The Rockometer: Boogalou Reed by Obnox
It's not just the whole damn country that's about to blow up, with his third long player in less than three years, Lamont "Bim" Thomas is due to blow up, too. For more than any other Obnox record, Boogalou Reed, showcases Thomas' unique ability to blur the lines between punk rock, hip-hop, and experimental sounds. There are no beat-based joints, or punk rock ragers, or improv head fucks. Instead, there are Obnox songs, fifteen of them, to be precise, and each one gives the listener a slightly different perspective into the mind of Thomas, on this, the outlaw rockers' most poignant work to date.
The Rockometer: Range Anxiety by Twerps
The Twerps are admitted fans of the Go-Betweens. And, depending on your own listening habits, you may hear traces of C86, The Kinks, or the Shins on Range Anxiety, the band's first album for Merge Records. This is all another way of saying the casual facade of this Australian quartet conceals a deep understanding of what makes guitar pop tick.
Play Me: “Made My Mind Up” by Mikal Cronin
Mikal Cronin's newest record, MCIII (out 5.5 on Merge), is being billed as his attempt at going big. For power pop artists, like Cronin, big is a relative term: ask Big Star or Sloan or Teenage Fanclub or Matthew Sweet. In terms of money and in terms of exposure, there's only so big a power-pop singer like Cronin can get, especially in today's music landscape where rock music has had to learn to accept its second-tier status.
Top Jam: “Do the Get Down” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Some people find the incessant bragging of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to be off-putting. Like, we know you're the BLUES EXPLOSION, HOT DAMN, YOU TOLD US TEN TIMES ALREADY, AND WE WOULDN'T BE HERE IF WE DIDN'T WANT TO ROCK SO YOU CAN QUIT IT ALREADY.
Point taken, but, consider this: How many other acts with the audacity to claim their new record captures all of New York City, from disco and punk to the rent is too damn high, can actually pull off such a feat? THE ONE AND ONLY BLUES EXPLOSION.
Play Me: “Quetzalcoatl” by Liturgy
Ok, so this is the new track by Liturgy, the not hipster metal, not black metal band who had unexpected, albeit hotly contested, success with their 2011 release, Aesthethica. It's different. Youtubers, being youtubers say it's the gayest shit ever. I would never say such a thing. Feces, being feces, cannot express sexual preference.
The Rockometer: No Cities to Love by Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney are an important band, a very important band. Their left-leaning politics and fiercely proud feminism sheltered countless listeners during the band's first run through the '90s and early-to-mid '00s. Carrie Brownstein also has one helluva rock kick. And you know that song of theirs, "No Rock 'N' Roll Fun?" Turn it around and the message becomes, Sleater-Kinney are Rock 'N' Roll fun.
The Rockometer: S/T by Viet Cong
It's not that the Canadian post-punk outfit, Viet Cong, have listened to different albums than you and I and everyone else active in the underground music scene. The foreboding tones of Ian Curtis and Joy Division provide a convenient starting point for anyone with a passing interest in what's happened outside of the mainstream during the past 30 years. Yet, unlike pretty much everyone else who has turned to the early days of UK post-punk for inspiration, the finished product is anything but a by the note reproduction of once ground-breaking sounds.
Exploding in Sound, Indeed: New Jams by Pile and Krill and the Burgeoning Boston Rock Scene
Back in the day, and on the wrong side of 40, I've earned the right to say back in the day without a trace of irony, one could judge a band by its label.