CIMS Indie Fresh
I Need A New War is the third installment of Craig Finn’s solo trilogy, following We All Want the Same Things (2017) and Faith In The Future (2015). The three albums together look at the same people, but from different angles. I Need a New War is about people trying to respond to modern times, trying to keep pace with a world that might be moving faster than they are. The characters in these songs put forth varying responses to the change happening around them. They deal with the inevitability of getting older, while trying not to get left behind. They try to get by. They move to bigger cities. They crawl back home. They look for love. They look for escape. They seek help. They seek answers. They formulate plans. They try to outlive past mistakes. Mostly, they do their best.
The last twelve months have seen Fontaines D.C. release four hotly received double A-side singles, all of which were named as singles of the week by Rough Trade, and garnered early support from the likes of KEXP, Steve Lamacq and others on BBC 6 Music, as well as earning feature space from every major Irish and UK publication. Now the Dublin band return with their debut record, Dogrel. On the short and punchy opening track, "Big," frontman Grian sings "My childhood was small, but I'm gonna be big", and that, they certainly will be. Dogrel is a debut which is best enjoyed as a whole; it is very much in the grand tradition of the album as art form, just as this is a band very much in the classic band mold: great singles, an indefatigable work ethic and an utter aversion to standing still.
After releasing their highly anticipated Kicker EP in the summer of 2018 (which Pitchfork described as the band's "most satisfying release in nearly 20 years"), The Get Up Kids have returned with an invigorating new full-length album, Problems. Produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Sharon Van Etten), Problems sees the band expanding on the unmatched energy and emotion found on Kicker and channeling it into a fresh collection of songs that showcases the highly developed songwriting characteristics and impeccable use of melody we've come to expect from the Kansas 5-piece. Standouts like "Satellite" and "The Problem Is Me" make it clear the band has come full circle while continuing to evolve.
“On Monday 15th January this year Dolores O’Riordan died in London. Two days later she was due to come into BMG and play us the song demos for a new Cranberries album. At this point none of us believed there would be another studio album from the band.
A couple of months later the remaining band members (Noel, Fergal & Mike) listened through to the vocals with producer Stephen Street and with the full support of Dolores’s family the decision was taken to take the vocal tracks and for the band to complete the recording of the album. This was a direct reaction to the strength of the material Dolores had left as her legacy.
The end result is a euphoric alternative rock album on a par with the band’s best work, and together with the striking album artwork (by original band photographer Andy Earl and original sleeve designer Cally Calloman), celebrates vitality and optimism albeit tinged with tremendous poignancy.”
—Alistair Norbury, BMG UK President
When Seattle band Tacocat—vocalist Emily Nokes, bassist Bree McKenna, guitarist Eric Randall, and drummer Lelah Maupin—first started in 2007, the world they were responding to was vastly different from the current Seattle scene of diverse voices they’ve helped foster. It was a world of house shows, booking DIY tours on MySpace, and writing funny, deliriously catchy feminist pop-punk songs when feminism was the quickest way to alienate yourself from the then-en vogue garage-rock bros. Their lyrical honesty, humor, and hit-making sensibilities have built the band a fiercely devoted fanbase over the years, one that has followed them from basements to dive bars to sold-out shows at the Showbox. Every step along the way has been a seamless progression—from silly songs about Tonya Harding and psychic cats to calling out catcallers and poking fun at entitled weekend-warrior tech jerks on their last two records on Hardly Art, 2014’s NVM and 2016’s Lost Time. This Mess is a Place, Tacocat’s fourth full-length and first on Sub Pop, finds the band waking up the morning after the 2016 election and figuring out how to respond to a new reality where evil isn’t hiding under the surface at all—it’s front and center, with new tragedies and civil rights assaults filling up the scroll of the newsfeed every day. “What a time to be barely alive,” laments “Crystal Ball,” a gem that examines the more intimate side of responding emotionally to the news cycle. How do you keep fighting when all you want to do is stay in bed all day? “Stupid computer stupor/Oh my kingdom for some better ads,” Nokes sings, throwing in some classic Tacocat snark, “Truth spread so thin/It stops existing.” Despite current realities being depressing enough to make anyone want to crawl under the covers and sleep for a thousand years, Tacocat are doing what they’ve always done so well: mingling brightness, energy, and hope with political critique. This Mess is a Place is charged with a hopefulness that stands in stark contrast to music that celebrates apathy, despair, and numbness. Tacocat feels it all and cares, a lot, whether they’re singing odes to the magical connections we feel with our pets (“Little Friend”), imagining what a better earth might look like (“New World”), or trying to find humor in a wholly unfunny world (“The Joke of Life”). It’s a delightfully cathartic moment and the cornerstone of the record when they exclaim, in “Grains of Salt:” “Don’t forget to remember who the fuck you are!” Producer Erik Blood (who also produced Lost Time) brings the band into their full pop potential but still preserves what makes Tacocat so special: they’re four friends who met as young punks and have grown together into a truly collaborative band. Says Nokes: “We can examine some hard stuff, make fun of some evil stuff, feel some soft feelings, feel some rage feelings, feel some bitter-ass feelings, sift through memories, feel wavy-existential, and still go get a banana daiquiri at the end.” —Robin Edwards