Monthly Archives: April 2021


Graded on a Curve: The Blips, S/T (Cornelius Chapel)
April 2021, Part One

The cover of this record is designed like a set of nine buttons, or what some folks refer to as badges (people pin them to guitar straps and thrift store suit jackets), all of them different but all featuring this Alabama band’s moniker. It is a sign, to borrow a phrase from Peter Noone, that I’m into something good. To elaborate, The Blips, who consist of experienced players from numerous other projects, specialize in punk-edged power-pop Southern-style. I dig the hint of twang in the riff-laden opener “Inside Out,” and also the wavy-quirky opening to “Same Do.” But y’know, I queued this set up for what was essentially a blind test drive (as I am wont to do), and roughly halfway through (track five of ten) I was like, hey, this sure sounds like “Wild Thing.” Then the vocals come in, and I was like, hey, it’s a cover. Then just as quick it was apparent it wasn’t, but rather a tribute of sorts to the mighty Troggs (it’s titled “Wild Thing II”). Point is, these slicksters have their combined head on straight. In terms of tough melodic action from the region, this is up there with Gentlemen Jesse. A-


PREMIERE: Black River Delta, Shakin’ in the “California Sun”
Blues from Bollnäs (Sweden)
Music News Premieres | April 15th, 2021

Black River Delta’s gritty blues-rock sound draws from classic blues legends like Robert Johnson, the raw style of R. L. Burnside and modern artists as The Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr. and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and they do it all from Bollnäs, Sweden.

Few American bands can so successfully combine age-old blues with modern rock—one musician who has, Joe Bonamassa, called their Vol. II one of the best albums of 2018. Now, Black River Delta is coming at us again with Shakin’ , and Elmore has a taste before the album drops June 4.

Frontman Erik Jacobs told Elmore, “‘California Sun’ is a track that has been with us for quite some time. We started writing it a few years ago and it has been through a few stages before it was finished. We recorded drums and guitars in Malmö, Sweden, and then continued with bass in Los Angeles. Mid-recording we took a break and went on a road trip. Even though we’d always seen this track as a ”car song” we hadn’t written any lyrics for it. So we were actually driving down Highway 1, probably going too fast and listening to rock songs way too loud on the radio. And that experience was the last piece of the puzzle, that was what ‘California Sun’ was all about.”

“The idea for the music video was easy, we would just go back to the US and drive down Highway 1 again, but this time with a camera. Turns out, that idea is not as easy as it sounds when there’s a pandemic going on. So we had no idea. But then we got to talking with Johan Bodell, a director from our hometown. He was in the same situation as we were, he was supposed to be in the US working, but his project had to be put on ice. So he said ”let’s just go out and shoot the video here, it will show your longing for California instead.” Winter in Sweden is about as far from California sun you can come, so it’s a nice contrast.”

Black River Delta band is Erik Jacobs (vocals, guitars), Josef Boding (bass), Pontus Ohlsson (guitars, harmonica) and Måns Lindblom (drums).


mxdwn PREMIERE: Janet Simpson’s New Song “I’m Wrong” Is Redemptive, Uplifiting Americana
Olivia Duff-Rogliano

Singer-songwriter Janet Simpson has been a key part of the Alabama music scene for years. Getting her start in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 90s, Simpson has since been a part of acts such as Delicate Cutters, Teen Getaway, and Wooden Wand and the World War IV, in addition to her work with writing partner Will Stewart. Her new studio album Safe Distance, Simpson’s first solo record to be widely released, is out on March 19th. For now, though, mxdwn has the pleasure of debuting “I’m Wrong” the second single from this first official debut record.

With Simpson’s powerful vocals and expressive lyricism, “I’m Wrong” is an upbeat country song about seeing the truth in one’s flaws and learning to accept them. “There’s a sweetness in this grime and dirt sure never stopped me in my tracks,” Simpson sings, later proclaiming that “my stars are reading off the charts and my planets have been retrograde for months.” Cheerful guitar and harmonious backing vocals mix with fervent percussion to create this classic yet contemporary hit.

“It could be interpreted as a song about the search for redemption, or maybe it dabbles in self-acceptance,” Simpson shared in a statement. “‘I’m Wrong’ is speaking to my need to look for some kind of truth in the murk of failures and shortcomings. I approached the subject lightheartedly, though, because it’s universally more honest for me. Rather than throw up my hands, I’m just sort of nodding in agreement with the accusation and hoping I’ll be able to come out of it relatively unscathed.”


25/02/2021Gerry Ranson No Comment

Alabama pop-punkers THE BLIPS trail their forthcoming debut album with a video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!

‘Throw Me Around’ is the second single to be taken from the Birmingham band’s self-titled album which is due out on 9 April through Cornelius Chapel.

“The music to ‘Throw Me Around’ was the first song the band wrote entirely together,” says the band’s Taylor Hollingsworth. “I wrote the words after coming up with the vocal melody. The song is about a relationship you have with someone who lives a fast life. It could be a friend, or a lover, but either way, it’s someone you see as more exciting than yourself. It’s someone you are intrigued by and attracted to, but when you finally join in for the ride, it’s a bit more than you bargained for. You regret letting yourself be persuaded by them, yet when it’s over, you want more.”

Emerging out of the same Alabama southern-punk scene that has produced giants like The Dexateens and Verbena, The Blips are a supergroup of sorts, their five members serving time in a variety of bands over the years including The Dexateens, Timber, Vulture Whale, Holy Youth, Bad Hops, Dead Fingers and Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band.

The ten tracks that comprise their debut were laid down in February 2020, two weeks ahead of prior to lockdown at drummer Wes McDonald’s Ole’ Elegante studio with Verbena’s Les Nuby engineering. The band members were then forced to share their thoughts on the mixing and mastering process via the medium of text-messaging.
Pic by Dustin Timbrook


Video Premiere: Janet Simpson “Slip”
Listen & Watch
April 14, 2021Melissa Clarke

Americana Highways is hosting this video premiere of Janet Simpson’s song “Slip” from her new album Safe Distance. The album was recorded at Communicating Vessels; engineered and mixed by Brad Timko; with vnyl mastering by Jeff Powell, digital mastering by Jason Hamric, and album design and photo by Swing From The Rafters.

“Slip” is Janet Simpson on vocals and guitar; Will Stewart on guitar and vocals; Robert Wason on bass; and Tyler McGuire on drums. Janet Simpson reels you in with a slow boil, here, with electric instruments that open with an inviting acoustic-like style. Give it a try.

“Slip” is one of those songs that came to me pretty quickly. The first time I remember playing it live, I think the band was on tour with Will Stewart. Will has always been really gracious about including a couple of my songs in our sets on tour. This night, we were in New Orleans in a bar that felt so lonely and so isolating that the bar now feels like part of the song.”

”I turned to Daniel Isaiah Hargett (Welcome To Monotonia) who is a Birmingham musician and a very talented videographer to make the video. Daniel is all vibe, and I knew he could do something cool with the song, visually. He shot the whole video in his home. It was such a fun night of filming. I really love how he captured the darkness of the song through his use of lighting, texture, color and effects. — Janet Simpson

Janet Simpson’s Safe Distance is out now on vinyl, CD and digital/streaming platforms via Cornelius Chapel Records. Order here:


April 9, 2021 by Gary Schwind

The Blips is a band from Birmingham, Alabama, that comprises five frontmen. The band came together when Will Stewart of Timber asked some friends to collaborate on writing some songs. He was Joined by Taylor Hollingsworth, Wes McDonald, Eric Wallace, and Chris McCauley. The band formed in late 2019. By the time of the COVID shutdown, they had recorded six of the 10 songs on their debut self-titled album.

You’d never guess that this particular group of musicians has never performed together. The band is tight even despite the disruption of COVID-19. This group managed to create a group of songs that is catchy, loud, and easy to sing.

There is a definite nod to the past in these songs. Some of the melodies seem inspired by The Replacements while others have a distinct 60s-garage feel. Another nod to the past can be found in the backing vocals of songs like “Throw Me Around”. Like Ramones, the backing vocals in this song seem as inspired by doo-wop as punk rock.

“Wild Thing II” is another example of how this band is modern with one foot firmly planted in the past. It’s not a cover of the song by The Troggs although it does include the familiar guitar riff and some of the lyrics of the original. This song has a slower tempo and a wonderfully fuzzy tone that kind of brings The Melvins to mind.

If anyone tries to argue with you that rock is dead, this album is all you will need to prove that person wrong. This is energetic rock that you can blast from your car stereo. It’s also perfect for those days when you want to embrace your inner teenager and just rock out in a ripped t-shirt like you used to before you had a regular job.

Photo credit: Dustin Timbrook


Check out the new video by Dree Leer!
Today, we are psyched to debut the new video by Dree Leer!

This tracks CRUNCHES. The Birmingham band takes the heavy duty smash of the Melvins, the barbed edge of Hole, and the pop catchiness of The Muffs and kicks out a track this aggressive and reflective. Yet, despite the violent sound of the track, at its core, it’s a positive tune… in the face of a negative reality…

Speaking to Punknews, singer Jackie Lo said, “It came fairly easy given today’s current events. ‘Want It All’ was really born out frustration. Frustrated at a world that wants to keep us all down and tell us who and what we are supposed to be while ‘they’ continuously wreck everything. It’s more of a decree that we will not be who you want, we won’t be quiet and pretty, and what you wanted and expect isn’t enough for US. We want it all!”

Their new album Throw Hands is out on April 30th on Bettamax Records. You can pick that up right here. Meanwhile, you can see the video for “Want it all” below, right now!


Janet Simpson “Safe Distance”
March 31, 2021 Mark Nenadic

For fans of Americana with a neatly understated, dark skies twang.

From Birmingham (Alabama, not West Midlands), here rides Janet Simpson. This is her first big release ‘solo’ record, although she’s been making music for over twenty years in a wide range of below the radar bands and duos. Opener ‘Nashville Girls’ (which Simpson ‘ain’t one of’) is bold yet melancholy, a touch of Lucinda Williams and a touch of Eighties synth among the twang. Simpson’s voice is a little buried in the mix, which adds to the existential ennui that runs through this song and the record as a whole.

‘Reno’ is something close to a road trip, unfaithfulness and booze country stomper, a slice of traditional Americana. You could line dance to it, if you really wanted to. ‘Awe and Wonder’ is very Cowboy Junkies, intimate and soaked in reverb, supported by astral synth voices. One of Simpson’s strongest here, the song ends as it’s just getting started, leaving the listener pleasantly hanging. ‘Ain’t Nobody Lookin’’ is dark and broody, Simpson’s voice at its most splintered. Title track ‘Safe Distance’ has a jittery, fuzzed-up waltz rhythm underpinning its tale of love snared and kept at bay. ‘Black Turns Blue’ is little more than finger-picked guitar and deep sorrow soothed by the bottle. Certainly it’s Simpson’s sweetest moment herein. ‘Double Lines’ barely hides a sinister underbelly, Twin-Peaksy, Chris Isaaksy in vibe.

The record ends with more downtempo songs – ‘Wrecked’ being the closer – where Simpson takes aim at gossips and haters with barbed lyrics couched inside a sweet melody.


Artist: The Blips
Album: The Blips
Label: Cornelius Chapel Records
Rating: 93/100

Radar is just now picking up Birmingham, Alabama’s The Blips, whose tuneful brand of bash and pop executes a –perfectly imperfect landing on their raucous debut LP. Clocking in at just under 32 minutes, this puddle jumper of a record comes in hot with reckless punk abandon and wildly infectious rock ‘n roll energy, flying by the seat of its pants all the way.

At the controls is guitarist and songwriter Will Stewart, who recruited an interchangeable crew of Birmingham, Alabama hotshots in Wes McDonald, Eric Wallace, Taylor Hollingsworth, and Chris McCauley for a friendly collaboration that finished work in early 2020, just before the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt. Having all led bands or recorded under different aliases or their own names, they checked their egos at the door, playfully swapping instruments, switching out singers at will and engaging in a variety of gang vocal sighs and shouts, all while heaving big, strong hooks to-and-fro, performing with exuberance and energy, and shooting off backyard fireworks of slightly banged-up solos and tortured twin-guitar leads from the clearance section.

Thinking of a comparison? Look no further than The Replacements, or better yet, the work of their former bassist, Tommy Stinson, post-breakup, which drew up the torn-and-frayed blueprints for such rousing, bittersweet anthems as “Inside Out,” “Walking Home,” “Throw Me Around,” “One and Done” and the deliriously bratty “Out to Sea.” Relentlessly catchy, with witty lyrics that ponder life’s unpredictable plot twists, the album builds up a good head of steam, slowing only for the rough-and-tumble pop ballad “Gold Rush” and to give in to the primal, sludgy surges of their “Wild Thing II” sequel. Warped by moody, post-punk effects, “Same Do” turns urgent, propelled by smart handclaps, before The Blips stab their way through “Patty’s Patio” and segue into a sneering chorus that explodes with the overdriven guitars and crashing drums of Cheap Trick. This stuff is highly addictive and accessible, with just a touch of twang. Saint Paul Westerberg would surely bless this glorious mess. —Peter Lindblad


Alabama supergroup The Blips mark the weight of bad choices with “Walking Home” (Premiere)
The Blips’ “Walking Home” is a powerful blast of pop from members of Vulture Whale, Bad Hops, Holy Youth, and others.



Triptides’ “Moonlight Reflection” Is a Sun-Baked Stunner — About the Night Sky

Triptides have become a staple of Southern California’s sun-baked, surf-tinged psych-rock scene over the last decade, and now the Los Angeles trio is gearing up to release a new album called Alter Echoes, due next month via Alive Naturalsound Records. Today, the band continues to live up to its name with a dreamy, hallucinogenic new single premiering below.

“Perhaps the most laid back track on the record, ‘Moonlight Reflection’ is a love song gliding through the darkness of a clear night,” vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Glenn Brigman tells American Songwriter.

The track opens with a breezy, undulating intro, but the first verse sets the scene: “In the dead of night, see the moon reflecting the light / Do you feel alright? Don’t run and hide.” Brigman’s spaced out vocals are barely tethered to the instrumentation below. Eventually those vocals give way to a heady, transcendent guitar solo—the kind of guitar solo that begs to be performed outside on a warm summer night.


EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Dree Leer – “Live Forever”

Posted on March 18, 2021 by News Team

Birmingham, Alabama Alt-Rock emissaries Dree Leer has dropped their new single “Live Forever” today at Ghost Cult, and rings all the bells in terms of songcraft, hooks, and fun! Their soulful power-punk-infused tunes put melody and a thoughtful, lyrical style coming to the forefront. This is the second single from their forthcoming studio album Throw Hands, out April 30th via Bettamax Records. Check it out!

Frontwoman Jackie Lo comments:

“’Live Forever’ is about the shortness and futility of life. It’s about fighting to leave a breath of humanity behind. Trying to have just a little something pour from our hands as we pass through to show we lived, we loved and we had no regrets.”

Dree Leer’s Throw Hands album will be released on vinyl, CD and digital/streaming formats on April 30th via Bettamax Records. Link to pre-order:

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