ss 75 feature

A New Gem from Buddy Guy – Plus Other Album Reviews!

***

SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

June 15, 2018 – Vol. 75

***

Music reviews come in all sizes, but you’re busy and do not have time for flowery language… or sentences, really.

Spinal Tap gave the world the greatest album review of all time:

***

Welcome to our “Shark Sandwich” — razor-sharp reviews that sum up an album in five sentences or less.

***

Buddy Guy – The Blues is Alive and Well

At 82 years old, Buddy Guy is a damn legend who basically invented the Chicago electric blues guitar, and doesn’t owe us anything more. Yet, here he is with The Blues is Alive and Well, begging heaven above on the opening track for a few more years (“… is all I need right now”). Frankly, we don’t deserve Buddy Guy. This album is staggering, sneering guitar breaks, soulful horns, and long-after-midnight crooning. The only reason why the blues is alive and well is because of pillars like Buddy Guy, and if you are fan of music you should recognize it and him.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “The Blues is Alive and Well”

***

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage

Spacey French musician, Melody Prochet, is Melody’s Echo Chamber, and she is back to elevate the party you are planning for your fancy friends. Bon Voyage, far from a goodbye, is a warm hello. It invites you in for a drink, and wraps you in psychedelic pop and rhythms. The songs are experiments in filling a chilly vacuum with breathy vocals and instrumentation of every stripe. This is the soundtrack to an alternate universe Wes Anderson movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Desert Horse”

***

The English Beat – Here We Go Love

Recently, my sixteen-year-old son asked me how I feel about ska, and I said it got sort of played out at the end of the 90s. I started in on dubstep, dancehall, and the Jamaican roots of it all, and in the midst of my dadrock pontificating I lost sight of the fact that ska is a whole lot of fun and how happy I am to recognize the latest incarnation of The [English] Beat. Here We Go Love has everything you want, and nothing you don’t. It sounds like “Mirror in the Bathroom” happened yesterday, so plug this in, turn it up, and flail around for your kids. They may act embarrassed, but they love it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Here We Go Love”

***

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s ringing, driving rhythms remind me of what cool surfers would listen to instead of being pigeonholed with the normal shit. It’s indie rock, it’s punkish in the model of early REM–basically RBCF keeps things moving along in the right direction. I didn’t even mean to, but I think I nailed it already. This sounds like if REM took Murmur surfing instead of moping around graveyards. If these Aussies ever release their “Shiny Happy People,” we will know they read this in 2018.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Mainland”

***

Ben Caplan – Old Stock

Old Stock is a striking, dark, sometimes hilariously-delivered concept album about immigration, love, and luck, bad and good (?). Ben Caplan sounds like Tom Jones barking a tale of Jewish refugees in 1908 Canada (a shockingly accurate hot take), and it will have you laughing out loud despite the subject matter. If “Truth Doesn’t Live in a Book” doesn’t have you howling, you are either easily offended, or actually dead. This is a truly unique album, and if you want to confuse other motorists, just blast Old Stock with the windows down.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Truth Doesn’t Live in a Book”

***

All artists are available on iTunesAmazonGooglePlay, and wherever else better music is sold, streamed, downloaded, or performed on tour.

***

NewsWhistle music contributor Chad Werner is “ahead of the curve, behind the times.” You can contact this rock n’ roll sphinx at chad@newswhistle.com (e-mail) or @scooternotmoped (Twitter).

***

Lead-In Image – Composite

  • Album and sleeve – Courtesy of  imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
  • Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
  • Album collage – Buddy Guy – Silvertone; Melody’s Echo Chamber – Fat Possum; The English Beat – Here We Go Records; Rolling Blackouts Coast Fever – SubPop; and Ben Caplan – Under Control Entertainment.
    .