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Listen Up, Nerds: The Week of February 16, 2024

Listen Up, Nerds: The Week of February 16, 2024
mop - Secrets

Two days after Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. I guess. There aren’t a ton of love songs on this week’s recs but I’ll see what I can do for next week. If you’ve got a weird favorite love song, drop it in the comments and I’ll tell you what kind of lover you are.

Housekeeping: I went on the Indieheads Podcast again this week to talk Basketball. It’s All-Star weekend in my hometown of Indianapolis and I’m bummed I’m not there after my boys in the groupchat sent a picture of the DJ Diesel (aka Shaquille O’Neal) show last night. We talk a bit about Diesel on the podcast and Jackie Horsejeans brings up the Shaq quote where he says that DJing is the only thing he’s found that can replicate the adrenaline rush he felt when he played in NBA Playoff elimination games. That’s so sick. I feel the same way when I DJ, I’m sure. You can find the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts and you can support their mission to find more weird guys like AC Green below:

Indieheads Podcast | Patreon
creating podcasts, writing, and videos about music.

Here are the new releases I’m rocking with this week:

mop - Secrets (Smoking Room)

This is my first “Favorite Album Of The Year So Far” pick. Oh wow, what a surprise, I love an Oakland-based grunge act with fuzzed-out guitars and a strong clean voice to cut through it all. mop just put their new record out on Smoking Room and it rules. Sonically, it’s what I said a couple of sentences ago. Think more Breeders but less complicated. It’s a straightforward rock record but Moira Brown’s vocals are something to behold as the airiness really carries them above the crunch of the band. It’s not novel or whatever but it’s a formula that works and it really works for me. The songs all bleed into one another and it’s an ambitious move but holy hell does it pay off. It’s such a cool thing to do for guitar music. It all feels connected but it’s not like those Green Day tracks I reviewed that felt like they were going on for too long. There’s some retro-ish drumbeats and surf rock licks here and there, there’s big drum breakdowns, a great voice, it’s all here and you’ve gotta check it out.

RIYL: Tony Molina, Pllush, Gem, the Bay but not the beach

Sentries - Snow As A Metaphor For Death (Self-released)

My friend found this record and sent it over because it “might be something I’d like.” It’s Canadian noise rock, so of course I like it! There’s something in Canada that makes its citizens naturally good at noise rock. I have to figure out what that is. Sentries is a one-person project but you’d never know. Each instrument’s parts play off each other in ways that sound like they’ve been jammed out by multiple members of a band but it’s one person, which is just so impressive to me. Elliot has a real ear for noise and the dissonant parts are really great foils for the more harmonic tones. The bass tone on this record has that perfect almost-pixelated fuzz of aughts-era Vice Records sleaze. The two electronica/post-punk-y tracks on this are respites from the fuzz but are no less aggressive than the noisier tracks. It’s reminiscent of Total Control in that regard. Cool record! Thanks to Ruben for the rec. Big shouts to Canada. If you’re Canadian and know what makes you all so good at making noise rock, please send your tips.

RIYL: Metz, SOLIDS, Greys, watching those videos of that guy Steve Wallis who goes “stealth camping” in Canada 

Needy Beast - Don Forever (Self-released)

Adam of Needy Beast submitted this record, a tribute to his late cat Don. In the submission, he said, “I'm hoping it doesn't sound anything like a dirge. Don was a chill ass pal and I want these tunes to reflect the positive vibes he brought into the world.” Adam, it absolutely does not sound like a dirge. If this is the kind of music Don could give you, then I’m stoked you had such a cool little guy in your life for so long. Don Forever is lo-fi indietronica with choruses I’ve had stuck in my head for weeks now. All proceeds from the record will be donated to LA Animal Services, so hey, why not send the animals some money and have some music to jam out to along with it? 

RIYL: Cats, paws, living más

Old Album Of The Week:

Minor Threat - Try Not To Forget (Bootleg)

Ok so not exactly an album but rather a bootleg of Minor Threat playing as a five piece. It’s very dope. What can I really say about Minor Threat that hasn’t been said a million times before? The five piece recording makes them sound so much less amateur and thin, but I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. The charm is gone. This is near the end of the band’s career and the last few tracks on the bootleg are from the final Minor Threat show. Those tracks are audibly less excited than the songs before them and you can hear it in MacKaye’s voice. It’s wild to hear the difference with less than three months between them but whatever happened there is clearly the impetus for the eventual breakup. Breaking up is a good thing to do, in my opinion. Especially if your band is a youth-oriented one like Minor Threat was. People get older, lives and opinions change, it’s healthy to let your old self go. Could you imagine how much it’d suck to see Minor Threat still kicking along today? I can because I’ve seen upwards of 200 bands who should’ve broken up 10+ years ago. The only band who can pull this off is Negative Approach and by god, they’re still kicking.