SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
November 4, 2016 – Vol. 29
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.
American Wrestlers – Goodbye Terrible Youth
You should be thanking the stars for American Wrestlers right about now. It’s not just because Scottish singer, Gary McClure, sounds astonishingly like Debbie Harry, or that the band trades in lo-fi thrum and buzz that mixes the best of UK shoegaze with American indie garage rock. No, I think it is the enthusiasm with which American Wrestlers attacks Goodbye Terrible Youth. I could listen to “So Long” over and over until the end of it all, but that would deprive me of the pleasure listening to the combative chug of “Terrible Youth” and the rest. If you like your rock and roll fuzzy, unadorned, and a little gothy and mysterious, this is the album for you.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “So Long”
Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions – Until the Hunter
A lot of folks… of a certain age… are going to remember Hope Sandoval (the voice of Mazzy Star) from a musical era known as the 90s. Her voice has always been an intoxicating mix of subterfuge and directness; always the centerpiece, but still a mystery. Paired up with Colm O’Ciosoig of My Bloody Valentine, Until the Hunter is spare, slow, and completely hypnotic. This is perfect album to put on when insomnia sinks in. It’s not going to put you to sleep, but you can feel perfectly normal sitting in a dark room with a tumbler of red wine with Until the Hunter quietly playing in the background.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Isn’t it True”
Slow Hollows – Romantic
The first thing you feel when you fire up Slow Hollows, Romantic, is a summer hangover. Like Beulah before them, it isn’t necessarily happy music, but with its horns (prominent trumpet in particular) Slow Hollows feels like a warm summer day spent in the dunes by the beach, sharing joints until the night rolls in. Necessarily, this implies a certain ephemeral-ness to the music, and maybe this isn’t a bad thing. Maybe it is the point. Would you rather have a perfect summer album, or 14 albums of serious music that no one hears, grooves, or uses as a soundtrack to making love?
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Hospital Flowers”
Common – Black America Again
Like it or not, believe it or not, Common is important, if only sometimes in his own mind, but more often or not in the minds of music lovers everywhere. The man has a mission, and he isn’t fucking around on Black America Again. It is about peace, justice, and maybe finding both in 2016’s America. Given our current state of affairs and politics it is hard to imagine it, but maybe that is what gives this album its weight, its power. As a white ally, I quote Michael Franti, “Spirit of the ’68 Olympics, Black power, people, can I get a witness?”
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Black America Again”
Honeyblood – Babes Never Die
I think someone (me) stated that all the best music comes out of Scotland, and Honeyblood just keeps on proving the theory. What the hell is going on in Glasgow, anyway? Honeyblood kicks the door down, and invades your home with the balls of a bull, the confidence of Iggy Pop preaching about the power of rock and roll, and the don’t-give-a-shit attitude of all the lady rockers since the beginning of the modern era.
Affordable Hybrid – Bat b/w Roky
This is a single only, 7” vinyl if you’re nasty, release from Swedish garage-sters Affordable Hybrid, and it cooks. If this isn’t enough to whet your appetite for more from this boss-level rock and roll band, well, there may be no hope for you. Order the vinyl, download, whatever… Just get on board while you can.
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Tendril Tales; Honeyblood – Fat Cat Records; Slow Hollows – Danger Collective Records; Common – Def Jam; American Wrestlers – Fat Possum Records; and Affordable Hybrid – Flannel Gurl Records