Toronto’s Alvvays have been taking the indie world by storm ever since the release of their self-titled debut back in 2014. Their catchy, melodic pop songs are like sugar to the ears, and they have constructing/executing damn-near perfect pop songs down to a science. Blue Rev, their brand new release and third album with Polyvinyl Records, is no exception. In fact, I dare to say that Alvvays has laid down the gauntlet on BR by daring to pull off their (damn-near perfect) pop formula for 14 songs this time, instead of 9 and 10 like on their previous releases.
Blue Rev is incredible from start to finish – no hyperbole here – it’s solid.
10 out of 10.
16 wooden nickels.
Whatever score makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a can’t miss, one of the best releases of the year for sure. Check out the available singles below for a taste.
Blue Rev drops on Friday (10/7) via Polyvinyl. We will have it in hand at our brick and mortar 3hive Record Lounge, but you’ll need to move quick, this will sell out fast. Enjoy.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the members of Austin band Easy Prey are pissed off. At least that’s the vibe I get while listening to their debut LP Unrest (which I have been listening to almost non-stop for the past few days). If my frustrations and anxieties about all the BS going on around all of us – every day – were a band, I think it would sound a lot like Easy Prey.
Unrest was written during the lockdowns of 2020 and “heavily influenced by the circumstances of 2020 – experiencing mass unemployment and civil strife while the ruling class thrived.”
Unrest is a masterclass on what makes a great post-hardcore album — it’s heavy, it’s loud, it’s punishing and it doesn’t let up — ever — during its 10 song, 30 minute span. Check out “Other People” below for a taste.
For me listening to Unrest has been a bit of a cathartic experience, where for 30 minutes these guys are pissed off for me, which provides a small — but much needed — sense of relief. Thanks for that Easy Prey!
Melbourne trio CLAMM, are taking no prisoners with their pummeling brand of heavy-ass punk rock on their new album Care. Just give “Scheme” and “Bit Much” a spin (below) to see what I mean.
From the album PR, CLAMM are “explore(ing) the confusion of what it is to be a young person trying to live an honourable life in this fucked up world. Their songs are about trying to navigate systems of power and oppression while retaining a healthy sense of self and mental health. Community, creativity, and catharsis are what they hope to achieve through their music.” Is there a better reason to make music in this stupid world than that?
Fairy Rust is Louisville 3-piece, Wombo’s latest album. It’s a rhythm-heavy effort with the bass guitar pretty much running the show throughout – which to this listener’s ears is FANTASTIC!
The album was written over the past two years and draws inspiration from fairytales by The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. The group’s Bandcamp page states, “Fairy Rust… contemplates the spaces in-between, a meeting of the physicality of the land with the fluidity of the imagination….”.
On slow building “Below The House” (stream below), the vocals and guitar seem to chase the bass and drums around until the last minute or so when the guitar just erupts – this is a very solid way to write, record and mix a song. I love it.
There are several times during the album that Wombo reminds me of Primus. Don’t get it twisted, Wombo doesn’t sound anything like Primus, but their “each instrument shines on it’s own” (my statement, not their’s) without taking anything away from the cohesiveness of the song itself, and the amount of punch they produce as a trio just takes me to Primus. Listen to “Queens of Keesh” (below) for an example of what I’m rambling about. Maybe I am completely nuts? I don’t care, I am writing this post, not you.:)
Fairy Rust is an incredible album and up there as one of my favorite releases of the year. It is out now and available on wax and digitally via Fire Talk Records. Buy the record. Go see them live. ENJOY THE GOOD MUSIC.
Worthitpurchase are the trio of Nicole Rowe, Omar Akrouche and Eric Van Thyne. Their experimental electro-pop sound (think The Microphones, mingled with the smallest amount of Postal Service) is quite compelling throughout on their sophomore LP, Truthtelling. Give album standouts “Anne Hedonic” and “Deadbeat “ (below) a taste.
Truthtelling is a solid album that deserves your attention.
With their second album, Excess, Automatic has proved that they are adept at both timing and rhythmic composition, as each song builds eagerly and each accompanying instrumental layer is carefully interwoven. While the lyrics reflect the presence of excess in a capitalistic sense, there is no excess present in Automatic’s musical arrangements. Everything is meticulously crafted, and the production on this album is outstanding. Most of the songs on the album begin with electrifying, charged introductions comprised of just bass and drums, with the exception of “Teen Beat,” in which isolated vocals precede any instruments. Each song swiftly transitions into synth-doused verses that, while reminiscent of the 1980’s, feel fresh rather than recycled.
The lyrics in Excess delve into the grotesque nature of corporate culture and, as a whole, provide an overarching critique of capitalism in general. In “Skyscraper,” a personal favorite of mine, the lyrics are “Up here where the sun has a beautiful shine / To light up perverted American minds / The white hand of luxury, so cool and refined / No trace of the miserable people outside.” Automatic effectively riffs about the inefficacy of a system where climbing the ladder distances one from the brutal reality that exists around them- that a win, essentially, is always someone else’s loss. The somewhat impersonal nature of the lyrics reflects the lack of compassion in a culture that values personal success at the expense of others. But the thing about Excess is that one doesn’t need a complete understanding of the lyrics to appreciate the album; it is as danceable as it is clever.
In many ways, this album reminds me of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, if LCD Soundsystem was a female-fronted band from Los Angeles. Excess channels Sound of Silver in its lyrical richness, production, quippiness, and dance-punk style that feels New Order-esque. Automatic’s vocal and instrumental approach is more subdued than James Murphy’s in Sound of Silver, but it works well, as it compliments the album’s commentary on the hollow pursuit of consumerism (like in “NRG”, which has the refrain “You don’t have a choice, so your body is a product / Was any of it real, all the things that you wanted?”).
Automatic has opened for IDLES, Parquet Courts, Tame Impala, and, come September, is set to open for Osees, but this album has proved that they have what it takes to climb a ladder that’s all their own, which, hopefully, will take them into the upper-echelons of the alternative scene where they can get the recognition they deserve. Excess is out now via Stones Throw Records and is currently available on vinyl at 3hive Record Lounge. In addition to “Skyscraper,” be sure to give both “NRG” and “Venus Hour” a listen.
South London’s multi-talented Wu-Lu is about to release his debut album LOGGERHEAD with Warp Records. His newest single from it — “Scrambled Tricks” — is a grimy, beat-driven, post/punk rock-adjacent(?) track that has me stoked for the album drop.
Check out the fear of clowns inducing video for “Scrambled Tricks” below and be sure to mark your calendars for July 8 to get your hands on this bad boy. Enjoy
Provo UT’s UPHERE! Records are releasing their new label comp filled with previously unreleased nuggets from bands like Backhand, Nicole Canaan, The Plastic Cherries and Homephone to name a few. All the profits go to help refugees in Ukraine, 50% to Save The Children and 50% to The Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. This is a KILLER compilation and it’s for a VERY good cause.