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

Top 10 Albums of 2016

Despite deaths and elections, 2016 was an excellent year for music.  There were so many great albums that it was hard to keep up.  That being said, it’s time for the most controversial list, where the top 10 are decided.  Take a deep breath.

10. Panic! At The Disco-Death of A Bachelor

When A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out first arrived in 2006, Panic! At the Disco was the most exciting mainstream rock band in the world.  Pretty. Odd. in retrospect, isn’t a bad record, but it doesn’t have the same life that Fever does.  In fact, the band didn’t even scratch that excitement until the release of the song “This is Gospel,” but on Death of a Bachelor, Brendon Urie sounds refreshed.  The faux Sinatra songs like “Impossible Year” are irresistible, but he really shines on the songs that serve as bangers.  “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” or “LA Devotee” are genuine pop hits, and P!ATD’s best records are still to come if Urie can keep up this output. Continue reading

‘Tranny’ by Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi

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Rock biographies are very often boring.  Sure, the tales of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll are enticing, but after reading stories from Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Kiss, and countless others, all the stories seem to blend together.  The first rock biography I ever read was No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins about the life of Jim Morrison.  Your first foray into rock literature is always unforgettable, but following reading Slash, Stairway to Heaven, No Regrets, and many others, I realized that sex and drugs were only so interesting.  The one exception to this rule had always been Marilyn Manson’s The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, until Laura Jane Grace and Dan Ozzi published Tranny. Continue reading

Green Day announce Revolution Radio tour with Against Me!

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Check out the dates below!

3/1 Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Arena

3/2 El Paso, TX – El Paso County Coliseum

3/4 Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center

3/5 Houston, TX – Toyota Center

3/7 Tulsa, OK – BOK Center

3/8 North Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena

3/10 Duluth, GA – Infinite Energy Center

3/12 Norfolk, VA – Constant Convocation Center

3/13 Washington, DC – Verizon Center

3/15 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center

3/17 Worcester, MA – DCU Center

3/19 London, ON – Budweiser Gardens

3/20 Hamilton, ON – FirstOntario Centre

3/22 Montreal, QC – Bell Centre

3/23 Quebec, QC – Vidéotron Centre

3/25 Pittsburgh, PA – Petersen Events Center

3/27 Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena

3/28 Champaign, IL – State Farm Center

3/30 Green Bay, WI – Resch Center

4/1 Saint Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center

4/3 Des Moines, IA – Wells Fargo Arena

4/5 Broomfield, CO – 1stBank Center

4/7 Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena

4/8 San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center

Monday Mixtape: 10/3 (The Weeknd, Bon Iver, Nick Drake)

The Weeknd-“False Alarm”

Following an electric SNL performance, it seems The Weeknd’s Starboy will be one of the strongest in R&B this year.  It’s one of the fastest, heaviest loaded songs, creating a dark club track.

 

Bon Iver-“715-CRSSKS”

This haunting auto-tuned anthem has some of the heaviest emotions on all of Bon Iver’s latest release.  Justin Vernon lets the weight of the world fall on the listener as his vocals become more distorted and confusing until he’s shouting during the song’s outro.

 

Slaughter Beach, Dog-“Jobs”
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Painting an image of the fictitious Slaughter Beach’s thriving underbelly, this is one of the most varied pieces on Jake Ewald’s debut solo album.  It’s an infectious track with one of the best opening lines of the year.

 

Bad Religion-“Fuck Armageddon…This is Hell”

 

As debates have been recapped, we keep alluding to the end of the world with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  This is a fitting song for an election year, and for the fact that I’m seeing Bad Religion tomorrow night.

 

Brand New-“Limousine”

 

The Long Island hometown heroes have just announced that they will be playing this iconic album from front to back on their forthcoming tour with Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms.  This is one of the best songs from Devil and God and sure to be explosive as always.

 

Diet Cig-“Harvard”

Speaking of The Front Bottoms, I’ve been reviewing their Champagne Jam lineup, and I’m always thrilled to see some of New Paltz’s finest on the list.  This punky, emotional jam is a must-listen from the duo.

 

Against Me!-“I Still Love You Julie”


Another prep for Tuesday night’s show-I have my fingers crossed to hear a couple classic Reinventing Axl Rose songs on Tuesday from Against Me!

 

Nick Drake-“Day is Done”

 

Nick Drake’s eerie folk tune is fitting for the rainy fall weather New York has seen this weekend.  As October rears its head, Nick Drake’s mournful folk is always suited to the occasion.

 

Monday Mixtape 9/19 (Against Me!, The Front Bottoms, Kendrick Lamar)

Against Me!-“12:03”


Shape Shift With Me has been in heavy rotation for me over the weekend, and the second track is easily one of the most fun and catchiest.  Laura Jane Grace captures all the excitement and anxiety of the start of a new relationship.  It’s very similar to the Searching for a Former Clarity song “Pretty Girls.”  Also, Laura’s calling out Topshop for that $700 Against Me! jacket is punk as fuck.

 

Beach Slang-“Noisy Heaven”


            I thought about including a song from Here, I Made This For You, but with the release of A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings coming up, I’ve been revisiting Beach Slang’s first album.

 

The Front Bottoms-“Tighten Up”


New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms have sprung two b-sides from Back On Top onto the internet, and it’s fucking awesome.  The band will be touring with Brand New and Modern Baseball this Fall, followed by their own Champagne Jam 2016 in New York City.  Hopefully this and “Joanie” will be played at each show.  It’s classic catchy and bizarre TFB.

 

Motion City Soundtrack“Pulp Fiction”


Motion City Soundtrack may have played their final show this weekend, but I’m not ready to let go.  This My Dinosaur Life is an easy favorite deep cut from a band that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

Kendrick Lamar-“m. A. A. D. city”


            I’ve been reading Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, and his poetry has had me revisiting some of my favorite artists, and I just read his poem “The Author Explains Good Kid, M. A. A. D. City to His White Friend While Driving Through Southeast Ohio.”  Music is obviously very important to Abdurraqib, and he pays tribute to everyone from Pete Wentz and Elliot Smith to Drake and Kanye.

 

Crying-“Wool in the Wash”


I’m getting on the Crying bandwagon a little late, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this track over the weekend.  I’ve gone back and listened some of the chip-rock band’s older work, and this is them at their most realized.  They have the large soaring video game sounds, but with some of the poppier, jingliest work yet.

 

The Hold Steady-“Chips Ahoy”


The second of three “Wish I was at Riot Fest” entries, I’m just upset about not seeing The Hold Steady this weekend at Riot Fest, because I missed Riot Fest.  The only other options I’m truly bummed about are…

 

The Misfits-“Hybrid Moments”


            Here’s to crossing my fingers for a Misfits tour!

 

Leonard Cohen-“Chelsea Hotel #2”


Following terrorist attacks in Chelsea, it seems fitting to play this Leonard Cohen cut a gloomy, rainy Monday.  It’s been raining in New York, and this mellow song about Janis Joplin is fitting.

Against Me!-Shape Shift With Me

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During “ProVision L-3,” it seems like Against Me!’s seventh album will be a return to more hardcore punk roots albeit in a bland way.  Laura Jane Grace and company shatter that idea by the time Grace sings the opening lines of “12:03.”  Against Me! deliver a nice helping of heavy power-pop throughout Shape Shift With Me.  If Transgender Dysphoria Blues was a rebirth for the punk outfit, Shape Shift With Me is the band finding steady footing.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues set out for Laura Jane Grace to record her experience as coming out as a trans-woman, and Shape Shift With Me seems to show what Grace’s love life has been like since she came out.  She has songs that both show excitement for a new relationship (“12:03,” “Crash”) and others that show anger and grief (“Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be,” “Boyfriend”).  The melodic instrumentation is reminiscent of punk rock heavyweights like The Gaslight Anthem or Green Day.  Grace’s vocals still cut through everything making some of Against Me!’s most solid music and lyrics.

Laura Jane Grace sings some songs at a mile-a-minute.  Tracks like “12:03,” “333” and “Norse Truth” have moments where Laura’s speak-singing style crams in all the words she needs to say.  “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be” is one of the most powerful moments on Shape Shift as it seems to see Grace tackling her gender dysphoria again as she had on Transgender Dysphoria Blues.  “Boyfriend” has Grace chastising a lover not to treat her like “some dumb fucking boyfriend,” and you can hear both the anger and lament in her voice.  Where most of the early cuts on the album are self-reflective and emotional, the latter tracks of the album take a more lustful approach.  “Rebecca” glorifies “just a good couple casual fucks” in a seemingly BDSM relationship, and “Dead Rats” seems to blur the lines between love and lust.

Shape Shift With Me only suffers from the lack of boundaries it pushes.  Against Me! have constantly been a band of reinvention, and Shape Shift With Me only succeeds in being a pretty great album.  It doesn’t tackle large issues like on Reinventing Axl Rose or Transgender Dysphoria Blues, but Grace’s explorations of personal relationships are still just as enjoyable.

Monday Mixtape: 9/12 (Green Day, Lady Gaga, Beach Slang, Kevin Devine)

Green Day-“Revolution Radio”


Green Day are vamping up for their return, and the title track from their new album is as explosive as ever.  The melodic punk track features Green Day’s trademark catchy power chords.  Tré Cool shines through locking the song down the most.  Billie Joe Armstrong writes some of his wordiest lyrics continuing on from the equally intricate “Bang Bang.”  Revolution Radio will be released October 7.

 

Against Me!-“Crash”


While Shape Shift With Me is streaming via NPR, the catchiest track remains the power pop gem “Crash.”  Laura barks over some melodic guitar rock.  “Crash” lands all the punches that Shape Shift With Me should when it’s released on Friday.

 

Kanye West-“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”


Not a new song, but I’m still coming down from a Saint Pablo tour hangover.

 

The Smiths-“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”

As summer officially comes to an end, Morrissey and Johnny Marr have written some of the best Autumn songs ever written.  This Louder than Bombs track is essential Smiths listening, and it’s a bittersweet take for the start of Fall.  It’s a Pumpkin-Spiced jam.

 

Beach Slang-“Atom Bomb”


This sludgy track has one of the best music videos of the summer, and James Alex sings this song with an intense snarl, that’s irresistible.  While “Punks in a Disco Bar” sounds like a chunkier version of a track from Beach Slang’s first album, this song shows that the Philly outfit still has some tricks up their sleeves.

 

Lady Gaga-“Perfect Illusion”


            This Tame-Impala produced single may be Gaga’s best following the flop that was Artpop.  This era of Gaga may be exciting.

 

Kevin Devine-“No History”


Remembering 9/11 this weekend certainly puts a lot of things into perspective.  Over the weekend, everyone that was around the same age as me when the World Trade Center attacks happened remembered the confusion.  Kevin Devine’s first song from Instigator captures what I imagine it must have felt like for people that were much older than I was when the terrorist attacks happened.  Devine is also aware of how this event has echoed to this day.  As Devine sings “This is the future severe and always happening” is one of the eeriest to come during this haunting song.  Devine doesn’t really memorialize any of those lost, but he does reveal the confusion, fear and anger that has never been forgotten.