Music on Repeat: November Music Reviews

Written by Dillon Seckington, Reporter

Sympathy for Life – Parquet Courts (2021)

  The four-piece Brooklyn indie rock group, Parquet Courts, released their seventh full-length album on Oct. 22. Titled “Sympathy for Life,” the record expands the band’s sound tremendously. While Parquet Courts is known for their noisy punk rock sound, “Sympathy for Life” is most certainly an expansion to a more melodic sound. While the album definitely fits into the band’s discography, it also stands out as a project filled with fruitful experimentation. However, “Sympathy for Life” showcases a wide variety of sounds. From the band’s trademark jam-band sound to its more groovy dance sections, the record covers a lot of ground in its 45-minute run time. Parquet Courts was definitely looking to expand the parameters of their sound on “Sympathy for Life,” and although diehard indie fans might not appreciate their latest record, they did so quite successfully.

Rating: 6.7

Highlights: “Walking at a Downtown Pace,” “Black Widow Spider,” “Sympathy for Life”

I Don’t Live Here Anymore – The War on Drugs (2021)

  “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” is The War on Drugs’ fifth full-length album. The record sounds like a polaroid picture, so far away yet so familiar and intimate. Lead singer Adam Granduciel’s delivery is subtle, and he does not take center stage as he has on the band’s four previous records. Instead, he allows his lyrics to follow the album’s impressive production. These lyrics are filled with introspection. For example, take a look at the lyrics on the third cut titled “Change:” “Maybe I was born too late, for this lonely freedom fight.” These rather somber lyrics are brightened by the simple, yet effective, and full instrumentation that drives the record to heights the band has not yet reached. At the end of the day, The War on Drugs delivered a pleasant night-drive album that is hard not to appreciate. 

Rating: 9.4

Highlights: “Living Proof,” “I Don’t Wanna Wait,” “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”

The Ballad of Dood and Juanita – Sturgill Simpson (2021)

  Sturgill Simpson has done his fair share of experimentation within the confines of the country-rock genre. This go around, the Kentucky native tried his hand at the illustrious concept album. The record refreshes not only the genre of country music or Simpson’s discography, but the theme of frontier life as a whole. Simpson’s backing band on “The Ballad of Dood and Juanita” is star studded. Featuring Sierra Hull, Tim O’Brien and even Willie Nelson, the record is, at its simplest, a celebration of Simpson’s roots, inspirations and influences. Simpson’s record tells the story of a couple in love on the frontier. Juanita is captured by an outlaw and Dood must rely on the assistance of Cherokee Native Americans to find her. The album sounds like a western movie with its vivid storytelling and retro composition.

Rating: 7.2    

Highlights: “Ol’ Dood, Pt. 1,” “One In the Saddle, One On the Ground,” “Sam” 

Untourable Album – Men I Trust (2021)

  Montreal pop unit Men I Trust was certainly feeling the effects of the pandemic while recording their latest record, “Untourable Album.” While this title might seem like a contradiction, perhaps it stems from the lack of obligation the band was feeling at the time. Nevertheless, Men I Trust has delivered yet another record filled with songs that are incredibly easy to listen to. While the wavering bass lines from Jessy Caron add a jazzy punch to the record, the ambient synthesizers and paper-thin vocals float smoothly across every track. Per usual, reverb plays a big part on this record. While “Untourable Album” might not be pushing Men I Trust’s sound further into new territory, it does solidify the fact that the band is capable of consistently putting out great music. Overall, “Untourable Album” is a collection of immersing songs that deserve listeners’ full attention.

Rating: 7.8

Highlights: “Organon,” “Tree Among Shrubs,” “Serenade Of Water”