Happy Monday-after-Thanksgiving from your faithful blogger, Molly "Content Verticals" O'Brien. I hope everyone doesn't have The Fear too bad today. Yesterday I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner with my husband for a new tradition we are called "Thanksgiving 2" (designed mostly so we could get access to leftovers, and the myriad food opportunities they present) and we ended the night watching Jackass Forever, which is as good a weapon as any against feeling bad.
So in addition to my blogger-in-chief duties at I Enjoy Music, I contribute to The Alternative as a video editor and, increasingly, as a writer. I've talked to / written about a bunch of artists over there, and it's often pegged to a single release or a music video premiere or something like that. I also talk to artists through my music interview newsletter and sometimes my podcast. And then sometimes these artists I cover will put out even newer music, and I think this music deserves some catchin' up on. So here are four artists I have covered in some format in the past, and a little bit about the new tunes they have recently put out!
froggyworm - froggyworm
froggyworm!!! A collab between vocalist Magda Baker and producer Aoife Josie Clements (aka Ravine Angel), coming out of the beautiful city of Vancouver (I have never been but I hear it is beautiful). I premiered their track "Disco Critter" on the Alt, which I described as "a dance song that inverts the timeworn tradition of the the semi-consensual club anthem." froggyworm's self-titled full album is freshly out and it's a slapper; they describe their music on Bandcamp as "trans emotronica" which is simply a perfect epithet. Ravine Angel has a real aptitude for creating addictive pop nuggets, even as they're roughed up with all manner of distorted guitar and twitchy drum machines. Magda's vocals cover a lot of ground: cool New Wave diva, earnest indie rocker, and tragic cabaret star. "Barbie Swan Lake" is an absolutely wild dance-punk epic and a standout track for moi.
Buckets - Good Luck Bad Dog EP
I interviewed Los Angeles band Buckets for an ongoing Alt TikTok series about onstage fashion, which you can see below:
They put out a new EP in October: seven concise rock songs with Weezerian mega-riffs and lyrics that explore an ambiguous existence on that familiar border between adult competence and amateur chaos. "Please don't look so worried, it worries me as well," lead vocalist Tanner Houghton sings on "Better," which pits a troubled protagonist against their concerned friends, and culminates in a sing-a-long chorus with a dubious claim ("I'm doing better"). Good Luck Bad Dog is a perfectly uneasy suite of tunes for these troubled times.
Fear Not Ourselves Alone - DEAD DOG PARADISE (OR LIFE LIKE PARASITES?)
I last covered Queens emo-punks Fear Not Ourselves Alone with a track premiere of their song "Mutual Aid". Now their full-length album is out and it's just incredible. I really try to spare using the word "ambitious" for albums unless I really mean it and in this case I do! This is an ambitious album from a band with a shitload of stuff to say about life on planet Earth in 2023. It has hushed acoustic reveries, ripping screamo stompers, orchestral escalations. It's a concept album with characters and a narrative; think the Hold Steady for a darker world and a clearer-eyed and harder-boiled generation. "GOVERNMENT FUNDED SONGWRITER" is probably my favorite song on the album. Jorge Ivan Velez questions the utility of political music ("How privileged is your praxis?" "How worthless is my protest?") but answers these questions with searing instrumentation that shows musical catharsis can be as useful a political tool as any.
phantom signals - "breakdown"
I last chatted with Melody Henry for my newsletter; she had a unique and cool perspective as someone just starting to get into the being-in-a-band-in-NYC lifestyle, post peak pandemic, and she's been shredding her way thru the Big Apple with multiple bands over the past couple of years, including her punk-y shoegaze-y outfit phantom signals. Their previous release was more of a solo songwriting endeavor for Melody and featured the gorgeous ode to DIY show magic, "basement"; "breakdown," which came out last month in advance of the band's upcoming self-titled EP, is an expansion to full-band status and builds from jagged guitar piecework into a big-ass, full-throated finale. I can just tell this song will rip live.
While you're here, why not subscribe to my newsletter, The Molly Zone? I interview musicians and music people, then ask them to recommend someone else in their musical sphere to interview. Like a Game Of Telephone. It's cool!