Monday, March 27, 2017

Currently Listening

1.  "Indoors" by The Flatliners (from Indoors)
2.  "Kernel" by Seam (from Kernel)
3.  "Guardian" by Tigers Jaw (from Guardian)
4.  "Wrong" by Archers Of Loaf (from Icky Mettle)
5.  "Only Shallow" by My Bloody Valentine (from Loveless)
6.  "No Halo" by Sorority Noise (from You're Not As _____ As You Think)
7.  "No Exception" by Chris Wollard and The Ship Thieves (from Chris Wollard and The Ship Thieves)
8.  "Thick as Thieves" by The Menzingers (from After the Party)
9.  "Show Me Mary" by Catherine Wheel (from Chrome)
10.  "Midnight To Morning" by Japandroids (from Near To The Wild Heart Of Life)
11.  "Why Do You Have to Put a Date on Everything" by Superchunk (from Foolish)
12.  "Anything Could Happen" by Bash & Pop (from Anything Could Happen)
13.  "Chasing Heather Crazy" by Guided By Voices (from Isolation Drills)
14.  "Dear Trouble" by Bleached (from Can You Deal?)
15.  "Constructive Summer" by The Hold Steady (from Stay Positive)

Video of the Day: "As They Sleep" by Lights & Motion

Song:  "As They Sleep"
Artist:  Lights & Motion (OfficialFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, BandCamp, Spotify, Deep Elm Records, Wikipedia)
Album:  Dear Avalanche (Deep Elm Records, BandCamp [Deep Elm], Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)

We have partnered with Deep Elm Records to give away 10 digital copies of Lights & Motion's brilliant new album Dear Avalanche.  In order to get your copy, all you need to do is follow me on Twitter @OklahomaLefty and send me a tweet with #OklahomaLeftyGiveaway and I'll hook you up with a download code.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Album Review: 'Our Undivided Attention' by Benchmarks

Title:  Our Undivided Attention (SofaBurn Records, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  Benchmarks (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloudBandCamp, Spotify)

Nashville, TN's Benchmarks full-length debut Our Undivided Attention is a compelling, enriching, and fulfilling album that touches on a multitude of sub-genres, styles, and moods all while holding strong as a cohesive unit and a singular experience.  Mixing elements of indie rock, alt country, emo, anthematic punk rock, power pop, alt rock, and classic rock, Benchmarks have created a sound that is bold, expansive, and pure rock 'n' roll passion.  Without the constraints of being an actual concept record, Our Undivided Attention has themes that are heard throughout its 11 songs, including a wonderful lyric that is haunting and desperate in the opening track "This Year" while hopeful and optimistic in the closer "Next Year" -- "I know next year things will be better."  It is that idea that permeates all aspects of this record through songs about love, life, trials, tribulations, growing up, and never giving in.  Sonically Benchmarks hit that perfect sweet spot playing catchy melodic rock anthems with deep emotions and a slight twang.  This is the kind of record that should appeal to fans of everything from Placeholder to Against Me! to Jimmy Eat World to Foo Fighters to Two Cow Garage to The Promise Ring and everything in between.

You can check out my interview with Benchmarks' guitarist / lead singer Todd Farrell Jr. on episode # 10 of the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker.

EP Review: 'Too Old To Dream' by Get Fired

Title:  Too Old To Dream (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify)
Artist:  Get Fired (OfficialFacebook, Twitter, InstagramBandCamp, Spotify)

Oklahoma City's Get Fired have returned with their sophomore EP Too Old To Dream.  The seven-song collection is blisteringly quick, clocking in at 10 minutes, with most of the songs coming in at well under the two minute mark.  This time around the band's sound has gotten darker and more serious tackling topics such as mindless politics and modern day social media communication.  At it's core Too Old To Dream is still a pop punk record but it has more in common with Milo Goes to College and the Adolescents' first record than Everything Sucks or NOFX.  As with their debut Things That Are Not Rocket Science, Too Old To Dream's standout moments are the simple pop songs that let the hook and the melodies steer the ship, the opening "The Only Thing That Matters Is Whatever's After The Hashtag" and the closing "Star Map."  The best thing about this record is the band's continued growth as songwriters and performers, making them one of the up and coming bands to watch in the Sooner State.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Album Review: 'Leonard' by Deforesters

Title:  Leonard (BandCamp, Black Numbers Records, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  Deforesters (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube,  BandCamp, Spotify)

Deforesters have delivered a stellar full-length debut in Leonard.  Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Deforesters play a sickeningly catchy brand of gruff and melodic punk rock that is equal parts Nothington and Screeching Weasel.  Mixing the best of the melodic, the pop, and the punk, Leonard plows forward with tight hooks, big choruses, and lyrics that are as intelligent as they are thoughtful and witty.  This is the kind of band and the kind of record that sounds and feels like it is a product of the scene in Gainesville, and while that is absolutely a compliment, this band is so much more.  Behind the gruff vocals and punk hooks, is a tremendous pop sensibility that goes far beyond one genre or one era of rock 'n' roll.  Bottom line, this is a killer record that is a must for fans of Red City Radio, Against Me!, Timeshares, Hot Water Music, The Fest, or any of the aforementioned bands.

You can also check out my interview with Deforesters' lead singer / bassist Pod on episode # 7 of the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Album Review: 'In The End' by Nothington

Title:  In The End (BandCamp, Red Scare Industries, Amazon, iTunes, Interpunk, Spotify)
Artist:  Nothington (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Bandsintown, BandCamp, Spotify)

Nothington's fourth full-length album In The End is the kind of nearly perfect record that somehow gets better with each and every listen.  This record is the perfect mixture of aggression and melody, gruff edges and pop sensibilities, punk and rock.  The album is classic Nothington with 11 songs of big choruses, tight melodies, gruff dueling lead vocals, excellent harmonies, and hooks that refuse to let you go.  It's that killer melding of melodic pop punk with country twinges and classic rock anthems that hits some many different sweet spots.  Then there's the lyrics.  This record deals with desperation, love, and growing older without ever diving into complete despair, offering glimmers of hope for a better tomorrow.  In fact it's those lyrics that really drive this record home taking it from great to unfuckingbelievable.  This is the kind of record that hits you first with its incredible sounds and then knocks you out with its words.

In the past few years, it has become increasingly obvious that Nothington has quietly become one of the most influential bands in modern punk.  You can hear their impact on the music of acts ranging from Red City Radio to Arms Aloft to Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves to Timeshares, just to name a few.

From top to bottom this record kills.  I've been listening to it constantly for a couple of months now and each time I put it on, I find something new to love.  Bottom line, In The End is a completely and utterly satisfying record musically, lyrically, and emotionally.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 10: Interview with Benchmarks

This week we interview Todd Farrell Jr. from Benchmarks, play new stuff from Oklahoma's own Brad Fielder, The Bigger Empty, Early Riser, Dave Hause, and Dead Bars, plus a debut from OKC's Get Fired, a classic from Armchair Martian, and much more.

Don't forget the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast giveaway. We have 10 digital copies of Lights & Motion's excellent album Dear Avalanche to give away. Just Tweet #OLPGiveaway to @OklahomaLefty

Listen to "Oklahoma Lefty Podcast # 10: Interview with Benchmarks" on Spreaker.

1. "I Am My Radio" by Bullet Proof Lovers (from Shot Through The Heart)
2. "Maybeing" by Armchair Martian (from Hang on Ted)
3. "The Sea Around Us" by Erica Freas (from Patient Ones)
4. "The Nevers" by Early Riser (from The Nevers)
5. "Take My Heart With You" by The Bigger Empty (from Lakes & Oceans Vol 1 : Michigan)
6. "Randall Commander" by The Rentiers (from Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in All the Land)
7. "The Enemy Within" by Ben Lee (from Freedom, Love, And The Recuperation Of The Human Mind)
8. "Frames" by Benchmarks (from Our Undivided Attention)
9. Interview with Benchmarks' Todd Farrell Jr.
10. "Girls and Boys" by Benchmarks (from Our Undivided Attention)
11. "The Only Thing That Matters is Whatever's After the Hashtag" by Get Fired (from Too Old to Dream)
12. "Always Bet On Clark" by Dead Bars (from Dream Gig)
13. "Don't Speak" by NOTCHES (from Change My Mind EP)
14. "Mr. Shepherd's Bandage" by The Pavers (from Local 1500)
15. "The Brick and the Broom" by Brad Fielder (from Vernacular Songs)
16. "Burn After Reading" by Nothington (from In The End)
17. "With You" by Dave Hause (from Bury Me In Philly)

*Note* All music played on this show is done so with the express written permission of the artist, artist representative, and/or the record label.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Currently Listening

I went to see Logan yesterday and man that was a brutal flick.  I'm planning on writing a full review but in the meantime all I can say is that was an incredibly powerful and emotionally draining film that left me exhausted for the rest of the day.  This playlist was partially inspired by the film and partially inspired by my conversation with Benchmarks' Todd Farrell Jr. which will be part of the next edition of the Oklahoma Lefty Podcast.

1.  "Hurt" by Johnny Cash (from American IV: The Man Comes Around)
2.  "King Of Birds" by R.E.M. (from Document [R.E.M. No. 5])
3.  "Hummer" by Smashing Pumpkins (from Siamese Dream)
4.  "Don't Follow" by Alice In Chains (from Jar Of Flies)
5.  "Seasons" by Chris Cornell (from Singles - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
6.  "Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thornes" by Mother Love Bone (from Mother Love Bone)
7.  "You Are The World" by Live (from Mental Jewelry)
8.  "Euphoria" by School Of Fish (from School Of Fish)
9.  "Black Gold" by Soul Asylum (from Grave Dancers Union)
10.  "Name" by Goo Goo Dolls (from A Boy Named Goo)
11.  "All Apologies" by Nirvana (from In Utero)
12.  "Never Mind" by The Replacements (from Pleased To Meet Me)
13.  "A Murder Of One" by Counting Crows (from August And Everything After)
14.  "Something I Can Never Have" by Nine Inch Nails (from Pretty Hate Machine)

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Album Review: 'Higley' by Higley

Title:  Higley (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  Higley (Facebook, BandCamp, Spotify)

Higley is the brainchild of former G-WHIZ guitarist Kevin Carl and is nothing short of brilliant.  Boasting members of ALL/Descendents, Pollen, and River City High, Higley plays absolutely perfect melodic pop punk.  The band recorded and released two songs back in 2012 and is now back with a new lineup and a flawless full-length debut.  The album opens with the instant classic anthem "That's Not Me" a song that poignantly deals with the confusion of growing up and losing oneself in adulthood and middle-age.  This is a theme that is found throughout the record's 12 songs and while there is a frustration that is palpable, there's also hope and a desire to make tomorrow better than today.  It's that uplifting undertone, a need for the simple things in life, that really brings Higley together and makes it something truly special.  And that's not even getting in to how insanely good this record is musically.  The hooks in these songs have their own hooks, the choruses are powerful, the melodies are tight, and the vocals drip with passion.  Oh and the band completely shreds.  This record is a must for fans of pop punk, melodic punk, melodic hardcore, or just top notch pop songs played at 11.