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

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

Joyce Manor-Million Dollars to Kill Me

Joyce Manor’s 2016 album Cody showed a band that was willing to take a step away from the abrasive, no bullshit pop-punk that they’d perfected into a band with similar ethics but making more power-pop inspired indie rock.  Sure, there were still pop-punk bangers like “Fake I.D.” and “Reversing Machine,” but songs like “Eighteen” or “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I” fell more into a sort of Blue Album worship in crafting great pop-savvy indie rock.  Million Dollars to Kill Me doesn’t feel like a continuation of Cody nor does it feel like it’s picking up after Never Hungover Again; it sounds like a band that is truly without a care and is making whatever the hell it wants. Continue reading

Death Cab For Cutie-Thank You For Today

            Death Cab For Cutie have always been a respectable indie-rock act with personable lyrics that appeal to people that may also dabble with theatrical emo.  Ben Gibbard and company have always created serviceable sad jams.  Even on 2015’s Kintsugi, despite age and maturity, Gibbard was able to bring the self-loathing goods on a song like “No Room in Frame.”  Thank You For Today sees the band’s expansion of sound that they began exploring on Codes and Keys, but it also sees the band peddling back into their early material.  The album comes out feeling like an incoherent blob of ennui. Continue reading

Petal-Magic Gone

               Despite 2015’s Shame being a powerful debut filled with pounding hits (“Tommy”) and emotive ballads (“Heaven”), it didn’t really deliver nearly as much as one would hope a debut would.  Kiley Lotz, Petal’s songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, revealed in a recent piece for Out that this would be the first album where she has songs about her sexuality.  Magic Gone sees Lotz jumping over any hurdles that Shame couldn’t completely clear.  The songs are fearless and well-crafted on Magic Gone.  Lotz retains the charm of her first album, but she holds nothing back here. 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

Titus Andronicus-A Productive Cough

To say I wasn’t really looking forward to Titus Andronicus’ new album wouldn’t be right.  I really wanted to hear it, but I also planned to dislike it.  In the interview that was released with “Number One (In New York),” Patrick Stickles declared that A Productive Cough would have no “punk bangers.”  Those were my favorite Titus songs, and now Stickles wanted to get rid of them?  These fears evaporated upon listening to “Number One.”  A Productive Cough doesn’t have the same sort of gritty, shout-along songs like “Dimed Out” or “A More Perfect Union,” but the songs aren’t any less punk bangers. Continue reading