4/5/6 June 2021

5 new firecrackers to boost your favorite 48 hours…

‘So May We Start’ by SPARKS (Los Angeles)
A sparkling pocket pop opera with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard joining the Mael
brothers on vocals. From upcoming movie Annette for which they also wrote the script.

Listen here…

‘Stand Down’ by THE SARANDONS (Toronto, Canada)
A cracker “about letting down your guard…maybe doing something crazy like picking up the phone and calling a friend. How punk is that?!”. These Canadians know how to rattle and roll with some Tom Petty gusto and some Stones-esque riffs. Big fun, folks! From their brand new 5-track EP Outrunning. Stream here.

Press play here…

‘Worry With You’ by SLEATER-KINNEY (Washington)
A song about being stuck on the other side of an ocean from someone else.
Pretty funky, brisk, and edgy. From their new, upcoming  LP Path Of Wellness.

Tune in…

‘Never Be The Shame’ by FURTHER THE LION (Hamilton, Ontario)
The song “reminds the listener that sometimes something profound can happen to
you that changes you to your core and it’s not always a negative thing.”
Expect emo-grunge melodiousness with a passionate edge, a romantic feel, and a gripping chorus that sticks instantly. Touchdown!

Here’s why…

‘Something Real’ by FHANG (Canada)
Mishka (half of this Canadian duo): “At the beginning of lockdown I would quietly dance in my living room at 3am listening to a rough version of the tune. It would turn into a disco with all the fire trucks and ambulances lighting up our curtains.” Weird experiences in weird times. This second single is movin’ smoothly on a groovin’ bass line while the sensitive mid-tempo ballad resonates like a reflective and melancholic The National reverie. I love it!

Check it out…

See/hear you next week, music junkies


17 May 2021

A new documentary of the fabulous Mael siblings – Ron and Russell – called
THE SPARKS BROTHERS will be released next month – June 18 in North
American theaters – via Focus Features. More info here.

Watch the trailer featuring Beck, Jason Schwartzmann,
Todd Rundgren, Giorgio Moroder, RHCP’s Flea
, and more famous fans…

I know, I can’t help it. This still sounds

Turn Up The Volume’s KNOCKOUT TEAM OF THE MONTH – April 2021

The best of the past month…

Turn Up The Volume‘s 15 Knockout Tracks for April 2021!
A fervid fusion of rhapsodic rippers and clashing crackerjacks.

‘Nike Soldier’ by ALAN VEGA (US)
Alan Vega is dead! Long live! This spine-chilling slo-mo groove
comes from his lost album Mutator released last week.

Sounding like Nine Inch Nails going punk, Spacemen 3 returning from the dead
and The Brian Jonestown Massacre freaking out on acid, all at the same time. This
is what happens when lockdown blues leads to schizophrenia.

‘Boilermaker’ by ROYAL BLOOD (UK)
The blues-rock tandem is back with this motherfucker of a slam dunk
from their brand new album Typhoons . Wham bloody hell bam!

‘Deeper Than Holy’ by PASTEL (UK)
Imagine the bittersweet symphony swagger of Richard Ashcroft and The Verve
and the natural-born coolness of Liam ‘tonight I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star’ Gallagher.
Supersonic, right? You better you bet.

‘Wake Up’ by LOBSTERBOMB (Berlin, Germany)
A screaming triumph. This up-and-coming Berlin trio on the stereo this hit and run trio combines Bikini Kill‘s rough outcries, L7‘s detonating gusto, and B-52‘s peppery liveliness. Bingo!

‘The Gimp’s Gimp‘ by BODY HORROR (UK)
A chainsaw intro followed by manic drum thwacks and a frenetic bass force, and a
bit later a nightmarish voice joining the freaked-out get-together. All this brain-breaking
stuff happens in under a minute. Hallelujah!…

‘Nobody Everyone’ by WEEKEND DEBT (Scotland)
Highly energetic and sharp-riffing indie rock at its youthful best. Smells like teen spirit. Big guitars, big drums/bass, big tune, and big post-breakup vocals. What do you need more to boost your bloodstream?

‘Pilot‘ by MODEL CHILD (Los Angeles)
2 minutes of rage, anger and endless humanitarian struggle.
Fuck the greedy rich! Fuck the military industry! FUCK WAR!

‘The Men Who Rule The World’ by GARBAGE (US/Scotland)
A surprisingly funky disco banger that triggers your head’s up-and-down movement the very moment the money drops into the corrupt politicians’ pockets. I still love you, Shirley!

‘Your Fandango’ by TODD RUNDGEN & SPARKS (US)
Old friends Sparks and Todd Rundgen team up again, after so many years, for a mini pop opera. The legends still deliver and it seems this town is big enough for the both of them.

‘Moshi Moshi’ by COMMON FLAWS (Italy)
Mostly instrumental, except for a hazy voice in the distance, this electro earworm
gets under your skin from the clap along intro and goes on like forever. Imagine
Aphex Twin going synth-pop for a change. The power of repetition!

‘Be There’ by MIHI NIHIL (Los Angeles, US)
Shadowy, starry-eyed and emotive pearl. Twinkling guitars, gripping vocals and
captivating melodiousness. Magnificent beauty from their new self-titled LP.

‘Streetlights’ by LOSSLINE (Manchester, UK)
Genuine, heart & soul lockdown blues. Melodramatic musing for twilight moments and nightly wanderings. From the duo’s excellent, midnight hours album Fading Affect Bias. Don’t miss this.

‘Amsterdam’ by MOONLIGHT PARADE (UK)
Magical and red-colored ballad, combining the melodic melancholia of Teenage Fanclub and The Coral. A sweet little gem about a wonderful city I’m in love with for a long time now. Press play and let your thoughts drift away on a cloud.

‘Trust’ by MASHMELLOW (Moscow, Russia)
Dream pop for lonely nights with echoes from The Sundays and Mazzy Star. Yes, that bewitchingly good. One of the highlights from their new 6-tack EP titled Pole Pole.


All 15 together on Spotify

See/hear you next month, music junkies…

Old Friends SPARKS And TODD RUNDGREN Team Up Again For A Mini Pop Opera

New sonic impulses…

24 April 2021

Philly icon/multi-instrumentalist TODD RUNDGREN produced the 1977 debut album of kooky brothers SPARKS. And now, after 44 years, the stars of the past teamed up once again for a new song called YOUR FANDANGO.

“They sent me this song that sounded substantially like a finished product, except for the fact that I think there was some placeholder stuff that was meant to be developed a little further and they just never got around to it. I started just dressing it up and adding some vocal parts, writing some lyrics for it. And, in the end, you know — they sent me the track, I sent back what I did to them. We were both happy with it, and the label’s happy with it because they’re going to put it out.” says Rundgren about the collaboration.

Your Fandago is pretty special and also Sparks-esque,
actually a mini pop opera

SPARKS: Facebook

NEW ALBUMS – Perfume Genius – Magnetic Fields – Sparks – Jason Isbell And The Unit 400

Brand new longplayers…

‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’ by PERFUME GENIUS – Seattle, US – Fifth album

“Whatever he’s doing, the results are uniformly fantastic: rich, fascinating and moving, packed with gorgeous melodies and arrangements that feel alive, constantly writhing into unexpected new shapes. For an artist frequently characterised by his miserable backstory of bullying, addiction and chronic illness and his lyrical empathy for human failure and frailty, it feels astonishingly assured and confident in its approach, which perhaps explains the cover image and supporting cast: an expression of power and focus, like the album itself.”
The Guardian (UK newspaper) – Score: 5/5

Stream here…

‘A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip’ by SPARKS – Pacific Palisades, California – 24th album

“You could pick a highlight for your every mood from this diverse set. It is an album as multi-faceted as it is innovative. And that’s Sparks to a tee. For all the surreal and light-hearted examinations of under-explored pop-song subjects such as Stravinsky and lawnmowers,
there are hugely poignant moments.”
Independent (UK newspaper) – Score: 4/5

Stream here…

‘Quickies’ by Magnetic Fields – New York City – 12th album

“The album’s songs offer funny and poignant portraits of their subjects, but on a deeper level, they address broader philosophical questions: What makes someone attractive to us when others find them loathsome? Why does domestic life feel so confining, while danger excites us? Why do we look back on the darkest moments of our life so fondly? Merritt’s ability to blend comedy and heartache through finely observed character studies is one of his greatest strengths, and that skill in fine form throughout Quickies.” Slant (webzine US) Score: 4/5

Stream album…

‘Reunions’ by JASON ISBELL & THE UNIT 400 – Green Hill, Alabama – seventh album

“In addition to being his most crisply produced, sleek recording yet, Isbell’s latest is also his most haunted and ruminative (the word “ghost’ appears no less than five times). As such, Reunions feels meaningfully, if subtly, removed from the trilogy of post-sobriety records the Nashville-via-North Alabama songwriter has written over the past decade. Reunions is a nuanced, probing record that finds Isbell more restless than he’s been since Southeastern, a rich portrait of an artist eternally searching deeper within himself. “You tell the truth enough,” as he puts it on “Be Afraid,” “you find it rhymes with everything.” – Rolling Stone – Score: 3.5/5

Stream album…

Eccentric Art-Pop Veterans SPARKS Reveal New Baleful Track ‘I’M TOAST’ From Their Upcoming 24th Album…

New sonic impulses

12 March 2020

Los Angeles eccentric art-synth-pop brothers SPARKS started their career way back
in 1967 (!) and they’re still alive and kicking today, aging in style with compelling music.
In May they will unleash their 24th (!) album called ‘A STEADY DRIP, DRIP, DRIP’. Last month they dropped twinkling lead-single Self-Effacing. Today we can enjoy another
new piece.

‘I’M TOAST’ sounds pretty upbeat but is actually a doom and gloom reflection on our troubled times as one of the famous brothers, keyboard player/songwriter Ron Mael
told Rolling Stone Magazine : “One tries to be uplifting in one’s songs, but occasionally
a cloud appears in the sky and one’s demeanor leads to songs like ‘I’m Toast.”

These lyrics are crystal clear: “I’m toast/ There’s something burning/ I’m toast/ I’m finally learning/ I’m toast/ Nothing stays the same as it was.”

Get burned here…

SPARKS: Facebook

Lyrcis Of The Day – By SPARKS…

Here’s that pretty cynical/funny Xmas Sparks song in full…

What do I hear, what do I hear?
Chit-chat, and clinking glass
Cheap talk, a lady’s laugh
After hour

What do I see, what do I see?
Some sunken hideaway
Where people go to play
After hour

There I’ll spend the night
Meeting fancy thins
At bistros and old haunts
Trying very hard to sin

Then it is day end in a way
The pattern’s much the same
In-spots, a matinee
Every day

Blend with the crowd, blend with the loud
Hypnotic ebb and flow
Until the day goes slowly
Into night
See the same old crowd
At bistros and old haunts
‘Til the lights grow dim,
The not-so-subtle hint to be gone

Thank God it’s not Christmas
When there is only you
And nothing else to do
Thank God it’s not Christmas
Where there’s just you to do
The rest is closed to public view

Caroling kids, caroling kids
A trifle premature, in tones so rich and pure and crystaline
Call for the day, the popular day
It’s fast approaching now
But will the mood allow
One dissent

If this were the Seine
We’d be very suave
But it’s just the rain
Washing down the boulevard


Popular days, the popular ways
Are for the chosen few
Not meant for me and you

Popular nights, poplar rites
Great things to say and do
Aren’t said or done by you

If this were Seine
We’d be very suave
But it’s just the rain
Washing down the boulevard

(cover of their Drip Drip album)