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ICYMI vol 10: Better Oblivion Community Center, Naked Giants, Dude York

ICYMI is a series featuring new and notable releases you (and we) may have missed

Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center

The hopefully empathy of Phoebe Bridgers colliding with the the poetic disparity of Conor Oberst brings us the new folk-rock duo (and album by the same name) Better Oblivion Community Center. A concept record on an imagined dystopian wellness facility, the tracks are still fairly soft and sweet despite Bridgers’ and Oberst’s assumed characters being pushed to the brink, confronting their deepest fears and insecurities, and coming to terms with the world’s corruption. Besides Desaparecidos, this is the most unique and unexpected work we’ve seen from Oberst in a long time. The collaboration exceeds in the melding of their styles, creative leanings, and influences, and how it invites each of them to explore the most vulnerable parts of themselves with someone who speaks the same sort of code.

– Lauren Khalfayan

Alarm Will Sound – James Supercave

Guns are dangerous, we can all agree on that, but James Supercave draws an analogy between unattended firearms and access to Mama’s “loaded purse on the floor” in the first verse of the title track off their new album, Alarm Will Sound. Curious kids messing with something they’re not supposed to typically ends in tragedy, and the tragedy here is unfettered access to cash and the addictive nature of wealth in our always-on society. Social climbers edging closer and closer to the sun on wax wings, deaf to the warnings that it all could come crashing down at any moment. We have an endless array of alerts and timers on our mobile devices, surely an alarm will sound if we’ve gone too far. Someone has to be looking out for us, right? Sorry, Charlie. You’re on your own. Wonka is only looking out for himself.

Elastic synths, funky basslines, and tight percussion are the name of the game and like Foster The People, MGMT, and Glass Animals before them, James Supercave is able to wrap all this bleakness up in disco ready production that’s easy to get lost in. But don’t pay too much attention to the rest of the dancefloor because everybody is watching you, copying your moves, and more than ready to slide in and take over when you miss a step.

– Clayton Pacelli

Green Fuzz – Naked Giants

I fuck heavily with a live record. Besides it being a true testament to the skill, energy, and body of work of band, it’s often a “fuck it” sort of record where anything and everything goes. If you’re not already familiar with Naked Giants, the three piece from Seattle toured and put out a split 7″ with Ron Gallo, are touring members of Car Seat Headrest, and know how to put on a hell of a live show. While it’s all the garage rock thrashing your heart could want, this isn’t three scenesters onstage who can kind of play their instruments — these guys can really play and “Green Fuzz” highlights that in it’s best and scuzziest light.  The star of this release is a 9 minute marathon track on side A, complete with a full on drum solo mid-song and guitar solos that actually warrant the use of the word “shred”.

– Lauren Khalfayan

“I Can Treat You Better” – Part Time ft. Ariel Pink

Yacht rock dad vibes are cool again, and if you haven’t noticed Part Time are here to remind you with their new video for “I Can Treat You Better.” All the boxes are checked here; low-res video footage, super cheesy effects, and (wait for it) a sexy rooftop sax solo! Faux 80s tropes aside, the track and the video are actually pretty great, striking a retro-cool late-night vibe with enough sincerity that both rise above parody. The only thing missing is the low-grade background hiss of a cassette tape.

– Clayton Pacelli

Happy In The Meantime – Dude York

Okay, so I am immediately onboard with this band based on name alone. Happy In The Meantime is a catchy 4 song EP of poppy garage rock as sugary and delicious as the sour apple blow pop on the cover. Crunchy guitars and super polished boy-girl vocals throughout would be perfectly at home on the roster of Nashville’s Infinity Cat Records except for the fact that Dude York is from Seattle. Music this sunny isn’t supposed to come from such a dreary town!

Dude York don’t stray too far from pre-established subjects such as alienation and being young and broke but they tackle these topics with boundless enthusiasm and shout along hooks. We’ve all either been there and survived or are currently in the same boat, but we can all relate and lift our beers as we sing along. Overall really polished and a whole lot of fun.

– Clayton Pacelli


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