THE LIVE WIRE: Boy Hits Car at the 5th Quarter (TONIGHT!)


Los Angeles’ Boy Hits Car will be playing a set tonight at Indianapolis’ 5th Quarter Lounge, with support from The Scars Heal In Time and Shadeland! Tickets are only $10 at the door  for what should be a blistering Wednesday night trio of performances. I’ve done some afternoon digging on this band to refresh my memory — they’ve been together since 1993, released their first album My Animal independently in 1998, had mainstream exposure on Wind-Up records for their self-titled sophomore album, and then chose to go independent again thereafter. Though their earlier material initially had nu-metal influences, they’ve always gravitated toward more adventurous sounds than many of their contemporaries. Now they’re much more on the melodic end of the metal spectrum. Check out “The Rebirth” off their self-titled Wind-Up release (a video is posted below) for  strong example of their early work, or “Quiet Storm” off their 2014 album All That Led Us Here.

I believe doors open at 7:30, as the first band is scheduled to start at 8:00. You can find out more here.



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)

EXCLUSIVE: The Quarantined’s “Feeding You Lies” echoes early Rage with almost as much bite

LA’s The Quarantined

Lead singer Sean Martin hasn’t necessarily mastered Zach de la Rocha’s rare brutal intensity, but Los Angeles rap-rockers the Quarantined make up for it with their apparent sincerity. Bringing together this generation’s current rage against the machines of police brutality and governmental incompetence with crunchy guitars and ferocious political thought, the band carries on where The Battle of Los Angeles left off. “They’ll put two in your dome!” Martin growls, while adding a few of de la Rocha’s patented “Oohhh”s, suggesting the band may still hew a bit too close to their sources of inspiration, but there’s a lot here to appreciate. “Feeding You Lies” and the band’s album Antiquate Hate suggest a new generation is ready to competently take up the rap-rock protest mantle.

Stream the mp3 here, and watch the exclusive debut of their video for “Feeding You Lies” below!

XY Unlimited’s Omega proves even a boy band has potential to surprise

I’ll admit to not having high expectations when I downloaded Omega, an album from a band billed as “an evolution of the classic 90’s boy band for the modern ear.” But even a boy band can surprise, particularly when said band’s album packs as many twists and turns as this one. There’s the requisite radio single in “Put Your Hands Up,” which encourages all of us with inner nerds to put our hands up and pray for the day we can “turn the other cheek when [we’re] their boss,” but that thankfully comes at the end of the album. “Carmen” fares much better, as the band channels all the Bowling for Soup they can handle as they swoon over a beautiful latin grocer who quite likely remains out of their league to this day. Get that to radio and maybe we’ll be hearing these guys get the kind of airplay formerly reserved for songs called “Hey There, Delilah.”

But don’t overlook the album’s deeper tracks. “”They All Fall Down”, “Three Times” and “Gravity” showcase XY Unlimited’s lyrical range, and all three tracks also highlight their greatest advantage — these guys can SING! The harmonies on this album would make Ben Folds nod in approval (and I’m talking Reinhold Messner-era Folds) and seem perfectly tailored to a generation which made Glee the most popular pop ensemble ever. Everything culminates in a Donny Darko fanboy’s wet dream, as the band takes on “Mad World” in its Gary Jules incarnation, stripping it down to bare voices and autotune, creating a hybrid which is impeccably arranged and would give Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” a run for its money.

While this isn’t an album which is going to blow your mind and turn the sanest of listeners into mad XY Unlimited groupies, it is a solidly crafted pop album which is more than the sum of any boy band parts. Billing this band as such is a limitation they don’t deserve. Call it pop-punk with the heart of Death Cab for Cutie and the arrangements of Ben Folds, and give Omega the fair shake it deserves. Maybe you’ll even decide to award it “guilty pleasure” status as you listen to their voices swell.

With a self-titled EP and rocking Oasis-inspired track “My Heroes Are Dead,” The Rebel Light shines brightly indeed

The first thirty seconds of “My Heroes Are Dead,” the latest single from Los Angeles-based The Rebel Light, flashed me back so abruptly to classic Oasis, I could all but smell the beer spilled during a Gallagher brothers’ throwdown. No that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, but it definitely sets the aural scene.

The band recorded the album completely on their own dime, tracking vocals in their bathroom and the drums in a woodshed, “in the spirit of all that is indie and good” as they succinctly put it. Whatever your musical tastes may be, this four-track EP, available at Noisetrade on a “name your own price” basis, has more than its share of great hooks. Just like a musical dealer, they reel us in with free product and then jack up the price once they’ve got us on the hook. “Heroes” in particular is so unrelenting in its addictive qualities, I’d mainline it if I could only find a bloody vein.

ARTISTS TO WATCH: Young Empress single “Cider of the Sun” is a bright spot at the end of summer

Young Empress
“Cider of the Sun,” by Los Angeles newcomers Young Empress, will gutpunch you from the opening notes, as the band merges the harder edge of alternative like Arcade Fire with the folk flourishes of Decemberists. The song is incredibly repeatable, building from a thunder of drums and guitars to add haunting vocals, particularly at the chorus: “I want you stay with me … I never want you to disappear,” the male-female duo sing as strings and hints of keyboards build behind them. “We will outshine the sun.” This song certainly shines bright, and bodes well for what this band could do when they really get cracking.

Devil That I Know: Jason Karaban gets a little help from his friends on new album

Jason Karaban

We all trust the music we know, and from where Jason Karaban’s coming from on his new album Shift, it’s not a hard bet that this music’s soon to be permanently implanted in your heads. Trust me.

When you bring this much talent together, it’s hard not to craft a melodic alt-pop gem — or at least you wouldn’t think it’d be. Written jointly with Glen Phillips and featuring Counting Crows’ David Immergluck and Charlie Gillingham, as well as Lucy Schwartz, the song has everything working in its favor on paper. Still, it’s refreshing to hear “Devil That I Know,” the latest from Jason Karaban, off his upcoming album Shift, actually delivers on all that promise! This is a twisty hook of epic pop proportions, easily living up to the reputations of all involved.

Karaban, based in LA, got his start fronting the band Dragstrip Courage in ’97, which explains at least some of the depth of alt-rock nineties love you’ll feel when playing this new track. It’s a cross between early Counting Crows and more modern alternative in the vein of Only Son, and if the rest of the album is this good I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot more about it … from me and any of your musical friends with taste.