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Slowdive – everything is alive- I have listened to this album a dozen times since Thursday evening when I first acquired it. I have listened to it at night, alone in the store in the morning, on a walk, on a bike ride. On headphones, vinyl, CD and streaming. I am doing this to enjoy possibly the most anticipated album of the year, but also because I keep waiting for something brilliant and quippy and clever to pop into my head to say about it. It’s just not happening. This is the second album post reunion for the band, and it’s been about six years since the last one. Should it be compared to the last one? What about the first three? Should any Slowdive album be compared to the other? Probably not. I will say that I connect with this one more than the self-titled one from 2017 and I connected with that quite a bit. There is this stunning bit of hope and joy in a lot of the music, especially on “Prayers Remembered” which may be my favorite track on the album (at least right now). I can throw out all the buzzwords for music like this, but they all seem to be just that. One thing that really stands out on the album is that “Kisses” is practically a pop song. Can you imagine if this came out at the height of College Rock and 120-Minutes? It’s a gorgeous album that I feel is a must own in one’s collection. It’s pretty mind blowing that they keep putting out music on this level at this point in life.
Ghost of Vroom – Ghost of Vroom 3 so Ghost of Vroom is Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing doing songs that sound like they could be Soul Coughing songs. It is him and Andrew “Scrap” Livingstone and Mario Caldeto Jr., who was practically a member of The Beastie Boys. I guess this is the third album. I didn’t know there was a second one, but I really liked the first Ghost Of Vroom. It’s the guys doing kind of a free form, stream of conscious, hip-hop meets groove based rock thing. You can absolutely credit Mario C. for a lot of this sound and vibe. While most of the songs are upbeat grooves, there is also a song called “Yesterday In California” which is an oddly emotional and pretty song. It works. This is among my favorite Mike Doughty stuff through his whole career. Check out “More Bacon Than The Pan Can Handle” off the first one also (actually check out that whole first Vroom). Andrew “Scrap” Livingston
Small Million – Passenger-this is very good. I guess this Portland band used to be a duo and is now a four piece. I haven’t listened to any of their old music, but I guess it was synth based. I can hear it. This is much more fleshed out as a full on indie pop band with dreamy vibes. This is very good, and I would call this the second best album out this week-short one two only seven tracks and under a half an hour. Fans of First Aid Kit, Tennis and bands like that might dig this. Give it a listen.
Speedy Ortiz – Rabbit Rabbit-this album, according to the press stuff, finds Sadie Dupuis digging into influences such as The Deftones, QTSA, Incubus, Blonde Redhead and things like that. All bands I have no interest in. I have never been a huge Speedy Ortiz fan, but I do like them. They always have a few good songs on their albums in the Sleater Kinney and good side of 90’s rock vibe. They do on this album also, with “You SO2” being the standout. The tone and vibe of most of the songs were just not happening for me, and I do think it is because they are going for that sound mentioned earlier.
Puma Blue – Holy Waters-this is cool. UK Jazz artist that does soulful lo-fi music. The song ‘O, The Blood’ has some trip-hop beats that really bring out the Portishead vibes. Check this out.
Lauren Calve – Shift- Washington D.C. songwriter-this may be her debut album. I guess she is Americana by nature, but there is some rock, even 90’s female fronted indie rock, and straight forward singer-songwriter here. There is not a lot of production here, and this album probably isn’t ready for a big national release to cause the artist to break out. I do like what is happening here, and find the songs to be heartfelt, genuine and they connect.
The Natvral – Summer of No Light-This is Kip Berman of Pains Of Being Pure at Heart doing a pretty straight up classic songwriter rock record. There is a lot of Tom Petty here, and it reminds me a bit of Graham Parker also. There is a little twang here and there and for the most part it is musically upbeat, though lyrically maybe not so much. It’s a refreshing listen.
Essential Forever – Essential Forever-not sure who this is but the press bit says he is all about Nillson, McCartney and Emmitt Rhodes-and this sounds exactly like that. Good pop songs straight out of that era. Maybe a little too much. This might be what Father John Misty is trying to achieve, but this is more genuine.
Fake Fever – Inside the Well-Don’t know anything about this band, but it is very pleasant dream pop and club music, and I suppose if it reminds me of anything it’s Tame Impala (just a bit). Nice listen.
Icona Pop – Club Romantech-They had that hit with Charli XCX ten years ago called “I Love It” and it was a good one. This is the second album since then and like the last one, it is just mid-level club pop music that might be fun to dance to, but not a lot of fun to listen to. It’s harmless.
mssv (feat. Mike Watt) – Human Reaction is Mike Baggetta, Mike Watt and Stephen Hodge. It’s free form rock, spoken word played by kick ass musicians. Not something I put on to listen to, but would certainly watch it live-and they will be at Reverb on September 28th.
Blu & Real Bad Man – Bad News-San Pedro rapper Blu collaborates with Real Bad Men. Pretty straightforward, but good hip-hop. Nothing stood out beyond that it was the type of hip-hop I like to listen to. Not a lot of cliches, voice manipulation and the same two offensive words over and over and over again.
Elliott Fullman – End of Ways-this is a guy who has been interviewing bands on social media since he was nine. He is also in the movie Terrifier 2. Now he makes music at 19 years old. It’s pretty, mellow, acoustic bedroom music and a bit of a downer, but not bad.
Illa J – No Traffic-This is J Dilla’s younger brother-who was also a member of Slum Village for a bit. I have a hard time reviewing hip-hop albums as I just feel I sound silly talking about rhymes, beats, flow and what-not. I just know what I don’t like and what I like-and I like this enough. I am not sure if lyrically it’s all that thrilling and I don’t think it will inspire me to listen a lot, but the production and over all vibe made it a nice one time listen.
The Paper Kites – At the Roadhouse-Album number six from the Australian folk rock band. They have a nice sound.
Rae Fitzgerald – Say I Look Happy-singer-songwriter from Columbia, Missouri. The opening track really got me. I liked the rest enough to listen again, but definitely front-loaded the strongest song.
Sprain – The Lamb As Effigy or Three-I was interested in this-post punk, spoken craziness until I saw it was an hour and a half long. Maybe someday. Has potential.
Taking Meds – Dial M For Meds-fun Chicago power-pop band that even the pop punk kids might dig. They have been playing shows with Smoking Popes which makes sense.
Tekno – The More, The Better-starts off with THAT Dido sample…that has been done before. I quit after that, but it’s modern soul/hip-hop from the Nigerian artist
midwxst – E3-Debut album from big internet star. It is pop, r&b, and hiphop-very modern stuff that will appeal to young listeners.
Empire State Bastard – Rivers Of Hersey-heavy rock album from people that are in Biffy Clyro and Dave Lombardo who was the drummer for Slayer a long time ago.
Frankie and the Witch Fingers – Data Doom-Celebrating ten years as a garage rock band (though I think just two original members are left) with their seventh album.
Field Medic – light is gone 2-new album from emo-ish lo-fi bedroom musician
Hey Colossus – In BloodKnown -new album from sludgy doomy UK rock band.
Jeff Rosenstock – HELLMODE-Jeff returns with the follow up to his Ska Dreams album that had everyone excited for a minute. I don’t remember if that album was actually ska or not. This one is not.
Joel Stoker – The Undertow-solo album from The Rifles frontman
Larry Fleet – Earned It-Country music singer on that massive independent label Big Loud (Morgan Wallen, Hardy). Super mainstream stuff.
Lathe of Heaven – Bound By Naked Skies-post punk band
Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons –KIngs of the Asylum-this Phil Campbell is from Moterhead
Philip Seth Campbell– City Lights-This Phil Campbell is from The Temperance Movement
Polaris– Fatalism-New album from Australian metalcore band.
Primal Fear – Code Red-new album from the Power Metal veterans
Soen – Memorial-New album from Swedish prog metal band.