Welcome to the kick off of the newest season of Top Five Fridays, where every week a great artist comes on board and shares five records they love! This week I couldn’t be happier to be hosting Aimee Lin, the principle singer/songwriter/guitar player behind Oxblood, a dreamy power pop trio based out of Philly!
I first encountered Oxblood thanks to their split EP with the equally wonderful Philly outfit CABBAGE. It’s so great to find music that just feels effortless. Songs that from the very first bar, you connect with. For me that is the intimate sounds of Oxblood. Each of these songs are perfectly crafted, chilled out power pop nuggets of the highest order. Don’t listen to my words though, just take a moment and allow the EP’s opening track “ryan” to wash all over you. After you have done that, sit back, relax and allow Aimee to share some fantabulous LPs!
It’s Friday! That means it’s time to get ready and get set for what ever kind of trouble you have cooked up for this weekend, and it’s also time for another great musical act to come on board this site and share 5 records that they love and cherish with the rest of us. Today we’re hanging in west philly to talk with Ashley Tryba, Sarah Myers, and Abi Reimold of the punk three piece Fake Boyfriend (you loyal readers will remember Abi from last week when she did a Top Five Fridays as a solo artist). Now normally I would simply post a picture of the band and start talking about why I think they are great, but in this instance I am going to let Fake Boyfriend introduce themselves with this stellar live performance of their song “WAX” off their 2016 EP “Mercy.”
I first discovered Fake Boyfriend this year on philly punk three piece Cayetana’s twitter feed, a well known source of wonderful music and just general all around greatness. My first reaction to opening track “Ship” was, “Oh my gosh, there are 3 people singing together!” Seconds later my reaction was, “Damn. Now there are three people screaming together.” Fake Boyfriend would be on my radar based simply on the fact that they are the rare punk band capable of tear jerking three part harmony, but the fact is this is also a band that can rage with the best of them. It is these two extremes of “gritty and pretty” as the band describes it that makes “Mercy” such an engrossing listen and hands down my favorite EP of 2016. Everyone else can keep their applications. I’m also convinced that there is a Virginia Woolf reference on “Ship,” which warms my heart.
For their list today, Ashley, Sarah, and Abi have chosen five albums that have brought them together not only as a band, but also as friends. It’s a killer list, and the band members even took time to single out their favorite tracks. The result is one of the best T5Fs ever presented on this site and I’m so stoked to share it with you all. Give it up for Fake Boyfriend!
These are 5 albums that have united us; either because we grew up listening to them separately, or because we learned about them together, or drove long hours listening to them, or drunkenly danced around to them. They are woven into our friendship and memories and influences, and each have become comforting security blankets, albums to go back to over and over, albums that each of us individually and together rely upon.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours:
What do we say about Rumours??? Only that there have been many nights after shows that we’ve stomped around our living room to this album.
Ashley – Dreams – My mom would drive me around the suburbs and this was the only CD we could both agree on.
Sarah – Second Hand News – The baw baw baw vocal solo thinga ma bob is rock n’ roll genius.
Abi – Go your own way – My mom and dad would listen to this song while nordic tracking.
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness:
This album got us through several cold cold winters.
Abi – Unfuck the World – It’s so painful and broken – it’s so bold to open a record this way, so captivating
Ashley – Stars – I love the beginning and the first line: “I think you like to see me lose my mind/ You treat me like a child I’m angry blind”. Those two lines are so bold because it’s everything I’ve ever tried to say in a relationship and she just says it. And then she talks about wanting to speak for her environment and that’s what I went to school for and what I care most about.
Sarah – Hi Five – This album hit me while I was ending a long relationship and that line “I’m stuck too, I’m stuck with you,” I would just scream over and over and over until I cried while I was driving home from school. There’s like a hopeful tension to the song, like maybe being with this person will be different but then it just ends with this realization that none of these people are different, and I keep getting stuck, and what am I doing that makes this keep happening? Can I do anything different?
Land of Talk – Some Are Lakes:
Sarah – Some Are Lakes – I remember listening to this song while on mushrooms at the beach with all our friends and the sky was just refracting and kaleidoscoping and it just sucked us all in and it was glowy and beautiful.
Ashley- Some Are Lakes – I remember listening to this song the first summer I had a car, out in the suburbs and just driving around all summer and daydreaming about being in love.This song just gets inside of you, it’s like listening to someone who can be happy because they understand being sad, it’s rich.
Abi – Yuppy Flu – I hosted at a restaurant and this song would come on once every day and it made my day every time.
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless:
It was hard to choose between this album and Slowdive’s Souvlaki because one of the first shows we went to together was Slowdive. But this album was a part of one the first times Abi and Ashley hung out and was the first album Sarah listened to in our first apartment together, so it feels essential.
Abi – When You Sleep – I love how the lyrics are so simple but they capture the whole record and it’s like the thesis of the record. And that’s the only song where I can really understand the lyrics.
Ashley – When You Sleep – I took a psych elective for college and you had to pick a song that was you and I picked this one. I feel like the notes sound like me, or sound like how I think I sound: they’re pretty, but also sad, it’s sad but also super upbeat. The song also evokes this feeling of “I believe in love enough to get heartbroken,” I want to believe in the magic, but don’t want to get hurt by the world. And it reminds me of my favorite weather: those hot humid days in the beginning of summer where you’re excited because you have spring fever but also it could just start storming. It’s still gray, but the sun is there somewhere.
Sarah – When You Sleep – I feel like I tie songs to memories really tightly. Like I remember listening to this song over and over and over while cleaning the house that Abi and Ash and I moved into together the first time, and it just felt solidifying, like i was crazy and depressed and manically cleaning but there were these bright spots like in the song. The song is so gray and blue, but there’s these orange and yellow bright spots and that was like the light of living with Ash and Ab, even though we were in our own dark places.
Lana del Rey – Born to Die:
We couldn’t pick favorite tracks because we love them all so much, so we discussed what it is about this album that keeps us coming back to it.
Abi – She doesn’t sugar coat love, she’s like love is fucked up. And she seems to be searching for someone that’s big enough to hold her and can’t find it, but does self-destructive shit because it’s not out there – she’s a Hollywood horror story, it’s still glamourous but it’s not. And it’s like she wants to be dumb so that she doesn’t have to deal with all the shit that’s going on in her mind.
Ashley – She makes me feel less sorry for being a girl and less apologetic for being dramatic, and being less careful or regretful of the times I’ve hurt people’s feelings. She makes me feel better about fucking up, and being dramatic about it because we’re all young and dumb. And when she sings about love it’s like I’m fucked up but there’s gotta be someone out there to help me, and the only person that can help you is you, but it’s nice to put it out there and not bring the responsibility back on yourself. It’s way easier to be like boys boys boys rather than be like why do I hate myself? It’s easier to throw yourself into a relationship, even one that won’t last, than to think about self-care.
Sarah – I remember the first time I watched one of her videos, and I remember feeling like I didn’t want to get into it, but I was immediately sucked in. She has this honesty, this self-conscious narcissism, sugar coated poison thing that she shares so openly and is so identifiable. It’s like this femme-narrative of almost constant self-hatred, but sometimes you feel hot, and shiny, and glamourous, but that self hatred is still there.
Thanks so much Fake Boyfriend!
These people are making great and wonderful things folks, and you don’t want to miss a moment. In 2016, that means giving this band the ol’ “LIKE” on facebook, and follow on twitter. You wouldn’t want to miss a Fake Boyfriend show in your town would you? “Mercy,” their stellar EP, can be purchased on bandcamp either by downloading or by ordering a pink cassette. If you are like me and prefer owning all your music on pink cassette, then you should go for the latter. While you are busy buying music, both Abi and Sarah have solo work that you should check out as well!
If you are so inclined, you can check out exciting past Top Five Fridays including such Philly Music luminaries as creepoid, Stupid Bag Records, Goodbye Party, Radiator Hospital, Salinas Records, and yes even Abi Reimold as a solo artist!
well peace out good people of the world,
Peter Winter is amassing large amounts of fantastic albums on pink cassette tapes. If you want to see pictures, maybe you should follow him on twitter. peterwinter38
Welcome back to Top Five Fridays. The part of the week where someone much cooler than myself takes over this lil’ ol’ blog and turns us all on to five records they have been jamming out to lately. Last edition we were in Philly hanging out with the lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll of Public Health, and this week we remain in the City of Brotherly Love to have a sit down with Abi Reimold, the singing, songwriting, introspectively guitar bashing rock architect behind “Wriggling,” my hands down current favorite album of 2016.
I have to shout out to the excellent crew over at Animal House Productions for turning me onto the sounds of Abi Reimold. In late 2015 they booked Abi as the opener for the equally lyrically insightful and grunge guitar rocking Jessica Lea Mayfield. My attention was piqued from that moment on, but it was not until seeing her again at Everybody Hits in Philly (Go see a show there, you haven’t heard punk rock till you’ve listened to it in a batting cage) on a triple threat line up with Mannequin Pussy (new album coming) and Chastity Belt (would see them any day every day), that I brought a cassette copy of “Wriggling” and my musical year was turned on its head.
The word that comes to mind in regards to Abi’s debut record is “raw.” While I know many of you may be ready to shut this page the second I stooped to such a cliche descriptive banality, hear me out. Listening to album opener “Arranged” is like grabbing onto an exposed live wire. The song starts bare and exposed, with just Abi’s instantly recognizable vocal and guitar playing. When the band kicks in just after the minute mark, her voice is surrounded by guitars, but remains untouched by excessive reverb, effects, or anything else that would mask or hinder the visceral emotion of her performance. There is an immediacy and an urgency that is present on this record that is a requirement for true rock ‘n’ roll. And be assured; this is rock ‘n’ roll of the highest caliber.
“Wriggling” is also an amazingly textured and dynamic record. Tracks that start off in a whisper often ramp up to a roar and back in a matter of seconds. I love that there is room on this album for crescendoing rockers like “Arranged” but also lo fi solo introspective torch songs like “Vessel.” Finally I must commend the lyrical work on this record. Abi’s command of the english language is obvious, and she makes dropping phrases like “stranger watch me as I sleep/ consume concessions I concede” seem like they are effortlessly tumbling out of her.
Abi’s music has been getting fantastic reviews from the likes pitchfork and stereogum, and so I’m so thrilled to have her on board to talk about some music that inspires her. Give it up for Top Five Fridays with Abi Reimold!
Emily is one of my favorite songwriters and these songs are beautiful and cathartic. I love how honest and thoughtful Overflow is. Emily’s songs are all so different from each other but her arrangements, voice and recording style tie them all together very neatly. Her songwriting is unique and original without being over complicated and inaccessible. Sometimes when people write songs this personal (myself included), listening to the record is a little too overwhelming or painful, but Overflow is emotive without being overly intrusive. We just toured together and it was lovely hearing the songs live every night for a week!
I fall in love with a different song from this record everyday. Rihanna’s voice is obviously amazing. I love a record, especially from a singer/songwriter or solo artist, that showcases their different moods, abilities and dynamics by providing a sampling of songs from different genres. Whether she’s singing a complicated, jazzy melody over the cerebral “James Joint,” getting angry to a beat on “Kiss it better,” or letting out those singer-songwriter vibes on “Close to you,” her voice is a heartbreaking conveyer of emotion, personality and beauty in a way most listeners are able to relate to.
Bryan’s guitar playing is so original, quirky and thoughtful without being over-cerebral or inaccessible. The melodies and chord changes are so refreshingly unique and complicated, but he ties them together with haunting, questioning vocal melodies. I love how this record has a variety of types of arrangements, but every instrument really pulls its weight on every song with a badass part.
Richard was an amazing guitarist from Philly who passed away this winter. I got this CD at his memorial and have been listening to it in the car ever since. It’s really peaceful and helps with driving anxiety. But it’s not at all boring– Richard’s playing is so technical while still being soulful and not at all show-offy. It’s all instrumental. While it’s clear that Richard is pouring his emotions into these songs, he does it in such a way that the listener can easily paint whatever they need to onto the songs to be touched in the moment.
This record is a little less of a variety pack than the other ones I mentioned, but it’s hard to get enough of these synthy, groovy emotive jams crafted with a palette of carefully selected sounds. I feel like this record could be so accessible and enjoyable to so many people– the songs are a kind of artfully crafted moody pop with delicious hooks that are perfect for driving, working, partying, or thinking through things.
Thanks so much Abi! Killer list. That Rihanna record is so stellar. Don’t even get me started talking about the guitar on “Kiss it Better.”
I must also take a second to note that Abi Reimold is not only responsible for my favorite long playing release of 2016, but also her three part harmony all girl punk trio Fake Boyfriend released “Mercy,” a four song EP that is just flawless. I discovered Fake Boyfriend due to Philly punk trio Cayetana being amazing people and sharing great music on twitter. It is my mission to deliver a Fake Boyfriend T5F to you all in the next year if I do nothing else. Check their goodness out over here via bandcamp.
Dear readers, you know what to do: Go buy Wriggling. Buy it right now. Go over to her store and download this. If you, like myself, are more down with tangible forms of music media you can also order it on CD or Cassette. Go for the cassette. That’s what I got and apparently as I write this there are only six more. Plus it’s “cactus green.” After that, be sure to do the usual social media square dance and LIKE Abi on facebook and FOLLOW her on twitter. On 9/25/16 Abi Reimold is playing a show at Space 1026 in Philly with the INCOMPARABLE Ava Luna (Infinite House was one of the best records of 2015) and Laser Background. That is a stacked line up people, more deets HERE. There is also a fantastic short video on Abi and the making of “Wriggling” that you can find on youtube.
Remember, you can check out past editions of Top Five Fridays (including lists from the likes of Radiator Hospital, Stupid Bag Records, The Goodbye Party, and Laura Stevenson) by wandering over to the ARCHIVES.
well peace out good people of the world,
Peter Winter is trying to just enjoy the end of Summer and not think about all the Horror Movies he is going to be watching in a couple short months. Follow the journey on twitter.
The time has come in the week for a brand spanking new edition of Top Five Fridays, where I find a great and happening musical or otherwise artistically inclined cat to share a handful of their favorite records with the rest of us. Last week found us for the first time ever in Melbourne, OZ, where the garage rockin’ shoe gazin’ genius known to the world as Steph Crase aka Summer Flake shared some of her top albums (you can check out that action over here). Today we’re in Philly with Alex Moxam, the primary force behind Rock n’ Roll band Public Health.
I came upon Public Health’s stellar 2015 EP “Down” by hanging out on the wonderful Theory 8 Records home page. The Nashville label/management company first came on my radar as they put out another of my favorite releases of 2015, Idle Bloom’s face melting “Some Paranoia” EP (You can check out Idle Bloom’s T5F over HERE). When you see that alums of Theory 8 include the likes of Caitlin Rose and Bully, you know they mean business. Spending time on the Theory 8 page reminds me why true indie labels are so helpful to all of us out there scouring the interwebs for musical gold. Whether I am clicking through Theory 8, Stupid Bag, Salinas, Don Giovanni, Burger, or Infinity Cat, I feel like I can trust the musical taste behind it all putting out these records. If I liked one release, chances are I’ll probably like the rest of the label’s output.
Anyway, listening to “Down” reminds me of one of the reasons I love Rock ‘n’ Roll so doggone much. You can’t buy your way or gear your way to a great rock ‘n’ roll record. You can have the most expensive producer, the best mixing board, and record the whole damn thing to tape, however if the songs and the spirit aren’t there, some group of cats who recorded their album in their living room with a handful of mics are going to come and blow you away. On “Down,” Alex Moxam and his cohorts (album credits shout out to Kevin Kearney, Jordan Mrazik, Kevin Comly, Julien Rossow-Greenberg, Sam Combs and Ben Fra) deliver a handful of songs that are fun, raw, immediate, and totally thrive in the lo fi/home recording aesthetic of the record. There isn’t a weak track amongst these five songs, but “Name of the Game” is a standout for me, where the urgency and introspection of the music drives home a lyrical expression of emotionally/intellectually fueled insomnia.