Cloud Nothings- Last Building Burning (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/29/2018 to Reviews In Brief
Cloud Nothings are not for the feint of heart. They are melodically machine gun abrasive somewhere between punk, hardcore and metal. Not cuddle music. But they are damn tight with hooks thick enough to carry a side of beef (get it- meat hooks). This Ohio outfit, led by Dylan Baldi, has a signature sound but one that has evolved to where they do sing instead of just scream their lyrics and, between the hooks, undulate between straight tuneful rock to full throttle sonic explosions. As to the lyrics, they are hard to decipher at times, but a quick on line search will display their distrust and angry broken hearts. But really, when your pulled into their aggression you can feel the angst and the lyrics become unimportant. Cloud Nothings' songs have always had an anthem feel to them and on LBB that's what you'll find culminating in the 10:51 Dissolution. This is not for everyone, but for those who can hike through the briars an award awaits.

Favorite Songs: Leave Him Now, Offer An End, Dissolution, Another Way of Life

Last Building Burning

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Cloud Nothings- Last Building Burning

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats- Wasteland (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/28/2018 to Reviews In Brief
Read their name then the album title. This album sounds exactly like it should. Loud psychedelia with fuzz, otherworldly riffs and stratospheric solos. But with a message about how we are getting a little too connected to tech/games/social media and losing our ability to be connected personally with each other until we are captive society held by digital forces. It widens the complexity of "Wasteland" and is pretty damning and easily missed unless you listen for it. The music isn't a one lane highway either. There are blends of Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Zeppelin and 60s garage throughout with smidge of audio effects. One complaint is that the engineering could use some serious de-muddling as the mixing doesn't allow you to hear each part crisply- but maybe that's by design. Still, this is one of my faves so far. Crank it up and think seriously about how addicted you, or your kids, are to the smart phone.

Favorite Songs: I See Through You, No Return, Wasteland, Exodus


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Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers- Bought to Rot (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/27/2018 to Reviews In Brief
Angry, disturbed, resentment, lost, need, adversarial are words that could be used to describe "Bought to Rot", Laura Jane's inaugural solo release. While there are moments of old school Against Me, LJ shows glints of country and folk- electrified of course. But make no mistake this is an aggressive record. LJ has stuff to scream about and she is doing just that whether it's about a withering relationship, being f'd over or the lack of self love. BTR starts vitriolic and angry but by the end she comes to terms with everything careening around in her head. It's not a perfect record but its nice to have someone pissed off and not mincing words- which can help you release on those off days... especially if you're having a bad day in Chicago....

Favorite Songs: Born In Black, The Airplane Song, Reality Bites, Manic Depression, Apocapypse Now (& Later)

bought to rot

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Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers- Bought to Rot

J Mascis- Elastic Days (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/19/2018 to Reviews In Brief
To the untrained ear it could be easy to mistake "Elastic Days" as a Dinosaur Jr record because of J Mascis' distinct warbled aloof vocals and full tonal guitar solos. Those with a trained ear will note a kinder, folksier Mascis with crisp acoustic guitar accented by carefully placed dramatic sonic flourishes- which are also a Dino Jr characteristic though with less bombast but the same impact. Mascis also employs his patented mid-song change of tempo but just a tad gentler. He wants you hear his vulnerability and the sadness in his voice about loneliness and lost companionship. While there are no new directions being traveled on "Elastic Days" it's nice to hear an artist put out material that doesn't sound like leftovers or rehash of what he does with his main band (Lou Barlow does the same with Sebadoh and his solo work too). Fans of Dino Jr will enjoy this record and note the differences.

Favorite Songs: See You At the Movies, I Went Dust, Drop Me

Elastic Days

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J Mascis- Elastic Days

Say Hi- Caterpillar Centipede (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/16/2018 to Reviews In Brief
Well shame on me for not be aware of this band (primarily Eric Elbogen) for the past 15 years. "Caterpillar Centipede" embodies what well-crafted indie rock should sound like. Crisp, but imperfect, design with energy and pop sensibilities without the sugar. What I would have called college rock back in my day. Besides Elbogen's layered, throaty voice there is no deliberate signature on his songs or his sound. The songs are creative and varied using muddied guitar, accent keyboards and 80's styled drums and occasional effect. They feel natural and organic as if they just <poof!> appeared on the vinyl one day. Hopefully in, the near future we get the young-uns back into the indie scene where albums like this out weigh the umpteenth re-mix.

Favorite Songs: Every Gauge Is on Empty, Mathematicians, Green With Envy, Makin' Faces Like (You Ate a Lemon), Dreaming the Day Away

Caterpillar Centipede

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Say Hi- Caterpillar Centipede

John Hiatt- The Eclipse Sessions (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/15/2018 to Reviews In Brief
John Hiatt (full disclosure I am career fan) is a singer-song writer who, for the better part of 30+ years, has released consistent, solid albums. Not always perfect but always listenable with a gem or two. "The Eclipse Sessions" is not just consistent it's excellent and probably his best overall release in 10 years. His voice is showing it's wisdom and his lyrics are exploiting his sage which creates the life worn, self deprecating charm of "Eclipse". Unlike many of his contemporaries, Hiatt isn't drifting along in ballad mode. There are a few well crafted, heartfelt songs but he back road chugs and rocks along in troubadour form as well. John Hiatt, as expected, is like a warm cuppa tea.

Favorite Songs: Cry To Me, All the Way to the River, Poor Imitation of God, Over the Hill, Outrunning My Soul

eclipse sessions

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John Hiatt- The Eclipse Sessions

All Them Witches- ATW (2018)

Posted by KB on 11/15/2018 to Reviews In Brief
All Them Witches keep their ascend intact with "ATW". The Witches flip from big sound bombasts to slow cooking seethers that are as loose as they are precise. Their riff driven songs ramble close to jam band status just to be reeled in by unexpected structure but that doesn't mean that they appear afraid to roll their eyes into their heads and just let it rip. Cream, Zeppelin, Allman Brothers with a sprinkle of Phish all get a nod and sometimes within the same song (Harvest Feast). They recently went from a four piece to a three piece so it's curious to see how that effects their delivery, in any case, "ATW" is another step forward.

Favorite Songs: Fishbelly 86 Onions, Harvest Feast, Rob's Dream


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All Them Witches- ATW
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