Slaughter Beach, Dog-Safe and Also No Fear

On his third record under the Slaughter Beach, Dog moniker, Jake Ewald has found a way to be an emotional and interesting storyteller.  Safe and Also No Fear is the former Modern Baseball singer’s most consistent effort with the project yet.  While the musician still paints very specific sketches of people and places, he isn’t as concerned about stories, as he was on Welcome, or finding a new voice for himself, as he was on Birdie.  Safe has the confidence of a band that have finally found their voice and wanted to make a great record that expands on what they’ve built. 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

Steady Hands-Truth in Comedy

     Supposedly, the ancient Persians would make laws, and then, they would get drunk to make sure they made the right law.  Looking through history, some of our greatest thinkers, writers, and figures have been drunks, and it’s makes you think maybe the Persians had something.  That’s not to say all important life decisions should be decided when teetering on a blackout, but sometimes brilliance can be whiskey drenched.  Steady Hands explore the inner workings of human nature, while downing a Pabst Blue Ribbon on their proper debut album Truth in Comedy.   Continue reading

Real Friends-Composure

In “Stand Steady,” the second track off of Real Friends’ third full-length Composure, frontman Dan Lambton sings, “It’s good that I’ve grown.”  In pop-punk, Peter Pan-syndrome runs rampant, and records about growing will always be in vogue.  Whether they’re about resisting development or the difficulties of growing, this is a pop-punk standard, but Real Friends hasn’t really grown or changed besides switching up their charade. Continue reading

The Spook School-Could It Be Different?

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

Imperfect Attempt: The Killers-Barclays Center, NY-1/9/18

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After the first two songs of The Killers’ set on their Wonderful Wonderful tour, frontman Brandon Flowers quotes Evil Knievel: “People don’t pay for the perfect landing; they pay for the attempt.”  Unlike Knievel, The Killers don’t land as much as they attempt, and their performance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center left me wondering if I’d pay for another attempt. Continue reading

Slaughter Beach, Dog-Birdie

It’s not really shocking to find that Jake Ewald is a massive fan of the Mountain Goats and The Weakerthans.  His Modern Baseball songs were always incredibly descriptive and made mundane events seem much more fascinating with his lyrics.  It’s unsurprising that his second album from his Slaughter Beach, Dog outfit bares a strong resemblance to The Weakerthans’ John K. Samson’s recent solo effort.  Birdie is also much more of a jangle-pop effort than even last year’s WelcomeBirdie seems to be truer to Ewald’s life than the first Slaughter Beach, Dog album in a too sweet for its own good way. Continue reading

Go Ahead and Walk Away: Modern Baseball-Union Transfer, PA 10/14/17

Even though Modern Baseball made a name for themselves with raw, uncomfortably honest, yet catchy pop-punk, they’ve always been goofy guys.  Watch any interview the quartet provides with each other, and they’re always messing around.  This screw-around attitude does not draw a line in their interviews.  They’ve never been shy about messing around onstage and cracking jokes.  Despite some dark times and no-bullshit relatable lyrics, it’s no surprise that the band’s penultimate “last show for the foreseeable future” show at Union Transfer on October 13 was not some gut-wrenching sobfest.  It was a night of strong emotional performances and a good handful of laughs to be had. Continue reading

Coffee Date:Tigers Jaw-Spin (Reanimator-No More Coffee For Tigers Jaw)

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Coffee Date is a new column that features discussions of beverages stemming from leaves and beans.  Whether you brew your own or need a hip barista pouring it in front of you, we’ve got you covered for brands to try at home, coffee shops with some personality, and what you should try or avoid from your regular coffee chains. Today, we also cross over into a review of Tigers Jaw’s latest album, and the coffee that came with the presale.

Tigers Jaw’s decision to pair with Reanimator Coffee for the release of their fifth full-length isn’t anything new.  Modern Baseball and The Menzingers have also previously paired with Reanimator, but Tigers Jaw seems like the best pairing.  They’re the musical equivalent to a nice cup of coffee on a rainy day.  Spin sees the band at their most fully-realized, and Reanimator made a nice brew to compliment it. Continue reading

Sorority Noise-You’re Not As _____ As You Think

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When discussing Sorority Noise, there are two important things to remember: the first is Sorority Noise’s worst quality.  Sorority Noise’s worst quality is easily their difficulty in writing soft and slow songs.  The final two songs on Forgettable are the weakest on that album.  “Fluorescent Black” and “Your Soft Blood” are terribly boring until they pick up, and even then, they’re not great.  The two releases that Sorority Noise has made since the release of Joy, Departed are exclusively slow, soft songs, and neither is even worth listening to.  It’s really a testament to how good Sorority Noise has gotten to show that their latest album You’re Not As _______ As You Think has six slow songs, and it’s their best yet. Continue reading