Broad Street Playlist Recap for 2/28 – 3/4

Broad Street Playlist Recap (for 2/28 – 3/4)

Hey everyone, welcome to a new feature for this year’s Broad Street Playlist. It’s weekly recap that’ll give you some highlights of the week, a special Spotify playlist featuring songs from each of the albums from the week, as well as a sneak peek of the next week. So without further adieu, let’s get started then?

Tuesday, February 28th 2017

It’s the welcome back post! While not the official start of the project, it’s the introduction to the project’s fifth year/anniversary. Featuring a fresh coat of paint, a tune up, and some new cup holders, the Broad Street Playlist is back and better than ever. If you want to read the post. you can click on his handy dandy link.

Wednesday, March 1st 2017

The official start of year five! And boy do we kick it off with a bang… with none over than one of the biggest and rising acts in alternative rock acts, ArkellsMorning Report is one of the rare albums that makes diverse songs work. An album that reminds us that life is never easy or simple… it’s complex in every aspect. It’s messy and rough at times, but even during those messy and rough times, you never quite know when you’ll just stumble into some of the best moments of your life. Click here to read more on Morning Report!

Thursday, March 2nd 2017

Day two of the project, continues a trip up north, past the 49th Parallel. Billy Talent is one of the biggest names in punk rock, despite being relatively unknown in the United States. I guess the 49th Parallel represents a barrier for the band. But with their fifth album, Afraid of Heights, it’s their standard to conquer our fears through unity and togetherness. So, what are you afraid of? Click here to read more on Afraid of Heights!

Friday, March 3rd 2017

Day three of the project flies us across the pond to Exeter, United Kingdom. Featuring a combination of indie rock, punk, pop-punk, and power pop styling, Muncie Girls strike gold with an extremely catchy and easy to like debut release, From Caplan to Belsize. The trio manages to create a fresh touch and entry into an otherwise crowded and oversaturated genre of music. This one is for the DIYers out there! Click here to read more on From Caplan to Belsize!

Saturday, March 4th 2017

Day four takes us back to the States, deep into the heart of the Chicago hardcore scene. Rise Against is arguably the biggest name in modern punk rock today. With massive hard hitting tracks that fill arenas worldwide, it’s not hard to see why. But, where did the band start it’s almost meteoric rise? I’d argue with none other than Siren Song of the Counter Culture. It’s an album that bridges the divide between mainstream rock and hardcore punk. Click here to read more on Siren Song of the Counter Culture!

A Sneak Peek of Next Week

Next week will be bringing some of the old favorites back (like Johnossi and Paramore) while featuring some newer (as in new to the project) such as The Tragically Hip. Don’t want to give away too much, but you can bet it’ll be another big week.

Spotify Playlist of the Week

So here is the Spotify Playlist of the Week, featuring four songs from each album. Since this week was a rather short week, you will get five songs from each album. So, unplug your headphones, turn the volume all the way, and get your neighbors in to enjoy these sweet tunes. 

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Year 5, Day 3: The Muncie Girls Strike Infectious Indie Pop-Punk Gold with “From Caplan to Belsize”

With punchy riffs and catchy hooks, “From Caplan to Belsize” is a sincere effort that isn’t afraid to tackle the issues of today.

Year 5, Day 3: Muncie Girls – From Caplan to Belsize

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Track List

  1. Learn in School
  2. Gone With the Wind
  3. Respect
  4. Balloon
  5. Social Side
  6. Nervous
  7. Gas Mask 4
  8. I Don’t Want to Talk About It
  9. Committee
  10. No Recording

About the Album

From Caplan to Belsize is the debut album from three-piece indie/alternative rock band, Muncie Girls. The album was released on March 4th 2016 through Specialist Subject Records in the United Kingdom, Uncle M Records in the rest of Europe, and Animal Style Records in the United States. 

Thoughts on the Album

This album, for me, was on of the undiscovered gems. A diamond in the rough of a music genre flooded with overrated crap and overplayed garbage. It was a delight to discover this album while creating a new playlist on Spotify. From the first listen of Muncie Girls‘ debut album, From Caplan to Belsize, I was instantly hooked. The vocals are crisp. The guitars are a combination of bouncy and crunchy. The bass work powers the album and the drums provide a steady pace and groove.

From Caplan to Belsize set the tone for indie rock with punchy and crunchy riffs combined with political overtones and personal lyrics. The album delves into a wide variety of topics and issues facing society today. For example, I Don’t Want to Talk About It discusses classism and gender roles through hazy guitar and moody, but blunt lyrics. Tracks like Learn in School and Gone With the Wind utilize their seemingly grungy vibes and infectious choruses to lift you up and inspire change. 

The album opens with Learn in School, a track where lead singer Lande Hekt laments about how she was never taught any kind of radical political or social ideas in school and rather had to self-educate.

All the things you didn’t learn in school, and why it feels like no one knows the truth/ The systems we rely on aren’t for you, they’re for the lucky fucking few…

She uses this thirst and quest for knowledge to incite the listener. The mood of the song is one of activism rather than lethargy… to learn more than what people teach you. The guitar riff towards the end of the track is top notch and really powers the track to an excellent finish. The rhythm of the verses really swings and when combined with the soaring (and rather thumping) indie rock chorus, you get the makings of an excellent rock song.

Generally speaking, the first few tracks of an album make or break it. If the tracks that follow up the first one don’t work out all that well or don’t mesh well, the album will be dead on arrival. However, with From Caplan to Belsize, this is not the case. the second track, Gone With the Wind comes in, hot on the heels of Learn in School. The track seems to resonate with me, as it represents an abrupt change from the preceding track. Gone With the Wind follows a more… traditional indie punk format with repeated verses and the chorus. The track pulses with a fervor of antisocial and self-destructive behavior…

You can find me under the table, I’m not coming out/ I’ve had too many beers and I’ve got nothing to be happy about.

There is something to be said about the musicianship of an album. You can have an excellent album without equally excellent musicianship. Hekt and her bandmates project these complex, dense, and vivid images that both fit around the songwriting and the music. Hekt’s delivery on each track keeps each track from being bland and mundane.

Balloon is a track that shines and shimmers throughout the album. It’s no wonder why it was chosen as the album’s lead single. It’s a track that is excellently written that sums up the themes of the entire album. A pop-punk gem whose chord progression and powerful drums make it one of the most exciting tracks to listen to on the album. It is on this track that Hekt’s voice is at it’s strongest and I would say the most fierce and magnificent.

Other highlights for me include the slow starting but still excellent I Don’t Want to Talk About It, the anthemic Respect, and the rather touching Social Side.

Conclusion

Muncie Girls‘ From Caplan to Belsize is an earnest and respectable effort. It’s labeled as “indie” but it’s has pop-punk and alternative rock styling filled throughout the album. The album creates a fresh touch to an other wise bland and over-saturated genre of indie.It hard for a band to produce such a variety of songs on an album and maintain consistency, but the Muncie Girls do it in such a manner that is refreshing. An album for the DIY (and DIY punks) out there, the band doesn’t shy away from utilizing their platform to speak out. From Caplan to Belsize is a sincere and catchy socially conscious album.

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My Top 10 Albums Listened To From 2016

This is something new I wanted to try starting this year. I wanted to do three top ten lists that outline my favorite items (songs, albums, artists) listened to from the past year.

This list, will be my favorite albums that I listened to this year. Each album listed will have a short explanation as to why it was my favorite. If the album was previously featured on here, I’ll link out to the review.

So let me get it started with…

Number 10: ¡Carajo! – Donots (2016)

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(Click here for the album review!)

It was a really good year for me when it came to my favorite bands releasing new albums. Number ten on the list is ¡Carajo! by German punk band, Donots. The album was an English language release of their tenth studio album,

From the album review:

Versatility, diversity, and rock… those are three words that you never expect to hear in the same sentence. But the Donots have created an album that is both versatile and diverse, but manages to keep a classic  punk rock sound.

I Will Deny is a giant arena rocker. If you happen to see their performance at Rock am Ring last year, they played a version of Ich mach nicht mehr mit with two other drummers … this song is meant to be played live in front of thousands of people.

No Part of It, is a track that was written about the current refugee crisis throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. Much like Die Ärzte‘s Schrei nach Liebe, it is an anti-fascist/anti-Nazi anthem… It’s got this dance-punk vibe to it only with heavy and roaring guitars and a soaring. I found myself shouting along to the message of the song.

Number Nine: We Were Here – BOY (2015)

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(Click here for the album review!)

As I’ve said in multiple album reviews on here before, I love diversity in my music. I love contrast. I love versatility. More so contrast. This is why I love BOY’s We Were Here. The album provides much needed change of pace and contrast in my playlists that I listen to. I also have a thing for female singers, and Valeska Steiner’s voice is both breathtaking and stunning. Her vocal range is every bit impressive. Compared to the band’s first album, Mutual Friends, the album is more subdued, but is every bit as good as it. The first track grips you and doesn’t let go, giving you a sense of the journey that the duo BOY have been through.

From the album review:

We Were Here is an excellent sophomore album and perfect follow up to their debut Mutual FriendsWe Were Here is an ambitious and charming album that finds it impossible and unnecessary to follow in it’s predecessor’s path.

Number Eight: This Could be a Possibility – Valencia (2005)

(Click here for the album review!)

Loud and local. That’s how I roll sometimes. Valencia was one the bands I listened to so much in high school. So much so I wore out the first CD I ever bought… a copy of Valencia‘s 2005, This Could Be a Possibility. It as my favorite song from the band: Tenth Street. The band was pop punk at it’s finest, and man did I love this album. Each song has that catchy and melodic, yet edgy pop-punk feel to it without it going into too much of mainstream pop-rock.

From the album review:

It’s every easy to dismiss Valencia as just another pop-punk, pop-rock, or emo band. But This Could Be A Possibility is a slick and well-crafted debut. The album is full of soaring choruses, crunchy guitar riffs which harmonize when needed, as well as filled with poppy hooks….

At roughly 33 minutes long, it could be the most fun you’ve ever listen to from a local band.

Number Seven: Music @ Work – The Tragically Hip (2000)

As a friend once told me, “Brian, when it comes to Canadian bands, you need two separate iPods for your Rush and your The Tragically Hip albums…” Well he wasn’t wrong. I listened the hell out of The Tragically Hip‘s Music @ Work. The eponymous track, Music at Work, is the ultimate disgruntled worker’s anthem. The lyrics of the tracks on here are odd and cryptic, yet give a view into the human condition. The album is a work of consistency and the old adage, “less is more”.

Number Six: From Caplan to Belsize – Muncie Girls (2016)

Once again, I struck gold within Spotify’s “suggested songs”. And man does From Caplan to Belsize from Muncie Girls hit a home run. The album is filled with smart lyrics and catchy indie-punk tracks. The album has excellent songwriting, excellent dynamics, and overall catchy quips within the songs. It’s a solid debut album. The album is full of variety while remaining consistent with the sound the band has made from previous smaller releases.

Number Five: Get Lost, Find Yourself – Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (2015)

Another one of the rare finds from within the “suggestions” that Spotify offers. One listen to the third track,  The Other Line, from French pop-punk band, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!‘s Get Lost, Find Yourself, and I was instantly hooked. Tracks like Playing DeadSet it Straight, as well as The Other Line remind us just how fun pop-punk can be. It’s just one of awesome albums to rock out to.

Number Four: Boombox – Beatsteaks (2011)

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(Click here for the album review!)

Once again, another German punk band sneak their way into my most listened to albums for the year. The Beatsteaks, much like the Donots, are veterans of German punk rock. Though Beatsteaks, to me, have always been closer to alternative rock. But I digress. One of my favorite songs from their album Boombox, is Milk & Honey. It’s one of my favorite songs ever.

From the album review:

Milk & Honey. Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß’s vocals on the track are perfect […] Maybe it’s because the song […] is a slightly more gentler side of the band. It’s guitar riffs are solid, the vocals are sharp and crisp, the bass bounces nicely, and piano riffs are excellent.

While their old punk intensity may or may not be fully present on this album, the catchy choruses and riffs are bountiful. This album is a straightforward rocker, that’s no-nonsense. It’s a delightfully dirty, raw, rowdy, and gripping album.

Number Three: Ein Kleines Bisschen Horrorshau – Die Toten Hosen (1988)

Third German punk band on here… and this time it is the “godfathers” of German punk. Ein Kleines Bisschen Horrorshau by Die Toten Hosen, is one of the quintessential German punk albums. It’s also the quintessential Die Toten Hosen album. This album was creatively written and the lyrics are imaginative.

The opening and closing songs are excellent Hier kommt Alex (Here comes Alex), starts off with snippet of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. BEETHOVEN. This album is a concept album based on the film A Clockwork Orange. I mean seriously, how many bands can even pull off something like this? The ending track, Bye, Bye Alex is pretty much structurally and musically similar to the opening track, Hier kommt Alex. Overall it is a excellent album, especially if you have read and seen A Clockwork Orange.  It’s even better if you understand German.

Number two: Afraid of Heights – Billy Talent (2016)

I awaited this album for awhile. Canadian punk band Billy Talent, never disappoints. Their fifth album picks up where Dead Silence left off. Their fifth album, Afraid of Heights captures the essence of previous Billy Talent releases… from the catchy anthems of Billy Talent III, and III to the gravity and headiness of Dead Silence The centerpiece of the album besides the tracks, February Winds, Horses & Chariots, and This is Our War is the two part Afraid of Heights. Part one, the single version and the second track of the album hits home on conquering fears and taking a step into the unknown. The second part of Afraid of Heights, the reprise (and final track), is punctuated by an extremely uplifting guitar solo and closes out the album beautifully.

Number One: Morning Report – Arkells (2016)

Here we are, we’ve arrived at our final destination… number one. This was a no-brainer. I’ve worn out my CD copy of Arkells‘ 2016 release, Morning Report. It’s got so many different feelings and sounds to it, it might actually hurt the album. But it doesn’t. These different sounds and styles add layers of versatility; there is no one set, specific tone to any of the tracks. For me, some of the defining moments on the album are: Private School, Making Due, and My Heart’s Always Yours. Max Kerman, frontman for the band, has a voice that’s like a shape-shifter. Going from an almost gospel rock on Drake’s Dad to the jam that is Private School. While its a bit of a departure from previous work, I couldn’t say enough about this album… but I’ll save that for a later date.

Conclusion

There you have it my top 10 albums that I listened to from the past year. I would love to hear about your top 10 albums that you listened to in the past year. Here’s to an excellent 2017!