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New E.Z. Shakes EP Friday 11-4-2022

E.Z. Shakes has remerged with a clear shift of focus both sonically and lyrically. The band has traded out the acoustic guitars and pedal steels that helped shape their early efforts and have leaned into the more electric guitar driven sound of the newly revamped four piece.

The appropriately titled three song EP “Everything Changes” effectively captures a transitional moment in time for the band. And while the band seems to be embracing the inevitable changes that come with the growth of a project like this over time, there is an undeniable sense of nostalgia in the lyrical themes. In the opening track “Damn Fools” Zach Seibert offers his thoughts on what seems to be a fond remembrance of being young, naive and fearless. The uptempo opening track centers around Zach’s voice but is beautifully and tastefully accompanied by the chiming Peter Buck-esque guitar work of John Furr.

The rhythm section shines on this EP, particularly on the lead single “Waiting on the Bubble to Pop”. The grooves that Jim Taylor (bass) and Stanford Gardner (drums) have landed on with this record are true curveballs and often almost reminiscent of 90’s indie rock tunesmiths like Built to Spill and Hum. Seibert’s southern drawl and captivating vocal delivery are some of the few remaining artifacts of the band’s earlier sound. The closing track “Steps to a View” is a bit more reminiscent of the band’s previous releases but in no way feels like a regurgitation of a tried and tested formula. Rather it is a 5 plus minute epic that seems to push their earlier sound to its breaking point. The song feels like a sonic statement that the band is determined to embrace growth and change in a way that ultimately will keep them from being pigeonholed or creatively stifled.

We at Comfort Monk were excited to get an early preview of the record and think the quality of their work truly speaks for itself. 

LISTEN TO E.Z. Shakes – “Everything Changes” HERE

Exclusive Video Premiere – Hudson Bell – “Big City, Small World”

On November 26, 2021 Hudson Bell will release Psychic Breaks, his tenth or eleventh album (depending on how you consider his 1999 CD compilation of–mostly–previously released tracks from cassettes, Under Boxes and Dirt). Whichever the case, Psychic Breaks is notable for being the first album Bell has recorded by himself since the 90s, as well as his first release since then that doesn’t have at least one other person playing something on it, somewhere. These details aside, the most singular aspect of Psychic Breaks is surelyat least to those familiar with Bell’s previous music–the absence of guitars. Rest assured however that when the first song–“Big City, Small World”–hits its stride, there will be no mistake to whom you’re listening.

So give it a cyber spin, and try to forget the 90s, or the 2000-and-whatevers. Load Psychic Breaks onto your modern listening device with vintage cassette-themed case, pop in/on your earbuds/headphones, and take the long cut to wherever it is you’re going, if you’re actually headed anywhere at all. What you’ll hear are ten songs made up of the classic storytelling and charming voice of HB that we’ve come to expect. From the dreamy, psychedelic vibe of “Seven Lives” to the haunting, mystical mood of “The Dead Sea”–throughout are dazzling and chilling moments intermixed with drop-dead lyrical lines and electronic weirdness adding into some seamless slant on folk electronic pop music, perhaps piped in from a distant star. Emotionally intense, with a deep reverential empathy for the human condition, it’s possible that Psychic Breaks might pull you in again-and-again . . . maybe by the tug of a heart string, or maybe it’s the pendulum of a mood swing, but most likely it’s because you too now have the Psychic Breaks.

Hudson Bell is a native of Louisiana, who has also lived in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Arkansas. He moved to California in 1998, and resides in San Francisco.

Bell started playing guitar at the age of thirteen. At fifteen, using numerous cassette players, he made his first tape, The King’s Dreams. Since then, he has released nine other albums–one technically a compilation, and the last being Yerba Buena, released in 2016. Taking all of his work up to this point into consideration, Trouser Press wrote that Bell’s catalog “varies in style and achievement but has maintained an upward arc that has reached great heights.”

PROSPERITY GOSPEL // “VIOLENTLY PULLED FROM BLISS” // 03.31.2021

Debut album by the blackened solo project of Eddie Newman, PROSPERITY GOSPEL. This record is a reflection of the south: swarms of cicadas in the pine trees, droning away as an unlucky soul, lost in the swamps, succumbs to heat and the weight of gloom. The lyrical content of the record responds to the existential crisis of environmental annihilation, the dehumanization of late stage capitalism, and the ecstasy of the void.

Available on CD/digital via Comfort Monk and also on most streaming platforms March 31st.

Comfort Monk: Gratitude Volume One

We recruited several artists to record covers of guests from the Comfort Monk podcast. A spontaneous collaborative project that far surpassed our expectations. Thank you so much to all involved. This is Gratitude Volume One.

Tracklist:

  1. Ray Barbee, Rachel Ann Rainwater, Chuck Treece – Taking Away The Fire (Dos)
  2. Dear Blanca – Unsatisfied (The Replacements)
  3. Marshall Brown – Evergreen (Eric Slick)
  4. King Vulture – Solid Gold (Fanny)
  5. Eric Slick – Coffee (Sylvan Esso)
  6. Guitar Test – Surgery (Elf Power)
  7. Mike Watt + The Secondmen – Fully Pursuaded (Ray Barbee)
  8. B-side – O My Soul (Big Star)
  9. Numbtongue – Harvest (Vundabar)
  10. Elonzo Wesley – Cry, Cry (Grant-Lee Phillips)
  11. E. Newman – Honeybird (Andras
  12. Fabulous Bird – Can’t Hardly Wait (The Replacements)
  13. Soggy Origami – It’s All Up To You (Black Flag)
  14. Secret Guest – History Lesson/Big Lounge Scene/History Lesson–Part II (Minutemen)
  15. Jerome – Jonah (Wussy)