Sego — ‘Sucks’
THE GOOD: Funky L.A. indie rockers Sego expand to a four-piece and crank out their second album.
THE BAD: “Sucks” adds a few bonus tracks and ends up too long. A certain repetitiveness takes over.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band began when two Utah natives, frontman/multi-instrumentalist Spencer Petersen and drummer Thomas Carroll, bumped into each other in California and made their weird, wild 2016 debut “Once Was Lost, Now Just Hanging Around.”
Now, Sego includes guitarist/keyboardist Brandon McBride and bassist Alyssa Davey. Their sound feels more immediate; “Sucks” is a much more raucous album. Listening to tracks such as lead single “Shame” and blazing opener “Neon Me Out,” I hear a combination of early Beck, recent Cage the Elephant and a splash of LCD Soundsytem’s “who gives a f—” attitude.
Sego offers up sublime garage trash to which you can dance. You could accuse the band of favoring style over substance, noise over polish. However, it’s still developing, and as this new lineup further solidifies, things should only get better.
BUY IT?: Sure.
K Flay — ‘Solutions’
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter/rapper K Flay offers up her third.
THE BAD: “Solutions” isn’t as sonically interesting as 2017’s “Every Where Is Some Where,” but the album isn’t bad.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Solutions” sounds like a bid for the mainstream, whether that was the intention or not. Flaherty (the singer’s real last name) co-writes and works with a bevy of producers including J.T. Daly (Paper Route), Tommy English (BORNS, Kacey Musgraves) and C.J. Baran (Carly Rae Jepsen, Mika).
She gets behind songs of honest self-awareness (“I Like Myself Most of the Time”), breakup tales (“Ice Cream”) and even a tribute to her deceased father (“DNA”). The electronic backdrops snap and pop, making “Solutions” a decent, mostly upbeat collection that doesn’t establish any new musical trends but ends up a satisfying 36-minute jam.
BUY IT?: Why not? I’m hoping K Flay takes more chances and steps out of her comfort zone at least a little on the next one. But for now, “Solutions” will do.
!!! (Chk Chk Chk) — ‘Wallop’
THE GOOD: Underground California dance-punks !!! unleash their eighth.
THE BAD: “Wallop” isn’t quite as riotous or unhinged as past releases. Thankfully, it’s not a play for the mainstream.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Frontman Nic Offer and his crew keep their politics not-so-subtle yet flexible enough so any rants can wrap themselves around the groove underneath. Because that’s the most important element — the beat, the kick, the groove. It’s why we show up. Everything else is just window dressing.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with THINKING while you sweat. “Wallop” tackles corporate CEOs selling out your beliefs, the paranoia of modern culture, inequality, etc. All those gripes show up eventually. And the rhythms beneath never stop shaking the room.
The only gripe longtime fans may have with “Wallop” is that it sometimes lacks the aggression of past albums. Some tracks come off as too slick — more dance, less punk perhaps. Yet, that’s how the collection differentiates itself from the rest of the catalog. Nothing wrong with that.
BUY IT?: Surely.