shark sandwich 63 feature

New Album Reviews – First Aid Kit, The Xcerts and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

January 19, 2018 – Vol. 63

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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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First Aid Kit – Ruins

The Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara, who make up First Aid Kit are telling folksy tales on Ruins. Their rich, pastoral harmonies deliver the words while the music courses with quiet intent and insistence. Fans of Brandi Carlile and the Cranberries (RIP Delores) should take note. They are traveling the same mountain pass, or seaside fjord, as the case may be. Grab your backpack, and clear your calendar.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Ruins”

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The XCERTS – Hold on to Your Heart

Wowsers, the XCERTS did their homework, and majored in anthems, hope, Eddie Money, Springsteen, and crystalline 80s teen dramedies. The sound is infectious, and once it is inside you are Judd Nelson crossing the football field at the end of Breakfast Club. That reference isn’t just me. It is right in their Spotify profile, and it fits like a glove. Listen to Hold on to Your Heart because everything is gonna be all right, I swear.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Hold on to Your Heart”

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tUnE-yArDs – I can Feel You Creep into my Private Life

Quirky, artistic, propulsive pop with a bullet that goes straight to the part of your brain responsible for dancing, tUnE-yArDs will make you move whether you want to or not. Hiding in the racket and global beats, though, there are unexpected touchstones like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bjork, and your high school varsity cheerleaders. This group is a trip, and it is definitely worth it to join the carnival. The tracks never overstay their welcome, all being in the three to four minute range. As a result, everything stays fresh, inventive, and engaging.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

bEsT sOnG – “Heart Attack”

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Glen Hansard – Between Two Shores

A busker at heart, it is always fun when Glen Hansard piles on the smooth horns, organs, and singer/songwriter studio tools of the trade. Hansard is disarmingly soulful, and the songs will fit certain moves nearly perfectly. Do you need an album to put on as you make a late Sunday breakfast? Between Two Shores is it, and that is not a criticism. It’s not going to transport you, but it will get you through the hangover.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Wheels on Fire”

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They Might Be Giants – I Like Fun

So do we, TMBG, so do we… Who doesn’t like fun? The Johns of TMBG have been kicking it weird school for longer than you have been alive, and given the duo’s knack for having killer, earworm-quality melodies buried under sixteen tons of arcane references and quirk, we are inclined to get giddy as ever loving hell whenever they have a new album. This one has a surprising amount of grit, and a total lack of four second songs. Man, this is a rock and roll album, meant to be played loud with ready access to Wikipedia in case you need to look something up.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “When the Lights Come On”

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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 – First Aid Kit – Columbia Records; Glen Hansard – ANTI/Epitaph; They Might Be Giants – Idlewild Recordings; The Xcerts – Raygun Records; Tune Yards – 4AD.