Rapidfire Reviews: 95COROLLA, Ethan Beck & The Charlie Browns, Ladybird

Posted: by The Editor


Intricate and intense, 95COROLLA’s LONG TIME LISTENER / FIRST TIME CALLER is the kind of punk that makes you want to chug a shitty light beer and fire off fifty pushups before the song ends. Harsh, but never to the point where it becomes not danceable, the tunes are driven by relentless lead guitar lines that feel like nails being hammered and a restless rhythm section that seems bent on pushing the beats per minute as high as possible. The attack of the huge melodic choruses is equally effective and even the late-album acoustic “THE NIGHT STAND” doesn’t plug the flood of energy the band is delivering here. In fact, with the exception of the interlude-y “WORRY,” they only allow the pace to drop as the record nears its close with the repetition of “this place sucks” in “COPPER.” If the record is any indication, 95COROLLA live shows are likely as fun as they are sweaty.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Ethan Beck & The Charlie Browns – Duck Hollow

There is a sense of tradition to the tunes on Ethan Beck & The Charlie Browns’ debut Duck Hollow—a feeling that these musicians have absorbed the classics and are ready to take their stab at it—that fits well with the lyrics that document the strange middle-ground of life in your early twenties. The musicians making up The Charlie Browns are the same group behind Frog Legs’ fantastic It’s Been a Hard Year, which had Beck providing the acoustic parts at the root of the group’s precise folk-punk tunes. When that record came out, I remarked at how tight the band sounded, providing a pleasant foundation and priming you to focus more on the pointed lyrics. As The Charlie Browns, the group of musicians deftly do the same in an indie rock and pop setting, sounding tight and rocking hard, but also functioning as an energetic jumping off point for Beck’s lyrics, which find him “drunk in South Oakland again,” reflecting on a friend’s desire to become a monk, accepting his status as a “temporary boyfriend,” and letting a friend know their “taste in music’s getting worse.” Duck Hollow (much like It’s Been a Hard Year) sends you out on a high with one of the more explosive tunes used to close out the record in “Wabash Tunnel.”

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Ladybird – Amy Come on Home

Ladybird’s Amy Come on Home is a lovely little country record, striking a balance between clean and gritty as acoustic guitars blend with gorgeous lap steels and crunchy lead lines overtop a rhythm section that sounds capable of propelling a trucker convoy across the country. Ladybird get in and out in just over a half hour on Amy Come on Home, but are able to pack a lot into that runtime, ranging from the Gaslight-Anthem-with-twang “Kemp Lake,” to the more delicate “My Worried Heart,” to the hard drinking and hard rocking “Rollin’ and Ramblin’,” to the goofy Chuck Berry style ripper “Short King Shuffle,” to the lighthearted rag “Fight Song,” to the closer awash in references to cheap beer.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

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