Grab-bag: The Both, Tune-yards, & Wye Oak

Keeping up with weekly new music releases burned me out. I have a pretty healthy appetite for new music, but I also have a full-time job, two kids, and a basketball addiction to manage. There’s only so much new music I can listen to. Over the past few weeks, though, songs from three recent releases have pushed themselves in to my awareness, and in the process, transformed my reticence into a motivation to share.

The Both by The Both

I’ve been told to listen to Ted Leo and Pharmacists for years now. I’ve given them a few spins, but nothing really stuck. Same with Aimee Mann, aside from her stellar appearance on Portlandia. Now, they’ve teamed up to record as The Both, inspired to work as a duo after a post-show walk in Milwaukee pondering the Fonz. The result is assured, swaggering power-pop. The guitar work and harmonies are a lot of fun.

Nikki Nack by Tune-Yards

Merrill Garbus is back with more strange and endearing sounds with Tune-Yards’ third album. Imagine Nina Simone in a blender. A metaphorical blender, of course. She’s added what sounds like African influences to her endless, cascading vocal harmonies, and the beats, if possible, are as relentless as before. As soon as she utters the first “woo-HA” on Water Fountain, I’m hooked.

Shriek by Wye Oak

Wye Oak is a new band to me, so I can’t compare the new record with previous stuff. All I know is this is the most I’ve ever liked a keyboard. I don’t know if there’s a guitar sound on the entire album, and for once, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. Really good use of texture and tone on this thing.

#tbt Six Feet Deep – Struggle


The opening drop beat does it every time. Within seconds, epinephrine flows. My head nods.
Let’s go.

“Angry Son”

Six Feet Deep was a Cleveland-based hardcore band that formed in the mid-90s. They released two albums, but only their first is worth remembering. Struggle, in its earnestness, its urgency, its sheer loudness, remains one of my all-time favorite hardcore records.


The lead singer of the band went on to form Brandtson. How he was able to growl and spit like he does on Struggle and then sing so sweet with Brandtson is a mystery. It’s also a disappointment, because the man had pipes made for raging.


This record has aided me in mowing lawns, lifting weights, quitting smoking, staying awake late at night while driving through cornfields, and writing many pages of words. The grooves are so simple, yet so precise, and delivered with zero pretense.


Sharing the lyricist’s worldview, I appreciate his conviction. I’ve always held the opinion that the greatest hardcore music is produced by the greatest assholes in music – militant types that need you to stop eating meat, stop smoking, stop drinking, stop sinning, stop something, and believe in their worldview right-the-fuck-now. The passion is what sells it.