The Blakes (EP)
The Blakes believe that sensitivity is totally overrated. Thank goodness for that. In a world where every five minutes the radio plays insincere tearjerkers like "Hey There, Delilah" -- hurp! just threw up a bit there, sorry -- this Seattle trio beefs up its heartfelt pop with high doses of the mean and the bratty. For example, they manage to make the lyrics "gamma gamma gamma lamma magoo" sound menacing. This is pop from the Ramones-Stooges school, but it is pop and not punk, so instead of going dumb it goes smart and angry.
Singer Garnet Husak does seem to tone it down a little on the apology ballad "Die," at least at first, but even after he says he's sorry that he hurt you, the way he's yowling "something in me dies" pretty much proves that it's all your fault. And then he kicks your ass with a guitar solo. Whatever you did to make him mad, keep doing it.
-- JOEL HARTSE
Classic rock and indie rock aren't usually friends. Which is a shame, because they could get together and commiserate about how their genre names have negative connotations: One gets its name from the fact that it's old, the other from the fact that it (usually) doesn't make money.
In any case, Portland's indie rockers Pseudosix are friends with classic rock. Although "Some Sort of Revelation" starts their new album with the dark, plodding beat of sad-sack indie rock, by the time it hits the chorus, it's pure '70s-harmony heaven. Moving on, we've got the acoustic Kinks-style "Under the Waves" and the power-pop ballad "Paltry Remains." By the time we get to the Wilco-ish "Treacherous Ways," Pseudosix has completely ensconced itself in bygone decades. This is a good thing, since we are starting to realize that maybe music was better back then anyway.
-- JOEL HARTSE
DOWNLOAD: "A Million Shards"