Whatever Gordon Gano’s been doing to preserve that awful tenor of his should be patented, because, like on last year’s EP Happy New Year, he’s never sounded better. That idiosyncratic wail is as fresh as it was on the eponymous record of yore. It’s funny even critiquing a band like the Violent Femmes, it’s kinda like critiquing Orwell, Miró or Shakespeare: What can I say?
Hey, Killer is the most consistent Local H record since 2002’s superb Here Comes the Zoo (which was also their last non-concept try) and the band’s best since at least 2004’s Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? Though it should be noted that Here Comes the Zoo sure as hell sounded thematic, and, surprise, surprise, so does Hey, Killer.
If music was rated inversely on how much someone pilfers, than J. Roddy Walston & The Business’ third full-length, Essential Tremors, would have to be considered a good-sounding failure. But when you nick and splice as well as they do – thereby making it your own, well, than that’s an art form in itself.
The Get-Up Kids have been the butt of many of my emo/bad indie rock jokes. The band got less terrible with every release, as the cute college girls I assigned to review them for the magazine often noted. I actually liked their cover of The Cure’s “Close to You” on Before You Were Punk Vol. 2. Liked, I say.
Pleasant, predictable, and absolutely mesmerizing. While it’s a dick move to say an entire genre is pretty indistinguishable (to the obvious outsider), that’s what I’m gonna do. Breathy, gauzy female vocals, and some hipster dude handling the deeply-reverbed, mellow guitars, and drum machine set on snooze.
No, the title of the new Blitzen Trapper album isn’t meant to be clever or anything (I thought maybe this was their, like, fourth album), this is their seventh full-length. And the music, heard here on “Ever Loved Once,” is just as straightforward and unpretentious, with a confident alt.country swagger.
It’s a fantastic documentary of the Roses’ reformation in 2012 after 16 years off the map. Director Shane Meadows’ incredible access to the band enables him to chronicle everything from their first reformed rehearsals (shot in reverent black and white) through their multi-night homecoming shows in front of more than 200,000 fans.