Album Review: Shopping – The Official Body

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Artist: Shopping

Album: The Official Body

Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock

Rating: 7/10

After two rocky albums that flexed the band’s knowledge in raw minimal Post-Punk with a strong frustration with identity politics, UK trio Shopping have finally found their niche with their third studio album The Official Body. The band’s previous albums carried heavy weight of mismatched tracks that had some great ideas, but the execution wasn’t living up to their full potential, and with the vast amount of band’s offering numerous essential releases that are helping advance the genre of Post-PunkShopping seemed like underachievers coasting by with the bare minimum in comparison. That is until now. Shopping brought their A game on this new record with cleaned up production that still contains simplistic but captivating instrumentation. The combination of hypnotizing almost surf-like guitar riffs, the funky bass grooves, and the percussion that adopts all of the standard danceable drum patterns that will force you to dance is a successful recipe that pulls the band out of obscurity. That sense of groovin’ fun never strays away from this record, but at the same time that sense of a cynical outlook on identity politics is present, however it’s a vague delivery filled with repeated phrases that can be interpreted in various ways, but you know damn well there is some underlying message beneath it. Whether you want to decipher these messages or not is totally up to you. The band isn’t into beating you over the head with their ideologies, but if you’re inclined to dig deep into what these tracks may or may not symbolize then that is also an open field for you. Shopping still have more evolving to do, and whether or not they will utilize their talents to advance even further remains to be seen, but this is a step in the right direction.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 01/20/18

Album Review: Porches – The House

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Artist: Porches

Album: The House

Genre: Synth-Pop/Indie Pop

Rating: 5/10

Porches will always be one of those projects with a rotating lineup, this is because sole member Aaron Maine is pretty much providing us with solo material under the Porches guise to leave open space for collaborators who will come and go, but we all know this is Aaron Maine’s baby. His previous album Pool did offer that full band sound with synth-driven instrumentation that also combined Dream Pop-esque guitars and Post-Punk, and it was done quite well, but his new album The House is the closest he’s ever come to sounding like a solo artist. The strong hints of Electronica that were just begging to break loose on that previous album are explored full-on with this album. The synth-driven 808 drum machine heavy production is done in a way that sounds outdated (seriously, a lot of this sounds like it came straight out of a 90’s rave) but it’s upbeat and danceable nonetheless. The problem is, Maine’s sad boy vocal delivery offers a drony contrast that doesn’t go over so well. If you’re familiar with Porches then you know by now that Maine’s vocals just naturally have a melancholy sound. I mean the guy can make puppies and rainbows sound depressing, but what worked so well on his previous record doesn’t work very well on this new one, and it is quite a drag. The auto-tune effects that litter most of his vocals aren’t as grating as a lot of other artists whom use auto-tune as a cop-out, but they offer nothing significant. The whole album just sounds insignificant. I’m not saying Maine needs to start making happy-go-lucky music, but if you’re going to project an image of sadness whether it be genuine or not, it must be compelling, and this album is miles and miles away from that.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 01/19/18

Preoccupations Announce New Album “New Material”

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Post-Punk outfit Preoccupations have announced a new album hilariously titled New Material. Hey, nothing wrong with getting to the point. The album will be released on March 23rd. You can also check out the album cover and listen to their new track Espionage below:

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https://preoccupations.lnk.to/newmaterial

MGMT Unveil Release Date and Tracklist For New Album “Little Dark Age”

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After much anticipation MGMT have finally announced the release date and tracklist for their upcoming album Little Dark Age. It will be released on February 9th. The band have also released the cover art. Check it out below:

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Little Dark Age Tracklist:
01. She Works Out Too Much
02. Little Dark Age
03. When You Die
04. Me and Michael
05. TSLAMP
06. James
07. Days That Got Away
08. One Thing Left to Try
09. When You’re Small
10. Hand It Over

Album Review: Shame – Songs of Praise

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Artist: Shame

Album: Songs of Praise

Genre: Post-Punk/Indie Rock

Rating: 8/10

Post-Punk has been spawning numerous incredible new acts as of late, and now we can add South Londoners Shame to this impressive list. After a string of singles, music videos, and high energy live performances, the band have finally released their debut album Songs of Praise, and this thing carries every single element of what makes Post-Punk such a compelling genre. Fueled by young politics, aggression, and of course, rebellion, this album is a relentless work of art that can be both classy and chaotic. This is mature rebellion more concerned with making you look at your reflection and at the flat-out ridiculous social and inward crimes us humans commit than creating a “Fuck off” anthem. Lead singer Charlie Steen’s gruff voice was made for Punk Rock and he utilizes it to deliver lyrical content heavy on satirizing simple-minded people, narcissists, and the current state of politics. A track like The Lick finds Steen delivering mostly spoken word verses about how many people want things to be safe and easy. About how we all want things to be relatable not debatable, too afraid of embracing the things that challenge us, and he cleverly uses people’s safe choice in music to symbolize the bigger picture. One Rizla is a bit of a Punk Rock motivational track about being at peace with your self despite how much of a piece of shit you may be. In this selfie taking social media driven society we now live in, this is how you rebel. It’s easy to curse the government, but it’s still a bit taboo to look inward and dissect everything that is wrong with our selfish species, and Shame aren’t afraid to hold up that mirror.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 01/13/18

Album Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Wrong Creatures

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Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Album: Wrong Creatures

Genre: Garage Rock/Alternative Rock

Rating: 5/10

Remember the early 2000’s? Remember the explosion of the Garage Rock Revival movement lead by bands like The Strokes or The White Stripes? Remember how this was supposed to be “Rock & Roll’s” resurrection? Well, we all know how short lived that movement was. Bands that were at the forefront went down different paths and in the midst of everything the bands that didn’t quite achieve the same level of success as the aforementioned bands ended up slipping through the cracks. Yeah these bands have a fanbase, but following inessential release after inessential release these bands were doomed to fall into obscurity. One of these bands are California’s own Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Talented indeed, but the band’s success can really only be credited to one album, the band’s debut B.R.M.C. Released in 2001, this album came at the right place at the right time. With critical acclaim for the album’s raw guitar heavy sound that even drew from Shoegaze with it’s guitar effects and vocals that echo bands like The Jesus And Mary Chain or Love & Rockets, the Band was instantly met with success, but following this release the band didn’t quite branch out of their comfort zone. They delivered that Rockin’ sound yes, answering their own question of “What ever happened to my Rock & Roll?” but their music tends to be forgettable and lacking anything groundbreaking. Now, here we are in 2018 and the band have released their eighth studio album Wrong Creatures, and unfortunately that curse continues. With this album the band proves that Rock & Roll is still very much alive, but does almost nothing to advance the genre. Which raises the question “Why should we care about this band?” Yes I know the band isn’t trying to create something revolutionary, they’re just creating what they love, which is fine but the band’s sound has become stale and uninteresting. With the exception of tracks like King Of Bones which features buzzing synths and dirty distorted guitars giving off an Industrial Rock vibe, or Circus Bazooko which is bizarre territory for the band with it’s circus sounding organs, this album is another installment in the redundant world of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 01/13/18

Jack White Unveils Artwork, Tracklist, and Release Date For His Upcoming Album

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Earlier this week Jack White released two brand new tracks from his upcoming album Boarding House Reach, and now he has revealed the release date for the album, as well as the album cover and tracklist. The album will be released on March 23rd. Check out the album’s artwork and tracklist below:

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01. Connected By Love
02. Why Walk A Dog?
03. Corporation
04. Abulia and Akrasia
05. Hypermisophoniac
06. Ice Station Zebra
07. Over and Over and Over
08. Everything You’ve Ever Learned
09. Respect Commander
10. Ezmerelda Steals The Show
11. Get In The Mind Shaft
12. What’s Done Is Done
13. Humoresque