The roots of New Jersey indie rock quartet Rigbi begin all the way back in 1998, when four tweens began to explore their own musical predispositions and inspirations. They just didn’t know each other yet. Singer/guitarist Jon Irizarry, drummer Brian Cornish, bassist Randy Sabo, and keyboardist (and glockspielist?) Pat Maloney didn’t actually meet and become Rigbi until sometime in early 2011. But once everyone was onboard and a name chosen the four guys began creating pop-oriented indie rock that was stocked full of catchy melodies and danceable rhythms. Taking the Afro-pop sensibilities of a band like Vampire Weekend and smashing it together with the slick pop production of Weezer — but you know, “Blue Album” Weezer — Rigbi mold songs that’ll have you dissecting the lyrics while dislocating your hip on the dance floor. The band is gearing up now for the release of their latest record, Visionary, on February 18th.
For our first taste of Visionary, Rigbi offer us the upbeat pop gem, “It’s Elementary,” a song that borrows liberally from Local Natives’ indie pop/rock playbook and adds a dash of Cults’ melodic hipshaking tendencies but remarkably still feels and sounds like the product of a band who have the ability to add their own creative twists to the genre. But this is pop music — both in sound and approach. Rigbi aren’t interested in subtlety or masking their influences. ”It’s Elementary” lives and breathes on the strength of the band’s devotion and adherence to their own musical preferences, and their dedication to their musical heroes pays off in spades. The song wraps itself around your ears and cocoons them with breezy melodies and Irizarry’s expressive voice. And despite the fact that the song draws from a handful of other artists, the band never allows it to fall into cheap imitation or rote caricature. This is the sound of Rigbi, and it’s a sound with whom you’ll want to become very familiar.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the lead single, “It’s Elementary,” from Rigbi’s upcoming album, Visionary.
Shreveport-by-way-of-Chicago musician Justin Jahnke has a love of southern rock and the landscape which inspires it – even if he currently finds himself far from his hometown. His music is a sly reinterpretation and melding of southern folk, delta blues, and brass-y pop instincts. Growing up playing guitar in various rock band after having learned to sing in a travelling Episcopalian boys choir, his love of music — and the details behind its creation — only grew, and he eventually sold his belongings and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he met bassist Mike Meske and keyboardist Rusty “LaRue” Lee. They released a handful of EP’s and LP’s before disbanding, and Jahnke found himself heading north once again.
Settling in Chicago, he began the process of writing and recording the songs which would form the basis of Lamplighter, his upcoming album under the Midnite On Pearl Beach moniker. Due out January 14th, the album finds Jahnke flitting between Louisiana funk rhythms, energetic brass arrangements, and quirky folk introspection. It’s an amalgamation of his influences, but it isn’t simply a retread of his music inspirations. It finds the singer delving deeply through his memories and reconstructing a musical nostalgia that seems effortlessly drawn from his life. Co-produced by Jake Westermann, whose credits include albums from Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Iron and Wine, Gomez, and Margot and the Nuclear So Sos, Lamplighter is an anthology of Jahnke’s life — as seen through a series of musical flashbacks.
On his latest single, the brash and brass-y “One Foot Left,” he threads chirping guitars, a driving percussive rhythm, kinetic horns, and his own expressive voice into a mishmash of a handful of genres, which oddly enough still manages to sound uncluttered despite its density. Surprisingly elegant and elegiac, the track sounds as though you might hear it come pouring out from some bar in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but there is also a momentary reservedness to it, a pensiveness that holds itself in check until the brass swings through and busts the song wide open. Carried along by the heft of Jahnke’s vocals and the sheer exuberance of the music, you really don’t have any choice but to simply let go and become cocooned by the buoyant sounds. You’ll be glad you did.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the latest single, “One Foot Left,” from Midnite On Pearl Beach’s upcoming album, Lamplighter.
New York lo-fi rockers LVL UP aren’t complicated. Their music is a unique concoction of distortion-coated guitars, thumping percussion, and melodies that are pulled from straight from the mid-90′s alterna-rock landscape. And they aren’t shy about their influences — in fact, across their albums, this sense of dense melodic rock permeates everything, right down to the searing riffage and tight rhythmic backbone. Formed in 2010 by Dave Benton and Mike Caridi while both were attending SUNY Purchase, LVL UP was originally intended as a way for the duo to record and share their own singular vision of what DIY bedroom pop could be. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by Ben Smith, Nick Corbo and Greg Rutkin, and the band got to work on writing and recording their debut LP, Space Brothers. But guitarist Ben Smith wasn’t long in the band, and in late 2012, he left LVL UP, leaving the remaining four members to record their sophomore album, Extra Worlds, a record that found them swaying back and forth between hi- and lo-fi aesthetics. We’ll hear more of their ragged indie rock when they release a split 7″ with fellow New York-based rockers Porches on November 26th via Birdtapes/Double Double Whammy.
On the latest single from that split, “Bad Blood,” the band blend reverb-soaked melodies and warped guitar riffs with percussive blasts and an ear toward indie rock history. There are traces of Mag Earwhig!-era Guided By Voices, as well as the manic rock attitude of Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. Brevity is also one of the band’s strong suits, with their songs tending toward the shorter end of the spectrum and utilizing an economy of sound and structure that you rarely hear these days. But it’s in these self-imposed confines that LVL UP find inspiration and a dogged determination to relive indie rock’s glory days. And if they keep producing songs like “Bad Blood,” then they are welcome to stay fixated on the past.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the latest single, “Bad Blood,” from Porches and LVL UP’s upcoming 7″ split.
LVL UP will find themselves heading out on the road at the end of the month, playing shows across the eastern half of the United States. Check out their full tour itinerary below.
Upcoming LVL UP Tour Dates:
11/29/2013 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium w/ Liam the Younger, Heeney
12/05/2013 Brooklyn, NY @ Big Snow Benefit w/ Porches, Krill, Baked, Lost Boy?, Bueno
01/02/2014 Pittsburgh PA @ The Smiling Moose w/ Adventures *
01/03/2014 TBA *
01/04/2014 Chicago IL @ The Beat Kitchen w/ Modern Baseball & The Hundred Acre Wood *
01/05/2014 Grand Rapids MI @ The Pyramid Scheme *
01/06/2014 Colubmus OH @ KOBO
01/07/2014 Nashville, TN @ Hi Watt ^
01/08/2014 Chattanooga, TN @ JJ Bohemias ^
01/09/2014 Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge ^
01/10/2014 Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight ^
01/11/2014 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter ^
01/12/2014 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 ^
01/14/2014 Washington, DC @ The Black Cat ^
01/15/2014 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live (Upstairs) ^
01/16/2014 Boston, MA @ Great Scott ^
01/17/2014 Hamden, CT @ The Space ^
01/18/2014 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right ^
* w/ Pity Sex & Self Defense Family
^ w/ Saintseneca
New York three-piece indie rock outfit Dead Waves like things loud, kinetic and more than a tad bit angry. As singer Teddy Panapoulos explains, “We want everything and everyone to come together and settle their differences…There is that bittersweet beauty and self-enlightenment of love that arrives by breaking away and freeing your mind from most man-made nonsense.” But it’s when these ideals are left unresolved and cast aside that Panopoulos, along with brother Nick on guitar and drummer Fabien Streit, let their frustrations loose. Dense, searing guitar licks and pounding percussion highlight the band’s resolute determination in exploring brotherly affection, as well as their own disillusionment with the world around them. It’s this dichotomy of hopefulness and hostility that keeps them from ever feeling musically staid or barren. And on their latest collection of songs, the Take Me Away EP, Dead Waves really flesh out these split musical personalities and find the center of their own layered aesthetic.
The band’s latest single, “Over Me,” finds the trio running a gauntlet of thick, viscous guitar riffs, jackknife drumming, and Panapoulos’ feral vocals. The tracks sounds as though it has more in common with 80′s rock juggernauts The Pixies and grunge icons Nirvana than it does with any clear-cut modern indie rock group. Everything is shaded slightly dark here, with a wealth of fuzz added to the guitars and reverb dripping from the lyrics. But even with the song sounding as though it was recorded at the bottom of a well — at the bottom of the sea – it still has enough sting that you’ll not likely forget its resounding melodies and cacophonous wash of sound any time soon. Further blurring the line between the past and present, inspiration and original thought, Dead Waves want you to feel their music in your marrow. And just give it a second, you’ll feel it soon enough.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the latest single, “Over Me,” from Dead Waves’ forthcoming EP, Take Me Away.