Dave Hause-Kick

With the formal formation of his backing band, The Mermaid, Dave Hause has become more adventurous. Where 2016’s Bury Me in Philly felt transitional, Kick sounds like a musician who wants to see where he can reach.  The singer-songwriter still channels the Americana of his peers Brian Fallon and Craig Finn perpetuate, but there’s more of an inclination towards a (slightly more) modern America than the Ferris wheels and classic cars that you’d probably expect from the former or the drug abuse as religious metaphor of the latter.  Hause allows his work to be more bass-driven, as he reflects on finding some contentment in age and sobriety. Continue reading

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PUP-Morbid Stuff

Following the success of 2016’s The Dream Is Over, an album that catapulted PUP from respectable Canadian pop-punks to North American scene superstars, Morbid Stuff was weighted with excitement and ambition.  While there was plenty to ring up the excitement in Dream, Morbid Stuff is like taking a rocket to an unknown moon that was just discovered orbiting earth.  With sleek and chunky riffs, Stefan Babcock spills anxiety over with rallying cries and quarter-life rage that sets the band in a certain class of their contemporaries like Rozwell Kid, where they can make incredibly fun and upbeat songs that are immediately memorable and occasionally silly but only layering over a very real sense of self-actualization. Continue reading

Weezer-Weezer (The Black Album)

If you’ve never seen the 2007 Jason Lee-starring children’s film Alvin and the Chipmunks, I implore you to watch it before listening to the latest Weezer record, The Black Album.  Of course, it was only a matter of time before Weezer entered this Spinal Tap realm that was mostly occupied by Metallica and Jay-Z, but it was developed with loathing diehard fans.  While Weezer is a cultural touchstone, and their Teal Album was the subject of ire from many critics, The Black Album is like Alvin and the Chipmunks in that it’s really enjoyable in a mind-numbing way. Continue reading

Meghan Trainor-The Love Train

When Meghan Trainor’s Title was released in 2015, it was occasionally a breath of fresh air.  It subverted classic 60’s and 50’s pop by singing about modern ideas.  It was very similar to Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.  The bops were there.  “All About that Bass” and “Lips are Movin'” were genuine hits, and most of the best moments on the album signaled the energy of those two songs.  Whether it was the doo-wop of “Credit” or corny white-girl rap “Bang Dem Sticks,” there was something mystifying about Trainor,which the industry  obviously sees since she’s appeared on a bunch of singing shows and the Grammys.  What’s most puzzling about Trainor though is her appeal to (much) younger listeners, which her latest EP, The Love Train answers (sorta). Continue reading

Ariana Grande-thank u, next

Releasing a follow up to one of the best pop albums of her career just shy of six months later was a bold choice, but we should’ve expected boldness from Ariana Grande immediately following the release of “thank u, next.”  After calling off a wedding and the death of an ex-boyfriend, Grande’s thank u, next is a pop ode to self-reliance and resilience.  This is both a chance for her to lay out her side of every story that’s been published about her, but it’s also a victory lap.  It has moments of brilliance, but it mostly feels like a kiss off to all the media attention she’s been given and create her own narrative.  Sometimes, a plot twist in your own narrative is what cements you as pop royalty. Continue reading

Astronoid-Astronoid

I recently started compiling this playlist called “Music That Can Play Really Loud But Still Feel Like Background Noise.”  None of these songs are really bad, and the title is something of a joke.  Currently the playlist features the likes of Deafheaven, Radiohead, and Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, and none of these artists make boring music.  That being said, if I’m going for a long drive where I’m going to talk to someone, but I still want music to play; I’d be more inclined to put on this playlist than my collection of metal or songs with literary references.  Astronoid takes the shoegaze and atmospheric elements of those bands that I like and pumps them up with a power metal like brightness that really makes their self-titled third album kind of a drag. Continue reading

Bring Me the Horizon-amo

If there’s one thing Bring Me The Horizon is owed, it’s respect.  While plenty of new albums suffer from a symptom of sameness, BMTH bring us amo, an album that couldn’t feel further from their deathcore roots.  Still, this wasn’t a drastic shift (the opposite end of the same complaint), the band has been inching towards this change since their deathcore opus Suicide Season.  Following 2015’s That’s The Spirit, the band’s crossover into the mainstream shouldn’t come as any surprise; seeing as that was a nu-metal/hard rock record, BMTH coming out with a hard rock/pop album seemed to be the next step.  Now that the band wants to swing for the big leagues, the UK band find shaky ground to establish themselves on. Continue reading

Better Oblivion Community Center-Better Oblivion Community Center

Do you ever sit up late at night watching videos about how close we are to global catastrophe?  Are you bothered by the creeping inevitability of death? Have you ever sat and read the Wikipedia page for predictions for the day the world will end and contemplate your own existential meaning?  If you answered yes to any of these, Better Oblivion Community Center is the band for you!  Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst’s new collaboration finds solace in nothingness and sees it as an excuse to indulge in the spectrum of life’s emotions. Continue reading