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Alt Rock





Desmo opens up in new album "F*cked Up Kid"

Maine’s Desmo seems to have compiled years of reflection, anger, and hope into his latest effort, F*cked Up Kid: the record is filled with life stories, told to the beat of his tracks, exquisitely-produced to contrast against his somewhat crude vocals. The title track, like most in the EP, opens up with atmospheric instrumentation that plunges into an abyss of memories where a sustained bass rumbles on. Echoes, warm piano notes, heavy reverb, and more burst out of each track. From upbeat-yet-ominous songs like “Phantom” to a refreshing take on Puddle of Mudd’s “Blurry,” the record is a delicious alternative rap cocktail, prepped in Portland for all to savor. If the new record is something of a life story for Duncan Cook, the man known as Desmo, then it is well-executed poetry because from one track to the next, there is a feeling of genuineness, both tragic and uplifting. The vulnerable track “Come Home” from the new record is streaming below. - Rene Cobar





American Actor's debut single proves unique and gritty, plays The Broadway 1.27

New York indie outfit American Actor’s debut singles Chaos Creator / Cold Hands showcases an upstart alternative group with a penchant for gritty, growling rock and graphic (and sometimes salacious) lyricism. The release’s A Side (“Chaos Creator”) flexes frothy vocals and a sliding, siren-esque guitar, culminating in a no-holds-barred chorus with a heavy crunch, before transitioning to a distinctly chiller B-Side (“Cold Hands”), replete with lewd wordage and a self-effacing perspective. Between the band’s reliance on space-filling electric guitars and the forthcoming nature of their central vox, American Actor’s sound falls squarely between the instrumental stylings of alt giants like The National and the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of Alex Cameron, simultaneously bringing their own uniquely grimy songwriting to the forefront while never pulling punches. Listen to them below, and catch the band’s debut performance at The Broadway on January 27th. —Connor Beckett McInerney

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The Burning Sensations ignite in debut self-titled record

Igniting with no apologies, the Connecticut collective known as The Burning Sensations debut with a self-titled album that does not take itself all that seriously, and that is its appeal. The opening track “Wanting More” has a bite to it, why with its sharp-lingering guitar chords, slithery bassline, and playful vocal delivery, it is wide open to listener interpretation: funky, alternative, retro—take your pick. Tracks like “Murky Water” have a tinge of that same theatricality and over-the-top vocal delivery that shot Modest Mouse to fame at the start of the new millennium. “Sensitive Guys” is as hilarious as it is tragic, and “Do Me” is upbeat and tough with its rock edge. Overall the album introduces the band with clarity because the group’s sound is well-established, and that is a great selling point. Listen to the cool and groovy guitar in “Sweat Wiper” from the new record below. - Rene Cobar





Shutups, Andy Bender, Stress Dreams and Babewatch play Eli’s January 10

This Friday Throwin’ Bo’s has a showcase of Bay Area bands that are sure to keep you energized and moving. Oakland’s Babewatch is surfy garage rock with just the right amount of punk. Stress Dreams isn’t as stressful as it sounds but they do describe themselves as “rat” music. Well said, we guess. Local dream catch Shutups are playing the bill, along with the quietest of the bunch, Andy Bender. Need some folk rock with more melodies and twists than you bargained for? Listen to Andy Bender! And come on down to Eli's Mile High Club. -Michelle Kicherer, Associate Editor





Spanish Love Songs announce third LP "Brave Faces Everyone", plus tour

In 2018 -- which seems like an eternity ago -- Spanish Love Songs dropped their sophomore album Schmaltz, and proceeded to support the release with 30-plus weeks of rigorous touring. Now, in 2020, the band has taken inspiration from those long days and nights to form their upcoming third album, Brave Faces Everyone. The ten-track record contains more of the band's outstanding loud indie punk songs that seek to instill hope in those living in a soul-crushing world; the new single "Kick" stands as a good example with the lyric "Keep your head up if you’re not okay/But not okay is what’s expected." And because Spanish Love Songs contain infinite energy, they'll play the UK and Europe for three weeks this winter as openers for The Menzingers. Following that, they'll tour with The Wonder Years, Free Throw, and Pool Kids through the US. Keep an eye out for tour dates, and check out the music video for "Kick" below. - Will Sisskind

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