Wonder, Desire, Empowerment, and Makthaverskan.


So lately I’ve been watching the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. It’s reminded me just how much of a fan of questions I am. I love mysteries and solving them. Something about solving a problem is very gratifying for me. I especially love questions that don’t as of yet have answers. The infinite space of “what could be” is so damn intriguing and exciting, aching to be explored, in my eyes.dang 

 I’m reminded of a time in my life when I had nothing but questions. Questions about my body, about who I was, who I was “supposed” to be, and whether anyone was really “supposed” to be anything. From the ages 12-18, I was plagued with a ridiculous pressure to take my fluid and shapeless form and mold it to something that would have helped me be a more palatable person in the eyes of my peers. Being in the oldest child in my family, I didn’t have an older sibling to influence me, and I don’t think my parents had much more of a grasp on who I was than I did myself, which didn’t help me in terms of “figuring myself out”. This is a formative period in any young person’s life. You’re still a sponge, but a much more picky sponge. Guidance is essential in whatever shape and form. Like most kids my age, I’d find my guidance in bands I listened to. Certain songs would make sense of everything in the world no matter how convoluted it all could really be. But I have to admit. Not once in my younger years did a band hit me as hard as Makthaverskan has in my now mid-twenties.

The way vocalist Maja Milner sings “Fuck You, Fuck You” near the end of the first track on their latest full-length, Makthaverskan II, has so much blood and guts in it, it should have teeth. Throughout the album, the same honest and brave voice occasionally sheds its outer shell to get some fresh, vulnerable air. It’s a much more confident and empowered sound than what I initially heard on their self-titled debut, which is still amazing, but somehow doesn’t shake its fists at the sky quite as uninhibitedly as their second album does. Makthaverskan is exactly the kind of band I needed when I was trying to figure my shit out as a young kid, or to at least feel like I had a grip on things. Especially at that age, when the feeling of control and being empowered, even if for a second, lasts a lifetime in memory. And at a point in my life when that wasn’t something I really knew, it would have been so amazing and helpful to have had it in such a pure and powerful form.

Listen to Makthaverskan II in its entirety from their bandcamp page here. 

 

Musically, Makthaverskan takes pop structure to anthemic proportions with an approach which rivals that of every great emo/pop-punk band I could have fallen ass-over-tea-kettle for. The guitars, drums, and bass are all geniusly written; take the simple and elegant “Something More” for example. It begins on such humble notes and bursts so beautifully like a star that can no longer contain it’s pressure. That kind of grace is rare in a band. Every twist and turn throughout this record is a moment of pure illumination. I honestly can’t wait to see them at Galax Z Fair IV this year. I can’t wait to bear witness to this beautiful band. 

 Not to mention, they’re making one hell of a journey to get here. Poor Makthaverskan has JUST RECENTLY (like yesterday) gotten their travel visas approved. They’ve already missed dates on their tour. And they’ve posted on their Facebook page apologizing for it! I don’t know about you, but that means something to me. These people just really want to come over here and play. All the way from Gothenburg, Sweden. Here’s a file called “Makthaverskan is this far away.jpg” to give a little geographical perspective.

makthaverskan is this far awayThey’ve also started an Instagram account (@maktmaktmakt) that you can follow to join them on their journey. It’s quickly become one of my new favorites, seeing as I’m on there quite frequently as well. Here’s the first photo:

If you speak the language of feelings, I recommend you come feel this band at Galax Z Fair IV

 I say to you, those still searching for purpose and belonging, but whom have yet to taste their fruits with your tongue: your heroes will arrive in 5 days. 

 Get your tickets for GZFIV here and at Melhart’s Music in McAllen (ALTHOUGH I HEAR THEY ARE RUNNING OUT FAST THIS YEAR, WOW)

Below are the rest of their tour dates w/ Self Defense Family (ALSO playing GZFIV this year!) Finally, is it really fucking cool to see McAllen on this thing or is it just me?
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Off to feel up a storm.


A Day at the Vatican Beach

I’ve discovered that a slang term has developed among the many heps I’ve come across at countless shows in the past year. This term is “the jam”. It is commonly used to refer to a song that the user thoroughly enjoys, and feels so strongly about their enjoyment of the song that they feel compelled to declare that it is not only a relatively good song but, in fact, a universally good song. The common format of usage is as follows: “X song is the jam”. Note, this term is not used lightly. It is the crown of crowns of which a song can be adorned with when being recommended in common conversation with a fellow music-lover, and is thus reserved for “those really fucking good songs dude, you know?” That being said, here’s my first post in a long time.

I’ve posted about Moi Je Joue on here before and talked about how much I liked them when they were going to open for Twin Sister way back in June. They were a fresh new band in the Rio Grande Valley that I very much wanted to bring attention to.

Well, a lot has happened since then. In fact, you could say that what was once fresh is now new again.

To bring you up to speed (which is right where you should be, friends), Moi Je Joue have changed their name.

They are now:

Along with this new name comes a new song, in a new sound. Out of the neatly paved spaces they once called home comes this garage rock mammoth of a pop tune breaking every piece of pavement the band has already laid down. This new track is called “Crutches”. It is…:deep breath:…the fucking jam.

Loving the vocals, loving the guitar, loving everything on this damn track! I especially love the tambourines in the bridge; you can’t beat that.

Vatican Beach will be going on a tour of Texas today with Aux (Austin), and The Alldays (Brownsville). Their tour kickoff show will be this Friday at Galeria 409 in Brownsville.

They will be out 10 days. I wish them the best of luck.


The wounded heart yells loudest

It’s not easy to talk to people. I know this from experience. Often it happens that when you want to express yourself the most, you can’t bring yourself to utter a single word. This is where music comes in to save the day. It allows you to express yourself further and with more detail than you would probably be able to in everyday conversation. That being said, not every great song is happy either.

Enter Trevor Powers aka Youth Lagoon. A young musician from Boise, Idaho putting his heart out on display in the form of a record titled The Year of Hibernation. It will be released on Fat Possum September 27th.

You can listen to a delicately-cut slice off the album titled “July” below.

You will find two more tracks from Year of Hibernation up at his Soundcloud page.

Youth Lagoon will be doing a two-week tour of the US in September. Dates below.

9/02 San Francisco, CA The Sub
9/03 Los Angeles, CA FYF Afterparty – location TBA
9/04 San Diego, CA Tin Can Ale House
9/05 Phoenix, AZ Rhythm Room
9/07 Austin, TX Emo’s Alternative Lounge (woo!)
9/10 Raleigh, NC Hopscotch Festival
9/12 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
9/13 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
9/14 Columbus, OH The Basement
9/15 St. Louis, MO Cicero’s
9/16 Columbia, MO The Blue Note
9/22 Urbana, IL Pygmalion Festival
9/23 Bloomington, IN The Bishop
9/24 Cincinnati, OH Midpoint Music Festival


La La La: Grass Widow’s Milo Minute EP

I will have to agree that great things do come in small packages.

Earlier this year, San Francisco’s female power-trio Grass Widow released a 7″ EP called Milo Minute.

Without a single drop of hyperbole, I can confidently say that this EP is damn-near perfect. It’s only three songs strong but strong songs they are. Everything from the drums to the guitars fits snugly into it’s rightful place backing the band’s effortlessly smooth vocal delivery. I really, really enjoy this release and highly recommend you pick it up from Wizard Mountain right now.

While I wish I could post every single track on the EP for you to indulge in and enjoy, I cannot. Below, you will find my favorite selection on the EP, the title track “Milo Minute”.

Grass Widow – Milo Minute


Playgirl

Thinking back over my 21 years of life, I can’t recall ever perusing the pages of or let alone holding a copy of Playgirl. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a copy in person, come to think of it. But I remember many a reference to it being made in various films and conversations and through that discovered it’s existence. Given that I am a male, I learned of Playboy quite early in life and of it’s purpose. I understood what it was for and acknowledged it’s influence on the world and just how widely appreciated it was. So when I learned about Playgirl, I figured it too served a purpose for a large group of people of comparable if not at least equal size to that of Playboy’s reader/beatership.

In French, Playgirl translates to Moi Je Joue. Which is both a song by Brigitte Bardot (drool) and the name of the band that I want to talk about today.

Moi Je Joue is a four-piece from my neck of the woods, the Rio Grande Valley; Harlingen to be exact. They have a very familiar and yet refreshing sound that leads me to believe that they have a tremendous amount of promise. So far, they have two tracks up on their Facebook page; one of which you will find posted below.

Moi Je Joue – Solutions

I’m really digging this track. It reminds me a lot of the Smiths for some reason. I can’t wait to hear what they record next.

If you live in the Rio Grande Valley, I highly recommend that you take the opportunity to see this band in action this Tuesday when they play Cine El Rey alongside Dignan and Twin Sister. It’s going to be one hell of a show; definitely not one to miss. Also, word seems to be spreading that Dignan is going to be playing new material along with a cover, which I find pretty damn exciting.

I don’t know about you, but I’m totally putting my money on Toto’s “Africa”.

What do you think they will/should cover?


Dead GhostsI Want Your LoveI walked maybe 20 blocks to get to a house where Thee Oh Sees were playing during SXSW. A couple of bands later, this band played the same ground.
They’re called Dead Ghosts. Here is an excerpt from an interview they did that I found on their blog:

10. If you feel like it, tell me about some of your influences. Or just talk shit about the music you like or don’t like.
50 and 60 year old women.

11. Anything else you want to tell me? Put it here.
Our drummer Mike has promised to commit suicide on stage! Party?”


Seeing Double with Summer Twins

I saw a lot of great bands at SXSW; some of which I can’t remember the names of. I traveled as far as my feet would take me. Luckily, my feet could take me pretty far. The final show I attended during the official SXSW week was Saturday night. I don’t count Sunday because I spent that day relaxing without a single band on my mind. However, this final show I speak of was at a house in the more Northern region of Austin. It was put together by Burger Records out of California and featured bands from their roster on the bill. However, the police shut the show down a few bands in, so I made my way to the merch area, picked up a couple of tapes, and made my way back to my friend’s apartment. Late Sunday night, or rather, early Monday morning, I decided to pop in one of the tapes I had purchased on a whim at that party and picked a self-titled tape by a band called Summer Twins.

Summer Twins are two sisters from Riverside, California that play incredibly catchy pop music. As I listened to their tape while I started to reach familiar territory on my drive home, I was completely blown away. I listened to the tape over and over and over until I got home. Check out two tracks below.

Summer Twins – The Good ThingsSummer Twins – The More I Think Of You

Website
Burger Records