Category Archives: Music Reviews

Album Review: Jeff Rosenstock – WORRY.

I have been more excited for Jeff Rosenstock’s third solo album, WORRY., than I’ve been for pretty much anything in the past year or two. When it went up on Spotify last night, I had a brief moment of terror, where for a split second I questioned whether I had hyped it up too much. Maybe my expectations were too high. Then I hit play and realized that was a stupid mistake.

The music I listen to could be described less as a genre and more as an emotional state: I’m a big sucker for media made by and about people who have struggled but still manage to find a glimmer of hope in the world. That’s why I love musicians like Frank Turner and shows like Bojack Horseman, so it should surprise no one that I love WORRY. Jeff Rosenstock has dealt with his anxieties in all of his solo work, but this album feels especially poignant now, when the United States is best characterized by police shooting unarmed black people and a fascist Cheeto bragging about sexually assaulting women after referring to Mexican immgrants as “rapists”. So many of us in this country are terrified of what will become of it. Add that to our personal insecurities about falling in love, being able to afford our rent, and whether or not our friends really like us, and you have a recipe for disaster. Rosenstock is able to address all of these thoughts and fears on WORRY. while still giving an upbeat and hopeful finale. Continue reading Album Review: Jeff Rosenstock – WORRY.

Live Review: Laura Michelle at the El Rey Theater

Laura Michelle Kelly began her show at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles celebrating an audience member’s birthday. She cut the cake, giggled to cheers from the crowd, and then moved swiftly on stage, cameras and dark red hair trailing in her wake.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Singer/songwriter Laura Michelle cuts her cake during the album release party for Laura Michelle's "Novel With No End" at El Rey Theatre on September 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 01: Singer/songwriter Laura Michelle cuts her cake during the album release party for Laura Michelle’s “Novel With No End” at El Rey Theatre on September 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)

Continue reading Live Review: Laura Michelle at the El Rey Theater

Album Review: Chris Farren – Can’t Die

Chris Farren is a staple in the emo pop scene, known for his work with Fake Problems and Antarctigo Vespucci, so it seems a little strange talking about his debut album. Still, Farren’s first solo record Can’t Die, released on September 2nd through Side One Dummy Records, feels fresh and unique, quickly distinguishing itself from his other projects.

Consisting of fun synth riffs and a sound that’s more pop than emo, one could easily mistake this for a happy album without listening to the lyrics; Can’t Die may be one of the most danceable records ever made about feeling like shit. Throughout the album, Farren sings about his experiences with anxiety and depression, and the ways that these mental illnesses can take a toll on interpersonal relationships. Continue reading Album Review: Chris Farren – Can’t Die

Album Review: AJJ – The Bible 2

Phoenix, Arizona’s AJJ have recently found themselves as one of the biggest names in folk punk (even if that name has gotten a whole lot shorter since they started out in the scene). Their music has been noted for its unique arrangements and clever lyrics that express both humor and anxiety in such a way that the listener finds themselves simultaneously uncomfortable and excited. AJJ’s latest release, The Bible 2, incorporates all the witty lyricisms and commentary listeners have come to expect from AJJ with a grandiose sound and exciting arrangements worthy of a band that helped put folk punk on the map.

The Bible 2 opens with “Cody’s Theme”, diving right into the strange reality of a troubled childhood. Singer Sean Bonnette half sings-half shouts about parent teacher conferences, taking anger out on trees and other objects, and being a “total dick” as a child. The song is loud and exciting, filled with distorted guitar riffs and a chorus that manages to convince you to dance to a song about a really troubled kid while still wondering if he turned out ok. Continue reading Album Review: AJJ – The Bible 2

EP Review: Frank Turner-Mittens

Frank Turner’s follow up to Positive Songs for Negative People, the Mittens EP is rife with metaphors. On the five track EP, Turner releases some of his inner-history nerd, and takes on the voice of a sad and confused armadillo.

The EP starts with the title track, “Mittens”, originally a single from Positive Songs.  Admittedly, it is probably my least favorite track from the album, but it’s become a fan favorite and the music video, which features Turner in an Elvis Presley costume, is phenomenal. Overall, I just never really bought into the mittens/gloves metaphor, and the tone is a little too poppy for my taste. I definitely prefer the acoustic version of the song on the deluxe version of the album.
Continue reading EP Review: Frank Turner-Mittens