Saturday, July 31, 2021


Air video

Sofaburn Records

This visually arresting video showcases the single from Lung's upcoming third album, Come Clean Right Now. Lung are a cello and drums duo, and wonderful.

The song is about sexual obsession, and it's dark. Kate Wakefield's harrowing lyrics, her cello sounding like a feedback-laden electric guitar, and drummer Daisy Caplan's thundering drums make the song musically arresting, as well. The scene where paint drips on them in all different colors is the most arresting image of all.

The video is a must see, a wonderful mix of anguish and power. Come Clean Right Now will be released August 20th.

Amdea Weiss

 Paige Beller

So Much Water video

Sofaburn Records

The second single from her upcoming debut for Sofaburn Records, I'll Be Better, draws on her love of doo-wop and 60s girl groups like the Dixie Cups. The music is spare, just her vocals and loops of her voice for the harmonies, with kick drum and minimal synths. The video is visually stark, with cue cards to show the lyrics, and Beller in a variety of outfits to show the many sides of her personality, including that she's out and proud.

With unflinching honesty lyrically, vocally, and with her outfits, this tale of being pushed away and then refusing to leave is dark, very real, and makes for a fascinating clip. Her album will be out in the fall, and if the whole album is anything like this wonderful single and video, it will be terrific.

Andrea Weiss

Thursday, July 29, 2021

 Jeremy Pinnell

Night Time Eagle single

Sofaburn Records

This hard-edged country/rock song, really modern honky tonk, is about a musician who goes on tour, gets homesick, and misses his family. It's tough, but sensitive, steps lively, but is serious, and is fun. You will feel for the musician and hope he gets through the tour okay.

It's also different, a song that stands rock and country cliches on their heads. So many musicians like to tour that it's refreshing to hear a song express the opposite sentiment. That it goes by so fast adds to the fun: did he really sing this line? He did. It's a wonderful single.

Pinnell's next full length, Goodbye LA, will be out October 1st.

Andrea Weiss

 Back To The Summer Olympics

Vista Blue


This three song single by the pop/power pop/punk group is three songs about 1: the Olympics, 2: how Anthony's mom has a boom box, and 3: that it's summertime again.

The first song, "Back to the Summer Olympics" reminds me of Weezer and Fountains Of Wayne. The second and third, "Hey Anthony" and "It's Summertime Again," are more Ramones, with the third also like the Beach Boys amped up. All are good and a lot of fun, nice to rock out to or walk around to. The single is a name your price download on Bandcamp, too.

Andrea Weiss

Friday, July 23, 2021

 I first became aware of Lannie Flowers on one of the Big Stir Singles comps. "My Street" was the song, and I was quite taken with it: a slice of life set to jaunty, indie, American rock music, with happy, contented lyrics. Now there is Home,the album, which bears out the promise of "My Street." It expands on the single musically and delves deeper into the characters, all of whom might live on his street.

Lannie was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Andrea Weiss: For those who don't know your music, could give some of your history?

Lannie Flowers: Started playing in bands when I was 12 years old. Played in the Pengwins for most of my young life. Got to see a lot of places and almost got a major label deal a couple of times. Along the way I was always writing songs. Unfortunately, never finding an outlet for a lot of them. So when I got off the road, I built a studio in my garage and just started recording all of those songs. Just for fun. I put together a CD to give to friends, called Same Old Story. My friend and former bandmate Alan Petsche had an indie label in Arlington Texas. So in 2009 we put it out and surprisingly got good reviews. So we just went from there.

AW: Who are your influences?

LF Early on, of course, The Beatles, Kinks, Who, Rolling Stones. As I got a little older I started listening to David Bowie, Mott the Hoople, VU, Stooges. Also there was Badfinger, Big Star, all of that stuff. Then punk rock came along with the Clash to Elvis Costello and everything in between. Then as time went on, it was the Replacements to Bob Dylan to old country to soul, etc. Music was my drug. I couldn’t wait to find the next big thing, that was gonna change my life.

AW: This seems to be a concept album about people going home or leaving home, even if their home is a state of mind. I like that, but could you elaborate a bit more?

LF Home can mean a lot of different things. It can mean joy or pain or just some place you go after work. For some people, they want to be free from home and others want to be free to go home. I really wanted to leave a lot of it open to interpretation. Especially songs like "He’s Going Home."

AW: Some of your characters seem to live lives of quiet desperation, others, happy ones. Did you plan that contrast as part of the concept?

LF: It’s just life. No two people have the same story. So, these are just stories about different people with different circumstances. But to answer your question. No there was no big plan in my head to show contrasts. The songs are about different people. So you’re gonna get a different view of their situation.

AW: I like how the music flows so clearly and directly, and is also quietly powerful. Was that how the songs evolved?

LF: There was a conscious effort to make it flow and be quietly powerful. I was a rock and roll kid. So it was hard and also fun to try to make a more acoustic record and not sound too quiet.

AW: I like the single "Running" a lot, and the B-side, "My Street,” as well. Since "My Street” is the Nashville version, would you say your songs have an alt-country side to them?

LFI think this record more so than the previous ones. I did grow up in Texas. So you can’t really get away from some of those roots.

AW: How did the joint release with SpyderPop and Big Stir come about?

LF: I met Rex a few years ago in L.A. and told Alan Petsche and Victor Erwin at SpyderPop about the Big Stir thing. That’s really about all I had to do with it. They took it from there. I think it’s a really great thing.

AW: What advice would you give someone just starting out in music?

LF: Don’t do it unless you have a real passion for it. Because it’s not an easy life, but a very rewarding one. Also, figure out what you do best and what really speaks to you, and run with it.

 Lannie Flowers


Syderpop/Big Stir Records

By turns alt-country, folk rock, a little power pop, but the Americana side of it, the music is quiet, subtle, a little melancholy, but full of energy, too.

The characters lead lives of quiet desperation, always looking for home, a home, or something like home, whatever home means to them. The lyrics show empathy for them, but never pity.

It's also quietly great. The music's energy never flags, the writing is clear, direct, and clear eyed, and the one happy song, ”My Street,” is a romp lyrically.

For anyone who every wanted some kind of home, in a building or a state of mind, this album is for you.

Andrea Weiss

 Lannie Flowers

Home (single)

Spyderpop/Big Stir Records

The A side of this self-titled single from the album Home is the indie rock side of Americana, with lyrics about finding a home, even if that home is a state of mind.

The B side is a non-album version of “My Street (Nashville Version)” with steel guitar making it even more of a romp than on the album. While it's a happy song about all the people who live on the main character's street, all of them might also be looking for a home of some other kind on this street.

It's a very good lead-in to the album, but buy the single, too, so you can hear the wonderful B-side as well.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, July 18, 2021

 I became aware of the music of Anton Barbeau through the music of Scott Miller and the email list for fans of his music, the Loud List. That list expanded my tastes in music, and Anton was one of many wonderful musicians I discovered there. The List moved to Facebook some years ago, and Anton never stopped making music over a 30 year career.

Anton was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about his new album, Oh The Joys We Live For, and a very good album it is, too.

Andrea Weiss: While most of my readers likely know you and your music, for anyone who doesn't, can you give a bit of your musical history?

Anton Barbeau: I was born in 1967, just a month before Sgt. Pepper, and was a Beatles baby for sure. I was obsessed with music from childhood and I loved the Doors, The Beach Boys, and pop music on the radio. It was hearing Gary Numan, though, that got me started as a musician for real. I was 13 and the whole world changed in an instant. My dad bought me a synth and I started writing songs and suddenly it’s decades later and I’ve released over 30 records! I’ve been fortunate to play with many of my heroes. I had Andy and Morris from Robyn Hitchcock’s erstwhile Egyptians with me for a few years, I toured a little bit in the UK with Julian Cope, and in one week I went from filming a video in Swindon with XTC’s Colin Moulding to recording in Studio Two at Abbey Road with French band Salt. I have just enough sex, drugs, and rock and roll stories to make for a mildly interesting book.

AW: Who are your influences?

AB: By now, I have so many, right? I’ve mentioned a few already: the Beatles are gods to me, so is Julian Cope. Bowie, Eno. So many of the krautrock bands like Neu and Faust and Can and Amon Duul. Incredible String Band, Ultravox, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Kate Bush. Psychedelic bubblegum, experimental electronic noise. We listen to Greek radio at night, and I listen to the sounds of the house and farm every morning. Monty Python, Stewart Lee, Vic and Bob.  I love the films of Tarkovsky and Jodorowsky and Svankmajer and Goddard and Cocteau… those rub off on me. Carl Jung is a huge influence.  I’m in love with the music of Joni Mitchell, but I can’t claim her as an influence - she’s way too idiosyncratic and intimidating!

AW: I like your use of synthesizers on these songs. Is that a way of pushing boundaries with this album?

AB: Ha! Well, maybe my mention earlier of Gary Numan clarifies a few things. I played synth well before I played guitar. I only picked up guitar because, honestly, it was easier to carry to gigs and to shake my ass with onstage. That said, of course I’ve written billions of songs on guitar. I won a little local “Folk Singer” award in my hometown. Nobody ever quite knows which aisle of the grocery store to put me in. I’ve released several all-electronic albums, and a piano-based record. Quite recently, I was featured on a two-hour show for Artefaktor radio, with the focus on my synth pop tunes. In 2009 (?), I caught swine flu and had a fever for a month. I dreamt every night of synths! Obsessed. I probably own 15 guitars, but have nowhere near the same level of interest in guitar as an instrument. But back to the album at hand… this is a collection of all sorts of odds and ends, and it’s probably more coincidental than calculated that there’s a palpable synths vibe here.

AW: This isn't as much of a guitar-based album as Manbird and Kenny vs. Thrust were, and I like that. Does it mean that you're building on the sound of them, too?

AB: I’m glad you like the contrast, thanks! Of the records you listed, Manbird was the most intentional. It was driven by a vision and is a double-album to prove it! Kenny vs Thrust was meant to be a quick, fun “battle of the bands,” showing off the grooviness of my respective California and UK bands. Those bands are basically two guitars, bass, and drums - the classic format - so there are lots of guitars on display. Oh The Joys We Live For is made up of the fragments of four or five unfinished records, so I can’t say it’s building on anything, exactly! I’d finished it and released a version of it online before Manbird was even out. The original Oh The Joys actually had more synth tunes, including some from Antronica 4. It didn’t really hold up as well as an album, and my online-only experiment flopped. I was grateful when Big Stir said they’d release it. By that point, I’d swapped certain songs out and found I’d “made” a much lovelier record. It feels very intentional, but I can’t claim credit. Joys is a record that made itself.

AW: Would you say Robyn Hitchcock is a lyrical influence?

AB: He has certainly been a huge influence over the years, but not so much in an ongoing way. The excitement and shock of his surrealist wordplay has given way - after decades of listening to his music - to a sort of avuncular comfort at this point! I can still hear traces in a song like “One Of Her Super Powers,” but it almost feels a bit deliberate, like I’m throwing in one of Robyn’s zebras for the kids! Really, though, the whole point of having influences is to help us learn who we ourselves are. Something/someone from “out there” triggers either a feeling of exciting familiarity within ourselves, or maybe a feeling of unsettling weirdness, but the ideal is to take those feelings and use them to discover/create our own language. I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, but Manbird was the first Ant record where I could see that I’d become my own influence. I mean, by nature of my work, I’m listening to hours of myself every day and I have no time to steal the best lines from John Cale or Joan Armatrading.

AW: I like the way you create all kinds of quirky, colorful characters in your lyrics. Is it fun writing that way?

AB: Thanks! I certainly do have fun sometimes when I’m writing, but I also tweak out over whether any given song is good enough. I mentioned that Oh The Joys came together from various unfinished projects. The one I liked most and wish I’d stuck with longer was called Christian Wife. It was going to be an album about a traditional married couple, living in Small-town, USA. They play out their expected man/wife roles where he has the real job, she cooks the dinner, and they go to church on Sunday, insisting they’re true Christian. But each of them has a secret, dark life they keep from each other. It seemed such a rich vein to mine, but I only managed maybe three or four songs, and even those only barely had the characters in the same room. I do like playing with characters in general and I sometimes move between using my own voice and that of the Other.

AW: What was it like to play with Scott Miller on What If It Works?


AB: It was so enjoyable. I mean, mostly it was fun. It was always meant to be a light, loose album. The whole thing started when we performed the Stones’ “Rocks Off” together at a gig in our hometown, Sacramento. Scott’s wife, Kristine, said you guys should record that and next we knew, we had studio time booked and paid for by 125 Records. Trying to turn a single cover song into what became a full album wasn’t the easiest thing for Scott, who’d been out of the music biz for a bit. He’d become a family man and had taken on greater responsibility at his day job. Still, I think we managed to ride out the challenges as they came. Most of my memories are of us having a fine old time, whether doing backing vocals together in his house or of him urging me on as I smashed through a drum track in an unscheduled basement session. It all felt like no sweat. This was his first time using Pro Tools and he totally nailed it, as you’d expect. To that end, there was all sorts of sonic magic happening. In those days I was just starting my migration over to the UK, so we made the album in the cracks. Scott would update me with emails containing his latest efforts, and then when I’d return to California, we’d get back to work. I’d worked with Scott a number of times before this, but making a full album with him is something I cherish so very much.

AW: What would you say to someone just starting out in music?

AB: Listen to everything! Listen to things you love, as much as you can, seek out more things to love, and love listening to things you can’t stand! Meet people and play music together. Some people thrive in music on their own, but it’s worth finding out how to make noise with others. Believe in your own confidence, but let insecurity live in you in comfort, because music is made up of a combination of the known and the unknown. Be brave in the dark, but let yourself fail and flail in the light. Be protective of your work, but not too precious. And most of all, have a good time all the time (moderation in excess, mind...).

 Oh The Joys We Live For

Anton Barbeau

Big Stir Records

Anton's follow up to Kenny Vs. Thrust and the non-Big Stir, wonderful Manbird is, like the title says, a joy to listen to. All the tracks are ear worms, especially “Salt Lick” and “I Been Thinking 'Bout You,” with Anton's trademark whimsical lyrical style front and center throughout.

What is also good here is the use of synths to provide color and detail, almost approaching synth-pop or prog, and it gives the tracks a thoughtful air, making the whimsy more meaningful, but also making them fun, and maybe taking guitar pop/rock to new places.

In the end, another great album from someone who never stops making them, with lyrics that will make you think and smile, and music that's as catchy as anything.

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

 Jim Basnight

Rebel Kind/Middle Of the Night

Big Stir Records

The A Side, “Rebel Kind,” is a cover of a Modernettes song, and while both versions are good, there is a bit more power with the cover. It's a little more of an anthem.

The B Side is a Basnight original, and it's about rocking out in the middle of the night. It's really good power pop/punk rock, and perfect for a party.

It's a very good single, a lot of fun to listen to. The cover is part of his album Jokers, Idols and Misfits, which is a great album in its own right.

Andrea Weiss

 Rich Arithmetic

Saving Sunset(Last Surf of the Day)/Boards On The Rocks

These two instrumentals capture perfect moments. The A Side evokes more than sunset: carrying the boards up the beach, going home, maybe for a mellow evening, and, if it's late summer, contemplating how many more days of surfing can be squeezed in before fall arrives.

The B side evokes surfing too close to the rocks, surfing in rough surf, and the sense of danger. If the Beach Boys had put out their first single today, would it be like this? This good? Not so much fun in the daylight, but at twilight? The thrill of taking chances while surfing? That's what this single brings, and anyone who loves the beach, summer, and hot, long days will get a lot, and great things, out of these songs.

Andrea Weiss


Blog Archive