Upset = Potty Mouth + All Dogs / Joyride!
It’s always been great for me to find all-women rock bands who play music like they don’t give a fuck about you or what you think of them. Upset’s pop-like vocals from Ali Koehler (Vivian Girls, Best Coast) shine as she strides through every song, as if telling you a story on a walk through the city with her own soundtrack. But the secret to the group comes in the trio behind her—the mix of Rachel Gagliardi (Slutever), Lauren Freeman (Benny The Jet Rodriguez) and Patty Schemel (Hole) form a fantastic quick-paced dirty rock trio that put a lot of high-profile bands making the same music to shame. ’76 is short and sweet—there isn’t a lot of glam, there’s not much for solos, and there’s certainly no big-band feel—but that’s what makes it so fucking awesome. This is a group that could play your house show, drink your beer, make you fall for them and then knock you out on the porch before leaving town—and this album captures that feeling perfectly. –Gavin Sheehan
Phantogram = Purity Ring + Cults – ½ STRFKR
Voices is one of those strange albums that tricks listeners into thinking it’s nothing special at first glance. Obviously, that wasn’t the intention the New York duo had in mind for their sophomore album, but the fact is you have to give this one a chance beyond the first pass. There are some amazing tracks like “Howling At The Moon” and “Bill Murray” that sorely get overshadowed by the major radio hits like “Fall In Love” and “Black Out Days,” which both sit comfortably at the front of the album. The band clearly headed into a less-pop direction with the rest of their music and tried something new, rather than rehearsing what worked last time, which should clearly be commended. But average listeners are going to get their favorites up front and ignore the rest, and that’s a shame for an indie favorite trying to go in some new directions. –Gavin Sheehan
Faux Real II
Faux Real II = Your mom’s VHS collection + Flight Of The Conchords – tape tracking
If ’90s television and movies were any kind of influence on you as a child or teenager, then most likely you’ve had a few “Faux Songs” added to your mental musical library. What are “Faux Songs?” They’re fake music tracks put into whatever you’re watching to get a laugh or add character to the world you’re experiencing. A good example would be “Smelly Cat” from Friends—which I totally never watched. Ever. Faux Real II is the second compilation of real musicians playing as fake bands, like Chumped covering a Sex Bob-omb track, “Threshold,” or Saint Pepsi playing as The Rutles for the song “I Must Be In Love.” Or a personal favorite, Running In The Fog playing The Beets hit song “Killer Tofu” from the Nickelodeon series Doug. Like any compilation of this type, you’re getting that band’s style through the song, so some of these you’ll absolutely fall in love with, while others seem to miss the mark. But as a whole the album kicks a lot of ass and deserves your teenager attention. –Gavin Sheehan