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New Album Reviews for Heavy Drag, MSTRKRFT, Look Park, Keith Sweat and more

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SHARK SANDWICH – Vol. 15 – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

THIS WEEK : THE SUPER-SIZED EDITION 

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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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It’s summer, music fans, and the column took last week off. Sorry about that. To make it up to all of you, this week’s Sandwich is throwing the rules out the window! The music might not be newly released today. The reviews might be longer than five sentences. Who knows? Also, I am supersizing it! Let’s get to it, y’all.

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Heavy Drag – Sábana Ghost – July 22, 2016

Miami, Florida’s Heavy Drag sounds a bit like their name, with a little My Bloody Valentine thrown into the sludgy mix. Opening with the appropriately titled, “Stoned,” it sounds like you are getting high with Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western. The pace is set by the next track, which, again, is pretty appropriately titled – “Kinda Slow.” Whispery vocals layered in between muscular guitar tones is what Sábana Ghost is all about, and it is an interesting, intoxicating concoction. It is a very even-sounding album, but it is punctuated by the uptick in tempo on “Strangle the Neck of Time,” and the particularly nasty guitar bite on “Smashing Waves.” According to the internet, “sábana” translates to “sheet, bedsheet.” “Bedsheet Ghost.” A lingering presence, a former lover. Yeah, I can hear that, too.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Strangle the Neck of Time”

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MSTRKRFT – Operator – July 22, 2016

MSTRKRFT kick things off with the best song title of all time, “Wrong Glass, Sir,” named after, I am hoping, this wonderful scene (1:19 – 1:22) in the 1980s film, the Blues Brothers. Operator is a set of ten clangy electronic bangers that ought to be sharing the stage with Big Data. It’s electronic music for rock fans. It is a mountain of sound. Aggressive percussion, detached vocals, and keys that sound like California falling off the west coast, MSTRKRFT sounds just like you need it to sound.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Morning of the Hunt” (It sounds like it should be on the original Terminator soundtrack!)

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Look Park – s/t – July 22, 2016

You should guess who Look Park is about twenty seconds into their self-titled album released today. Chris Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne fame is leading the Look Park charge, and as in his first band, the sound is perfectly orchestrated pop. Pastoral and urbane at the same time, Collingwood and band play like they have been working at pop for a thousand years. They simply wouldn’t know how to not be catchy if you asked them to try it out. Look Park have a travel log in “Aeroplane,” and I’ll be damned if “You Can Come Around If You Want To” wouldn’t sound wonderful played on a front porch at eleven o’clock at night. Basically, Look Park are presenting a master class in the history of pop from the 1970s and beyond.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “I’m Gonna Haunt this Place”

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Keith Sweat – Dressed to Impress – July 22, 2016

Do you ever wonder why Keith Sweat never picked a stage name? Perhaps surprisingly, I have wondered it an almost embarrassing number of times over the years. Who cares, though? He sure as shit doesn’t. He has been doing his best Al Green since the late 80s, and Dressed to Impress is a welcome addition to his discography, and your summer. Unless you live in Australia… Then it is a welcome addition to your… winter, right? Whatever. From the opening guitar trills of “Good Love” to the soul strings of “Let’s Go To Bed,” Mr. Sweat holds your, uh, attention. He’s a loverman, make no mistake. After listening to Dressed to Impress, maybe you want to get sweaty with a guy named Keith. I’ll never wonder about his name again.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Give You All of Me”

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Floating Points – Kuiper and For Marmish pt. 2 – July 22, 2016 

Two tracks?! There is over 32 minutes of music on this playlist! Human chillout tent, Sam Shepherd, is the brains behind Floating Points, and he makes sounds like what a DJ rig might make on its own after the crowd and the DJ have gone home in the early morning hours. It is the last gin and tonic. It is the night itself. Floating Points is hypnotic, and deeply fulfilling. It isn’t background noise, but it won’t get in your way. Put it on some good headphones, and hop your flight to wherever. It’ll get you there.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: Impossible to pick

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Beach Slang – Here, I Made This For You (Mixtape Vol. 1) – Oct. 17, 2015

Okay, I’m not sure why none of you jackasses told me about Beach Slang before, but I’m not happy that I am just finding out about them now. Bygones are bygones, though. Beach Slang sound like the Goo Goo Dolls before they started sucking (think Hold Me Up), and apparently they have great taste in music as HIMTFY is a collection of covers of songs by bands straight out of my own collection: Ride, the Plimsouls, Dramarama, Senseless Things, and Best Kissers in the World. Beach Slang deliver these covers pretty much on the nose, but with undeniable energy, reverence, and fun. This album is almost a year old. The tape came out on Cassette Day last year, but I think has just been released digitally or something recently. They have an upcoming new album, but these covers from my college years will hold me over.

Rating: 5 out of 5 whistles because it is so damn fun!

Best Version: “Anything, Anything” (Dramarama)

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All artists are available on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, 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 Art Courtesy of HitToon / Shutterstock.com