Common Blah is the debut full-length by Portland, Maine’s Weakened Friends. Founded by songwriter Sonia Sturino and bassist Annie Hoffman in 2015, the band is a low pressure outlet for emotionally volatile music. Engineered and produced by Hoffman, the record broadcasts heavy feelings amid screech and feedback with little more than a fuzz pedal to clog up the signal chain.
For Sturino, writing in Weakened Friends is more of a physical process than a mental one.
“I have to feel the vibration or sound coming out of my body. I need the physicality to do it, to enjoy singing it,” she says. “People probably hear the vocals and think, ‘she just puts on that weird voice,’ but it’s really just what comes out. It’s my body making that sound.”
Many of the songs reckon with deep mid-20s malaise — with the feeling of being young, stuck, and settling for less. “Sometimes, things look good on the outside, but they’re not working. That’s how it used to be for me. I’d hear, ‘You have a really cool job. You live in a cool city. Your band is cool.’ It was ‘Common Blah’ though because I was miserable. I didn’t care. Now, I’m at the other end of the spectrum. People do something that they think they’re supposed to do when it’s not what they should be doing and it doesn’t make them happy. In a lot of ways, this is the first time I’ve found happiness. I wrote the lyrics about the time before that happiness.”
On Common Blah, Weakened Friends use volume — instrumental and emotional — to reassert a sense of control in a time when daily life has slid out of tune. The album also features guest shredding by peer and kindred spirit J Mascis on the song “Hate Mail.” Common Blah is out now on CD, LP, and digital download via Don Giovanni Records.
FUTURE TEENS COMMERCIAL PITCH DRAFT ONE
BIG SHOT AD AGENCY
FADE IN: INT. COFFEE SHOP- DAY
We open on an older man and woman in their seventies across the table from one another. The man looks pre-occupied and concerned.
ALICE: What’s wrong, Joe? Something on your mind?
JOE: Every since Cecil passed on, I’ve been thinking a lot about life insurance. I want to be sure the kids aren’t burdened when it’s my time. Do you and GLADYS have any?
ALICE: We do. But what’s really been helping us feel secure lately is FUTURE TEENS.
JOE: FUTURE TEENS? I’ve never heard of that.
Alice slides a copy of HARD FEELINGS across the table.
ALICE: They’re a rock band from Boston, MA and they’ve changed everything for GLADYS and I. People call them BUMMER POP and it’s a label they wear proudly.
JOE: I’ve never even heard of BUMMER POP. What does that sound like?
ALICE: It sounds like it’s 1 am and you’re on the front stoop of a party full of people you barely know talking with your best friend after you’ve both had a really hard couple of weeks.
JOE: That sounds comforting.
ALICE: It is! And more people are starting to hear about FUTURE TEENS. Just recently, they’ve started working with TRIPLE CROWN RECORDS and have played alongside notable acts like OSO OSO, VUNDABAR, AARON WEST, FREE THROW AND BAD BAD HATS.
JOE: Wow. Sounds like I should get on board before it’s too late!
DISOLVE TO: Title Card appears on screen with a 1-800 number and rainbow text reading FUTURE TEENS. Calming music plays and we hear a soothing, strong voice read our tag line and ending.
NARRATOR: FUTURE TEENS: A COMFORTING FRIEND IN A TERRIFYING WORLD. Call right away to reserve your FUTURE TEENS now. Don’t delay! Supplies are limited!
The NARRATOR reads the disclaimer at a much more rapid pace:
NARRATOR: DISCLAIMER: While FUTURE TEENS may make you feel less alone, in most cases they will not physically be present during your listening. FUTURE TEENS formed in 2014 with little aspiration outside of playing a Fourth of July BBQ.
In the subsequent years the band wrote and released more songs, steadily growing more serious about their goals. In 2017, they released HARD FEELINGS with TAKE THIS TO HEART RECORDS. Use of FUTURE TEENS may lead to random and frequent crying punctuated with strangely joyful laughter.
FUTURE TEENS is not liable for any emotional distress caused by listening.
Hailing from Portland, Maine, Whale Oil is a power trio to the fullest extent. With influences ranging from The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith to Waylon Jennings and Chet Atkins, Whale Oil bridges the gap between Alt-Country and good old Rock & Roll. Whale Oil’s new EP “Liquid Courage” enunciates the band’s diverse influences while still establishing their signature “barn rock” sound.