In case you care what I have been listening too lately (and I know you secretly lose sleep wondering)…here you go…since you insist….
Local Maplewood, NJ hometown indie rock A-Leaguers, Tri-State, continue their collective, at ease, upward momentum with their latest 5 track release , we did what we could do (2016) on the ultra-cool and equally Jersey label, Mint 400 Records . The killer riff on the opening track (and one of my personal favorites), “Summer Nun” kicks in the thruster a bit since their beautifully gliding, yet slightly subdued 2 song EP, New Minuits (2015). Again you find guitarists Julian Brash and Jeff Zelevansky trade off engrossing and seamless electric six-string conversations when not splitting vocal duties, while the complimenting percussionist union of Mason Rather (bass) and Brady McNamara (drums) keeps everything delightfully moving and grooving along. wdwwcd is simply a fun record from start to finish. It’s a perfect album on replay, tapping your foot on a sunny, sandy Miami beach while lounging lazily under palm trees, slightly concerned about falling coconuts, weird, unrecognizable birds and equally weird, unrecognizable insects (proven this past holiday weekend). Other stand out tracks include “Petty” (“boy, you got a lot to say….”), Siamese twin track “Suture”and “Automatic Man.”
My “Buffalo Bro” Daryl who I can “geek talk” music for days, weeks, even months on end (and have the never-ending text to prove it), have been digitally nudging (read: nagging) me to listen to the latest Touché Amore’ record, Stage 4 (2016) for months, but not as long as he has been nagging me to listen to Elliot Smith’s XO. I finally broke down, found time and listened…and listened…. WOW. I like it…. a lot! Based out of Los Angeles, this four-piece hardcore band found the perfect balance of familiarity and unique, of the definable and almost indefinable. They apply a unique spin on an otherwise played out genre, somehow making melodic shoe-gazey, indie rock riffs hardcore with minimum doses of extra crunchy distortion and beautifully bridging the hardcore and post-hardcore/emo sound, similar to Title Fight. Atypical singing patterns/rhythms and very deep, extremely personal thought provoking lyrics only add to their refreshing approach. The album title holds a double meaning, being the bands 4th record and also the very worse stage of cancer, a subject that rears its ugly head throughout the recording, apparently due to leader singer Jeremy Bolm losing his mom to the dreaded disease recently in 2014. The subject matter certainly sends my brain hurtling back 30 years ago when I lost my own mother in the same fashion, leaving me slightly envious that Bolm could scream about it for months on end touring and finding relief while I just buried those feelings deep down inside somewhere long ago where they mostly remain to this day. Ironically, after all this time, I can find some relief in Bolm’s circumstances and the bands music, knowing I am not the only one that ever went through such a soul-shredding event. Opening track, “Flowers and You,” “Displacement,” “Benediction,” and “Water Damage” are just some of the many great songs on this record. Check it.
The Menzingers is a Philly band I heard of a number of times but only started listening to their music because I saw they played a recent show at Garwood, NJ’s infamous Crossroads, this time nudged by the club’s Facebook page. Another 4 piece, the band plays an all too familiar sound, but they do it in a way that keeps my interest. Punk -n- Roll at its finest. The first song of theirs I got hooked on, “Remission,” off of 2014’s dour-ish Rented World, is nothing special when it comes to many other songs I subsequently discovered in their impressive catalog, but it only takes that little something to keep the tune and video on replay in my life (in this case, it’s that little “uh” leader singer Greg Barnett blurts (Accidently? Deliberately? Both?) after the first verse, or even the killer sing along chorus “Everyone needs a crutch…I need a wheel chair…I need a reason to reason with you…”). Their new record, After the Party (2017), was released just a few weeks ago and remains in heavy rotation in my life. A much cheerier release, they managed (and I slightly plagiarize from another review because I agree), to keep their street cred intact while making radio friendly songs. Check out song like “Lookers,” Mid-Western States,” “Your Wild Years,” “Black Mass” …oh, just listen to whole record, it’s great from start to finish!
Dinosaur Jr.’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016), is also filed under easy listening in my life. For die-hard fans, this is a typical, predictable record for the original band lineup, and that is just perfectly dandy for us. Interestingly, a little bird (i.e. drummer Murph) mentioned in an interview that GAGOWYN came to life because J. Mascis “freaked out” about not having any new songs and quickly threw some together. Many in the know would agree that the thought of J. losing his shit is hard to imagine, considering he never seems to have a pulse and really quiet during interviews. And when he does say something it is quite clear why he constantly accused of being a stoner (which he isn’t, at least according to him). Yes, the final results sound rushed when knowing this little back story, but the results are still rockingly impressive. Standouts include the opener “Going Down, “I Told Everyone” and “Tiny” but my favorites are “Lost All Day” right into “Knocked Around.”
The Cloud Nothings is another band I was slow on the draw about until I stumbled upon their latest release, Life Without Sound (2017). An incredibly solid listen from start to finish. It took me multiple listens on many runs final figure out what I love about this band/record: I can’t pigeonhole this band because they don’t sound like any other band that I heard of. I can’t honestly think of any other band that the Cloud Nothings sound like. Offering a completely refreshing, catchy indie sound. they mix the perfect blend of melody with umph…what’s not to like? Such tracks as the piano-tinged opener “Up to the Surface” and “Internal World” are pretty rocking tunes.
Ok…start with these. There may be a quiz. xo