Category: Music Reviews


The Willowz
Fifth
Thrill Me

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California-based garage punk rock band, The Willowz, is back with more of their trademark fusion of punkrock and blues. The trio of Richie James Follin (Vocals and Guitar), Jessica Anne Reynoza (Bass Guitar and Vocals) and Loren Shane Humphrey (drums) haven’t lost their edge and in comparison to previous work, Follin has done a most sound-worthy job of getting the mix to the next level. The album takes off with melodious and catching “Don’t Let Them See” and “Never Let You Go” at just under two minutes offers up a brilliant adrenaline rush. The final track “Lily” is an achievement of richness bolstered by instrumental (string) embellishment. Not to take away from the sheer enjoyment of listening to the album, but you might want to put on a set of high-end earphones and pay attention to the technical work on this contribution.


Midnight Sister
Saturn Over Sunset
Jagjaguwar

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This genre-defying debut release from duo Juliana Giraffe and Ari Balouzian, “Midnight Sister” (co-produced by Alex Izenberg), conjures up a gripping music buffet of pop; groove; Southern European yé-yé à la manière de Serge Gainsbourg; Beatles-esque, Moody Blues-y, Bowie-Visconti “Space Oddity”(get the idea?) Mellotron-fuelled wafts; woodwinds and strings that are sure to play on your psyche. It’s been said that the album is Hollywood cinematic, which is true, but moreover, it is an mature standout in the line of new releases this year offering the listener a journey, which might feel uncomfortable or weird at times, but it’s worth the ride. You’ll surely be swept off your feet by “Blue Cigar”. The instrumental “The View from Gilligan’s Island” has elements of Baroque pop and with “Showgirl” you’re likely fall into that heightened, magical world of the musical production. By the time you reach the final track don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve been immersed in a Lynchian surreal exposé where the familiar seeems strange – “Mulholland Drive” or “Twin Peaks” Bang Bang Bar – but you’re alright and with “Their Eyes” Giraffe’s mesmeric vocal will leave you feeling that the journey has ended happily and the end credits are rolling.


INHEAVEN
INHEAVEN
PIAS

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INHEAVEN are a four-piece alternative rock band from South London with members Chloe Little (bass, vocals), James Taylor (vocals, guitar), Joe Lazarus (drums) and Jake Lucas (guitar). There’s just no other way to say it, but this debut album rocks big time! Yes, there’s some shoegaze, but it’s artfully blended with dominant rock and grunge, so it’s certainly not more dream pop and you won’t get sucked into dreamblends of undifferentiated sounds (of which the market offers plenty). The opening track, “Baby’s Alright” offers up an excellent up to now/then statement on American culture which is surely enough to get Mr. Trump raging away on Twitter. Politics aside (not possible, really), it’s a rocker brought to accentuated heights by Joe’s drums, Chole’s bassline, and buzzed guitars. And while there’s been a lot said about the tracks “Bitter Town” and “Regeneration” (neither should be ignored), there’s still a preference here for the uncontrolled agitation of the band’s debut single, “Bitter Town”. Add the album to your collection for it’s social sensitivity and fanfuckingtastic alt-rock.


The Lovely Bad Things
Teenage Grown Ups
Burger Records

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The Lovely Bad Things have released their second album, “Teenage Grownups”, so brace yourself for exceptionally energetic rock-punk-garage. The Lovely Bad Things is brothers Camron (guitar, vocals) and Brayden Ward (drums, vocals), Lauren Curtius (guitar, vocals), Tim Hatch (guitar) and Wesley Baxter (bass). The album opens with a frantic “I’ll Listen” that’s sure to wake you up and keep you listening. The album’s title track “Teenage Grown Ups” is next up and if you’re young and anxious for the future or if you’ve already joined the masses of disillusioned adult office workers, this song has to resonate. But either way join the band in keeping your sense of humour (check out the video). You can slow down a bit with “Cartoon Food”. You gotta love the “woo-woos”! “I Just Want You To Go Away” shows that while the songs are often quite amusing and melodious, the band can also slap you…

“I’m not gonna hide
But honey, you better
Get on a bus go downtown
Get a life

And the boys that hear you sobbing– don’t give a shit
I don’t know what I’m searching for– but I know that you’re not it
Where have you been all my life?– so I know where you can stay
I don’t know what I want anymore– I just want you to go away”

Go ahead and download “Teenage Grown Ups” and enjoy. If it doesn’t make your day better, well sorry, “Get a life”!


The Accidentals
Odyssey
Masterworks

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The Michigan-based trio comprised of singer/songwriter/multi-intstrumentalists Savannah Buist and Katie Larson along with drummer Michael Dause, has released a strong folk-rock album. The songs certainly make for great listening, but it’s important to recognize the technical achievements of the group. Without advocating study of music theory, it’s enough to say that a lot of effort has gone into the construction and delivery of the songs perhaps most evident in “Memorial Day” and “Cut Me Down”. Yes, the end of summer is upon us, but you can extend your holidays at least one more day by downloading “Odyssey” and taking some time to enjoy this LP.


Amy O
Elastic
Winspear

Indiana-based Amy O’s (Amy Oelsner) “Elastic” is justly titled owing to the artist’s penchant for out of the ordinary song structures, changes in pace (moving from opening track “Lavender” to “Soft Skin” or “History Walking to “Sunday Meal”, for example) and melodies. The twelve track album is a quick listen with only two tracks (“Cherry Blossom” and “Spill”) running over three minutes. But, the briskness of the album along with the changes in tension and mobility moving track-to-track and the melodic relationships are what makes this debut album work. Oh, it’s a fair bet that there’s a hook or two that will stick in your head. “Elastic” is a worthy debut.

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Guantanamo Baywatch
Desert Center
Suicide Squeeze

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Hey dudes and dudettes…Yet another great act in the Suicide Squeeze portfolio, this Portland-based band , Guantanamo Baywatch, really knows how to dish out the surf punk. If you have any doubts just check out “Conquistador” the lead track on the band’s new release, “Desert Center”. ” Jason Powell continues to lead on guitar along with new member Jordan Owen. Yeah, can’t help but think Dick Dale and the Del-Tones and the The Barracudas gone punk. Guantanamo Baywatch does it all, and man, there’s no messing around. Want rhythm? You got it! Chris Scott is together on drums and there is no overlooking Chevelle Wiseman. Ride the wild surf on her bassline. Check out “Area 69”, for example. Go for it – “Cowabunga”!


Sara Evans
Words
Born To Fly Records

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American country music singer-songwriter Sara Evans has released “Words” her eighth studio album and the first on her independent label Born To Fly Records. Clearly what distinguishes this album is that all of the fourteen songs are written by a female songwriter. That’s not to say that there are not any melodies worthy of special attention. There’s some ear-pleasing country pop tracks such as “Marquee Sign” written by Evans, Jimmy Robbins, and Heather Morgan and featuring vocals by Evans’ daughter, Olivia. “Letting You Go” written by Evans is good country folk. You probably won’t feel blown away by the album, but keeping in mind the emphasis on female songwriters and the pleasant feeling one is likely to take away, if you’re into contemporary country it should be added to your collection.


Sheer Mag
Need to Feel Your Love
Static Shock Records

Sheer Mag is Kyle and Hart Seely, Matt Palmer, Ian Dykstra and Tina Halladay. The band’s debut album, “Need to Feel Your Love”, offers up an amalgam of grizzly punk, classic rock and progresssive rock led by Haladay’s sizzling high-powered and commanding vocals. While there can be no ignoring Halladay’s awesome voice, her bandmates are exceptional in executing mature arrangements. Sure, there are white-hot tracks like “Meet Me In The Street”, “Turn It Up” and “Suffer Me” where there’s not much in the way of free headroom, but “Milk And Honey”and “(Say Goodbye To) Sophie Scholl are relatively easy-going. You’ll likely be compulsed by the total ass-kicking-ness of “Need to Feel Your Love”!

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Breakfast Muff
Eurgh!
Amour Foo

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Post-punk is alive and well with Eilidh McMillan, Simone Wilson and Cal Donnelly – Breakfast Muff. Not to be taken lightly, Breakfast Muff is a genuine post-punk band of the do-it-yourself variety. “Eurgh!” is exciting. It’s loud trashy punk ferocity for real delivering songs with the kind of rough edges reminiscent of 1970s/80s . You’ll be greeted with a great intro – the ripping, frantic “Lunch Money”. 00:49 seconds later you careen into the relatively melodious “Arms Brains”. The album’s killer song “R U A Feminist” follows, leaving no doubt that the band will confront women’s right and other political subjects head-on. “Eurgh!” ends on the melodious “Stinky Goodbyes” and somewhat off-kilter “Waving Cat”. Okay, this album isn’t for everybody, but if you think post-punk is only about aggressive growling and barking, you’re wrong, and Breakfast Muffin’s “Eurgh!”delivers on creativity, experimentation and fun.


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