shark sandwich 99 - album reviews - feature

Album Reviews – Bleached – Thelma Plum – and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

July 12, 2019 – Vol. 99

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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:

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

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Bleached – Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?

I just adore Bleached, and while their awesomely-titled new album may lack a little of the in-your-face immediacy of previous works, Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough makes up for it by fully embracing Blondie-inspired new wave pop. They’ve played footsy with pop before, but hearing the crystalline melodies, Go-Go’s guitars, and handclaps, it is clear that they are coming into their own here. It is hard not to occasionally miss the crunchier rock and roll of 2016’s Welcome the Worms, but this glammed up version of Bleached has its own charms. Put on some glitter make up, fire up Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough, and lay some rubber down on your way to work tomorrow. It’ll make your whole day better.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Real Life”

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Paw Paw – Shangri Lala

Is it out of line to call Paw Paw’s Shangri Lala “aural wallpaper”? I don’t really think so, as this isn’t a negative. If Paw Paw’s Eston Lathrop wanted to smash your face in he would probably do so, but instead he has produced an extraordinary droning electronic sound cycle that won’t get in your way until you pay attention while listening on headphones. Then it won’t let go of your attention. Shangri Lala might not be heaven on earth, but it can certainly be your soundtrack to a hike in the woods or being alone in a crowd at the airport.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Found U Sk8n”

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Thelma Plum – Better in Blak

 Better in Blak by Indigenous Australian Thelma Plum is, in a word, riveting. It sounds like the ocean kissing the jetty as Plum carries a torch for the whole world, and possibly humanity itself. It’s not all bubbly positivity, though. There is an undercurrent of weariness and restrained anger that comes to a head on “Woke Blokes,” which could be an anthem for 2019 if you ask me. Always interesting, brutally honest, and engaging, Plum has given us a sort of emotional instruction manual that more of us should read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Woke Blokes”

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Grand Vapids – Eat the Shadow

Grand Vapids sound very much like 80s Athens, GA, piling on the minor keys and moping around like Pylon and IRS-era REM. That’s not the whole story, though. In the midst of their “Driver 8” plucking, they hide serrated knife-like guitars in the melody. The vocals are rarely ever more than distant and in the shadows (eaten or not), but it fits the overall mood perfectly. Eat the Shadow is definitely the soundtrack to pulling your hair in your face as you get yelled at by the boss for being late to work… again.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Woman of God”

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Glitterer – Looking Through the Shades

Glitterer is the alter-ego of Ned Russin, and Looking Through the Shades is a lean, mean song cycle. No song is more than 2:30, and the whole affair is over in less than thirty minutes. Think of what Weezer would sound like in 2019 without the oppressive, winking irony. Throw in some Pixies bass lines, and that’ll get you close to Glitterer. Melodic, sharp, and to the point, Looking Through the Shades never wears out its welcome, and in fact is well served by its Ramones-esque brevity.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Again”

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

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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).

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Lead-In Image – Composite

  • Album and sleeve – Courtesy of  imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
  • Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
  • Album collage – Bleached – Dead Oceans; Grand Vapids – Mumblecore Records; Glitterer – Anit/Epitaph; Thelma Plum – Warner Brothers Australia; and Pawpaw – Fire Talk.