February 28, 2020

Dude York — Falling — Hardly Art

By Kristi Kates | Sept. 21, 2019

The Seattle band returns with another set of pop-punk tracks that will bring to mind teenaged late nights on suburban sidewalks, sneaking just one more cigarette before curfew. Vocals alternate between Peter Richards and Claire England, with standouts including the dark ’60s feel of “Doesn’t Matter,” the stacked guitar riffs of “Should’ve,” and the ’90s alternative-rock-dusted “Longest Time.” The most radio-ready track, however, is “Box,” with slick production and an extra-catchy chorus. ***

Kyle Craft – Showboat Honey – Sub Pop
Returning with his own dedicated backing band, whose name also serves as the title for this album, Craft’s latest — his third — is anchored by drummer Haven Mutlz’s distinctive grooves, which serve as grounding for Craft’s sometimes bizarre, always prosaic lyrics that reveal the details of various character lives as they inhabit his tunes. “2 Ugly 4 NY” is a straight-ahead rocker with downtown flair; “Buzzkill Caterwaul” gets strummy with just the slightest hint of country; and “Broken Mirror Pose” edges into the ’70s with a Saturday Night Feverbeat and retro melody. ** ½
Parachute – Parachute – TT
Blending rock, soul, acoustic folk, and a bit of gospel, Parachute’s latest is a little more introspective, a little smaller in scope than its last set, 2016’s Wide Awake, but it’s no less affecting. Will Anderson’s personal, complex vocals are cautiously arranged for best effect on tracks like “Better,” with a deceptively radio-pop feel; the similarly pop muses of “Young”; and more up-tempo tracks like “Talk to Me” and “Finally Got It Right.” Both the ballads and the faster tunes complement each other, making up an overall thoughtful tone. ** ½
Ben Rector – Brand New – ANR
Nashville singer-songwriter Rector makes another bid for mainstream popularity with this set, a collection of boundary-crossing folk-pop that also showcases Rector’s ability to tell stories within his tracks and apply complex narratives to something as brief as a three- or four-minute pop tune. “Paris” alone stuffs in an impressive amount of description, both as observation and as Rector relates to it; the title track is Rector’s own insight into relationships, and “Crazy” celebrates the most mundane of the everyday. ***


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