August 21, 2020

The Killers – Imploding The Mirage (Island)

Spotify currently has them listed as the 214th most popular act in the world. So, if you’ve never heard them, I doubt that anything you’ve read on this website is of any use to you. Even the rock you’ve been living under has “Mr. Brightside” on its iPod Nano.

Full disclosure: I’ve never really been a fan of The Killers. Sure, the hits have merit. The songs are fun, full of emotion, technically and artistically beautiful, and the lyrics are wonderfully poetic…but that voice. There’s just something about it that is a complete turnoff for me. It’s like he’s trying really hard to sound like he’s not trying hard. 

Until Imploding The Mirage

This feels like an extreme melodic shift for the band. Instead of bellowing borderline-atonal anthems in Springsteen fashion, the new method is to keep the vocals chill and let the music set the tone and energy in the style of The Pretenders, Tom Petty, or…well, Bruce Springsteen. That is most notable on the perfectly crafted, “Dying Breed”, and the surprising range shown off in “Caution”. Their Talking Heads influence comes out strong in “Fire and Bone”, making it one of the most instantly likeable tracks on the record. The two guest spots on the album, Weyes Blood and k.d. Lang (really?), are highlighted with the most dramatic moments, “My God” and “Lightning Fields”. 

Musically, there’s little more to say about the band. They add New Wave keyboards and heavily-triggered drums to classic rock-and-roll sensibilities. It’s what they have been doing since Hot Fuss came out in 2004 and it’s what they will continue to do until somebody stops them. For the first time, I am willing to say that I want them to continue. They’re maturing, and the songs are maturing with them. So, while I’m not ready to say that I like them (I mean, it took them 6 albums for me to say positive things instead of a noncommittal shrug), I am willing to look forward to the next thing.

“My Own Soul’s Warning”, “When The Dreams Run Dry”, and “Imploding The Mirage” are the tracks that sound the most like something that would fall on previous Killers releases, making them my least favorite tracks on the record. Do what you will with that information.

FFO: Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, Talking Heads


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The Podcast: The Eleventh – August 2020 In Review

The FKA crew covers their favorite new albums of the month, discuss the best new arrivals in the top 40 and play a new game to help determine the filthiest song of all time.

Zack’s Top 3 Albums of the Month:
1. Biffy Clyro – A Celebration of Endings
2. Mach-Hommy – Mach’s Hard Lemonade
3. Alex the Astronaut – The Theory of Absolutely Nothing

Jeremy’s Top 3 Albums of the Month:
1. Blues Pills – Holy Moley
2. Biffy Clyro – A Celebration of Endings
3. King Buzzo with Trevor Dunn – Gift of Sacrifice

Dan’s Top 3 Hit Singles of the Month:
1. Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver – exile
2. Taylor Swift – cardigan
3. Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky

Top Hit Singles of August 2020

Another month that was surprisingly middling. I don’t feel like anything that reached the top 40 this month will blow your mind, but there were plenty of solid tracks. Here’s everything that made its debut in the top 40 during the last month.

19. Ily (i love you baby) – Surf Mesa ft. Emilee

It’s the chorus of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” with an airy boring electronic beat. The vocals sound like Surf Mesa had Emilee record the six lines of the original song they used, then ran her vocals through the soma filter. This supposedly falls into the “chillwave” genre, but to me it proves we should be putting Soundcloud on ice.

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August 14, 2020

Kiesza – Crave (Zebra Spirit Tribe)

Some folks were just destined to be interesting, to be unique, to be awesome.  From what I can tell, Kiesza is one of those people.

She was born Kiesa Rae Ellestad in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with a Norwegian grandfather.  She has been a sailing instructor, as well as a member of the reserves of the Royal Canadian Navy.  She suffered from a traumatic brain injury in 2017, from a car accident, and her recovery had her stay in a dark room for six months.  Seriously, go check out her Wikipedia page, as there were several other details that I did not add here.

As a musician, Crave represents her second studio album, with the first one (Sound of a Woman) coming in 2014 – a pretty healthy gap.  It doesn’t seem like she’s missed a beat, however.  This is reminiscent to what “dance music” would have consisted of in the 80s or early 90s.  The title track, as well as “Love Me With Your Life” illustrate the sound the best, but damn near every track has the signature synth and electronic drum beats to some extent.  “Love Never Dies” is another solid track, using a sample that could be “When the Levee Breaks” or something close to it – but it works well regardless.

Kiesza’s smooth vocals help to make this a more enjoyable experience.  There is a heavy level of production and auto-tune at play, but it sounds good – both as a corrective measure and an artistic one.  Lyrically, it’s pretty simplistic, but as I’ve mentioned before, some albums truly need that.  Crave with more complex lyrics would cause there to be a bit too much going on, and the lyrics would get lost in the shuffle.

Overall, Crave was a very good, very unique listen.  Toes were tapped, and fingers were rapped, all throughout the album, thanks to Kiesza’s interesting style.  Hopefully it won’t be another six years for album #3 to drop.

FFO: Robyn, La Roux


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*Special Edition*

August 14, 2020

We don’t often do this. This is an album review, but unlike our normal review posts, this one took on a life of its own. For that reason, we felt it needed to be removed from the herd. It’s for safety reasons. You understand.

Sexbat – Diurnal Curse (Sid Records)

Sexbat proved a difficult artist to track down on streaming services.  I found Sexton, Sexweather, G. Sexate, and The Sexbots, but I could only track this release down by searching for the album title, Diurnal Curse.  Just a word to the wise when you look this one up.  And you’ll want to look it up, because it is outstanding – which you will see below.

Every track on this album refers to a week, one through seven.  I originally wanted to review each song for a week, making this a seven week long review, but that seemed ill-advised.  So instead, every week will be condensed into a few paragraphs, based on what a week as each track would consist of.  That may not make sense right now, but never fret: it will become clearer as we go.

Or it won’t.


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Podcast the Tenth: The Best 3 Song Runs Ever. Of All Time.

Find the best three consecutive songs on an album. That was our task this week as we dive into our top five (and next ten) best three song runs.

Jeremy’s Best 3 Song Runs

1. Huey Lewis and the News – Sports (1983)
– Heart of Rock n Roll
– Heart & Soul
– Bad is Bad
2. Incubus – S.C.I.E.N.C.E. (1997)
– A Certain Shade of Green
– My Favorite Things
– Summer Romance
3.Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters (1995)
– This is a Call
– I’ll Stick Around
– Big Me
4. Aerosmith – Toys In the Attic (1975)
-Walk This Way
– Big Ten Inch Record
– Sweet Emotion
5. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1983)
– Thriller
– Beat It
– Human Nature
HM. ZZ Top – Eliminator (1983)
– Gimme All Your Lovin’
– Got Me Under Pressure
– Sharp Dressed Man
HM. Alice In Chains – Dirt (1992)
– Dam That River
– Rain When I Die
– Down In A Hole
HM. Stone Temple Pilots – Purple (1994)
– Vaseline
– Lounge Fly
– Interstate Love Song
HM. Our Lady Peace – Naveed (1994)
– Naveed
– Dirty Walls
– Denied
HM. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (1995)
– Bombtrack
– Killing in the Name
– Take The Power Back
HM. Blackalicious – The Craft (2005)
– World of Vibrations
– Supreme People
– Rhythm Sticks
HM. Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
– Walk
– Fucking Hostile
– This Love
HM. Throttlerod – Hell & High Water (2003)
– Tomorrow & A Loaded Gun
– No Damn Fool
– Been Wrong
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August 7, 2020

This week, we decided to try something a little different. We added a “Quickies” section of this review blog for quick, bullet point reviews. We had been discussing how we could cover more ground and talk about more music. This section will allow us, and you, to be exposed to more releases. Check it out and let us know if it’s something you would like us to continue or if it feels like clutter. Cheers!


Deep Purple – Whoosh! (Edel Germany GmbH / earMusic)

3 members of the current lineup of the band have been there since 1968. Ok, that’s a lie. Deep Purple are sort of an industry joke, with an ever-rotating cast of dozens of Class A musicians, earning its own special band members Wikipedia page ( Only drummer, Ian Paice, has been on every studio release. But Roger Glover and Jesus Chri…I mean, Ian Gillan, have been on nearly all of them. 

Honestly, this album does not sound like it was released in 2020. I suppose it’s a breath of fresh air in that regard. Chock full of the goofy, intense theatricality that we would have expected of these cats back in the mid-’70s, Whoosh! is just plain fun. Who doesn’t like organ solos, choral harmonies, classic guitar tone, and sing-along grooves? Vocally, Gillan is starting to sound his age, with just a hint of Joe Walsh creeping into his voice. But what he’s singing doesn’t really need the high-pitched wails that he has been doing for 50+ years. 

This is your dad’s music, in the best possible way. It really might be the perfect feel-good soundtrack in the time of pandemic. Put the windows down in your car, stay on the highway, and take “The Long Way Round”. 

FFO: Kansas, BTO, Styx


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July 31, 2020

Beyonce – Black Is King (Disney +, Parkwood Entertainment) 

Black Is King is a reimagining of Disney’s The Lion King, in what is indisputably the most elaborate music video ever made. The first time she explored this concept was back in 2013, with her fifth studio album, Beyonce, which was released in a series of short films. Those films had almost no discernible order or connection. It was beautiful and strange. 

That gives it some commonality with her most recent effort. This time, there is a clear and obvious theme. The presentation is visually stunning as it follows the story. The scenes are chopped up, with rapid jump-cuts, bright colors, and elaborate costuming. The art director is clearly trying to prove something. Like a great many art films, Black Is King is hard to follow from the pictorial. Beyonce and company have remedied that with dropped-in lines from the script(s), poetry, and the lyrical content of the songs. Some of the scenes are a little head-scratchy: bizarro outdoor human chess, the word “MOOD” displayed prominently on various eye-wear, and a few side-sequences. 

Many of the main characters are easily spotted in the film, including Simba, Rafiki, and Scar with his hyenas. Unfortunately, the conceptual audio is vague and obscure enough to be disorienting without the visual component. 

The music itself is excellent, but does provide its own difficulties. “OTHERSIDE”, which is an amazing song, doesn’t quite fit into the narrative. “MY POWER” is the most potent, powerful song on the album, lyrically, but is super-disjointed and hard to listen to. That song is also outside the story arc. 

I think Queen Bey did herself a little bit of long-term disservice with this film, despite the innovation and beauty. Let’s weigh the Pros and Cons:


  • The message is clear and identifiable early in the film — We are all a part of something “BIGGER”, remember who you are.
  • The art is beautiful and the poetry is poignant.
  • It is memorable, for a number of reasons.
  • The film is likely to win awards. 


  • The rewatchability of the film is limited.
  • Most of the music loses clarity without the visual accompaniment.
  • It suffers from too large a cast. There’s as much a presence of other performers as from Beyonce herself.

The bottom line is this: watching the film is a powerful and rewarding experience. The music is solid with wonderful content, but suffers from a lack of Ms. Knowles-Carter. If you have Disney+, watch it. If not, start with “BIGGER”, “FIND YOUR WAY BACK”, “WATER”, and “BROWN SKIN GIRL”, which features young Blue Ivy Carter

FFO: Pharrell Williams, Jessie Reyez, Mr. Eazi, and of course, Beyonce


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