Album Review: Broken Baby – Late Stage Optimism

Artist: Broken Baby

Album: Late Stage Optimism

Genre: Alternative Rock/Indie Rock/Post-Punk

Label: Poor Man Records

Rating: 8/10

There’s a bone I’ve got to pick with major music publications. For awhile now “Rock” and its countless subgenres have been neglected by your favorite cool and contemporary music blogs and publications, and this stems from the misguided belief that “rock is dead.” Now I’m not here to scream “Rock is not dead!” like a character straight out of a Wayne’s World movie, but the negligence that plagues the modern Rock world is more problematic than you think. Rock is not the zeitgeist, and it hasn’t been for over a decade. In fact, the last movement to reach commercial success other than the short-lived Garage Rock Revival scene of the early 2000s was the Nu-Metal movement, and I’m not even going to mention how embarrassing that is. This is problematic because the countless bands in the Rock world whether it be Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, Garage Rock, Punk Rock, Indie Rock etc. aren’t being pushed to the masses enough, and this failure falls on major streaming platforms and their poorly curated playlists, and most contemporary Rock stations whose heaviest or most cutting edge band they play is “Twenty One Pilots.” This unfortunately leads to less exposure. That isn’t to say Rock bands aren’t thriving in the underground. In fact, this gives countless bands the chance to garner a more devoted fan base, which will weed out the trend-hoppers, and the internet is so vast that you can discover as many bands as you want at anytime. I just would like to see more music publications providing a more in depth analysis when covering Rock bands. This has got me thinking that L.A. based duo “Broken Baby’s” new album Late Stage Optimism would have topped the charts had it been released in the 90s or early 2000s. Not that the album is derivative or overly nostalgic, but there was more of a respectful focus on Rock music in those times. However, don’t misconstrue my old man yells at cloud rant about contemporary Rock music as charity or a ploy to get you to feel sorry for Broken Baby and other bands of their like, because Broken Baby are doing just fine with their explosive, fun, thought-provoking, and infectious music. Their sophomore album Late Stage Optimism is their best work by far, and the perfect example of how to correctly combine attitude driven guitar Rock with Pop sensibilities. The Pop elements come from lead singer Amber Bollinger’s catchy as Hell vocals, and I do mean catchy. She has crafted some of the most sing-along-able choruses I’ve heard in a very long time, but along with those catchy hooks lies her sharp and witty lyrical content. These lyrics refuse to stay in one spot, they tackle important topics but the album never gets too bleak or serious, which may be a reflection on how we awkwardly approach touchy topics or try to exit certain conversations with a nervous laugh, and this might be a complete misinterpretation, but I feel like the frequent sense of humor on this album satirizes the try-hards out there who speak out against injustice but freeze up when confronted with the real deal. A track like “Madonna’s a Dick” has no business being that catchy given the fact that it’s about the unfair treatment women face in the entertainment business where they’re sexualized and faced with double standards, but if you want people to listen, sometimes you have to lure them in with straight-forward catchiness. However that sense of humor and sense of fun are far from performative, because it’s evident that the two have a natural sense of humor. Just listen to the opening track “Get the Piss Up” and you’ll know what I mean. The track is a celebration of those moments when you’re having the time of your life dancing and raging with friends. The catchiest track on the album “Manic Panic” has some clever wordplay that inspires me to write better, not to mention the line “Nada Surf with you” on the closing track “Hand Heat” still blows my mind. These multi-faceted lyrics have prompted me to over-analyze, and the journey has been frustrating and immensely enticing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Is the track “Meaniac” about men victimizing themselves and labeling women “mean” when they don’t get what they want? Is the track “Cloud Coverage” about escapism and the many vices we use to bury vulnerability? Am I completely misinterpreting these songs? Am I really being over-analytical? All of these questions arise while the music sounds fully-fleshed out with just two primary members, and this is the result of guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Dezen’s eclectic guitar stylings. This is some of the most unique and utterly infectious guitar work I’ve heard on a record in quite a long time. I believe this album will forever remain timeless. Though it has elements of genres that will remind you of an older era, it still manages to sound modern and features topics that will remain relevant for a very long time, and who can deny the addicting personality this album offers? If there’s an album that can get the masses to pay attention to the Rock world it’s this one, and I feel like this is the step in the right direction, but don’t simply lump Broken Baby in a category, because Broken Baby are Broken Baby, and no one else.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Broken Baby Share New Single “Hand Heat”

Just like that, “Broken Baby” release one of the best love songs i’ve ever heard. Now before you roll your eyes at the term “love song,” let me assure you that the L.A. duo’s new single “Hand Heat” isn’t your typical glamorized Hollywood romanticism, nor is it a cynical look on relationships and romance, instead it is a Punk Rock love story that stays away from the “we belong together forever” cliché’s and replaces them with those real life feelings of love. You know, those moments of staying in and lying on each other on the couch while deciding what to watch next. You don’t know what the future holds, but you know this is where you want to be at this very moment. The track will appear on the band’s upcoming album Late Stage Optimism which is scheduled to be released on September 24th via the band’s own label “Poor Man Records.” You can watch the music video for “Hand Heat,” as well as pre-order the upcoming album below:

https://brokenbaby.bandcamp.com/album/late-stage-optimism

Broken Baby Share New Single “Get the Piss Up”


I’ve never heard the phrase “get the piss up” before, but it sounds exciting, and it sounds like a fun night of dancing terribly, getting a little too drunk, and hitting up Denny’s at 3:00 A.M. because it’s the only restaurant that’s open at that time. After a year of isolation where we were all stuck inside, much of our partying consisted of getting a little too drunk at home and watching bad reality T.V. Fortunately, Los Angeles Garage Rock duo “Broken Baby” made best of the situation and recorded a rager of a track that proves you can have a good time in any situation whether it be at a show or in your own garage. That’s right, “Get the Piss Up” is the title of the band’s new single, and it’s a fun track that offers a bit of hope, which is a fun alternative to the general consensus that we’re all doomed. You can watch the music video for “Get the Piss Up” below:

Tarah Who? Share New Single “Manners”

“Tarah Who?” have been on a roll this year so far. Not too long ago they released their superb rage-filled song about the unfair treatment most of us face in the workplace titled “Swallow That Pill,” and today the band have released their follow-up single “Manners.” This track is less aggressive in nature, but no less impactful than “Swallow That Pill.” The song is inspired by lead singer Tarah Carpenter’s mother who was abandoned as a child and raised by nuns who were really strict. “She always puts herself last and tries to understand everyone, which is a real strength. It occurred to me one day that she was taught to be a good citizen, with good manners, but no one really cared for her as a parent would,” explains Carpenter. You can watch the music video for “Manners” below:

Blue Orchid Reaction Share Remix of “Escape to Plan”

“Escape to Plan” was without a doubt the most standout track on “Blue Orchid Reaction’s” E.P. Four Chord Theory last year, and though it seemed like a finished track that needed no improvements, the song got a reworking from the band anyway, and this version sounds more polished than the original. The song is about the frustration and anger toward the failings of politicians who serve their own needs and not the needs of those who elected them. While the E.P. version is a more raw take that evokes the spirit of live shows, the remix is a pristinely produced version that flexes the band’s studio muscles without sounding too overproduced. Don’t forget to listen to the awesome acoustic version as well. You can listen to the “Escape to Plan” remix below:

Movie Club Share New Single “Thunder”

Venice Beach duo “Movie Club” have been releasing E.P. after E.P. of skillfully structured instrumentals rich in California soaked “Rock” that would catch the attention of fans of “Psychedelia” and “Stoner Rock” since last year. Following their recent E.P. Man O’ War, the band are set to release their debut full-length album Black Flamingo in November. Today the band have shared the album’s first single “Thunder,” and it is another groovy tune that finds the duo doing what they do best, rocking our faces off. The track features bassist Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Black Crowes). You can listen to “Thunder” below:

PLAY DEAD Share New Song “Shaun”

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South London trio “PLAY DEAD” are just two singles in and they already show much promise. It’s safe to say we can add the band to the list of Post-Punk scholars who bring innovation to the beloved genre along with “IDLES,” “Shame,” “Hotel Lux,” etc. The band’s second single “Shaun” was released today, and it’s even more infectious than it’s predecessor “Whitstable,” raucously delivering a “Garage Rock” grunginess while the band sings about member Ollie Clarke’s nan’s boyfriend who is described by the band as “a gentle giant with a short fuse who got arrested for punching a man off his bike in Brixton. He enjoys pies, pints, and Coldplay.” Very few of us are lucky enough to get our own theme song, and Shaun now has the perfect one. You can listen to “Shaun” below:

E.P. Review: Movie Club – Man O’ War

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Artist: Movie Club

EP: Man O’ War

Genre: Instrumental/Garage Rock/Psychedelic Rock

Label: Self-released

Rating: 7/10

There’s nothing like witnessing a band perform. The chemistry between every member, the ideas that are bounced off each other as each member brings their own distinct quality to the table, it’s a beautiful thing to see and hear, but what’s even more impressive is when a band only has two members. Of course duos are nothing new, but when two people can create a sound that gives off the illusion that you’re listening to a quartet, it’s a massive accomplishment. Meet “Movie Club,” an instrumental duo hailing from Venice Beach, CA. Consisting of members Jessamyn Violet on drums and Vince Cuneo on guitar, their chemistry is infectious as their seamless interplay makes you wonder if they share the same brain. Their new E.P. Man O’ War is no exception. The duo flirt heavily with “Psychedelic Rock” on this record, which feels like a natural progression, and they’ve even incorporated bass thanks to musician Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Black Crowes). With this sound the band takes you on a journey with each song, a journey that feels cinematic, which is fitting considering the band’s name. As a matter of fact, the band’s appreciation for film is especially apparent in the music videos for the tracks “Moonbow” and “Bones” which features recurring mysterious white wolves who chase the duo in a Horror inspired style. The band never wastes a second on this E.P. as every track has enough change-ups to veer away from boring repetition, but at the same time they don’t bombard you with over-ambitious grandiosity as these are jams you can sit back and relax to without being surprised by an abrupt dramatic transition. These tracks flow smoothly, but at the same time they’re a spiritual journey if you want to ingest it that way. This E.P. can be a journey, it can be your new favorite music to chill out and smoke a doobie to, or it can be the soundtrack to your commute, walk, or exercise, whatever it may be to you, you can count on this E.P. to never be boring.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

The Black Keys Release New Song “Lo/Hi”

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That’s right, they’re back. “The Black Keys” returned today with their first new music since their 2014 album Turn Blue. “Lo/Hi” feels like a return to form for the band, with raw “Blues Rock” that can win your Dad over. No word on whether or not this will appear on a new album. You can listen to the track below:

 

Album Review: Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL

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Artist: Le Butcherettes

Album: bi/MENTAL

Genre: Alternative Rock/Post-Punk/Garage Rock/Art Rock

Rating: 8/10

Some musicians are just completely captivating, whether it be on record, or during a confrontational live show, some musicians just demand your attention. Teresa Suárez Cosío A.K.A. Terri Gender Bender is without a doubt one of those enthralling musicians. The Denver, Colorado born artist started playing guitar and writing songs at a very young age when her and her family moved to Mexico. She has embarked on countless music endeavors since she was fully established in the music business, everything from her “Bosnian Rainbows” project with frequent collaborator Omar Rodríguez-López, to her star-studded supergroup “Crystal Fairy,” you can bet she puts her blood, sweat, and tears into everything she does, but her main project, the one that has her full heart is “Le Butcherettes.” Starting out as a “Garage Rock” duo that drew a lot of influence from feminism, “Le Butcherettes” have had a rotating lineup throughout the years, which has lead the project to vastly shapeshift on each album. Their 2011 debut Sin Sin Sin was a minimalist howl that spoke on gender politics, their following album Cry Is For The Flies was a lot darker and sinister in nature without losing it’s thought provoking and immensely poetic lyricism, and the band’s third album A Raw Youth contained synth-heavy Glam with a grandiose presentation. One thing has remained among these style changes though, and that’s sole member Terri Gender Bender’s personality and distinct style. Her artistic style of deep cutting and sometimes zany vocals, raw and grungy guitar riffs, and her signature organ that sounds like a circus from Hell are all what makes her style so incredibly unique and intriguing, and on her new album with a new live band bi/MENTAL features all of these things and then some. Everything that has made the band so musically compelling is perfectly incorporated into the mix, but the melodic and lush delivery with an underlying sense of melancholy but strong self-aware ethos are all balanced out perfectly on this album, making this the band’s best work to date. bi/MENTAL is largely ambitious with artistic instrumentation filled with Proggy synths, “Post-Punk” ridden guitars, groovy basslines, and some of the best sounding drum work there has ever been on a “Le Butcherettes” record, but of course, the main thing that sticks out and immediately grabs the listeners attention is Terri Gender Bender’s impactful vocals and meaningful lyrics. There are recurring themes of mental illness and bipolar disorder on these songs, and how these things can be hereditary and run through a family’s bloodline. These subjects are poetically delivered and the myriad of changing emotions conveyed on these songs reflect the theme of bipolar disorder. One song can be about self-empowerment and conjuring up the courage to rid yourself of a toxic relationship like the track “strong/ENOUGH,” but then the emotion can completely change like on the track “in/THE END” where Terri sings “In the end we’re faithless. We’re just in search for guidance” speaking on the frantic and confused human condition. The ever-changing sentiments on these songs beautifully represent the mindset of most humans who can’t help but get lost in introspective thought, and Terri fearlessly delivers these themes, forcing you to hang on to every word that is said. Some of these tracks are largely collaborative. Jello Biafra of “Dead Kennedys” provides a spoken word outro on the opening track “spider/WAVES,” artist and activist Alice Bag provides vocals on the sinister sounding “mother/HOLDS,” and all of these songs are cleanly produced by Jerry Harrison of “Talking Heads” and “The Modern Lovers,” but as effective as these features are, none of them overshadow Terri Gender Bender. They probably couldn’t if they tried, because her artistry is completely captivating and it’s very evident that she is an important figure in modern “Rock.” There’s no doubt that she’ll continue to push the boundaries and provoke thought, and that is the kind of ambition we need in the music world today.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 02/04/19