On this edition of Pump Up The Jam: Iggy Pop, INVSN, Night Things, Dead Heavens, Deathlist, Ultrviolence, and Animal Youth.
It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? There has been a veritable explosion of cool new music in my inbox lately and I’m so happy to be back here to share it all with you.
First off: last year around this time, I was enjoying the new Iggy Pop album and then recovering from the amazing experience of seeing him perform live. If you, like me, are an old person, you might recall the joy of flexi-discs, free singles on plastic “paper” that would show up as special releases in music magazines (I could be wrong, but I think that Redd Kross’s “Smith Family #1” might only ever have been released on flexi-disc. But I digress.)
Record label Mag Mag has just released the first in their series of flexi-discs. I guess since cassettes and vinyl are back in style, why not bring back flexis, too? The song is by Iggy Pop and the name is “Asshole Blues.” And it really is “blues,” which is pretty perfect for Iggy’s weathered vocal style.
There are more releases from artists who have been around for a while (though admittedly, not as long as Mr. Osterberg) but from whom we haven’t heard much. Although I was never into Refused, I did go through a phase in the 1990s when I thoroughly enjoyed The (International) Noise Conspiracy.
Dennis Lyxzén, who sang for both bands, has a new project called INVSN. With a name like that I can’t help but think of INXS. And while INVSN may not sound like INXS, it definitely sounds like the dark, New Romantic and Goth music I listened to (and loved) back in the ‘80s. Check out “I Dreamt Music.”
True to his politically minded nature, Lyxzén has this to say about the track:
“I wanted to write about the longing for resistance to the cultural/political/musical landscape that holds us imprisoned. I wanted to write about the naive, romantic and pretentious notion that music and art should be about ideas that can change and transform and maybe even be the beacon of hope in these dismal times.”
INVSN’s album The Beautiful Stories will be out on June 9 from Dine Alone Records.
You may recall the band Dead Man’s Bones, which consisted of Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields. (If you’ve never heard them, please remedy that immediately.) One of the most interesting things about the band’s only full-length release (besides The Gos) was that it incorporated the vocal skills of the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir.
One of those children, Maize LaRue, is grown up and is now collaborating with Shields in a band called Night Things. The duo has recently unveiled a stunning new video for the moody yet decidedly catchy song “Cost of the Summer.”
The band’s debut album, which looks to be very promising, will be out later this year.
New York’s Dead Heavens is described as such: “the psych-rock project of guitarist and frontman Walter Schreifels (Vanishing Life, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, Quicksand, and more), Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica), Drew Thomas (Youth of Today, Bold, Into Another), and Nathan Aguilar (Cults).” Regardless of whether or not you’ve ever heard any of these bands, you should find a lot to enjoy in Dead Heavens’ new song, “Basic Cable.”
There’s a definite ‘70s stoner rock vibe here, but the deadpan vocals are distinctly androgynous, while also recalling late ‘80s bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Children’s Crusade.
The band’s amazingly titled new album, Whatever Witch You Are will be out June 16 from Dine Alone Records.
I first heard Portland’s Deathlist back in March and was duly impressed. The band is the brainchild of singer and mult-instrumentalist Jenny Logan, who grew up in Central California and, according to the band’s press release, “at the age of 13… was forbidden to speak.”
This tantalizing information is followed up by a string of bands that Logan played with over the years before forming Deathlist (My Teenage Stride, Mortals, World Atlas, Ribbons, and Summer Cannibals) as well as the tantalizing info that she plays everything on the album herself (except for drums on a couple of tracks).
Both “Wait” and “With You Now” are heavy and full of punk urgency.
Deathlist’s self-titled debut came out April 7 on XRay Records.
“Dark wave” and “shoegaze” are two terms used to describe music that always pique my interest. Canadian post-punk collective Ultrviolence has been described as both. After some lineup changes since the band’s last EP in 2016, Ultrviolence is back, with singer/songwriter Nate Jespersen being the constant.
The first two singles from the band’s upcoming EP Forty Knives live up to their description. Enjoy “Guillotine” and “Shadows of the Thief”
Listening to the band’s previous releases on Bandcamp, you can tell that their distinctive sound remains intact but has been shot through with a more electronic feel.
Forty Knives will be out from Northern Light Records on May 12.
Speaking of post-punk (aren’t I always?), there’s another band you should hear: Belgium’s Animal Youth. This is good stuff! Chiming, reverbed guitars; rapid-fire drumbeat; emotive vocals. Listen to “Darkest Place” and tell me it doesn’t remind you of early Gene Loves Jezebel…
The band’s debut album, Animal, will be out May 27 from Weyrd Son Records.
Since I started this week’s column talking about new Iggy Pop, for #FlashbackFriday, here’s some older Iggy Pop, specifically Iggy Pop and David Bowie on the Dinah Shore show in 1977. Have a great weekend!