Amateurs borrow, professionals steal. So when Australian trio Bloods wanted to pay tribute to a certain ’90s music mecca located in Washington State, Marihuzka Cornelius and Co. didn’t exactly opt for subtlety. The Seattle EP (Share It Music) was recorded at Jack Endino’s studio by Steve Fisk using Kurt Cobain’s guitar amp. (There’s no truth to the rumor that Matt Lukin was there getting everybody high.) The result is a six-song, 14-minute, punk-rock love letter to Grunge City U.S.A., perfect to listen to while flying your … whatever, never mind.
Juice marks the second new album by Born Ruffians’ original power-trio lineup and the first on the band-run Wavy Haze label (in Canada; Yep Roc still handles BR for the rest of the indie-rock realm). The nine-track Juice is full of more of the high-energy, post-punk pop gems we’ve come to expect from these Toronto troublemakers, though we’re sad it’s gonna be a while before we see Born Ruffians play them live. But we’ll wait, because we know that they will find us.
Mt. Joy has a friend in Jesus. After the unexpected massive success of 2016 debut single “Astrovan” (Christ’s ride of choice), Matt Quinn and Co. got into their own van to promote the hell out of their subsequent self-titled first album. The L.A.-by-way-of-Philly quintet is back with sophomore LP Rearrange Us (Dualtone), and it’s even more heavenly than Mt. Joy. At a time when we all need to hear it, Rearrange Us reminds us that we will be all right.
When it comes to timing, Shiner isn’t the luckiest band. When the group last released an album (2001’s The Egg), it was in the immediate aftermath of September 11. Fast forward almost two decades, and the Allen Epley-led quartet is back with long-awaited comeback Schadenfreude, which Shiner has issued during a global pandemic. If you liked the space-y, dynamic, riff-heavy rock the band delivered back in the day, you’re going to love Schadenfreude. You’re also gonna have to wait a while longer to see Epley and Co. play the new stuff live. But that’s the shape of things to come.
In addition to co-fronting the Posies and maintaining an impressive mix of solo work and other collaborations, Ken Stringfellow has been a member of two of the most important rock bands of all-time: R.E.M. and Big Star. But aside from an upcoming Posies single, these days Stringfellow is, like most of us, working at home, alone. On July 25, he’ll do his first-ever full-length, online solo concert, performing songs from his three-decade career. If you know what’s good for you, you will feel like plugging in.