Split Single – “Never Look Back”

(from Fragmented World)

We loved Jason Narducy’s voice, guitar playing and songwriting in previous bands like Verbow, Jason and Allison, and Rockets Over Sweden. He’s been adding rock heft to Bob Mould’s band most recently, so it’s nice to see him step back under the spotlight with Split Single.

“Never Look Back” has fuzzed-out 90s guitars, lyrical charm, elevated melodies, Midwestern power pop-smarts and Narducy’s voice. Sold.

split cover

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Afghan Whigs – “Algiers”

(from Do to the Beast)

On Afghan Whigs’ first album in 16 years, the band carefully avoids taking any nostalgia trips. “Algiers” finds singer Greg Dulli walking through a haze of cigarette smoke, crooning and urging you to “sin your dreams away.”

Afghan Whigs

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Old 97s – “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive”

(from Most Messed Up)

Leave it to Old 97s to make the tired rock cliche of writing about being in a band totally enjoyable. Old 97s have long been a favorite of ours, and that love starts with Rhett Miller’s lyrics:

“Most of our shows were a triumph of rock, although some nights I might have been checking the clock”

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Metal Mondays – Sonata Arctica “Cloud Factory”

(from Pariah’s Child)

Power metal that’s beautifully overblown and ridiculous:

“There is a factory clouds are made in/ They make ‘em big and blue/ The Factory eats you, it swallows you whole”

“Cloud Factory” is equal parts Meat Loaf and “What Does the Fox Say?” And we’re pretty sure that’s an endorsement.

sonata-arctica-1

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Forgotten Fridays – Steel Pulse “Ravers”

(from True Democracy)

“I wanna know how you’re feeling (irie)”

The weather is mercifully turning for the better, and that has us lusting for reggae sounds. This Steel Pulse classic from ’82 dutifully fulfills that need. We want to be outside under the sun with a cold beverage. Right. Now.

sp td

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Jonny Two Bags – “Avenues”

(from Salvation Town)

Social Distortion guitarist Jonny Wickersham delivers a solo album filled with America-tinged grit, regret, and self-loathing.

We especially love the accordion and female Spanish vocals on this one.

j2b

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Beastmilk – “Death Reflects Us”

Gloomy post-punk that conjures up dimly-lit images of Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division.

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Laibach – “Walk With Me”

(from Spectre)

Laibach’s cold and martial approach to music gave us the chills in the 80s and 90s, and we’re (glad?) to see the band still applying its cold compresses to music in the 10s.

There’s a melody and hook here, but Laibach continues to be unfit for sing-alongs.

liabach

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Metal Mondays – Vampire “Black Deserts”

(from Vampire)

Swedish death metal that goes for the throat, as vampires tend to do. If this coffin’s rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.

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Beth Thornley – “Say That You Will”

(from Septagon)

L.A. singer/songwriter Thornley delivers Septagon on Tuesday, and “Say That You Will” is a good hint of the melodic pop goodness you can expect from it. Love her voice. Love it.

thornley