When your knowledge of a long-running band is limited to primarily the work they’ve put out since you were introduced to them, you risk developing unrealistic expectations. KEN Mode is an interesting case, because the majority of people in America only know the Canadian band from their post-2011 output, starting with the album Venerable, which put them on the map thanks to the involvement of tastemaker label Profound Lore and producer Kurt Ballou. As a result, some have assumed this band has more of a metal and hardcore background, and expect KEN Mode to sound like a sludgy Converge all the time. However, if you dig into the band’s past, you’ll find that above all else, the primary influence is noise rock. The shadows the Jesus Lizard, Cop Shoot Cop, and Big Black have always loomed very large over this band, and it was only a matter of time before they started to explore that influence on record a lot more deeply.
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Folk Family Revival consists of three brothers and their buddy. The group is definitely moving towards psychedelic rock rather than straight-up folk with its sophomore album, Waterwalker, out now on Rock Ridge Music. With a homemade liquid light show from a visually talented friend, the luxury of regular studio access, and no external time constraints on recording, Folk Family Revival leaps into new territory. The songs continue to grow, both intentionally and for diverse audiences ranging from post-line dance classes in a legendary Texas roadhouse to sports bars, finding ways to keep audiences engaged and the music fresh.
A 20-Year Pregnancy
Slow Dakota’s 2013 concept album Bürstner and the Baby destroyed my faith in the music world. Not in a “I’ve just listened to a Nickelback album” kind of way; no, in a slow way, over time, as I finally came to understand what the album is about.
“I can’t obsess / Over you anymore / I can’t confess / That I love you”
Let’s get the definition of “Neurasthenia” out of the way: “an ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance.” A serious case of “the sads”, then.
Klinger: Few mainstream artists this side of the Eagles took as consistent a critical beating as Billy Joel. Throughout his career, critics have taken immense delight in razzing and belittling him. When he wrote polished ballads, they accused him of not knowing how to rock. When he’d record more rock material, they teased him for being a poser. The poor bastard just couldn’t win. Of course, part of the reason critics kept picking on Billy Joel was he made it so much fun for them. Joel would actually go so far as to read his bad reviews onstage, which had be a perverse delight for the writer who got that far in his head.