to review


A Decade in the Shadow by These Curious Thoughts

sillyBrit fucktunes want more plays soggy cracker biscuit busk me up daddy for the big flanger in the sky I WAS ADDICTED TO A SPECIFIC SUBSTANCE you wasted an education on the precipice of a blasting from the moonpies skylight jigsaw HE WAS A MAN WHO TOOK THEM ALL FOR ALL flange me to the moon and back busk me into your warm mechanical hole for the isle prod and carride to a distant field.WAV ASYMPTOTIC SALVATION rethinking the ethics of slippery fingers across a strung neck homan champagne chavingnon mushram for mushy babelids I WAS LAUGHING UNTIL I HEARD YOU SING there’s a chance for change a chance to 70’s it forward to an idea of the thing you sang about in your head when you first looked a guitar when your daddy took you to the wall and told you it will never get better for a lump like you and your dead sister sitter    


Memory​/​Monument & blissful ugly by Mormon Toasterhead

Clarice Listpector once wrote: “Things were somehow so good that they were in danger of becoming very bad because what is fully mature is very close to rotting” 

That’s basically where I’m at with all of this.

2015: I was 23. I was writing music reviews without a care in the world. I had opinions and I was happy to share. I lived in Chicago. Things were great. The traffic was flowing in.

2017: I am 25. I am miserable. Literally no opinions. Literally bad taste. No traffic. No review. Things are bad. I live in stupid Hollywood. How did this happen?

I am rotting from the inside out like dumb fruit. I play video games and cry some days. Other days I punch palm  trees until my knuckles bleed.

In my time of desperation, I return to you, dear readers, and you, dumb musicians. I return to my most recent memory of The Happy. Forgive me.

Hey Ben. Ben Klawans. Yeah, you.

You thought you got away with it didn’t you?

Thought you could gaaaame the system.

You went over 2 years without being noticed.

I bet at first you lost sleep over the guilt. I bet at first you were lookin over your shoulder every day. But by now, you’re probably sleepin just fine, huh? You probably think you’re home clear.

Fuckin wrong, bozo. I found you out:ben.PNG

This is some shit, B.

I have over 700 albums to review. seh-ven-hun-dred-al-bums-beeeeen.

And you thought you could sneak in two? People have been waiting YEARS for me to review their work and you want me to review two albums? Fuck outa here with that yahoo email address man.

Are your albums both beautiful and haunting reminders of what  it means to grow up and be nostalgic for what no longer can be? Maybe. But 2 rights do not correct a wrong, Ben.

“2+5=i” is a bad lyric. Please review and amend.

Sorry. I mean, I think I’m being a little unfair. Does your music remind of my own aging body and it’s inability to escape the entropy of the universe? Sure. Am I forced to find meaning in the mundane day-to-day and live every day as if there are none left because of your music? I mean, sure, I guess. So like, I guess what I mean to say is that I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed. Really fucking disappointed.

“Life is weird, but so is death”. Word, Ben. Word.


Can of Worms by A Mammoth Task

Clarice Lispector once wrote: “The world’s continual breathing is what we hear and call silence.”

Can of Worms by A Mammoth Task fucks this up by making a lot of noise.

This stupid album from 2015 is full of tracks that go “wank-a-tank-tankity-tank” and “wham-bam-a-lam-tam” but all of this is less profound than the deafening silence that mere existence stands to offers.

For every album, a good reviewer ought to imagine himself trapped in a small white room for all eternity. He should then ask, “would I prefer this eternal prison to be silent, or would I prefer to listen to Can of Worms by A Mammoth Task on repeat for my infinite sentence?” The answer to this question is the answer to the review.

SIDE-NOTE this album largely utilizes only the WESTERN 12-TONE SCALE and is therefore RATHER BORING BY MOST OBJECTIVE STANDARDS. Lol wake the fuck up guys it’s 2017.

hello it me i’m bac.

The Sacrifice (Blog Curse Broken) featuring Atlas and the Astronaut

Here’s the thing. I wanted to write so many album reviews over the last 6 months. I really did! I received hundreds of emails from talented, interesting musicians. I wanted to give you feedback! I wanted to support you.

But this blog was cursed.

I don’t know how it happened—maybe I gave a bad review to a witch, maybe Pitchfork employed a witch to eliminate me as their main competitor. Both seem equally likely. At any rate, the curse did that thing where every time I intended to write a blog, I would have to pee and then forget about the blog. You know that thing that curses do?

But today is HALLOWEEN which means I can BREAK THIS CURSE. But as you probably know, breaking curses requires blood to be spilled.

So here’s what has to happen, one album to be reviewed must be sacrificed. That means that the album in question will become the ONE ALBUM that will NEVER BE REVIEWED on this blog NO MATTER WHAT.

To be clear, I will listen to this album in full, I will take notes on this album, and I will form an opinion on this album. But I will not publish a review, and I will not share any opinions or feedback with the submitting band. It’s the only way to break the curse.

By random selection, the album in question is:

Hot Garbage, Hot Trash by Atlas and The Astronaut.

Consider this album officially sacrificed. Pay your respects, and look forward to new reviews.

Ardath by Birth Day

By: Derek Spencer

Ardath is as elusive an album title as I have encountered. A smattering of google searches reveals a British tobacco company as the only catalogued namesake, implying that Ardath is an album named either for it’s destructive and addictive qualities, or otherwise as reference to something personal and decidedly unobtainable. The impalpable name suits the 5-track EP all the same, perhaps augmenting the conceit of mysterious dystopia that LA-based musician Birth Day seems intent on summoning. Deconstructed pop pairs with discordant ambient on Birth Day’s unsettling 2016 debut.

Opener “Link’d” best demonstrates Birth Day’s palette, consisting of icy dissonance, glitched-out synths, and phantasmal filtered-vocals. Tension builds as the voice of yesterday’s fallen popstar rises in classic zombie fashion. On “Bedroom Jester”, Birth Day continues to play with distance and depth, as a single alto melody gives way to the croons of dozens of fettered specters, each presumably a fractured bit of singer/producer Sonya Lanelle Chávez.

The percussive elements of Ardath leave enough propulsion for listeners to dance, but only in the way that dancing can be a mental exercise: a way of answering a question or exploring a thought. With tracks like “blind” and “Seashore”, each clocking in around one minute and devoid of distinct rhythmic features, it’s easier to think of Birth Day as walking us through a process or along a path, as opposed to imagining that Chávez’s vision lies in any one place for long.

Demonstrating a surprising command over dynamics and composition, Birth Day will hopefully have the opportunity to flesh out her work on longer, more immersive releases. For now, Ardath serves as a seductive taste-test, successfully tempting listeners toward some unknown end.

People Named Michael pt 3

By: Derek Spencer

Do you do drugs? Are you transgressive? Are you blasé about your transgressiveness? Do you have daddy issues? Are you into lo-fi? Do you like samples? Do your daddy issues cause you to make lo-fi renditions of your dad’s favorite bands? Do you own a bell set? Do you use overdrive and eq plugins to make things sound more lo-fi than they actually are? Have you ever mic’d up an electric guitar not plugged into an amp? Are you so blasé that you sit in your dorm shower and look upward expectantly? Are you so blasé that you use a picture of you sitting in a dorm shower and looking upward expectantly as your album art for a very blasé collection of songs? Do you use samples? Are you infatuated with the melancholy side of mundanity? Do you think smoking weed helps you write good songs? Do you use samples in your lo-fi indie rock? Do you try to demonstrate the puttering pace of your post-adolescent life by setting the bpm of each track to “cough syrup”? Do you break the law? Is your stand-out track called “Lonely Walks in Tangier”? Is it about walking with a person who quotes Faulkner? Are you too blasé to recall said Faulkner quote? Do you live in a literal swamp? Are you indebted to existential philosophy and contemporary cinema in ways that you have yet to discover? Are you ultimately trying to be Bob Dylan by doing only things Bob Dylan wouldn’t do? Are you alone when you’re around other people, even your dear uncle Jesse? Do you believe that pain in the world is only kind of bad, and sometimes you even think that pain in the world is a good thing? Do you sometimes try to emulate pain in your art by making the listener suffer? Have you taken acid to try and make an important decision? Have you played basketball for longer than you planned to because it’s what your friends did but then you started to enjoy it and now you still sometimes play basketball casually? Do people tell you that you mutter? Do you think you’re slightly funnier than people give you credit for, which is to say you think your sorta funny and other people think you’re only kinda funny? Have you ever made a meme? Have you ever pronounced “meme” as “me-me” as a joke? Did you ever imagine that playing ukulele would lead to you having more sex than if you didn’t play ukulele? Did you get a cell phone slightly later than your peers? Did it affect you? Did the pond run out of water? Muddle into decay? Did the kitten purr? Did the mermaid slurr? Do you know the way out? Do you know the way out? Does the moon beckon? Did you write a song about it? Did you write a song about writing a song about the moon beckoning? Will you someday read this series of questions to a group of people as an act of self-indulgent performance art about mediated art and the interesting yet futile role criticism plays in the digital world? Will it be good? Have you ever listened to your own album in full? Did you like it? Did you wonder if you’d be the only person to ever listen to all of the songs in order and give each one their full attention, the way you meant them to? Did you imagine that maybe 100 people might do this? 1,000? Did it make you feel good and sick? Did it make you want to record another album? Did it make you feel okay eventually? Did it hurt? Did you forget that pain is good? Are you scared? Are you scared? Are you scared? Did you write an album before called Die Until Ur Not Alive Anymore?  Did it get reviewed here, 2 weeks ago? Are you great? Are you a prime example of a Michael? Are you my favorite Michael?


If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you are Michael Byrne, aka Dirty Mike, aka the genius Michael behind Latin is Latin for Latin. Congrats!