The Offspring- Let the Bad Times Roll (2021)

Posted by KB on 9/14/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Shortest review ever in Review in Brief. Anyone who likes The Offspring will like this. Anyone who doesn't won't. Simple. Proceed as it suits you.

Favorite Songs: Let the Bad Times Roll, We Never Have Sex Anymore



let the bad times roll






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GHLOW- Slash and Burn (2021)

Posted by KB on 9/9/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Fans of The Kills pining for a new release can now just get GHLOW's "Slash and Burn" and feel sated. GHLOW has the industrial fuzz and cacophany of The Kills, probably more if I was to be honest. The songs are aggressive and edgy, bordering on dark angst. One could visualize a SAW movie airing with this as the soundtrack. GHLOW'sstructure is molded around simple melodies and chord patterns but with buzz saw graininess and electronic embellishments that create a poly-rhythmic groove. "Slash and Burn" exudes black and deep purple with countless curtains of static. Listen alone and in the dark.

Favorite Songs: Not Fit For This, Take It, Hold On



slash and burn






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A Place To Bury Strangers- Hologram (2021)

Posted by KB on 8/24/2021 to Reviews In Brief
A Place To Bury Strangers' EP "Hologram" expands on their sonic, dissonant drone rock with their most defined recording. They don't lose their noisiness but you can decipher more clearly the drums, bass and vocals. Their songs still whip into a swirling jet engine frenzy in an almost (loosely almost) pop sensible fashion. There is structure within the clamor. Picture Joy Division with louder amps, more fuzz and new technology. This will not digestible for some unless you like music that pushes the acceptable musical boundaries.

Favorite Songs: All five songs are quite interesting



hologram






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Billy F Gibbons- Hardware (2021)

Posted by KB on 8/19/2021 to Reviews In Brief
One could just cut and paste my thoughts on Gibbons' 2018 release "Big Bad Blues" here and it would be pretty accurate. All styles of rocking, and I mean rocking, blues. Huge sound with every nook filled with booming drums, heavy, full riffs and agile solos. There is a wisp of ZZ Top throughout the album with the immediately recognizable ZZ Top guitar sound and throaty growled vocals. The loss of Dusty Hill earlier this summer should make us all appreciate Gibbons' brilliance more and embrace his recordings. Take the time give Gibbon's a good listen.

Favorite Songs: She's On Fire, Stackin' Bones, Vagabond Man, My Lucky Card



hardware






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Imelda May- 11 Past the Hour (2021)

Posted by KB on 8/18/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Imelda May's latest release into her excellent discography is a bit of a departure from her retro, roller-girl rebel, take-it-or-leave style and persona of the past. "11 Past the Hour" portrays May as a sexy chanteuse with visions of her front and center in a smoky back room club with a weathered, tight band enveloping her strong, fantastic voice. She doesn't totally abandon her rock roots (Made To Love, What We Did In the Dark) but she leans toward songs that are uncomplicated and personal, with a taste of the poetry she is now delving into. The album's pacing is fluid and May sounds like the veteran she is with impeccable phrasing. It's a grown up album that feels cool.

Favorite Songs: Made To Love, What We Did In the Dark, Just One Kiss, Never Look Back, Breathe


11 Past the Hour






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Royal Blood- Typhoons (2021)

Posted by KB on 8/13/2021 to Reviews In Brief
"Typhoons", Royal Blood's third LP sounds like multiple typhoons. Heavy thunder beats, swirling buzzed bass and driving faux guitar (he plays bass with pedals and amps that sound as if there is a guitar being played). The duo from Brighton, England create a big pounding energy that is emphatic that borders on being metal. "Typhoons" may be their most complete, crisp release to date. It's impossible to catch your breath from one song to the next since they are relentless with their hammering- until the last song, All We Have is Now, which is a little respite. They sing about anxiety and pressure but, with some optimism, that with support it is surmountable. Put this on and crank it up. Piss off the neighbors.

Favorite Songs: Trouble's Coming, Million and One, Boilermaker, Mad Visions, Who Needs Friends


typhoons






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Nick Waterhouse- Promenade Blue (2021)

Posted by KB on 7/26/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Nick Waterhouse has a finger snappin' signature retro 60's R&B sound. Reverb, echo chamber, punchy background vocals and brass, hi-hats and brushes, mono-like mixing and even his album covers. Promenade Blue prominently encompasses these traits except this time it's not the all out twist-a-thon we've grown to expect. More ballads, spoken word embellishments and it just feels like he's holding back just a tad. He waits until the last two songs to unleash the party (B. Santa Ana 1986, To Tell ). It's still a solid release and has all the cool, but probably the weakest of his library. I'll blame Covid.

Favorite Songs: Vincentine, B. Santa Ana 1986, To Tell


promenade blue






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Silver Synthetic- S/T (2021)

Posted by KB on 6/2/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Silver Synthetic are arriving at the forefront of a new trend of easy loping, 70's inspired airy AOR. When spinning Silver Synthetic the experience will feel short as the songs take on the feel of a Grateful Dead jam with less length, leaving you feeling that there is more to uncover in their songs, which I'll bet they do expand live. The guitar work is crisp and the vocals breezy as Seals and Croft or America. All tracks are expertly layered creating a full, fill all the channels, sound. Silver Synthetic is the soundtrack for Frisbee in the park or a BBQ on the patio.

Favorite Songs: Unchain Your Heart, Around the Bend, Out of the Darkness


silver synthetic






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Remember Sports- Like A Stone (2021)

Posted by KB on 5/18/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Remember Sports has a distinctive indie sound. Carmen Perry's warbling vocals, crunchy guitars with edgy, bordering out of tune solos (in a cool proto punk way) and rock that can fluctuate from lamenting to almost all out pop-punk. They have perfected it. RS songs are primarily about maybe-good-maybe-not relationships. The kind that you are constantly questioning whether you are right to stay with them. The Philly quartet has matured without losing millennial credibility, both musically and lyrically, to solidify that it appears they will be around for some time.

Favorite Songs: Pinky Ring, Sentimentality, Like A Stone, Odds Are


like a stone






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Special Friend- Ennemi Commun (2021)

Posted by KB on 5/17/2021 to Reviews In Brief
There is nothing outlandishly special about Special Friend's "Ennemi Commun". It is basically an easy to swallow lo-fi indie release from a French-American duo with a White Stripes organization -she on drums, he on guitar (not in sound mind you). Metronomic beats pushing fuzzed guitar strumming with earnest lyrics about simple subjects. To my ears they remind of of Yuck with a uniqueness of tempo and song structure between tracks, which keeps "Ennemi Commun" from being pedantic. It proves that a band doesn't have to 'wow' you to be an enjoyable and distinctive listen.

Favorite Songs: Hazard, Forest, Ennemi Commun


ennemi commun






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Mythic Sunship- Wildfire (2021)

Posted by KB on 5/12/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Mythic Sunship's "Wildfire" starts like a blaze burning completely out of control within a controlled burn. Part hard rock jam and part free form jazz-rock, "Wildfire" is an instrumental journey that you will either strap in and enjoy the cacophony or you will run frantically from. MS is accessible one moment and then they wind their way into complex zones that can feel like world music being noisily thrashed. What makes "Wildfire" compelling is the unexpected groove that is embedded within the looseness of the music. While they ramble unfettered there is still structure. There is a lot to chew on on each song and the euphoria that is created definitely channels their band name.

Favorite Songs: Olympia, Redwood Grove


wildfire






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A.A. Williams- Songs From Isolation (2021)

Posted by KB on 5/10/2021 to Reviews In Brief
A.A Williams release of covers, that span from the 60's to now provides completely unique takes on songs that we all know. Stark is an understatement when describing "Songs From Isolation". It's just her and a piano or guitar. So stark that you can hear the ambient sounds from her recording enviroment. The pedals being pressed, shifting on the bench, hum of the amplifier and so forth. This is personal music. An album to listen to alone to allow yourself to decide what Williams' interpretation is for you. For example Lovesong is no longer the profession of love from Robert Smith to his wife but instead a longing for someone that may not be near or receptive to your feelings. "Songs From Isolation" will take you minimally one listen to erase the originals from your ears before you can determine if her renditions will resonate with you or not. We all need sit-in-the-dark music now and then and "Songs From Isolation" could just be that album

Favorite Songs: Lovesong, Where Is My Mind, Nights In White Satin


Songs From Isolation






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Skegss- Rehearsal (2021)

Posted by KB on 4/16/2021 to Reviews In Brief
The Skegss are a surfer garage punk outfit from down under who have mastered the pop hook. While most indie bands like them lean on attitude and put their spit and anger up front, Skegss, on "Rehearsal", go for a more laid back approach with a positive spin on the travails of being young and trying to figure life out. They are not saying life's a gas, but they are suggesting to take life as it presents itself and understand that it's okay to have issues. "Rehearsal" will never win awards due to its genre and lack of being 'hard-hitting', but I guarantee it will be one you'll play a lot more than you think.

Favorite Songs: Valhalla, Fantisising, Running From Nothing, Picturesque Moment, Savour the Flavour


rehearsal






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The Boys With Perpetual Nervousness- Songs From Another Life (2021)

Posted by KB on 4/8/2021 to Reviews In Brief
"Songs From Another Life" is an unassuming pop album. It's hard to find something to complain about it. SFAL is not offensive, it contains The Byrds meet Fountains of Wayne jangle and the wispy, breathy vocals nudge you to take a drive with the windows down. Sure the songs are sound like they could be in John Hughes movie, but is that really that bad?!? The beauty of the writing is that while the songs are well crafted, they don't feel it- meaning they sound like they just sat down and out they came. If you're looking for an unobtrusive listen, that you might just play over and over this is for you.

Favorite Songs: Can't You See, How I Really Feel, Waking Up in the Sunshine, Lethargy, In Between


Songs From Another Life






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Mogwai- As the Love Continues (2021)

Posted by KB on 4/2/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Mogwai doesn't just use melody, tempo, tone and instrumentation as key factors in a song. They incorporate volume fluctuations, sound fullness and the altering of complexity of a song's genetics. What begins simplistically or sparse slowly becomes dense, louder (or softer) with layers continually being added. It's a major reason they are sought out for soundtracks. "As the Love Continues" displays Mogwai's design formula in almost perfect context. While mostly nuanced instrumentals the Scottish lads do show they can perform a rock-pop tune (Ritchie Sacramento) or flex a little metal muscle (Ceiling Granny) quite deftly making Mogwai hard to classify. ASTLC is for those who, like yours truly, who don't mind hitching a ride down a road that is always under construction.

Favorite Songs: Ritchie Sacramento, Ceiling Granny, Supposedly We Were Nightmares, Fuck Off Money


as the love continues






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Cloud Nothings- The Shadow I Remember (2021)

Posted by KB on 3/22/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Bands with staying power will go through enervated times. Not necessarily creating bad music but music that feels like it's missing something. Like furniture built missing a couple of stabilizing nuts and bolts. "The Shadow I Remember" gives me that feeling. It could be due to making their sound more appealing to more people or it could be just lacking some vision. The second half of TSIR does rise to where you expect Cloud Nothings to be and I wish they went back to retool the first half to mirror it. Am I glad I bought TSIR? I don't have any buyers remorse but will eagerly await the next step.

Favorite Songs: The Room It Was


The Shadow I Remember






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TV Priest- Uppers (2021)

Posted by KB on 3/4/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Like the Idles' 2020 release "Ultra Mono", TV Priest slaps you awake. It's not pretty but it's effective. Punky staccato chords and harmonics, rock hard bass and barking, angry David Johansen-like vocals will either repel or draw you. While being socially aware they are more pointing out what sadly defines our lives; technology, social media, lack of individual thinking....etc.. Their harsh delivery is warranted and you'll find yourself embarrassingly agreeing with the message while head bobbing to the grind. Not for everyone but worth a listen for those wishing to break from being lemmings and don't mind looking into the mirror.

Favorite Songs: Big Curve, Press Gang, Saintless


uppers




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Last sweep of 2020

Posted by KB on 2/22/2021 to Reviews In Brief
2021 has gotten off to a slooooow start which is good and bad. The good is that I have been able to do a real last scan of 2020 releases that I missed the first time around or just sloughed off in my own arrogant way. Below are 6 of interest I am passing off to any sorry soul reading this;

The High Water Marks- Ecstasy Rhymes (2020)

Remember real lo-fi 90s DIY indie rock? Well this is it with better recording equipment. Upbeat, noisy, poppy, fun. What you'd expect from members of Apples In Stereo and Elephant 6.

Favorite Songs: Can You, Award Show, The Trouble With Friends, Satellite


Ecstasy Rhymes








Paul McCartney - McCartney III (2020)

Obviously I do not have to inform you as to who he is and his discography speaks for itself (well at least much of it). Anyone who has McCartney I and II will want, or have, to get "III". Like the previous two, he once again plays all the instruments and at 78 years old he still has adeptly can. His voice has lost some of its sheen, which is expected at his age, but his earnestness has lost nothing. Makes one wish that he put more of this out in last third of his career.

Favorite Songs: Long Tailed Winter Bird, Women and Wives, Lavatory Lil, Winter Bird/When Winter Comes


III








AC/DC - Power Up (2020)

Arguably the best Brian Johnston era AC/DC release since "Back on Black". Loud, booming with kick-ass riffs. Nuff said.

Favorite Songs: Pick one.......


power up








Ratboy - Printer's Devil (2020)

Good, hard driving indie pop-rock replete with crunchy guitars, dance infused hooks, some ethos and bubbly teen girl vocals (she's not a teen girl). Easily an album one could leave on repeat without becoming bored.

Favorite Songs: Alien With a Sleep Mask On, Anj,Victorian Slumhouse


Printer's Devil








Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher (2020)

Beautiful voice embedded in well crafted, introspective songs that sound wistful but carry an edge. Very easy to get lost within. Best listened to in a darken room with a good Cabernet.

Favorite Songs: Kyoto, Moon Song, Graceland Too


Punisher








Mondo Cozmo - New Medicine (2020)

Ping pongs from sounding like Velvet Underground to Radiohead to Dandy Warhols to all three melted nicely together. This albums just has "cool" emanating from it.

Favorite Songs: Black Cadillac, Drown In Love, Generator, Mercy


New Medicine






Kelley Stoltz- Ah! (etc) (2020)

Posted by KB on 1/21/2021 to Reviews In Brief
Kelley Stoltz has a knack in taking simple, basic rhythms and progressions and creating interesting, unexpected instrumentation and vocals. He layers textures as his songs grow until they feel like reprise of the original. It doesn't discount his songs from being pop, it merely breathes uniqueness into each of them. Stoltz manages this without losing his DIY, indie status. His music is so engrossing that one actually forgets to pay attention to the lyrics. Didn't catch this one last year but glad I stumbled into it in 2021.

Favorite Songs: Cold, She Likes Noise, Moon Shy, Tomorrow, Having Fun


Ah




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Beach Bunny- Blame Game (2021)

Posted by KB on 1/20/2021 to Reviews In Brief
The band with my favorite album of 2020 ("Honeymoon") hasn't wasted anytime and released a good follow up 4 song EP "Blame Game". A continuation of "Honeymoon" with power-pop hooks about dissolving relationship(s) that is more pointed with a line drawn in the sand; it might be you not me. If you took the time to listen to "Honeymoon", and enjoyed it, don't hesitate in investigating (and purchasing) "Blame Game".

Favorite Songs: Good Girls (Don't Get Used), Blame Game


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