• ๐’ฒ๐‘’๐“๐’ธ๐‘œ๐“‚๐‘’ ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐“‚๐“Ž ๐“Œ๐‘’๐’ท๐“ˆ๐’พ๐“‰๐‘’! ๐’ฒ๐‘œ๐“Œ ๐“๐‘œ๐‘œ๐“€ ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐“‰๐‘’๐“๐“‰ ๐’ถ๐“๐“ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“Œ๐’ถ๐“Ž ๐‘œ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“‰๐‘œ๐“… ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“…๐’ถ๐‘”๐‘’, ๐“Œ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰'๐“ˆ ๐’พ๐“‰ ๐’น๐‘œ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐’ฝ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’? ๐ผ ๐’ท๐‘’๐“‰ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰'๐“ˆ ๐“Œ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š'๐“‡๐‘’ ๐“Œ๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐’น๐‘’๐“‡๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘”. ๐ผ๐’ป ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š'๐“‡๐‘’ ๐“ƒ๐‘œ๐“‰ ๐“Œ๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐’น๐‘’๐“‡๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’๐“ƒ ๐“‚๐’ถ๐“Ž๐’ท๐‘’ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š'๐“‡๐‘’ ๐“Œ๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐’น๐‘’๐“‡๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“Œ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐’ถ๐“‡๐‘’ ๐‘”๐‘œ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐’ป๐‘œ๐“‡ ๐“๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’ธ๐’ฝ; ๐ผ ๐‘œ๐’ป๐“‰๐‘’๐“ƒ ๐“Œ๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐’น๐‘’๐“‡ ๐’ถ๐’ท๐‘œ๐“Š๐“‰ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰. ๐’œ๐“ƒ๐“Ž๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐“Œ, ๐’พ๐’ป ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š'๐“‡๐‘’ ๐“ˆ๐“‰๐’พ๐“๐“ ๐“‡๐‘’๐’ถ๐’น๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐“‰๐‘’๐“๐“‰ ๐“ˆ๐’ธ๐“‡๐‘œ๐“๐“, ๐“๐‘’๐“‰ ๐“‚๐‘’ ๐’ฟ๐“Š๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐“ˆ๐’ถ๐“Ž ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐’พ๐“‰'๐“ˆ ๐’ถ ๐“…๐“๐‘’๐’ถ๐“ˆ๐“Š๐“‡๐‘’ ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐’ธ๐‘œ๐“‚๐‘’ ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐“‹๐’พ๐“ˆ๐’พ๐“‰ ๐“‚๐“Ž ๐“Œ๐‘’๐’ท๐“…๐’ถ๐‘”๐‘’ ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐ผ ๐“‡๐‘’๐’ถ๐“๐“๐“Ž ๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐“…๐‘’ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐’ป๐‘œ๐“๐“๐‘œ๐“Œ ๐’ถ๐“๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐“‚๐’ถ๐“Ž๐’ท๐‘’ ๐‘’๐“‹๐‘’๐“ƒ ๐’ท๐‘œ๐‘œ๐“€๐“‚๐’ถ๐“‡๐“€ ๐’พ๐“‰ ๐“ˆ๐‘œ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐’ธ๐’ถ๐“ƒ ๐“‹๐’พ๐“ˆ๐’พ๐“‰ ๐’พ๐“‰ ๐“Œ๐’พ๐“‰๐’ฝ ๐‘’๐’ถ๐“ˆ๐‘’ ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐“ˆ๐’พ๐’น๐‘’ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š๐“‡ ๐“Œ๐‘’๐’ท ๐’ท๐“‡๐‘œ๐“Œ๐“ˆ๐‘’๐“‡ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐’ธ๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐’พ๐’ธ๐‘’. ๐ผ ๐’ถ๐“‚ ๐’ถ๐“๐“ˆ๐‘œ ๐’ป๐’ถ๐’พ๐“‡๐“๐“Ž ๐’ถ๐’ธ๐“‰๐’พ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐“ƒ ๐’ถ ๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐“ˆ๐‘œ๐’ธ๐’พ๐’ถ๐“ ๐“‚๐‘’๐’น๐’พ๐’ถ ๐“…๐“๐’ถ๐“‰๐’ป๐‘œ๐“‡๐“‚๐“ˆ ๐“ˆ๐‘œ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐’ธ๐’ถ๐“ƒ ๐’ป๐’พ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐“‚๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐“ˆ๐‘’, ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐“๐’พ๐“€๐‘’, ๐’ป๐‘œ๐“๐“๐‘œ๐“Œ, ๐“ˆ๐“Š๐’ท๐“ˆ๐’ธ๐“‡๐’พ๐’ท๐‘’ ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐‘”๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘’๐“‡๐’ถ๐“๐“๐“Ž ๐’ฟ๐“Š๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐’ถ ๐“๐‘œ๐“‰ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐’ป๐“Š๐“ƒ ๐“‡๐‘’๐’ถ๐’น๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น, ๐’พ๐’ป ๐’พ๐“‰ ๐“ˆ๐“‰๐“‡๐’พ๐“€๐‘’๐“ˆ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š๐“‡ ๐’ป๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’ธ๐“Ž, *๐“ˆ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‡๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘”* (๐“Œ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐“€-๐“Œ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐“€) ๐“‚๐“Ž ๐“…๐‘œ๐“ˆ๐“‰๐“ˆ. ๐’ช๐’ฝ, ๐’ถ๐“๐“ˆ๐‘œ, ๐ผ ๐’ป๐‘œ๐“‡๐‘”๐‘œ๐“‰ ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐“‚๐‘’๐“ƒ๐“‰๐’พ๐‘œ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐“‚๐“Ž ๐“ƒ๐’ถ๐“‚๐‘’'๐“ˆ ๐’ฅ๐‘’๐’ป๐’ป ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐ผ ๐“๐’พ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐’พ๐“ƒ ๐’ซ๐’ฝ๐’พ๐“๐’ถ๐’น๐‘’๐“๐“…๐’ฝ๐’พ๐’ถ ๐“ƒ๐‘œ๐“Œ. ๐‘€๐’ถ๐“Ž๐’ท๐‘’ ๐ผ'๐“๐“ ๐“๐’พ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐’พ๐“ƒ ๐’ถ ๐’น๐’พ๐’ป๐’ป๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’๐“ƒ๐“‰ ๐“…๐’ถ๐“‡๐“‰ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“Œ๐‘œ๐“‡๐“๐’น ๐’พ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐’ป๐“Š๐“‰๐“Š๐“‡๐‘’, ๐’ท๐“Š๐“‰ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰'๐“ˆ ๐“Œ๐’ฝ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’ ๐ผ ๐“๐’พ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐’ป๐‘œ๐“‡ ๐“ƒ๐‘œ๐“Œ. ๐’ช๐’ฆ, ๐ผ ๐’ป๐‘’๐‘’๐“ ๐“๐’พ๐“€๐‘’ ๐ผ'๐“‹๐‘’ ๐“‰๐’ถ๐“€๐‘’๐“ƒ ๐“Š๐“… ๐‘’๐“ƒ๐‘œ๐“Š๐‘”๐’ฝ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š ๐“‰๐’พ๐“‚๐‘’ ๐’ฝ๐‘’๐“‡๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“‚๐’ถ๐“‡๐“†๐“Š๐‘’๐‘’๐‘’... ๐’ฎ๐‘œ ๐‘”๐‘’๐“‰ ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐’ธ๐“๐’พ๐’ธ๐“€๐’พ๐“ƒ' ๐’ถ๐“ƒ๐’น ๐“ˆ๐’ธ๐“‡๐‘œ๐“๐“๐’พ๐“ƒ'! ๐’ž๐“๐’พ๐’ธ๐“€๐’พ๐“ƒ'... ๐’ฎ๐’ธ๐“‡๐‘œ๐“๐“๐’พ๐“ƒ'...๐’ถ๐’ฝ, ๐’ฟ๐“Š๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐’ท๐‘’๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐“ˆ๐“‰๐“Š๐’ป๐’ป ๐‘œ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐‘’๐’ถ๐“‡๐“‰๐’ฝ ๐’พ๐“‚๐‘œ. ๐’œ ๐‘”๐‘œ๐‘œ๐’น ๐“…๐“๐’ถ๐’ธ๐‘’ ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐“ˆ๐“‰๐’ถ๐“‡๐“‰ ๐“‚๐’พ๐‘”๐’ฝ๐“‰ ๐’ท๐‘’ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐’น๐“‡๐‘œ๐“…-๐’น๐‘œ๐“Œ๐“ƒ ๐“‚๐‘’๐“ƒ๐“Š ๐’น๐’พ๐“‡๐‘’๐’ธ๐“‰๐“๐“Ž ๐’ท๐‘’๐“๐‘œ๐“Œ, ๐“Œ๐’ฝ๐’พ๐’ธ๐’ฝ ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐“‚๐‘œ๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐’ธ๐‘œ๐“‚๐“…๐“‡๐‘’๐’ฝ๐‘’๐“ƒ๐“ˆ๐’พ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐“๐’พ๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐’ถ๐“๐“ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐’น๐“Š๐“‚๐’ท ๐“…๐“‡๐‘œ๐’ฟ๐‘’๐’ธ๐“‰๐“ˆ ๐ผ'๐“‹๐‘’ ๐“‚๐’ถ๐’น๐‘’ ๐’พ๐“ƒ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐‘’ ๐’ถ๐“‡๐“‰๐“ˆ. ๐ป๐’ถ๐“‹๐‘’ ๐’ถ ๐‘”๐‘œ๐‘œ๐’น ๐’น๐’ถ๐“Ž. ๐’ข๐‘œ๐’ท ๐’ท๐“๐‘’๐“ˆ๐“ˆ. ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿคข
   K E Y:  ✄= art ✎= lit ♪= music ✪= video;  = highly recommended content

♬ MUSIC REVIEWS ♬





The self-proclaimed "Professor of American Rock Critics," jeff, presents...

His "consumer guide," if you will, for new music releases (est. 2019)
๐Ÿ”‘ click here for the scoring key (which he invented)

2019

5g: Therapy 01.08.19 “Fuck Friends” ✂️

The 1865: Don't Tread on We! 01.25.19 Over-the-top commentary/satire set against a blend of mildly aggressive punk and alt rock, this project doesn't lack purpose but direction (“Hidden Track”) *

angelic milk: DIVINE BIKER LOVE 01.11.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Beirut: Gallipoli 02.01.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Better Oblivion Community Center: s/t 01.24.19 ๐Ÿ’ฃ

Billie Eilish: WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? 03.29.19 The term "genre-defying" gets thrown around a lot and feels largely meaningless in this ouroboric monoculture of ours. But hey, if the shoe or dripping eye fx or trite critical affectation fits… what stands out to me here is the how little this amalgamation of sound gets in the way of the songs. The star here is a strong melodic presence and surprisingly tight harmonies. Sure by the eighth song ("8") the ASMR-tinged vox wears thin, but the impossible-to-place production stylings never tire, carrying and connecting these thirteen tracks when Eilish's voice alone cannot. An outstanding debut record that will likely stand the test of the time because of how it so clearly doesn't give a shit about doing just that. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A

Black Dresses: THANK YOU 02.05.19 "The Simulation was built to Break?" (↪๐Ÿคฏ) ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

Black Midi: "speedway" ✂️

Bladee/Yung Lean: "Red Velvet" ✂️

Boy Harsher: Careful 02.01.19 Experiments in abstract droning meet fully formed post-wave synth songs and converge in and out of each other, occasionally melting in between. The sound as if an axe murder joined Chromatics, killed everyone in the band and reformed it with their haunted specters. With every spasm of orch hit we pay the price, and the toll goes directly to the voices screaming on the other side. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

Buke & Gase: Scholars 01.18.19 Surprisingly evocative hooks can and do burst from the echoing chug (“Stumbler,” “Scholars”) **

Business of Dreams: Ripe for Anarchy 02.01.19 I kind of want to hate this for being so derivative (it's a stripped down love letter to new wave and 80s pop) but the hooks and sentiment are here, and the songs are good ("My Old Town," "N.R.E.A.M.," "Naive Scenes") ***

Carla dal Forno: "So Much Better" b/w "Fever Walk" ✂️

Cass McCombs: Tip of the Sphere 02.08.19 You might say that this is one of the finest jamband studio albums ever recorded, but that's reductive and a potential insult to the genre-bending McCombs, whose certainly made one if the strongest LPs of his career here. Even if the bookends smell a bit Phishy (closing track "Rounder" seems to lift a riff almost verbatim from the group out of Vermont's "Free"), there's enough weird experimenting ("American Canyon Sutra") and folky chill ("Prayer for Another Day") to smooth everything out and settle it all down. Follow the lines going South? ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Cherry Glazerr: Stuffed & Ready 02.01.19 Third full-length from this L.A. rock band can't really overcome the parts that want this to be a 90s Rock Revival™ which rarely connect and hinder the songs (“Daddi”) *

The Claypool Lennon Delirium: South of Reality 02.22.19 Primus-infused prog and Beatles-esque psych abound (duh) in this, the second Claypool-Lennon collab that is probably better than A) you think, and or B) it has any right to be ("Little Fishes," "Easily Charmed by Fools") ***

The Cool Greenhouse: Crap Cardboard Pet EP / Landlords EP 02.01.19 There's a moment on the song "Crap Art" when the lyrics hit home: "Cause a monkey can use photoshop / And a child can use Final Cut Pro X / to make everything feel the same." A rare feat these days among the ghastly wash of the unrelatable or contemptible. There's not a ton of info about this band online; they have 508 likes on Facebook. I always thought about that (re Photoshop/Final Cut Pro X) as a good thing. Isn't all art good art in the sense that it beats the alternative? It only took a middling UK post-punk outfit to make me a double take and that's OK. (Footnote: the difference between art and meme is explored on subsequent release Landlords b-side "4chan," so I might have mistook a foot in the mouth for cheekiness.) ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

CupcakKe: "Squidward Nose" ✂️

DaBaby: Baby on Baby 03.01.19 The first 'proper' full-length from viral "Walker Texas Ranger" (✂️, included here) rapper is a vibrant af. A nice blend of his southern roots with some West Coast stylings he's clearly obsessed with ("Suge," "Tupac," the LA Dodgers hat on the album cover). DaBaby shines on the goofier side of things, when features that feel obligatory aren't bogging him down and he can just get weird whilst staying brief. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Dark Blue: Victory is Rated 02.22.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

The Dave Harrington Group: Pure Imagination, No Country 02.01.19 A generally pleasant, if not cathartic listen of jazzy instrumental chaos, with an especially effective, inventive cover of the classic title track closing out the record (“Pure Imagination”) ***

David Vassalotti: new breed 01.25.19 Vassalotti doesn't vacillate; this is pretty much one speed but it's a well-constructed one ("The Other Light," "What Shall You Say Tonight?") **

DAWN: new breed 01.25.19 Tight R&B jams that attempt to mix mainstream pop sensibility with some abstract experimenting to agreeable if not always enjoyable results ("new breed," "jealousy") ***

Deerhunter: Why Hasn't Everything Disappeared Already? 01.18.19 Beginning with harpsichord and ending with harpsichord plus electronic piano, Bradford Cox has certainly lightened the mood tonally for his band's 8th record. It's been a subtle, natural move in this direction all along and, thankfully, the tunes haven't lost their teeth on the trip. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

Diva Sweetly: In the Living Room 01.18.19 A well thought out debut from these nรผ emo or post-pop-punk upstarts that's interestingly weird at times but otherwise tedious (“Cult”) *

Doja Cat ft. Rico Nasty: "Tia Tamera" ✂️

Eerie Wanda: Pet Town 01.25.19 Really nice second LP from audio and visual artist Marina Tadic. Just-weird-enough acoustic pop that doesn't mire too long in nostalgic sounds. Side B fades after some real stand-outs on the first half ("Pet Town," "Big Blue Bird," "Moon") but still: a strong collection from an artist who is obviously onto something great. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Fidlar: Almost Free 01.25.19 ↪๐Ÿคฏ

Future: The WIZRD 01.18.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

G Herbo: Still Swervin 02.01.19 A solid continuation of last year's Swervo that nonetheless doesn't break any new ground ("Sacrifice") **

The Garden: "Thy Mission" ✂️

Girlpool: What Chaos is Imaginary 01.18.19 "Hire" is a perfect late-period Elliot Smith ripoff and the other 13 songs are all inoffensively fine *

Guided by Voices: Zeppelin over China 02.01.19 32 more Guided by Voices songs on par with last year's lone release Space Gun, which is to say: none too shabby additions to what amounts to an endless/pleasing void (“The Rally Boys”) ***

Gum Takes Tooth: Arrow 01.25.19 Truly inventive series of sound experiments that somehow manage to touch the mysterious ("Cold Chrome Hearts") and chaotic ("No Walls No Air") and often both at once ("The Arrow," "Borrowed Lies," "House Built of Fire"). A true sonic achievement that I could not begin explaining how it's made. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

Health: VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR 02.08.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Inter Arma: Sulphur English 04.12.19

J. McFarlane's Reality Guest: TA DA 01.25.19 Lead instrumental "Human Tissue Act" acts as a kind of warning shot: stay away if you ain't weird, the blast sounds. And those who gladly didn't close the tab know it was meant to be. Bolstered by beautiful melodies ("What Has He Bought") and bouncing dischord ("Your Torturer") alike, this debut full length from Julia McFarlane––previously known as Hot Topic, henceforth known as J. McFarlane's Reality Guest––is a lovely, divergent puzzle to unpack. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

James Blake: Assume Form 01.18.19 Enough bleeps & bloops and pitched vocals hovering in the background to make even Skrillex swoon! (“Barefoot in the Park”) *

Jane Church: Calimocho Molotov! 01.18.19 Come for the Bowie-biting tonal landscape, stay for the songs that actually carve out some of their own original territory on this debut (“Bleed,” “Demolition USA”) ***

jonathan leandoer127: Nectar 01.25.19 Delightfully weird (and surprisingly thoughtful) bedroom pop from Yung Lean's alter-ego. Some artists (most?) love to put out the "don't give a fuck" vibe, but few follow it up in practice with such leftfield projects that don't feel forced at all. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Juan Waters: La Onda de Juan Pablo 01.25.19 Sparse but not simple, relaxing, Spanish-language acousti-pop, Juan Waters has made a lovely record. Inspired by, written and recorded in various locations throughout Latin America, La Onda de Juan Pablo is a personal record that you don't need to understand the language to appreciate. Standouts include "Guapa" and "A Volar." ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Julian Lynch: Rat's Spit 01.18.19 Evoking the textures of classic era Eno, the lead guitarist for Real Estate has delivered a strong solo album, his first since joining the band and sixth overall; the songs aren’t bogged down by the experimentation and vice versa (“Meridian,” “Strawberry Cookies,” “Hexagonal Field”) ***

Juliana Hatfield: Weird 01.18.19 Stock stylings from proficient indie rock lifer (“Sugar”) *

Kitty: Rose Gold 04.05.19 Managing to hit on a throwback sound without being nostalgic at all, the second proper LP from former this "OK Cupid" seems to have more of a connection with video game music than it does with any synth-pop era. The '(rapper)' is better served weird and smallish ("kitty's farm," "counting all the starfish") than she is with big, swinging-for-it pop ("medicine"), but occasionally she finds a pleasant middleground ("window") as well. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Lil Uzi Vert: "Free Uzi" ✂️

Lost Under Heaven: Love Hates What You Become 01.24.19 ๐Ÿ’ฃ

LSD: "Genius" ✂️

Malibu Ken (Tobacco/Aesop Rock): s/t 01.18.19 Was going to write “Tobacco is the perfect foil for Aesop’s old school flow” but there probably isn’t a rapper who could override the former’s signature style (“Tuesday”) *

Mark Deutrom: The Blue Bird 01.04.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Martina Lussi: s/t 01.18.19 Delicate explorations into "music" from an installation sound artist. Ranging from the foreboding (“Tuesday”) to the pensive yet hopeful ("Anarchy for Her"), Lussi has crafted an elegant soundscape fit for any space (or time). ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Mikal Cronin: "Undertow" / "Breathe" ✂️

Mike Krol: Power Chords 01.25.19 A really good collection of rockers. They never quite break out of their fuzzy punk parameters but nonetheless hit home with strong melodies throughout. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Monplaisir: The Agreement 01.25.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Neil Hamburger: Still Dwelling 01.25.19 It's shocking how ineffective this plays as novelty music actually. If you're familiar with Gregg Turkington's Neil Hamburger bit then the voice might make you giggle, but once removed from that angle, this plays like the AM Radio hits of some forgotten or undiscovered eccentric. From creepy weirdo ("Standing on the Corner") to whimsical fool ("Everything's Alright"), this set of mostly covers from the mid 80s and earlier are given the huge sound treatment of an even further bygone era. There are classics given new life (Heart's "Crazy on You" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound," "Little Love Cup"), but it's in the pair of originals ("The Luckiest Man in the Room") and relative obscurities (Paul McCartney's "Backwards Traveler," etc.) where this LP really shines, leaving you wanting more. This might be the best thing Neil hamburger has ever done and that's no laughing matter. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A

Nkisi: 7 Directions 01.18.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Nonlocal Forest: Bubble Universe! 03.01.19 Deconstructed elevator music and smooth jazz that hits in all the ways stock vaporware mostly misses the mark. This record from the massively prolific Angel Marcloid is less chaotic and experimental than the things she assembles as Fire-Toolz (etc.), but it's still just as impactful. The sound as if video game music became sentient. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

NOV3L: s/t EP 02.15.19 Jagged post punk that is very well executed if not fully able to rise above its influences on this debut 8-songer from Canadian 6-piece ("To Whom It May Concern") ** *

Nudie Mag: Demo 2019 EP 01.18.19 A “demo” getting popular in 2019 is very funny to me, like they could have just given this a name and called it an EP; sounds fine to me (“Please Be the One”) *

Panda Bear: Buoys 02.08.19 Proficient and pleasant, with a quaint updating of that signature P.B. World of Reverb, these nine tracks have more space than ever before but come off a bit samey as a result. This version of the AnCo Man is mostly loose and aloof ("Dolphin," "Cranked," "Master") and occasionally folkish ("Buoys"). Side 2 offers a thankful diversion in the murky "Inner Monologue," but on the whole it lacks the punch of a great single to keep these Buoys afloat (sorry). ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Pom Poko: Birthday 02.22.19 Chock-full of mathy inventiveness––jagged drumming and guitars squiggling about––but never losing grip of the song, the debut record from this Norwegian quartet really shines. Merging radio-ready hooks ("My Work is Full of Art") with noisey post-punk ("Crazy Energy Night") and all stops in between, the joy of this record might be best encapsulated by their cover non-cover fake-out whatever "Day Tripper." Pom Poko did not take the easy way out. So you say it's your Birthday? Indeed. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A

The Red Mirror: "BENT" ✂️

RetcH: Richer Than The Opps 01.11.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Rico Nasty: "Roof" ✂️

Rustin Man: Drift Code 02.01.19 Nearly seventeen years in the making, the 'follow-up' to Paul Webb's much-beloved Beth Gibbons collab Out of Season is much more percussive though nonetheless folky; these feel more like dirges than ballads ("Vanishing Heart," "The World's in Town") ***

S. Araw Trio XIII: Activated 01.25.19 Chronic experimenters be experimentin', here with jagged photocopies of what one might describe as circus music *

Say Sue Me: "At the End of the Road" ✂️

Sharkula x Mukqs: Prunce City 02.01.19 Seemingly stream of consciousness-esque, jagged-ass flow over hypnotic, far-out, occasionally chaotic beats; sounds like a gag at times and at those times it's working best ("Expand Your Mind") **

Sharon Von Etten: Remind Me Tommorow 01.18.19 A timeless record in the most generous and least pretentious defintion; in so much as the songs feel aesthetically apart from this (complicated/shitty?) moment in time, but grounded in the constant battle between our memories and being/feeling 'present' (Remind me tomorrow? OK). Two impeccable pop singles ("Comeback Kid" and "Seventeen") lead the way but there's little filler and no lack of variety on this great album, from the brooding trenches ("Memorial Day") to the soulful and sweet ("You Shadow"). ๐Ÿ˜Ž A

Sir Babygirl: Crush on Me 02.15.19 Pure pop with a sense of humor? What more can you ask for! Blending 90 sensibilities with a big amazing voice, Sir Babygirl's only problem on her debut is that she can't reach the ultra highs she accomplishes on the pop gems of the mini LP's first half ("Heels," "Flirting with Her," "Cheerleader" and "Haunted House" are all superb). If I were a tasteless fool I might make the joke "this is what Grimes would sound like if Grimes had any talent." I can't wait to lose all my friends in one review. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A-

Sneaks: Highway Hypnosis 01.25.19 Highway hypnosis, also known as white line fever, is a mental state in which a person can drive a truck or other automobile great distances, responding to external events in the expected, safe and correct manner with no recollection of having consciously done so, or––in this case––a solid genre-defying record that marks Eva Moolchan's loosest to date. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

So Drove: "Guitar" ✂️

Sofy Major: Total Dump 01.25.19 Melvins clones (from France) with song titles like "Shiny Happy Asshole" and "Franky Butthole" *

Steve Gunn: The Unseen in Between 01.18.19 No-frills folk best served with, well, some frills, a flourish, however subtle, to cut away wouldbe stagnancy ("Luciano") *

Steven Mason: About the Light 01.18.19 Echoes of the Beta Band abound on this the 4th album from their frontman; stylized over-production can both weigh songs down ("About the Light") and give them life ("America is Your Boyfriend," "Stars Around My Heart"). The crimes of the former, however, are easy to forgive on the whole, as the quality of hooks and general pop sensibility are impossible to ignore. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Sunwatchers: Illegal Moves 02.22.19 Classic fusion really, that works better rocking out with form ("New Dad Blues") than it does feeling free with jazz ("Everybody Play," etc) **

Thyla: What's on Your Mind EP 01.11.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Tim Presley: I Have to Feed Larry's Hawk 01.25.19 Subtle and personal nuance within what would otherwise just be tremendous pastiche songwriting lifts this record from the White Fence painter far above the good to great. Wants and needs and the unseen in between can be a murky jumble of bits to unmuddle, let alone prioritize, in this life of immediate gratification, but thankfully we have artists like Tim to help guide us. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A

Toro y Moi: Outer Peace 01.18.19 One-time genre manipulator hones in on funky smooth beats to respectable if not largely forgettable results ("Ordinary Pleasure," "Freelance") *

Twain: New Miami Sound 01.25.19 Proficient singer-songwriter fare with very good song titles (“Death (or S.F.?)”) *

The Twilight Sad: It Won/T Be Like This All The Time 01.18.19 ๐Ÿ˜‘

Vatican Shadow: Opium Crop Airstrikes EP 01.09.18 What is repetition if not unchanging? Music that makes you question the why and what-for is always inherently good. Most days are like the days passed, and the ever prolific Dominick Fernow wants us to ask why that is, with this his 30-somethingth release as Vatican Shadow alone. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

Vertical Scratchers: "Song of Earth" ✂️

Warish: s/t EP 02.01.19 Setting the bar impossibly high with a self-description of "Incesticide era Nirvana crossed with Static Age era Misfits," this debut 5-songer nonetheless gets an "A" for effort (in terms of knowing about specific compilation albums by famous artists) whilst completely neglecting to insert any semblance of those band's sense of melody or dynamics. ๐Ÿคฏ

The Writhing Squares: Out of the Ether 01.25.19 Second full-length from "side project" duo of Daniel Provenzano (Purling Hiss, Spacin, Rosali & the Middlemen) and Kevin Nickles (Ecstatic Vision, Taiwan Housing Project) expands upon their droning jazz punk sound. They seek to remind us all about the proper way to deploy a saxophone. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

ZYJK2 / SDFSD: ZZZZZZZ / YYYYYYY 01.02.19 Kind of really enjoyed this horrifying weirdo album. What else can I say? I'll say this: the product of a strange 'music label' (7FORM) that has 'released' over 60 'music releases' in the first 18 days of 2019 alone, you could probably just click one of these things and they'd also get highlighted as a B+ release on this consumer guide as well. And what's wrong with that… everyNot a thing, perhaps. ๐Ÿ˜Ž B+

TOTAL RELEASES REVIEWED THUS FAR: 85


๐Ÿ”‘ SCORING KEY

There are three essential tiers (all graded records––tier 1––designated via ๐Ÿ˜Ž):

An A+ is a record of sustained beauty, power, insight, groove, and/or yahoofizz that has invited and repaid repeated listenings in the daily life of someone with 5,000 other [insert content here] to get to.

An A is a record that rarely flags for more than 2-3 tracks. Not every listener will feel what it's trying to do, but anyone with a Zune will agree that it's doing it.

An A- is the kind of boilerplate good record that is the great luxury of our horrifyingly misguided times. Anyone open to its aesthetic will enjoy more than half its tracks.

A B+ is remarkable one way or another, yet also flirts with the humdrum or the half-assed.


A *** Honorable Mention3 is an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure.

A ** Honorable Mention2 is a likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy.

A * Honorable Mention1 is a worthy effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well like.


A ๐Ÿ˜‘ may impress once or twice with consistent craft or an arresting track or two. Then it won't. Then it… won't.

A ✂️ is a good song on an album (and/or initial single, or: forever a standalone; the latter is designated via "♪" notation until further notice) wherein that album is either a ๐Ÿ˜‘ or a ๐Ÿ’ฃand never higher.

A ๐Ÿ’ฃ is a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought. At the upper level it may merely be overrated, disappointing, or dull. Down below it may be contemptible.

A ๐Ÿคฏ is a record that, while I don't personally like, I find the need to write about in further detail, either here or via shrimpkardashian.tumblr.com or ???, because it might be so horrible or mundane or confusing (or truly truly great), that it also might be _________ (and deserve more words)?

A ☕ is a record that is too out of my wheelhouse ('genre-specific') for me to weigh on in any kind of meaningful fashion but listing here = I did give it a listen.

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