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(Photo credit: Philip Cosores)

Here’s a comprehensive list of my 20 favorite new tracks from June 2018. Listen to the full Spotify playlist below, which opens with a beautiful new single, “Seventeen,” from Kentucky singer-songwriter Tomberlin‘s forthcoming album, At Weddings (out on August 10 via Saddle Creek). Watch the video for “Seventeen” further down and click here to preorder At Weddings.

  1. Tomberlin – Seventeen
  2. Video Age – Pop Therapy
  3. Spiritualized – I’m Your Man
  4. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – The Hammer

  5. Mourn – Barcelona City Tour
  6. Gorillaz – Hollywood

  7. Kevin Krauter – Keep Falling in Love
  8. Beach Skulls – That’s Not Me
  9. Interpol – The Rover
  10. Snail Mail – Full Control
  11. Idles – Danny Nedelko
  12. The Vryll Society – Light At The Edge Of The World
  13. Hypoluxo – Kentucky Smooth
  14. Sorry – Twinkle
  15. The Candescents – Boyfriend
  16. Matt Maltese – Sweet 16
  17. HMLTD – Proxy Love
  18. The Nude Party – Water on Mars
  19. Hotel Lux – Berlin Wall
  20. Black Honey – I Only Hurt The Ones I Love
Tomberlin - Seventeen - YouTube

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(Photo credit: Cloudy Truffles)

Warmduscher aren’t your average band and their brand new album, Whale City, is the antithesis of safe, bland rock and roll.

They’re a rather peculiar collective of musicians as they’ve each assumed their own wacky personas and stage names, but they shouldn’t be written off as some ridiculous gimmick. Their songs exude a swaggering, eccentric and absurd energy and their frontman, Clams Baker Jr, is the charming raconteur you didn’t know you needed in your life.

Warmduscher - Standing On the Corner - YouTube

Made up of members of various British bands (Childhood, Fat White Family, Insecure Men, Mutado Pintado, Paranoid London), the band released their debut album, Khaki Tears, back in 2015 and this year, they’ve dropped the follow-up, Whale City. 

Their commitment to their artistry also shouldn’t be discounted as you’ll find recurring characters like Whale Jimmy, Uncle Sleepover, Ice Cream Keith and others in their various off-the-wall music videos.

Their new album conjures up a wide variety of imagery, particularly scenes straight out of Grand Theft Auto or perhaps the Magical Mystery Tour film from hell. Whale City paints a picture of a retro muscle car full of filthy, unconventional vagabonds, the music blaring is funky, Captain Beefheart-esque garage rock and its destination is none other than Las Vegas.

I had a chat with the man himself, Clams Baker Jr, and you can read our full interview below.

Warmduscher are:

Clams Baker Jr: Vocals. The Metalarc Lemon of the band.

Lightnin’ Jack Everett: Drums. A mystic lump.

Mr. Salt Fingers Lovecraft: Bass. Dream maker and breaker.

Quicksand: Guitar. Statistics.

The Witherer aka Little Whiskers: Noise. Emotional Fluffer.

How do you see your new album, Whale City, in comparison to your 2015 debut Khaki Tears?

Better artwork, tighter songs, and almost perfect.

What were some of the primary musical or artistic influences on the new album?

Movies, jokes, life, and being broke.

What do you guys get from Warmduscher that you don’t get from your other projects?

Liver damage and emotional joyrides.

Where did some of the recurring characters on the album and in your music videos (Uncle Sleepover, Ice Cream Keith, Whale Jimmy, etc.) come from? Were any of them based on real-life people?

They are all based on real things and people in some way shape or form, we just change the names to protect the innocent. Life ain’t life unless you live it in color!

How much of your personal experiences ended up on the album?

All of ourselves are in it as we made it and also Dan Carey and Alexis live there as well. We’ve all lived a million stories to tell and still manage to keep the camera rolling. Although with this album there has been a lot more work behind all aspects of it so the adventures aren’t quite as interesting but they are there.

Did your London hometown have a particular influence on the album? 

I’m from Cape Cod via New York City, so most of my stories stem from there really. I live in a pretty boring part of London so my daily grind and inspiration would conjure stories of city workers and uniforms rather than street walkers and magicians if you get me. Actually maybe that will be the story behind the next album.

Do you wish that more musicians would take on high-concept personas, incorporate more surrealism or absurdity into their artistry or write rock operas? In other words, do musicians take themselves too seriously?

I think its fine to take yourselves seriously, I just can’t do it personally or at least for too long. I figure when you grasp the true concept of death and fading away eventually there is nothing in life that should be serious. I don’t mind what other people do though, that’s up to them and my main thing is passion. If you got that, I’ll always respect it.

Do you have a favorite track or favorite video from Whale City and why?

“1000 Whispers” as it’s always been a fantasy of mine to make an attempt at a soul record because that’s what it is to me. It might be white boy soul but I always give 200% so its all of my soul. The video for it is my favorite as well because it stars my brother in my hometown of Orleans, MA and is filmed by my wife Cloudy Truffles and reminds me of what the apocalypse might look like one day.

Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for Whale City?

Lyric-wise, I wrote them in the states and had somewhat of an idea of what the songs would be and attached them as best I could. The music was made over a couple rehearsals and through experimenting live, but we really didn’t know exactly what would happen. The recording process was a total mind bender and a blast. Dan and Alexis came up with the idea to record one side of the album in one day and the other side the next and then leave one day of overdubs and backing vocals. It was insane as we only had three days to record it. We recorded the whole thing live and onto tape, so if we messed up one song we had to go back and start again. We barely messed up though. It was incredible considering we were not rehearsed. Saul turned up on the day of recording not knowing what we would do or record and we actually made up “I Got Friends” that day. It was great.

If someone hasn’t heard Warmduscher before, how would you describe your sound?

Simple with a lot of soul, but just turn it on and do what you like with it. Don’t trust me.

What’s the one thing you want people to get from listening to your music and the one thing you want people to get from watching a Warmduscher live show?

If you like it great, follow it and let it take you wherever it takes you, I wouldn’t want to tell you how to do that.  The main thing is just enjoy your life and live it like you want to write about it.  I don’t even know if that answers the question but that’s what you get when you ask a narcissist questions.

Are there any up-and-coming bands that you’re excited about?

Petbrick, Casual Nun, Pregoblin, Dogdick, Meatraffle, Throbbin Williams, Jack Medlys Secure Men, Boner Patrol, Good Sad Happy Bad. I don’t know there are a ton really, have at it.

Warmduscher’s new album, Whale City, is out now via The Leaf Label. Purchase their album on Bandcamp here or listen on Spotify below.

Want your music featured on an upcoming playlist or article? Submit new music and press releases for consideration with this contact form.

To get all the latest posts from Mod Melody delivered straight to your inbox, click the follow button at the bottom of the page. You can also follow all my music-related musings on Twitter and Instagram.

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(Photo credit: Wick Records)

Here’s a comprehensive list of my 20 favorite tracks from May 2018. Listen to the full Spotify playlist below, which leads off with a bluesy new single, “I’ll Be There,” from Montreal singer-songwriter Michael Rault‘s new album, It’s A New Day Tonight. Watch the video for “I’ll Be There” further down.

  1. Michael Rault (pictured above) – I’ll Be There
  2. Peeping Drexels – Bills Drift
  3. Weird Milk – Better
  4. Drenge – This Dance
  5. Bodega – Jack in Titanic
  6. Grapetooth – Violent
  7. Sorry – Showgirl
  8. Snail Mail – Let’s Find An Out
  9. Barrie – Tal Uno
  10. Thyla – Blame
  11. GRDNS – Roulette Love Gun
  12. Matt Maltese – Bad Contestant
  13. Wand – Perfume
  14. Arctic Monkeys – Star Treatment
  15. Courtney Barnett – I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch
  16. Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – Lull
  17. Cut Worms – Think I Might Be in Love
  18. Nation Of Language – Reality
  19. Iceage – Hurrah
  20. Parquet Courts – Mardi Gras Beads
Michael Rault "I'll Be There" (OFFICIAL VIDEO) - YouTube

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(Photo credit: Martin Barker)

Here’s a comprehensive list of my 25 favorite tracks from April 2018. Listen to the full Spotify playlist below, which leads off with a fiery new single, “Swallow Me,” from up-and-coming Scottish quartet, The Ninth Wave. Watch the video for “Swallow Me” further down.

  1. The Ninth Wave (pictured above) – Swallow Me
  2. Kevin Krauter – Rollerskate
  3. Ari Roar – Take Me Over
  4. Snail Mail – Heat Wave
  5. Wand – Pure Romance
  6. Hotel Lux – Daddy
  7. Matt Maltese – Like A Fish
  8. Joy Room – Against The Wall
  9. Isaac Gracie – Reverie
  10. Bad Nerves – Can’t Be Mine
  11. The Vryll Society – Andrei Rublev
  12. Courtney Barnett – City Looks Pretty
  13. Launder – Wonder
  14. The Horrors – Water Drop
  15. Bodega – Can’t Knock The Hustle
  16. Las Rosas – Tax Man
  17. Post Animal – Heart Made Of Metal
  18. Iceage – The Day The Music Dies
  19. King Tuff – Neverending Sunshine
  20. Goat Girl – Viper Fish
  21. Cut Worms – Cash For Gold
  22. Gaz Coombes – Shit (I’ve Done It Again)
  23. Our Girl – I Really Like It
  24. The Buttertones – You And Your Knife
  25. BOYTOY – Get Off Your Leash
The Ninth Wave - Swallow Me - YouTube

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“This is the first interview I’ve done holding a big piece of fruit!” excitedly announces Dan Lardner, one half of New York City rock duo QTY, at the beginning of our interview. Dan says he’s unsure what to do, now that he’s in the middle of eating a huge pear. The other half of QTY, Alex Niemetz reassuringly chimes in and tells Lardner to go get a napkin as the pair called in separately for the interview.

In a lot of ways, this initial interaction between the two of them is an indication of the duo’s unique, compatible personalities. Dan is eccentric, youthful and honest. He often downplays his own abilities and he sometimes has trouble quickly synthesizing his thoughts on the spot in conversation, though on paper, he would give even the best lyricists a run for their money. On the other hand, Alex is very warm, nurturing and articulate. Though she has no problem quickly formulating her thoughts into words, songwriting is still fairly new territory for her and she finds it difficult avoiding predictable clichés.

The two of them previously played in a band called Grand Rapids, but after that band “plateaued,” they began writing together and retreated to San Francisco to record demos that would become QTY’s first songs. One of those songs, “Dress/Undress” got them signed to U.K. label Dirty Hit (Wolf Alice, The 1975) on the spot and led them to record their debut album in London with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler as producer.

QTY - Dress/Undress - YouTube

The band released their self-titled debut album last December and it received critical acclaim from the likes of the NME, DIY Magazine and The Line Of Best Fit. As for the band’s dynamic, Lardner and Niemetz work on songs together, but Lardner writes and sings the lion’s share of the lyrics while Niemetz plays lead guitar, sings occasional vocals and constructs the melodic structure of the songs.

Though the two are clearly distinct individuals, there’s a lot these two share. They’re both New Yorkers, extremely genuine in what they do and hyper-focused in their vision for QTY. They’re not in it for the money, for the aesthetics or for the over-the-top rock and roll lifestyle. In fact, they’re not even conscious of the rock genre that their music is inevitably tagged with, which is refreshing to hear in a time when lots of up-and-coming rock bands ridiculously and ludicrously see themselves as the saviors of a superior genre that they perceive as being unfairly pushed to the fringes.

Lardner says, “I think that’s kind of cheesy to think you represent some whatever kind of thing. All we represent is Dan and Alex. I don’t want to fly any flag but being ourselves.”

Lardner and Niemetz both agree that neither the rise of synthesizers and electronics or the fall of the guitar is inherently good or bad. They assert it’s the songs, the lyrics and the music at its core that’s the most important thing.

Lardner says, “A computer doesn’t make things bad or good. Whether it’s genuine or innovative is what does. I feel good about our music because we’re genuine in what we do. Our lyrics I think are not like other bands, our arrangements, our approach to things aren’t. So, I don’t think about us as a guitar band or anything. We can use synthesizers and computer things, but if we do, it won’t be because we want to try and appeal to people. I think that’s where a lot of the backlash comes is when people who really support guitar music think of synth music and computers as a way to buy into something or follow trends or whatever, but I don’t think that’s inauthentic, I think it’s often inauthentic, but inherently, nothing is inauthentic.”

Niemetz also comments that most of what she listens to now doesn’t even feature guitar, despite being the band’s lead guitarist. She says, “I don’t really listen to a lot of records that have guitars or are bands. I listen to a lot of jazz, hip-hop and classical music. Even though I make that kind of music, I’m not up to date with it.”

The fact that Lardner and Niemetz aren’t in the loop with what’s happening in guitar music comes as no surprise as QTY’s lyrical and songwriting styles are very striking, something to be celebrated in a time when much of today’s guitar music seems to have hit a wall and is running out of ideas. Several of the innovative indie rockers of today that have managed to stay ahead of the curve have often successfully tapped into what many people are struggling with nowadays: mental health. QTY’s debut album erupts with feelings of self-doubt and is centered around the stress of early adulthood that all millennials are now grappling with. However, you don’t have to be a millennial to relate to the lyrics on this album. Their debut record addresses the insecurities that come with simply being a human.

Perhaps the greatest strength of their album is its ability to describe the monotonous mundanity of everyday life that we all experience without any of those cringe-worthy clichés and redundancies that are often associated with lyrics deemed relatable. Lardner skillfully walks this tightrope throughout the album, but never comes close to falling into the fiery pit of foreseeable mediocrity below that has consumed so many lyricists nowadays.

Lardner’s idiosyncratic lyrics bring to mind modern-day lyricists like Courtney Barnett or Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo as his songs openly wear self-doubt on their chest (but he doesn’t hide behind it or use it as an accessory). His words often meander and scatter around like actual thoughts in his head, before they reluctantly and abruptly return back to reality.

Larder’s self-deprecating lyrics are noticeably lacking in end rhymes and they often read like schizophrenic, free verse poetry. Lardner describes songwriting as therapeutic and he explains why he doesn’t like a lot of rhyming in his lyrics. “Instead of feeling like a piece of shit all the time, I just write it down and make it into a better thing. Also, if I wrote a bunch of end rhymes and shit, I’d feel like a corny cheeseball.”

“Cold Nights,” for example, displays Lardner’s clever, meticulous word play that largely avoids end rhymes. “Cold nights / Slow times / Skin crawls / Guilt trips / Cold men burn bridges over friendships.”

Lardner says, “I was wondering in my head, ‘Is this a chorus?’ It was like a fun kind of double entendre to me. ‘Cold men burn bridges over friendship.’ I was like ‘Is that too much of a double entendre?’ Like burning a bridge over a ship. I was like, ‘Am I losing my mind?’ I thought I was maybe going overboard, but in a fun way. That’s how I entertain myself.”

Knowingly or not, Lardner talks about his reluctance to associate bridges with ships in the same line and then ironically wonders if he’s going “overboard.” This man is undoubtedly a genius, though he wouldn’t strike you as someone who’d ever admit it.

He mentions “Salvation” when asked about a song that he’s proud of, but says, “I like ‘Salvation’ a lot, but not because I think it’s any more impressive or I’m proud of it or anything. I like songs that have an opening that set a theme. I like the first line of that one. ‘Came back from a night in / To find myself in a world that I hide from.’ I always like a simple way of setting a theme. Hopefully, it’s inviting to think about.”

Niemetz’s guitar playing is such a crucial and equally essential aspect of the band’s sound. There’s a guitar solo on nearly every track on the album and though many would consider this to be overindulgent, many listeners welcome it as a fresh and ballsy move that most bands would shy away from. Her style is extremely melodic and her guitar tones morph from garage rock to proto-punk to indie rock to surf rock so effortlessly and seamlessly.

Lardner is extremely admirable and in awe of Niemetz’s abilities on the guitar. Lardner doesn’t even hesitate when he declares, “Alex is my favorite guitar player in the world.”

Niemetz also contributes backing vocals throughout the album and sings lead vocals on one track, “New Beginnings.” Lardner, again is one of Niemetz’s biggest cheerleaders when he says, “I think instinctively a lot of our friends love ‘New Beginnings’ because it’s [Alex] singing it. That makes sense to me. It’s nice to hear [Alex] sing.”

It seems the two members of QTY were simply made for each other as each of their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other in such a perfect way that it’s almost scary. The pair’s musical relationship is one that appears to have an incredibly rare magic and a complimentary nature previously found by duos like McCartney and Lennon or Morrissey and Marr.

Lardner says, “I think what [Alex] does musically for me is what I do lyrically for [Alex].” Lardner often finds himself writing far too many words and so many that he’s often out of breath because he’s “onstage singing fucking novels in three minutes.” He explains that Niemetz helps him by condensing his lyrics and picking out key words and phrases.

Niemetz is also trying her hand at writing as well and has gained more confidence as a lyricist, though she finds herself running into roadblocks like clichés and “stupid rhymes.” However, since Lardner is overwhelmed by the thought of anyone ever finding his writing cliché, he excels at avoiding those things and does it poetically in the process, thus making the pair the perfect songwriting partners.

The band’s debut album was produced by Bernard Butler, the original guitarist of Britpop group Suede and his production discography includes bands like Manic Street Preachers, The Libertines and The Cribs. Talking about the effect Butler had on the album, Lardner says, “I think the album has a lot more solos than it would’ve had. I think it’s more guitar-focused, which is really cool, I want people to hear [Alex’s] guitar playing.”

Niemetz says that Butler pushed her to become a better guitar player, “I think he was always like ‘You should just go for it. Don’t be scared.’ My leads are more subtle usually.”

Butler also pushed Lardner as a lead vocalist, whose known for his monotone vocal delivery, as Niemetz recounted, “He would be like ‘No, no, no, sing! You have to sing it! Don’t speak it or don’t do the monotone thing, like sing it.’”

Lardner responded, I was like, ‘I am singing. That’s how I fucking sing!’”

Butler plays all the bass and synth parts on the album and Lardner says Butler felt like a part of the band when they were recording the album. It did feel like it was the three of us making an album together. It was our songs. We didn’t have our full band because we were recording in London, so it was just the three of us in the studio.”

Though Lardner doesn’t have any negative feelings towards the songs on their debut album, he’s bursting with excitement when it comes to the band’s new material. “We have so many things and we’re eager people that want to play everything. When we we’re doing the album it was like ‘Fuck…I want to record another album right now.’”

After embarking on their first headline tours and playing at last year’s SXSW festival, the duo are hoping to release new music this year. Niemetz says, “Dan and I personally really want to put out an EP really soon and have it be more raw, like less produced or even recorded not in a super fancy studio or anything. Done pretty simply. We just want to be as true to ourselves as we can be. That’s the goal.”

QTY are a duo with lovable personalities that happen to make interesting, heartfelt music with guitars, which isn’t easy to find in the current state of indie/alternative rock. You’ll find yourself struggling to pick out your favorite tracks on their debut album, which is always an indication of an enduring, compelling record.

Though the music that QTY makes isn’t simple or predictable, there’s beautiful simplicity in their approach to making music. Lardner says, “I write songs. That’s who I am: a songwriter. And [Alex is] a guitar player. So, we express ourselves that way. We just try to make music that we like with the instruments that we play.”

Listen to QTY’s debut album on Spotify below and purchase their album via Dirty Hit here.

Catch the band live as they support Cults on April 20 at Monty Hall in Jersey City, NJ and on April 22 at Space Ballroom in Hamden, CT.

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(Photo credit: Rob Hill)

Here’s a comprehensive list of my 25 favorite tracks from March 2018. Listen to the full Spotify playlist below as well as an awesome visual mixtape from South Londoners Sorry.

  1. Thyla (pictured above) – I Was Biting
  2. Snail Mail – Pristine
  3. Amen Dunes – Miki Dora
  4. Air Waves – Warrior (feat. Kevin Morby)
  5. Violet – Jaded
  6. Post Animal – Gelatin Mode
  7. Spector – Fine Not Fine
  8. Grouper – Parking Lot
  9. Moaning – Does This Work For You
  10. Gengahr – Before Sunrise
  11. The Shacks – Blue & Grey
  12. Walt Disco – Your Echoes Fall
  13. Goat Girl – Throw Me A Bone
  14. Tangerines – There Goes My Redemption
  15. Miya Folick – Deadbody
  16. The Lemon Twigs – Foolin’ Around
  17. Sunflower Bean – Human For
  18. Courtney Barnett – Need A Little Time
  19. Uni – DDT
  20. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
  21. The Buttertones – C4
  22. Iceage – Take It All
  23. Cut Worms – Don’t Want To Say Goodbye
  24. Preoccupations – Disarray
  25. Fling – Banjo Billy

Not on Spotify:

Sorry – Home Demo(ns) Vol. II

Sorry - Home Demo/ns Vol II - YouTube

Want your music featured on an upcoming playlist or article? Submit new music and press releases for consideration with this contact form.

To get all the latest posts from Mod Melody delivered straight to your inbox, click the follow button at the bottom of the page. You can also follow all my music-related musings on Twitter and Instagram.

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