Music is supposed to be a great equalizer, but when your playlists come on friends scream at you and family members disown you. It’s devastating to feel so unwanted and you might be wondering where the rift began. Before you try to improve your taste in a futile attempt to worm yourself back into the hearts of loved ones, you should really let the professionals take over. Since said professionals refuse to return our phone calls, we’ve decided to take a stab at compiling a list of songs you can play to get your siblings and acquaintances to speak to you again.
Sleater-Kinney “Say It Like You Mean It”
Sleater-Kinney is currently preparing to release their eleventh album – and second since longtime drummer Janet Weiss left the band – ‘Little Rope.’ With production from the oft-coveted John Congleton, the album promises to continue the expansion of the group’s sound. Their latest single ‘Say It Like You Mean It’ cements their recent sonic explorations, tying lofty new-wave synth pads together with Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker’s angular guitar work and melodic sentiment. It’s a layered epic that calls to mind what your indie band might sound like if your guitarist tried to give a shit for once in their life.
Liquid Mike “Mouse Trap”
The dream of the ’90s is clearly thriving in Marquette, Michigan thanks to the prolific power-pop outfit Liquid Mike, whose most recent self-titled album recently took social media by storm this spring. Not intent on losing their ever-growing hype, the band announced yet another album, ‘Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot’ and released its lead single ‘Mouse Trap.’ It’s a bubbly and fuzzed out track that raises serious concerns about the supposed ‘American Dream.’ Imagine if Weezer never stopped being bad and managed to develop some lyrical bite for once and you’ll be in the ballpark of Liquid Mike.
Mother Mother “The Matrix”
Canada’s Mother Mother wants you to break out of your shell. On their latest single “The Matrix” – which precedes their upcoming ninth studio album, “Grief Chapter” – the band delivers a simple yet uplifting message: you and everyone you know is going to die. After you’re done sobbing about this, you can focus on the lyrics that encourage you to live your life once you’ve found the courage to break out of ‘The Matrix.’ With any luck, you won’t be covered in weird goopy shit like Keanu Reeves when you decide to finally leave your house.
cool sorcery “paranoid”
Have you ever wondered what Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ would sound like if it were played at nearly twice the tempo and had several organ solos? Wonder no more, because Brazilian producer Marcos Assis has delivered a nightmare cover of the track via his solo project cool sorcery. The rendition is as fun as it is confounding melding equal parts drone, punk, and psych into one of our favorite covers of the year.
Fuming Mouth “Respect & Blasphemy”
Fuming Mouth has been making absolutely bone-shattering metal for a decade now. Their latest and sophomore album ‘Last Day of Sun’ finds their lead singer and guitarist, Mark Whelan, processing his recent battle with leukemia, which is thankfully in remission. Themes of death and triumph play out as the band delivers its most powerful arrangements to date, as if all involved had been given a second chance at life. The relentless ‘Respect & Blasphemy’ rides a fine line between death metal and hardcore, resulting in some deliriously heavy riffs and breakdowns that would make even the hardest of contemporaries blush and run back to the drawing board.
Silent Planet “Offworlder”
Last week, California metalcore outfit Silent Planet released somewhat of a magnum opus with ‘Superbloom.’ It’s an intense ride that condenses several of the band’s best attributes while adding a futuristic sheen. Album highlight “Offworlder” showcases the past and future of Silent Planet and packs such a punch that one of our writers broke several thousand dollars worth of computer equipment in our office upon first listen.
Laura Jane Grace “Hole In My Head”
After two notably stripped back EP’s, ‘At War With The Silverfish’ and ‘Stay Alive,’ Laura Jane Grace announced her newest LP ‘Hole In My Head.’ She also shared the title track, which is a total fucking ripper and the loudest thing she’s done in years. Featuring Grace on both guitar and drums with bass provided by Matt Patton of Drive By Truckers, ‘Hole In My Head’ is a dazzling return to form for the singer-songwriter. Featuring her signature abrasive guitar work and patented scream along vocals, this track is sure to have you running to get you ill-fitting Against Me! shirt out of storage.
Jumprope “Oh Wow”
Now that the year is coming to an end, we’ve been combing through every single album and EP that has come out in 2023. We’ve only made it to February releases so far, which means we have been blessed with the sweet sounds of Texas garage-rock heroes ‘Jumprope.’ To celebrate the rediscovery, our Managing Editor has instituted a mandatory weekly fitness program called ‘Jumropin’ to Jumprope.’ There have been seven heart attacks in the writers’ room since.
Did you know that these songs are included on an official Hard Times playlist? Did you also know that there are like… a fuckton of other songs on it too? Click here to like, follow, and trick your friends into thinking you have a finger on the pulse of modern alternative music.