Music

American Werewolf Academy: Out of Place All the Time

You can listen to this album and pretty much spot the influence of previous bands of vintage, which is not necessarily a bad thing.


American Werewolf Academy

Out of Place All the Time

Label: Damnably
US Release Date: 2013-12-09
UK Release Date: 2013-12-16
Amazon
iTunes

Out of Place All the Time is an album of pastiche, one that recalls the work of Robert Pollard’s famous band, along the likes of pretty much any power rock band that’s come along in the past 30 or 40 years. There’s a jangly familiarity to most of the songs, and many of them clip by in a fast minute or two, with the odd track eclipsing the three minute mark. There’s nothing startling here, and some songs such as “Hard Kisses” feel a little bit on the silly side, but there’s an intangible infectiousness to much of the material that’s hard to deny. Lead singer Aaron Thedford has an uncanny resemblance to Too Much Joy’s Tim Quirk. In fact, you can listen to this album and pretty much spot the influence of previous bands of vintage, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The thing is, American Werewolf Academy just do a competent job of mining the past, and only that. There’s nothing on Out of Place All the Time that feels wholly original.

That said, there is much infectiousness that abounds. “I Was Released” could come across as a very Pollard-worthy track. The minute and forty-five second “This Thing” has a very ‘60s rock feeling to it that’s compelling. “Young. Wild. Free.” is another track that will have listeners reaching for Guided By Voices comparisons. “Miserable Living” is yet another song among many songs here that sound like it was a by-product of ‘80s alternative rock, as it has an R.E.M.-esque jangle to it. Overall, while Out of Place All the Time doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and seems a tad bit derivative, it’s fun stuff for those who can’t get enough of the bands from which this outfit gleefully strip-mines. True, the band never quite surpasses the influences that it draws upon, but that would have been a hard task from the outset to accomplish. In the end, what we get with Out of Place All the Time is just a rollicking and rocking good time. Nothing more and nothing less. That’s probably the best that we could ask for from such a band in a less than 30 minute package, and even if this isn’t the second coming of Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes, there’s still enough here to champion.

6

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image