“It's like a coming-of-age crisis,” says Daniel Shultz about Out of the Blue, the messy and melodic debut album from his band, Dan Luke and The Raid. “It’s about being in that space in your 20s where you’re trying to get your shit together and figure things out in life. You’re dealing with your problems”—the singer, songwriter and guitarist pauses—“even as you’re going out and partying and getting into trouble all the time.”
Shultz and his Dan Luke & The Raid band mates know a thing or two about the last part of that equation, as evidenced by the songs and subject matter on Out of the Blue. Throughout the album’s 10 tracks, people are passed out on curbs under neon signs (“Black Cat Heavy Metal”), breaking hearts over rolled-up dollar bills (“Exoskeleton”), leaving baggies lying in passenger seats (“Money Mouth”) and faking smiles and feeling ashamed (“Golden Age”). Legs are bleeding, faces are numb and Shultz declares his band to be the “diamond kings of smut.” All the while, the music throbs and pulses and twitches and buzzes with the energy and enthusiasm and inexperience of youth, bursting with harsh, distorted guitar chords, blown-out synths squiggles and hopped-up rhythms—as well as, on occasion, moments of stunning and sincere melodic beauty.
With the weight and experience of events that have been at times joyful and sad, poignant and puerile, triumphant and tragic, Dan Luke and The Raid continue to carve out their future, one musical moment at a time. “What we want to do is create music, and create music in a way where people feel something,” Shultz says. “And when we see that happening it’s an amazing thing.”
For his feelgood third solo album We Wanna BeHyp-No-Tized, Pavement co-founder Scott Kannberg best known to the musical world as Spiral Stairs concocted some of the most fun and accessible music of his storied career by expanding his musical repertoire. We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized is fun, infectious and musically compelling, while still managing to cover some hefty topics like the current rambunctious political climate. Reuniting the bulk of the dream team who assisted him on Doris & The Daggers bassist Matthew Harris (Oranger, The Posies), multi instrumentalist Tim Regan and good friend Kelley Stoltz, as well as former touring Preston School Of Industry drummer Jim Lindsay We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized is the most fully rendered encapsulation to date of Spiral Stairs inimitable aesthetic.