New Music Monday: May 16, 2016

Oh, hey. It’s this thing again.

An exciting day in New Music Monday-land! Not because the music was any good, though (it wasn’t). The excitement stems from this feature becoming The Fraudster’s Almanac’s first joint feature! Jay Hosking will be joining us to share reviews of new albums that he listens to on Bandcamp! I’ve decided to call this Jay Hosking’s Bandcamp Corner, and I’ve made this decision without asking him. Hit the link and hop down to his reviews for a more thoughtful batch of reviews than we’re used to around here!

Or… keep reading below for my thoughts on an absolutely dismal week in new music.

Jennifer Nettles – Playing With Fire
If you’re looking to listen to someone sing with a phoney & overdone southern accent that makes an already uninspired piece of pop-country positively unlistenable, look no further. This is an abomination. It’s as if someone typed “soulless Nashville fuckpuddle” into a computer and then the computer played this back at them before throwing itself into a bathtub.

Meghan Trainor – Thank You
Things like this make me realize that generation gaps are a real thing and that youth culture is designed specifically to be unintelligible to people over a certain age. I have no idea what the fuck is going on here, sonically or otherwise. This song is just clicks and whistles with a strange R&B chorus. I find this baffling and terrifying. The young will feast upon our brittle old bones and probably mumble something about “dat bass” while doing it. The video is also terrifying. Why is any of this?

James Blake – The Colour In Anything
This YouTube link appears to be a truncated version of this song. It ends after one minute. Let’s thank heaven for small mercies, huh? Really painful stuff. If you removed the language from this, it would just sound like somebody noodling on a piano next to a ravine with an injured goat bleating at the bottom of it. I hate it.

Jessy Lanza – Oh No
This is the second track that I’ve listened to today that makes me feel like I’m from a different planet filled with geriatric grumps, and that the real world is populated by hyper-intelligent young people that have some understanding that I don’t about what makes this anything but absolute nonsense. I’m curious as to where the cutoff is. This occupies a similar sonic realm to Grimes, an artist that I sometimes get and who occasionally produces moments of infectious genius. This song, though, takes a step forward or sideways and in doing so has become alien to me – a lame older person. I can’t even properly insult this, because I don’t understand what it is trying to do. Oh god.

The Trash Can Sinatras – Wild Pendulum
A Scottish indie-rock band active since the 1990s? Phew. Back to my wheelhouse, finally. I’ve never heard of this band, but on first listen, it’s fairly pleasant semi-orchestral pop-rock. This is competent and buoyant stuff, but sounds heavily dated and bordering on stale. If you’re into this style of pop-rock (see Sloan, and about a dozen other UK bands of the same vintage), chances are you stopped getting excited about new music ages ago and already have a set playlist of your go-to favourites. I’m not compelled to listen to more off of this album, but this band has certainly honed their craft. It’s fine.

Aida Victoria – Beyond The Bloodhounds
Slightly punked-out nouveau-blues rock with some interesting production ideas and heavily-affected vocal performance. It hews pretty closely to the blues-rock form, and doesn’t do much to rock that boat. This revival/revision stuff often becomes pretty popular, though, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this track were enjoyable to some. Not for me, but then again… what is?

Death And Vanilla – Self-titled
I’ve never been on morphine. But it probably makes every conversation sound like this song. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but some of the synth sounds happening here are absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t possibly listen to a full-length album of this sleepy, drugged-out weirdness, but the aesthetics of the whole thing were entertaining for the duration of a three-minute video. Sweden, everyone. Where women whisper to you through softly whirring fan-blades.

Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional
Hahahaha. Oh boy. This song is called “Looking Down The Barrel of Today”!!! The video is intercut with inspirational messages that would seem kind of well-meaning coming from a youth counsellor or something. But… coming from the band with the vocalist that leaves the homophobic voicemail messages… it all seems a little rich to me. Add the tired, boring guitar patterns and the early-90s hardcore hiphop-ish delivery of 10th grade tough-guy lyrics to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a real humdinger of an embarrassment. This is just silly. WWE Wrestling must be pretty stoked about this track, though.

Devildriver – Trust No One
“Cookie cookie cookie” <- Lyrics sheet.

I find this band really, really funny. Every album cover looks like it was designed by a grade 11 tech student in the late 90s. This song sounds exactly like all of the songs that I’ve heard by them, and it appears that they’re content with resting on their chuggy laurels. This band is basically just Lamb of God, but maybe crappier. You’ve got your groove metal riffing, Cookie Monster screaming and an attempt at some melodic lead guitar work. The video is a difficult thing to watch if you’re an adult who enjoys heavy music, but if you want to see a bunch of beefy dudes acting really upset in a forest… this video is for you

Edit: Local metalhead Jesse James Laderoute (who wrote an insane genius piece about Gorguts over at has brought it to my attention that I would be remiss not to mention Devildriver vocalist Dez Fafara’s involvement in the Nü Metal doofus patrol Coal Chamber. Thanks, Jesse.

Jay Hosking’s Bandcamp Corner!

Hooded Fang — Venus On Edge
Huh. Toronto band with a bunch of records under their belt? I haven’t heard them, but I been out of the game for years. I almost shut this record down after a few tracks but gave it a full listen in the end. Some interesting ideas and some cool sounds, but undercut by a deliberately thin production and an ambiguous mood on most of the tracks. This could almost be mean and dark stoner rock, but the drums are too papery to be energetic and it sounds like it was made by sober people. Some moving moments, but mostly emotionally cold. Oh. I got it. This is like Thee Oh Sees having sex with a lizard.

Verdict: I don’t hate it, and some of it I even like, but I probably won’t listen to it again. Might be my illustrious colleague’s thing, after his new romance with the Gizzy Lizzies.


Modern Baseball — Holy Ghost 

(Name that sounds like American Football) + (Jimmy Eat Blink 182 sound) = Emo’s coming back, isn’t it?
Again, not their first record, but it’s clear that I don’t know shit about what’s cool. Major chords, major up-tempo rock, major faux-bashful vocals. Jesus, the last time I had to listen to the radio on a regular basis, this is what they played. I’m not going to get through this whole record, am I? Yeah, no. But the digital liner notes (HAH) say that there are two songwriters, and that songwriter 1 wrote the first half of the album, and songwriter 2 wrote the second half. So let’s give the second half a shot.
… Well, side B is a little better in almost every way (songs, arrangements, vocals). But still not for me. Oh, listen to that gem of a line: “I’m not the same as I was, but that’s cool. Whatever.” OK, I’m done with this album.
Verdict: I do not like Modern Baseball, but that’s cool. Whatever.


Arbor Labor Union — I Hear You

I won’t hold that very non-Canadian spelling against you, ALU. Especially because I like where you start, with some seagull strings and a real rrrrock guitar. This guy shouting sort of out of key at somebody named “Mr. Birdsong” isn’t doing it for me, though. Like if Thurston Moore was mad at Bill Callahan and was shouting Callahan’s lyrics to mock him.
What was Ferris Bueller’s friend’s name? Remember him, the sort-of depressed guy who was mad at his dad but did good voices over the phone? It’s like that guy is the singer of the band. But he’s not really singing as much as doing one of those voices.
Jesus, this band is not in a rush. Every interesting idea plays out over minutes and minutes until it’s not so interesting anymore. If you have ever gone to a rock show at a small venue, you’ve probably seen some variation of this band: some really neat ideas, but not much for singing and every song goes on too long.
Verdict: I would probably pay attention to this band live, but I will probably never listen to this again.
Verdict verdict: You win, Hooded Fang! And not even because your name is a Richler reference!




Author: markmeeks

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