Therapy, Music, Chaos
This week, it’s been hellish. My only recourse and therapeutic treatment for it has been to blanket myself in music. I don’t care what I’m listening to so long as it tunes everything out. Earbuds have a way of doing. I have people constantly harassing me throughout the day, a day job normally gets in the way of life. I think I used that argument to another writer-friend of mine and of course, I’m right/write/wright. Listening to glitch electronics does something to clear out my head, sorting through the chaos and grabbing hold of the writer’s block that sometimes attempts to filter the words in one’s own head. Ok, my own head. But we all keep pushing right? Today is no different from any other day except that it’s Friday. I’ve mentioned before, I’m not swayed by a YOLO mentality because every day is as important as the previous and no, you don’t only live once, you live every day. But now, let’s get on with it shall we?
I’m trying to get a grasp of what’s so familiar about Runaway Brother but I keep getting stumped. On the band’s new effort, its sophomore release New Pocket (Tiny Engines), the band isn’t afraid of throwing in as much melody and harmonies as they can, and make sense, throughout it. The quartet brings in your standard fare of dueling guitars, along with a rhythmic section that holds everything together. Given, you might think it’s all been done before and while I might agree, the Brothers are able to give you ear candy that refreshingly captivating and easy to hold onto. The self-proclaimed “Outsider guitar-pop” is quite fitting simply because I’m certain they don’t fit into any specific stylistic grouping of genre. Of course, once you begin listening to the opener “Apply Care Directly” you get a sense of nostalgia, which could possibly be a 90’s indie rock fascination, or maybe a clever sense of self for pop music in 2018. The band stops on a dime, constantly shifting dynamics but with utter care with sweet melodies. But it seems my life right now is revolving around the group’s “Conscience In Tumult,” which is pretty fucking bad ass. The band capitalizes on what it does best, playing with those dueling guitars I mentioned, the flagrant melodies hold things together, as do those insane harmonies. But it’s that rhythm…oh that rhythm, that’ll make your head bounce. The group even throws in a cello part in between it all? Yeah, they do. In honesty, they didn’t really need it but sonically it does a lot there. The band is all over the place on New Pocket, with mid-tempo tracks with horns like “Paws” and raging storms that are quick to drown out everything in the way like “Kissing.” While the variations may be slight, there’s no denying this quartet has literally struck gold on this release. No inhibitions, just doing what they do. And it’s all perfect.
Now I must beg the questions, “Are you afraid of monsters? Are you afraid of the dark?” I’m not too certain if these feelings of dread are what’s supposed to come over me when I press play on the new release by Divide & Dissolve’s new effort Abomination (Dero Arcade), that’s what’s conjured. The band is Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, effects) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, effects), and the bottom-heavy sound they’ve pieced together is as spooky as it gets. But while the repetitive sound they piece together from track to track is conjoined perfectly with Siamese twin disambiguate similarities, it has been done before, as images of 90s Twin Cities bands meeting with NYC No Wave acts fill my mind. My expectations may have been high here, but all is not lost as “Reversal,” which features Minori Sanchiz-Fung’s spoken word delivery, over the softer and subtler backdrop, literally speaks volumes as her words focus on assimilation using a new language to express her emotions from her immigrant mind. But then “Resistance” again sparks more interest, as the band shifts from the guttural to free-form jazz etiquette with horns drifting in the background and a sparse William Hooker-ish percussion sifts its way through. It’s not to say Abomination doesn’t have a couple of high points here but what’s offered up I can’t see as anything new or re-imagined.
Superchunk released a new album today, their first one in four (4) years. I don’t think we need to spend too much time on this because you’re going to get what you expect on the band’s new What A Time To Be Alive (Merge Records): High paced power(ful) pop/punk tracks at just about every turn. While the 30-year-old band has matured, it hasn’t lost a step, although they’re not about to avoid their own political views on old men in office. While I’m sure most won’t compare Mac’s lyrics to Bob Dylan’s protest songs, he is still going to get his point across, no matter how bounce-filled every song is. Yeah! But what the band does bring around this time are special guest appearances? Yeah, they do! Waxahachie & Stephen Merritt add their voices to the perfect pop blend of “Erasure.” Ok, I’m loving this album and I’m sure you’re going to as well.
Rounding things out, English art-rockers Wild Beasts have just released its last album Last Night All My Dreams Came True but I’m having a difficult time understanding the reasoning behind the release of it. It’s the band’s 6th release but the songs featured are from each of the band’s five studio albums. All I can assume is this possibly completes the band’s requirements in its contract. The album was recorded live, in studio, over a two-day period in London and of course, it’s masterfully done. After years of playing these songs live, they’ve obviously perfected it. Standout cuts? “2BU” is haunting and soulful and the opening “Wanderlust” comes off as pretty visceral. I dig it but hardcore fans are probably the ones that are going to eat this release up. (Domino Recording Co.)