We Never Asked For This

We Never Asked For This is our short reviews of the best releases that showed up in our inbox unsolicited this week.

An embarrassment of riches, riches of the musical variety, that’s our current situation and we are happy to share the wealth with new music from Marwood’s Fall, If By Whiskey, Polarized Eyes, Professor and the Madman, Mellowpunk, Natty Wylah, vern matz, Jeni Schapire and End of Code.


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Marwood’s Fall – “Wave”
Equal parts melodic and heavy, appropriately lyrically and sonically epic, this is the good stuff. A thoroughly modern sounding metal tune that will appeal to casual fans of the genre while still bringing the goods for the more devoted headbangers among us.
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If By Whiskey – “Cracks In The Sunlight”
And now for a hard 180 from the last song, we have “Cracks In The Sunlight” by If By Whiskey – a perfect slice of singer-songwriter 90’s alt pop along the lines of Michael Penn and Crowded House. Organic harmonies and a gentle swaying poetry to the whole thing makes it feel as fresh as the coming of spring.
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Polarized Eyes – “Real Boys”
A band of 16 and 17 year olds, Polarized Eyes bring the unashamed fire and confident passion of youth to this garage leaning punk song, and both it and we the listeners are better for it. “Real Boys” exploration of gender politics (as filtered through singer Noah Lonergan’s experience transitioning) takes the piss out on the patriarchal tropes of society and proves the old adage still rings true: the kids are alright.
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Professor and the Madman – “Séance”
A genre pigeonhole dodging rocker, giving us shades of classic punk with bursts of garage pop (among a few other sonic flavors), “Séance” would work on a few dozen different styles of playlists and would be the stand out track on all of them. This is rock and roll, pure and simple.
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Mellowpunk – “The Sun’s Exploding”
Perhaps the most accurately named band we’ve come across in a while, Mellowpunk combine the easy going melodies of lo-fi bedroom pop with vocals that jump from coloring inside the lines to a mad scribble of inspired genius. Without copping either one of their actual sounds, the vocal approach to getting exuberantly outside of the expected vocal line harkens back to a young Bjork or Bikini Kill era Kathleen Hanna, although still with one foot in the playful pop sound of the band.
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Natty Wylah – “Crossed Fingers”
Jazzy, breathy hip-hop is nothing new, but the way Natty Wylah does it is. With a flow that confidently shifts gears on a dime, it’s a melodic sing-song, a dancehall influenced callout, a spoken word confession and most impressively, often all of that at the same time. A deep swirling jazz soundscape in which Wylah’s and guest Bel Cobain’s vocals add to the heady sound, not just ride on top. This is hip-hop as a complete composition, with every part working in sync to make (as the kids say) a whole ass mood.
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vern matz – “Funny Water”
A fine entry into the growing genre of indie folk rock, or is it folky indie rock? Who even knows anymore, but “Funny Water” has the hooks and steady mid-tempo drive of indie rock with a more authentic and organic type of laid back vibe than chillwave, but not as dressed up in sonic tradition as Americana. Perhaps we’d be best served to just say it’s good, listen to it.
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Jeni Schapire – “Libby”
Just as Ron Burgandy was once trapped in a glass case of emotion, “Libby” has us trapped in a reverb chamber of atmospheric goodness. Experimental and enveloping it is a sonic womb of distant echoing vocals, drums like a heartbeat and a sea of floating synths. This is a float tank in audio form and we are down.
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End of Code – “On to You”
Tastefully restrained club / techno influenced pop with a perfectly soulful vocal, both exploiting the power in minimalism, this is what club music for grown folks sounds like. Sexy, groovy and no goddamned air horns.
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