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Thursday, November 26, 2015

EDITORIAL: Obligatory Thanksgiving Post 3.0

Pictured above: Don't rile this bird never.
It's been a busy week. Too busy really. So when I found myself with some time with my daughter this morning I took it. She is just a little over a year old and sweet as could be. We went to the park and played together. We made Chewbacca sounds together, because my child is awesome. It's stuff like that this I'm thankful for today. Not any of my stuff, but the nice moments when you can listen to a tiny human laugh and know that you're the cause for it. And I wouldn't have had those moments without music.

Since I was little music has been my thing. I remember doing jump kicks -righteous ones- to Jump by Van Halen when I was four. I remember getting spun up on The Talking Heads' Burning Down the House and Devo's Whip It too. It was that weirdo spirit and high energy that resonated with me when I found punk, but that kind of DIY inclusivity that kept me around. I'm still here all these years later, and I have a bunch of friends to show for it. I can't say I met my wife because of music, at least not directly, but it certainly helped.

So I'll keep it brief this year. I'm thankful for our vibrant scene. Not all the silliness associated with it, the posturing and all that stuff, which I just ignore, because that's kids stuff. I dig how much is out there now and how evolved things are now; there is so much more than just punk and indie happening and we're all better for it. I'm thankful for my friends and family, because they are awesome, and because they are proof that a strong community is a better one. I'm thankful for the band I'm privileged to be in and all the folks I've been fortunate enough to make music with; they make me a better person all the time and I'm lucky to still call most a friend. And I'm thankful for having the time, energy, and freedom to write what I want at Never Nervous. We all are; we will stop when this is no longer fun.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Never Nervous Guide to RECORD STORE DAY: BLACK FRIDAY '15!

I'm sure that plenty of folks that read Never Nervous don't give half a shit about Thanksgiving, Christmas, or whatever. BUT, how could you not get excited about the annual list of Black Friday releases that hit local record stores as part of Record Store Day?!

In case you aren't aware of this annual event, the folks behind Record Store Day yearly organize a "mini-RSD" that occurs the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday). Hordes of album collectors flock to independent record shops all over the planet as they will be selling super-limited releases spanning just about every genre.  Check out the full list of releases here.

The list consists of mostly vinyl releases that will be put out on a super limited run. Notable records I'm looking for will come from the likes of B-52's, Beck, Gang of Four, Shuggie Otis, Nine Inch Nails, and Waylon Jennings, among others.

Record stores in Louisville that plan to participate as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday include Better Days, Guestroom, Matt Anthony's Record Shop, Modern Cult, The Great Escape and Underground Sounds. Wow, that's a lot of record stores! Don't miss out!  Go to their respective Facebook/Twitter profiles to find out what time they plan to open their doors, and more about how they plan to celebrate this super-fun follow up to Thanksgiving. 

WORTH MENTIONING: The remainder of the Flagrant Fouls cassette tapes we released earlier this year (featuring songs from Discount Guns, Aphids, Scuzz Master, and Cat Bite)will be sold at Guestroom this Friday, so be sure to get in there and get your copy before they're all gone!  Also, later in the day at GR, Nathan Salsburg and James Elkington will be playing a free show at 6 pm! Hell yes!

Monday, November 23, 2015

WATCH: Concealer - "Golden State of Mind"

Emo rock band Concealer made a music video showcasing their song "Golden State of Mind." The track can be found on their brand new record of the same name which was released last month via Little Heart Records.  The song sounds like a heavier Get Up Kids/Blink 182 mash-up, while the video is a straight forward shot of the band performing in an abandoned, graffiti littered warehouse or something.  Get a load of the new video below, then head over to the band's bandcamp page to listen to the record in it's entirety.

WATCH: Dr. Dundiff - "The Glitches"

I've been locked in Never Nervous headquarters all year. They feed me once a day and I'm allowed all the PBR's I could ask for, but they aren't letting me out until everything Dr. Dundiff puts out is written about. This is a real problem because this dude puts something out every fucking week. I have a fucking life man! I can't write about your shit all the time. My wife's gotta be wondering where I am right now. I'm sure I've lost my job...

So here's another Dr. Dundiff video that features a new song called "The Glitches" which can be found on his most recent release Rare Candies. This one he's being chased by someone in a furry monkey costume, probably a blogger with calloused fingers who's gone on a murdering spree due to sleep deprivation. Do I even have to tell you anymore that the song, beat, and video are all fucking tremendous? Well they are. Please just watch the video. Then comment below and tell Phil and Syd to let me go.

REVIEW: Twin Limb - "Anything Is Possible And Nothing Makes Sense"

Twin Limb
Anything Is Possible And Nothing Makes Sense

It seems that we've been talking about the debut EP from dreamy indie rock trio Twin Limb for quite a while now, as its release has been teased with a few singles and a boat load of shows. After every Twin Limb performance I've attended, I left feeling the same way thinking to myself "When the hell are these folks going to properly release a record?"  Admittedly, I am not very good at waiting, and in the microwave society we live in I continue to struggle with the idea of patience.  Nevertheless, Twin Limb has finally released a six-song EP titled Anything Is Possible And Nothing Makes Sense, and I'm here to tell you that this noise was certainly worth the wait.

Twin Limb gets the party started with the opening track "Don't Even Think" which in my opinion is the strongest song of the six offered.  Within seconds, I'm immediately reminded of bands like Beach House and Cocteau Twins, only with more of a vigorous, able vocal section. While Twin Limb absolutely works as a cohesive collection of somewhat unconventional instrumentation, Lacey Guthrie's commanding, breathy voice is undeniably the main attraction for me. Hearing her sing alongside an accordion, Maryliz Bender's minimalistic drumming and Kevin Ratterman's subtle, atmospheric background noise really does it for me.

Another standout is the upbeat "You Doo Right" where you get to hear Ratterman's warm, fuzzed out guitar serve as a driving force.  Again, I have to mention how much I adore Guthrie's vocals on this song as she starts with a calming, whispery approach, but at the climax she mandates your attention raising her voice to belt out a repetitive set of lyrics that are impossible not to sing along to. 

I wasn't sure if Twin Limb would be able to capture the essence of their live performances, which have always been ostensibly flawless from a technical standpoint.  Whether it be a smaller venue like Zanzabar, or a mega-festival setting like Forecastle of Gonzofest, this trio always sounds fucking amazing.  I've often watched bands play and sound really good, but after hearing their record I'm wondering what the hell happened?  I'm happy to report that the songs presented on AIPANMS maintain the live Twin Limb sound, which makes this EP one of the finest releases to come out of Louisville in 2015.  I'm not sure I could recommend this any higher.

Friday, November 20, 2015

REVIEW: Jack Harlow - "The Handsome Harlow EP"

Jack Harlow
The Handsome Harlow EP

In case you missed the boat, Jack Harlow is a sex symbol, or at least that's part of the image he portrays in The Handsome Harlow EP. He's also a young dude with tremendous rap skills who hates going to school, which you may expect from a seventeen year old. For me, what makes this EP so clever and hilarious is when he references his penis. Whether it be his penis having a jew-fro or that the ladies really love it, I can't help but laugh. As someone who loves to make penis jokes, I can really relate.

Outside of all the penis talk, The Handsome Harlow EP is easily one of the best sounding and well-produced hip hop albums ever to come out of Louisville as it sounds seriously professional. The stellar production goes hand in hand with Harlow's flow as he never seems awkward or forced throughout the entire EP. The beats are flawless in a trap sense and never distracting from the true mission of the album, which in my opinion is to showcase Harlow's skills as a lyricist. It doesn't hurt that every track has a beat and flow that would set the club on fire.

The standout track on this album is "Two Toned" which is a braggadocio joint with Harlow rhyming over 808's and finger snaps. Again, he plays the sex symbol in the second verse when he talks about banging soccer moms and having them touch his biceps. The feel of the song is quiet and relaxed, but Jack goes hard, the same way he "does the soccer moms." In the first verse he claims, "I can't focus when I know I'll just be rapping for a living." He's right about his future, but maybe try aderol?

The only fear I have for Harlow is that he will suffer the fate of white rappers like Lil' Dicky, because if you aren't careful and you make too many jokes, then you become a joke rapper. I certainly don't think Harlow makes too many jokes at all, and he definitely doesn't make jokes at the expense of himself. He's the king of his own world and he's working on being the king of Louisville rap. I can't say for sure if that will actually happen, but he's off to a great start.

The Handsome Harlow EP
is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

REVIEW: Quiet Hollers - "Quiet Hollers"

Quiet Hollers
Quiet Hollers

I've thought a lot lately about my first few weeks of writing with Never-Nervous. At that time I thought I might have something new to write about every other week. Boy was I wrong. I had no idea how deep and diverse our music scene was at the time, and it's only grown since. That's why I'm not surprised that Quiet Hollers are as good as they are and I've never listened to them. I'm only one person and I have my own shit going on; I can't keep up. What I'm trying to say is that Quiet Holler's dropped a self titled album in October and it's excellent.

Their self-titled album is a catchy, laid back, reverb-laden rock album. The Hollers sometimes refer to themselves as "bummer rock" and the term fits. On a track titled Summer Song one might expect something uplifting and bright, but the Quiet Hollers don't do that. This song is dark and depressing with lines about throwing bottles at a train and going to the drive-in and not watching the movie. Admittedly that stuff doesn't sound that depressing when written here, but trust me, when they sing it it's a bummer. All the gloomy slowness of this song makes the shimmering tone of the telecaster the one area of strength the listener has to hold on to, as if it's a raft and the rest of the song is the churning ocean trying to pull you down. The song ends with the chanting of "Oh how time passes you by." It's really quite the summer song.

Not every song is that slow and depressing. Flood Song starts with with the lines, "All the drunks under the freeway, waiting for some flood to come around. And it's so hard to keep my head above water, sometimes I just wanna let go and drown." Ok, so that's really depressing too. It's a more upbeat southern rock jam, but god damn it's a bummer too.

Ok, so two songs are really bleak, but there are songs like Midwestern which starts out with "All the drugs are all gone now." FUCK! Hold on, I know there is a happy song here. Well there is Aviator Shades. That song is about putting on your clothes in the dark and looking like an idiot when you go out. Most likely it has deeper meaning related to some repressed insecurity...nevermind.

There isn't a happy song on this album, but that's OK. Quiet Hollers write introspective songs that are expertly layered with bright guitars in minor keys and just enough noise to fill all the space. This self-titled album is, at this point, wildly underrated. To me, it's excellent winter (the time when I stay in my living room drinking IPA's, playing video games and slipping into a dismal, hopeless and melancholic reality) music. Don't sleep on this one and don't sleep while you listen to it (you might wake up hating life). You can listen to "Quiet Hollers" here.

Listen below and hear for yourself:

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