Conor Oberst is a busy man. He has his solo work, he’s the frontman of Bright Eyes, a member of Monsters of Folk, a founder of Saddle Creek Records, etc. etc. etc. His hardest hitting job, though, is as the front man of punk band Desaparecidos. The band was originally formed in 2001 and released Read Music/Speak Spanish the following year before disbanding. In 2010, the band reformed and started releasing occasional singles, which have been compiled (and added to) on Payola, an album of 14 2-3 minute bursts of pure punk rock. A listener who goes into Payola expecting the gentle sounds and confessional lyrics of most Oberst projects will be taken aback by the distorted guitars and political ideas, but Oberst isn’t posing here. He commits fully to the punk ethos and creates a record with depth, breadth, and a whole lot of fun.
Bully stems from songs written by frontwoman Alicia Bognanno after an internship at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago. Once she returned to Nashville, Bognanno put together a band to bring her songs to life, and the result is a noise pop band heavily influenced by acts of the early 90s. The songs on Bully’s debut, Feels Like, are almost uniformly fast paced, feature a loud/quiet/loud formula, and are highlighted by fuzzed out guitars and Bognanno’s singing alternating between breathy and shouted. This is an album for speeding down the highway with the windows down and the stereo turned to 11.
Following the release of two EPs, London quartet Wolf Alice have spent the last couple years building anticipation for their major label debut. With the release of My Love is Cool, that debut is finally here, and presents another band heavily influenced by early 90s artists. Most interestingly, however, the album announces that Wolf Alice is more than a one trick pony. Lead singles “Moaning Lisa Smile” and “Giant Peach” ably demonstrated Wolf Alice’s power and noisier side (very similar to artists like Garbage), but the album actually starts with “Turn to Dust” and “Bros”, which are almost gentle while maintaining the quality of their predecessors. My Love is Cool is a well rounded, excellent album.
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: www.last.fm/user/cafreema Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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