Beyond the corn and soy fields of Illinois' underbelly is the unlikely home of an intensely focused American rock band. As vicious as they are elegant, The Funs' sounds emanate from 100 year old bricks, rattling the sagging windows of an abandoned funeral home turned artist residency the duo built as their home.The Funs, also known as Jessee Rose Crane and Philip Jerome Lesicko, spent years building Rose Raft, and Alienated is the first album produced in its studio. Recorded by Dave Vettriano, the album's title refers to a feeling of disaffection from the infrastructures that domesticate creativity into monetization. It describes the band’s desire to release sounds into the world without losing its soul to a commercial grind. After more than a decade of collaboration, the psychic connection between Crane and Lesicko radiates throughout Alienated . Songs like "Instinct," "Into The Mirror" and "Forget Me Not" exist singularly in their pop hooks, but also act as puzzle pieces for Alienated as a bigger picture. Thousands of images flash through our retinas every day, but The Funs remind us to close our eyes and listen. "Don't let yourself go numb," says the band, "light your nerves and feel it all."
Florry is a brand new rock band from Philadelphia. Teenage bandleader Francie Mendoschleads her rollicking ensemble (featuring Peter Gill, Theo Woodward, Debbie and Abbie JonesHornburg) through the exuberant, yearning roller coaster tracks of Brown Bunny. There is a directnessto Mendosch's lyricism and playfulness to her song's arrangements that feels anxious andhopeful. When Mendosch says "my fingertips are glowing / but it's not enough to keep me fromblowing up" on "Please," one might believe her. Named in honor of Chloe Sevigny's characterin the film Brown Bunny, Mendosch's songs are about cultivating a sense of self acceptancein the face of social shame and bullying. Brown Bunny is full of startling nuance and diverseemotionality, from the sorrowful melancholy of "Kung Fu Girl" to the anticipatory excitement of"Kanagawa". Brown Bunny is a fully realized portrait of tying the loose ends of adolescence andventuring onwards.
Olivia Neutron-John's self-titled debut full length OLIVIA NEUTRON-JOHNis the first O N-J recorded output since 2014’s single INJURY TRAIN ANDI'M NEVER GETTING OFF IT b/w VULNERABILITY. Finally emerging with thisalbum is a sound that is similarly transcendent and meticulous, butwith a newly articulated focus and even bolder minimalism. A. Nastyreturns on keyboards and voice, now writing sinewy bass lines againstthe steady pulse of a drum machine. Lyrically it is sparse, but ladenwith meaning. A. Nasty's vocals are psychedelic yet straightforward,confident but desperate, calculated and unhinged all at the same time .Ambiguity drives OLIVIA NEUTRON-JOHN - the feeling of imminent dangerin nearly going off the rails, just barely kept in line with the orderof rhythm. OLIVIA NEUTRON-JOHN draws you into its hypnotic repetition,only to disorient with a catchy line gone awry and into a totallydifferent atmosphere, like Ian Curtis playing on the moon. The punksensibilities of O N-J's dance music ride a delicate balance betweenchaos and precision. The year is 2019 and fictions of genre and genderare even further behind us, making way for OLIVIA NEUTRON-JOHN .
With fireworks of noise and arresting melodies, Priests' 2017 debut LP Nothing Feels Natural was heralded as a modern classic of "post-punk", but Priests feel urgently present. If NFN felt like an album-length ode to possibility, then The Seduction of Kansas exists within the adventurous world its predecessor pried open. If NFN was the reach and conviction of a band pushing beyond itself, willing itself into existence on its own terms, then Kansas stands boldly in the self-possessed space it carved, an immediate and cohesive album.Entering their eighth year as a band, Priests remain an inspired anomaly in modern music. A band on its own label, Sister Polygon - jolting the greater music world with early releases by Downtown Boys, Snail Mail, Sneaks, and Gauche - they are living proof that it is still possible to work on your own terms, to cultivate your own world. Bred in punk, Priests play rock'n'roll that is as intellectually sharp as it is focused on pop's thrilling pleasure centers, that is politically galvanizing without sloganeering. The high-wire physicality of their live shows and their commitment to cultural, political, and aesthetic critique have all made Priests one of the most exciting bands of their generation.