By Cole Parkinson
The shift to fall from summer isn’t always an easy transition, though the NHL season and MLB playoffs definitely help.
Another big benefit comes in the form of new music and it’s often when bands I like release records in September and October which helps ease me into the chillier temperatures.
Since the beginning of September three albums have been on my radar — The Glorious Sons’ third record A War on Everything (released Sept. 13), Blink-182’s Nine (released Sept. 20) and The Menzingers’ newest release Hello Exile (released Oct. 4).
So let’s take a quick look at the best and worst of what each record has to offer.
Starting with The Glorious Sons, who still have yet to release a bad album, I can confidently say this is my favourite full-length from Kingston’s favourite boys.
After a rocking debut in The Union, I found their sophomore record, Young Beauties and Fools, to be a tad more mellow, which doesn’t mean it’s a bad record considering it houses some of my favourite TGS songs (namely Sawed-Off Shotgun and Come Down), though there are a few songs I find I skip often.
I’m glad they brought forward a more rock n’ roll sound for their newest.
It’s far from a perfect album but it’s a fun listen all the way through, especially if you’re in the mood for some straight forward rock.
At 14 songs, it could have benefited from a light trim but I find it hard to complain too much about that because more Glorious Sons is a good thing, especially if all of the songs can land reasonably well.
One thing I have to commend the band on is their choice of singles for this record.
The first time I heard Sawed-Off Shotgun from their previous record, I knew it should have been the lead single instead of Everything is Alright, which isn’t a song I go back to often.
Leading off this record cycle with Panic Attack was a great choice because it really does show what people can expect when they put their headphones on to listen to A War on Everything.
Pink Motel was the second song released and by the end of my first listen, I knew it would be the best song on the album, and I still stand by that.
The bridge of this song is incredibly powerful and when singer Brett Emmons starts belting it out, it’s hard to beat.
Overall, I think it’s a great Canadian rock record from one of our country’s best acts and it should be a must-listen if you’re a rock n’ roll fan.
Favourite songs: Pink Motel, Wild Eyes and A Funny Thing Happened
The last column I ranked my favourite blink-182 album’s in preparation from their newest LP called Nine, and to be honest I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it.
The reviews from fans were. extremely positive and I have to agree it is a definite step up from 2016’s California in almost every way.
It’s darker, it’s weirder and it was much more what I wanted California to be.
It’s still not close to being my favourite blink album, but I think it is my favourite album since they got back together in 2009.
While I was a fan of singles chosen by The Glorious Sons, the opposite can be said for blink.
Blame It on My Youth was released as the first single and is the worst song on the record by a large margin and I find myself skipping it on almost every spin.
It’s not a very interesting song to begin with and why it was chosen as the lead single, I’ll never know.
Though it’s probably a safe bet the blink boys thought it was the most pop radio-friendly song on the whole record.
Darkside, which was the fourth released song, should have been the lead single as it’s a different sounding blink song.
It is revolving around a very cool Travis Barker drumbeat and it’s catchy as hell.
Another gripe I have with the album is the lack of Matt Skiba only songs, which totals at a whopping zero.
The best song on Nine is No Heart to Speak of, which should have only been Skiba on vocals but instead, Mark Hoppus still sings the second verse for no reason.
The entire song is built around Skiba’s incredibly powerful vocals but the band still insists on having both sing, even though the song would serve better as a solo vocal effort.
Almost every song, minus Happy Days which is only Mark, follows the same pattern of having both sing and I hope they shy away from this formula on the next record.
With the negative out of the way, let’s focus on the positive, which there is plenty to like here.
The songs are well-written, none of which is repetitive much like many of the songs on California were, and there was an evident input from Skiba on this record.
Skiba has never been one to shy from dark themes and topics in any of his other projects and it feels like he brought that forward for Nine, which was a welcomed sight.
While most of the songs have fairly happy-sounding music, many of the songs aren’t all that entirely positive, but it works for this record ten-fold overall.
If a couple of songs were cut from this album, especially Blame It on My Youth, it would have been even better but it’s easy enough just to press next when it comes up.
Favourite Songs: No Heart to Speak of, On Some Emo S**t and Heaven
The Menzingers have to be the most consistent punk rock band of the last decade.
Their newest effort, Hello Exile, is another great record from start to finish, much like their previous four records.
I’d argue their first record is the only one where there are a number of skippable tracks but after that, it’s been solid song after solid song, and Hello Exile follows suit.
While certain tracks stand out more than others, namely Portland which is my favourite song on the new record along with America (You’re Freaking Me Out), Strain Your Memory, Strawberry Mansion and London Drugs.
It’s rare on first listens of records that I come away with one song that stands out but Portland did it for me on Hello Exile.
The guitar work is stellar and the chorus is super bouncy and it’s constantly been stuck in my head since the record dropped on Friday.
The only real negative of this album for me is the fact it isn’t that sonically different from their last album After the Party.
It is very distinctly a Menzingers record and if you’re a fan of this band that isn’t necessarily a bad thing but they both sound very similar in terms of sound and themes throughout the record. Even with that said, the songwriting is incredibly relatable as it touches on a vast number of topics including growing up and dealing with it, finding a balance between socially drinking and having a drinking problem, and growing apart from your group of friends.
While I started by saying the Menzingers were a punk band, they really have been drifting off closer to rock and indie rock, so if punk isn’t your thing, the Menzingers have plenty to offer to fans of many different genres.
Favourite songs: Portland, Strain Your Memory, America (You’re Freaking Me Out)