Release Date Buffet: November 2018

Nov 9th

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers – Bought to Rot

Producer: Laura Jane Grace, Marc Hudson

Label: Bloodshot

Genre: Garage Rock, Folk Punk

The punk idea of a good time: taking the piss of everything and everyone. As demonstrated by Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers on her new solo project away from Against Me! Bought to Rot finds the punk rocker playing…punk rock. Yeah, There is no real divergence from the mean on this record, it’s all anthemic, it’s all easy-listening punk and perhaps the most surprising thing is that Grace has counted Tom Petty among the bigger influences for this long-player. Hold the presses, Tom Petty? Well, I’ll top you one better, because Bought to Rot doesn’t sound much like Tom Petty mixed up in an underground club on the wrong side of town. It sounds like a Flogging Molly Record with all of the folk chantry, but none of the downright Celtic pride buffoonery and silliness. Er wha-?



Grapetooth – Grapetooth

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: Polyvinyl

Genre: Hypnagogic Pop, Alternative Dance

Two opinions for this one. First, it’s a really good record—Chris Bailoni and Clay Markel take the MGMT attitude and rub it together with some Depeche Mode, Madness and a bit of Talking Heads. All the subversive yet fun stuff and not too much of the experimental, heavy side. The resulting record makes a self-confession of being “somewhere between the doomy disco of 80’s new wave and the woozy laments of artists like Arthur Russell and Jeff Cowell.” True, there’s some down moments, but the long-player doesn’t dwell long on them. It would much rather take the piss with you. Hence my second opinion: This is what happens when the Beastie Boys try to sing New Wave.


/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

Nov 16th

Anderson .Paak – Oxnard

Producer: Anderson .Paak and Dr. Dre (executive)

Label: Aftermath, 22 Tone

Genre: Neo-Soul, West Coast Hip Hop, Funk

.Paak’s gone G-Funk, yet somehow it sounds like so much more. Peg it on executive and professional rapper daddy Dr. Dre—it would be impossible for his influence not to filter into Oxnard. The man who helped put West Coast gangsta rap now helps the man who has reinvigorated the West Coast funk-rap-soul megafusion genre. The result is a finale of the beach series that throws the entire kitchen sink of artist features. The result: an album that sounds like the musical equivalent to Dark Knight Rises or season eight of Friends, good, choc full of awesome, but weirdly all over the place and too familiar. Sure, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman kicks ass, but we know it’s Anne Hathaway, not whoever the hell Catwoman’s alter ego is supposed to be. Similarly, we know that it’s Kendrick Lamar spitting fire on “Tints,” we know that’s Snoop Dogg licking his lips on “Anywhere,” we know that’s Q-Tip waxing philosophical on “Cheers.” We know. So the best part of this record is never when the Batman fights alongside Joseph Gordon Levitt, it’s when .Paak trains, hones and flexes what he does best again: cutting and jibing and ribbing the American Paradox all by himself on “6 Summers” and “Saviers Road.”


The Good, the Bad & the Queen – Merrie Land

Producer: Self-Produced with Tony Visconti

Label: Studio 13

Genre: Art Rock, Alternative Rock

Playing through most of its runtime like the soundtrack to a Hammer Films production, if not a George Romero, Roger Corman, Christopher Lee or Vincent Price project, Merrie Land is B-film fodder in spite of a star-studded cast. Mad scientist Damon Albarn, evidently on fumes since his half-baked revival of Gorillaz has resurrected his alternative rock supergroup, The Good, the Bad & the Queen. Calling up his equally mad bandmates, Paul Simonon (The Clash), Simon Tong (Blur) and Tony Allen (Africa ’70) for a second run. “The English Job,” as it were: saying goodbye to the European Union. And while, they sum up the societal malaise of a country caught in limbo, there is no hint of horror, just weariness. The record is all calm and no storm. Even worse, it sounds like Albarn and no one else playing. Like sure, they all probably contributed ideas, all probably gave input, all probably made good banter; but is anyone really kidding themselves that Albarn isn’t the scriptwriter, director and producer of this record’s thrust? Tony Visconti’s name is just there to make sure we all don’t catch wind of the hoodwink. The heist, however, has no stakes, no bite and almost no point. And a half-assed Damon Albarn record would be a tragedy on the scale of Brexit, if I hadn’t been so desensitized to them by Humanz and The Now Now.


Ryley Walker – The Lillywhite Sessions

Producer: Self-Produced

Label: Dead Oceans

Genre: Psychedelic Folk, Jazz-Rock

There is one and only one thing about this record I find bloody amazing: I appreciate the Dave Matthew Band’s influence more. Whether it’s because the trio of Ryley Walker, Andrew Scott Young and Ryan Jewell are the real deal. I can’t speak to Dave Matthews, but I can speak to what I hear: sprawling folk and jazz rock fusion galore. Doesn’t matter if ambiguous yet firm sound was on the original sessions material or added for new flavor—they take it and make it sound fresh. And speaking as someone who loves jazz, the extended interludes, bridges and outros—all instrumental—bring a calming smile to face. It can start weird, with an oboe, but eventually it’s all Jack Johnson without the campiness; all Dave Matthews without the baggage. Put it down to Walker’s ability to evoke both Dave Matthews’ and Five For Fighting’s beautiful falsettos; put it down to Young’s bass lurking in with menace or drenching with tone; put it down to Ryan Jewells solid skill to move between jazz and rock drumming styles; put it down to the three sounding like a cohesive unit almost immediately. In fact forget everything else I just said and remember this: if Walker, Young and Jewell don’t end up doing more together it would be an absolute crime against music.


/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

Nov 30th

The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Producer: George Daniel, Matt Healy

Label: Dirty Hit, Polydor

Genre: Art Rock, Alternative, Electropop

Inheritors of the bobbysox, rejoice! The 1975 are back to prove I Love It When You Sleep was not a fluke. Mercifully, they decided to keep the record name a mere six words long. But that didn’t stop them from another hour-long effort. Thankfully, this one doesn’t lull as hard as its predecessor, but it does take longer to start-up. The fat in the middle is cut out and replaced with a rock solid core. Forget about “Give Yourself a Try” and “TooTimeTooTimeTooTime” that’s all the lace and frills—the “She’s American” and “Love Me” of the record—the real craftsmanship in this record begins with “Love It If We Made It” and continues on to “The Man Who Married a Robot/Love Theme.” The latter contains the album conceit in a singular cut, but its “Be My Mistake” which really continues the excruciating arc and thread of relationships fated to fail from I Love It When You Sleep. Some publications have compared this record to a milennial OK Computer, others point to John Coltrane’s style before the spiritual breakthrough. As a fan of the record, I just chuckle at /r/Indieheads next top roaster /u/thesmash: “listens to 22 A Million once – The 1975.” Ah fuck, turn me over, fam, I’m done on this side.


No /u/giraffeking this week 😦

Looking for the lists?

HipHopDX has an incredible interactive month-by-month releases widget here

AllMusic also does its fair share of listing, providing a good sieve for good records here

And Consequence of Sound will prep you for next week with a summary list here

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About BenJamsToo

A young dude with an old soul from Portland, OR but currently teaching and writing in rural France. A lover of rock n roll since his mother first spun The Police’s “Roxanne,” he’s also dabbler in soul, funk, jazz, blues, electronic and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s easier to list what he doesn’t like; most gangster rap, country-western and modern metal disagrees with his stomach. Spends all day wondering what Ruban Nielson eats for breakfast, why Danger Mouse hasn't made a through and through GOOD record since St. Elsewhere, if Kamasi Washington is the Kanye West of jazz and just what the hell people hear in mumble rap. Between those things he writes for Atwood and his own blog, Come here for the nice clean thoughts; go there for the ramblings of an insane man.