Welcome back to another week of our Friday Rollout! It’s been a couple of weeks, but being back from a west coast jaunt with lots of sun made for an interesting transition to a more ordinary life style. Not so much ordinary, but rather, just repeating the day-to-day activities that we’re not able to circumvent. Maybe there’s a little bit of acidity in the tone here, but there it really isn’t meant to be. After all, I just watched the new Spiderman movie this weekend and hey, it was “entertaining.” While it strayed far from the original story line – maybe even drastically – it was entertaining. I’m sure a few movie/sci-fi buffs will make the connection between the Lego Death Star creation as well as a surprise appearance by Atlanta actor Donald Glover. The actor was tapped to play the role of a young Lando Calrissian for the Star Wars Han Solo movie. But that’s a story for another time.
Today is Friday and there are a couple of new releases that have landed on my doorstep. What better way to start a weekend than with a super-group of sorts. And that’s Sweet Apple, who return with Sing The Night In Sorrow (Tee Pee Records), the band’s third album. The band has quietly built up it’s increasing catalog and it seems the individual members J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), John Petkovic (Cobra Verde, Death of Samantha), Tim Parnin (Cobra Verde), and Dave Sweetapple (Witch, Eerie) don’t let egos take over, instead allow the strange rolling power-pop they’ve concocted take over. With Sing The Night In Sorrow, you’ll find yourself humming along or dancing in your room naked (no judgments please) to songs like “You Don’t Belong To Me” which features guitarist Doug Gillard who has done stints in both Guided By Voices and Cobra Verde, and who is himself one crafty songwriter. The quartet is an explosive bunch, as they opt to open the album with “(My Head Is Stuck In The) Traffic” which gives you images of urban highways and insanity. You’ll keep attempting to turn this one up to 11 even though you have no idea but midway when they coo, “I dream city dreams” throws listeners for a loop before they get right back into drowning out your thoughts with that cacophonous beauty of a racket. When you continue listening to this album you’ll get the feeling the band gives no fucks on whether or not you like them or not when “World I’m Gonna Leave You” starts. The tone is vindictive and harsh and the band brings along like-minded company in the form of Mark Lanegan and Robert Pollard. Musically, it’s an incestuous affair. You’re able to hear the nuances and qualities everyone brings to the table in on one song! On this album here the band has guest appearances on just about every track but it’s well worth it if the songs are majestic as f…! “She Wants To Run” again with Gillard, is pure pop madness. Guitars volley back and forth off one another, the melody is completely addictive, and that slight dissonance makes it all so worth it when they sing “Listen to the beat of your heart!” This track alone can stand alongside some of the greatest pop songs ever written. Bassist/vocalist Rachel Haden (That Dog) provides backing vocals on a few tracks but on the slower “Summer’s Gone” her voice lends such loveliness it’s hard to describe. Filled with pummeling pop songs and the occasional rock ballad, Sing The Night In Sorrow will leave you in awe from beginning to end.
While she isn’t a household name, Annie Hart has made a name for herself as one-third of the synth-pop group Au Revoir Simone. While the trio has established itself with quite the fan base, which includes the likes of David Lynch and other notable celebrities, Impossible Accomplice (Uninhabitable Mansions) is Hart’s solo debut and I’m not sure about it. Straight out of the gate she hits hard and quick with the beautifully elegant opener “I Don’t Want Your Love.” While it may be sparse simply with an electronic drum pattern and keyboards, the charm comes with the slight static that sounds as if it’s from a popping record. Her breathy vocals accentuate it all here as she sings her heart out here to that unrequited lover. With “Hard To Be Still” she moves along with a synth-punk vibe that’s reminiscent of early 80’s groups which continues on “Run To You” but with a much somber feel of regret. This is where things get a little tricky as it leads to “On The Way Down.” With the faux-horn synthetic quality, it just drags the release into a purgatorial junction. The good news is it doesn’t last very long as the quick-paced “My Heart” helps you forget you where you were and allows you to move forward. The simple bass line make it so easy for you to do so all the while as Hart sings of heart break. With “Would You Answer” we get that general theme circling around Impossible Accomplice, which shows Annie Hart as a fragile individual, like many of us. She wears her heart on her sleeve and isn’t afraid to show it. If so many more of us did that, we’d have a better world to live in.