It’s funny how life imitates art, huh? Initially inspired by the whirlwind year prior, The Front Bottoms’ latest work In Sickness & In Flames chronicles the ups and downs of Brian Sella and Mat Uychich’s lives – marriage, emergency surgeries, and property burning down (hence the In Flames part). But then 2020 went to shit and The Front Bottoms’ fifth album has undertaken a completely new meaning (lyrics like It’s like I’m wearin’ a mask/But you could still see my face are so unintentionally poignant and just kind of sufficiently sums up the ongoing tension of this year). Produced by Mike Sapone, In Sickness & In Flames is the duo’s most genuine and well-rounded release in their decade-plus long history, meshing prior influences with bolder ideas.Read More “The Front Bottoms – In Sickness & In Flames”
Hey remember AbsolutePunk.net? Once upon a time I used to write a lot of reviews. Hard to believe, I know. Jokes aside, Twitter and Jason’s “Re-Ranking The Decades” series dialed up the nostalgic side of me. I wanted to see if I still had some of the reviews I’d written over the past decade or so. Turns out, my iCloud Drive has a lot. Now I won’t be re-publishing every thing I’ve ever written (some of these documents deserve to stay buried in the depths of my hard drive), but I wanted to share the reviews that brought about a ton of lively discussion and debate on the records that defined that site and a lot of our musical interests. Cool? Cool. Now to see if I can bring back scene points….
- Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
- Every Time I Die – Ex Lives
- Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
- Fun. – Some Nights
- Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
- Thursday – No Devolución
- Underoath – ? (Disambiguation)
You never expect your record about the impending apocalypse will actually release when the entire world is on fire but that’s where The Lawrence Arms find themselves. On July 17th, Chicago’s finest return with Skeleton Coast – the trio’s first collection of new material’s since 2014’s impressive Metropole. It’s been a long six years since then and the new record reflects that – as a creeping dread is felt throughout its fourteen tracks (as opener “Quiet Storm” bluntly puts it, “Listen closely: Some horsemen are calling. Lay back, the night sky is falling”). Skeleton Coast is a wild ride featuring the best work of the band’s career. I spoke with bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly about recording Skeleton Coast in the middle of the Texas desert, being inspired by the Beastie Boys and Outkast, and how this record is the perfect record for this unprecedented times.Read More “Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms”
When asked about the pressure of writing the follow-up to her successful debut Stranger in the Alps, Phoebe Bridgers responded with an emphatic fuck no. “I made the whole record knowing that people were going to hear it. And I made the first record being like, “I wonder if I’m going to have to get a day job after this,” Bridgers explained in a recent UPROXX interview. “Mostly I just wanted it to be better than the first record, which I think it is.” With that clearheaded mindset, Bridgers’s new record Punisher accomplishes that and more – her lyricism has never been sharper while each track features richer and deeper song textures than ever before.
With Punisher, Bridgers’s worldview continues to expand even as the world around her (and us) falls apart. Love, death, and the impending apocalypse are consistently swirling around us, and Bridgers is fiercely captivated by every detail and how they exist within everyday banalities. Her interpretations and retelling of each one is wittier and sharper than ever. “Garden Song” begins with Bridgers daydreaming of living in her friend’s “house up on the hill,” but only after implying that the white supremacist neighbor has been murdered and buried in her new garden. There’s a contentment behind the wistful opener as she reveals that “the doctor put her hands over my liver/she told me my resentment’s getting smaller,” melancholically sighing, “No, I’m not afraid of hard work/I get everything I want/I have everything I wanted.”Read More “Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher”
“And he’ll stay with me for my whole life/found the sting buried in my side,” sings Kelley Bader on “Death Is Close,” a breezy Beatles-esque number dripping in melancholy as the I’m Glad It’s You singer/songwriter references 1 Corinthians 15:55. This somber moment appears halfway through the Southern California collective’s second full-length Every Sun, Every Moon, and yet it serves as the album’s basis. Every Sun, Every Moon details the tragic van accident that took the life of SoCal videographer Chris Avis. The record serves as a requiem for the band’s mentor as well as a cathartic medium for Bader to process his grief.Read More “I’m Glad It’s You – Every Sun, Every Moon”
On June 5th, The Ghost Inside will triumphantly return with their self-titled fifth album – an eleven track journey featuring the heaviest and most poignant work of the band’s illustrious career. It’s the Los Angeles band’s first release in nearly six years and it’s a record that almost never existed as the path towards The Ghost Inside was littered with tragedy, pain, and self-doubt. On the morning of November 19, 2015, the band’s tour bus collided head on with a tractor trailer while headed west to Mesa, Arizona on U.S. Highway 180. The drivers of both vehicles, Greg Hoke and Steven Cunningham, lost their lives in the accident, while vocalist Jonathan Vigil, bassist Jim Riley, guitarists Zach Johnson and Chris Davis, and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk suffered life-changing injuries (Tkaczyk lost one of his legs following an initial ten-day coma). After facing a lengthy recovery period, the band took time to get into the right head space to figure out if they wanted to continue as The Ghost Inside. Realizing that this tragedy is the precise moment to put their inspirational lyrics to the test, the quintet returned to a sold-out performance last summer at Los Angeles’ The Shrine, promising new music soon. That moment is now and I was fortunate enough to speak with Andrew about the record, the moving visual for their first single “Aftermath,” and creating the record the band was always meant to make.Read More “The Ghost Inside”
Imagine ever doubting Code Orange.
Three years ago, the band kicked the mainstream in the teeth with their Roadrunner Records’ debut, Forever – serving the uninhabited a taste of the group’s relentless intensity. That record broke the band into the Billboard Top 200, numerous spots on big-name festivals, countless collaborations ranging from JPEGMAFIA to Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, and ultimately a Grammy nomination. But for those aware of the Pittsburgh quintet’s work ethic, you already knew the band wouldn’t ever rest on just those laurels – a zero chance possibility that their next record would resemble its predecessor. Forever only skimmed the surface of the Grammy-nominated band’s uncompromising vision, laying the foundation to deliver their fourth full-length album Underneath – Code Orange’s most brutal and visceral music yet. It’s exactly what band leader Jami Morgan proclaimed to Rolling Stone earlier this year: “At the end of the day, that’s what we are about: disruption. down. we. go.”
2019 was a strong finish to a great decade of music — here are my 50 favorite releases of 2019. Thanks for reading, as always.
It’s crazy to think another mid-year list is in the books – the first six months of 2019 have flown by. Thankfully, there has been plenty of music for us to discuss, debate, love, and share. Once again, the www.janewhitemovie.com is an unique list – a diverse one that beautifully shows off the collective, eclectic taste of our staff and contributors. So without further ado here is our favorite twenty albums of 2019 thus far – we’re excited to see what the next six months have to offer.
Note: You can share your own lists in the forums and clicking the artist name and album title will take you to the album’s streaming page featuring quick links for all streaming services.
In just around four months, it’ll be ten years since Baroness released their breakthrough second album Blue. A critical darling through and through, the twelve-track album explored a sound beyond metal that few if any bands could match – then and now. Over the course of their sixteen-year career, Baroness have transcended multiple styles ranging from sludge to proggy psychedelics while maintaining the aggressive sincerity that’s attracted so many passionate fans. Never a band to rest on its laurels, the Savannah, Georgia quartet once again look to reinvent their sound and re-contextualize what a metal record can be with their boldest and most triumphant effort yet – Gold & Grey.
On the latest edition of Drew’s Untitled Review Roundup (or DURR), I dive into some of the more underrated emo records of the year plus a surprising addition to the metalcore canon from an unlikely group of musicians. As always, thank you for reading. Enjoy Volume 2 of DURR.
A few weeks ago I got burnt out. Good-to-great records have been releasing at such a rapid pace (never a bad thing!) and I wouldn’t be able to write a quote-unquote traditional review for every single one. It overwhelmed me to the point of an incredibly paralyzing writer’s block. Then the idea hit me. It’s not an original one as round-ups have existed since the dawn of blogging, but every?week or two weeks I’ll do these roundups where I write 1-2 paragraphs about 3-6 albums that’ve released over the past few weeks.?I’ll still do the occasional “longer” form of reviews, but primarily I just want to write something about an album I really enjoy without feeling like I have to write 400-500 words every time. So with that out of the way and a hat tip to Steven, welcome to Drew’s Untitled Review Roundup (or DURR). Thank you.
About halfway through Angel Du$t’s jovial third album Pretty Buff, vocalist Justice Tripp is marching to his own beat on the sunny “Bang My Drum” – literally. “I asked my baby girl to stay/She left and took my drum away/Got so many feelings now/I got no way to let it out” bellows Tripp over upbeat acoustic strums and a goddamn saxophone solo. It’s a stark contrast to the Baltimore band’s pummeling 2016 release Rock The Fuck On Forever, as the band (featuring members of hardcore champions Trapped Under Ice and Turnstile) trade in the aggression for some alt-leaning pop-rock reminiscent of seminal 90s bands such as The Lemonheads, R.E.M. and the Violent Femmes.
Three years ago, Oliver Kalb chronicled the drawn-out end of a friendship in vivid detail on his band Bellows’ very good third album, Fist & Palm. Its 11 tracks acting like snapshots into the gradual descent of the relationship. Shortly after that record released the 2016 election happened, and Kalb found himself demoralized by the state of things and perplexed by the constant judgment woven within today’s society. Out of that isolation grew the inspiration for Bellows’ stunning Topshelf debut, The Rose Gardener. The metaphor – a gardener tending to a single rosebush in the dead of winter – defies what most observers would deem futile and explores the thorns to see what might still be living on the other side. Kalb is channeling all that pain from the past few years into something a bit more constructive, resembling a glimmer of optimism amongst all the struggle.
As I sit here looking at a blank page, pondering about how I’m going to approach writing about The 1975’s gargantuan third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, I turn to my dear friend procrastination and flick open Twitter on my iPhone. After a few minutes of scrolling through an endless timeline, disgusted and amused simultaneously, I had the belated (and probably way too obvious) realization that A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is an exploration of our codependency of the things – whether it’s drugs, sex, the internet – we use to temporarily numb the sting of loneliness.
Much has been written about The 1975’s leader Matty Healy decision to spend six weeks in a rehab facility in Barbados to fight his addiction to heroin – a stint that helped Healy reflect not only on his life, but the lives he was affecting. His decision to get clean came shortly after the band started writing A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, so unsurprising a lot of the lyrical content is derived from the recovering addict’s time spent in therapy.