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Piroshka – Brickbat

Bella Union
The debut album Brickbat by Piroshka is an instantly catchy listen and adds credence to my opinion that the British simply make the best rock music. I’m admittedly unfamiliar with Lush, Elastica, Moose, and Modern English beyond the obvious Modern English song. What I can say definitively is that regardless of whether you were into any of those bands, this is an “alternative” record worth your time. Brickbat has punk energy but enough pop hooks so it doesn’t get stale. Also, the vocals on Brickbat are excellent. As always with a great record, the people who mixed, engineered, and produced this album deserve immense credit.

The little I do know about the band members’ backgrounds is that Lush was categorized as a shoegaze act. This is not a shoegaze album, and good. I think I’ve heard enough washed out reverb sounds for the year, and when I want that sound I have my My Bloody Valentine records. Piroshka are an indie-rock band in the true sense of the word—not the co-opted term that was used to describe a myriad of emo bands in the mid-2000s and beyond that wanted/want to avoid being labeled emo.
There isn’t a specific band this album reminds me of which is always a great and rare thing in the music world. I hope Piroshka releases Brickbeat on cassette because this is one I would add to my collection in a heartbeat. Like most truly great LPs, in my opinion, there isn’t one track that towers above the others in terms of quality. My advice is just hit play from the beginning and let it run. However, my personal favorite might be “Hated by the Powers.” If there’s an anthem on here that track is the one. Great songwriting and great studio work, what’s not to love? Very highly recommended.

Night Windows – A Week or Two That Will Sorely Be Missed
Self Released
The latest album from Night Windows is a collection of folk-rock songs that feel like they would be at home in the late 90s wave of indie rock and indie pop. Throughout the album I was reminded of one of my favorite bands, Elf Power, because of the way that Night Windows relies so heavily on auxiliary instrumentation. Without the accompanying instruments on this album, I believe the songs would still sound like well written pop songs but the full band adds another dimension that makes A Week or Two a more immersive listening experience.

My favorite tracks on the album are “World out of This World,” and “Truth Is (He’s Surrounded.” Night Windows manages to take bleak lyrics and fill them in with catchy melodies. It’s a nice juxtaposition that I’ve always enjoyed in music: when someone sings happily about a sad subject. The song lengths fit the songs well and build up nicely until the final two songs which are the longest record. Ben Hughes’ voice has a clear and full tone to it that hints at commercial appeal. I’m reminded of an extremely happy Conor Oberst but without that nagging quality that Oberst has to his vocals. This is indie rock the way it used to be done before blogs turned it into an amorphous zone where artists who don’t rock can call themselves indie. Recommended.

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