SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
July 20, 2018 – Vol. 79
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.
Clyde Guevara – FreeJAH
Brooklyn rapper, Clyde Guevara, has a lot to say, and he lets it out on his memorial to his younger brother, Jahiem (Jah for short). Jah was killed two years ago, and it changed Guevara. The rapper’s debut album was a case of a dream delayed, by life, by circumstance, but it was the death of Jah that brought this remarkable album to light. Ultimately, I would call the beats “laid back,” but Guevara’s delivery is largely tense on FreeJAH, mirroring life in that push and pull. If this album is an abstract elegy to his beloved brother, one hopes there is a Heaven that welcomed Jah.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Still Illin’/BigME”
Ovlov – TRU
Dense and enigmatic, Ovlov takes an obvious love of Pavement and Mission of Burma, adds in willful subterfuge, and sticks it in the blender to make TRU. How the listener responds will depend on how one feels about bone-dry production, and hiding melodies in noise. This is definitely rock and roll, and it is loud, but the brittle 90s-inspired racket isn’t trying make you mosh or even shake your ass. If you like a good mystery, you will really like TRU. If you want to listen with headphones transcribing lyrics, Ovlov has something they would like you to hear.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “The Best of You”
Meg Myers – Take Me to the Disco
Subtle, slinky, propulsive, and introspective, Meg Myers looks at life on Take Me to the Disco, and finds there is work to be done. Music is often a form of escapism, but there is no escape from “The Death of Me” or “Little Black Death.” These songs reel the listener into Myers’ life struggles, and it sometimes feels a little voyeuristic. Obsessed with darkness, it can sometimes be a little shocking, which is probably the point. Myers’ love “is like a funeral,” but it isn’t clear if we are supposed to steer clear of her; again, probably the point.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Funeral”
Spare Snare – ‘Sounds’ Recorded by Steve Albini
Lo-Fi survivors, Spare Snare, were once voted the 46th best Scottish band of all time (according to their Wiki), and if that doesn’t move you I’m not sure what will. Kidding aside, their slightly detached rock and roll is right in Mr. Albini’s wheelhouse, but interestingly enough he makes their noise poppier than their recent output. I’m not saying Albini is Spare Snare’s Butch Vig, but maybe, just maybe if it was 1994. Spin up ‘Sounds,’ and get busy either wondering where Spare Snare has been your whole life or why they never broke worldwide two decades ago.
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Smile, It’s Sugar”
Negative Scanner – Nose Picker
The best advice I can give you is to ignore the album title and artwork, and just rock out to the dramatic and furious songs that make up Negative Scanner’s latest full length. An album chockablock with highlights, N–e P–ker is a joy to behold. Vocalist/guitarist Rebecca Valeriano-Flores’ delivery would make Siouxsie Sioux proud, and the band matches speed with the elastic and burning rhythms your afternoon commute demands. Dig in, music fans!
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “History Lesson”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Clyde Guevara – Hardcover Records; Ovlov – Exploding in Sound; Meg Myers – 300 Entertainment; Spare Snare – Chute Records; and Negative Scanner – Trouble in Mind Records.