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6 Score

The Rockometer: The Powers That B by Death Grips

Death Grips' double album, The Powers That B, features both the best and worst of these Sacramento noise-rap agitators. On the first album, subtitled, Niggas on the Moon, we get principals MC Ride and Zach Hill indulging their worst impulses. I'll be damned if there's a song here, but there's a lot of busted up beats and slobbering spit takes from MC Ride. Believe it or not, Icelandic national treasure, Bjork is on here, too. Unfortunately, her vocals and pitched, cut up and wrecked to the point where she's no more than another source of irritation, perhaps the primary irritation.
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CourtneyBarnettAlbumCover
9 Score

The Rockometer: Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett

Much like the beloved American sitcom, Seinfeld, a show about nothing, Courtney Barnett's debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, managers to be highly entertaining while working with the most banal source material. Man plays hooky from work. Couple goes house hunting. Courtney swims. Courtney buys groceries. These are but a sampling of the seemingly ordinary scenes recreated over the course of eleven songs. There's even a track, "Small Poppies," where Barnett thinks about moving the lawn. She doesn't actually cut the grass, mind you, she just thinks about it.
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Should You Buy the New Blues Explosion Album? Take the Quiz

'90s alt-rock innovators, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, have a new album out. Should you buy it? Take the quiz and find out.
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YoureBetterThanThis
8 Score

The Rockometer: You’re Better Than This by Pile

I can't say that I'd go as far as to say You're Better Than This, the new record by buzzy, Boston upstarts, Pile, is a difficult album, as Pitchfork's Paul Thompson claims in an otherwise complimentary review. Selections, like howling opener, "The World Is Your Motel," should sound familiar to anyone whose familiarity with the AmRep catalog stretches beyond knowing how to use AmRep as a shortcut for the nastier and heavier underground sounds of the '90s.
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BeechCreepsAlbumCover
9 Score

The Rockometer: S/T by Beech Creeps

It's March 4th, the streets of Cleveland are lined with black, nasty ice sculptures, remnants of three weeks where the temperature rarely rose above freezing and the snow kept piling, and I have found my summer jam. It's "Times Be Short," by the New York band, Beech Creeps.
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Road Trip Review: Sleater-Kinney @ Stage AE Pittsburgh

"They were all women on stage and the guitar techs were eunuchs!" one of my road trip companions exclaimed as we skated the three blocks of icy sidewalks from Stage AE back to our hotel room after the sold-out Sleater-Kinney concert in Pittsburgh. We had been drinking for a few hours prior to the show, you see, and we were feeling loose all night, loudly playing games like guess who's going to the show while we waited for our food at the sports bar down the street. It wasn't a hard game. Anyone who looked like a protester or an employee at a feminist book store (Dude! your ponytail gave you away!) were going to see Sleater-Kinney. Those in Penguins jerseys were there for hockey on the big screens.
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Krill - A Distant Fist Unclenching
7 Score

The Rockometer: A Distant Fist Unclenching by Krill

Like their brothers in rock, Pile, the Massachusetts act Krill are one of those bands who wouldn't know a chorus if the chorus was a wet Atlantic salmon and they were smacked over the head with a wet Atlantic salmon chorus. They're also one of those bands who tend to nerd out, and noodle on their instruments for minutes on end like early Modest Mouse and early Built to Spill. Oh, and bassist/vocalist, Jonah Furman has a unique way with words. The most memorable track on the trio's 2014 release, Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts Into Tears, was called "Turd." Furman literally imagined himself as a turd, as in a piece of shit, going down the commode. This is all to say Krill are not going to be everyone's favorite new band, not everyone is going to get it. Those not content with the status quo in modern guitar rock music, however, should by all means get themselves more familiar with the weird world of Krill.
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torche-restarter
8 Score

The Rockometer: Restarter by Torche

As the title would imply, Restarter is a deliberate attempt by Florida heavies, Torche, to realign their recorded output with the band they consider themselves to be. Their previous two efforts, 2010's Songs for Singles EP and 2012's Harmonicraft, downplayed their background in the sludge and doom metal scenes, and instead focused on quick-hitting (and oh so burly) pop-metal. In one particularly memorable soundbite from this era, conservative commentator, and closet rocker, Mike Huckabee, labeled Torche the heavy metal Foo Fighters. It fit, especially if you've only heard Torche through earbuds.
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