Hard Pipe Hitters, Revenge, Rebellion, and What Have You (Self-released)
Before spinning this, I felt I needed another punk disc like I needed a hole in my head. But the Hitters’ new 15-track album cracks my skull wide open in ways I didn’t anticipate. Opening cut “Corporation Cannon Fodder” expertly, if inelegantly, captures the agony of being chained to a cubicle, another soul-vacuumed cog. Even ska-inflected “Flatfoot Decay” (I mean, c’mon, ska?) wrenches me. Hitters drummer TJ Hoopes recorded Revenge in his garage-cum-studio, but you wouldn’t know it. ★★★✩✩
Marisa Johnson, My Own Way (Self-released)
This local songbird sang with Andrea Bocelli and opened for Enrique Iglesias, but on her debut album the sonic template is clearly Sarah Brightman. PBS-friendly music isn’t my favorite genre, but I can’t deny that Johnson’s performance on the title track is both alluring and technically impressive. “Refugee,” with its lyrics about liberating the heart from love’s enslavement, is an emotional highlight and deserves to be heard—and applauded—by millions. Let me add this: The syrupy symphonic production and arrangements are first-rate. ★★★✩✩
The Objex, Super Charged Little Nova EP (Self-released)
If punk is dead, then just call me a necrophile, sings Objex singer and sex object Felony Melony on a blistering, guitar-lacerating track called “GG” (titled in honor of the late outlaw shock-rocker GG Allin). Gotta be a rock ’n’ roller/I’m the one you can’t control her. Indeed, there’s no stopping—or even momentarily slowing down—Melony on this blast of adrenalized angst. There are very few three chords-and-the-ugly-truth bands I can get behind, but Nova confirms that the Objex’s stellar explosion is imminent. ★★★★✩
Upcoming albums on Jarret’s radar …
June 10: The Pretenders’ peerless frontwoman Chrissie Hynde unveils Stockholm, the first album recorded under her own name. The disc features contributions from Neil Young, Caesars’ Joakim Åhlund and John McEnroe(?!). First single “Dark Sunglasses” is a bright, new wave-inspired rocker.
June 17: The World’s Most Popular Torch Singer of Doom, Lana Del Rey, returns with Ultraviolence, and I’m ultra-ecstatic. The song titles—“Brooklyn Baby,” “Shades of Cool,” “Cruel World”—look gloomily promising.