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  • Sharkmuffin: Jagged, Riotous Power Pop (Archives)
    In film, they call it the "meet cute" - the moment when two strangers lock eyes and ignite a cinematic classic. In music there isn't necessarily a name for a band's formation or meeting, but that instance can inform the group's music just as deeply. For Brooklyn's Sharkmuffin, their "meet cute" occurred July 4, 2012 at a beach house that was later destroyed by Hurricane Sandy - a possible reason why the band's music is visceral, explosive, sharp and a little dangerous. Tarra Thiessen (guitar, vocals, theremin, pocket piano) and Natalie Kirch (bass, vocals, claps) make up the core of the band, with frequently-rotating drummers. [Counting from their album artwork, an illustration of themselves and all of the drummers to have played with the group, they've employed 13.] One of these drummers was Death Valley Girls and Hole's Patty Schemel who recorded on their latest and first full-length LP, Chartreuse.  The album has the punk attitude of the riot grrrl movement and the musicality of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It covers gritty and very real subjects: first dates, favorite colors, violent emotions felt on Mondays and even feminine products. Some songs might provoke laughter just from their titles, like "Tampons Are For Sluts" and "Mermaid Sex Slave," but Sharkmuffin is dead serious. Hear them perform their short slap-in-the-face songs live in-studio.  Setlist "Chartreuse" "Mondays" "First Date"
  • Mac McCaughan: Superchunk's Frontman Goes Solo On 'Non-Believers' (Archives)
    For longtime indie rock fans, it's kinda hard to believe that Mac McCaughan has been making music for more than 25 years. Soon after leaving Columbia University in 1987, the Durham, North Carolina native both formed Superchunk and co-founded Merge Records - alongside bassist and savvy financial manager Laura Ballance - in 1989. And since then, Superchunk has released ten albums and countless singles -- and several more records with his on-again/off-again project Portastatic. And Merge has grown to become one of the most respected independent labels, with bands like Arcade Fire, Mountain Goats, and Magnetic Fields among the names on its impressive roster. With 2015's Non-Believers, the songwriter and guitarist eschewed his trademark punk-ed up pop and blistering guitar lines, and debuted an electro-rock and synth-infused sound that's more minimalist than Superchunk, yet more polished than Portistatic. That said, McCaughan's fearless ambition remains intact. His songs are still built around that same boyish-turned-gravelly voice and those same biting, smartly-crafted lyrics. On Non-Believers, McCaughan's music sounds more personal, intimately reflecting on his life as a husband and father. Yet no matter the setting, McCaughan proves he's got a way with hook, and a simple, yet affecting turn of phrase. (From the Archives, 2015.) Set List: "Lost Again" "Come Upstairs" "Hello Hawk"
  • Torres Approaches Power Pop Crunch
    Torres, aka singer and guitarist Mackenzie Scott, unleashes the exuberant energy of a post-plague celebration with her latest album, Thirstier. She writes about passion and desire and “bringing my girlfriend lunch so she can keep painting.” Adding to these romantic sentiments are the overt power pop crunch of muscular and hooky guitars, Moog-enhanced melodies and Torres’ expressive voice, which goes from hug to howl. Torres and her band declare their arena rock intentions live in The Greene Space. - Caryn Havlik Set List: "Don't Go Puttin Wishes In My Head," "Hug from a Dinosaur," "Thirstier" Watch "Don't Go Puttin Wishes In My Head": Watch "Hug From a Dinosaur": Watch "Thirstier": 
  • Little May: Urgent Harmonies, Anthemic Appeal (Archives)
    Little May is an Australian trio whose signature sounds include dark and poetic lyrics, urgent guitar strumming and, above all, beautiful 3-part vocal harmonies. Their 2015 album, For The Company, was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner and may have a bit of New York in its musical DNA. The band has toured with Mumford and Sons, Alabama Shakes, and others, and in 2015, they stopped by our studio for a live set. (Archives.) Listen to Little May's 2014 in-studio appearance:  
  • Danish Chamber-Pop Group Efterklang Keeps Experimenting
    Efterklang is a Danish band consisting of the 3 childhood friends Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen & Rasmus Stolberg, although the band often expands when playing live. For over twenty years, they have been collaborating and experimenting to arrive at a sound that evades easy labeling, so we’ll call it art-rock-indie-folk-chamber-pop. The ritual of making music together is the most gratifying thing for the band and its core members, whether just amongst the trio, or when they rope in their audience to expand the collaboration, in a hall or via an app, or that one beautiful time when they asked members of the cleaning staff of a concert hall in Hamburg to sing with them onstage. Their latest album, Windflowers, looks to nature for the hope and change that comes with spring, and was written collaboratively during lockdown, both apart and together. They play these new songs remotely for the Soundcheck Podcast and look forward to playing at the Big Ears Festival in March of 2022. – Caryn Havlik Set List: “Living Other Lives,” “Alien Arms,” “Hold Me Close When You Can” Watch "Living Other Lives": Watch "Alien Arms": Watch: "Hold Me Close":

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