Album of the Week: Editrix Goes To Hell by Editrix


Album: Editrix Goes To Hell
Artist: Editrix
Release Date: June 3, 2022
Label: Exploding in Sound
Favorite Tracks:

  • Editrix Goes To Hell
  • Queering Ska
  • Cowboy
  • Gut Project
  • Time Can’t Be Redeemed

Thoughts:

The punk pop trio from Western Massachusetts returns with a follow-up to their 2021 debut album Tell Me I’m Bad.  Darkness and sweetness merge over swirling guitars with singsong lyrics.  They’re swiftly becoming one of the most creative contemporary bands out there.

Rating: ****

 

Album of the Week 2022

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Albums of the Week from The Linda Lindas and Deer Scout


I’m reviewing two recent releases this week from The Linda Lindas and Deer Scout. These artists have little in common. The Linda Lindas are loud and have a bite while Deer Scout is quiet and contemplative. But they both have a DIY ethos, a lot of passion, and really short songs on short albums (the total playing length of Growing Up is 25:35, Woodpecker is onl 22:09). So if you have the time, and you probably do, check out these two new albums!

Album: Growing Up
Artist: The Linda Lindas
Release Date: April 8, 2022
Label: Epitaph
Favorite Tracks:

  • Oh!
  • Growing Up
  • Talking to Myself
  • Why
  • Racist, Sexist Boy

Thoughts: The four members of Los Angeles band The Linda Lindas are aged between 11 and 17, so Growing Up is an appropriate title.  But their brand of melodic punk demonstrates a lot of maturity in their musicality.  The lyrics deal with the anxieties of teenage and preteen life, but also display a lot of wisdom.  The music on this album is just infectious and I love it so.

 

Rating: ****1/2


Album: Woodpecker
Artist: Deer Scout
Release Date: April 8, 2022
Label: Carpark Records
Favorite Tracks:

  • Cup
  • Synesthesia
  • Peace With the Damage
  • Breaking the Rock
  • Afterthought

Thoughts: Deer Scout is the stage name of Dena Miller, a New York-raised artist operating out of Philadelphia.  The album features a bedroom-style folk pop sound that despite its stripped-down nature displays a lot of complexity.  Deer Scout describes Woodpecker as a “record about memory and the subconscious” and their thoughtful lyrics as ruminating on things and sort them out.  Another brilliant debut!

Rating: ****

 

Album of the Week 2022

January

February

March

April

Album of the Week: Diaspora Problems by Soul Glo


Album:Diaspora Problems
Artist:  Soul Glo
Release Date: March 25, 2022
Label: Epitaph
Favorite Tracks:

  • Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?)
  • Coming Correct Is Cheaper
  • Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!)(by the future)
  • Driponomics (feat. Mother Maryrose)
  • (Five Years And) My Family

Thoughts:

Soul Glo, a hardcore band from Philadelphia, have a lot to rage about – racism, politics, phony allies, and their sense of ostracism for being a predominantly Black punk band.  The horn section adds a lot to these “three chords and the truth” guitar anthems.

Rating: ****

Book Review: Major Labels by Kelefa Sanneh


Author: Kelefa Sanneh
Title: Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres
Narrator: Kelefa Sanneh
Publication Info: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Summary/Review:

Kelefa Sanneh, a former music critic for the New York Times, and writer for the New Yorker, revisists the history of popular music from the 1970s to today in a series of essays focusing on genres.  These genres include the venerable traditions of Rock, R&B, and Country as well as the upstarts Punk, Hip-Hop, and Dance.  The final essay focuses on the amorphous genre of Pop.

Sanneh is a fan of all these types of music so he brings in his personal experience when discussing them.  I find that appropriate since music is such a personal thing.  Sanneh does a great job at summarizing the history and the struggles of artists within these genres to remain true to their style.  He also notes that over the past 50 years that each of these genres is converging to create a new “pop” music even at a time when streaming music platforms should allow greater splits.

This was a fun an informative book for a music fan.

Recommended books

Rating: ****

Movie Review: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020)


Title: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Release Date: December 4, 2020
Director: Julien Temple
Production Company: Infinitum Nihil | Nitrate Film | Wild Atlantic Pictures | BBC Music | Warner Music | Screen Ireland
Summary/Review:

“People were always calling me a poet, but it’s very annoying to be called a poet when you’re a musician, because it means you’ve wasted your time writing the music.” – Shane MacGowan

This documentary is a straight-forward biography of singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan, most famous for his work with the Celtic punk band The Pogues, in that it covers his life from birth to the present.  Straight-forward except that delightfully-weird animation that is used to recreate key moments of MacGowan’s life as well as what seems to be found footage to complement archival footage of MacGowan, his family, and The Pogues.  MacGowan credits his childhood years on the family farm in Tipperary, Ireland with moulding is life.  He started to drink at the age of 6, but also learned traditional music and lived on a land that still bore the scars of the Great Hunger and the Irish War of Independence.

The movie features original interviews with MacGowan and archival footage where he talks (mumbles, really) about his life and inspirations. There are also scenes of him in conversation with his friends actor Johnny Depp and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.  Interviews with Macgowan’s parents, his sister Siobhan, and wife Victoria Mary Clarke fill out the story.  I would argue the main flaws of this film is that it is overly long and repetitive.  If there’s one thing anyone knows about Shane MacGowan is that he drinks a lot, so that point didn’t need to be beaten to death at the expense of, say, learning more about his songwriting process.  Still, this is an insightful film about a complex and talented man.

Rating: ***

Album Review: Tell Me I’m Bad by Editrix


 

AlbumTell Me I’m Bad
Artist: Editrix
Release Date: February 5, 2021
Label: Exploding in Sound Records
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Tell Me I’m Bad”
  • “Chelsea”
  • “She Wants to Go and Party”

Thoughts: The Western Massachusetts trio Editrix combines sweet singsong vocals over shredding guitar. Both the vocals and guitar are provided by Wendy Eisenberg, while Steve Cameron plays bass and Josh Daniel plays drums.  The great punk/indie rock melodies support lyrics that are often political but also humorous.  I found a great piece online that breaks down each song, something I’d love to see more of: https://www.talkhouse.com/a-guide-to-editrixs-tell-me-im-bad/

Rating: ****

Album Review: Palberta5000 by Palberta


Album: Palberta5000
Artist: Palberta
Release Date: January 22, 2021
Label: Wharf Cat Records
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Big Bad Want”
  • “Something in the Way”
  • “The Way That You Do”
  • “All Over My Face”
  • “Before I Get Here”

Thoughts: Palberta – the trio of Anina Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser from New York City (not western Canada) – make melodic punk music reminiscent of early Sleater-Kinney.  I haven’t listened to their earlier work but apparently this album is a transition for the band from pure punk noise to indie pop.  Nevertheless, the punk sensibilities remain with sweet harmonies over rattling guitars and drum beats.  Most of the album’s 16 tracks clock in at 2 minutes or less.  The second half of the album is stronger than the first, but I enjoyed it all.

Rating: ***1/2

Album Review: FREE I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For by Illuminati Hotties


Album: FREE I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For
Artist: Illuminati Hotties
Release Date: July 17, 2020
Label: Self-released
Favorite Tracks:

  • freequent letdown
  • melatonezone
  • content/bedtime
  • reasons 2 live

Thoughts:

Singer/songwriter Sarah Tudzin’s pioneering work in “tenderpunk” takes a turn in this brief (12 songs in 24 minutes) but eclectic collection. This is the band’s sophomore effort after Kiss Yr Frenemies and shows a willingness to experiment.  The album comes in the wake of their record label’s demise explaining why it is self-released and probably why it is so short.  Still, if this is just a place holder until the next “real” album comes out, then we can expect great things.

Rating: ****

Album Review: Fongola by Kokoko!


Album: Fongola
Artist: Kokoko!
Release Date: July 5, 2019
Favorite Tracks:

  • Likolo
  • Azo Toke
  • Singa

Thoughts:

Kokoko! is a collective of artists from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They use instruments fashioned from trash to create sounds for a musical style that blends electronica with dance punk.  The synths layered on by their French producer Débruit also gives it an 80s freestyle dance pop sound.  Kokoko! makes refreshing music that functions equally well at a dance club or a political protest.

Rating: ****

Album Review: Cut & Stitch by Petrol Girls


AlbumCut & Stitch
Artist: Petrol Girls
Release Date: May 24, 2019
Favorite Tracks:

  • Big Mouth
  • Monstrous
  • Weather Warning
  • Naive

Thoughts:

I have a soft spot for punk rock that features women’s voices shouting over shredding guitars.  The Petrol Girls website bears the tagline “Raging Feminist Post Hardcore from the UK and Austria” which about sums it up.  And while the shouted lyrics may not always be easy to understand, I appreciate that they’re saying important things, the emotion behind them is clear.

Rating: ****