Welcome to a new weekly column on Biff Bam Pop, “Pump Up The Jam,” where I take you through some of my musical highlights for the week, including music news, new releases, and other things you might have missed. This week we’ve got new music from VATS, Lowell, Cowtown, White Lies, and info on the Altered States soundtrack vinyl release.
Waxwork Records, who continue to impress with every new release, are truly raising the bar for vintage soundtrack reissues with their latest announcement. The score to Ken Russell’s fantastic, hallucinatory film from 1981, Altered States, is now available on vinyl.
The audio for this score, created by Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer John Corigliano, was sourced from the original masters, while the artwork is courtesy of Australia-based duo We Buy Your Kids. The gatefold jacket features a deluxe glitter coating (and Waxwork assures that “this coating will never come off or create a glittery mess ever, rest assured”). Corigliano has also provided exclusive liner notes for the release, which is available in 180 gram purple and violet “hallucination” swirl vinyl. To order, visit the Waxwork Records website.
In the vein of retro music, check out this new track from Seattle’s VATS, called “Melting Culture.” It feels like a lost song from late ‘70s/early ‘80s college radio with its jarring, jagged vocals, unsettling bass riffs, and off-kilter melodies. The band’s debut album, Green Glass Room, is out today from End of Time Records and VATS will be touring through the summer to support this release.
VATS Tour Dates:
07.07.16 – Vancouver, BC – Red Gate
07.08.16 – Seattle, WA – Nuthole
07.09.16 – Portland, OR – High Water Mark
07.10.16 – San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern
07.11.16 – Oakland, CA – Sgraffito
07.12.16 – Los Angeles, CA – East 7th
07.19.16 – St. Louis, MO – Foam
07.20.16 – Bloomington, IN – Jan’s Rooms
07.21.16 – Columbus, OH – Café Bourbon Street
07.23.16 – Philadelphia, PA – Second Empire !
07.24.16 – Brooklyn, NY – Alphaville
07.25.16 – Providence, RI – AS220 #
07.26.16 – Belchertown, MA – Cold Spring Hollow
07.27.16 – Montreal, QC – La Vitrola $
07.30.16 – Chicago, IL – Ranchos Huevos
07.31.16 – Minneapolis, MN – Riverboat
08.04.16 – Boise, ID – Laundrohouse
08.05.16 – Seattle, WA – Neumos %
! – w/ Sheer Mag, Accidente, The Guests
# – w/ Twenty-Four Hours, Sterile
$ – w/ American Nudism, Grosser
% – w/ Protomartyr, Lithics
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Lowell; her last release, 2014’s We Loved Her Dearly, was one of my faves of that year. In “High Enough,” she continues to skewer pop and art rock with her own uniquely personal lyrics and distinctive vocal style. Lowell’s next EP, Part 1: PARIS YK, will be out on August 26 from Arts & Crafts. https://www.facebook.com/lowellsongs/
On another part of the pop spectrum is “Motivational Speaker” from Leeds trio Cowtown, an infectiously catchy track that will definitely worm its way into your eardrums, with its mixture of both early-‘80s and early-‘90s styles. The album Paranormal Romance will be out August 19 from HHBTM Records. In the meantime, the band is touring throughout the UK for the summer.
Cowtown Tour Dates:
Saturday 2nd July – The Picture House, Sheffield w/Porridge Radio and Ganglions
Sunday 3rd July – Kelburn Garden Party, Kelburn Castle, Fairlie, North Ayrshire w/ Game_Program
Saturday 9th July – Korks, Otley
Saturday 16th July – Latitude Festival, Henham Park, Suffolk
Friday 22nd July – Festival 23, secret location
Saturday 23rd July – Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Park, Cheshire
Sunday 24th July – The Harley, Tramlines, Sheffield
Friday 26th August – Album Launch at The Brudenell Social Club w/ Crumbs and Milk Crimes
Saturday 27th August – The Audacious Art Experiment Summer Weekender, The Picture House, Sheffield
Saturday 17th September – Freakender, Old Hairdressers, Glasgow
Friday 23rd September – Liverpool Psychfest, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool
And finally it can be heard! The new single from White Lies, that is! 2013’s Big TV showed the band shuffling off at least some of their dark goth pop roots and heading towards a bigger, brighter, but still distinctively 1980s sound. The new single, “Take It Out On Me” is even more of the same, feeling like something I would have definitely loved in 1984. Could their upcoming album Friends be their Rio or Seven and the Ragged Tiger? We’ll find out later this year when it’s released.
Now it’s time for #FlashbackFriday, with Joel Plaskett and some “True Patriot Love.” Happy Canada Day!