WIFE is the new band started by James Kelly, after the sublime black metal band Altar of Plagues disbanded. He clearly wanted to pursue a different direction, focusing on electronics to make his noise. It does share some of the same oppresive atmosphere of Altar of Plagues at times, and What's Between (the only album so far) is a very interesting record.
Fountains of Wayne, "Michael and Heather At The Baggage Claim"
After three great records in a row, Fountains of Wayne put out Traffic and Weather, which on the surface seems similar, but it's just not in the same league. The songs are shallower, they're not as catchy, they're not as sly. It's just a big step down, which is a shame. The record is OK, and I do listen to it occasionally. But mostly, I do that just to check and see if my opinion has changed. It has not yet.
Pile, "A Bug On Its Back"
Pile's Green and Gray is one of my favorite records of the year. Listen to this, and it's not a big surprise, is it? This track, with the propulsive drums and elaborate guitar line, is just cramming a whole lot of song into its running time. Quantity is what matters, right? That's the Five Songs way!
Swingin' Utters, "The Stooge"
Is it fair to describe a song as "meat and potatoes"? Beacuse I think that's what I'm going with here. This is the punk song you bring home from the store, when you decide the store brand is fine, you don't need the name brand today.
Tim Armstrong, "Lady Demeter"
The Tim Armstrong in question here is in fact the Tim Armstrong from Rancid. Or, more relevantly, from Operation Ivy. His first solo album, A Poet's Life, is pretty much a pure ska record, and his love of the genre really comes across. He's working with the Aggrolites here, and it's just played straight ahead. There's no smirks or anything here, this is just him making a record in a genre he adores. As a result, it comes across well.