The thing about Young Fathers is they have the entire deck stacked against them: They’re Scottish, and it’s a proven, scientific fact that Scottish people cannae feckin’ rap. Yet this is pretty unfuckwithable. It has all of the cool elements of British...





RCA/Polo Grounds
Everyone can rest easy now that the kid fucking did it: He escaped the abscesses of Tumblr, jumped down from the ethereal heights of the pseudogenre of “could rap,” and managed to come out with an album that nearly justifies the 18 gazillion bucks RCA ponied up for him. The clincher is that it just sounds big. It’s arguably true that Rocky is sometimes overshadowed by the guest appearances, but have you ever tried to outrap Gunplay? Shit ain’t gonna happen. Bonus points go to Skrillex, for producing what might be the beat of the year in “Wild for the Night” (never thought I’d have to type that, and it’s making me sick, but it’s true), as well as A$AP Yams, aka the coolest dude in the history of the universe.

Tape One
The thing about Young Fathers is they have the entire deck stacked against them: They’re Scottish, and it’s a proven, scientific fact that Scottish people cannae feckin’ rap. Plus they’re on Anticon, which is pretty much the Def Jam of shitty, overthought rap music. Yet this is pretty unfuckwithable. It has all of the cool elements of British grime, but it’s also dubbed-out atop a traditional African percussive aesthetic. That’s music journalismese for “LISTEN TO THIS, IT SOUNDS LIKE NOTHING ELSE OUT THERE, IT IS SO AMAZING. TURNS OUT SCOTTISH PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY RAP GOOD EVEN THOUGH THEY LIKE HAGGIS AND MEL GIBSON IS THE PEAK OF THEIR MODERN CULTURAL RELEVANCE.”

The One Inch Punch
Dead People Ink
If you’re a white rapper, you’d better have a “thing.” Eminem’s is that he is a terrible, fucked-up person. Bubba Sparxxx’s is that he is a redneck. El-P is pretty concerned about aliens descending from space and taking us over. I guess this MiC RipZ’s shtick is that he totally sucks ass? Doesn’t seem like a good move to me, but what do I know?

Lesser Evil
As of late, Arbutus Records has been behind a lot of really incredible artists in Montreal. This album is the inevitable bummer. It’s the musical equivalent of seeing a box with air holes under the Christmas tree and opening it to find nothing but a handful of toilet paper crumblies that Grimes brushed out of the folds of her vagina lips and surrounding muff.

Last night I played this album against a backdrop of old-school lesbian porno that I’m pretty sure was a parody of The Craft. The Soft Hills’ gentle creepiness perfectly complemented and dampened the depravity of what was happening on my computer screen and… I jizzed my face off. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sorceress-themed porn is hot, and when you throw the Soft Hills into the mix, the result is the sound of a vagina-scented sign of the horns.

What would you do if your dad named his shittiest song after his own dad band? What would you do if your broke-ass dad used your dowry to pay John Diliberto to play that shitty song on some fucking New Age NPR tip? Seriously. How would you feel? What would you do if you went to get your Huffy out of the garage but you couldn’t because your dad was locked inside there partaking in “ambient feelings time” (like, he screamed that through the door) with your friends’ dads? What if your yoga mom was like, “Where the fuck is my yoga mat?” and you had to be the one to tell her that dad’s stupid dad band rolled it out under the drum set to keep it stable? What if your music dad left your yoga mom for some bitch who looked like a fat Enya? I would kill that bitch and start fucking my teacher. And if you really think about it, I think we can all agree that I’d be in a better place than I was before.

It’s curious that the people who formed this band decided to call it Unknown Mortal Orchestra, because it was obviously a handicap from the get-go. Sure, it’s not as bad as Timbuk3 or Radiohead, but if you’re going to move forward into professional music with a name like that you better be counteracting it with your tunes. It also doesn’t sound like the name you would ascribe to the musical equivalent of Prozac, which is refreshing. Pop a few of these tasty-riff-filled, psych-noodling jams, have a beer or two, and relax, man. Let the chill vibes pour in and spill out all over your lawn while your dad yells in your face that “you don’t get it and never will.” Realize that happiness is only a vessel, sailing aimlessly atop an ocean of uncertain times. Remember Dr. Kemp’s teachings and her book that changed your life: The Healing Power of Crystals. Congratulations, you’re a hippie living in a commune in Laurel Canyon.

Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet
Almost Ready
This isn’t the gay, chubby comedy rapper; this is an indie-rock thing that hasn’t put out a new record in 23 years. I don’t like it, but also I don’t like REM, Weezer, or any of the bands in the realm of this vocal style. It’s so fucking whiny and unpleasant to me. It’s like… just go kill yourself already. Oh, wait, you can’t because you’re a pussy? Fuck you. The only band that sings like this that I can stomach is Polaris, which, if you don’t remember, is the band from Pete & Pete. Everyone else can get choked out by a frat boy who is secretly gay and hates himself.

The Messenger
Warner Music
I often get shit from friends and coworkers when I profess my undying love for the Smiths while simultaneously explaining my general indifference toward Morrissey’s solo stuff. Sorry, Moz, but when you take Johnny out of the equation, you’re just a silky shirt with only one button fastened, blowing in the desert breeze, who refuses to acknowledge anyone in the front row of your concerts aside from 12-year-old vegans wearing homemade antimeat shirts. Ergo, this album is great because Johnny Marr is great and he knows how to make a guitar sound like how I like to be fucked.

Black Sun
If these Aussies ever ate me out they’d probably leave behind a glob of Bubblicious that would be stuck to my pubes for as long as their single “Dark Again” sticks to your brain. A-OK with me so long as they pay for my waxing bill and continue to make pop music that’s fun to fuck around to. Also, remember to pay some attention to the butthole, dudes.

Go Find Your Own
Per Se
Go Find Your Own is the kind of high-energy, drum-heavy, short-and-to-the-point-with-very-little-fuckery album that makes you crave snacks, backseat make-out parties, and kicking holes in walls for pleasure. The drummer has a chipped tooth, and that’s cool too. Something about chipped teeth on lady drummers reminds me of how thrift store T-shirts smell. Neither thing seems that great right off the bat, but they are.

“Flying” 7-inch
This is pretty much the best thing Hozac’s ever released. But first, some history: One of the best obscure punk bands of all time is the Testors, and before Sonny Vincent formed that band he was in Fury and they recorded these two songs. It happened in New York in 1972, which means they were on some great heavy psych kick that was running along a continuum of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, and Jimi Hendrix. Also there is a giant bat on the cover, which is good. Who can deny that? I wish I saw more bats and less skulls in rock imagery.

“Heartbreaker” 7-inch
Last Laugh
This is a repress of the classic KBD-era 7-inch. The A-side is about a woman whom the chorus claims is “a heartbreaker! She’s a love taker!” It made me wonder whether there are more songs about evil women in the world than actual evil women in the world. But the B-side, “Action,” is the one that really gets the blood flowing in my cock. Like so many good punk songs before it, “Action” starts with the sound of a bomb whizzing through the air before making impact and exploding. Its subject matter concerns nymphomania, or thereabouts. And I like sex, so I like this.

The Late Great Whatever
Burger/Volcom Entertainment
These guys play really good party garage punk and are part of the good-time rock ’n’ roll Burger Records scene. And this album is really, really good but falls just short of being great. The true greats of this genre—Jay Reatard, Nobunny, King Tuff, etc.—possess immeasurable charisma, fire, and insanity. And while I could see myself going nuts at a house party where Lovely Bad Things were playing, I wouldn’t say that they have “it.” So, it’s somewhere in between a smile and a barf, maybe something like baby spittle, but since these reviews rely on a binary rating scale I have to go with barfy. Sorry, dudes. On the bright side, two of their song titles reference Star Wars, and I really like that.

Hardly Art
Before she retired, my mother was a guard at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. One time she got wasted on After Shock and told me how she used to catch the inmates “raping the shit out of each other.” So now when I’m watching my gritty crime dramas, I sometimes wonder what songs prison rapists hear in their heads while they’re fisting away at some 19-year-old rich kid who got caught with a bunch of cocaine in Georgia. I guess it would be like Rod Stewart or the Bee Gees or Robyn, or maybe even these Grave Babies dudes. I would totally prison-rape to this record, and I mean that in the most positive of ways. I would gain 80 pounds of solid-gold fat and just jam my greasy fat fists in the guts of any cutie I saw. I’m gonna play this record for my mom. She’ll love it.

Push the Sky Away
Bad Seed Ltd.
When other musicians listen to Nick Cave they must feel like an overweight lady who trucks her fat ass to the park for her first jog since Clinton was in office because she told all of her friends at work that this is finally the year she’s going to shed her postdivorce pudge. But once at the park, lacing her spotless, never-been-worn running shoes, a group of tight-assed (in the good way) girls in their 20s blast past her on rollerblades and blow her bangs straight up off of her sweaty, bloated forehead. And it’s like: Why even try when you’re doomed to failure? Some people will just always be better than you at everything.

Known Flood
Sacrament Music
When women aren’t thinking about DIY nail art and how to get our various body holes back to that fresh-off-the-playground tightness, we’re carefully considering what kind of trouble we’d get into if we magically sprouted a dick for the day. What would I do with a glistening man-lance? I’d rent the Royal Suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Central Park, punch a hole through one of its massive park-view windows, and with blood dripping down my arm and the city stretched out below me, I would thrust my temporary twat torpedo through this makeshift glory hole and fuck the world in its fucking face. And Known Flood would be blaring through the speakers all the while like that scene in American Psycho.

“Fuzz” 7-inch
This is a stripped-down punk EP with bad-attitude-y lyrics sung by a lady who could probably kick my ass. It’s somewhere in the vicinity of Kleenex, the Slits, Crass’s Penis Envy record, Stinky Toys, and Suburban Lawns, which all sound pretty much the same but they are also all good things to listen to, so whatever.

You’re Nothing
When I was about four years old, I smacked my skull on the ground after falling face first off a rocking tiger I had been balancing on like a surfboard. The impact caused damage to my brain and a small seizure, but to this day, it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done. The only thing that would’ve made it cooler is if this record were playing in the background.

Sub Pop
There is a photo, which one may find through the most basic of internet searches, that depicts a young Henry Rollins shaking hands with a young Nick Cave. They are both looking at the camera with expressions that seem to say, “See? We’re cool. Happy now?” Taken sometime in or around 1984, this photo is like a punk version of the Reykjavik Summit: Rollins plays the role of Ronald Reagan while Cave nicely balances things out as Mikhail Gorbachev. In my mind, this Pissed Jeans record reimagines this photo through music. And even without all of this historical reinterpretation nonsense, it still rocks like a fucking hammer to the head.

The Trusted Language
Saddle Creek
Sometimes when I listen to albums like this I start wondering whether or not I’ve lost my edge. I start second-guessing: Is this cool, and I’m not? Have I lost touch? Am I a square who just doesn’t get it? But then I go the other direction and get all confident: Stop questioning yourself, Alex, you know what you’re talking about. Then I think maybe I’m just telling myself what I want to hear to make myself feel better, but whatever. The logical conclusion is that either I don’t get it because I’m lame or I don’t get it because they’re lame. I’m going with the latter because it makes me feel better. And because I’m right. (Duh.)

“Flying” 7-inch
I kissed Peach Kelli Pop on the mouth two years ago on New Year’s Eve, and for record reviewers, kissing lady musicians is basically like finding the Holy Grail filled with an ice-cream sundae. I saw Kitty Pryde play and she made a joke about how all the 30-year-old music bloggers gave her props because they just wanted to fuck her. And then there was the one time I had set up a date with Chippy Nonstop, but she got mixed up and accidentally went to the Grand Street in Manhattan instead of the one in Brooklyn, where I was waiting for her sad-eyed and kicking myself for not making it clear earlier. But none of that other shit matters now because Peach Kelli Pop is married to Nobunny, and she is as good as a female version of him. They both make romantic bubblegum rock that makes loser music critics develop oppressive, one-sided crushes. And try as I might have, she is a lady of class. She didn’t give me any tongue.

Clash the Truth
Captured Tracks
It’s cold outside, and everything is shades of gray or brown. Everyone is depressed and not having it, especially me. I woke up with a sore throat, followed by a text from my neighbor saying that someone stole my bike’s back tire. The upshot was that it caused me to call in sick to a job I hate and spend the morning lying around in bed with my dog. I checked in on the stats from last night’s fantasy basketball game. It’s dismal how bad I’m losing, but I cheered up when I found a pretty decent record distributor from Australia and ordered some things that I haven’t been able to snag stateside. Then my day really got rolling when I found this site called Chaturbate. It’s basically like Chatroulette except the deal is that they pay you money to masturbate on video chat, which is cool because I believe in empowering the people and not giving away the good stuff for free. Then I read a handful of articles about how Lyndon B. Johnson and the CIA killed John and Robert Kennedy. Most of this time was soundtracked by Beach Fossils, and you’ve got to give it to them—they can really set a mood. It gives a real poignancy to all that bullshit and whatever else is to come.

If your idea of taking a risk is enrolling in improv classes at the local community college, you’re quite the loser and should check this band out. Frontwoman Pepi Ginsberg (I really wish her name were Pepsi Ginsberg) and her really annoying high-pitched and glee-clubby voice wrap around your brain in a migraine-inducing cocoon of smooth, utter boringness that will drift you off to an uneventful, dreamless sleep. It’s your older sister driving her Jetta to the mall with a drumbeat. It’s the aural equivalent of a bag of cotton swabs floating in space. It’s the soundtrack to vanilla pudding. It’s fucking garbage. To be clear: I don’t like this music.

Privilege (Abridged)
Marriage/Slender Means Society
This album is a collection of EPs that Parenthetical Girls released over the past year or so that were super rare and hand-numbered in the band members’ blood. I already own all of the songs on this album in at least four different formats, but I was still excited to see them released in a nice and tidy fashion. There’s just something about the graceful, dramatic sound of these songs that makes me want to walk around with ’tude and, while I hate to admit it, maybe spit on homeless people in what I can only term “a fancy way.” I’d venture to say that Parenthetical Girls are one of my top three favorite bands at the moment. Buy it and you’ll see what the hell I’m on about.

No Elephants
Lisa Germano has a long, interesting, and textured history in the music world—from working as a studio musician for acts like Sheryl Crow and David Bowie to touring with the Indigo Girls to turning down Billy Corgan when he asked her to be a Smashing Pumpkins backup singer to later agreeing to the tour to only get shit on by him. But most important of all, she released some beautiful albums on labels like 4AD and Michael Gira’s Young God. Along the same confounding continuum, No Elephants isn’t an obscure, hard-to-penetrate album. It’s very listenable and enjoyable. She traipses around a sound near people like PJ Harvey or Marissa Nadler, while maintaining her own personality and energy. This is a warm, organic, and ethereal record. I highly suggest it. I’m crying. I’m hungry. I’m dead.

Warner Bros.
Apparently this came out in October, which means you guys are the worst-marketed good band in the entire universe right now. It’s solid punk rock, for sure, but it’s punk in its truest form, considering you just threw up a MySpace three years ago, called it a day, and then your record label guy was all, “Oh shit, yeah. The download codes are broken right now because I talked this dude into doing it for me and he never really actually did it, so I was just, like, fuck, man.” And then, weirdly, the songs are all anthemic. What do you guys think you’re doing? Tumblr yourselves or tweet about hanging out with Lena Dunham or something. This is supposed to be your CAREER.

Volume 1: Music from the HBO Original Series
Fueled by Ramen
So the story behind us getting this promo to review goes a little something like this: Not sure if you’re aware of the layout of the VICE offices, and why would you be unless you work here or peer through the window while on your way to buy expensive stained shirts next door, but the VICE music editor (me) sits right next to the entire staff of NOISEY, which is VICE’s music channel. (It’s confusing, I know.) Well, one afternoon I looked over to my left to see them all having the times of their lives listening to this Girls soundtrack, and I searched my inbox, spam folder too, to see whether I had gotten a download of it. I hadn’t! See, sometimes people don’t send us things because they’re afraid that we’ll shit on it, because usually we do, but not this! I begged the label to send me one of my own and I listened to it all day and smiled and smiled and felt love and love. See? Didn’t we all learn a lesson here? The lesson that girls just want to be loved by girls on HBO shows? Yeah, I said it.