All we have now is music right? In a year where it felt like the world was falling apart, there was so much to take hope in (even songs that were written and recorded long before things started going to shit). A number of artists created work that both reflected the current moment inadvertently (Punisher, RTJ4) and very intentionally (Taylor Swift, Charli XCX). These are my top albums of the year:Continue reading
If you were a tumblr user and fan of bands like The Front Bottoms and TWIABP in 2015, it’s near impossible to not have heard of Insignificant Other. Lead vocalist and songwriter, Sim Morales has been releasing covers with some originals via bandcamp for last half of the decade, but the recent release of i’m so glad i feel this way about you paints a picture of a triumphant pop-punk band with a Brooklyn-sensibility despite their Alabama by way of Gainesville location. Continue reading
The idea of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus forming a band and releasing a great EP almost sounds like a joke. While each is distinctive from the next, they’re all within the same ballpark; it’s sounds too good to be true. Also, this record is the real fucking deal. It wouldn’t be a shocker if it was a cheap cash-in EP for a massive tour, but it’s an unbelievably dynamic record. If each of these women wanted to quit their solo careers and just focus on boygenius, I’m sure it would be just as compelling. What makes boygenius an engaging listen is the exact same thing that makes each singer’s solo albums engaging, they’re strong women who find that strength in being vulnerable and emotional. Continue reading
There aren’t many artists that can recapture the catchy, emotional energy that bands like Modern Baseball and Diet Cig have been able to in the past few years. Glasgow’s The Spook School fully encompass all the best qualities of both those bands on their latest album Could It Be Different? They balance between sincere feelings and snarky adolescent wit within a bright pop-punk frame that borrows from classics as much as it does from emo revivalists. It’s an overwhelmingly good album in a genre that has more and more felt exhausted of its creativity. Continue reading
There’s never really a bad year for music. There are always going to be great albums from popstars like Lorde or underground masterpieces like Mount Eerie’s new album. When it comes to deciding a personal top ten, it becomes a mix of what releases seemed most significant and what I returned to the most. Where there were excellent albums from Kendrick, Japandroids, and Kesha, these were the albums that defined my year. Also, shoutout to Run the Jewels. RTJ 3 would’ve made the list, but they leaked it Christmas Day 2016, so too bad.
- The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die-Always Foreign
TWIABP continue to carry the torch they helped ignite in the emo revival. Always Foreign sees the band inching forward where Harmlessness left off. It’s the band’s most politically-minded release-to-date. “Marine Tigers” and “Fuzz Minor” are scathing social commentaries delivered by an impassioned David F. Bello. The band also doesn’t shy away from creating indie-rock with a sense of grandeur, as “Infinite Steve” and “Faker” see the band embracing post-rock the size of which the band hasn’t grown to before. With the songs “The Future” and “Dillon and Her Son,” TWIABP don’t shy away from Blink-182 style pop-punk, making this the most diverse set of songs TWIABP have ever released.
“I don’t go to Brooklyn,” Casey mutters anytime I propose a show in the King’s County borough. “We should see a show soon,” is a phrase Casey says to me about every two weeks. When scrolling through events on Facebook, I saw both Bowling for Soup at the Gramercy Theatre and Diet Cig at Baby’s All Right on a Friday. Casey initially agreed to Bowling for Soup, and when I proposed catching Diet Cig’s late show for their record release of Swear I’m Good at This, she was down to do both in a night. We managed to hit both shows and it was a hell of a shit show. Continue reading
I want to tell you about my friend Josh. Josh is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. He can brighten anyone’s day by simply entering the room. Josh is hilarious and can take his energy level from 0-100 in seconds. I feel like most people who know Josh just tend to latch onto the chaotic energy he brings, but Josh can also be one of the kindest, most caring people when he needs to be. That being said, he can bounce back from those serious moments in a heartbeat. It’s for this reason that Diet Cig reminds me of Josh. Continue reading
There are plenty of duos that may as well stand for the whole band: Lennon & McCartney, Page & Plant, Axl & Slash, the lineage goes on. Even though these pairs tend to overshadow their rhythm sections, with few exceptions, people rarely consider these pairs to be the complete band. Of the Beatles, Zeppelin, and Guns N’ Roses, Guns is probably the only act you struggled to name all the members because there are 5, not 4. Of course, the power duos never stopped existing. Marilyn Manson, Fall Out Boy, and Modern Baseball are all bands that have two distinctive figureheads for their bands.
Even though each of those bands are special and have aspects that make them stand out, there’s a certain credibility to bands that cut the size of those lineups in half. Two pieces aren’t exactly new to rock music, but since the early 2000’s, a band can pull the simple trick of consisting of only two members, and critics are bound to have some sense of respect for it. Now, we can sit here and argue the merits of abandoning a bassist, but the fact of the matter is: most two pieces are pretty good. Here’s a list of the essential two pieces throughout rock history. Continue reading
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.