shark sandwich 89 feature

Album Reviews – Ex Hex – Tamaryn – and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

March 22, 2019 – Vol. 89

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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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Ex Hex – It’s Real

With enough swagger to choke the Marlboro Man, Ex Hex have landed once again on Earth to bestow an essential rock and roll album in the least rock and roll times imaginable. Do we have our first “windows down” album of 2019 with It’s Real? Possibly, as the retro-tinged riffs are snotty, and it is impossible not to sign along with songs about the beach, and “your rock and roll hair.” If you can’t find something to like about It’s Real, I would suggest that that is your problem and not Ex Hex’s. So, plug this into your Honda Civic’s sound system, roll the windows down, turn this up, and then turn it up some more at the red lights.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Cosmic Cave”

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Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien

Ibibio Sound Machine comes crashing through your headphones sounding like Prince covering the Clash’s Sandinista if Prince grew up in Western Africa listening to, well, Prince. That is probably a terrible description, but it’s all I have at the moment. Listening to this electro Afro funk work out has got this guy dancing and marveling at the engaging expansiveness of Doko Mien (Tell Me in the Nigerian language of Ibibio). Listening to this album is like eating a good meal of unfamiliar ingredients. Sometimes you need someone to present them to you in the proper configuration to realize what you have been missing your whole life.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “She Work Very Hard”

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Tamaryn – Dreaming the Dark

Tamaryn’s new album, Dreaming the Dark, is perfectly named. It’s a dark dream of 80s-inspired post-punk and shoegaze, a lush reminder to watch the doors and corners of your subconscious. Originally from New Zealand (now based in the U.S.), Tamaryn clearly reveres the Cure and Siouxsie Sioux (god, who doesn’t), but she isn’t living in the past. She wants you to dance your demons away, so long as the dancefloor is dimly-lit and packed with people who know how to be alone together.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “The Jealous Kind”

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Sleeper – The Modern Age

The 90s are not just the past, the decade is also a touchstone that will probably never go away if bands like Sleeper have anything to say about it. Buzzing out of the gate with “Paradise Waiting,” this Britpop staple from another century stakes a claim in that time as well as tomorrow. The world might be moving away from guitar-based pop, and if this sort of music goes underground again so be it. Soon, your Elastica and Sleep albums will be looked upon as artifacts from a better time, and listening to them will be a weird act of defiance.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Cellophane”

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Jenny Lewis – On The Line

Jenny Lewis gives this world so much that it is embarrassing that she isn’t filling baseball stadiums. Her songs are always melodic, usually driving, with lyrical content that is often shockingly frank and nearly always stunning. What more do you want, world? Lewis is back with On The Line, and picking your favorite song is a task that no one should actually attempt. Just let the smooth waves of crystalline musicianship and effortless lyrics and delivery wash over you, making your world a better place while reminding you that it isn’t all sunshine and fig newtons.

Rating: 5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Rabbit Hole”

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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 – Ex Hex – Merge Records; Jenny Lewis – Warner Bros.; Ibibio Sound Machine – Merge Records; Sleeper – Gorsky Records; and Tamaryn – DERO Arcade.