Hidden Hospitals have cemented themselves as one of my favorite current rock bands. As I was listening through Liars, I was taken back to what got me into the band in the first place. Their 2015 album, Surface Tension, was a breath of fresh air. They didn’t sound like anything on the radio. They aren’t afraid to try new things when it comes to their music and with Liars they encapsulate rock ‘n roll in their own way.
Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock by Steven Hyden is just the journey I was looking for. In the day and age of staring at screens most of the day, reading a physical book was a great way to unplug. I read this book over three days and enjoyed every bit of it. The book is formatted as a double LP. Sides A-D contain tracks that denote each chapter. It’s a clever way to present the book and it’s little things like that which just add a little extra to the reading experience.
This book covers all walks of classic rock. Hyden talks about Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and Bruce Springsteen, among many others. He touches on crucial points, too, including the fact that the white men in classic rock pulled influence from artists of color who never received the same kind of recognition.
Gleemer’s Anymore would be a great album to listen to even if they just had straight guitar, bass, and drums playing. However, the music is so much deeper than that. There’s an atmospheric sound in the background that sweeps through the entire record. “Basketball Casino” sets the tone for what to expect musically.
The band itself grew from a solo project that guitarist and vocalist Corey Coffman was working on. From there, he made a strong connection with Charlie O’Neil and that’s when Anymore really came into formation. The duo did everything out of a home studio, and this album sounds far from being just some DIY project someone recorded at home. These guys know what they’re doing when it comes to making a record sound good. The band’s lineup includes Nick and Joey, as well.
Sammi Lanzetta is undoubtedly a new, and welcome face in the rock scene. Her first song showed up on Bandcamp in May of 2016. “House Plants” instantly shows off what kind of artist she is, with a sound best described as “anxiety rock.” On her new EP, For Avery, we get a better exploration of this sound. The EP consists of four songs none run over two and a half minutes. Lanzetta gets right to the point and that gives the EP has a great flow.
“Circles” pulls no punches with its biting opening line: “Why are you such a misogynist? I would rather slit my throat than be stuck in a house with you.” Now, if that doesn’t tell you exactly what you’re diving into with For Avery, then I don’t know what would. While the lyrics bare it all, the music is painfully real as well. She sings about her fears, anxiety, and many more emotions in the relatively short amount of time of just four songs. “Anxiety Olympics” is completely upfront about being around other people her age and how she may pale in comparison. She wants to be better, but also doesn’t want it to feel like a competition. That just might be something we can all relate to, even for those of us who are competitive.
Slaughter Beach, Dog is back with Motorcycle.jpg. While Modern Baseball is on a bit of a break, Jake Ewald is taking some time to work on his solo project more. It’s the third release from him since the project debuted in 2015. Last year we received a full-length out of the project and this new EP is a great extension.
Swordfish have started to garner a lot of attention with their new album Rodia. Washed Up Emo streamed it prior to its release and Ian Cohen wrote about “Ghost Song” over at Pitchfork. However, neither of these things determined whether or not I’d listen to the band. I listened because I trust Take This To Heart Records to consistently release music that I enjoy. I had never heard about Swordfish before they signed to the label, and I bet this won’t remotely be the last I hear of them.
Chuck Klosterman is the only writer where I’ve stockpiled the complete collection of his books. With X he’s on his tenth book, which is a feat in itself for any author to have ten books. That said, I have yet to read all ten, but this one called to me as an immediate read when it arrived in my mailbox. As someone who has similar interests in general with Klosterman, his writing always intrigues me.
This book is a collection of Klosterman’s writing over the years. Some were familiar, namely his GQ interview (or lack thereof) with Tom Brady while the whole “Deflategate” situation was going on. And despite having already read it, I read it again anyway. In a way, I would like my writing to grow to be what his is, but still something that’s my own. Hopefully that makes sense to someone other than myself. Klosterman covers sports and music in a way that many writers in those areas probably wish they could. He has access that not just anyone gets. His interview with Kobe Bryant is fantastic, and the Lakers fan in me is beyond jealous.
Super American return with their new album, Disposable. The songs are jams through and through. “Sloppy Jazz” opens the album with a high energy. The EP contains seven songs and each of them offers something to catch your ear. Whether it’s the melody or lyrics, Super American has it covered. You’ll be wanting to sing along to these songs after the first listen. And the lyrics are simple, but still thoughtful, enough to quickly learn them.
Jesse Cannon’s latest book takes a look at the creative process and how to get results that you’re happy with. While it focuses largely on music, it can easily apply to so much more than that. Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices And Habits Used To Make Music You’re Happy With isn’t a behemoth of a book like Get More Fans, but it’s equally as effective. The book takes you through the motions of finding who is a best fit to work with, how to make music you’re happy with, and so much more.
After watching the first six episodes a lot of critics were out on Netflix’s new series Iron Fist. The reviews haven’t been kind. While it’s hard to judge a whole show on just shy of half of its episodes, it’s important for a show to grab the audience from the start. Iron Fist doesn’t quite do that. While I made it through the whole thing, the start of the show was slow. The latter half is definitely better, but many people could find themselves giving up on the show before that happens.
I still remember when I was first introduced to Culprit. And since that first show I’ve seen them in various venues around Los Angeles and Orange County. Each time, they leave it all on the stage and that’s what makes them a band I continue to follow. It’s been a long wait for a full-length but that wait comes to an end with the release of Sonder.
“Gargantua” starts with a radio transmission that’s like something out of a sci-fi horror movie. From there, Travis brings a stellar vocal performance that is consistent throughout the whole album. The way this band puts together a song — vocally, lyrically, and musically — just meshes so well. Not to mention, they have a good amount of versatility. “Gargantua” ends with a long scream from Travis, but not one that detracts from the song. For someone who isn’t a fan of songs with a ton of screaming, Culprit knows when it’s appropriate and when it’s not needed at all. In a song like “Glow,” Travis takes a softer approach to the vocals.
Scott Crawford took what he worked on with Salad Days and brought it to a nice coffee table book format. He compiled a list of influential punk bands from the 80’s DC scene. Each entry gives the perspective of the band members, concert goers, photographers, and more. It’s a thorough look at the history without being overwhelming. The format works well since it focuses a lot on the images and sometimes those can tell stories better than words can.
I wouldn’t say I’m in tune with all of the punk bands from the 80’s era, let alone all of the ones around Washington D.C., but I’d like to think I know at least a little about punk music. This book has the bigger bands you’d expect with Fugazi, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat, but it’s the others that will surprise you if you haven’t done your homework. Ian MacKaye sprinkled his talents around in more bands than I had thought, so he’s a prominent feature in this book.