody of what a country through it used to be,” beckoning that “I’m the one who loves you.”
Sometimes you see someone perform and you say to yourself, “Self, this person has it.” What “it” is is for someone much smarter than me to discuss. But after seeing Stella Donnelly do a solo set last year at SXSW, you absolutely knew she was going to some great things. Based on this track, I am trending towards being right. Beware of The Dogs will see the light of day via Secretly Canadian on 3/8. Here’s some info from the PR team.
Stella Donnelly is a proud, self-proclaimed sh*t-stirrer. Her electrifying debut album, Beware of the Dogs, is out March 8th via Secretly Canadian, and her North American tour will kick off a week later. Today, Donnelly shares the video for lead single and biting album opener, “Old Man,” in which she targets the song’s titular creep, “Oh are you scared of me old man or are you scared of what I’ll do? You grabbed me with an open hand. The world is grabbing back at you.” When something needs to be said, whether it’s to an abusive man, a terrible boss, or a clueless significant other, the 26-year old Fremantle, Western Australian-based musician is fearless in telling it like it is. Delivered entirely with a sarcastic wink and a full heart, Beware of the Dogs proves across 13 life-affirming songs the power in sticking up for yourself, your friends, and what’s right.