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Capsule Reviews: Records Released on May 10, 2019

May 13, 2019 | by No Recess! Staff

Every Wednesday we're rounding up the NR! staff for a healthy handful of capsule record reviews released the previous Friday. Check out this installment with record releases from May 10, 2019.

A.A. Bondy Enderness

(Fat Possum)

Grade: B+

It’s been almost a decade since the Louisiana native’s last project Believers (2011), so you better believe he’s got something to say. Though Enderness introduces new toys to the Bondy experience — namely gooey, analog synths and simple drum machines — this still feels like folk music to me. Plainspoken, direct, and unflinching, Enderness tells rich, affecting stories that run the gamut from lighthearted looks at modern culture (“Diamond Skull”), addiction (“Fentanyl Freddy”), and loss, which is crushingly chronicled on “#Lost Hills,” a doleful reflection on the California wildfires that burned down his home last year. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Images of Love" below and buy Enderness here

Charly Bliss

Young Enough


Grade: C+

Young Enough, the sophomore full-length from Brooklyn's Charly Bliss, finds singer Eva Hendricks and company (with the help of veteran producer Joe Chiccarelli) moving in a direction more akin to late-2000s Metric than 90s Breeders. Young Enough's best moments occur when the band is stepping on the accelerator, especially on tracks like "Under You" and "Hard to Believe.” Unfortunately, due mostly to the meandering "Fighting In the Dark," the blasé "Bleach," and the overly long and underwhelming title track, the album loses its peppy charm halfway in and never completely recovers. – Andy Mascola

Watch the video for "Capacity" below and buy Young Enough here


Wheeltappers and Shunters


Grade: B

It’s been seven years, ladies and gentlemen, since their last LP but there’s been no apparent loss of momentum for Clinic. They’re still weird, catchy, hard to ignore, and still spend a lot of money on vintage gear. The vocal delivery is wonderfully subdued, and the music is understated, but things slag by the time “Be Yourself/Year of the Sadist” hits as they dip into dreamy textures and lazy beats… if only they’d cut loose every once in a while and start hitting harder. Oh well, as it stands, Wheeltappers and Shunters is another strong addition to their fascinating catalog. – Andrew K. Lau

Watch the video for "Laughing Cavalier" below and buy Wheeltappers and Shunters here

Craig Leon

Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon

(RVNG Intl)

Grade: A

Seven droning, primal, snake-charming, synth tracks by legendary composer/producer Craig Leon. The second volume of such musical outreach projects, this one has something to do with the Dogon tribe from Mali who worship alien creatures from the star Sirius B. Uh-huh, sounds very interesting, but that kind of intellectual heaviness is beyond me as I’m having enough trouble dealing the fact this guy has worked with Suicide and Pavarotti. AOIFM V2 is top-notch ambient jams from the mind of someone who knows what they’re doing. But don’t trust me, trust Craig Leon. – Andrew K. Lau

Watch the video for "Standing Crosswise in the Square" below and buy Vol. 2: The Canon here




Grade: B-

The fifth studio album from emotional hardcore mainstays Defeater doesn’t break from what these Bostonians have always done. However, a few records have passed that felt a little like phoning it in (Abandoned, Letters Home), though serious fans wouldn’t fault them for it. Defeater return with a self-titled concept album (a man finding his way home through wars) after a four-year break and came up with a furious, grief-filled album that harkens back to their old hardcore heart. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "The Worst of Fates" below and buy Defeater here

Dora Bleu

Fascism’s Intimacy

(Drawing Room)

Grade: C+

It might be difficult to know where a modern guitar and vocal composition record stands within one’s daily listening habits. Experimental, shadowy, sparse, atmospheric guitar workings (with the added love of Mark Ribot) are rattled with tense lyrics regarding “intimacy as the place where the capitalist war state replenishes itself.” This is heady, artful stuff, verging on melodic but there’s a lot of discord too. Save this one for when you’re performing witchcraft in an attempt to bind our corrupt government from doing harm. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "Calculations Unknown" below and buy Fascism's Intimacy here


Let Yourself Be Seen

(Bella Union/Royal Mountain)

Grade: B+

Don't let the album cover fool you — this isn't someone's art school band where they play the plastic bag (that thing exists and I'm not getting those 40 minutes back). Doomsquad blends elements of no wave and ass-clapping beats with a smack of Will Powers that brings the rage we all feel about current events to the dance floor. – Amanda Scigaj

Watch the video for "General Hum" below and buy Let Yourself Be Seen here

Guitar Wolf


(Third Man)

Grade: B

Guitar Wolf are still around! And out on Third Man no less! (Actually, it’s quite easy to image their influence on Jack White.) Founded in Tokyo in 1987, this Japanese garage rock power trio are still summoning all the animated fire of their “jet rock ‘n’ roll” — 100% noisy, energetic, and in your face (track two “Sex Jaguar” as one amazingly primal example). This album is 10 songs and 26-minutes of tight, sonic rock — no more, no less. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "LOVE&JETT" below and buy LOVE&JETT here

Holly Herndon



Grade: A

Modern life is fucking crazy, and Holly Herndon’s labyrinthe, stunning third album takes us deep into the cold, robotic heart of the data generation. Accompanied by a host of talented musicians and a well-trained AI program named Spawn (seriously), Herndon explores the increasingly thin line between maker (or user) and machine, dragging maximum feelings out of heavily-processed, dense electronic sounds. Androids may not be able to feel emotions yet, but fuck, they sure can make me feel them. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Eternal" below and buy PROTO here

Matt Kivel

last night in america


Grade: B+

On his sublime fourth solo LP, the LA-bred, Austin-based songwriter looks out at the absolute chaos that is 2019 America and channels it into something peaceful, soft, and contemplative. Kivel’s tenor rarely rises above a hushed coax and is full of negative space, but that doesn’t mean these songs don’t hit hard. “two braids” — the disc’s centerpiece — paints a striking picture of finding simple joy in a world beset by unimaginable suffering, while “wendy and roxanne” is a delicious slice of Nebraska-esque storytelling and songcraft. Its best moment is its most personal, as “l.a. coliseum” is a gentle, languid strummer about the early days of a relationship. – Dan Alvarez

Watch the video for "l.a. coliseum" below and buy last night in america here

Mavis Staples

We Get By


Grade: B+

Two months away from turning 80 years old, Mavis Staples, the Blues/Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and Civil Rights activist, delivers yet another round of rousing music on her new release, We Get By. Ben Harper takes the production and songwriting reins here, and sparks Mavis's blues/gospel fervor for a sterling set of spare but feisty arrangements, especially their emotionally moving duet on the defiant title track. With a Gordon Parks' 1960s' stark, documentary photo on the cover depicting segregation, Mavis reaffirms that even though history may repeat itself, some music — her music — still uplifts and endures. – Greg Gaston

Watch the video for "Change" below and buy We Get By here




Grade: B

Catchy, punky pop with a cooler edge than most things falling into this category, if [DETENTION] fell into the hands of my 13-year-old niece and she’s into it, I think that’d be fucking great. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "RoMaNcE" below and buy [DETENTION] here

The Get Up Kids



Grade: C

Despite growing families, middle-age responsibilities, and numerous breakups, the Get Up Kids bring us a new album that is sonically consistent with previous efforts. It's earnest and has heartfelt lyrics, but it sounds like a set of unreleased b-sides as opposed to something released this decade. It's nothing to Write Home About. – Amanda Scigaj

Watch the video for "The Problem Is Me" below and buy Problems here

The Mystery Lights

Too Much Tension!


Grade: A

When we last heard from The Mystery Lights, they had wham’d us with their self-titled long player three years ago. The NYC quintet (via Salinas, CA) has been touring their distorted hearts out and now, finally, a sophomore effort. The rock ‘n’ roll is the same, but more time has been spent on arrangements; in-studio confidence now equals their swagger. While there isn’t anything as blatantly addictive as “Follow Me Home” from their debut, there is plenty here to satisfy your garage rock needs. Is the nod to Del Shannon’s “Runaway” during “Wish She’d Come Back” or the “Peter Gunn Theme” reference in “Someone Else Is In Control” conscious? Doesn’t matter because these kind’a subtleties are brilliant. Eleven quality songs in a half hour, the way it should be. – Andrew K. Lau

Watch the video for "Someone Else Is In Control" below and buy Too Much Tension! here

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