Song of the Week: Julien Baker – “Appointments”

Julien Baker’s first album, Sprained Ankle, was one of the most powerful, devastating and still hopeful debuts of recent years. With just a sparse guitar, piano and her vocals, she weaved stories of struggle, addiction, identity crisis and heartbreak. Her new song, “Appointments,” is just as minimal but achieves even greater heights. Continue reading “Song of the Week: Julien Baker – “Appointments””

Song of the Week: Alex Cameron – “Stranger’s Kiss”

On his debut, Alex Cameron elegantly fused sardonic lyrics and a warbly New Wave sound with moments of sincerity. On “Stranger’s Kiss” though, he leans into a Bruce Springsteen vibe. Continue reading “Song of the Week: Alex Cameron – “Stranger’s Kiss””

Song of the Week: Alex Lahey – “Every Day’s The Weekend”

Few new artists can combine a sly wit with a catchy tune and kinetic energy. Unless you’re Alex Lahey! Continue reading “Song of the Week: Alex Lahey – “Every Day’s The Weekend””

Song of the Week: Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – “Planets”

For the last decade, Emily Haines’ main focus was on her work with Metric, as that band’s fortunes grew over their last three albums. But this year, she’s returning to her earlier solo project, Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, for the first time in 10 years.

Continue reading “Song of the Week: Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – “Planets””

Song of the Week: Filthy Friends – “The Arrival”


I’m always a bit cautious when it comes to supergroups. More often than not, the band never equals or exceeds the sum of its parts. But if “The Arrival” is anything to go on, Filthy Friends will not disappoint. The combination of Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Bill Rieflin (King Crimson), Kurt Bloch and Scott McCaughey (Minus 5) boil down their personalities into a short, punky blast.

Tucker’s belting howl remains as powerful as ever. But the song’s grungy chords give her space to ebb and flow in her delivery. When the chorus comes in, the famous jangle of Buck’s guitar enters the scene, a bit harsher than with R.E.M. Outside of his solo work, it’s been years since we’ve heard that tone. Its return is very welcome. Put these elements together with the earthquake of Minus 5 and the roustabout drumming of Rieflin. What do you get? A melodic, lively announcement of a new supergroup on the scene. Filthy Friends have arrived.

Their debut album, Invitation, is out on August 25 via Kill Rock Stars.

Song of the Week: TORRES – “Skim”


“Skim” by TORRES (AKA Mackenzie Scott) is a bundle of tightly-wound nerves. Its motorized beat hits like a jab to the gut. The singer-songwriter reinforces the sensation with synth swells and distorted guitar lines. The riffs she plays stand out for how mechanical and sparse they sound. Then there’s her voice, calm and collected until her desire and emotions break through. “There’s no unlit corner of the room I’m in/I’m only the skim of what has already been,” she sings.

As Scott said on NPR about the song, “It’s basically about exploring all the dark corners of the mind and of the subconscious, and making sure that you’re not fooling yourself, you’re not hiding from yourself. There’s nothing worse than being unaware of what’s inside your own head, inside your own spirit.”

From the opening click to the high-strung guitar solo at the close, “Skim” brings claustrophobic confusion to the surface. As the first taste of TORRES’ third album, following the excellent Sprinter, it’s both an internalization and elevation of her sound and her soul.