LIVE PHOTOS: Lillake at the 5th Quarter Lounge (12/5/2016)

Oh … my … God …

Let me just tell you. I was prepared for Crowbar. I’ve fucking seen their asses before, at the 5th Quarter. I knew what they could do. And I was told what Goatwhore was capable of by friends who had seen them before. But I had never seen Lillake. Few have.  They’d only done nine live shows prior to tonight’s show at the 5th, though Nico Santora’s a legend if you’ve followed Suicidal Tendencies. So you’d at least know he’s capable of pulling out some serious rabbits from that hat.

But damn!

Tonight this band seriously fucked my shit up. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Check out the video below of the 12 minutes I taped … two songs they’ve given me permission to post. And enjoy the photos below as well. And then, by all means, GO BUY THEIR ALBUM! Support music that fucking matters!

Thank you.

(All photos credit: Jonathan Sanders)

LIVE PHOTOS: Endiana at the Vogue (12/2/16)

Endiana made  their debut on the Vogue’s storied stage Friday night, introducing hundreds of rabid Why Store fans to their eclectic blend of folk, blues and down-home alt-rock. For a full review of the entire show, including the Why Store’s performance, check out this Wednesday’s print and online editions of NUVO Newsweekly! In the meantime, check out all my photos from the evening. And as soon as you get a chance, buy a damned copy of How To Walk Out, the band’s brand-new album, for yourself and everyone on your Christmas list.

(All photos, credit: Jonathan Sanders)

NAPTOWN PROPHETS: Skarecrow Jesus takes electro-industrial back into the political mainstream

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If you’ve been around Indianapolis for even a short amount of time you’ve run into Trevor Potts. He’s been part of a seemingly endless array of top-notch musical projects, most notably as front-man of the never-disappointing Sugar Moon Rabbit, and as the ringleader of Indy’s “guerilla psychedelic carnival funk band of outlaws,” Papa Warfleigh’s Funk Revival, among others.

Recently, however, he’s drawn my interest for a new project, Skarecrow Jesus, which focuses on his obsession with late-80s / early-90s Electronic Industrial music in the vein of Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. Featuring Potts and Brian Michael Myers, with additional musical support on select songs from select songs from Jason Stovall on bass and Jason Day on guitar, Skarecrow Jesus gives Potts the hyper-political outlet to fuse “[my inspirations from] the ferocity of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, the sexuality of Depeche Mode and Love and Rockets, the mystery of Bauhaus, and the political content of Rage Against The Machine,” says Potts.

In a mere two month span, Potts and Myers have written, produced and released more than 20 original songs on Myers’ Indianapolis-based niL label while recording in Potts’ Rabbit Hole Studios, a schizophrenic series of missives that run the gamut from a searing cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” to “Soma,” their pre-election anti-Trump warning which parallels the rhetoric of Trump and Hitler against a deliciously thundering groove. I want to hear Chris Banta and Brother O’ Brother cover this one immediately! A musical earthquake of fault-line shattering proportions would be imminent should this happen.

The band already has two EPs released and available for download on ReverbNation and AppleMusic, and is building a catalog on Spotify for free streaming beginning with “Soma” and the intoxicating “Resurrection (The Only Time)” and they continue to release new music at a dizzying pace. And they’ll make their live debut on January 28th at the Melody Inn (“our Indianapolis home,” Potts says) at Punk Rock Night’s “Justice for Jessie” show, alongside Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes and 9th Circle Symphony. All proceeds from that show’s $5 ticket price will go to benefit the family of Jessie Whitehouse – her mother still seeks answers from police after her daughter was shot and killed in her own home here in Indianapolis last month.

For more information about that show, please visit the Facebook page.

 

Hoosier country songwriter Clayton Anderson hits another one out of the park with Only to Borrow EP

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When I interviewed Clayton Anderson back in January for NUVO Newsweekly, he told me his main focus was on remaining patient as an artist. “We could be on a major label but then we’d risk getting lost in the shuffle,” he told me. “There’s no guarantee, so I’d rather work hard at building our fan base. It’s been too much time and sacrifice to just give that freedom up for nothing. Then you never would hear from me.”

Ten months later he’s out with Only to Borrow, a six-track EP that clocks in briskly, under twenty minutes, but chock full of hit material that should easily put him out there on the same breath as any contemporary country hitmaker this side of Nash Vegas. You can take the boy out of Bedford but you can’t take Bedford out of the boy, and Anderson is at his best on songs like “Hometown Heart” (“She grew up where the stars and the stoplight were the only thing up all night, where everybody knows every bend in the road lets you go and brings you back home.”)

He also never devolves into bro-country “beers and trucks” mentality either, which is refreshing. The closest he comes to potentially cloying is on “All Over The Map,” which winds up falling closer to Mellencamp good-natured in the end with its small-town callouts. “She’s Indiana small-town Miami freeway top town,” he sings, criss-crossing the country in metaphor before admitting “she’s all over the map and I love her like that.”

With any luck radio audiences will love him as much as his Lawrence County fans do, putting his music just as much on the map. A hard-working songwriter like Anderson deserves to have wider recognition, and this EP should finally bring it his way.

Clayton Anderson will be in Indianapolis on December 3rd for a free concert at the Pavillion at PanAm! For details, click here.

DREAM BIG: This Album Does Not Exist proves earworms are not dead, should put DREAMERS on the map

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DREAMERS at the Irving Theater in Indianapolis (Credit: Jonathan Sanders)

clr8iolwaaabfzpWhen I saw DREAMERS perform at the Irving Theater in Indianapolis last March with the Kickback, it was the perfect storm — a show with no promotion on a sleepy Sunday night with non-stop rain and no audience other than myself and the bands. “If you ever wanted to see an entire concert just for you, this is your night!” Nick Wold joked from the stage, and while it was disappointing few saw it, the band proved from that point they were capable of putting on a great performance in any situation.

Fast-forward to the pending release of their latest album This Album Does Not Exist, due out via Fairfax Recordings on August 26th. A kinetic example of pop confections of the finest order, this album plays nonstop cool from the first notes of “Drugs,” a propulsive mix of Wombats-esque dance backdrops with vocals that echo the credible hooks of Guided By Voices, even as the overall result of the DREAMERS sound is something completely on its own plane. “Wolves (You Got Me)” is already a legitimate hit, and I’d be surprised if “Never Too Late To Dance” and “Come Down Slow” don’t soon join it on radio stations terrestrial and streaming alike.  Even having seen them live, knowing the depth of their catalog and the number of songs they already had with hooks capable of worming their way into the brain, the new album proves surprising in that there’s not a dud here.

Even in a world of single-serve pop, these songs are best consumed in quick succession with the top down and the volume at 11. Pleasure is only guilty if you make it so, and the only thing wrong with this album would be passing it up.

SLAP-HAPPY: Rockümockery delivers full unhinged Slappies experience in album form

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The Slappies may seem like they’ve been rocking their way around Indianapolis forever, but that’s only because the various members of the band have played their parts in all manner of other local punk mainstays, including Smash and Grab, Gay Black Republican, and God only knows how many others. I’ve been in the city since late 2014, and I kept hearing people say I should seek them out live, and though I haven’t yet that’s soon to be rectified after hearing this album.

Though I don’t have the official first-hand evidence to back the claim, even a cursory listen to Rockümockery makes it clear these guys all know their element, and they’re comfortable in the studio as well, laying down thirteen tracks that showcase what I can only imagine is a blisteringly fun experience. “Beer Time,” “Social Retard,” “Monster Truck” and “”My Own Way” open the album on blitz of raw energy that plays fast and loose with melody and turns of phrase, daring you to look away. You won’t. Even the choice of cover material is inspired, particularly the cover of Ellen Foley’s “Torchlight,” featuring memorable guest vocals by Toni Bennett, which had me hitting repeat as I researched her contribution to the album.

Catch yourselves a Slapplies show and then grab this from the merch table afterwards, you’re sure to be looking quickly for the follow-up. The real disappointment is that this gem has been available all year and no one’s been spreading the word … well, hop on the “Hear! Hear!” bandwagon: The Slappies rock, and this album’s a keeper!

The band’s album currently can be purchased at shows  in person
and at Indy CD and Vinyl, as well as select Karma locations in central Indiana.
If out of state, hound Rich on Facebook to build a website, already!

ALBUM REVIEW: Tracksuit Lyfestile – “E=MC Hammered”

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When I covered the finals of this year’s Battle Royale at Birdy’s, I was impressed to see that the much-vaunted Tracksuit Lyfestile lived up to all the musical hype. “An instrumental combo featuring trombone distorted through a varied set of live FX pedals, the band brought a hard rock edge to what is still a highly experimental sound,” I wrote at the time in NUVO. Combining tight metal guitar riffs with adventurous experiments in instrumental looping built upon, among other things, live trombone, makes a Tracksuit Lyfestile show something to behold.

The same holds true when listening to the band’s debut E=MC Hammered, though listeners should certainly knock their expectations up a notch as the level of musicianship is impeccable. Headphone listening at its best, Tracksuit Lyfestile encourages you to rock the fuck out at a live show, and then sit back and pick the music down to its bare elements at home, reveling in how they build these acid soundscapes.

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Tracksuit Lyfestile live at Birdy’s during the Battle Royale Finals (Credit: Jonathan Sanders)

 

From the opening build of “Hurricane” the music grabs your attention, and then the band holds it through the little things; the “Hey! Hey! Hey!” choruses of “90/10,” the thundering wall-of-sound that is “Lunar Lounge,” and the crowd-pleasing “Beat It” cover being stand-outs. By the time they place us back gently on the ground with the staccato crunch and intricately melodic “A Vigorous Joe Pesci,” a return visit is a foregone conclusion. Just as soon as one can get online to find the band’s ‘Band In Town’ page, that is, because once you’re hooked you’ll want to see them live just to know for sure it isn’t just a bunch of studio trickery.

I assure you, it isn’t. Tracksuit Lyfestile is the most original band I’ve heard come out of the Indianpolis scene since I’ve moved here — call them the Cake of Naptown; they’ll inspire many, but few will be able to outright copy them. And that’s a very good thing!

The band will release the brand new album E=MC Hammered at the Melody Inn on july 15th with support from Moxxie, Coup d’Etat and Midwest State of Mind! Not many better spots to catch a live band in any city …. and for only $5!