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

Lucky Iris Share New Single “Coffee Shop”

We all have them. Our favorite spots to hang out. Whether it be coffee shops, bars, venues, or diners, it’s part of the human experience to get out and meet people, have conversations, or even people watch as you gaze at someone you find attractive, intriguing, or maybe someone who is obnoxiously making a scene, whatever the case may be, these are the things, good or bad, that make us human. These are the things we’ve grown accustomed to, but what happens when all of that is taken away from us? That’s what we were forced to endure last year during lockdown. The importance of human interaction made itself more clear than ever, making us realize we took these things for granted. However, that isolation lead to self-reflection for many of us, and prompted countless artists to create such profound art, artists such as “Lucky Iris.” Inspired by their desire to get out into the world again, the Leeds duo created a dance floor ready banger rich in Electro-Pop and Disco titled “Coffee Shop,” and the track reflects on those times of normalcy, inspiring us to slow down and savor these times as they slowly return. The track was produced by Ed Heaton, and mixed by Lee Smith. You can listen to “Coffee Shop” below:

https://luckyirisband.bandcamp.com/track/coffee-shop

Vanarin Share New Single “Care”

Italian band “Vanarin” have returned with a new single titled “Care.” Set to appear on their upcoming full-length album Treading Water, “Care” is the most adventurous the band have sounded musically with a synth-driven outro that brings to mind 80’s Sci-Fi/Horror á la John Carpenter. The track is lusciously dreamy, and the lyrical content reflects the moody yet groovy tone of the music speaking on those moments where we get lost in our own thoughts, and i’m sure most will agree with me that we’ve had plenty of self-reflection to deal with thanks to our current pandemic. You can watch the music video for “Care” below:

Panic State Share New Single “Viral Love”

Valentine’s Day was almost a week ago, but London based trio “Panic State” aren’t done sharing the love, viral love that is. Today the band dropped their new single “Viral Love” and it’s the band’s most fun track yet filled with energetic instrumentation and an earworm of a chorus that will have you shouting the lyrics. You can listen to “Viral Love” below:

Billy Nomates Announces New E.P. “Emergency Telephone,” Shares New Single “Heels”

Billy Nomates released her debut album last year and immediately solidified herself as the voice for the forgotten normal people. The people who work regular jobs who would love to roll up their sleeves and lay their bosses out with a nice fat punch to the face. She’s someone who acknowledges the working class, but rather than preach, she observes the importance of normal people and sheds a catchy light on said people to provide realistic Pop music that is the antithesis of Pop music that celebrates luxury and celebrity. Today she has announced that she will release a new E.P. titled Emergency Telephone on March 5th via “Invada Records.” She has also released a new single off the E.P. titled “Heels,” which is about knowing who you are and finding the warrior within you to fight the many obstacles and inconveniences that break you down. You can watch the music video for “Heels” below:

Pixx Shares New Music Video for “Everything is Weird in America”

“Everything is Weird in America” isn’t exactly a new song from Hannah Rogers’ “Pixx” project, the track was featured on her debut album The Age of Anxiety back in 2017, but the sentiment of the song still rings true. After three years, Rogers has finally released a video she had shot for the song, and now seems like the best time to release it, because right now things are incredibly strange here in America. You can watch the music video for “Everything is Weird in America” below:

U.S. Girls Share New Music Video for “And Yet It Moves / Y Se Mueve”

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Today “U.S. Girls” have shared a new music video for their track “And Yet It Moves / Y Se Mueve,” which is one of the most undeniably infectious tracks off their new album Heavy Light. The video is packed with trippy animated visuals, flashing lights, and optical illusions, and it was created by Evan Gordon. You can watch the music video for “And Yet It Moves / Y Se Mueve” below:

Courtney Jacobs Shares New Single “Heat Dream”

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Following her lush debut single “Canary,” singer-songwriter Courtney Jacobs has released an even more irresistible track titled “Heat Dream,” and it’s another smooth Summer jam with infectiously dreamy vocals and production that takes an unexpected turn incorporating heavy synths and a Hip Hop styled beat that’s sure to make you move. About the track, Jacobs has stated “The song is a descent into a hazy dream of falling into a lover’s arms after being separated. Chill but romantic with a heavy drop, this song is perfect for daydreaming or a night under the covers.” You can listen to “Heat Dream” below:

Track Review: Greysha – Life Goes Fluently

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Artist: Greysha

Song: Life Goes Fluently

Genre: Pop/Alternative Rock/Indie Rock/Indie Pop

Label: Self-released

We’re all guilty of dwelling in the past. Caught up in the could haves and should haves. Many of us reminisce over simpler or happier times, but though acknowledging the past is important, it’s also more important to focus on the present. To lay the groundwork for the future, and to strive to grow and improve. As simple as that concept may be, it’s also very complex, because us as humans have such a vast memory that it’s hard not to live in the past where we’ve invested so much time and emotions. There’s a reason why the old saying “life goes on” rings true, and on her new single “Life Goes Fluently,” up and coming artist “Greysha” captures this feeling in a way that isn’t exactly happy-go-lucky, but also isn’t exactly pessimistic or self-deprecating. Instead, she has created an immaculately produced guitar-driven ballad that finds her diving deep into her realizations and acknowledging that she herself is guilty of dwelling in the past. She’s letting us know that she’s right there with us, instead of waving her finger at us. It’s clear that young love is the main focus on this track. It’s youthful and can be naive, but that’s what makes it so charming. I’m very much looking forward to what she does next.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

 

Track Review: YNYS – Aros Am Byth

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Artist: YNYS

Song: Aros Am Byth

Genre: Indie Pop/Psych-Pop

Label: Libertino Records

Welsh artist Dylan Hughes under his “YNYS” project makes the kind of dreamy music that takes you on a meditative journey with a juxtaposition of sunny day “Indie Pop” and night time melancholy. His new single “Aros Am Byth” is no exception, but this time around he incorporates 70’s Italian Disco synths to create a lush tune that is as attention grabbing as it is humble. Instead of going full-on Disco, Hughes utilizes these synths to fit his distinct musical world he has created, and my does he pull off this sound well. About the track Hughes has stated “The vibe I was trying to get was Jeff Lynne taking over the studio after being at a Tame Impala listening party.” Well, mission accomplished because this sounds like an “Electric Light Orchestra” ballad from an alternate universe or “Tame Impala’s” younger brother, and it’s modern enough to not sound too anachronistic. It’s both a fun and tender tune.

Written By: Steven Sandoval