Showing posts with label Indie-Rock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indie-Rock. Show all posts

6/06/2020

Indie Rock Review: Muzz - Muzz

Release Date: June 5, 2020
Label: Matador Records

Newly-formed Indie-Rock supergroup, Muzz swings a velvet hammer on their self-titled debut album. Interpol frontman Paul Banks is joined by old friends Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) on drums and Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horsemen) on everything else.

There is a familiar soft acoustic 70's classic rock vibe that feels like a synthesis of Mike Nesmith, America, The Allman Brothers, and Marshall Crenshaw. Yet with all these strains crying out for recognition, the end result is inspiring and unique.

"Bad Feeling" sets the tone, fuzing in a subtle lo-fi hum, like crickets on a summer night. The lyrics are deep and profound and the meaning isn't often clear upon the first listen. "We're pretty ancient, that's what all the silence means. Speed runs the whole generation, the torment of ease." The velvet hammer hits hard on the infectious gem "Evergreen" which speaks of love, addiction, and dependency, "One medication, one thing to bring you over. ... Don't ever really need it, somehow it's taking over."

The single, "Red Western Sky" is a hauntingly perilous expression of low self-worth which feels a lot The National's dramatic hurtling. "Everything Like it Used to Be" is Byrd's-sounding track with layered rhythms and harmonies and one of the stronger cuts on the album. It's not all mellow gold, however. "Knuckleduster," and "How Many Days," pack a punch and Josh Kaufman's skilled guitar work comes front and center.

All in all, Muzz has dropped a promising debut from three friends whose talents blend well. Paul Bank's seductive and polished vocals ride nicely over Barrick and Kaufman's smart sonic textures. It's a laid-back summer sound which will go down nicely by the pool, along the beach or on the open road with the windows rolled down.

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen

3/28/2020

Alt-Rock Review: Morrissey - I am Not a Dog on a Chain

Release Date: March 20, 2020
Label: BMG

Moz is back with his 13th studio album, I am not a Dog on a Chain. Typical of the tortured man, proudly standing his modest piece of ground, the title perfectly matches the sentiment within. Brutal honesty and spilling of one's guts to the point where the listener, for fear of crying, can't help but laugh. 

Other than the atmospheric, eight-minute petulant grouch-fest, "The Secret of Music," there isn't much to draw my interest beyond the tried and true intro/verse/chorus/verse/solo/chorus pop-punk progression. Beginning with The Smiths whose sound defined 1980's British Indie Rock, this formula has served Morrisey well, and the musicianship on this album is solid. Yet, it serves primarily as a foundation for the grouchy vegetarian's sulky bitch-fest, ripe with warning shots of impending doom and hell-to-pay for anyone attempting daring to approach his fragile ego.  

Somewhere within this ridiculous self-indulgence lies the sublime. Worthy moments beckon the disaffected and marginalized and shine a light forward. On the title track, Moz bellows, "open up your nervous mouth and feel the words come streaming out… For otherwise, you'll never know who you are or all that you can do. If you want to" On "Knockabout World," Morrisey belts in his lush, dramatic tone, "Congratulations, you're still okay. I'd kiss your lips off any day." There is no shortage of sage advice from the aging prima donna either, "Time will mold you and craft you. But soon, when you're looking away. It will slide up and shaft you." 

As we've come to know about Morrisey, things can turn dark in a hurry. On "Jim Jim Falls," he encourages a poor indecisive soul to commit suicide. "If you're going to jump, then jump. If you're going to run home and cry, then don't waste my time. If you're going to kill yourself, then to save face, get on with it." There is no shortage of paranoia either, "Time will come, but it hasn't yet. "Someone's out to get me."  

All in all, Morrisey continues to play the victim on this slightly different spin of the same-old, same-old. He has failed to find any new ground, and instead of taking his profound lyrical instincts to blaze a new path forward, he insists on standing his ground, shouting like a disgruntled diva into the void while the world collapses around him.

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen

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