This week was a little light in terms of albums that immediately caught my attention, but Liquid Mike’s Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot (Listen) definitely won me over as the favorite. The album hits you hard with power pop earworms – 13 of them in just 26 minutes. It’s fast, catchy as hell and everything you love about bands like Sugar, old Weezer, Piebald, the Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., and Guided by Voices.
Liquid Mike is from Marquette, Michigan and this is their fifth release – with the last being a self-titled album released about this time last year. (Spoiler: it’s good too.) I wanted to include that album in my final 2023 list, but it felt almost too short – 11 songs in 18 minutes – to be included in an end of year list. I won’t be making that mistake again, as I think this one has the strength to be a year-end finalist.
So, with that said you have a mission for this weekend: put this album on and blast it LOUD while you are just driving around or doing chores or something you hate. It’s guaranteed to give you a good time.
Two solo albums by my favorite “J” musicians…
What Do We Do Now by J Mascis (Listen)
My love for Dinosaur Jr. is pretty strong, so this was going to be included regardless if it was any good… but it turns out, it’s a pretty solid solo album. Definitely mellower than a Dino Jr album (complete with piano and lap steel), but there are regular loud flourishes and solos that remind you just why Dinosaur Jr. is so damn good. Favorite tracks: “Hangin Out”, “Can’t Believe We’re Here”, “Old Friends”.
Basilisk by J Robbins (Listen)
And then there is Jawbox frontman (and Burning Airlines, Channels, Office of Future Plans…and highly regarded indie producer) J Robbins with his second solo album. If you like any of his bands, you’ll dig this for sure. Favorite tracks: “Last War”, “Gasoline Rainbows”, “Deception Island”.
Also, I saw so many good reviews of The Last Dinner Party album (Listen) and I gave it a full listen, but I just don’t think I can do it. If you are into theatrical pop music – think the musical SIX crossed with David Bowie and maybe some Florence + the Machine – you may dig it, but it was just a bit too heavy on the musical side of things (and I like musicals way more today than I ever have in my life! Thanks kids!) for me to spend more time on it…for now. I’m interested to see what my theatre loving kids think of it!
Anything else we miss this week? Let us know in the comments.