shark sandwich 80 feature

Album Reviews – Boz Scaggs, Thin Lips, and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

July 27, 2018 – Vol. 80

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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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Boz Scaggs – Out of the Blues

Boz Scaggs has been around, so a blues album is probably to be expected after this many years of living and making music. Out of the Blues is half covers and half originals, but that voice, that voice. It’s a warm hot tub filled with bourbon, and a hug from your own special someone. The whole album is a consistent exercise in gently leaning into the mood. There are no sharp edges here, and that is the point. You can put this on in the dark, and let the right thing happen.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Little Miss Night and Day”

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Thin Lips – Chosen Family

The Thin Lips latest is so full. It is crammed to the rafters with big vocals, ringing guitars, and little surprises hidden in the often funny song titles. For example, take a listen to “Sex is Complicated,” and dig how the track alternates between muddy riffing and a classic REM openness. The songs hit you hard, and don’t overstay their welcome, as all songs are between two to four minutes. This is like college music for those who have long-since graduated.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “What If I Saw You on the Street”

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Halestorm – Vicious

Do you like it heavy? Halestorm certainly does, and on Vicious they invite you to bang along with them. Too often this level of rock and roll bands eschew hooks, pop, and rely on atonal grunting and rhythms that bludgeon you, but have no finesse. Much like the Cult, Halestorm kicks all of that shit to the curb, creating heavy music that you can listen to instead of just endure. This will get your pulse pounding, and remind you that “hard rock” doesn’t have to be cheesy or lame, and “heavy rock” doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Uncomfortable”

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OTEP – KULT45

OTEP isn’t here to reason with Trump voters, the NRA, etc., so if this is a problem, just move along. This is rage set to music, and not just one type either. This band embraces punk, metal, poetry, hip hop, and confrontation in a way that is reminiscent of bands like Biohazard on a certain level, but you can’t ignore the power of frontwoman Otep Shamaya’s delivery and commitment. It elevates every sound on this album. “I’m not a boss bitch, I’m just a boss, bitch” should have been Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Shelter in Place”

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Underworld/Iggy Pop – Teatime Dub Encounters

What to make of this super group of Underworld and Iggy Pop…? The English electronic duo mixing it up with the godfather of American punk is interesting on paper, and it ends up being supremely weird in practice. It is listenable, but ultimately Teatime Dub Encounters Is a head scratcher. Underworld lays down the thick electronic blanket while Pop rambles through his stories sometimes sounding like a standup comedian. It is funny, but it is hard to know how essential this will be in the long run.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Trapped”

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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 – Boz Scaggs – Concord Records; Thin Lips – Lame-O Records; Halestorm – Atlantic Records; OTEP – Napalm Records; and Underworld/Iggy Pop – Caroline International.