shark sandwich 76 feature

Album Reviews – New Music From Fantastic Negrito, Nine Inch Nails, and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

June 22, 2018 – Vol. 76

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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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Fantastic Negrito – Please Don’t Be Dead

If you like your funk heavy and your blues blazing, do yourself a solid and get to know Fantastic Negrito. As on his last album, this shit is raw, now, aggressive, and very, very necessary. Even if you ignored what Xavier Dphrepaulezz, AKA Fantastic Negrito, says on Please Don’t Be Dead, the music is a salve to the infection of living in our wackadoodle times, a battle cry, a manifesto, an order to dance – hard. This is a guy who has died once before, and he knows what life is worth. This is important music for our times, and like the world we are all living in, you can ignore it if you like, but you do yourself a disservice in the end.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “The Duffler”

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Jack River – Sugar Mountain

Jack River is the nom de plume of Australian singer/songwriter, Holly Rankin, and she is a sneaky one on Sugar Mountain. The album is bookended by spare, confessional tracks, but Rankin ties into her pop rock pulse throughout the other twelve tracks. There is a warmth and authenticity in the tracks that is absent in a lot of projects like this one. This is not the sound of someone trying to “make it,” but instead it sounds like someone who has been waiting to flex these muscles for some time. Sugar Mountain is engaging and enlightening, and it might make you weirdly nostalgic and call someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Ballroom”

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Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch

Ok, I’ll bite. NIN and I go way, way back–to the beginning, really. I really loved Mr. Reznor and his paid companions, as the oldsters say, “back in the day,” but the more recent stuff has left me largely cold. Bad Witch, though, is kick-ass from start to finish. It has elements of the early days, and a sense of purpose and focus that has been missing as of late. It’s got the hooks when it needs them, aggression all around, and a completely uncompromising approach.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “God Break Down the Door”

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Jill Barber – Metaphora

Jill Barber employs a “kitchen sink” approach to the songs on Metaphora. Pop hooks sink into your synapses, but Amy Winehouse-styled bad girl torch songs are all over the place, too. There is introspection, bad blood, and change. Rolled together it modifies your day, and leads you to where you need to be. Its power may be a little fleeting, but it is undeniable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Clumsy Heart”

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The Record Company – All of this Life

Sounding like Nathaniel Rateliff and the Black Keys got into a drunken brawl, the Record Company comes out swinging on All of this Life. There is an infectiousness to the proceedings that is hard to ignore. It’s a positive party, and we are all invited to stay way past curfew, not for mayhem, but planning for tomorrow. It’s a crazy world, but we have the power to shape it, I think is what the Record Company is trying to say throughout this loud, brash song cycle.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Goodbye to the Hard Life”

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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 – Fantastic Negrito – Cooking Vinyl; Jack River – Hopeless Utopian; NIN – The Null Corporation; Jill Barber – Outside Music; and The Record Company – Concord Records.