Welcome to The Notebook. Every month explore the new sounds that the Hult Center team (and some special guests) are listening to.
Daniel Olbrych – Content and Design Coordinator
The wait for a new Alkaline Trio album has been 5 years but it’s finally here and hell yes, Blood, Hair and Eyeballs is an explosion of rock & roll; featuring some of the best songs Trio has ever put to tape. Recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606, produced by Cameron Webb and written as a band during the session. Blood finds the Trio at an interesting time in their career with Skiba being done with Blink-182, Andriano coming off not one but two side projects, and a new drummer, Atom Willard (although the drums recorded were Derek Grant) – would the magic be there? For their 10th record the Trio definitely found somthing by writing together. Honestly, I don’t know if they’ve ever sounded this good. Sonically speaking, it’s the best sounding album of their career. It’s like a bigger-budgeted Maybe I’ll Catch Fire. It sounds incredible. A handful of tracks are lively and fun, dare I say more fun than Alkaline Trio has had in the past. That being said, Blood is not a pop record. Not even close. It’s just that Matt, Dan and Atom aren’t angsty 20-year-olds. The trio has been around for 28 years! And while it might not be crass like their cult classic hit “Radio,” Blood, Hair and Eyeballs remains unequivocally Alkaline Trio.
Alkaline Trio – Blood, Hair and Eyeballs
Abbey Aronica – Marketing Manager
I was lucky enough to attend GlobalFEST, a music festival featuring artists from all around the world, this past month during a conference in New York and discovered this band. This group consists of artists from Ukraine who use their music to convey the violence and oppression their home country has been facing. This group combines traditional folk music with EDM sounds & their personal stories, while putting on a full-blown multimedia techno show complete with lyric translations and stunning graphics. This music is so powerfully upbeat in tempo with a message that really matters and resonates with audiences. Although I don’t speak the language, this band has quickly made its way onto my daily playlist. Their most recent album is so stunning that I can’t really pick a favorite track but I’d recommend heading to their YouTube channel so that you can watch the videos that go along with these songs to add context. This music truly builds empathy through deeply emotional lyrics & themes when we need it most – their voices are so important and I cannot recommend listening/watching more.
Balaklava Blues – “LET ME OUT”
I found this song while scrolling on TikTok one night and I’m really grateful I looked into it a bit more! I hadn’t heard of this artist before and definitely need to listen to more of their stuff because I really enjoyed this single off of their EP Eulogize. This alt/indie artist has a really cool voice and strong, steady beat throughout this track that makes me want to dance…until you REALLY listen to the lyrics. This song centers around themes of emotional manipulation and dependence in a relationship – you can really feel the pain in the lyrics despite it being a little more fun musically. I’m recommending this song for now but as I dive a little more into their discography, I think this artist will definitely make it onto some of my playlists.
Shaya Zamora – “Cigarette”
Zeph Michaels – Sr. Admin Specialist
Holding down the fuzzy fort, Ty Segall invokes some George Harrison on his new album. This is by far his most melodic sound to date but I appreciate that he keeps his signature noise and grit. Just like all his works, there is a lot going on here, tracks like “I Hear” or “Hi Dee Dee” sound like early David Bowie or The Talking Heads. Overall it’s a very fun album to help shake off some of the chill of winter and wake up for spring.
Ty Segall – Three Bells
Greg – House of Records
On the second release without the great Janet Weiss playing drums, touring drummer Angie Boylan is excellent throughout. Corrine Tucker has become a very good singer by toning down the histrionics just a hair. Unfairly or not, this fine collection of new songs will be compared to their landmark 2005 release, The Woods. Carrie Brownstein’s guitar playing is better than ever, and her occasional vocal gives the record some nice contrasts. A surprising regeneration of this venerable band.
Sleater-Kinney – Little Rope
The Numero Group label has unearthed yet another batch of obscure 70s soul gems by unknown artists, mostly from the Washington, D.C. area. Why weren’t some of these hits? Funky basslines, punchy horn arrangements, soulful crooning, raspy shouting–everything we love about 70s soul is here.
Eccentric Soul – The Saadia Label
Eryn Hummel – Marketing Coordinator
Hans Williams closed out January with a single release of “Skin” which I knew I loved immediately. An earthy acoustic ambience drops into a fullness of sound featuring glittering waves cresting in an intimate bluesy sea and the result is a song that feels poignant and pensive – some of my favorite signatures of a great song.
Hans Williams – “Skin”
My most recent late-to-the-game discovery has been spinning nonstop with ENNY’s latest album We Go Again. “Take It Slow (feat. Loyle Carner)” is tops as a lowkey reflective anthem that carries me across verses with its soulful bassline grooves and lucid lyricism. Third track “Charge It” is arguably the hypnotic standout carrying the album forward with the allure and atmosphere that makes ENNY’s sound so standout.
ENNY – “Take it Slow (feat. Loyle Carner)”
Rich Hobby – Director of Marketing
IDLES just hit like a ten-tonne hammer and I have an endless appetite for their Bristol based scrum-punk that is always bristling with agitation. They’re on a tear of new singles, so guessing a new full-length can’t be too far behind (confirmed new album Tangk releasing Feb 16), and each song has been a real treat. “Gift Horse” keeps up their punchy and brooding punk sensibilities while still working in their standard building choruses. “Dancer,” on the other hand, shows off a wonderful tilt to their normal sound via collaboration with LCD Soundsystem, which ends up being a heavenly pairing as it uses the starkness of the IDLES sound but also works in a new energy for the chorus before dropping precariously into the grime again, which I find to be the perfect music pairing to grind out these lingering winter days.
IDLES – “Gift Horse” & “Dancer”