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.
I can’t tell if I’ve been craving good punk and power pop because hectic and difficult times call for what comes most natural or if it has just been incredible this year. No matter, here are some more noisy records to put you at peace, two from legends, one from a band that seems destined to be one.
Charly Bliss: Guppy (self-released) With too many ‘90s alt throwback bands to keep track of, Eva Hendricks’ voice—as confident as it is high, at its best bringing Kathleen Hanna to mind—helps plenty to make this four-piece Brooklyn band stand out. More into straightforward bubblegum than many of their contemporaries, their love of the most transparent of pop tricks results in an addictive set of hooks, but Hendricks’ lyrics are most notable. “Don’t you know I aim to please?/I’m everybody’s favorite tease.” “I’m too sad to be mean/I’m gonna end up working at Dairy Queen.” “Kiss me under contract.” And that’s just scratching the surface. How can you not love a band that starts a song with, “She’s got her toe in the cornhole/Bleeding out in a snocone?” 8.5/10
At the Drive-In: In•ter a•li•a (Rise) The best post-hardcore band of 2000 is also the best of 2017. Or they would be, if this album still retained the intense, riff-driven sound of Relationship of Command. It’s a heavy record for sure, but on a sonics level, nothing reaches heights like “One Armed Scissor” or “Invalid Litter Dept.” Instead, the band goes for a less distinctive, melodic style and nevertheless winds up with one of the best punk records you’ll hear this year. Try to deny “Continuum” and “Hostage Stamps.” Then wonder why so few comeback albums make the wait feel this worthwhile. 8/10
Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness (Caroline) I know many people who will stick up for Lee Ranaldo’s solo albums, and others prefer the records from the Kim Gordon project Body/Head. But to me, this one is the best mood music put out by a member of Sonic Youth since they disbanded, pleasant even at its noisiest (which would be the closer “Aphrodite”), but easy to ignore. Which is how you know it’s not Sonic Youth. At their loudest and softest, greatest and weakest, they were never a band that let listeners shut off their brains. Listenable, but not the sort of Rock N Roll Consciousness that will keep people from losing their own consciousness. 7.5/10
Single of the Week – Paramore: “Told You So” (Fueled By Ramen) It’s no “Hard Times,” but who expected another “Hard Times?” This is just the second song in a row that makes good on the promise of honest pop that was “Ain’t It Fun,” and another sign that we have an incredible album coming our way.