05-26-2022
Moon Tooth
Phototroph

My gut is that this is the worst of Moon Tooth's 3 albums so far. It's not bad by any means; I've probably listened to it a dozen times already, and honestly it's fun as hell, lots of super rad lead guitar, interesting little bits popping up here and there like any good Moon Tooth collection. But there's something smoothed-over about it—I'd say that it was their most commercial, radio-friendly album so far, if hard rock radio was still a thing. Is it a thing? Maybe it is. But there's a rote verse-chorus-verse mood to all these songs that is sucking a bit of the adventurousness out of what is usually a totally freewheeling band.

At the same time, I get this feeling that this is going to be a case where, 3 years from now, I'll suddenly be calling this "secretly their best."

05-22-2022
Five Hundred Bucks
$500

This album somehow became an obsession of mine in the last week. First of all, A+ band name. Love it. Second, that cover art. It all works. Thirdly, they have some songs that sound so much like Green Day that I was actually taken aback at first. Put off, even; it's actually weird in 2022 to hear a band go deep into Green Day veneration. For as much pop punk is still out there in the world, it's actually rare to hear a band that makes you say, "Oh shit, that sounds like Green Day!"

But it wasn't the Green Day references that ultimately won me over, it was the Superchunk references. Because, like Superchunk's last decade of work, this is adult pop punk, written by adults and for adults. What I mean is they're not afraid of chords. Good songs, good vibes, performed like total pros. There's really very little to dislike here.

05-17-2022
Warthog
Warthog

This is Warthog's 4th EP that's simply called Warthog. I'm pretty sure posting is this going to break my site. It already broke my iTunes library. But that's probably part of the plan for Warthog, because they are a spike studded steamroller powering forward with the intention of eviscerating everything in their path, even if it's just three songs at a time, once every four years. One of these days maybe they'll release a full length, call it Warthog, and finally stand in their rightful place atop the smoldering rubble of New York City.

05-17-2022
Billy Woods
Aethiopes

I haven't listened to all of this album yet. It might take me another year. But this is a Billy Woods album we're talking about, so that's actually a compliment. This man writes and he writes dense, and you don't exactly breeze through William Faulkner novels at the beach, yknow?

05-11-2022
Undeath
It's Time... To Rise From The Grave!

Every year lately it seems that there's one death metal album that becomes a surprise critical darling, embraced and championed in the wider music blog-o-world rather than just in dirty little metal circles. Blood Incantation maybe started the trend a few years ago, but after that we had Necrot, Tomb Mold, uh okay maybe those are the only ones. But 2022 is the year of Undeath.

The talk about Undeath is how funny they are. Like yes they're very serious and accomplished death metal musicians, but they're doing it all with a smirk and tongue in their cheeks. And I can see that I guess, in that death metal has a long history of bands trying to be as ridiculous as possible, and here it's mostly in the lyrical content. Even just the song titles: "Fiend For Corpses," "Head Splattered Seven Ways," "Human Chandelier." And the title of the album, It's Time... To Rise From The Grave!, places that ellipsis and exclamation point for maximum goofiness.

But the music is very serious, and it's very much good enough to become the annual death metal darling. I can't even get into that much detail about it, because really it's "just" death metal. They're not expanding its cosmic psych boundaries like Blood Incantation, they're not injecting mathy mania into it like Tomb Mold. They're just very good at making death metal music. The riffs are hooky brain nuggets, the solos are melodic and memorable and rad, it just comes together in ways that death metal bands always want to come together but usually miss an element or two. Much like the protagonist of "Fiend For Corpses," it goes down real smooth.

05-03-2022
Romero
Turn It On!

Speaking of bands from Philadelphia...

Upon hearing the first song or two, I was totally smitten with this band. Power pop melodicism, Thin Lizzie guitar licks, pure energy, awesome. Then about halfway through, I realized they sounded exactly like Sheer Mag. Also, it should be noted, a Philadelphia band.

05-02-2022
DEVIL MASTER
Ecstasies Of Never Ending Night

This album fucking rips so fucking hard. Black Metal horror with punk rock energy and NWOBHM licks. And most importantly: memorable hooks and genuine musicianship. There's this melding of black metal and punk that's been happening for a couple years (or has been happening since Venom existed, really), random bands from Belgium and wherever else popping up on Bandcamp mixing and matching but always recording to tape and photocopying their artwork to death—but this is the first time I've heard it really work. And it really, really works.

I just want to add, too, that this band is from Philadelphia. There's something going on in Philadelphia in the last few years. Like, if I see a band is from Philly, I'll be way more likely to give it a listen.

04-27-2022
Pillow Queens
Leave the Light On

This album is good, but in the last year I've decided that In Waiting is actually one of my favorite albums of all time. So yeah, this isn't quite as good.

03-29-2022
Walter Martin
The Bear

Walter Martin does it again. Although he doesn't do it quite as well as he did with Arts + Leisure, which remains one of my favorite albums of the last 10 years. Still. This guy.

03-29-2022
Messa
Close

Sludge prog. Love it.

03-16-2022
Young Guv
GUV III

GUVs ranked:

1. I
2. III
3. II

03-15-2022
Nilufer Yanya
Painless

I don't understand Nilüfer Yanya. Even on the top level, what is that name? I understand she's part Turkish but raised in England, but something about her name, that umlaut floating there, just doesn't compute. Then you have her personal aesthetic, her fashion and style choices—it's very Gen Z, but doesn't really align with any one scene or genre. She looks like she could be a major label pop star, or a Bushwick barista, or a London fashion student, or anything else. That aligns with her album art, which also has a Gen Z art school throw-shit-at-the-wall-thing, like it could either be DIY indie rock or Chicago house remixes.

This all aligns with the music itself. Is it indie rock? Is it secretly major-label pop? Is it some lo-fi side project that's actually helmed by whoever works on Dua Lipa albums at their day job? It's kinda all of it at once. And her voice is so mercurial, hard to get any sense of. Recognizable, to an extent, in its tenor (literally), but listening to her sing gives me no idea about who she is, what she thinks, or what she's trying to say.

So Nilüfer Yanya is one ultimate example of the monogenre. The odd part is that I still enjoy her music. It's a mystery, but maybe there's something there to crack. What are any of the songs called? I don't know. How do any of the choruses go? I don't know. What's the deal with Nilüfer Yanya? Got me! But I think I'll keep listening.

03-14-2022
Superchunk
Wild Lonliness

New Superchunk album! Guess what, it's great!

03-10-2022
Faith No More
Angel Dust

I bought a used CD copy of Faith No More's Angel Dust tonight and I couldn't be more pleased. Something about this dumb-ass funk metal is just what the doctor ordered right now. It's a I didn't know that I needed this in my life situation.

I've been listening to more metal in recent years than I used to, and aside from Moon Tooth, I think I didn't realize how deathly humorless most of it is. Or if not humorless—I guess Eternal Champion has some amount of tongue in their cheek—than at least single-minded. It's all so focused on being heavy. Brutal. Uncompromising. And other adjectives. But this Faith No More album (I can't speak for their other albums at the moment)... it's fun! It goes in odd directions, it bounces and dances. They're not afraid to slap a bass or toss some keyboards into the mix. And Mike Patton—well, he can be a bit much. But he's doing things! I mean, it's barely even metal. I don't know what it is! Yeah it's palm muted E's on distorted guitars and full throat howling at times, but at other times it's Prince. Or Alice In Chains, or Randy Newman.

No idea how deep I'll go into Faith No More. Or if I'll even come back to this album a week from now. But seriously, as of this moment, this is everything I want to hear out of a band. And honestly it makes me wish more modern day metal bands would reach for Faith No More as a reference point. The entire genre would be better off for it.

02-27-2022
Blood Incantation
Timewave Zero

WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHWHHHHHWWWWWHHHHHHWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHH

02-26-2022
Big Thief
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

There's 20 tracks on this album and they're all great. But none of them are as great as "Not."

12-25-2021
Peter Luger Steak HouseBrooklyn
Steak

Everything you've heard about Peter Luger is true. The good and the bad. Every word of Pete Wells' mordacious zero-star review is true, every word coming from people defending it after the review is true, every boneheaded bit of praise from every Staten Island knucklehead you've ever had the misfortune of meeting is also, fortunately, true.

If you can imagine the things a "fancy" restaurant (and what is a 150 year old generationally beloved steak house charging 3-figures for a plate of meat supposed to be if not "fancy"?) is supposed to do, Pete Luger does it wrong. The lights are too bright; the complimentary bread and butter are too cold; the menu has clearly been photocopied dozens of times over, probably at the library copy machine down the block; the tables are jammed into the dining room to nearly guarantee you're going to be sitting next to a coat rack or a server station; the servers are all 70 years old and sweating in the same white shirts they've been wearing for the last 50; there's a good chance that while you dressed up in your nice shirt and blazer, there's a table full of guys in Under Armour polos and Titleist visors at the table behind you complaining about their wives.

If you told me I would pay over 300 dollars for the above restaurant experience, I could only conclude that I'd be absolutely furious at the end of the night.

And yet I left Peter Luger entirely pleased. Charmed even.

The short of it is that the food was actually good. Great? Great! I can't speak to the famous Pete Wells review about whether it's as good as it used to be, or if it's going downhill or whatever, but this steak truly melted like butter. I've never had a steak so tender. The twenty dollar wedge salad was damn near worth twenty dollars, and the creamed spinach was maybe even better than advertised. Towards the end, I really had one of those moments where I sopped up a plate full of steak juices and butter and for a quick moment went full metaphysical. I didn't care that the fluorescent light above our table was flickering the entire time.

I didn't leave furious. I left feeling like, for as stupid as this fucking place is and for how nobody should ever pay this much money for what we got, there's something honorable in how Peter Luger goes about its business. Forgive me for using this dumb phrase, but there's something real New York about this place. There's a thousand other restaurants in the city that bring in modern and adept business managers, marketing teams, designers and brand managers, and turn out an artful and subtle dining experience. Peter Luger clearly doesn't give a fuck. They're going to dry age their porterhouse like they've been doing for 150 years, the waiters are going to slice it for you at the table and tip the plate up so the juices pool at the bottom without ever smiling or explaining anything about the dining experience, and they're going to drop a couple dime-store chocolate coins on the table with the check. And you'll be chewing on the bone and loving how much you hate it and hating how much you love it. And then two assholes from Whitestone who've been waiting at the bar with 80 other assholes from Bayonne will come take your table and they'll talk to each other about how it's the only good restaurant left in the city because they don't pussy around and stick tiny dollops of tofu foam on oak planks, and what sucks is they're right.