Rock

Odd Boat (CD)

Flatfood 56 makes Celtic melodies into punk and it's no sloppy gimmick either. They use the bouncy rhythms and haunting melodies, and accelerate them to 100mph. Formed in 2000 by brothers Justin, Tobin, and Kyle, their brand of Irish punk has been shredding ears by combining fuzzed guitars and bagpipes like they were always meant to be together. Their seventh album, Odd Boat, has a ragtag, intense mood that leads them ahead as the most interesting and dynamic of the Celtic/punk subgenre. "Penny" gallops relentlessly with the occasional "AY!" to punctuate that mood. The precision sharp guitar playing clicks with gorgeous rhythms. The most unexpected diversion the song takes is the calm in the middle of the storm as it slows down into a beautiful harmony. Guest vocalist IL Neige comes out with a gorgeous reprieve that offers rest from the otherwise delirious track. Odd Boat is helluva banger. Blast this and get ready to jump up and down.

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2016 Atomized (CD)

The Raveonettes are simultaneously split between the past and the future. Though their music has the elements of electronic pop and experimentation that you commonly hear in indie rock and even on radio hits, there's something simultaneously nostalgic and vintage in the mix. Previously the band has embraced a '60s vibe, but their latest is shamelessly '80s. 2016 Atomized is labeled an "anti-album" as it's more of a compilation. Each month, the Danish duo would upload a unique track online, and 2016 Atomized collects them all together with no thematic connection other than the way they were released and a shared post-industrial dance mood. It's definitely a disorienting trip, one the band calls "potentially schizophrenic & disjointed, potentially cohesive and related." March's "EXCUSES" is a perfect example of what they were experimenting with. Initially starting off as a sorta Cure-ish shoegazey rocker, it suddenly slows down into '90s melodramatic R&B. The lyrics are deliciously relevant as the chorus chants "Time to let lose / wanna get bruised / fuck your excuse / hit me with nukes," somewhere between war time horror and post-breakup anger. "Junko Ozawa," which borrows its name from the composer of the classic video game themes to Pac-Man and Dig-Dug, is as video gamey as pop gets. The classic jealous, frustrated lyrics are comic over a melody that feels like it could have come out of an arcade machine replete with 8-bit bleeps and bloops. Despite not having the narrative cohesion of a full album, there's something beautiful about how each drastically different track leads to the other. They still all have one thing in common: they're fun!

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Once & Future Band (CD)
The very mid-'70s vibe of this accomplished cabal of prog wizards surpasses pastiche, and crests that lovely anachronistic conceptual peak: a fully realized and meticulously arranged psych record, meant to be listened to from top to bottom, with the lights down low and in a comfy chair perhaps, or while gazing out the window of your life pod. Read more
No Resolution [Autographed Booklet] (CD)

Tim Kasher has little left to prove, having fronted emo stalwarts Cursive and The Good Life for two decades and releasing several solo albums on his own. But, perhaps in a bid to reclaim his indie-rock crown, Kasher has written a concept album of sorts that also functions as a soundtrack to an upcoming film he wrote and directed about a failing engagement. Kasher still wields his everyman voice and vitriolic pen like a weapon, creating evocative imagery that illustrates the pressures we feel to couple up, start a family, and become something familiar. “Son become a father, a professor, time to settle down, settle down, settle down,” Kasher intones on “Runts,” voicing an unsaid social-pressure mantra that lurks in the back of our minds. Musically, Kasher dots his indie-rock guitar-based songs with cello, vibraphone, and other orchestral touches, like a more symphonic version of Cursive, while mixing tonalities on songs like “Break Me Open” or giving “No Secret” catchy, fast-twitch melodies and a ticking beat to keep things interesting. Brimming with intensity and detail, No Resolution just might be Kasher's magnum opus.

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Make Some Noise (CD)

They don’t make arena rock like they used to. Or so we thought. The latest from Australian-American businessman-turned-professional-musician David Lowy and co. brings back the fist-pumping rock of yore with gleeful abandon on tracks like the blistering, AC/DC-ish “Long Way to Go.” Tunes like “Song and a Prayer” could easily pass for long-lost ’80s glam-rock gems — you could easily sneak this song between Bon Jovi and Van Halen on classic rock radio and no one would bat an eye. If flashes of Thin Lizzy, Motley Crue, and Whitesnake come to you while listening to self-styled anthems like “Make Some Noise,” it’s with good reason — guys from all three of those bands play with Lowy in The Dead Daisies. While they don’t update the sound that ruled rock radio in ’86, they don’t really have to. There’s enough attitude and tunefulness on Make Some Noise to carry Lowy and co. to headlining arenas around the world.

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It's A Myth (CD)

Washington, DC-based artist Eva Moolchan creates stark, minimalistic post-punk under the moniker Sneaks. Her tracks are simple, utilizing only voice, drum machine, and bass guitar, which lends the music a hypnotic, urgent quality. Sneaks’ latest release, It's a Myth, is short but sweet (clocking in at under twenty minutes) and fittingly for such a punk rock record length, it’s also very, very cool. Fans of original post-punks/fellow travelers Pylon and ESG will dig Sneaks’ intelligent, ultra hip groove.

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Feels (CD)

LA band Feels’ self-titled debut LP was produced by garage rock guru Ty Segall, and while we get hints of Segall’s influence as a producer and performer, the quartet are clearly charting their own course. It’s an impressive debut, descended from the current full throttle garage scene, but at the same time, Feels does its own uncompromising, scuzzy, sorta riot grrl thang. It’s super enjoyable, stripped down good time garage, but with a post-punk twist. Simultaneously simple and sweet, brash and bold, this LP will charm fans of pure rock ’n’ roll.

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Signs Of Light (CD)

The Head & the Heart’s Signs of Light is a carefully-crafted alt-rock record with a sound so bold it’s just begging for the big time. This is emotional, polished indie rock that showcases the band’s incredible songwriting abilities and checks all the boxes necessary to make a good deal of the songs alt hits. Piano rock? Got it. Surprising washes of synth sound? Got it. Anthemic tracks seemingly made for summer music festival sing-alongs? Got it in spades. Fans of The Lumineers and the Avett Brothers should perk up their ears on this one.

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The Lucky Ones Forget (LP)

Detroit bartender, guitar teacher, and purveyor of backwoods country cool Craig Brown teamed up with Jack White’s Third Man Records for the release of his first LP, The Lucky Ones Forget, with his titular band. Throw this record on and you’ll find yourself transported to some no-hope deep south saloon, where life is as raw and rough as the outlaw twang presented here by the Craig Brown Band. It’s a tremendously fun record given a bit of a rock ’n’ roll injection by Brown’s punk rock past and the recording assistance of Mr. Warren Defever (Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono, Iggy and the Stooges). This loose, wild, and often silly outing from the band proves they’re off to a promising start.

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Why Love Now (CD)

Why Love Now is the latest intense, abrasive album from Pissed Jeans: a brutal takedown of male entitlement, shame, and social ills. Produced by no wave pioneer Lydia Lunch and black metal guru Arthur Rizk, it’s a dark, heavy-hitting descent into the underworld of post-punk noise. The album is irreverent, sometimes caustically funny, and ultimately very timely — Pissed Jeans are not a band to shy away from difficult discussions. There’s a lot of substance here, but there’s also the band’s distinctive sludgy style, and as evidenced by Why Love Now, they’re just getting better and better.

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