If you’re not already aware, everything about Portland is exploding these days. Including underground metal and hardcore. Two of the city’s best underground bands, Gaytheist and Rabbits, not only share a common love for all things heavy from the Pacific Northwest—namely Melvins, Tad, and the Wipers—but they now share an album, as they’ve collaborated on one of the most enjoyable split releases to come out in recent memory.
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The brainchild of Hungarian musician Tamás Kátai, Thy Catafalque combines extreme metal structure and traditional acoustic instrumentation and melody to create something altogether unique. For all the folk metal in the world today, Kátai’s work is among the most rewarding and least pandering, approaching the sound with remarkable grace. You can hear the ease with which he combines two disparate musical styles on “Alföldi Kozmosz”, a track from Thy Catafalque’s sixth album Sgùrr, which comes out in the fall.
After making a name for herself as a finalist on season 11 of American Idol, Elise Testone quickly, and smartly distanced herself from the machinery of that whole process, self-producing her debut album in This Life last year. Today she takes the next step, and its a significant one, releasing the excellent new single “Now”, which evokes the sultry soul of the 1970s and ‘80s: sophisticated, sexy, glossy, with the right hint of a harder edge to show a sly sense of menace underneath such refinement.
The New Jersey duo of Brandon Asraf and John Tacon have just put out a new EP called Dropped, a wickedly intense, searing slice of indie rock, one that displays a darker, more sinister side than most indie that comes out these days. There are no playful Afrobeats here. Nope, something more sinister lurks underneath, and that’s exactly what you learn when you see the incredible new video for the track “Brighter Than the Sun”. Vividly, brutally shot and beautifully presented, it’s a brilliant little short that commands your attention from the get-go.
If you’re not familiar with Brooklyn’s Miracles of Modern Science, they ingeniously create pop music using non-pop instrumentation. Instead of synths, turntables, and guitar the band uses violin, cello, mandolin, double bass, and drums. Additionally, they love to toss pop music songwriting clichés out the window too, cleverly creating a sound that feels strange and one of a kind, tot he point where you can easily call them classical rock, yet so smartly accessible and fun. It’s high time they were acknowledged as innovators in pop music, and their new album Mean Dreams should convince more listeners of the same.