WLFC- Top tracks and album reviews

By Bobby Beebe

WLFC New Power Current Tracks  2/21-2/28:

1. Hinds – Bamboo

2. DIIV – Out of Mind

3. Ringo Deathstarr- Stare at the Sun

4. Mass Gothic – Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me

5. Frankie Cosmos – Sand

6. The Crookes – I Wanna Waste My Time With You

7.   Gang of Youths – Magnolia

8.  St. Lucia – Dancing on Glass

9.  Night Beats – Sunday Morning

10. Pop Etc – What Am I Becoming

Thumbs Up:

Pinegrove – Cardinal

Run for Cover Records made a name for itself a few years ago by breaking a string of bands like Tigers Jaw and Modern Baseball who were instrumental in building a musical movement named by critics (perhaps unfittingly) the “Emo Revival.” While they are often written off as an emo label, Run for Cover Records has made moves to release music from artists, such as Spencer Radcliffe, LVL Up, and mewithoutyou who push the limits of what it means to be in a DIY punk band. New Jersey alt-country band Pinegrove is not exception to this recent trend. Cardinal is a record driven by jangly, twangy guitars which owe as much to indie bands like the Get Up Kids as they do to Jeff Tweedy.  This isn’t alt-country as has been done before. The heart-on-your-sleeve lyricism and raw vocal strength of lead singer Evan Steven Hall reveals the clear influence DIY punk has had on Pinegrove, but the lofty and often toe-tappable aura surrounding these songs, most often including electric and acoustic guitars, keys, drums, and a banjo, make it impossible to write Pinegrove off as just another carbon copy emo revival band. In fact, it seems clear, through their positivity, that Pinegrove is actively distinguishing themselves from some of the Debbie Downers pervading their current scene, singing on the sing-along friendly album opener “Old Friends,” “there’s nothing really bad to be upset about.”

Thumbs Down:

The Donkeys – Midnight Palms

The Donkeys’ 2014 record Ride the Black Wave was extremely self-aware. While the record clearly drew influence from staple indie bands like Pavement and Flaming Lips, it managed to still poke fun at the unbearable seriousness of indie rock. The sound wasn’t especially revolutionary, but the record carried itself with a sort of lightness which made it decent background noise at the very least. This week the Sand Diego band released their follow up to Ride the Black Wave, a five song EP entitled Midnight Palms.  The humor and subtlety that carried the band previously has been lost, revealing the Donkey’s for what they are: generic, extremely mediocre indie rock that could be made by anyone who has a heard a Velvet Underground record more than a couple times. The songs range from slow-burning, “Down the Line” to the stereotypically psychedelic “Hold on to You,” but none of them seem to hit with anything lyrically or sonically compelling. Drawing on every indie-rock cliché in the book, The Donkeys not only, disappoint, but also reveal their age, a 12-year-old indie band fresh out of good ideas.

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