Greetings, earthlings! Before getting down to the nitty gritty of music reviewing, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jon R. LaFollette, and I am the newest edition to the NUVO fold. I am a contributing writer whose primary focus will be posting capsule reviews of local albums every Tuesday and Thursday, among various other things. I've spent my entire life in Indianapolis, and I'm currently attending IUPUI where I hope to graduate with a degree in journalism. Aside from my posts for NUVO, I am also the founder of pop culture-based blog PopTometry, where I post weekly ramblings on music along with the occasional sports rant.
Borrow Tomorrow — Too Far to Feel
Singer/guitarist Chris Jerles is a simple man of simple tastes with simple wishes. An old house with a picturesque front yard and a cellar full of wine is all it takes to keep him content on “Brand New Start”, a song that begins as a quietly read bucket list of sorts before being given the country-rock treatment complete with slide guitar in a rompin’ stompin’ final minute and a half. But what troubles Jerles is that he has no one to share his ideal paradise with, and spends the majority of Too Far to Feel holding the baggage a faceless heartbreaker left him to handle all his own. What compounds his predicament even more is the fact he doesn’t have the lyrical chops, nor the musical direction, to attract a proper roommate. The band's musical stylings often jump back and forth between slicked back alternative ("Basement Song") and dreary eyed country twang ("Nashville"), which leaves the album sounding at times rudderless. Yet on "Curtain Call", with its Black Crowes-esque crunch, Jerles escapes his troubles by heading west "to nowhere at all". There he's more than content to get lost in a landscape he knows nothing of, and the music is almost as blissfully breezy as Jerles wants it to be. Perhaps he doesn't need a roommate after all, just a change of scenery.★★½
The Shake Weights — Self Titled
If there is such a genre as slime-core, The Shake Weights, consisting of T.A. Breedlove and Mike Contreras, besties who first met at Plainfield High School when Michael Jackson was still black, would be the movement’s patron saints. This self titled album, compacted at a blistering 28 minutes, is DIY punk that’s noisy to a point and scattershot with a purpose. The songs, which oftentimes barely make it to the finish line in one piece, hop scotch their way through tracks which dis rich kids, hipsters, opportunistic money suckers and pesky TSA agents alike. While their jokes aren’t smart, witty or funny enough to stand on their own, as the hollow and preachy “Integrity” and “Bad Art” show, they flesh out their best ideas when they couple their angst with a story and a more focused melody. The standout here is the steadily paced "Cockblockers", a self explanatory tale about that friend we all have. But don't let their seemingly anti-establishment ways fool you. "Don't Call Me A Hipster (Even Though I Am)" proves they'd rather be a Ramones cover band as opposed to a musi-comedy act, and everyone knows the Ramones were a pop group.★★★