Play It By Ear: March Madness

Okay, March has been better than the previous two months.  Besides The Menzingers releasing On the Impossible Past—an early frontrunner for album of the year—this month has produced multiple soon to be classics. So instead of tackling one or two albums, were going to tear the roof of this mutha, and see what’s good, what’s bad, and what makes me want to start drinking again.  Keep in mind, I am writing these reviews during the second half collapse of Ohio State after being up thirteen at the half…WTF? So, hopefully your brackets are better than mine…

Lucero-Women and Work
First album I got to listen to this month was the new Lucero album entitled Women and Work. The title fits the album. Lucero are five hard-working-hard-drinking fellas from Memphis.  They have kept the horn section like the previous album and pounded out another one for us to put in before we crack the first Grain Belt Premium on Friday night. These guys are great live—think of the Replacements slower songs, sang by a guy that sounds like he has smoked three packs a days for years. Great album, and great way to start the month, by the best alt country band around.

Bruce Springsteen-Wrecking Ball
Second album was Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball. I’m a huge Boss fan.  The River is my favorite album ever, so I’m biased when it comes to Bruce, but I’ll at least admit the last two records were garbage.  But the Boss is back!  And he’s pissed at everyone on Capitol Hill and Wall Street too.  Wrecking Ball is his most eclectic effort to date.  If you haven’t seen him and Jimmy Fallon’s skit when Jimmy is Neil Young, and he and Bruce team up for a spoof on one of those awful LMFAO songs, you’ve missed out.

Sharks-No Gods
I save the best for last.  By way of Rise Records, the English band Sharks dropped their first proper full-length album No Gods last week. These guys bring me back to high school when punk stood for something, when I was entrenched in the Gillman Scene. The Sharks have picked up were The Clash left off. I’m not saying they are the next Clash, but they have that same relentless DIY work ethic.  Every time I go on Facebook they are promoting shows, and T-shirts, and stuff.  The lead singer/guitarist James Mattock seems like a great guy—at least from interviews I’ve seen—and they have taken the long path; having been a band for five years, but only putting out a few EPs overseas. Who knows, I could be paying for their grandmothers nursing home bills, but I don’t care because No Gods is the best album I’ve heard all year! The first single “Arcane Effigies” is breaking out all over the Internet, and they have just finished up their second tour in the past two years, with a little band you may have heard of called Social Distortion. These guys remind me a lot of early Green Day and the Buzzcocks—the album has rich vocal harmonies. Of the three albums I talked about here today, No Gods is a must have.  I should note; Rise Records, known mostly for hardcore and screamo, or whatever kids are calling it these days, decided to branch out with this release.  They are also putting out the new Bouncing Souls album Comet in June, and one of my most anticipated, Hot Water Music Exister in May.  

Okay WTH? Ohio State is like the T-Wolves, blink and now their up by ten. Hope everyone has a great weekend.  (We did. -Ed.)  Go Big Blue!  I got you winning all of my brackets. (Bummer. -Ed.) Next month: Joyce Manor review.  Also, crossing my fingers that I will get a phone interview with Kasey Anderson—an alt/country artist from Portland—to talk about his shows at SXSW. Speaking of SXSW music festival go to this link and check out Hot Water Music’s set from The Rolling Stone Rock Room showcase.  They debuted a new song called “Drag My Body” about twelve minutes in, and its bone chilling.  Chuck Ragan—solo, or with the band—is one of the best songwriters of this generation.

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  1. Lucero blows. Mad respect for the boss. Sharks sounds interesting except the Clash were anything but DIY. Appreciate hearing about tunes I would not normally check out though.

  2. Ya you really "tore the roof off" with your totally safe not rock and roll bands. Szzzzzz...........................................................................

  3. Blew right by the Lucero tour bus parked outside of Neumos in Seattle last Sunday. I recall asking another friend of the family, "who the hell is Lucero?" Based on the size of the bus, we agreed, "must be somebody." I have heard the name more than the music. Time to check them out I suppose? We were speed walikng to a bar that was showing Gogher vs NDSU hockey. I kept one eye on the basketball.

  4. fresh man comp, feal fre 2 eddit ^

    1. I can't "eddit" becuase I can't log into your comment to change it, which is what editing is. Kudos on the effective trolling though. You've been trying for months and you finally got me. Now that I have acknowledged it, you can stop.

    2. You would think someone that calls herself Freshman Comp would at the very least know how to spell "because."

  5. I was sitting in a downtown mpls during the gophers hockey game and all these fat faggots were screaming everytime they scored. I'm all "Shut the fuck up you obese fucking butt fuckers. I'm trying to watch the Florida/Louiville basketball game over here." Some guy was trying to be tough like "What, you don't like hockey? What are you some kind of pussy?" I said "No, it's fucking boring and it's a game of fags." His jaw dropped and then his buddies all started screaming at me that I was queer and that they were going to kick my ass and shit. I stood up, tossed my empty mug over my shoulder ala Trainspotting and said, "Well boys, this is one queer that's going to kick all your asses" and turned arond and walked out. None of them followed me so I stood outside banging on the windows egging them on for a good ten minutes and none of them fat dick suckers would come out and take the beating I as going to give them. True story. Hockey is a pussy sport. That's that.

  6. LARS THE HEATHEN RETURNS!!!!! Time to write something for HDD again Lars. It's getting to tame around here if you didn't notice by this very column haha.

  7. Variety is the key. I'll defend the shit out FotF and Play It By Ear and any column, photos, art, whatevs on HDD. If you don't like what you see on this website...exceuse me, I mean blog, then send something in.

    And a little something for all you Lars fans out there: LTH will be a guest on an upcoming episode of HotDogDayz radio...our brand new podcast coming your way this weekend. "True story." And "that's that."

  8. NDSU and hockey the most nauseating combination of words ever.