Like many of you, my wife and I are both working from home. 42 days and counting… As hours, days and weeks pass during my isolation during this pandemic, I’ve been provided some wonderful music. I’ve finally gotten around to writing about them. Hope you find something to enjoy.
Nervousmen, “Other Favourites”
This trio have been playing together around London ON for years and it shows. Their abrasive songs are tight like an elastic wrapped around your finger enough times to cut off the circulation. The music pulsates, stops and starts on a heartbeat. “Town,” the opening track to this 4 song EP is a perfect example of Nervousmen’s brand of thunderous punk. “Oliver Sipple’s Ghost” cranks up the aggression and is perhaps vocalist Steve Bennett’s strongest in the bunch. He shouts with enough intensity to rattle any set of eardrums. Later, Bennett’s guitar’s ringing and feedback in “Aversion” gives bassist Nick Beard some room to showcase his guttural bass playing, while drummer Sean Murphy keeps the tempo fast and heavy like an asteroid field hitting the Millennium Falcon (really Steve, a Star Wars metaphor? Whatever. Leave me alone). “Myrna” is the most melodic of the four, yet still packs enough of a punch to knock you on the floor. I’ve seen them play live many times and these tunes capture the swagger and intensity of these guys.
Four great punk tracks which are over before you know it. For fans of Jesus Lizard, Shellac
My Flying Machine, “Running Out of Things to Lose”
“Running Out Of Things To Lose” is Hamilton, ON’s, Brandon Gerenal’s second album under the My Flying Machine moniker. The one-time London, ON, native recorded, co-produced and wrote all ten songs in the release. He, along with Russ Carriere, cleaned and polished all instrument and vocal performances to a shine. The unblemished sound reminds me of some of Crowded House’s albums. Even a curse word can’t crack the dreamy, saccharine coating of “From The Hood of Your Car,” a song that is immediately relatable and memorable. Lyrically, this is a break-up album, yet rarely hits the solitary, isolated feeling you regularly associate with one. One usually keeps a heartbreak song cycle on the shelf until the time is right for commiseration, but here, Brandon and company keep the mood bright and hopeful. Even during one exception to the former rule (my second favorite tune), “Lover In The Salt,” the soulful and tender verses are contrasted by a chorus fleshed out with catchy harmonies. He has turned his turmoil and personal strife into digestible tunes. A listener can choose to ignore the sentimental lyrics or dive headfirst, eyes closed, heart on sleeve into them. A siren song for the broken hearted. Then, there’s “Without A Paddle,” a beautiful, tender, restrained ballad; the final track and, my personal favorite. It’s the kind of album closer people can try too hard to do. A summation of what you’ve heard, but with enough original sound and personality to keep you wanting more. It’s the one song where I wonder, could they have not made it longer? Oh well, that’s what repeat is for.
For fans of early Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell, Josh Ritter
MONONEGATIVES, “Sure Shock”
Though originally released back in October 2019, the vinyl edition of London, ON’s, MONONEGATIVES “Sure Shock” EP is just now available. Five tracks of fuzzy electro-punk to get your toes tapping. If you dig distorted guitars, distorted vocals, dipsy-doodle synths and thumping drums, you’ll love these fellas. At a mere 1:24, “Garbage Blood’s” lead vocals are a little buried behind the instruments in similar fashion to the sound of The Ramones, but it kind of works, giving the feeling you’re at a live show.
All in all, not a bad song in the bunch. Well done! For fans of The Fall, The Ramones, Big Black
Looking ahead, there’s a ton of other upcoming albums I’m excited about: the new release from The Dears, another new album (or 2, or 6) from Daniel Romano and his many side projects, and Rufus Wainwright’s new record, which has been pushed back until the summer. Keep safe. Keep listening. Xo.