Soccer Mommy- Color Theory (2020)

Posted by KB on 3/25/2020 to Reviews In Brief
This is the first Soccer Mommy release that completely grabbed me. Maybe it's the sadness that is betrayed by a light bounding backing track. Maybe it's the forlorn lyrics and melancholy vocals. Maybe it's the personal desperation that is delivered honestly. The common thread is the fact that this is brutal introspection and I believe we have all been there. Sophie Allison isn't playing these songs to sell to Gen Zs with faux pain in staged videos. She's truly feeling what she is singing and she is asking you to listen to her and take the journey with her. As noted, musically, with the lush arrangements, swirling guitars and drums front and center, you might miss the sadness but I think that is by design to serve as a mask. A mask you should take a peek under. Time I revisit their past discography again.

Favorite Songs: Bloodstream, Royal Screw Up, Crawling in My Skin

color theory




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Holy Fuck- Deleter (2020)

Posted by KB on 3/24/2020 to Reviews In Brief
The band name is probably something you might exclaim after listening to "Deleter", an album that meshes EDM, 80s rock, alternative DIY, psychedelia and sips and nips of jazz. Many bands have tried this amalgamation but most don't execute it half as well as HF. Each song has it's own genetic design and leaves one in anticipation as to what the next species may be. The opener Luxe slowly builds using all the aforementioned styles, Deleters a modern dance romp, Endless an early Tame Impala like psyche-mantra... you get the idea. Not every song will resonate with every listener, but if you disregard "Deleter" over one particular entry you are most likely missing out on the good of the whole. Give this a spin if you are looking for something unique and adventurous with good meat on its bones.

Favorite Songs: Deleters, Moment, Luxe, Near Mint

Deleter




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Green Day- Father of All... (2020)

Posted by KB on 3/23/2020 to Reviews In Brief
This is a polarizing release. There is the faction that wanted a more serious album with acerbic social commentary and then there is the other side (moi included) who is quite enjoying the no frills, straightforward, dumb-fun "Father Of All" is. I personally thought "American Idiot" was brilliant and "21st Century Breakdown" was just a rehash of the AI and then the "Uno", "Dos" and "Tre" releases were self indulgently dull. So having the boys get elbow deep into the nitty-gritty was fine by me. Think Foxboro Hot Tubs with more cursing. Embrace the garage rock fun or go sit in the corner and come out when we are done.

Favorite Songs: Fire Ready Aim, Meet Me On the Roof, I Was a Teenage Teenager, Sugar Youth, Take the Money and Crawl

Father_of_All




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Supersuckers- Play That Rock N Roll (2020)

Posted by KB on 3/20/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Sometimes an album's appeal is in it's simplicity. "Play That Rock N Roll" fits that mold by being unapologetically bottom-of-your-boot crude, loud and brash. The Supersuckers reach 11 and never let up from the second you place the needle to vinyl. The guitars crunch, the drums timpani grade boom and the vocals drip with American twang 'tude. PTRNR is pure testosterone, not that there aren't a few ladies who will bang heads to this, but my guess that this is mostly a sausage hang release. And, they do a dynamite version of Warren Zevon's A Certain Girl. We all need a little shit kickin' in our lives and the Supersuckers have released 2020's edition.

Favorite Songs: Unless you are looking for cuddle music, nothing will disappoint

play that rock n roll




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Gladie - Safe Sins (2020)

Posted by KB on 3/19/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Gladie is essentially 90's female fronted alt-rock. Augusta Koch (formally of Cayetana) is that front, and main song writer of existential and internal inspection indie songs. Her pleading warble straddles emphatic and whining but she always get your attention. The simple familiarity of the songs create earworms that rattle in your brain for days for their catchy-ness and/or in you trying to figure out what the familiarity is. Though they have a distinct sound, Gladie is pliable and has a freshness from song to song. I think live they would be similar to Luna where songs build tremendously. "Safe Sins" won't immediately knock your socks off. It will demand that you play it again and again and then it will knock your socks off.

Favorite Songs: A Place Far Different, Twenty Twenty, Paper Bags, Cosmic Joke

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Beach Bunny- Honeymoon (2020)

Posted by KB on 3/2/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Beach Bunny starts off sounding like the typical millenial, female voiced, singer songwriter fodder- for about 8 seconds- then they flex their pop-punk muscle. Sure they sing about the usual young angst about self doubt, love, jealousy and the possibility of being perpetually solo, but it's done with melodic interest and strong hooks. It's a sunny, optimistic melancholy where the music betrays the message and gives you hope that all will be perfectly fine. "Honeymoon" is what you should be spinning when you're feeling down. It will make everything perfectly fine.

Favorite Songs: Cuffing Season, Rearview, Colorblind, Dream Boy,Cloud 9

honey moon




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Say Hi- Diamonds & Donuts (2020)

Posted by KB on 2/19/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Say Hi (used to be Say Hi To Your Mom) has a unmistakable sound. Layered nasally vocals, double kicked beats and coda hooks that could land a whale shark. Even their cover art is immediately identifiable. While they remain in a certain realm they (they is actually Eric Elbogen) always add a little nuance to each album that allows Say Hi to meander into new realms. "Diamonds & Donuts" adds a tittering of electronics to their big beats as an example. The album has a melodramatic sunny aura that stitches personal unhappiness with a pat on the back. Fans of Say Hi don't even need to pre-listen- just go and add this to your collection. Not a fan? "Diamonds & Donuts" is a good introduction.

Favorite Songs: Confetti Xerox (Let's Go Team), A MacBook Pro To A Nineties Dell, Tiger Unicorn, Grey As A Ghost

diamonds donuts




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Nada Surf- Never Not Together (2020)

Posted by KB on 2/17/2020 to Reviews In Brief
It's hard to punch holes in Nada Surf's breadth of work. Pretty darn solid release after release. So when I say that "Never Not Together" could arguably be their best release to date its quite a bold statement. Melodic, smart with punch and the patented Nada Surf lilting, floating sound. Caws still provides pointed philosophical introspection, now with middle aged experience and wisdom, that's not preachy but thoughtful. This was worth the 4 year wait. It's early in 2020 but we already have the best album of the year. Again quite bold.

Favorite Songs: So Much Love, Just Wait, Looking For You, Mathilda, Ride In the Unknown

never not together




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Pup- Morbid Stuff (2019)

Posted by KB on 2/13/2020 to Reviews In Brief
The last of my late 2019 finds, "Morbid Stuff", would have been easily a major top 20 contender, with their Martha punk vibe, Hold Steady delivery, generational angst and creative energy. Pup blends EMO, metal, punk, pop into an exhausting thumping. But one that you will enjoy provided you're into screaming guitars, drums-a-bashing, in your face vocals and attitude. Lots of attitude.

Favorite Songs: Kids, Bloody Mary Kate and Ashley, Sibling Rivalry, Morbid Stuff

morbid stuff




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Drive By Truckers- The Unraveling (2020)

Posted by KB on 2/12/2020 to Reviews In Brief
The Drive By Truckers have one of those discographies that are a rarity in that they always have a few killer cuts and they incite discussion. "The Unraveling" in unrepentant in its political views. It's hard to determine were some the songs written specifically to rant on issues or did the songs boil under their skin and had to come out. Some feel quite deliberate but most are articulate and dripping with realism. Either way, politics aside, it is another strong set of songs. It hearkens back to their "Gangstabilly" sound occasionally but there is no questioning that this is a DBT release with their gravelly twang. It's nice to have a band stay true to themselves, grow and provide a message without sounding like retreads.

Favorite Songs: Heroin Again, Slow Ride Argument, Babies In Cages, Armageddon's Back In Town

the unraveling




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Royal Republic- Club Majesty (2019)

Posted by KB on 1/24/2020 to Reviews In Brief
The easy review is to say file under Electric Six, because this is definitely in that vein. Dance beats with thumping rock and fun, sarcastic and irreverent lyrics. Basically, if you don't get it I would seriously question your sense of humor and commitment to enjoying your days. In all seriousness, "Club Majesty" starts off like a dance-floor on fire and doesn't slow down while meandering through all the cool new steps down at the disco-club. Just think how ripping a show they must put on- especially if we could get them to tour with Electric Six.

Favorite Songs: Fireman & Dancer, Can't Fight the Disco, Blunt Force Trauma, Fortune Favors, Stop Movin'

club majesty




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Woolworm- Awe (2019)

Posted by KB on 1/21/2020 to Reviews In Brief
I stumbled upon this beauty at the end of last year and if I did earlier it would have bulleted into my top 20. Woolworm possesses a full, pulsating sound that fills all gaps. They are heavy and progressive without being long winded singing about the good around us and that it isn't totally awful if you look at things from the correct perspective. Their music vertically bounds driven by the bass and if you listen carefully you might catch the Morrissey vocal delivery. Let's hope Canada gives us more of this in the future.

Favorite Songs: Honestly not a weak song on the album.

awe




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1. Better Oblivion Commerce Center- Better Oblivion Commerce Center (2019)

Posted by KB on 1/1/2020 to Reviews In Brief

2. Telekinesis- Effluxion (2019)

Posted by KB on 1/1/2020 to Reviews In Brief

3. Olivia Jean- Night Owl (2019)

Posted by KB on 12/31/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Anyone who predicted that "Night Owl" would be my #3, let alone in my top 20, wins a prize or is lieing. This Third Man Records produced gem kept showing me new things upon each listen. Ankle deep in nostalgic, retro, back room, roller derby rock Jean molds songs that have muscle while being quite hummable. Just the right amount of rockabilly, echo and AM pop riffs fronted with a soulful warble. "Night Owl" won't knock your leather jacket off upon first listen but it will slowly remove it as you 'get' each song eventually.

Favorite Songs: Brushfire, Night Owl, The Hunt, Jaan Pehechaan Ho

night owl




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Olivia Jean- Night Owl

4. SWMRS- Berkeley's On Fire (2019)

Posted by KB on 12/31/2019 to Reviews In Brief

5. Hayes Carll- What It Is (2019)

Posted by KB on 12/30/2019 to Reviews In Brief

6. Suggested Friends- Turtle Taxi (2019)

Posted by KB on 12/30/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Suggested Friends has a, contradictory, stripped down big sound. The band from London wears it's "dyke" label with pride as they intelligently sing about daily observations, relationships and the state of our world. SF borrows from punk, power pop and 80's alternative, seamlessly blending the styles to create a unique identity for each of their songs. Faith Taylor sings with a conviction, not always experienced with DIY bands, delivering perfect punches at perfect times making you have to take notice. I dare anyone to listen to this and be bored.

Favorite Songs: The Apocalypse (It's Just A Day Away), G.N.A, Magnolia, Cygnets, At Ease

turtle taxi




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Suggested Friends- Turtle Taxi

7. Young Guv- Guv I & II (2019)

Posted by KB on 12/28/2019 to Reviews In Brief
This is the album you would get if Matthew Sweet, Evan Dando and Alex Chilton hunkered down in a studio for about a day. Basically a combo album of EPs I and II, this album jangles from the start with a couple of dance pop songs peppered in to round out possibly the most upbeat release of the year. The songs are brilliant because they sound so simple but anyone who is in the know understands that creating a great pop song is not easy let alone a gaggle of great pop songs. Need a pick me up? I & II is your drug.

Favorite Songs: Patterns Prevail, Every Flower I See, Luv Always, Didn't Even Cry, Trying To Decide

Guv I & II




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