Mr. Substitute

Music is the blood, flesh, and bones of Music Shelf and we absolutely love what we do. We have had some tremendous opportunities to interview some phenomenal bands as well as review some amazing albums. But something that we wanted to share was what we personally enjoy listening to during a specific month. These are artists we find ourselves frequenting of our own volition and not only that, bands that we enjoyed so much that we wanted to share them with each other. Our group chat is filled with “Ah man, you gotta check out ____” and we have collectively listened to a lot of new, amazing music through each other. I asked Mustard and Gimpleg if they could share 3 artists that they are currently frequenting and the replies were quick! So without further ado, these are 9 artists that we at Music Shelf recommend to each other and why.

Gimpleg Recommendations

1. Bobby Edge: I first discovered this band while reviewing the album for Music Shelf, but I honestly keep coming back to it. The newly released Algorithm and Blues album is just so unique and unlike other music being made. It is a must listen, and if you don’t like it, that’s cool, but you have to appreciate something so far outside of the box that is this well made.

2. Super Cassette: This has been my favorite indie band for the last 2-3 years that isn’t ska (my preferred genre). While their debut album is still in production, they have an EP and over a dozen singles and while Be Gay, Do Drugs, Hail Satan has over 2 million streams, it’s songs like Bastille Day, Bones, Sober, 9 to 5, and Happy Obsolete that keep me listening over and over and over. 

3. Littlest Man Band: I tend to listen to mostly newer bands, and songs released in the past 2-3 years, but I decided to put one older album on this list. Originally released in 2004, Better Book Ends is one of my favorite all time albums, and it just re-released on vinyl. Scott Klopfenstein, the mastermind behind the music, has put out a few singles in the last 3 years and has another one releasing next month, and the new music is every bit as good as the 2003 album. Until a new full length album comes out, I’ll keep listening to and recommending this masterpiece.

JustSomeMustard’s Recommendations

1. JVK – is a punk band based out of Boston. JVK is composed of Berklee students. The music scene in Boston, and specifically, coming from Berklee students should not be overlooked. Mustard had the pleasure of interviewing many Berklee students last year and they hope to interview JVK at some point. JVK’s sound is raw, authentic, and reminds Mustard of the punk rock sound from the 80s and early 90s. Their debut EP “Hello, Again” is often on repeat within Mustard’s local grocery store. JVK are fronted by Jo, who in punk fashion, snuck onto the Berklee campus to find members. JVK is no-holds barred punk rock that Mustard often goes back to. They recently released a new single called “Good Talk” which, much like their previous work, absolutely shreds.

2.Suzie True – Self-described as sentimental scumbags, Suzie True is an all-female pop punk band that Mustard cannot stop listening to. Specifically, their album Saddest Girl at the Party which was released three years ago reminds Mustard similarly to JVK but with a more Scott Pilgrim feel. Each track on the album is about a different girl at the party and it is just a lot of fun. Each song brings a new perspective and is crafted in an engaging way. Suzie True will please your human ears.

3.Aesop Rock – Aesop Rock is an independent rapper, on the Minnesota rap label, Rhymesayers. Rock’s ability to weave together dense yet whimsical lyrics is hard to match. They have been a long-time favorite of Mustard’s and an artist that Mustard frequently goes back to. If Mustard were to recommend a great starter album, it would be The Impossible Kid. The lyricism and storytelling are easy to digest while being backed by exceptional production. There is a song dedicated to his cat on the album called “Kirby” which will inspire humans to create music for their animals. Overall, highly recommend Aesop Rock even if you are not big into hip-hop. Rock is an excellent storyteller and will have you revisiting their discography trying to catch previous references/entendre that could have been missed previously. 

Mr. Substitute’s Recommendations

1. Pearl and the Oysters– There’s a very specific joy I get when I come across a band I’ve never heard of, listen to them, and can’t even get past the first track before my mind shouts “Where has this been my whole life?!?!” Pearl and the Oysters was that for me. A French/American duo, their sound is galactic in both description and size. In my funny head, I feel like an intergalactic Spaceman rolled up on a beach and met a mermaid and said “Hey, wanna make some music?” Their sound is surf-rock meets glitchpop meets the sweet voice of Juliette Davis. So, admittedly, I get a lot of my “music recommendations” from Spotify. I know, so lame. But I’ve been able to find some amazing artists this way. 9/10 times, what catches my eye is, well, what literally catches my eye: the album art. Pearl and the Oyster’s self-titled album is exactly what you would expect. I can say that this band and more specifically this album has been my most recent musical addiction and I will put up an Amy Winehouse-esque fight not to go to rehab for this one.

2. The Drums- (In a dreamy tone) Oh Jonny… sigh. The Drums have been around for a long time, originally fronted and now a solo project by Jonny Pierce. My partner turned me onto the Drums because we went to a New Years Eve show headlined by the Drums and so naturally I wanted to hear what I was going to be listening to firsthand. The first thing you should know is that you probably heard one of their songs whether you knew it or not: their song “Money” went viral a couple years back leading to a mild resurgence in this band whose heyday was around 2010. Regardless, my partner opened me to this absolutely infectious band’s more popular catalog and as a music-lover I have been elated but as an amateur musician my mind has repeatedly been blown with how good the Drums are. Anyone who listens to the Drums for the first time might think “oh this sounds like the Cure or the Smiths” and you’re not wrong at all, it’s just fascinating to me how Jonny is able to get these sounds that we grew up on and love and effectively and thoroughly makes those sounds his own. The Drums on albums are ethereal, a concrete wall covered in soft fur; compare that to the Drums on individual songs and they are hook masters with their ability to make songs that will live in your head for days.

3. CZARFACE- I believe I came across CZARFACE from the Bearded Gentleman (Dane’s) album of the year roundup. Before I even start this, I have to establish my love and adoration for MF DOOM: His music still means the absolute world to me, even after his passing. I’ve heard of CZARFACE and their connection to DOOM but never sat down and listened to a full album. That changed with Czarmageddon! and I was immediately invested. CZARFACE is a hip hop supergroup that originally formed through 7L, Esoteric and Inspectah Deck. They’ve had several rappers join in on their albums and LPs, DOOM included. But Czarmageddon! is…different. It’s, dare I say, punk. Or has elements of punk-rock. The track “Big em up” immediately caught my attention and was added to my Spotify “Liked Songs” faster than Silver Surfer himself. This album and this group are the perfect peanut butter cup of music and I have yet to get enough.


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