shark sandy

We Review New Albums by Slowdive, Blondie & more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

May 5, 2017 – Vol. 37

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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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At the Drive-InIn-ter-a-li-a

Post-hardcore heroes, At the Drive-In, have certainly been around over the past 17 years in side projects such as the Mars Volta, but they haven’t released an album as ATD since 2000’s seminal Relationship of Command. They haven’t missed a beat, as the soaring dissonance, the yelping vocals, and the general slash and burn is still front and center in 2017. ATD has always been challenging. They weren’t easy listening in the late 90s, and they still aren’t this year. See them on tour this year, because who knows what we all will be doing in 2032?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Governed By Contagions”

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SlowdiveSlowdive

Please join me in welcoming Slowdive back to our musical consciousness. Shoegaze is a musical format that agrees with me, so I am always okay with more of it, and they have been missed over the last 22 years (last album was 1995’s Pygmalion). Whether loud, soft, fast, or slow, Slowdive knows how to control their brand of rock and roll chaos by shaping it into an aural tourniquet. The vocals are just another part of the din in a mix that often sounds and feels like slowly drowning within sight of the shore.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Everyone Knows”

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BlondiePollinator

This is a cheat.   I didn’t realize that Blondie has had a couple of albums since 1999’s No Exit (with the instant classic “Maria”), and that definitely says more about me than about the band. Not sure Pollinator is a “comeback album,” then, but really, it doesn’t matter in the long run as long as they keep writing songs like “Long Time.” Holy shit does this new material sound good! The band definitely “pollinated” a lot of music back in the 70s, but in 2017 they are still the best in the business of delivering guitar-heavy disco punk.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Long Time”

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Suicide CommandosTime Bomb

OK, this one really is a comeback, and The Suicide Commandos win the “time between albums” competition hands down. The Commandos released their debut studio album in 1977 and now Time Bomb in 2017 (that’s 40 years apart). This Minneapolis band was playing punk before the Ramones existed, taking nothing away from the boys from Queens, but it’s important to know where these cats are coming from and where they’ve been. Time Bomb is a blast from start to finish, and is a big enough album that it even resurrected a long-dead Minneapolis record label, Twin/Tone Records. Crank some complicated fun, ya old punkers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “When I Do it, It’s OK”

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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 –  At the Drive-In – Rise Records; Slowdive – Dead Oceans; Blondie – BMG Rights Management; and The Suicide Commandos – Twin/Tone Records.