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Alt Pop

Band name: 
D.Treut & The Clarif
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Unit J
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Beat Radio feels your pain before rising from the fire on "Real Love" LP

Real Love (Totally Real Records) is the sixth LP by Beat Radio—a musical delivery mechanism for the “heartfelt, literate pop songs" of vocalist/guitarist Brian Sendrowitz with founding member Philip A. Jimenez returning to the fold to hold down drums/percussion in addition to synths, second guitar, backing vocals, banjo and a little bass guitar which I’m just gonna go ahead and assume he played all at once because overdubs are for wimps and then lastly-but-not-leastly Kathryn Froggatt brings some sweet vocal harmonies and bass lines and tambourine rattling to the musical table...

…painting an expansive canvas full of fog-shrouded chamber pop landscapes opening onto vistas of anthemic-yet-not-too-bombastic indie rock classique heavy on the churning mid-tempo rhythmic momentum and stately, stalwart melodies garnished with a dim sum banquet's worth of musical condiments ranging from burbling, buzzy keyboards to backward-masked guitar to reedy saxophone drones to folksy fiddle interludes with the help of a guest player here and there which taken together reinforces the “downtrodden uplift” found in the lyrics…

 …not to mention how “Lowlands” and the title track rescue the banjo from its besmirchment by the likes of Dumbford & Sons and Matchbox Twenty-One, nimbly integrating the instrument into indie-Americana settings without it sounding like Taylor Swift crashing a Yo La Tango concert and perhaps not since the opening strains of Grandaddy’s Sophtware Slump has the banjo (erm, fake “banjo” but still..) been so perfectly incorporated into sad-dad-rock except with Beat Radio there's no robots drinking themselves to death or interstellar space-colony miners placing long distance calls home to no avail with B. Sendrowitz & Co. keeping their emotive, plain-spoken songs more strictly earthbound…

 …which makes sense given that a chunk of Real Love was written in a “fever dream” state during early peak-period pandemic lockdown and indeed the songs read as “locked down” physically and temperamentally flipping between states of emotional devastation and emotional resignation and emotional disassociation which dovetails nicely with the juxtaposition of placid sonic surfaces and stormy musical microbursts with Brian clarifying that on this album “there was nothing to hold back anymore…I went all in emotionally in a deeper way than I was capable of before”…

…like on “Disassociation Blues" a song that confronts some pretty harsh realities head on (“I was hiding since I was child / and the storm was coming all the while […] golden age that never came / dreams that we let slip away”) while seeking to evade and avoid these harsh realities at the same time (“dissociation blues / I don't even know what's true […] emotionally detached / hiding all the evidence”) and here as elsewhere Beat Radio straddles the fine line between huddled-in-a-fetal-position-in-the-bathtub lamentations and cold-shower catharsis…

 …and besides it being a “serious relationship gone seriously wrong” record one could also read Real Love as an extended political allegory especially with it being released near the midterms and especially with all the nature-of-reality-up-for-grabs lyrical moments on Real Love (“I made my own creation myth / trying to prove that I exist” — “Solid Ground”) and in these election denying days but I digress…

…and ok maybe I'm overreaching seeing as the record could as easily be about your grandma's lasagna as about the life of Brian especially in this post-death-of-the-author moment but either way if this sounds at all up your chimney chute and/or if you tend to enjoy the tremulous-yet-tempestuous poptones of The Tragically Hip, Los Campesinos!, Nada Surf, Fountains of Wayne, Waxahatchee and Sebadoh then you may very well enjoy Beat Radio too and finally here's hoping “We Rise From Fire” in the days and weeks and years ahead… (Jason Lee)


Drive-In wants you to know "This Is Not A Rom-Com" on new EP


Drive-In is a musical duo who in their own words “have come together to create a sonic experience that makes listeners want to dance and reflect on their life choices” and while their music provokes more the latter than the former response for this listener I’m not about to tell anyone they can't dance to Drive-In because that’s a highly personal choice (plus their song "Impact" is indisputably danceable, see below) and heck if people can dance to the Grateful Dead's music they can dance to anything even off their tits on hashish, acid, and/or shrooms all of which have proven conducive to noodle dancing at the very least...

…but rest assured multiple tabs of blotter acid aren't required to enjoy Drive-In’s new EP This Is Not A Rom-Com with lead singer/lyricist Ally Rincon having penned “a collection of stories that narrate her experiences with relationships, with people and with herself, with a specific focus on how those relationships have effected her mental health” according to the official press release, a record that "shamelessly wears its heart on its sleeve."

This Is Not A Rom-Com was produced by Ryan Erwin (Particle Devotion, Nice Dog) and on the musical side of things the EP is similarly introspective and emotionally direct or as guitarist/songwriting partner Mitch Meyer puts it: “I wanted this album to be a bit more reflective and a more grown-up way of looking at Ally's lyrical themes, so rather than going full angst, we opted to bring in some folk and Americana elements [plus] a lot of strange guitar intervals and bends that kind of twist with the emotion. Quinn Devlin was a big help in realizing this aspect" all of which sounds pretty Dead-like actually…

…but what's maybe a little less-than-direct with This Is Not A Rom-Com is how any one of these four songs could fit quite nicely on an actual rom-com soundtrack imho like how “The One Before” would be a great fit with Albert Brooks’ classic rom-com Modern Romance or how “Impact” sounds like it’s sung from the perspective of the Biscuit Woman in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster (“I am falling / and landing on concrete”)...

...or how “Overwhelmed” mirrors the self-delusion and mutual deception at the heart of The One I Love starring Elizabeth Moss or how “Narcissist” could soundtrack the, um, narcissism at the heart of Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story a movie that “brings rom-com energy to the agony of divorce” but still I had to turn it off after about 15 minutes due to the insufferability of the main characters not to mention the stilted acting, apologies to Adam and Scarlett because I know they're reading this…

…so anyway you may have noticed the aforementioned films are all very much dark romantic comedies which no doubt is down in part to your humble reviewer’s twisted cinematic tastes but they do fit the Drive-In EP to a "T" with its songs essentially rooted in the hopes and expectations formed around normative heteronormative couplings and the various varieties of misery and insecurity potentially stemming from these normative hopes and expectations which falls outside your typical happy ending rom-com territory…

…but then again your typical rom-com depicts plenty of misery leading up to its happy ending cuz you gotta ratchet up the dramatic-comedic-romantic tension somehow so maybe the songs on This Is Not A Rom-Com could be rom-com soundtrack fodder after all (plus that’s where the big bucks are!) not to mention Drive-In have a knack for combining despairing sentiments with pleasant “gentle folksy indie rock” musical stylings which may likewise help land those movie placements—an amalgamation mastered by the likes of Snail Mail, Lucy Dacas, and Phoebe Bridgers among others—so if you like your rom-coms both sweet and sour then head to the Drive-In and get your groove on… (Jason Lee)


These People explore unseen forces at work on new EP "In Place of Time"

Yesterday I very nearly lost my credit card, my glasses, and my phone but there were “forces at work” that somehow saved me in each case and no I wasn’t hungover or anything along those lines in fact the night before I’d stayed in and even gone to the gym (!) and no I don’t think I’m going senile yet but still I left my credit card at a lunch spot but luckily discovered it was missing almost right away when I went to buy a coconut donut and a coffee at a well-known chain establishment and then later that evening I left my glasses on the seat of a subway car but thank the heavens realized it seconds later, jumped back into the subway car and grabbed them off the seat and jumped back off only a split second before the doors closed all Indiana Jones-style…

…and then most embarrassing of all I when I was coming back from the show I went to last night I jumped the turnstile at an unattended entrance (hey I figure if the MTA is gonna lay off booth workers and leave stations unattended then when should I pay to ride and how’s that for a justification?!) which really didn’t make sense since there was a homeless guy holding open the service door as a public service (and soliciting tips, naturally!) but instead I went the DIY route in skipping the fair but apparently when I leapt over the turnstile it caused my phone to likewise leap out of my pocket and onto the ground totally unbeknownst to me…

…which the aforementioned man not only retrieved but then he chased me down a couple flight of stairs and was probably calling after me but I had my noise-cancelling headphone on full blast of course and didn’t hear but still he managed to catch up to me on the platform and returned my phone at which point I felt like a complete idiot but also incredibly grateful to this most excellent Samaritan and gave him 20 bucks and sure I coulda saved nearly $20 if I’d simply gone through the door he was holding open and thrown him a little change in the first place but in the end it was worth the expenditure to feel the sense of immense relief I felt at that moment plus to see a rare glimpse of the best in humanity when a total stranger, and one who doesn't have it easy to boot, saves you from your own stupidity…

..and yes I realize this is supposed to be a record review but here’s the clincher of it all because guess what I was listening to on my headphones when I jumped the turnstile and briefly lost my phone—and that’d be new EP by THESE PEOPLE titled In Place of Time (Green Witch Recordings / Parallel Division) and specifically its opening number “Forces At Work,” a song (and an EP) that in my reading is very much concerned with unseen forces at work in the universe even and especially when it appears that the universe (or planet Earth at least) is spinning wildly out of control or to quote directly from the song “a universe of empty space” that despite this emptiness “love[s] to get [a] reaction to test the Will of Man” and hey I’m not sure how I earned the good karma but I’ll take it…

…and THESE PEOPLE further drive the point home musically on the song and the entire EP which opens in medias res sounding like a music box winding down but soon a skittering beat kicks in over which waves of dissonant guitar guitar and textural keyboard ebb and flow like waves breaking on the shore and then pretty quickly the song establishes a more familiar shape but still with the lapping waves of sound underneath the surface and then about half way through there’s a breakdown part that goes on for a full minute with congas and tom tom fills and more waves of textural sounds and angular guitar…

…and overall I’m digging the crystalline, ‘80s-reminiscent production work on this EP and when I say “‘80s-reminiscent” I’m thinking specifically of records by people like Peter Gabriel, Todd Rundgren, and Adrian Belew at their most art-damaged and most off-kilter-pop inclined simultaneously and along these lines “Forces At Work” and the rest of the EP are full of crystalline chiming guitars and all sorts of other timbral sound-painting not to mention a logic-defying combination of head-bobbing funk and chin-stroking art rock and not to mention the philosophical yet semi-abstract lyrics at hand…

…and not to mention how the EP is both a bit chaotic sonically but also how air-tight controlled it comes across as when you really pay attention like a there’s a steady, invisible hand behind the seeming messiness on the surface which only gets amplified on the following tracks, the first of which truly does have “Levels” especially when it comes to the crazy rhythms unpinning the whole thing which slip almost imperceptibly (warning: basic music theory ahead!) between duple to triple time…

…and then next “Mind Reading” opens with some brief textural noise before a loping groove enters alternating between 5/4 and 4/4 and when the gently keening vocals enter it shifts into your basic triple time (3/4 or compound 6/8 meter if you prefer!) and finally on “Past Tense” we get treated to a chorus (mostly) in 7/4—for those who don’t know “time signatures” this is why it sounds off-kilter/left-of-center/angular—plus the vocal line is consistently sung ahead of or perhaps behind the beat (either way it’s “just out of time” but in which sense?!) so that the whole thing feels like a spinning top careening precariously, but somehow never tipping over, or maybe more like a hapless guy who keeps losing all his sh*t but having it handed back to him by the universe thanks to unseen forces at work and if it’s all “a great cosmic joke” then at least it’s a good one. (Jason Lee)

And here's a little insider insight into the band should you want it...!

Official short Bio: These People is the solo project of Long Beach, NY producer and songwriter TJ Penzone. The project began after his former band Men, Women & Children (Warner Bros / Reprise Records) disbanded. These People has a constant rotation of musicians with the songs primarily written, recorded, and produced by Penzone, with additional instrumentation, production, and artwork by his brother Rick Penzone (Color Film, Richard Flesh). Soundscapes, and additional guitar by James Usher (Edison Glass, Heavy duty super Ego).

Quote from the Artist: I made the structure for "Levels" while I was trying to learn George Harrison’s “I'd Have You Anytime”. I just kept playing the first two chords over and over, changing rhythms, and adding more chords until it just evolved into its own thing. This one was incredibly fun / tedious to record and mix. -Tj Penzone



Band name: 
Crush Fund
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Our Wicked Lady
Band email: 

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