shark sandwich 104 - album reviews

Album Reviews – Green Day – Dirty Bird – and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

February 7, 2020 – Vol. 104

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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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Green Day – Father of All…

So this Green Day album is, how do you say, polarizing. Is it selling out, cashing in, or something else altogether? Perhaps the best thing to do is just put aside all that you know about Green Day, and listen to it with fresh ears because it really does rock hard. So what if it might remind you of Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” here and there? The guitars skid all over the place, everything is delivered with a wink and a nod, and the whole thing is over before you can get too pissed about where the time went for you while Green Day is still out there doing their thing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Graffitia”

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Dirty Bird – Sounds of Life

This intriguing album by Dirty Bird is everything. The title is perfect, the sounds engaging, every track is about a minute and a half long, and it simmers like a gritty hot summer twilight in NYC. It’s a restrained, humid racket meant for the warmer, dirtier months ahead. Vocals are not essential for the emotion Sounds of Life delivers, just an eclectic personality with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazzy noodling and the unique sounds of American cities.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Sounds of Life”

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Iyla – OTHER WAYS TO VENT

Let’s face it, there are lots of ways to vent, but Iyla certainly has it down on this short, to-the-point new album. These songs aren’t complaints, but open journal entries about struggling, surviving, and doing the best you can. Whether decrying materialism (with a little help from Method Man on “Cash Rules”), or looking at the “shit side of love” on “Bad Side,” Iyla is clear eyed, and unwavering. The production is crisp, never overwhelming, but instead complimenting, her vulnerable vocals. This is the perfect song cycle to listen to after your morning shower, lying on the bed considering what costume to wear to get through yet another day.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Tattoo Tears”

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Wednesday – I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone

How you feel about Wednesday is largely going to be based on how you feel about the Cure, shoegaze, and headphones. I suspect there are no “casual” fans of this band (are there ever with good music?), and I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone demands your full attention, preferably through headphones. It is a guitar-heavy work out, but you probably aren’t going to jumping around much. Listening alone in the dark, “Coyote” might cause you to turn on all the lights to relieve some tension. Get up, and wander around the room a bit, but I hope your headphones are wireless because Wednesday is here to give you the heeby jeebies.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Fate Is…”

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Church Girls – The Haunt

The dry attack and unadorned delivery of Church GirlsThe Haunt will put you in a state of retrograde reverie. You may not have been a cool art-kid in high school, but this band will have you remembering yourself in that light, and their rock and roll will bring out the best in you, today. It will make you think of starting a band, and sticking it to the man, all the while reminding you that you need your job. The best rock and roll is realistic, and Church Girls is just that. The songs are nimble, and will make you drive faster, but this isn’t about rebellion so much as it is about finding a sitter for the kids so you can get out of the house for a little musical therapy Sunday night.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Regression”

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And because life is short, and music is magic… A bonus!

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – “Be Afraid”

Lead off track for Jason Isbell’s upcoming Reunions (May 15th), “Be Afraid” is instructive, inspirational, and probably just what the world needs. “Be afraid, very afraid, but do it anyway.” Hell yes, Mr. Isbell. Pre-order the shit out of this album.

Rating: Every Available Whistle

Key Track: Take a guess

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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 – Dirty Bird – Alston Watson; Church Girls – Anchor Eighty Four Records; Wednesday – Orindal Records; Iyla – 3T Entertainment/Astra Velum/EMPIRE; Green Day – Reprise Records; and Jason Isbell – Southeastern Records.