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blankRealm

New Jam City: New Jams by Blank Realm, Deaf Wish, Le Butcherettes, Nervosas, and Pleasure Leftists

Brisbane, Australia's Blank Realm have always had a gift for classically-styled new wave and punk melodies. It's just that they also have a mischievous, almost destructive side, anxious to wreck those perfect melodies with feedback and screech and all manners of playful fuckery. "River of Longing" cleans the process up considerably. The vocals are right out there, in the front of the mix, and all that wonderful fuckery bides its time in the background, waiting for the right moment to erupt. The right moment being that gloriously cacophonous ending.
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8 Score

The Rockometer: Feels Like by Bully

In a recent interview with Humanity Magazine, quoted by Rolling Stone, '90s rock goddess, Courtney Love lamented the sad state of women in mainstream alternative rock. "I'm the last chick on alternative radio that they’ll play, and it’s really kind of stupid," she said. Bully's Alicia Bognanno has something to say about women in rock, too. Her band's debut album, Feels Like, is an adrenaline fueled trip down memory lane to a time that really isn't that too far in the past when the original Riot Girls inspired '90s chart toppers like Hole, L7, and, um, Lisa Loeb. No really, listen to Bognanno and one moment she shows all the vulnerability of a first-timer at open mic night, like a Lisa Loeb, and the next moment she's raging like Courtney Love, born and bred in the seedier spots of the rock scene.
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8 Score

The Rockometer: Success by KEN Mode

Success, the sixth album by Winnipeg noise-rockers, KEN Mode, is not a happy album. Look at the cover. Dude is down as down can get, and that's cool. Not everyone can make lemonade out of lemons, as they say. Some prefer to wade in life's shit canal with a fifth of cheap liquor and a full pack of smokes. We won't judge KEN Mode for preferring the shit canal over a lemonade stand, especially not when their low end, post-hardcore rumble proves such an apt compliment for a man's litany of grievances.
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Play Me: “Starved For” by Strange Wilds

There's nothing fancy, or particularly strange, about "Starved For," by the Olympia, Washington power trio, Strange Wilds, and, that's exactly what makes it so enjoyable. Their plug-in, rock out attitude can be traced back to the '90s and bands like Mudhoney and Seaweed, and even contemporary neighbors like Milk Music. Clocking in at just under three minutes, the bullshit-free "Starved For," has enough time for some good licks and some good shouts. Give me ten more tracks like this one and I'll be a happy man.
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9 Score

The Rockometer: Perfect World by Uniform

Perfect World is not my perfect world, it is not your perfect world, it is not anyone's perfect world save for some dead existentialist whose idea of a perfect world is only shared by freshman liberal arts majors who've had their mind totally blown by pot and a longhair adjunct in intro to philosophy. This thing is dark and dreadful. It's the audio equivalent of city juice, the putrid brown-yellow waste water of unknown origins seeping out of urban streets and stinking the skies. Yet, this world created Ben Greenberg (The Men) and Michael Berdan (Drunkdriver), out of mashed and mangled guitars, harsh effects and harsher vocals is wholly necessary in that cliched only pain can bring happiness kind of way.
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Play Me: “If Death Ever Slept” by Destruction Unit

If the lead preview track, "If Death Ever Slept" by Destruction Unit is any indication of what's to come, there will be no radio-friendly unit-shifters on the band's forthcoming album, Negative Feedback Resistor (out September 18th on Sacred Bones). Instead, the most apt named band in underground rock, remains steadfast in their singular intent to destroy things.
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RoyalHeadache

Play Me: “High” by Royal Headache

It's been far too long since we last heard from Sydney garage rockers, Royal Headache. Their debut album came out in 2011 in Australia, a year later hear in the States, and between then and now their recorded output consisted of a 7" for Matador Records' singles club. It was a sweet single, sure, but a voice like Shogun's, one of sandpaper and blue-eyed soul legends and lofty range, shouldn't be a secret held by Aussie rock aficionados. It needs to be heard.
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BlurOngOng

Watch Me: “Ong Ong” by Blur

There's a Blur review of their new album, The Magic Whip, sitting unfinished in draft. It exists, much like The Magic Whip exists. Really, the only thing I can say about The Magic Whip is that it exists. It's not about to replace Parklife as everyone's favorite Blur album. It won't inspire new listeners to explore Blur's back catalog. Neither, is it an embarrassment. It's mature, idiosyncratic melodies exist in a state of blah.
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