Busy, busy! I did not expect February to go like it has (so far), as all of my free time has been taken up with the travel hockey season winding down and my daughter’s high school hockey team going all the way to the state championship finals! Then Chris has been traveling out west for his Itinerant Printer project, including a trip to PIXAR. So cool!

Music never stops though, so I’ll try to catch you all up on my favorite releases from the last two weeks. I am also hoping we’ll be able to get back into the interview routine soon too. Just not enough time in the day!

With that said my favorite release from the last two weeks has to be Where we’ve been, Where do we go from here by Friko. (Listen) It was honestly a surprise (I expected the IDLES record to be a shoe-in), but when you mix the sounds of Arcade Fire, Big Thief, and Bright Eyes (and other Saddle Creek bands) into an amalgamation of early 2000’s indie rock and chamber pop you get my attention. And this album certainly warrants all of it.

Lyrically, the common theme seems to be growing up/older and trying to figure out where to go next – the constant crossroads you feel when the wonder and possibility of youth mixes with the responsibility of adulthood.

Like the chorus on “Crimson to Chrome”:

We’re either too old, too bold or stupid to move I guess we’re
Caught on the wrong side of the shoe again

And the first verse of “Crashing Through”:

Time ticks into place
And lets you out in your old room
Mind begins to race
I haven’t done what I came to do

And dealing with the frustrations (and comfort) of being in the same place on “Where We’ve Been”:

Twenty years spent above this place
You can smell the iron from the room
And the train was running through the window
Carrying a pillow
So I could lay my head down onto you

Song highlights: “Crimson to Chrome”, “Where We’ve Been”, “Crashing Through”, “Chemical”, and “Get Numb to It!”. That’s 5 of 9 songs, so you might as well listen to the whole thing!

Friko “Crashing Through”
Friko “Crimson to Chrome”

Honorable Mentions

From February 9th:

Harm’s Way by Ducks Ltd. (Listen)
Jangle pop crossed with a little post-punk. Throw The Cure, The Smiths, The Vaselines, The Verlaines, and The Go-Betweens in a tumbler. Basically, the band should be required to add a “The” in front and be called The Ducks Ltd. Song highlights include “Hollowed Out”, “Cathedral City”, “Train Full of Gasoline”, and “A Girl Running”. Super good all the way through.

What a Fucking Nightmare by The Chisel (Listen)
Street punk, a little early 80s hardcore, incendiary lyrics? Yes please. Song highlights include “No Gimmicks”, “Cry Your Eyes Out”, “Bloodsucker”, “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”, “Cuts Like a Knife”.

From February 16th:

TANGK by IDLES (Listen)
The highs are SO high. The lows are just sort of mid. Not the start-to-finish effort of previous albums like Joy as an Act of Resistance, Brutalism, and even to some extent Crawler…but it’s still an album I enjoy and will be returning to regularly. Not to mention they are near the top of my bucket list to see live. Song highlights: “Gift Horse”, “Grace”, “POP POP POP”, and “Dancer”.

LAFANDAR by Heems (Listen)
Heems is one third of Das Racist, the late aughts alternative rap group that took the world by storm with their humor, eclectic references, and just unusual style. You probably are familiar with them through the song “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” which still gets referenced today in other songs and commercials.

Both Heems and Kool A.D. have continued on after their breakup, with Kool A.D. seemingly releasing an album a month for the last few years. (I did seem him at Kung Fu Necktie in Philly probably 8 years ago and it was great.) Heems has been quite a bit more selective, with a couple mixtapes, a project with Riz Ahmed (Swet Shop Boys), and his 2015 solo debut, Eat Pray Thug. Fast forward 9 years to this release and he hasn’t lost a beat. Still everything you love about Heems and more. Song highlights include “Sri Lanka”, “Baba Ganoush”, “I’m Pretty Cool”, “Obi Toppin (Darling)”, and “Porches”.

Me, I just rap man, I’m like Hugh Jackman
I’m a huge jacked man, damn that shit slap man
Droogy give me dap man, this verse is a wrap man
No cap, Queens back on the map man.

Heems verse on “Sri Lanka”
Record giveaway to newsletter subscribers this February

I am a patient boy.

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