By Jolie Klefeker
Radio 1190 has been bombarded with several exciting releases the past couple of weeks. Here's a look into three of the records we've recently added to our library and why we dig them.
Hop Along's "Bark Your Head Off, Dog" is the group's third studio album. This record seems like somewhat of a stepping stone for the Philly quartet. It's certainly branching out, taking on a more polished, produced sound. It lacks the subtle punk grittiness that colored 2015's "Painted Shut" and attempts to replace it with a poetic subtlety. Lead singer Frances Quinlan thrives when her incredibly vast vocal range is combined with instrumentals that require such diversity from her. While some tracks begin to set a new standard of both complexity and catchiness for indie rock-pop, others fall flat. Despite its less successful moments, when this record is good, it's great. "Look Of Love" is a dynamic roller coaster. Starting out gently fuzzy, it carries you through crescendo, eventually slamming you into a completely unexpected universe of vocal harmony where the rhythm kicks in and its raw feeling envelops you. "How Simple" brings to mind '90s alt-rock classics like Built To Spill or solo Stephen Malkmus with a wistful, meandering pace.
Boasting acts like FUZZ, The Urinals, Jay Reatard, and The King Khan and the BBQ Show, In The Red records has been on my radar for quite a while. One of their latest releases, Shark Toys' "Labyrinths" is a hot and fast, rock 'n' roller of a record. Their frenzied, tension-laced post punk falls somewhere between Parquet Courts and Wire, with unexpected moments of skronky noise littered throughout. "Labyrinths' " guitars have a kind of gritty angularity, calling to mind acts like Gang Of Four or The Soft Boys. "Three Dogs," "Jazz Suss" and "Maze" stand out as the obvious hits of the record. They take a low-key, playful approach to the more dissonant fragments that maintain a punk ethos. It's not contrived; it's loud and it's fun.
This record draws from a lot of the greats but still manages to do it's own thing. The dark but anthemic, upbeat chord progressions fuse in a purposefully abrupt way with crazier interludes of noise to make a banger of punk rockin' record.
When Hinds first broke onto the U.S. indie-rock scene around 2014, they brought a much-needed wave of sunny, carefree imperfection with them. Their music has grit, it's completely unafraid to sound real, the vocals are pitchy, their Spanish accents proudly shine through, their guitars sound the slightest bit untuned and that's exactly what makes their music so good. Casual moments like these make room for the oddest instances of suspense and relief, and for a warm feeling of familiarity. A summery, beautifully nostalgic testament to youth, parties, heartbreak and uncertainty, "I Don't Run" is a shaggy garage-pop record I will be bumping all summer long. For fans of Chastity Belt, Devendra Banhart, Tijuana Panthers and Black Lips.