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Album Reviews! Twenty One Pilots / Mute Math – Run The Jewels – Justine Skye

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

December 30, 2016 – Vol. 33

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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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Run the Jewels – 3

It isn’t essential that you are a Bernie Backer to get Run the Jewels.  El-P and Killer Mike are back with another year, another new release, and 3 has the magic.  It is a clangy, speedy, and often, very often, thrilling journey from the back of your subconscious through mid-day crowds at lunchtime on to the darkest corners of the bomb shelter.  It’s rap, but it’s something else, too.  It’s Massive Attack married to a dump truck with a leaky brake line, and at the end you are grateful to be run over by it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Don’t Get Captured”

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Twenty One Pilots/Mutemath – TOPxMM

Both Twenty One Pilots and Mutemath are confusing bands.  One hears a track, maybe reads a bit about them, and starts asking the “Are they this?” or “Are they that?” questions that can be so limiting.  As someone with limited exposure to either group, I can look at this sweeping extended play reworking of Twenty One Pilots tracks with somewhat fresh ears.   It’s pop the way pop sounds in 2016, for all the good and ill that implies.  It sounds like the Police’s boxset was launched to an alien planet, and it came back as TOPxMM.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Heavydirtysoul”

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Justine Skye – 8 Ounces

Justine Skye‘s 8 Ounces is a busy ride that drops unexpected obscenities (expected obscenities = lazy, unexpected = exciting), and has a stealth doo-wop track (“Jezebel”) right in the middle of slick R & B slow jams.  There are a lot of sounds happening, but the tempo rarely gets faster than a bubbly mimosa.  It is buoyant, above the fray, and supremely confident coming directly from the artist’s heart.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Jezebel”

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Nine Inch Nails – Not the Actual Events

Trent himself described the latest NIN EP as “unfriendly” and “impenetrable,” and goddamn if those adjectives aren’t completely perfect descriptors of Not the Actual Events. The problem is that we’ve all been here before, haven’t we? When he isn’t screaming his lungs out, he is moaning the blues, and when the music isn’t knocking down castles, it is a funeral march through the streets of hell during the purge. That doesn’t mean this EP isn’t cool, and welcome at the end of this shitty, shitty year of loss. It just means that I hope the upcoming full album in 2017 knocks my socks off.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Branches/Bones”

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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 Image – Composite

  • Album and sleeve – Courtesy of  imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
  • Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
  • Album collage –  Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels Inc.; Twenty One Pilots/Mutemath – Fueled by Ramen; Justine Skye – Roc Nation/Republic; Nine Inch Nails – the Null Corporation.