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Jimmy Lo Fi - Dull Boy Album Review

Photographer:  Eddie Gancos

Photographer: Eddie Gancos

Jimmy Lo Fi, the nom de guerre of Jimmy Wilkens, releases his first solo album on November 1st. Wilkens is also the guitarist for The Sonder Bombs, as well as the drummer for Drag Daze. Dull Boy is his first solo project. He previously released four singles from the album, “Mountains,” “Boulevard,” “Apricots & Onions” and “Dammit, Comma, Dammit” which are available for streaming if you want to get a taste of the full album before it releases. Dull Boy will have a total of ten tracks. 

Described as post-emo/garage/indie, Jimmy Lo Fi is an artist I’d like to see more from in the future. Right from the first song on Dull Boy, I’m into it. The album is full of atmosphere, and definitely fits a dreamy indie bill.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Album Artwork: RB Roe

Album Artwork: RB Roe

Dull Boy Tracklist:
1. 6 O’Clock News
2. Mountains
3. Therapy
4. Apricots & Onions
5. Just Relax, Dude!
6. American Pride Self-Serv Car Wash
7. Dammit, Comma, Dammit
8. Boulevard
9. Chaos Complex
10. Sad Closer

This album is cathartic, easy-going and ready to tell you it’s story. I appreciated the slower, more emotional songs incredibly. My favorite off this album is track three, “Therapy.” A track I would play when I start shifting into daydream mode. It starts off with an acoustic riff I love, and the melody and key changes keep you busy, making any listener feel some type of way. Track five, “Just Relax, Dude!” is another of my favorites, and I like the angrier tone of this song. (If you’re a cop don’t read this) Of course, let’s be real, it’s mostly because of lyric “I love to smoke weed,” because, dude, same.

Mr. Lo Fi has a talent for songwriting, which is something that becomes apparent when you really start listening. The lyrics of “Dammit, Comma, Dammit” are also pretty funny - “Dammit, I forgot to water my plants again / Dammit, I forgot to shower again” (again, same) - and then later in the song, “What should I do, smoke a bowl or take a poop?” (The eternal internal dilemma). It conveys a ridiculousness that works, not only because the musicality of the song flows really well and sounds great; but, also because the lyrics are, to use a cliché, relatable, even while making you laugh.

There’s a definitive melancholy side to Jimmy’s lyrics. A line in “Chaos Complex” that I love: “How come I don’t feel good when I’m thriving? I think it might be time to stop trying.” I listened to that one twice because I liked it so much, and it slid into second place for me, right after “Therapy.” The last song “Sad Closer” (an accurate title) takes the bronze medal. Whether he’s making you laugh, or making sure you’re both having an existential crisis lyrically, Jimmy Lo Fi gives us something one of a kind, a signature all his own.

Overall, it’s safe to say I loved this album.

I think Dull Boy is a great introduction for Jimmy Lo Fi, and it shows a promising start to a solo career. The vocals do get more solidified as the album progresses, and it’s just the first song that feels off to me, but maybe that’s only a weird me thing. Audiences can have a listen and decide for themselves when the album drops on November 1st. You can preorder the digital album, the CD version, or even a cassette tape from Jimmy’s Bandcamp!

Check out the social media down below to follow Jimmy Lo Fi’s progress!

Jimmy Lo Fi: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Bandcamp //Spotify

Honeytiger - Brain On The Wall Review

One of our Philadelphia favorites, and long time Hook supporters, Josh Glauser and Isaac Clark are Honeytiger. Two-piece, Philadelphia-based indie-rock band just released Brain On The Wall, their first full-length album, earlier this month. According to their bio on their website, “Honeytiger takes on catchy alt-rock, dark indie-rock, and broken-hearted slow-motion car crash songs,” which is like, such a hook for me that they must have reached inside my mind and fished out the weird idiosyncrasies of my music taste. Broken-hearted slow-motion car crash songs are my favorite songs. One could argue that’s all I listen to. I’m such a drama queen.

For something that was recorded in a basement (from the mouth of guitarist & vocalist Isaac Clark), Brain On The Wall sounds nothing less than professionally mixed to me. Honeytiger has excellent musicality, and this LP harks upon previous releases in a real, grown-up way. Clark’s vocals will remind you of bands like Cage the Elephant and Muse, while the instrumental aspect is a classic indie sound that shouts: this band is going places!

Before we move on, check out the tracklist below to follow along!

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Brain On The Wall Tracklist:
1.
I Quit
2. Dawdler
3. Point Breeze
4. Sundrop
5. South Philly Summertime
6. Ultraviolet Buzzing Machine
7. Piece of Cake
8. I’m Alright
9. Confinement Howl
10. Robot
11. Same Fears
12. Endless Somersault


This is a perfectly succinct album, and a pleasant listening experience all the way through.

Mellow and relaxing for the most part, one of those albums you like to have on in the background, maybe while you’re studying or getting some work done. This feels on-par with Honeytiger’s previous work - their debut full-length drawing upon the successes of their EP work allows the band to come full circle for long-time listeners, while also remaining welcoming to new fans. A smooth, indie overlaid with hard-hitting guitar and percussion which feels like the first sip of coke on a warm day.

I loved track nine, “Confinement Howl,” as short as it was, and the final track, “Endless Somersault” (a couple of those car crash songs). “Confinement Howl” and an earlier track, “Ultraviolet Buzzing Machine,” seem to serve as transitional songs - they’re both recorded the same way, with nothing but a soft acoustic guitar and vocal, which sound like they’re playing through an old record. As tracks six and nine, they bookend the middle and end of the album, and I really appreciated that technique.

Since our first review of Tangerine back in 2017, and Half Clean in 2016, Honeytiger remains, to us, a band to watch out for, one on the rise. Their sound is familiar, sharing similarities to other well-known indie bands, I’d say these guys have a pretty good chance of making it.

Check out Brain On The Wall available for streaming and purchase now. You can get a digital album or a vinyl! All of the band’s links are available on their website. 

Honeytiger: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Website // Bandcamp

Inspector 34 - Don't Worry This Is Ok Review

Music you’ve heard for the very first time, but takes you to a place where everyone knows your name? That’s precisely where you’re going from the very first strum, the opening note of Lowell Massachusetts powerhouse Inspector 34.

This isn’t your typical EP either, Don’t Worry This Is OK, dropped with a transformative music video for their lead track “Fed Up.” Talk about hearing your guitar and seeing it in action, too! A band, who aren’t strangers to tremendous talent, are showcased front and center as the collective vision of Jim Warren, Pat Auclair, Silas Price, Ben Kaplowitz, and Alexandra Derderian! At just under 15 minutes (but you’ll wish for 5x that length in the end) this quartet of songs will leave you hungry for more! It’s all highs and no lows from here on out!

Your guide for the ride, check out the tracklist below!

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Don’t Worry This Is Ok:
1. Fed up
2. Hurts
3. Try So Hard
4. That Charming Man

If you gave this a listen before continuing, then welcome back! If not, then buckle in because you’re headed to transcendent places.

Have you ever wanted a soundtrack for your life? Needed something better than words to describe a feeling? Well look no further my friends. The opening track encapsulates you with a magnetic ambience, you are transfixed by the swelling of passion around you. Every track feels like the crest and fall of a wave, blending perfectly together. Sometimes we need more than words and other times we need outstanding voices! If I could sing, I would sing the praises of the vocals throughout this EP. What are a completely spellbinding incantation that takes you to the epicenter that is raw emotion.

In the mood for sexy baselines? Prepare to be seduced. Need a little bit of folk twang to start your day? Then look no further! Inspector 34 delivers on every front you’ve thought of and probably some you haven’t and that’s just four songs. Imagine what they have in store for you next!

Picking a favorite song here is difficult but we’re going with Track 3, ‘Try So Hard,’ and it does. I wish this track was longer, it’s the first song I played over again, and again, the attitude is infectious, the perfect illustration of what this band is capable of. This is the song you want headlining your life and playing in the background every time you do something “Cool guys don’t look at explosions” type worthy.

I have been in and around the music scene a very long time, and I struggle to imagine a more consistent, powerful band for my first formal review here for The Hook. You heard it hear first before you no doubt here it everywhere, you are going to want more, if you ever need a formula on how to do it right, this is it.

Let’s listen together, soon, and take a deeper inspection into Inspector 34 using their social media links down below!

Inspector 34: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram //Spotify

Curtis Cooper - Graceful Review

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We have been following Curtis Cooper since our 2016 inception as a music magazine. They are one of the biggest reasons we were successful in Philly, and we couldn’t thank them enough. When Curtis came to us with their latest album, we were beyond excited to get started.

Graceful is the third full length release - following Laughing In Line and Messy. With a whole year between Messy and Graceful, there is a lot to anticipate from the Philadelphia native and DIY legend. Graceful is an ode to Curtis Cooper - a turn around for the singer & songwriter that encapsulates years of learning, hurt, love, and loss into a succinct 13-track album.

Check out the track list below to follow along!

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Graceful Tracklist:
1. Breathe Out
2. Outta Here
3. Goodbye Gorgeous
4. Graceful
5. Best Dress
6. Tall
7. I Wish I Could Love You (ft. Ganou)
8. All Of The Time
9. Pretty
10. Latency
11. Can’t Decide
12. I Like You
13. I’m Glad

Instrumentally, Graceful is what I’ve always wanted from Curtis Cooper. It is poignant, heavy hitting, and beautiful. Indie-folk mixture of sound, Cooper uses every aspect of this album to lament, and lament hard. Curtis hasn’t lost any of themself in this album, instead highlighting on their already intellectual instrumental performance and heartfelt lyricism - while also upgrading their understanding of music’s full potential as a tool and art form to express oneself.

Something I’ve always admired about Curtis is their ability to write. Graceful does not lack any poetic emphasis, and while listening (if you can) reading the lyrics for this album will only make it that much sweeter, more tender, and hurtful (in a good way). Regardless, it takes a talented musician to understand the importance the whole thing takes - lyric, melody, instrument, and mood. This album encapsulates it - an impeccable, brooding, but matured take from Curtis Cooper.

Please check out this album, stream it, buy it, compliment Curtis personally about how stellar it is. You won’t regret it. To follow what’s going on for Curtis Cooper, check out their social media down below!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // Bandcamp

Party Muscles - Does It Even Matter? Review

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Party Muscles are a culmination of Philadelphia’s strongest music minds - a kinship between two friends working in a record store, bonding over their love for garage rock, melody, and good freakin’ tunes. Celebrating and riding the high from their August 2nd, 2019 release - Does It Even Matter?, Party Muscles are ready to play shows, make feel good tunes, and keep kickin’ ass.

Thanks to the efforts of current band lineup Colin McCarry, Beau Everett Gordon, Tyler Pursel and Joshua Strange for making up the indie rock infused sound of Party Muscles. A sound one could describe as fun, wildly talented, and always a damn good time. Does It Even Matter? is the bands debut effort - one that is an impressive, well written collection of bops sure to turn your summer around.

Check out the track list below to follow along!

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Does It Even Matter? Tracklist:
1. She Goes To Juuliard
2. Nascent
3. Peruvian Sunshine
4. Photography Raptor
5. I’m The Jaguar
6. Foliage
7. Lorraine
8. Capgun
9. Secret Language
10. Pocari Sweat
11. Inside Out

With inspiration coming from early 2000’s bands like The Strokes, The Libertines, Parquet Courts and The Hives, it’s easy to pick up on what Party Muscles wants their sound to be. Does It Even Matter? is an incredible example of a successful, impactful debut album that sets the standard for everything else to follow. It is well constructed, written with purpose, and performed meticulously. The 11-track album floats between itself, never skipping a beat, but never keeping it the same. The record was truly such a good time to listen to and enjoy, it made writing a review about it difficult.

Enough said.

All songs on the album were written by band creators, Tyler Pursel and Colin Mccarry. It was produced by Tyler Pursel and Josh Strange, and finally recorded at Strange Audio Electronics and Creep Records. A true Philadelphia project, through and through. What I enjoyed most about this album was that it created it’s own space to exist within. It is a breath of fresh air in a space that cultivates a hugely DIY core, and while Party Muscles and Does It Even Matter? are well crafted, and poignant, they never take themselves too seriously. Melodic, and groovy - their sound resonates with a multitude of listeners by culminating a variety of genre-esque sounds. Their draw on early 2000’s indie rock doesn’t over power their message, and my biggest criticism is I wish I could’ve read the lyrics for the tracks while listening.

Either way - this is a good album, and it makes me excited for the future of Party Muscles. Give it a listen, check out a show, buy some merch! The good people in Party Muscles have an August residency at Ortliebs - August 15th, 22nd and 29th, which means you have zero reason to miss out on these talented up & comers.

For more information, follow their social media links down below!

Party Muscles: Bandcamp // Facebook

Wack Cheddar - Who Cut The Cheese? Review

Entirely instrumental, and full of funky fresh tunes, Wack Cheddar knows how to make every moment feel cool, calm and collected. Philadelphia, PA 6-piece jazz & funk infused group is as much fun, and as serious, about making good music as anyone can (or should) be. With shows, festivals and shared stages all over the tri-state area under their belts, Wack Cheddar is well versed in bringing all they have to whatever they’re doing.

Who Cut The Cheese is the band's latest release, available for streaming and purchase since July 16th, 2019 - the band is riding the high of new music, a more defined sound, and the endless possibilities of the future. The well constructed, easy to listen, but instrumentally poised EP is one that truly highlights the growth that Wack Cheddar has made throughout the years.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along with our review!

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Who Cut The Cheese Tracklist:
1. It Wasn’t Me
2. Ex-Lover Trash Talk
3. Psycho From Astoria
4. Are We Distracting You?





The jazzy personality of Who Cut The Cheese is the corner stone for elements the band works so hard to bring in - a level of funk, pop and rock, which immerse themselves in for a successful blending of sound. Entirely instrumental, the band knows how to tell a well crafted story. Driven by a dynamo horn section, while also holding the beat steady with a lively, hard-hitting rhythm section, Wack Cheddar brings their music to life right in front of your eyes. Each of the talented musicians brings a tasteful, masterful sound.

A true showcase of hard work and passionate music making, but also never taking itself too seriously, Wack Cheddar solidifies their testimonial to music in this EP. Available on all streaming platforms, Who Cut The Cheese rings in a new era for Wack Cheddar, and what they have to offer in the future.

The group is available for shows, and you can check out their music on any of their social media links and streaming services down below!

Wack Cheddar: Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp

Dysfunktone - Collection Perspective Album Review

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Good vibes & good dudes, Dysfunktone is here to bring all they’ve got.

Long Island born and bred, the four piece band has set their hearts on creating music that inspires people to dance, listen, and be in the moment. Thanks to the efforts of current members Rob Meza (Guitar & Vocals), Brandon Hanna (Guitar & Vocals), David Wolfsohn (Bass & Vocals), and Dakota Henry (Drums), Dysfunktone is looking forward to what’s in store for their musical future.

From humble beginnings in 2015, Dysfunktone has worked hard to not stick to any one sound, while also creating a feeling for listeners with music all their own. Jazz, reggae, rock, funk, metal: all genres that could describe any sound from the foursome at any given time. Collective Perspective is the culmination of that work, their first release since 2017.

Check out the 9-track LP down below to get a sense of what we’re talking about!

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Collective Perspective Tracklist:
1. Afterimage
2. Luminescence
3. Dementia
4. Reflection Collection
5. Toasty
6. Clouded
7. Mirror
8. Hourglass
9. Feelin' Time

The 9-track LP is a catch all for Dysfunktone’s self proclaimed genre blending good vibes. The tracks mostly remind me of Acid Rock and Funky Jazz having a baby - with the shortest song being around 3 minutes, and the longest being over 11 minutes. Generally, the album is good. It floats seamlessly between each track, it doesn’t ever take itself too seriously, and it feels welcoming even to novice listeners of Dysfunktone.

I can appreciate a genre blending jam band as much as the next person, but part of me wants to ask the question: why and also who cares? The album can leave a little bit to ask in the sense of togetherness, and what makes this album different than their 2017 release? I wonder what aspects of genre blending can be applied to make a concise, cohesive album without giving up the ideals that the band already carries. The album feels too all over, and can make any listener feel a little alienated upon first or second hear-thru.

Moving forward, I would look forward to an album that sees itself in a better way. One that takes the idea of genre blending, and pushes it into the song making, rather than just putting a multitude of different songs together and calling it as such. I like the vibe, I like the tone - the band feels good to listen to, but constructing an album is just as important as the songs that are in it, and taking the time to thoughtfully craft is what I’d be interested in.

As far as the band is concerned, Dysfunktone’s goals are simple: keep playing shows, spreading good vibes, and making good music. DIY to their core, and ready to spread the love, Dysfunktone is headed towards a bright future. If you like something to bob your head along to, Dysfunktone’s got you covered - but, ultimately, if you like good music and good people, well then you’ve found your people, regardless.

Check out Dysfunktone’s social media to keep up with everything they’ve got going on, including (but not limited to) shows, new releases, and good tunes!

Dysfunktone: Facebook

Young Pilgrims - Anhedonia Review

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An emotional lofi pop punk look at what it's like to make lots of mistakes a lot of the time, and tons of other not fun emotions are what Young Pilgrims are aiming for in their latest release, Anhedonia. The 7-track EP is a staggering, impressive and sentimental album that creeps in and out.

The result of a merger between two high-school bands, Young Pilgrims are Sean Brown (Singer, guitarist), Zack Abel (Bassist, soft tenor backing vocalist), and Jesse Appel (Drummer/Percussionist). Their first album, Kyoko and a Rocket to the Moon, was released July 2013. It was recorded in Rhawn Street Studios in Philadelphia, with mixing and mastering done by Zach Brown. Anhedonia, was released January 2018 after an extended hiatus, but we're excited for their return!

Check out Anhedonia's tracklist below!

Album Art: Thomsen Cummings

Album Art: Thomsen Cummings

Anhedonia Tracklist:
1. The Death Ray
2. Get Lucid!
3. Attempt No. 3
4. FCT
5. Witch Toucher
6. Be Good
7. My Friend Frida Kahlo

 

 

 

The groovy, tempermental 7-track compilation is an exciting welcome back for the threesome. The level of growth is enthralling and means the hiatus, while long, was not for naught.

Opening track "The Death Ray" introduces you to the sound that Young Pilgrims have cultivated, a return into mind melting emotions and sound. Instrumentally, each track does a really fantastic job of tying into one another, but also remaining stand alone. The cohesive nature of this album is surprising and makes it an easy listen through.

With hints of pop punk, you get just enough meaning to make Anhedonia a gooey melting pot. We've got the album streaming down below for you via Bandcamp, so check it out and formulate your own opinions!

You can check out this psychedelic feels piece on their social media links down below so you don't miss anything!

Young Pilgrims: Facebook