Geese – 3D country – June 23, 2023
In late 2021, Brooklyn-based rock quintet Geese released Projector, which was instantly one of my favorite albums of the year (and one of my first reviews for WEGL 91.1FM). Since then, it has slowly evolved into one of my favorite rock records of the 21st century, so it's needless to say that I was nervously anticipating the release of the bands second full LP. After hearing the singles leading up to 3D Country’s full release, I was intrigued by the band's bold new direction, but it wasn't until I heard the whole record that I truly realized Geese are doing something that may be unprecedented. Blending 60’s blues rock, soul, post-punk, and art rock, 3D Country is truly a one-of-a-kind album. Cameron Winter’s incredible range and witty lyricism really ties it all together, oscillating between moments of starchy vigor and tender sentimentality. Certainly an early AOTY contender.
Favorite Tracks: 3D Country , Domoto , St. Elmo
- Will Lewis
The Japanese House - In the End It Always Does - June 30, 2023
Amber Bain, professionally known through her indie pop project The Japanese House, released her second full length album, In the End It Always Does, after nearly three years of musical absence. The first single, "Boyhood," remains a high point of the album and hinted towards the sonic direction Amber was going to take the album. It’s pulled together by a constant bass-line and then builds the song with progressively added acoustic and electronic sounds. This constant blending of acoustic and electronic sounds proves to be a staple of the album, but more importantly the constant bass and flowing deep vocals together create a consistent, almost tropical, indie pop 45 minutes. Lyrically, the album is driven by feelings from a breakup as Amber descriptively accounts the moments she had in vivid detail. Often the writing can sound conversational, as if she is accounting her feelings to a trustworthy friend or her former partner. It’s clear that the lyrics were considered carefully because it stands out as the driving force on the record. When there is a slow instrumental, it almost always complements dense writing, giving room to listen. It should come to no surprise if you begin to see this these songs sliding into your friend’s indie hit playlists these next few months.
Favorite Tracks: “Morning Pages” ; “Boyhood” ; “Indexical reminder of a morning well spent”, “Sunshine Baby”
- Trey Hibbard
Foo Fighters – But Here We Are - June 2, 2023
On March 25th, 2022, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died before a show in Bogotá, Columbia. Months later, Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia, would also pass away. The future of the band was put in jeopardy, with their “Medicine at Midnight” tour being cancelled. After 27 years of being a band, was this the end?
Luckily, it wasn’t. On June 2nd, 2023, Foo Fighters released their 11th studio album, But Here We Are. It's an album about loss and how to live after dealing with grief. As a fan, this is their best album in the last 15 years. It's an album that has music for new and old fans. “Under You” is a throwback to their classic 2000s rock roots, while “Rescued” is the next evolution of “Walk” off of 2011’s Wasting Light. Each song feels like another step in the grieving process.
The album as a whole is great, but the highlights are when the band steps out of its comfort zone and changes their style of rock. “Show Me How” is a great example of this, sounding more like a Jeff Buckley song than one made by the Foo Fighters. Dave bringing in his daughter, Violet Grohl, as backing vocals was an excellent choice, especially since this was a song about his mother.
The last two songs are the album’s highest point. “The Teacher” is a 10-minute monster of a song with key changes and solos. It chronicles Dave’s last moments with his mother and dealing with her lost. “Rest” ends the album, and the grief process, on a high note. It’s a song about letting go of someone as they pass away, and its heartbreaking in the best way. It starts off quiet, with just Dave singing with an acoustic guitar. But when the band kicks in, it gets loud to the point of distortion as we feel the pain of loss and acceptance. Overall, a highlight for the rock genre in 2023 and a fan favorite album for Foo Fighters fans.
- Logan Hurston
McKinley Dixon – Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? - June 2, 2023
McKinley Dixon is a Virginia rapper who’s been slowly gaining ground in the music industry, and he currently sits at less than 100k listeners monthly on spotify. His 2021 album, For My Momma and Anyone Who Look Like Her, is a fantastic jazz rap album where Dixon talks about the problems he’s faced and his outlook on life. For my money, he’s one of the best storytellers in modern rap. His newest album, Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?, released on June 2nd and has caught some traction as Rolling Stone and Anthony Fantano have reviewed it. This album is a lot shorter than his previous project, coming in at just 28 minutes, but Dixon packs a huge punch in that time. Each song has amazing production, especially for a smaller artist. Most of his beats are cleaner than what you’ll hear in mainstream rap. The features on this album are also superb, with artists like Ghais Guevara, Seline Haze, and Ms. Jaylin Brown playing their parts but not taking the spotlight away from Dixon. The album as a whole is great with no song truly outshining the other.
Favorite tracks: “Live! From the Kitchen Table” ; “Run, Run, Run” ; “Sun, I Rise” ; “The Story So Far” ; “Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?”
- Logan Hurston
tofusmell - Humor - June 30, 2023
Young singer-songwriter Rae Chen, whose stage name is tofusmell, released their first multi-song mixed and mastered project on Spotify after garnering attention over the past two years on platforms such as TikTok. Known for their lyrical writing, Rae doesn’t fail to write every song with a captivating level of imagery and emotion. Much of the music sounds reminiscent of Sufjan Steven’s “Carrie and Lowell”, especially the opening track “Basil Noodes”. The breathy stacked vocals and homemade layer to the album puts you in the same room as Rae, wanting to reach out and give them a hug. With lyrics as impressive as they are, Rae is still able to write beautiful yet non distracting guitar parts that enhance the feeling of each song.
Favorite Songs: “Basil Noodles” ; “Younger” ; “Keith”
Feeble Little Horse – Girl With Fish – June 9, 2023
The Pennsylvania underground DIY scene has truly begun to flourish over the past decade, and at the forefront of its modern rockers is Pittsburgh’s own Feeble Little Horse. Fuzzy guitars, punchy pop melodies, and woozy party-friendly bangers were all over the bands 2021 LP Hayday, and on Girl With Fish we find more of the same, with a noticeable increase in confidence and lyrical eloquence. With ear-piercing guitar tones sounds like some of Medicine’s early work, shoegaze and classic indie-rock fans will feel quite at home with the instrumentation, but the youthful playfulness contrasting the outsider ethos takes the atmosphere of the album to a new and very unique place. It's not easy to find guitar music that sounds wholly individualistic from a tone and production standpoint these days, but Feeble Little Horse aren't far off. Absolutely one of my favorite releases of the year so far, and I can't wait to see it live.
Favorite Tracks: “Tin Man” ; “Steamroller” ; “Paces”
- Will Lewis