Ear Buds: “Live at Bush Hall” and “Pineapple Sunrise”

Miter music critics Nadia Kostecka and Sydney Janik swap first-listens and share their thoughts on new releases from Beach Weather and Black Country, New Road

Live at Bush Hall

Nadia Kostecka: In early 2018, six young Cambridge residents created a post-punk band: Black Country, New Road. Their commercially and artistically successful 2022 album “Ants From Up There” took listeners on an experimental journey filled with flute and trumpet riffs and raw vocals from lead singer Isaac Wood. Songs like “Concorde” and “The Place Where He Inserted The Blade” found great ascendancy due to Isaac’s electric sound on the tracks and unique instrumentals from the rest of the group. It seemed like this instant fame was too good to be true, and it proved to be, because just as the band was gaining widespread acclaim in the Indie music scene, their lead singer left. Listeners were devastated due to the band losing such a critical piece of their sound. To the surprise of many, the band announced a new live-recorded album “Live From Bush Hall” that had all the familiar, thrilling, eccentric sounds of their previous albums, but they lacked one element: Isaacs’s voice.

As a devoted listener to Black Country, New Road’s previous albums, I felt less connected to the songs their newest album shared. My love for the band was founded on the power Isaac’s voice gave each song, and without that, I didn’t feel as invested. To gain a fresh perspective, I had a fellow classmate, who is completely unfamiliar with this band and their sound, give the new album a listen.

Sydney Janik: The beat-drops and intensity of this album were both incredible. I truly felt the raw emotion emanating from this album and I loved that. Music becomes infinitely more impactful when you can truly feel it, whether that be how the lyrics resonate with you or the emotion within the song itself, it’s something that I love and it helps me truly connect with the music I’m listening to. This album gives you everything: it puts you on the edge of your seat, builds you up with sheer intensity, and then drops you down with the slow tracks and raw vocals. 

Not only does this happen across the album itself but this journey happens in many different songs as well. In “Up Song”, I like how it gets intense with the guitar and then backs off. I also really enjoyed how they continued to incorporate the trumpet from the beginning. Another one of my favorite tracks was “I Won’t Always Love You”. It starts off sad, reminding me of a period piece of some kind. While listening to it, I could feel the raw emotion in the song itself because of how the singer uses their voice to the slow and sad tune. I liked how even though the song picks up it still feels raw and deeply sad and emotional. The songs seems to turn from sad and mellow to angry and bitter, truly representing what it’s like to no longer love someone. First you mourn the loss of them but you get over it and that sadness can turn into hating the person for making you feel that way. 

Finally, “The Boy” is another track that I really enjoyed. I liked how it sounds soft but it still made me feel like I was on the edge of my seat. It’s a song that really puts you in the moment and immerses you in the lyrics. I also enjoyed the storytelling element of the song, it’s very interesting and I found that it really helped keep my attention. I enjoyed the fun little beat at the end of each “chapter” as well, the music itself felt like it was hopping and it remained light. While the song is fun it also feels a bit melancholy, especially at the end, which I truly love.

Pineapple Sunrise

SJ: When you think of spring and summer, you probably think of sunny days, of picnics by Green Lake, and of driving with the windows down and the music up. What better way to celebrate the changing weather than with a fitting album for the seasons. Pineapple Sunrise by Beach Weather is the perfect candidate for a signature summer soundtrack.

This album embodies the feeling of summer: it’s light and fun, but it also has some tracks that make you want to scream at the top of your lungs. It definitely feels like it’s meant for blasting at an unhealthy volume in your car with the windows down on a sunny day. I also really enjoy this album because the songs give a narrative of loneliness under the guise of optimism. Tracks like “Unlovable” have a beat that you can get up and move to while still making you feel something with the deeper meaning of the lyrics. 

I’ve been a fan of Beach Weather for a while now, and I listened to the album as soon as it came out on March 3rd of 2023. In order to truly put this album to the test and see what someone who had never heard their music before thought, I got fellow classmate Nadia Kostecka to give a blind review of the album.

NK: “Pineapple Sunrise” is a fun, easy to listen to, indie pop album. It’s an album you can have on in the background of day to day tasks just to add a brightness to your mood. It doesn’t require much thinking or deep diving into meaning. Pineapple Sunrise has simple, but singable and carefree lyrics – perfect for a day at the beach or a car ride with the windows down. 

In comparison to music I usually listen to, this is a big jump. I find myself listening to songs where attention to lyrical choices are critical, but that wasn’t the case here. And I can say confidently, I don’t think that was a bad thing. 

It was nice to listen to an album that followed the same spunky mood throughout its entirety. I could listen to it without devoting all of my attention to specific musical choices made. Sometimes, we all need some pick-me-up music, and this album perfectly encapsulated that.

“Wildfire”, the second to last track on the album, was my favorite. I loved the low and slow instrumentals at the beginning, paired with a more raw vocal track. The song explodes into an exciting and unique-sounding chorus – which I love. I love a song where the instrumentals explode after a quieter upbringing. It gives me a full body reaction, which isn’t an easily acquirable asset when it comes to music. Another song that stood out to me was “High & Driving”, which explored tension-filled lyrics and a deep, groovy baseline. Their sound closely reminds me of one of my favorite bands, Wallows. If you enjoyed this album, their music would definitely be an easy transition for you.