The Front Bottoms-Ann

The Front Bottoms early releases are arguably brilliant, but unquestionably flawed.  Brian Sella had yet to find his signature yelp, the production was lo-fi, the band was still mainly a two-piece, and there was plenty of casual misogyny scattered through the lyrics.  The band’s release of the Rose EP in 2014 was a chance to right some of these wrongs: flesh out some songs for a full band, and make them sound like The Front Bottoms had on Talon of Hawk.  Ann serves as a continuation of the “Grandma” EP series; the band’s current iteration reworks some old songs to make them more fitting with the Going Grey era of The Front Bottoms, a bad idea on paper that pays off nicely. Continue reading

Advertisements

Snapchat: A Loveless Marriage

I never took the kids and left Snapchat, but we only spoke when we needed to and started sleeping in different beds.  I do think Snapchat and I are spared our divorce, but we’re still trapped in an unhappy marriage that I won’t leave for the sake of my contact list.  This was probably foreshadowed by Snapchat’s tumbling stock and when the layout for the app was first altered, but I think that Snapchat’s most recent update is the most half-hearted attempt at making the app better.  Worst of all, it’s going to hurt the app and user’s relationships with it. Continue reading

Frank Turner-Be More Kind

               Frank Turner isn’t exactly a musician out of time.  He’s made a career embracing the past while making fairly relevant music.  He’s also noted for having a diverse taste in music.  If one had to guess, he has an equal affinity for ABBA and Queen as he does for Rancid.  He also will unashamedly speak his political views and point a finger at those he sees as fallacies and evil.  Be More Kind sees Turner seeking empathetic people while taking a step away from his folk and punk roots and leaning into a more radio-friendly indie rock sound. Continue reading

Spanish Love Songs-Schmaltz

LA’s Spanish Love Songs have all the promise of a band that can have real staying power.  They have the hunger of a band that wants people to hear their songs and feelings, and they have the talent to back it up.  Their latest album Schmaltz brings the breakneck intensity of hardcore, but the emotionality and varied sounds of emo.  They take the heartland-americana punk sounds of bands like The Gaslight Anthem or The Menzingers and tie in the heavy pop-punk sounds reminiscent of Upsides-era Wonder Years.  Schmaltz sees a band in the formative stages of becoming an excellent act that will only get better. Continue reading

Andre the Giant (dir. Jason Hehir)

My knowledge of pro-wrestling for the most part starts and ends with the Mountain Goats’ 2015 album Beat the Champ[i].  Prior to that album, it seemed like big guys performing a high energy stage show for an audience of drunk idiots.  What John Darnielle does so well is showing that limited and first impressions are very often wrong.  Beat the Champ is an album that really humanizes so many different aspects of wrestling: the matches, the fans, and the wrestlers.  Like the Mountain Goats album, Andre the Giant was a similar experience.  It educated me on something I thought would just be a weird anomaly.  HBO’s Andre the Giant sheds light on the mythic Andre Roussimoff that is engaging for both fans and casual viewers. Continue reading

Kississippi-Sunset Blush

This isn’t an album I would normally enjoy.  Debut albums from indie rock bands that toe the line between dream pop and emo are usually aggressively okay.  The songs are fine, but they don’t become interesting until the second album.  That’s sort of the case with Philadelphia’s Kississippi.  Sunset Blush is both energetic and mellow, and it seems like the type of album that I’d shrug off as “fine.”  Here’s the thing: it’s pretty good, and I’ve been really enjoying Kississippi’s first album. Continue reading

The Wonder Years-Sister Cities

Philadelphia punks The Wonder Years have continually shown that they’re more than just punks.  Since the release of Suburbia, they’ve never really had an adequate match within the Warped Tour scene that they’re often lumped into, and they don’t really mesh with the artsy DIY punk scene that creates artists like Long Neck or Pinegrove.  This is all to say that even though Sister Cities isn’t their best, The Wonder Years are still in a class all their own. Continue reading

Jack White-Boarding House Reach

Jack White would probably like to be thought of as this generation’s Lead Belly, but really, he’s more likely to go onto to be like this generation’s Lou Reed-an obsessive but eclectic madman dedicated to his art and reinvention.  Like Reed, White is also unafraid of failure or ridiculousness (see: Lulu and “Leck Mich Im Arsch”).  Boarding House Reach sees White leaning into his own experimentation on the weird, sloppy, boring wreck of an album. Continue reading

Coffee Date: The Crystal Ball Frappuccino

Coffee Date is back! Coffee Date is a column where we cover coffee and tea trends.  This week we’re covering The Crystal Ball Frappuccino from Starbucks.

Those Starbucks guys are marketing geniuses.  They can pump out crappy, sugar-loaded Frappuccinos every few months, and they sell like crazy.  When I remember to, I try them, but I’m always disappointed.  Marketing stunts like The Crystal Ball Frappuccino act as a reminder to a bizarre sense of curiosity and brand loyalty.

Continue reading