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Fucked Up - Year of the Hare

Fucked Up – Year of the Hare

Toronto hardcore punks Fucked Up have a tradition of an annual EP release based on the Chinese Zodiac.  Interestingly, despite being a hardcore band, each of the Zodiac EPs sees the band try out long, sprawling tracks and Year of the Hare is no exception.  Stretching to a mammoth 21 and a half minutes, the title track opens with nearly 7 minutes of guitar picking/strums and gentle piano before the band and Pink Eyes’ vocals enter in.  Even when they do, it is not a hardcore thrash (although Pink Eyes still sounds as guttural as ever until he drops out in favor of guest vocalist Isla Craig), but a fairly traditional rock song until about the 17 minute mark when the guitars ramp up, cut out completely at about 18:30, roar back with a vengeance, and then end the track the way it began.  It’s a fascinating listen, as is b-side “California Cold”, which features…flutes?  And drones?  This band is the best.

Heartless Bastards - Restless OnesHeartless Bastards – Restless Ones

Roots rockers Heartless Bastards’ fifth (!) studio release, Restless Ones continues Erika Wennerstrom’s exploration of 21st century blues rock.  Anchored by Wennerstrom’s distinctive, nearly tenor howl, a whole lot of guitar, and highlighted by lead single “Gates of Dawn” and “Into the Light”, Restless Ones, like basically all Heartless Bastards’ albums before it, is just a solid album from beginning to end.  It’s really a remarkable thing for a band to continually find tweaks to keep its sound fresh without resorting to a complete reboot, but Heartless Bastards (and Wennerstrom in particular) have managed to find that formula.

Jaakko Eino Kalevi - Jaakko Eino KaleviJaakko Eino Kalevi – Jaakko Eino Kalevi

A Finnish electronic artist, Jaakko Eino Kalevi makes electro pop full of moving color.  His self titled debut (self titled in part because as he told Domino Records “I get my name misspelled so often that I think it’s good to focus on that at this point“) is a chilled out mix of funk and psychedelic pop that feels like you’re listening to a vivid dream on a hot summer night.  Album closer “Ikuinen Purkautumaton Jännite”, which features horns and what sounds vaguely like a theremin, but is probably synth produced, is particularly trippy and excellent.

An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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