Craig Finn-I Need a New War

While there’s real emotions loaded behind every Hold Steady song, they’re built around magical realism, where liquor and painkillers are the means to rebirth more than they are a cause of death. I Need a New War, the latest solo album from Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, occupies the same spaces that records like Separation Sunday and Boys and Girls in America does, but Finn isn’t as reckless and mystified as he was in those mid-aughts masterpieces. While Finn still eludes to heavy drinking and a complicated relationship with faith, he’s much more aware of the repercussions of those viewpoints. Continue reading

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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

Strung Out, But Experienced:The Hold Steady-Brooklyn Bowl, 12/2/17

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The best bands are never satiated by just playing their old music, but the best of the best also really enjoy playing their old songs alongside new ones.  This past weekend at Brooklyn Bowl, The Hold Steady’s “Massive Nights” showed that Craig Finn and company are amongst the best of the best.  Where last year’s shows were strictly a birthday celebration for Boys and Girls in America, these shows were a little more rounded, and the band also had a pair of new songs to feed to a rabid fanbase.  Frank Turner was just the cherry to top it off. Continue reading

Captain, We’re Sinking-The King of No Man

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There are plenty of pop-punk bands.  Had I been maybe 10 years younger, I’d probably adore Knuckle Puck, Real Friends, or Neck Deep, but I’m a cynical 23 year old.  My pop-punk requires a little more substance.  Bands like The Menzingers, The Wonder Years, or Modern Baseball are all able to provide this to me.  There are unique aspects to the brands of pop-punk that each of these bands provide, where the first three all sort of blend together.  Maybe it’s just the Barnett connection to the Menzingers, but my better senses tell me that Captain, We’re Sinking’s The King of No Man really shouldn’t be a record that I love as much as I do. Continue reading

Japandroids: Terminal 5, New York, NY 2/23/17

In 2012, I was still a baby in the world of indie-rock.  I still listened to Marilyn Manson pretty religiously.  Eminem’s Slim Shady LP was still relatively prominent on my iPod Classic, and I mostly listened to Green Day above all else.  I was a senior in high school.  The world at my fingertips, I was pretty picky about what I deemed fine for my ears.  Still, that was the year I began listening to Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, and Lou Reed: gateway bands.  It was also the year Celebration Rock was released.  It seemed every major music publication discussed this breakthrough Japandroids record.  Armed with one of the best band names in rock, I figured these guys couldn’t be bad.  Celebration Rock was an absolute gamechanger.  I was fascinated by how two people could make such full sounds with great lyrics.  It became a staple of my first semester of college.  Even though my friends weren’t as enthused with lines like “Give me that night you were already in bed/said ‘fuck it’ stayed up to drink with me instead,” I was enthralled.  Celebration Rock is the type of record you believe you’re living when you’re just starting college. Continue reading

The Best Albums of 2016: Honorable Mentions

As album-of-the-year season approaches, we’ve been reflecting on the music we’ve heard this year.  While a more formal list is coming, these items are all honorable mentions for a number of reasons.  While it may just be that we felt our list was better, for many of these albums it has to do with the fact, we just didn’t get to spend as much time as we would have liked with them.  These are still some of the best records of the year, in no particular order.

Chance the Rapper-Coloring Book

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Chance’s third mixtape is one of his strongest.  With gospel-infused hip hop, he brought some of the best feel-good songs of the summer.

Must listen song: “No Problem”

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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.