A weekly breakdown of my Spotify playlists.

By Kolby Bergquist

#8.1. July 11, 2019

Every week I pray that the Spotify gods be good to me as I check my Discover Weekly playlist. They’ve lead astray once or twice, but they’ve also lead me to find some truly awesome tunes. So I’ve decided to use this platform to share my findings with you.

Twice a week, I’ll share with you my playlist, rate the songs, and give my opinions on each track. Hopefully, you can use this as a way to discover new artists, find what to avoid, and grow your catalog.

Sorry for the late posts, I’ve been dealing with some technical difficulties lately, as well as working on some new content for the website so, keep your eyes open for that.

Scale from best to worst

Awesome – Great – Good – Fine – Whatever – Skip it

I’ll pick a favorite of the week, you’ll know it when you see the ghost. I will not pick my least favorite. You should be able to figure that out for yourselves anyway, and I’m already ripping into a band’s hard work, so theres no need for me to add insult to injury with a stupid sticker or something. Anyways,

Enjoy the read! 

“Tumoric” Frontierer
Rating: Good
Genre:  Metal, Noise, Grindcore 
The Verdict: 

This is probably one of the noisiest tracks I’ve ever heard. There’s almost zero tonality to the instrumentation, and the only definable cadence comes from the snare, which changes signature so often it’s near impossible to nail down. Despite all this, I think it works. I think when the music does come to a definable cadence, it becomes extremely hard. I felt myself drawn to deeper listening with this song; I want to pull back the shroud of sonic chaos to understand what’s really going on underneath it all.

ghostly“Raspberry Cough” Coletta 
Rating: Awesome
Genre:  Post Hardcore, Progressive Hard Rock, Alternative, Electronic, 
The Verdict: 

This is so fun! The choices of synth patches are so perfect, and the guitar work is incredible. They really made some very cool chordal choices, and built a very pop sensible song around a jazz structure. 

The vocals are so stupidly over produced, and I do really dislike that, but I think it comes with the territory with this stuff, and it’s something we’ll have to get over. This song is much more about the music than the vocals anyway, and I really had a lot of fun listening to this. Top pick material already!

“Dark Matter” Household

Rating: Awesome 

Genre:  Post Punk, Indie, Emo

The Verdict: 

That last one was going to be very hard to follow. I feel this song would have been better had it not been immediately after Colette. I’m giving it the high rating because of that. As of now, I’d probably put it at “Great” but I feel like at any other time I would really love it. I thought that the vocals were very well done. 

His vocal approach is rather soft and calm, which is in contrast to a lot of bands like this, and I liked that. As for the vocal harmonies, I thought those were very well done, and there were definitely plenty of them. 

Musically, I was very into it. I thought all the guitar work felt complete, and sounded awesome, from the tone, to the beautiful writing. All together this was a very solid post punk song. Listen to it.

“Paragons of Virtue” Hesitation Wounds

Rating: Good

Genre: Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

This song leans a little closer to the “hardcore” part of the “post hardcore” denotation. Again, there are a lot of bands that do this stuff. It’s not bad, but there are many groups sound very similar to this. I don’t hate this song, in fact there were a few places in the song where I really got into it. But as far as this style goes as a whole, it’s a very crowded scene. Plus most of the time, if I’m in the mood for this flavor of heavy music, I’d rather listen to modern grindcore acts like God Mother, or Cult Leader.

“Make It Good” Berried Alive
Rating: Good
Genre: Progressive Hard Rock, Electronic, Djent
The Verdict: 

They have a silly name, themed track titles, and djent. What’s not to love? Oh yea, djent. I have found tracks I enjoy by this band, but I can never listen to a whole album from them, or any djent band for that matter. 

I can really enjoy it from time to time, but it’s got to be exceptionally special. Like hardcore, the genre became too crowded, much too quickly, with bands that sounded far too similar.  

I appreciated the exploration here, with a low and chill vocal approach, but I don’t think it worked. The music has too much force behind it, and because the vocals are so relaxed, the production team has to push the volume way up to compensate, and it sounds fake.

The synth work is cool and all, but when you can’t tell weather you’re listening to a synth or a guitar in a guitar dominated genre, you sort of feel cheated. It’s almost like they’re trying to hide their sins with layers of synth work, and disguising different instruments as something they aren’t.

I Want A Lot Now (So Come On)” Murder City Devils
Rating: Whatever
Genre: Punk
The Verdict: 

I generally like this band. They have a very goofy 50’s Sci Fi feel about them, and a great singer who imbues each track with the undeniable essence of punk. Any songs they do without showcasing their spooky organ though, fall very short of the songs where they do. In the case of this particular track, it falls short by a huge margin. 

The band becomes a very boring punk outfit without the addition of the silly organ, and looses all of its charm and appeal. This song is really no different from any other song made by any other punk band in 1998, and therefore I can’t get too into it.

“Betterment” Baptists
Rating: Fine
Genre: Post Hardcore, Hardcore, Sludge
The Verdict: 

Why do the guitars sound like they’re side chained to the kick like the synths in an end track? I get the idea they were going for, and the approach sort of works on similar tracks, but the reaction from the side chain was way too intense here. The effect gave the song too much room to breathe, and it didn’t feel as intense as it should have. 

This track had some interesting moments, but like I always say, a hardcore band is a hardcore band is a hardcore band; no amount of sludge or “cool effects” is going to change the fact that they sound just like everyone else.

“Your Little Hoodrat Friend” The Hold Steady
Rating: Skip It
Genre: Post Punk, Indie, Alternative
The Verdict: 

The organ is cool, the rest of it is actually pretty annoying. I really don’t care about this guy’s dumb story, and that’s what killed this track for me. That’s always the risk you take with this kind of lyrical approach, if your story doesn’t resonate, then it doesn’t work. 

And I realize this band is popular, and I’m taking an unpopular position by trashing them so in order to keep the wolves at bay, while the poetic voice and skill is impressive, the story he told wasn’t something that connected with me personally. If it connected with you personally, then good, I’m so glad, congratulations. 

“Mariana’s Trench” August Burns Red
Rating: Awesome
Genre: Metalcore, Progressive Post Hardcore, Mathcore
The Verdict: 

I love this band. I got to see them in Tucson years ago while they were on tour with Bring Me The Horizon. Anyone who knows about this band knows the drum work from Matt Greiner is always exceptional on record, and nothing less than astounding live. After the show my buddies and I were wandering around trying to find a place to eat, we came across Matt, who was sitting on the curb on the phone with his girlfriend. After he hung up, he came up to us, chatted for a while, and then came with us to dinner. We all had a great time, he was a very sweet guy, he talked with us for a few hours, and then spent time giving me a few tips on practicing blast beats, and building endurance for metal drumming. It was a cool experience for 17 year old me, to the point that I’m still talking about it.

August Burns Red is one of those extremely hard working, super talented, and incredibly genuine group of dudes in the whole metalcore scene. That is the reason they’ve had longevity in their careers as metalcore musicians. Not the talent, not the songwriting, but a true understanding of who they are as a band, a willingness to interface with fans, and a dedication to their work. As for this song, it’s amazing; it’s one of the best off of my favorite record from them. Check it out.

“Fatalist” Cursed
Rating: Fine
Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore, Sludge Metal
The Verdict: 

I was really into this band for a minute, but I’m realizing everything they’ve ever put out is near impossible to listen to in a sober and analytical state of mind. 

It’s heavy stuff, but it’s not stoner metal. It’s effectively metalcore, but it somehow transcends that genre, and calls for a specific type of setting. 

I don’t feel this way about most metalcore acts, usually I can just play them in the background and go about my day. Cursed calls for a deeper listening. Cursed needs to be enjoyed in a dark room with some candles and ceremonial herb.

“I Am A Trans – Continental Railroad, Please Run A Train On Me” SeeYouSpaceCowboy
Rating: Awesome
Genre: Post Hardcore, Grindcore, Progressive Rock, Mathcore
The Verdict: 

If you like your music as wild as possible, this is the band for you. This music is like a fever dream; it’s chaos that’s constrained to any semblance of form by a thread, and it’s beautiful. 

It really is reminiscent of that short explosion of crazy mathcore bands in the late 90’s to early 0’s, and I would happily accept a new wave of that stuff. 

SeeYouSpaceCowboy popped up on a discover weekly playlist a while back, and I’ve been very into them ever since. I feel like I’ve listened to them recently but I suppose I haven’t. This must be a case of me NOT  listening to them in quite some time, and Spotify feeling the need to remind me to do so. 

“Blasted” Torche
Rating: Fine
Genre: Rock, Alternative Metal
The Verdict: 

I really loved the tone and effect of the guitars, but the riff is too simple and ineffective to play through the entire song at nauseam as it does. It just turns into a very boring piece, that feels much longer than it is. 

A little more time in the writing process could have done wonders for this one, production wise it was near perfection.

“A Pillar Of Salt” The Thermals
Rating: Whatever
Genre: Punk
The Verdict: 

The music was great, specifically the lead guitar lines; but my issue with this, and so many punk bands right now is their “holier than thou attitude.” They aren’t really saying anything the DNC isn’t also saying this election cycle, but they all still have this arrogant “smarter than you” feel about their lyrics. The lyricist always seems to sound like they think they’re some sort of living prophet of liberalism, even while every band says the same thing. 

RANT TIME!

I was very involved in the punk scene here for quite a while, and for all that time, I never felt like I was welcome. For a community who prides itself on being all inclusive and open, they’re some of the most exclusive, unsupportive, and generally closed off people I’ve ever come across. 

So when a band stands up on the stage, mounts their high horse, and shouts about gay rights, border issues, and communism, it feels to me like they’re doing it for street cred’ rather than doing it to create change. 

Stop using serious issues as a means to get laid. We all want change, but self indulgent slam poetry with music is absolutely not going to do anything but turn more people off to what you’re saying.

I’m not saying all punks or all punk bands are like this, I’m just saying it’s the general sentiment people on the outside (and some on the inside) have towards the community. 

Fat Mike saying it’s good that country music fans were killed in a mass shooting, and after that statement received cheers from the crowd. I thought punks were generally for gun control laws? Or what about The Dickies bashing women at their Warped Tour performance, and then being defended by the punk community? I thought punks were generally against the mistreatment of women for being women? It’s become more of a cult of personalities than a movement towards change.

Y’all have come a long way from gay bashing and parading around in swastikas, but you still need to keep moving forward. 

Be inclusive, practice what you preach, and show up.

And stop making your lyrics sound so pompous, trust me when I say, you don’t sound nearly as cool as you think you do, especially when your “radical” ideas are shared by most of the democratic party nowadays.

“Now, When I’m This” The Black Queen
Rating: Awesome
Genre: Electronic, Darkwave
The Verdict: 

One of the most interesting projects to come out in a long time. I don’t say that because of the content; while they do make really good music, it’s just a darkwave band with a slightly harsher edge. I say that because this band is made up of members of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Nine Inch Nails. Try that on for size.

“Unconditional” The Bravery
Rating: Good
Genre: Pop Rock, Indie, Alternative
The Verdict: 

Every time one of these old alternative tracks comes up, it makes me long for another indie alternative movement to spring up, and take over again. Sure I hated The Bravery when they were popular, I hated Urban Outfitters, and Hollister, American Eagle, and the local alternative radio station, all those places that constantly played this band and bands like them. I wanted my music as heavy as I could find it at that time. 

Now, I’m hindsight, while I do appreciate the new hip hop movements, the fact that Souncloud and Spotify are killing the predatory record companies, I still like all that indie alternative a whole lot more. This song in particular is not the best, but I do appreciate it now more than I did before. I would have probably put it at “Great” but hearing it bummed me out, so it gets a demotion.

Thats it! Thanks for the read.

Stay Ghostly,

Kolby Bergquist