New Music | Friday Roll Out: TheWorst, Sky Creature

Occasionally the unknown offers things that you wouldn’t normally encounter with the familiar. In this case, we get something that’s obnoxiously loud and abrasive with no fucks given tossing around melodies like dollar bills at a strip club. It’s in reference to TheWorst, the band with no space in between its name, out of Portland, Maine. Some scribes have offered up lazy comparisons but the punk outfit is much more than something so banal. The trio – vocalist/guitarist Brook Binion, bassist Will Bradford, and Craig Sala on drums – has just released its sophomore long-player, Yes Regrets (Rascalz Recordz), a conceptual album that many want to focus on just the band’s volume levels and punk enthusiasm, instead of the detailed addition, mental illness, recovery, and much more.

There’s power within TheWorst’s eclecticism & aggressive prowess, beginning with the raucous “Blacksheepish,” an ode to a friend lost to despair. It’s wrapped neatly around power chords, pummeling drums, with Binion’s tough girl growl. It sets the pace and mood for the album but offers up the unexpected throughout as well. But it’s also the band’s ability to wrap tough subjects around catchy punk compositions like “Couldn’t Stay Away.” The explosive pop sensibilities the band holds tightly onto are clearly obvious here. It packs a one-two punch filled with harmonies and catchy hooks. Binion gets oh so real on “Hurt Forever” dealing with the fallout of a bipolar disorder, here as well as on “Monomania,” where it’s packed in along with catchy hooks & rhythms. It’s the band’s ability to merge emotional challenges within songs, making the juxtaposition look easy when we know it’s not. On so many different levels. One thing I’ve noticed on this track, as well as the aforementioned “Couldn’t Stay Away,” is the rawness, particularly in Craig Sala’s drums. The explosiveness of his percussion is presented here seemingly at a distance. It’s a production value that was captured on early Pixies albums and even with Sonic Youth releases. It’s an observation but it fits neatly within the context of the songs.

Listeners might be left wondering though if the album’s title track is the best track off the album. Lyrically, it’s pretty telling as Binion is comfortable opening up, and the band plays with dynamics slightly here as they create a hodgepodge of sound with harmonies you might miss. It’s a full-frontal attack in so many different ways.

Yes Regrets is thoughtful and concise, blistering with imagination from beginning to end. There’s more to the band than one might think so stand up straight and give TheWorst your fucking attention!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Those feelings of enrapturing oneself within the confines of a release, is that a possibility? The lines between distinguishing what’s real and the imaginary are blurred more and more each day, that is until groups like the NYC Sky Creature appear in the stratosphere to change one’s perception. Since the tail end of 2021, there’s been a growing fascination with the group, made up of multi-instrumentalist Matt Walsh (The Forms, Desert Fathers) and operatic vocalist Majel Connery. This week sees the release of the duo’s debut, the double EP Bear Mountain / Childworld (Open Ocean). This may possibly be a “WTF moment” in music history.

You’d be hard-pressed to find something – anything – that sounds remotely like Sky Creature, instead offering that the band’s music is derivative unto itself. For the most part, it’s airy, coasting on cool breezes over high drifting clouds. Musically, the compositions are compelling, if not brilliant, as everything falls directly into place as Connery lyrics and cooing vocals raise mountains without the need for forcefulness. It isn’t more apparent than on “We Need A Room” as repetitive keyboard notes and percussion matches musical wits with Connery. It’s stunning, continuously building around atmospheric backdrops, shifting dynamics without the need of pummeling drums. It’s wild! But it doesn’t seem there isn’t anything more delicate than “He Was Dying,” as the weight of the track may seem on the brink of collapsing on itself, but it never does. It’s spacious in its delivery, allowing the music to drift in and out, with Connery’s haunting vocals within. It’s gorgeous, filled with melancholia but completely inviting.

Sky Creature has to ability to morph from one thing to another and that becomes so clear with the driving “No One.” The band rides out an infectious rhythm that’s relentless. Guitars & bass are prevalent but don’t overpower Connery’s quick-tongued vocal delivery. The song is sonic oblivion, a cross somewhere between rage and beauty and its glory shouldn’t be missed on anyone. It allows listeners to get a complete view of what the band is capable of. “On The Mountain” quickly follows, with much more ethereal aspects surrounding Connery’s layered vocals and the repetitive electronic drum loop before guitars seep in as the melody weaves itself into every aspect of the group’s being. The song flows in one direction and there isn’t any other way it should go.

The Bear Mountain/Childworld double EP is an almost obscene listen, filled with sweet melodies at just about every turn, and Walsh has captured the very essence of the group on this recording. Sky Creature is here to haunt our dreams at every turn but there isn’t anyone that wouldn’t welcome it. This is what we all need.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram