Indie/Indie Rock Pop/Indie Pop Punk/Rock Reviews

notes from the trenches

After a month of an environmental microbiology summer course at uni, and two months of unloading produce trucks at farmer’s markets, I return to you a changed girl. This means I’m absolutely exhausted, so tanned my dermatologist is frightened, and I’ve cut my own bangs again. The good thing is I’m still 20 and according to everyone I know who’s over 40, completely exhausted, broke, and sporting a questionable hairstyle is just how I’m supposed to be at this particular age, so at least I’m living up to someone’s expectations. 

Speaking of expectations, the Berlin-based chanteuse Anika’s sophomore album Change recently appeared on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart, an exciting development in the trajectory of a very worthy artist’s career. Limited edition, cherry-red vinyls of the album are available on Bandcamp, and tickets for her upcoming fall tour are available via a link in the recent interview Totally Wired conducted with her.

2021 is the 10th anniversary of Trashmouth Records, and as Charlie Steen of Shame says: “Trashmouth fear no fever, no nausea or fatigue, no symptom can scare them; they are the antidote.” In light of that statement, I think we should place all our trust and possibly also all of our money into Trashmouth, as an antidote is exactly what we need right now, in so many ways.

Before I was exposed to the sonic wonderland created by the Trashmouth tribe, I foolishly thought all modern music could either shuffled into the category of Taylor Swift or Avenged Sevenfold, and therefore I didn’t listen to much, as when given the choice between songs about sad cheerleaders or necrophilia, I’d rather hear the sound of silence. And then along came Madonnatron and Warmduscher on Iggy Pop’s BBC 6 radio show, and I was hooked, enchanted, a devoted convert.

Trashmouth’s latest release is a single that will feature on their anniversary compilation album, a remix of Weston Decker’s “Lazy.” Weston Decker is an American artist based in Boulder, Colorado; in his Spotify bio, he purports to have been conceived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. I consider DFW to be the first circle of hell in my own private model of the inferno, so I tip my hat to anyone who has been summoned into being somewhere in its chaotic grey arteries, and managed not be plagued by demons, etc. “Lazy,” is a tasty little indie pop number with an infectious rhythm, and the Trashmouth remix of the song has sharpened it–brought out its cheekbones, as it were—the driving electronic beats making a good thing even better.

Also on the Trashmouth release radar is a remix of Madonnatron’s “Venus and Rahu,” out today on all platforms. According to their Spotify bio, Madonnatron formed by “arising unabashed from the mists of the Thames.” In 2019 the band released Musica Alla Puttanesca, a much-lauded musical experience (the album cover of which depicts the laser-eyed gaze of the Madonna setting the world aflame, a theme which falls perfectly in step with Madonnatron’s usual agenda of the more darkly delicious art forms) on the Trashmouth label.

The Spanish rock supergroup Hinds recently collaborated with the German musician Kid Simius on a driving, upbeat, club track entitled “We Like to Party,” out now on Jirafa records. It’s the ideal track to make summer last a little longer, to stretch out those last lingering days of warmth and relative freedom. Hinds like to party; I remember watching them give a full-throttle rock n’ roll performance in an abandoned church at 2 a.m. one hot summer night a few years ago, and being duly impressed with their IPA consumption, as well as their musical prowess. 

This, then, is my final “notes from the trenches,” as I think everyone has swallowed quite enough of my opinions over this long, hot, pandemic summer. In the words of Groucho Marx, “Art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew ‘em they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now… you tell me what you know.” It’s someone else’s turn to give you their opinions on life, music, the universe, and everything. If you need me, I’ll be in the bar. All you have to do is whistle. 

Indie/Indie Rock Punk/Rock

notes from the trenches: a sonic experiment

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The good news is that Tuareg rock n’ roller MDOU MOCTAR’s magnum opus Afrique Victime debuted at the end of May, and my God! I’ve been absorbing it like a thirsty sponge. Rock n’ roll is alive and well—but, contrary to popular belief, it’s not inhabiting the form of Maneskin. It’s in the form of Mdou Moctar. 

Mdou Moctar and his band performing tracks off of their recent album, “Afrique Victime.”

The bad news: I spent the past week conducting a sonic experiment that pretty much blew up in my face. In an attempt to learn to like some of the light, cloying varieties of pop music currently saturating radio airplay these long summer days (and nights), I bought myself a copy of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. It’s a record belonging to the “noise/drone” genre, sandwiched in the musical history books in between the engineering mess Bowie made of the Stooges Raw Power and the first Dead Boys album.

But, the roaring, keening, banshee shriek of machines must have been the balm of Gilead my troubled soul needed, because my plans to turn my musical taste away from Funhouse-era Stooges and towards Ariana Grande backfired. I think…I think I’ve fallen in love with Metal Machine Music. What was basically an attempt to be a better friend (you can only moan so much about your friends’ party playlists before they stop inviting you to the aforesaid parties) absolutely backfired. I now have even less tolerance for Ari than I did before. Merzbow, here I come. 

Anyway, in other Very Important News, last month L.A.-based punk band the Linda-Lindas signed to Epitaph Records. The band (an all-girl, Asian American and Latinx quartet composed of sisters, cousins and friends–the oldest member of which is 16, and the youngest, 10) recently caused a stir in the alt scene with their righteously angry single “Racist, Sexist Boy” (drummer Mila de la Garza explains the song’s origins in the video linked below.)

The Linda-Lindas, live at the L.A. Public Library.

HINDS are embarking on a tour of the USA this September. It’s 22 glorious days with Future Islands and Modest Mouse, and if any of my American cousins are reading this, go bless yourself with tickets. For those stuck on this side of the pond, Hinds are making the trek from sunny Spain to the constant drizzling rain of this angry little island in 2022. I’m sure tickets will go with the speed of a cheetah taking down an antelope after a weeklong juice cleanse, so be sure to snap them up as soon as they go on presale. 

Ana Perrote of Hinds shot by @neelastica.

Squid (a band originally hailing from Brighton, but currently working from London) released their full-length debut, Bright Green Field, last month. It’s received a deluge of worthy praises, and I’m more than willing to add to them. Some have described the band’s style of playing as punk-funk, and others say it’s post-punk.

(I don’t know why they say post-punk, because Squid’s signature sound is very much rooted in the present. And aren’t we all? Unless, like Billy Pilgrim, some of you lucky stiffs have become “unstuck in time,” we’re all here in 2021, in the midst of a pandemic, passengers on an increasingly hotter spaceship Earth and members of an increasingly unhinged so-called society.)

But we have music, and good music is a balm for suffering in a way that alcohol and therapy can never hope to touch. So thank you for the new albums—to Mdou Moctar, the Linda-Lindas, Squid and all the other musicians slogging it out on the battlefield of expression for their art.

Yours in solidarity and Bandcamp Fridays,



Pop/Indie Pop Reviews

notes from the trenches: from Black Flag to Black Books

Black Flag vocalist and renaissance man Henry Rollins practices something he calls Protein/Carbohydrate listening. It’s a system in which he organizes his sonic consumption into two categories. New music—stuff he’s never heard before—is classified as protein, while old favorites are classified as carbs. He tracks his daily intake of ‘protein’ and ‘carbs’ in the obsessive manner of any fitness fanatic or health freak.

So far this month, my carb consumption has been way up, and my protein consumption has been way down, nonexistent but for the excellent, Austin, Texas-based band BLACK BOOKS, whose recent single Goodbye Cool (released in early 2020) is eerily prescient in the same sort of way that Contagion is eerily prescient. Watch it and see for yourself…

My roommate’s been playing the most recent HINDS album, The Prettiest Curse, on repeat 24/7, and I don’t mind a bit. The neighbors, however, are absolutely losing it–but then they always behave as though loud music is something physically threatening, like a crazed triceratops bulldozing through the front door. (An absolutely absurd stance on their part, and I find it’s best to help them work through it by blasting Frank Zappa.)

You know what Eve Babitz (cult writer and demi-monde darling of 1970s L.A.) said about really good songs? She said they were like booster shots, like concentrated doses of vitamins. The Prettiest Curse (despite its title) is like having an IV of healthful, revitalizing stuff. Through my roommate’s love of Hinds I’ve discovered the Spanish indie pop singer ESCORPIA, whose recent single Ten Cuidado has a promo video not unlike a three minute snippet of an Eric Rohmer movie. 

In other news of tremendous importance, INSECURE MEN have confirmed via a reply to an Instagram comment that their third album is forthcoming, a joyous prospect indeed.  There’s been a gaping hole in my soul ever since it became obvious that Ben Romans-Hopcraft’s supremely excellent outfit Childhood were not going to be continuing on in the immediate future, and hearing his work in Insecure Men consoles me greatly.

Totally Wired’s favorite “synth sensation,” JESSICA WINTER, has also hinted at new music. (Which reminds me: limited edition clear vinyls of her LP Sad Music, are currently available on her Bandcamp site, and I’d highly advise snapping one up for your record collection.)

DECIUS, a techno/acid-house outfit comprised of members of Paranoid London, Trashmouth Records and the Fat White Family (a combination calculated to make any self-respecting music geek hyperventilate) have released their first EP, entitled Bread and Butter, available wherever you get your music–I can’t keep track of all the ways to get music anymore–but it’s out there, so go get it.

Yours in solidarity and Bandcamp Fridays,



header art credit: @judehavoc