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2021 Albums/EPs: Week 4 (January 22 – 28)

That mid-January week that saw new releases from Shame, Sleaford Mods, Yard Act et al was pretty phenomenal, and I’m using it as an excuse for my slow progress since. Week 4 certainly had its work cut out, but any of these three are worth your time.

Kiwi Jr. – Cooler Returns (Sub Pop)

It’s an unfamiliar feeling discussing more than one album by a band on this blog. Kiwi Jr.’s debut Football Money was part of my 2020 “366 Albums, 1 Year” project. I remember quite enjoying it without being blown away by it. The Canadian indie/garage rockers now bring us their follow-up Cooler Returns.

Offhand, without revisiting the first one, I’d say this latest effort is slightly better. Just the job for fans of Pavement or Parquet Courts, it has a sun-drenched, fun sound that seems a bit out of season and, currently, environment, but that’s no bad thing. Go to the title track for the best verse (for some reason I love the line “I’m not American, but I feel the beat sometimes”), and ‘Omaha’ for the chorus that kills.

Lande Hekt – Going to Hell (Get Better Records)

When I saw the name of this artist and the album title, I was anticipating black/death metal. Turns out it’s pretty easy to listen to.

Lande Hekt is frontwoman for The Muncie Girls, which leaves me none the wiser. I may check more out from her though as this is pretty impressive. It’s a kind of punky, driven pop (as best showcased on ’80 Days of Rain’) and is dense in lyrics, with the title track standing out as a thought-provoking critique of religion and guilt.

Yung – Ongoing Dispute (PNKSLM)

Hey, I’d forgotten about Yung! A Youthful Dream was a fine album from the Danish punk/garage band, but that was right back in 2015. All we’ve had from them since is a few sporadic releases.

In Ongoing Dispute though, they pick up where they left off with nine blistering tracks, including a take on toxic masculinity with ‘Such a Man’, the album’s highlight. My pick from this strong trio of releases.

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