Miles Raymer, Reader music critic:
Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame, Ferrari Boyz: There are certain things one expects of an album-length collaboration between Atlanta rappers Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame. That the two will spend a good chunk of the LP repeating their own names. That Gucci will make car noises with his mouth. That there will be songs ostensibly about dealing cocaine but on a more essential level about making people want to tear the club up (even if they’re stuck in a work chair in a home office). Ferrari Boyz does all of these things, occasionally at the same time, as on “15th and the 1st,” which if you could express as a weight how much it bangs would come in well over a ton.
Earlove high-fidelity earplugs: Were you aware that the ringing in your ears after you’ve been exposed to sufficiently loud noises represents the last time you’ll ever hear that particular frequency? When I read that a few years ago I tried to ballpark the number of times my ears have rang—and immediately went in search of decent hearing protection. I went with locally made Earlove earplugs. They’re surprisingly comfortable (once you get used to them) and unlike foam earplugs, they actually improve the experience of listening to most bands; by avoiding aural overload you can pick out more detail. Mine cost $10 and I’ve never had to replace them. If you value your hearing you should buy a pair. If you attend more than five metal shows a year that goes double.
Stagnant Pools: I’ve recently been tipped off to the fact that Bloomington, Indiana, is bursting with really good bands. The best I’ve heard is Stagnant Pools, a two-piece that unites the slate gray mood of Joy Division, the tranciness of Krautrock, the simple melodies of garage, and Sonic Youth’s feedback fetishism. If you were booking a Disappears show in Bloomington these guys would be your first pick to open. That would be a killer show.
David Posey, Chef de cuisine, Blackbird:
This is tough because I listen to a lot of music. These are things that have impressed me lately:
The Body, All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood: This album got me back into heavy music. (Not that I left it; we were just on a break.) It is super heavy and not in a way I’ve ever heard before. The guy’s voice amazes me. All the songs are laid out really well, and I can’t get over that they are a two-piece band.
Glasser: I listened to these guys occasionally but got into them after I saw them live. The way they run everything through one computer to generate different sounds for each instrument is so awesome. They are a four-piece but sound like a huge orchestra.
Bad Sports, Kings of the Weekend: This is just a really fun summer band. They’re very Ramones-esque and the songs kind of remind me of Nobunny, so they aren’t super original but very enjoyable. I bet I will only play this another couple of times ’cause I’ve listened to it so much, but I’m going to hear it a lot more—my girlfriend loves it.
Bryce Caron, Pastry chef, Blackbird; guitarist for the (Glorious) Teaparty (who would like us to note that the band started before the Tea Party):
Big Science: These guys are good buddies of mine and are doing pretty well for themselves, both around town and on the road. They released their second EP last year, Skyscraper Sound, and it lives on or near my turntable pretty much all the time. There’s tons of delay on the guitars, which I love, and Jeremy Pena is one of the best drummers in town. You get this postpunk, shoegazey, pop-laden melange that I can’t get bored with. The live shows are even better. The absence of studio perfectionism is amply compensated with a surprising amount of energy for something so smooth on record.
Sissy Mena: We opened for them at SubT last year and had a blast. They’re a three-piece but put out some serious sound. We’re in the middle of a shoegaze revival, and Sissy Mena should have been in the vanguard. It’s too noisy to be mere pop, too melodic to fit in with Jesus and Mary Chain. What they do is simply put on a great show with incredible intensity.
Population: My friend Julian used to drum for Hostage Juliet, and after their demise they formed Population. They’re definitely in TNWOAPPPANW (The New Wave of American Post Post Punk and New Wave). Tons of Joy Division influence, but they get crazy with the keyboards too, fully embracing all the awesome things about the 80s. Bonus: they released their first material on cassette. Who does that anymore?