Archives For whitaker elledge


The Static Jacks have a penchant for turning pop-punk on its head.  Vocalist Ian Devaney immediately sets the band apart from their colorful contemporaries with a deep croon evocative of Morrissey and James Kerr.  After extensive US and European touring and two formative releases, the New Jersey natives have tightened the screws on their garage past and are poised for broader appeal with In Blue (Sept 30 via Old Friends).

The new single Wallflowers is power pop at Weezer levels.  Producer-mixer wiz Andrew Maury (RAC, Ra Ra Riot) expands and collapses the Jacks’ fever pitch performance with supreme dexterity, adorning the familiar progression with searing guitars, dark resonance, and subtle backbeats.

The accompanying music video is the stuff of golden MTV yesteryears, bringing the bands’ late century inclinations to life in an ode to Weird Science. 

In Blue is available for pre-order via the band’s website and digitally through iTunes.

– Whitaker Elledge

The Static Jacks- ‘Wallflowers’

Neko Case Promo

Incubated in the Seattle punk rock scene, Neko Case founded and contributed to a diverse set of bands, most famously the New Pornographers, while building her solo career over five studio albums.  Each was a stylistic breakthrough, carried on Case’s truly unique vocals, culminating with 2009’s Grammy-nominated Middle Cyclone.  

On her sixth album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (September 3 via ANTI-), Case conveys rich autobiographical tales through a broad spectrum of styles: alt-country to pop, moody to clever, and sometimes downright hilarious.  A student of her past, she is able to articulate matters of her own heart that resonate on a universal level.

Case eschews her signature country noir on Man, a power pop anthem with a red-blooded Americana core.  A chiming Springsteen-esque jaunt kicks off this assertive gender commentary, bolstered by the gnashing guitars of M. Ward (She & Him).

If I’m dipshit drunk on pink perfume then I am the man in the fucking moon

Because you didn’t know what a man was until I showed you

Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket) helms aggressive production here but is able to scale back and capture Neko’s crystalline a cappella on Nearly Midnight In Honolulu.  Enjoy the depth, the humor, the sadness, and the wit of this album in heavy doses.  It might be one of your favorites of 2013. You can currently stream the album via Pitchfork here. If you’re in Nashville, be sure to catch her show at Cannery Ballroom on October 23.

– Whitaker Elledge

Daily Discovery: K.Flay

Cause A Scene —  August 12, 2013 — 1 Comment


Katherine Flaherty is K.Flay, a moniker formed in her Stanford dorm room to serve intellectual and activist pursuits, namely to counter misogyny and dullness in modern rap.  A half dozen EP’s and mixtapes later, K.Flay has become a dominant female emcee and goes full bore with her genre-bending major label debut, What If It Is.

K.Flay delivers witty lyrics with a snappy flow and raspy timbre, her ethos aligned with the conscious hip hop of Talib Kweli and Gift of Gab.  Serving as her own producer, Flaherty curates cutting edge sonics, fusing live drum and instrumental samples with ultra-modern beats and synths.

So What plays more like a rock song; K. Flay’s breathy vocal glides on a thick drum and bass groove with churning organ and reggae guitar pops.  Although the lyrics are more mundane than her strongest efforts (see No Duh and Rawks), we can predict the track’s success within the ever-expanding alternative genre, especially alongside the dark, ambient pop of The Neighbourhood.  Today, we shine a spotlight on this crossover cut from the new EP (released August 6 via RCA Records).

And good news for Nashville readers, K.Flay performs tomorrow night, August 13 at Exit/In in support of Icona Pop. Tickets are still available here.

Whitaker Elledge 

Little Comets Promo

Little Comets broke out of North East England in 2008 with their self-described kitchen sink indie: intricate, smart pop music with rhythmic Afro-beat influences.  The trio channels the energy and fun of contemporaries Vampire Weekend, Givers, and Ra Ra Riot with big strides toward classic pop forefathers.

On Jennifer, itchy, staccato guitars tease out the story of a tight-lipped lover as the rhythm section jaunts happily to a Graceland groove.  It’s a refreshing journey through cascading melodies and a wail of a hook that would make Steve Winwood smile.  Even potentially heavy diction (taciturn, alacrity) is buoyed on the track’s impeccable flow.

The Comets’ sophomore LP, Life Is Elsewhere, streaks stateside August 20 care of Nashville’s Dualtone label.

– Whitaker Elledge

Little Comets’ Tour Dates


12 – New York, N.Y. @ Mercury Lounge

13 – Washington, D.C. @ The Hamilton

14 – Philadelphia, Penn. @ North Star Bar

17 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ Do317 Lounge

18 – Chicago, Ill. @ Schubas

19 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ 7th St. Entry

20 – Denver, Co. @ Larimer Lounge

22 – Portland, Ore. @ Lola’s Room

23 – Seattle, Wash. @ Vera Project

25 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Cafe Du Nord

26 – Los Angeles, Calf. @ Hotel Cafe

The Sweet Nuthin 1

The Sweet Nuthin is All In,  pulling out every stop for a riffy, rollicking joyride.  The Austin quartet is a project of former members from two wunderkind rock groups, The Daze and The Steps, the latter having toured the UK and Japan in their teens, while the other gave street cred to Disney’s Bandslam in between sweltering blues-rock sets in Texas dancehalls.  Lead vocalist/guitarist Evan Charles evokes Pete Doherty with a Southern drawl as the combo deftly packages bouncy, loose instrumentation into tight song units, channelling the Rolling Stones, early Kings of Leon, and the Libertines.

The track revs up with a fat rimshot-kick beat, then pauses for Charles to announce the start of the race.  But before he can finish, a rush of jangly guitars, thick Rickenbacker bass, and drums impatiently crash in.  Layers of guitars banter at an impossible clip, chirping arpeggiations and three solos in the two and a half minute scorcher.  Sounds exhausting, but at the heart of this blood pumping anthem is a sweet optimism, a bruised love story capable of surviving on pure adrenaline.

– Whitaker Elledge