ALBUM REVIEW: Brick Briscoe - Songs To Yell To

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Brick Briscoe returns with his ninth studio album release, Songs To Yell To. The album is a restless continuation of Briscoe’s knack for brash post-punk songs about sexuality and identity, citing influences from The Ramones, Buzzcocks, and the 70’s era CBGB club scene. 

From the opening chords of the opener, “Give Me a Lift,” you’re pulled into a punk-fueled road trip that twists and turns, driven by Sal Maida’s bass and Frank Funaro’s rollicking drums. Of course, Briscoe is along for the ride with some tongue-in-cheek jabs like, “this haircut cost me 50 bucks and when they write about me, they’re gonna laugh. It’s their choice.”

Fan favorite “Jack the Ripper” returns stripped down, accompanied by a melancholic bass riff that permeates the track with a very different feel than the hard shredder version featured in the What Happened to Me (2000-2014) compilation album.

“Everybody Sings,” has a distinctly low-fi vibe similar to the likes of Guided By Voices. The melodious, punk rock trailblazer “5 Sick 7” follows with Joey Ramone stylized drumming.

No Brick Briscoe album is complete without snarky yet strangely relatable wisdom. Briscoe offers life advice in “I’m Not Impressed By This Life Very Much” with the lyric, “At 20, you suck/at 30, you suck/ at 40, you’re fucked.” Relationships are questioned in “The Great Maybe,” with, “Being with you never made any sense/though sometimes I like the way you dress/if I drink enough maybe I could reinvent you.”

Briscoe seems to acknowledge his offhanded remarks in “Constant Banging” with, “Nice ass/ those were the first words out of my mouth/ I say things I’m not proud of but I can’t help it.”

As Songs To Yell To winds down, it does so gently, with the reflective “Boys Keep Swinging.” An acoustic guitar accompanied by television noise playing in the background, while Briscoe reminisces about life being simpler as a young boy.

If you want to hear an album that captures the spirit of punk perfectly then Songs To Yell To would be a great choice. Brick Briscoe embraces the best elements of abrasive language and delivers it with guitar-driven fury.

Check out Brick’s radio show called “The Song Show.” Join Brick as he discusses various music topics with surprise musical guests. Listen HERE.

Purchase Brick's music HERE.

Recommended Tracks: “Jack the Ripper,” “Everybody Sings,” “5 Sick 7,” and “I’m Not Impressed By This Life Very Much.”

ALBUM REVIEW: Matt York - Between the Bars

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Returning with his newest release, Between the Bars, Matt York beckons listeners to pull up a bar stool for some drunken wisdom. Filled with the country spirit, the rhythms burst with driving guitars, saloon-esque pianos, and a brooding horn section. These songs convey the heartache of life and relationships gone wrong.

Opening the album is “All Over the Town,” which thrives on a pulsing guitar melody. The song deals with the aftermath of a failed relationship. You know, the kind when the whole town seems to want to gossip about it? It’s one of the more surprisingly upbeat tunes on the album even with the lyric, “You’ve gone out and changed your mind/I don’t know how I’ve survived.”

“Honkytonk Hangover” waltzes you through the doors of a 1950’s Bakersfield saloon. This old school country ballad surges with powerful energy, exploring the despair that even though life is full of regrets, it’s too late to turn back. York reflects this with, “Introduced my sadness to a beer/No one likes me here at the honkytonk/but I don’t feel alone when I’m here.” With a lively organ solo, a feathery piano waltz, and an infectious upbeat tempo, the track challenges our perceptions of resilience while employing self-loathing.

Next is “When the War Began,” an emotive break up song that centers around a toxic romance. For anyone that has had to face rejection, the lyric, “Yeah, there’s never a nice way to say you’re not the one,” is uncomfortably relatable. York’s vocals may be carefree, but his lyrics bring a sense of pain that’s all too real. The contemplative guitar and intensity of the organ in the latter half support the melody's bluesy edge.

Matthew Girard’s beautiful yet mournful trumpet solo stands out in “September’s Coming Soon,” where York’s vocals soar over the nimble Spanish guitar. “Man Who Does Nothing” is a wistful rumination from a man that just can’t get his life together. The acoustic guitar elevates its appeal. “Calling for You” closes out the album with ethereal vocals that reveal a storm of emotion.

Matt York demonstrates with this album a real knack for guitar playing and a suburb use of words as a songwriter. Between the Bars explores with lush instrumentation the inner madness of a resilient soul. The character may not have things figured out but he's still trying somehow.

Between the Bars will be available on November 3rd. You can purchase the album on Matt York's Bandcamp page. 

Matt York will perform a special album release show on November 3rd at the Atwoods Tavern in Cambridge, MA.

Recommended Tracks: “All Over the Town,” “Honkytonk Hangover,” “When the War Began,” and “September’s Coming Soon”