Dune Blue breaks on through to the other side with “Breaks My Brain”

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One could easily see Dune Blue’s gentle psychedelic odes to groovy laidback-itude finding favor with tie-dyed-slash-Hawaiian-shirt types ranging from Deadheads to Parrotheads to Sublime stans (RIP Bradley) meaning that card-carrying punk purists may be disinclined to check them out…  

…but let’s face it, you probably got that dubious punk ID from a ad on on the back of a box of Cocoa Puffs cuz I’m guessing you weren’t hanging out outside CBGBs in 1976 or even in 1996 (more likely you were hanging out in your delinquent brother’s bedroom ripping bong hits while listening to his cassingle of “Santeria” on repeat if you were around in ’96 at all) not to mention Sonny the Cuckoo Bird is clearly a beatnik/burner type more inclined to Country Joe and the Fish than to Crass or Chaos UK but I digress… 

…the point being that every generation needs and deserves its own Edie Brickell and New Bohemians in other words a band that bring some needed edge and eccentricity to genres too often sanded down to a dull edge by lazy imitators and Dune Blue (led by one Roland Mounier) fits the bill perfectly seeing as how they infuse legit grit into their otherwise medium roast blend of pastoral psych, easy skanking reggae and no-static-at-all Steely-Dan-esque smooth jazziness

…which first became apparent after catching Dune Blue live a little while back and now it’s become even more apparent with the release of their latest single “Breaks My Brain” with it’s dub-inflected, reverb-laden, hazy-shade-of-late-summer vibe that perfectly puts across the song’s title phrase with woozy, wah-wah-pedal assisted atmospherics where all the sounds appear to melt together into one eternal sound…

…not to mention the little saxophone squiggles lurking around the edges and the little pools of shimmering, reverberating runoff hovering around every sonic surface which I’m thinking may relate to the song’s lyrical content and its fixation on flimsy permeable surfaces (using my way through a cellophane scene / losing my touch / recognize no reflection / cracks in the surface of a membrane dream)…

…surfaces prone to breakage when they’re placed under too much pressure (keep it up in a rush / I’ll end up in pieces) but here’s the thing about “Break’s My Brain” it makes this breakage sound like not entirely a bad thing and maybe even a good thing if you believe that nothing ever gets fixed properly until it gets broken properly (what breaks my brain / fills the space) just like Marxists who subscribe to implosion theory

…and it’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart lately in the midst of muddling through a major life transition plus the notion of “no cure, no blame” is an oddly comforting one so if you’re inclined give the good vibrations of Dune Blue’s “Breaks My Brain” a try not only because of intriguing nuances under the surface but also cuz the surface itself provides a measurable measure of solace in these turbulent times–just be forewarned you may take to wearing bucket hats and making statements along the lines of “excuse me while I light this spliff” if you listen for too long on repeat. (Jason Lee)


Mother Nature “Crystal Cadillac”

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On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Klevah and TRUTH (aka Mother Nature), were able to team up with José Ríos and Kelsey González of The Free Nationals to create their latest single "Crystal Cadillac".

This is the duo’s first single since the release of the EP "Nature’s World" via Closed Sessions back in June.


BARBAЯA “is it just a dream”

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Synth Pop trio BARBAЯA recently released a new EP called "is it just a dream".

This is the work of Jonny Drake (lead vocals, guitar, drums, synth pads), Michael Slovenkay (lead synth, piano), and Tom David (bass).

You can catch BARBAЯA at the Hideout on October 4th with Architects of Beauty, and at Golden Dagger on October 21st with La Rosa Noir and Various Blonde.


Dorian Taj “Trees”

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Dorian Taj has released a new single called "Trees". This is the first of two singles the singer/songwriter/guitarist plans to release this year. On this track he is joined by Anthony Rubino (lead guitar), Danny Severson (bass), Josh Hudson (Organ, piano), and Ryan Farnham (drums, cow, and sleigh bell).

You can catch Dorian Taj at Liar’s Club on October 20th with Sweet Figurines.


Ibises “In The Swim”

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Ibises have released a single edit version of the title track, "In The Swim", from their forthcoming debut album which is due out via American Dreams on October 21st.

This is the blend of free jazz and avant rock from the trio of Dan Bitney (Tortoise, Isotope 217), Nick Macri (Stirrup, Euphone), and Steve Marquette (The Few, Ken Vandermark’s Marker).

You can catch Ibises at Constellation of November 11th with Doug McCombs.


Gabacho “Sal De Mar”

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Gabacho recently released a new single and video called "Sal De Mar". This is the third single of 2022 from the Indie Pop group fronted by Siul Reynoso.

The single comes in on the heels of the release of Gabacho’s recent Audiotree session that found the group performing six songs from their first three years of existence.


Raavi presents their ode to “no bodies” for Hardly Art Singles Series

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Interpolating from the artist’s own declaration of creative intention, Raavi’s “no bodies” is a song about the ontological insecurity not infrequently experienced by artist types who on the one hand seek self-actualization and authenticity by means of artistic expression and on the other seek some measure of ego-sustaining and career-sustaining public approbation and how these two goals can sometimes be antithetical to one another…

…or put into plain English it’s a song about “measuring one’s own worth” in cases where there’s a little voice in your head saying things like “If I’m giving everything to this music career (or whatever), and I’m not succeeding, then where am I? And what even is success?” and where reaching the top of one figurative ladder leads back to the bottom rungs of another ladder…

…thus making it “incredibly difficult to recognize where you are on your own path” in the words of band frontperson and primary songwriter Raavi Sita who as a self-described queer desi may know a thing or two about what’s it like not fitting into socially-imposed prefabricated categories…

…and granted you’re not gonna get all this from this lyrics which are more evocative than explicit and bully for that—although lines like “you hear what / they say bout me / off-kilter / the f#ck that mean?” put across an overall sense of lack-of-fit and thus insecurity not to mention the song’s title which playfully plays off from the anxiety of being “a nobody” crossed with denial of bodily autonomy routinely applied to The Other as in "no bodies for nobodies" or maybe I’m reading into it too much—but it’s the music of “no bodies” that puts across the theme most clearly to these ears…

…with the pleasingly off-kilter (whoops, sorry!) melodic hook and a song structure that moves from earthbound to ethereal and back with gritty guitar tones set against celestial harp-like harmonics, sustained crystalline syllables combined with vocal hiccups and pitch bends; reflective and musical repetitive verses set against sublime interludes soaring off into the stratosphere—and if this is what ontological insecurity sounds like then it’s got its good points at least…

…and right about here it’s probably relevant to mention “no bodies” was produced and engineered by Justin Termotto and to also mention that Raavi’s rhythm section is comprised up of James Duncan (bass) and Jason Block (drums)…

…and finally also that “no bodies” is the latest chapter in the Hardly Art Singles Series of 2022 with the acclaimed Sub Pop sub-label (check out some of their many fantastic current signees) celebrating 15 years of existence with 15 singles curated/commissioned from some of the label’s favorite artists which should help to bolster anyone’s ontological security we hope. (Jason Lee)