Saturday, August 20, 2022

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Sound Check


The MuffsThe Muffs

“Whoop Dee Doo”

Burger Records

It’s usually not a good sign when a band takes an extended hiatus from releasing new music. But any reports of The Muffs’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. A decade after their last release, Kim Shattuck, Ronnie Barnett and Roy McDonald have not missed a single beat. Everything on “Whoop Dee Doo” (especially lead single “Weird Boy Next Door” and “Take a Take a Me”) would fit perfectly on 2004’s “Really Really Happy” or 1995’s “Blonder and Blonder.” The band’s Mercury-quick guitar riffs and sneaky-good drums are intact, and Shattuck still boasts one of the greatest primal screams in rock history. The album doesn’t break any new ground for the band, but there’s something to be said for being able to hold on to the good stuff. “Whoop Dee Doo” isn’t reinventing the wheel, but you know what? The wheel was a really good idea and doesn’t need your help. CV

The Midwestern CharmThe Midwestern Charm

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“Growing Pains”


“Bloodbath,” the opening track off The Midwestern Charm’s new album, is a beautiful example of an indie-pop quasi-ballad. Listening to the Milwaukee-based five-piece, you can hear the echoes of bands like Dinosaur Jr. and The Proclaimers, filtered through the diffusing lens of a post-Plain White T’s, bubblegum world. The result is an album that’s got less weight than anything beget by its ancestors but makes up for it by being exhaustively re-listenable. Connor La Mue’s vocals are a bit twee at times, and you sometimes wish that he were capable of lending the songs a little more vocal weight. But the guitar work from La Mue and Ryan McCrary keep everything moving at a good pace and help to keep the songs from blowing away in the wind. CV

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