With Draw

In the past few months, I have had the chance to see music from Australia, France, and Canada, in addition to the Texas, New York, and LA-based acts that typically come through. That’s been nice.

Gojira were very polite, which stood in contrast to their precise and pulverizing metal. Their French accents were cute. I don’t know if Courtney Barnett spoke or sang or mumbled or what, but whatever it was I couldn’t understand it but totally loved it (as always). Crystal Castles were Canadian, and I also saw Phantogram. Both were about as antiseptic as expected.

Along with Barnett, the Sound on Sound Fest one-day pass also provided close access to a rock legend (Bob Mould) and a local legend (Explosions in the Sky). The latter was the clear highlight of the fall for live music. These guys’ near-telepathic chemistry and their mastery of dynamics was put over the top by the coolest light show I have ever seen (thanks, weather).

Personally, it has been a crushing few months, but discovering new music and seeing old favorites is a helpful tonic. Listen to some of what I have been listening to, if you d/care.

Open Playlist (Google Play)


The Color Morale, Born of Osiris at Outland Ballroom

On a whim, the other night, I wandered over to a metalcore/deathcore show at Spingfield, MO’s fine live venue The Outland Ballroom.

I came in on the tail end of The Color Morale’s set, the band’s final set before embarking on Warped 2014. Exuding a kind of earnest passion and optimism not often seen/heard in metal, I really enjoyed the three songs I heard.



The first thing I noticed upon arrival was someone bleeding from a head wound which more or less sums up the sound of Born of Osiris who followed TCM with a brutal, pummeling set which delighted the assembled throng of fans who came to get crazy. Not my normal scene but I had a blast. My only question is, does every current metal band have to use so many backing tracks? (including an entire set with a distinctly separate rhythm guitar)





Friday Playlist: Heavy

I’ve dropped a few hints here and there. If you’ve been reading, you know I harbor much love for the heavier side of things. In honor of the fatigue and frustration many of us feel on this day of romantic fervor, I present a mix of loud, abrasive, wonderful songs that run the gamut of the heavy sub-genres. You’ll hear nintendo-core, sludge metal, post-metal, metal-core, post-hardcore, and just straight up metal. Turn up those speaker, nod your head, and enjoy.


PopHeart Etc. Friday Mix – Feb 14 from PopHeartEtc.com on 8tracks Radio.

1. HORSE the band is a joy. They are irreverent, independent, and inventive. Using analog keys as a prominent sound gives them the nintendo-core label, but the song-writing, technical ability, and frenetic energy are what sets them apart. (Bay Area)

2. Mastodon need no introduction. If you haven’t listened to Blood Mountain or Leviathan yet, you had better. (Atlanta)

3. Gojira is a French metal band; they just keep getting better, producing unique and powerful hooks to go along with their blistering riffs. (Bayonne, France)

4. August Burns Red is a metal-core band from Pennsylvania – the time signatures and complexity of the arrangements just blow my mind. (Manheim, PA)

5. Pelican produce moody and glittering post-metal music. Sometimes you don’t need words. (Chicago)

6. Stavesacre is an old favorite – a bunch of hardcore veterans making melodic, anthemic rock. (SoCal)

7. Living Sacrifice has been around for decades, and somehow keep getting better. (Little Rock)

8. Precious Death is kind of a weird one – they put out two albums in the ’90s, then broke up while the singer started an alternative/funk band (Blackball). His vocals are unique but there is no denying the musical ability here. (SoCal)

9. Buckethead is a loon. Probably the most prolific recording artist in history, he released more than a dozen albums LAST YEAR. This song is his ode to LeBron James (Buckethead is from Ohio).

Friday Playlist: Austin>Malawi>Niger>Chicago>Kansas City>San Francisco>Dallas>NYC>UK


Pop Heart Etc. Friday mix from 1444820144 on 8tracks Radio.

1. Crazy Bird by Wild Child: So many hooks!  The whistle hook is often the best hook of them all…

2. Warm Heart of Africa by The Very Best: One of my favorite band names of all time… the singer is from Malawi, the producers from the UK (although the main vocalist on this track is Ezra from Vampire Weekend)…Fyi “Warm Heart of Africa” is Malawi’s nickname

3. Azamane Tiliade by Bombino: Something about the Touareg lends itself perfectly to dusty blues guitar

4. Youngblood by Russian Circles: Speaking of guitar… Russian Circles deserve their own post—stay tuned

5. The Egg by Shiner: An old favorite; they broke up in 2003 after four records (all good, approaching great)

6. We Hit a Wall by Chelsea Wolfe: Just discovered – reminds me of Mazzy Star, but with more teeth

7. Birth in Reverse by St. Vincent: Love the early line:  “Oh, what an ordinary day, take out the garbage, masturbate…”

8. Memory Hole by Bobby Previte: One of the best tracks from one of my favorite “jazz” albums of all time

9. That’s Alright by Laura Mvula: This is my most recent ear-worm; you’re welcome!