Community College - 'Comco'

The Magical Possibility of Unlearning: A Review of Community College’s Comco

Boston based trio Community College just debuted their full-length album Comco on March 8 via Disposable America. The trio uses their songwriting to document the process of unlearning their extremely evangelical upbringing.

As much as we are constantly learning, we are constantly unlearning. The habits, vices, ideas, values that parents, old boyfriend or girlfriends, school, friends, have taught us so fickley have translated to how we think, talk, breathe, and live. This album is more about this. How do you become your own person? And what happens when all your values crumble like sand castles in front of you?

The lyrics aren't anything extravagant, they are simple and in this simplicity, you can find the profound. The way saying “I love you” can be so powerful and changing. The song “Novocaine” introduces the listener to the sadness consuming his life. The numbing agent is so wonderfully metaphor to the depression that comes into his life. A time where it is hard to feel, hard to smile, hard to live. Everything exists in waves. The 2010s have been turbulent troublesome years. Everything can feel desolate. Shooting after shooting, the rise of white nationalism, a general feeling of being unsafe. It’s hard to feel hopeful sometimes.

In “Gasoline” the voice and guitar chords change. The oh’s are painful, just a croak quivering on the vocal cords just right before a vocal break. It is like looking at a girl you used to love kissing another boy and realizing she’s moved on and you’re just existing like a dinosaur who has turned to gasoline waiting... just waiting to be used up, for your prolonged existence to just end. Or getting a fatally somber drunk, going to the bathroom to take a piss, seeing your face in the mirror and not exactly liking what you see but not knowing what to do with this news. A slow crescendo where they finally coalesce into one sound at the utter of the words “honesty is trouble to me.”

“Drunk On Sunday Morning” comes into the thick of depression. Depression, where things just aren't how they used to be. Even getting off becomes mundane and dumb. You’re tired, then you’re up for 36 hours. You’re hot, then cold. Everything doesn't change and somehow does. The landscape is too unfamiliar. It’s warping. Your insides don't feel right, like gasoline. You sleep all day yet you are still tired all the time. There is a sag to your bones, weight in your marrow.

The album ends with the song “Fine” marking coming out the depressive hole. It becomes gradually more upbeat but still somber. The song marks a change into a period of growth with hunger, sleep, and a new tattoo. Self-care isn’t always exciting, sometimes it regulating basic human behavior and needs. “Do you feel fine?,” things like these checking in with yourself so one day we can be fine and mean it. Even when you do the right things you cannot always feel “fine” there is no exact way to be “better.”

Although many great individual songs, an album is more than that. An album is a cohesive sound that needs variety. Humans love repetition, it’s comforting. We’ll make order out of disorder just to sleep at night. However, in art, we seldom do. Although songs like “Fine” break the mold in this album, a greater range and experimentation would elevate Community College’s Comco. The arc the album has presented is beautiful with the introduction of the numbing to becoming “fine.” The simple songwriting effortlessly describes this lingering sadness and has great power to it. I am excited to see what comes from Community College.

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Written by Rosa Pyo


AllegrA - 'yet, not enough'

AllegrA is a four piece indie-rock band hailing from the eastern side of this lovely state of
Pennsylvania. Allegra Eidinger is the songwriter and frontperson of this here lovely band, and the newest EP from this quartet, yet, not enough, is exactly what you want from an EP. I can’t say it any other way. It’s the perfect length, the right amount of songs, and as a very dear friend of mine always says, what makes an record for him is, “openers and closers”.

This EP is an intimate, emotional journey filled with some of the most subtly crafted
instrumentation that worms its way into your mind and doesn’t leave. With “Comfortable Being
Strangers”, AllegrA puts us into a pair of their shoes, trying to help us understand the importance of solitude and the sacredness of anonymity. Isn’t it better sometimes to just be in a room instead of having to act like YOU exist in that room? The sentiment is wholly relatable and with the incredible groove of the bass and drums, accompanied by the beautiful dual guitar tones, you’re completely immersed while trying to grasp the pressing thoughts of the lyrics. “Twisting Of”, the closer on this EP, and rightfully so, is the most lush of all the tracks here, ebbing and flowing so perfectly.

Ya see, that’s the best thing about this EP for me. This whole thing is able to feel like
a conversation...about Allegra’s day, instances that gave them pause, and how the heck they
can give their life more meaning in relation to a shelf they’d like to build out of materials that
originally were not meant to be a shelf. This EP creates an environment that I feel comfortable
enough to respond in a way such that memories flow out of me while I listen to it; helping to add
to this already lovely conversation. My favorite track on this EP is the opener, an folks, It’’s been
a while since I’ve been hit so hard with overwhelming emotion while listening to a song.

What’s a memory that gives you the most joy? Makes you feel the most safe? The most at peace? For me it’s a time when a whole group of friends and I went out to Lancaster to visit a friend over the holidays. We were all in really great spirits, and something just felt so comfortable about it all. Eventually, after hiking around outside for a while, we decided to go back to our friend’s house, and in our down time utilized the entirety of the basement to create one massive, blanket fort. Propped up pool cues, chairs, and a lot of the universe being kind to us that day kept this beautiful fort standing all night as we transitioned from watching Adventure Time to having some conversations that only close friends in a blanket fort could have. A space so vulnerable, supportive, and strong. How did I end up here crying tears of joy again? Whatever spirit was helping Allegra hold that chair helped to hold our fort, and with that our conversation began.

RIYL: warm beverages (not a band, just the feeling of), Snail Mail, Big Thief
Favorite Tracks: Spoon or Fork, Twisting Of

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Written by Ira Mason (@spookEguy420_69)


Soundcheck - March 12, 2019

Every week or so we will roundup some songs we really dig and share them with you. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do. Have a nice day.

bdrmm - "heaven"

I am surprised no one else came up with this band name already. bdrmm is a sensible take on bedroom and the whole bedroom-pop/dream-pop thing going on. Took me a second to figure that out which is a good thing I suppose. The track "heaven" shimmers and shines with a transition from synth to guitar focus. Give this a go. 

INFINITY KNIVES - "ugly nigga from heaven"

A friend of mine shot this in my DM's this week. I really love the experimental hip-hop brewing in Baltimore. If you check out anyone, be sure to peep Infinity Knives. Dreary and tasteful.. this guy has it figured out. Also lookout for the track they did with jack-of-all-trades Giddeon Gallows.

CALYX - "Onom"

CALYX makes really really tight power punk hits and they have been for a hot minute now. This is Exhibit A. Please listen. 

Driver's Ed - "Social Smoker"

With twinkling xylophone beginnings, Driver's Ed of Newark, DE would go on deliver a wholesome emo-punk tune right here. "I only smoke because I think it looks cool." ... haha nice.

Helado Negro - "Please Won't Please"

Beautiful, comforting lyrics that ride softly above a chill electronic backdrop. Oh this is nice.

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HOWARDIAN - "Different Dogs"

HOWARDIAN is an art-pop collective out of Olympia, WA fronted by Ian Vanek (Japanther). Supporting musicians of the act include Scott Brummel, Justin Mckaughan, Gardner Allen, Farley Glavin, Mustafa Daka, Schuyler Maehl, and Flo Amarino. Today we bring to you their new video for "Different Dogs" which will be on their upcoming record The Silly Shit You Say. The full album will be available this Friday, March 15, 2019 on Starcleaner Records and Let's Pretend Records

I suggest listening to this track when on the go... even better when you are with friends on the road, in the woods, on the bus, wherever you go. HOWARDIAN has put together a catchy, atmospheric garage pop tune right here. Riding steadily on a solid drum beat, everything else just falls into place. Right above the drumming on "Different Dogs" we have warm, channeling synth, delicate guitar tones, clever lyrics, and echoing supporting vocals that create a sense of optimism and appreciation for what one may already have in their life.

The video follows two friends adventuring through the outdoors. There is a nostalgic VHS glaze over the whole thing that complements the track nicely. Kooky masks and slight absurdity also make an appearance. I was for it. The video was directed by Kurt Buchmeier out of Chicago, IL. Enjoy this stream of "Different Dogs" below. 

"Lets see what we can see"... I am really looking forward to hearing what else is on deck for HOWARDIAN. Spin their new record this coming weekend! 


Writen by Connor Murray (@craftedsounds)


Harvey Waters - 'Soft'

This review has been a long time coming. Kinda crazy how life picks up and slows downs in mysterious ways. Fortunately, it is the time of year the kids call "Spring Break." Blessup. Anyway... self-described "Dreamo" band, Harvey Waters, just dropped their new record Soft a couple of weeks ago, and I'm here to make sure you get hip to it.

The record opens with a smooth buildup of guitar, vocal layering, and a nice drizzle of synth-work. Track one, "Taste," really put me in a good state of the mind from the very beginning of my listen. At first I would have said that this should have ended the record, but I do not think I would have it any other way as it leads perfectly into "Progress", a beautiful slacker pop track. This track in particular is aided heavily Grace McElhone's harmonizing vocals that sit just right. "Dreamo" sets in here with these two wonderfully put together desperation songs. 

Drifting further into this record, listeners bump into the rather welcoming drumming in "Drip." This is probably my favorite song on the record for just that reason. To my surprise, the track was shorter than I anticipated, despite the slightly slower tempo. I would come to peace with the abrupt ending as I thought through the following interlude track, "Needles." I have mixed feelings about placing pauses in records because I am not sure if they are always appropriate, but I liked this one and the one that precedes the final track on this record. I felt "Needles" served as a clear divide in songwriting on this record since b-side, if you will, is a little louder, cleaner, and confident.

The remaining tracks are not as washy as the others. They focus on sharper vocals and raw instrumentation. They stand together well in their own way as they do not fade into one another in the same fashion of earlier tracks. "Cracker" hits a little bit of that fuzzy, noisy element. "Pulling Teeth" is a wholesome breakdown that features help from Frankie (aka stolenchaptick) of Deadplant Records. The final track, "Buried," howls into space and concludes with twinkling piano and synth.

Harvey Waters has found a sound that works for them perfectly on Soft. Their emotional, jangle-heavy appeal crosses many sub-genres rooted in the worldwide DIY community. Be on the lookout for a show of theirs if you reside in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area. Soft is out now everywhere. This full record is worth your time. Spin it now. 

RIYL: Swings, Alex G, Strange Ranger, Spencer Radcliffe
Favorite Tracks: Progress, Drip, Inside 
Hot Take: Harvey Waters is your next hangover cure. 

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Writen by Connor Murray (@craftedsounds)