Xahferd (w/Bri Carmel) – Make It Work

Xahferd, joined along with Bri Carmel, take us on a journey of a couple who are trying to do what they can to salvage the relationship. “Make It Work” has whimsical elements that contrast the darkness of the story being told. At one point in the song Xahferd claims “I want to ride my car into a wall / as a preface for my spiraling fall / to see how much it hurts.”

This leads Mustard to wonder, what happened in the relationship to cause these feelings? They hope that “Make It Work” is connected to an EP or album as they are intrigued to learn more about these characters.

“Make It Work” reminds Mustard a lot of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time in the best way possible. While the world that Jake and Finn inhibit is bright and colorful they are often tormented with its hidden wickedness. 

I Hate Birthdays – Bronte Alva

In an interview with Mustard, Alva disclosed that “I Hate Birthdays” was originally written as a diary entry. It shortly became a song afterwards. This is the third single from Alva which explores not only their identity but what it means to be a human within society. Even without knowing this was written as a diary entry “I Hate Birthdays” is authentic, vulnerable, and raw. 

Alva, like other humans, is trying their best to overcome expectations placed upon them by society. Society has a set of unwritten rules/norms that humans should follow such as marrying, buying a house, knowing what you want to do, etc. While these things are nice, society has evolved and continues to adapt. Those moments can still happen. But as Mustard says to Honey Mustard: there is no timeframe to do anything. That is okay. 

Brotne’s work, and especially “I Hate Birthdays”, are powerful examples of trying to make sense of the human condition. 

Mustard looks forward to future releases by Bronte Alva!

Toilet Rats IV

Earlier this month Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Toilet Rats. They shared their knowledge of the world comes from discarded newspapers, vhs, and cassette tapes found deep within the sewer. Fortunately, down in the sewer, are also musical instruments that Toilet Rats have learned. Their fourth collection, Toilet Rats IV,  is some of the most fun Mustard has had listening to music this year. 

Toilet Rats IV allows listeners into the very-limited perspective of Toilet Rats. They do not venture up onto the surface and songs on this album reflect what humans have deemed no longer valuable.  

If you’re looking to get into horror, “Carol Kane” is a great start. Want to contemplate whether humans are the actual monsters? “Nessie” will have you reflecting on your human behavior. This album is very much like a mixtape you would discover from 1987. Which Mustard finds to be a true delight.

“House of Broken Mirrors” – Theresa Gorella

The debut single from Nashville’s Theresa Gorella is a 60s inspired ballad that can be described as “accidentally country.” “House of Broken Mirrors” is a song about a human seeking to feel like themselves again after previous bad choices. Being a human is complicated, messy, and does not allow level selection like found in video games.

“House of Broken Mirrors” is a song of exploration. Gorella looks to rewind and feel like herself again. This is no easy task. Allowing yourself though as a human to recognize this is so important.

Mustard looks forward to future releases from Gorella.

Emily Gray – Apocalypse 

Apocalypse from Emily Gray (produced by the talented Knucklebutt) is a concept EP which places listeners into a dystopian wasteland. Humans are no strangers to these dystopian landscapes as they are often portrayed throughout film, television, and literature. Each track opens up with a spoken word introduction, something that Mustard really enjoys. Their human employee used to perform spoken word poetry and deeply enjoyed how Gray set the scene for each song with the pieces of poetry. In four tracks (plus an epilogue) Gray brilliantly builds a world and future that is harrowing, grim, and potentially not too different from our own. With increased division throughout the world combined with a rejection of facts/science, Gray foreshadows what the human world could end up being like. Some parts of the world are already experiencing the trauma in which Gray sings about throughout this EP. 

Both Gray and Knucklebutt have painted a harrowing picture of despair and loneliness. The effects of that loneliness are heard in the final track of the EP. It is graphic and nothing no human wants to experience. But it is necessary to complete the story and highlight how terrifying a world like this can be. 

Apocalypse is an EP that will stick with you. 

“False Prophets” – Faintest Idea

Review by: Gimpleg

“False Prophets” is the third single released off of UK Ska-core band Faintest Idea’s upcoming album, The Road to Sedition. The album appears to be a themed album full of leftist ideology (Not unlike their previous albums).

The vocals in this song are strong, and the use of a call and response in the chorus ensures you’ll be singing along by the third verse, but it’s the horns that really bring this track home. They drive the song in the beginning and end and they punctuate the vocals during the chorus. This song also features an exciting minute-long instrumental portion that allows the drums and bass to show off, plenty of guitar, and uses excellent punctuation of the horns to maintain the themes of the song. 

Incredibly, this song is probably my third favorite of the three singles released so far, and it’s a song that I have added to my playlists immediately. 

reedcee – BODY

Following the release of “Cry Cowboy” reedcee has returned with “BODY.” Mustard enjoys the composition of “BODY”; its sound is light and fun while the lyrics bring up some more serious issues regarding the human body. reedcee states at one point that he wishes he was skin and bones. 

Human society, thanks to advertising and other factors, is heavily focused on superficial images. When reedcee says that he wishes he was skin and bones, is this a commentary on society’s expectations? Is reedcee comparing himself to others?  

Closer to the end of the track reedcee goes even further and proclaims “I don’t need my head / I don’t need my arms.” 

“BODY” will allow listeners to reflect how they feel about themselves and create discussion about the issue of not only self-worth but image within human society. 

This is a track worth giving your ears too.


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