ss-31-feature-this-one

An Album That’s Good For The Soul – Plus Other Music Reviews!

***

SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

December 9, 2016 – Vol. 31

***

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.

***

Neil Young – Peace Trail

“Well, I can’t stop working because I like to work when nothing else is going on. It’s bad for the body, but good for the soul.” Neil Young just reviewed his own new album right there at the beginning of the 2nd track, “Can’t Stop Workin’.” A largely acoustic affair, Peace Trail is everything you expect from a Neil Young album in 2016, or 1989, or 1970. There are harmonicas, acoustic guitars, some grinding electric ones in the background, that voice, and the fire in the belly this man will have until the day he’s planted (BACK OFF, 2016!).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Peace Trail”

***

Blue Mafia – Hanging Tree

The trendiness of bluegrass music comes and goes, and that is fine because the music is forever. There are always going to be groups like Blue Mafia making American traditional music, and that is a very good thing. Hanging Tree’s 12 tracks feel like Appalachia mist, and the creaking floorboards of porches well off the main road. The band isn’t playing footsy with bluegrass. Strings a-flying, Blue Mafia brings Americana to you in a full-throated wail straight from another time, a disappearing place.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Loneliness and Desperation”

***

Doomsday Student – A Self-Help Tragedy

Get ready, Doomsday Student is here to make you feel uneasy. A Self-Help Tragedy is an anxiety-inducing low end rumble paired with stabbing guitar squalls, and barely-held-together rhythms. Oh, and the vocals sound like a narrator of your worst dreams. Sounds good, right? It kind of is, but It kind of isn’t, if you are in the wrong mood.

Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “L.S.D. Mom”

***

Enemies – Valuables

Enemies acts as a palate cleanser of sorts. It’s not that they only function as a foil to other music (like, say, Doomsday Student); their syncopated dream pop definitely stands on its own. As is usually the case with chilly music like this, it helps give it some context if you lived through the 80s, but it isn’t necessary. It’s not 80s music, just music informed by the MTV decade. It sounds like winter listened to Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” for inspiration, and formed a band.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Itsallwaves”

***

Mike Doughty – The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns

Former front man of the much beloved Soul Coughing, Mike Doughty has been doing it on his own for nine albums now, and his even, warm vocals are always recognizable and welcome. The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns (itself a Marc Maron reference) adds subtle old country references to his unique mix of hip-hop inspired, bleep bloop bleep skronk rock. Man, it’s hard to know how describe what this dude sounds like. Your best bet is to just listen. It will make you feel like you are the hippest cat on the block.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “The Wild Creatures”

***

All artists are available on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, and wherever else better music is sold, streamed, downloaded, or performed on tour.

***

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).

***

Lead-In Image – Composite

  • Album and sleeve – Courtesy of  imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
  • Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
  • Album collage – Neil Young – Reprise Records; Blue Mafia – Pinecastle Records; Doomsday Student – Three One G/Skin Graft Records; Enemies – Top Shelf Records; Mike Doughty – Snackbar Records.