The National- I Am Easy To Find (2019)

Posted by KB on 6/28/2019 to Reviews In Brief
This is a tough one for me. I am a fan of The National, but "I Am Easy To Find" will be my least reached for National album. It feel artsy for the sake of being artsy and over thought. I appreciate when a band takes a different direction and I do try to support those twists and turns, but in this case the I found myself trying to stay interested in the songs. Few engrossed me. The drumming and percussion were distracting, the choral pieces added little and while Matt Beringer's vocals are still stunningly subdued, emotional and sullen the delivery seemed repetitive. IAETF is not a completely horrible album, it's just not on the same plane as expectations were. And maybe that is part of the problem- when a band you like drifts from where you want them- is it my problem or their fault. I don't have the answer. I will continue to look forward to future National releases but until then I will reach for "High Violet" or "Boxer" first.

Favorite Songs: Theme From Daddy Long Legs, Pink Lemonade, Celaphine, Be Gone, Back Door Fool

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Daddy Long Legs- Lowdown Ways (2019)

Posted by KB on 6/21/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Back woods traveling medicine blues- I think that's how I'd classify Daddy Long Legs. You could find them under a ratty tent or in a ramshackle barn just reeling and rocking their guttural fuzzed revival music. Music that thumps along and almost feels as if it might break down at any time. The guitar is chunky, the harmonica railroad bluesy and washboard drums sounding like rattling train tracks. "Lowdown Ways" is a manageable 38 minutes leaving you wanting an encore. While listening throw out a few whoops and hollers. You'll be glad you did.

Favorite Songs: Theme From Daddy Long Legs, Pink Lemonade, Celaphine, Be Gone, Back Door Fool

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Amyl and the Sniffers - S/T (2019)

Posted by KB on 6/20/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Apparently I must be on a punk kick or maybe its that there is some pretty good punk being released. Amyl and the Sniffers are loud, yappy and full of FU attitude. Dec Martens' guitars crunch and wailing solos echoing Billy Duffy, the drums pound with cymbal accents and the bass hits you in the chest- and hard. And Amy Taylor's vocals are as feminine as Wendy O'Williams was feminine, but her Beastie Boys like barking fits in perfectly. They spew pissed off antidotes about bad relationships but show some cloaked love too. Sadly there is no CBGB around for them beat the hell out of young (and old like moi) auditory vestibular nerves. Steer away if you're looking for cuddle music and not mosh music- but you'll be missing out.

Favorite Songs: Gacked On Anger, GFY, Control, Some Mutts (Can't Be Muzzled)

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Shame- Songs of Praise (2018)

Posted by KB on 6/18/2019 to Reviews In Brief
This one eluded me last year and if it wasn't for their set at Boston Calling this year I would have never found them. Their set was easily the most energetic, for both the crowd and the band, of the festival. Within 30 seconds the audience was theirs. Shame proves that punk with attitude is not dead. "Song of Praise"- their debut effort- spits, barks and pierces within a well structured, pounding and melodic framework. They aren't thrashy they are hard driving. While not for everyone, if you are 'one' that gets it, you will bob your upper body with eyes half open and a slight sneer (if you don't know what I mean you probably won't be one who gets it). Shame conjures up the Sex Pistols, Clash, TSOL and edgier Blur. SOP translated live fluidly in energy and flow. Keep an eye on these London young-uns.

Favorite Songs: Concrete, One Rizla, Tasteless, Gold Hole

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Vandoliers- Forever (2019)

Posted by KB on 6/11/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Not sure if there is a alt-country-punk music category, but if there is, the Vandoliers are without question stalwarts in that category. The Vandoliers, on "Forever", pound through their songs with unabashed, gravelly vocalled, verve and pepper them with fiddle flourishes, twangy Strat solos, mariachi horns and white-country soul (the good kind). But you know at any moment they could unleash a straight on rocker, and probably want to. In a better world this is what pop-country would be, but for now we'll have to create playlists around them and just pretend.

Favorite Songs: Sixteen Years, Bottom Dollar Boy, Cigarettes In the Rain


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Vandoliers- Forever

Jenny Lewis-On The Line (2019)

Posted by KB on 6/10/2019 to Reviews In Brief
Jenny Lewis is an artist who can take personal experiences and inner thoughts and make the listener care. The songs are genuine and the subjects real. You can hear her disappointment, anger, satisfaction or bile in her voice and her melodies, tone and rhythms frame the mood but never take away from her voices' prominence. Lewis is aging oh so gracefully, continuing to put out strong and thoughtful albums. Each with her signature over all sound without sounding like retreads and each being just a bit better than the previous one. "On the Line" could arguably be her best to date, so here's to here looking forward to her next because it'll probably raise the bar yet again.

Favorite Songs: Red Bull & Hennessy, Hollywood Lawn, Rabbit Hole, Wasted Youth, Heads Are Gonna Roll


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Charly Bliss- Young Enough (2019)

Posted by KB on 6/6/2019 to Reviews In Brief
"Young Enough" doesn't grab you like their last, high energy release "Guppy" did. Charly Bliss still allow their pop-punk to emerge but there is a little less of it and more introspective self realizations (just read any Eva Hendricks interview or album review for more in depth detail), more subtlety and more synths. YE requires a few more listens to fully pull you in, but if you invest just a little time you will appreciate the band's growth. And having seen them multiple times live, I can report that YE's songs translate well to the stage. Charly Bliss know their way around a power pop melody and, in my opinion, will be around for awhile - provided their increase in popularity doesn't ruin them. Fingers crossed.

Favorite Songs: Under You, Chatroom, Hurt Me, Hard To Believe


Young Enough




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