Music Thoughts Nov 19 2022

My reaction to the new Gorillaz singles:

My reaction to the new Arctic Monkeys record:


The former is a long, long delayed return to form. Gorillaz haven’t released a good song since 2010 and haven’t released a good radio single since 2005 – “Cracker Island” is both.

The latter is a petulant doubling-down on a bizarre fixation with 60s lounge music. I cannot stress enough how bad the new Arctic Monkeys album The Car is and genuinely cannot imagine how anyone can defend it. Two full records of audio molasses without one single memorable moment. I wonder how the rest of the band feels that Alex Turner has hijacked their group to resurrect his side project The Last Shadow Puppets?

The only thing worse than the new Arctic Monkeys record The Car is the new Weyes Blood record that wants to be the new Arctic Monkeys record. The sooner this reductive minimalist trend of analog recording is over the better.

What sort of simulation glitch nonsense is this?

10 years ago a band called The Neighbourhood released a dark but mellow single called “Sweater Weather”. Just a few weeks ago a band called Beach Weather released a song called “Sex, Drugs, Etc” that sounds almost identical to “Sweater Weather” in both style and lyric.


Music Thoughts Sept 3 2022

The album Chopper by Kiwi jr. sounds like if Rivers Cuomo cribbed Kurt Vile’s hyper-descriptive lyrics and then recorded the most generic melodies every written with the blandest instrumentation and production available, hiding it all behind a nonchalant hipster veneer. Into the trash it goes!

Brotherkenzie is yet another mealy-mouthed zoomer who has yet to learn how to write a good song. “Die Broke” is horribly produced, “Bike No More” is two verses in search of the rest of the song and “Get on It” is yet another sarcastic Fidlar-type wannabe tune that clocks in at just about two minutes. Into the trash it goes!

I don’t know what the band Disq think they’re doing but it’s confusing. First single “Cujo Kiddies” sounds like an art school version of Mother Mother’s quirky pop, but second single sounds like a stale Gin Blossoms B-side that was left in a musty den for the past 30 years. Into the trash it goes!

Music Thoughts July 4-8 2022

I promised a few entries back that I would try my best to avoid writing tepid praise about songs that were neither fantastic nor dreadful. I have also mentioned several times that I have been trying to be more positive when it comes to critiquing music as I get very little joy from tearing down artists’ work unless it is truly terrible.

What I’m getting at is that I haven’t written for a while because there has been no good music lately and I don’t want to spend time saying “meh, it’s OK” about every song I’ve downloaded in the past month. I feel no need to write the same halfhearted semi-approval about the latest offerings from: Jimmy Eat World, Enumclaw, Imagine Dragons, Sharon Van Etten, or Broken Bells.

This has left me with precious little to dissect. So I am afraid I must get mean.

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Machine Gun Kelly vs the Smooth Vibes

It was a pretty one-note alternative music scene in 2002. Garage rock had taken off and mop hairdos were all over the magazines and MTV. It was all the The bands with the rocking and the rollicking riffs and the coarse snarls. Nu metal was in its twilight phase, with just over two years before it was abruptly extinguished. Emo, indie rock, and post-punk revivalist acts were popping up sporadically but hadn’t established a firm footing in the spotlight yet. Pop-punk came and went in waves but the two biggest Blink albums were in the rearview mirror.

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The Definitive Guide to the Biggest Canadian Alternative

[Barenaked Ladies voice] It’s been…

…six years since I wrote up this fairly thorough but not quite full list of Canadian alternative bands that have all but disappeared from the mainstream conversation, both domestically and internationally. I’ve returned to do a similar piece on bands that have rightfully earned their place in alternative rock history in this country.

Now, a disclaimer. I fully and entirely admit I’m not as well-versed in classic Canadian rock. You will not find Rush or Goddo or Honeymoon Suite here. Nor will you find new wavers like The Spoons or Gowan, despite them falling under the “alternative” umbrella. This post is reserved for the big names in alternative rock from the 90s, the 00s, and the 10s, though it may occasionally include a handful progenitors that originated in the 80s.

Now, a second disclaimer, I realize that I may sometimes come across as dismissive or harsh when I write. I apologize for this and assure you that I enjoy almost the entire catalogues of all these artists, and it will be very obvious when I specifically do not like one. Otherwise you can assume that I listen to them regularly, and when speaking about their popularity am doing it only from a commercial standpoint, not a personal one.

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