Editor’s note: From 2012 to 2014, Matt Rice wrote the music column Matt on Music for The Eastern Echo, the student newspaper for Eastern Michigan University. In 2016, Matt relaunched this column on The Young Folks. You can read past installments of this column here.
With the release of the first Jesus and Mary Chain album in 19 years, I thought I’d focus on some noisy records from this year. Play it loud.
Street Stains: Street Stains (self-releaed) Sean McGuinness, drummer of Pissed Jeans, and Christopher Richards, guitarist of Q and Not U, form a duo, lower the song lengths, and wind up with an excitingly frantic punk record. These fourteen songs make up about twenty minutes, and though I love fast ones like “No No No” and “Ice Water and Saltines,” I prefer it when they take their time on “I Wanna Die (In the Summertime)” and “We Need to Talk.” Meanwhile, their mission statement (from the opener): “Street stains predict the future/And it’s a fucking mess.” 8/10
Thurst: Cut to the Chafe (self-released) With punk, as with life, aimless sardonicism is a killer. So, while Kory Seal’s craft is admirable, and often “raw,” it’s difficult to get fully on board. After all, from The Coathangers to Childbirth, most of today’s finest punk bands have been case studies in how much better things are when you have a point. 7/10
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Damage and Joy (ADA/Warner Music Group) When your first album is one of the very best rock albums of the 1980s, it’s hard to follow that up. The Reid brothers have been trying with every album since to live up to the phenomenal oneness of Psychocandy, never quite succeeding. On their first album in nearly two decades, they show just how close they’re capable of getting—“Always Sad,” for instance, almost nails the self-deprecating humor of “The Living End”—while entirely missing the mark. What’s lacking, as always, is the feedback, the energy, something to tie down the relentless gloom and save it from itself. The inclusion of women vocalists, including Isobel Campbell and Sky Ferreira, helps tremendously. 5.5/10
Single of the Week — Iggy Azalea: “Mo Bounce” (Def Jam) So all it took for me to like an Iggy Azalea song was for her to go full dance-hop? Well… okay. I love this.