Music News

Unnatural Helpers: Cracked Love & Other Drugs

Artist: Unnatural Helpers

Title: Cracked Love & Other Drugs
Release date: April 27
Label: Hardly Art

Last week, I blogged about Esquire's 50 songs every man should be listening to right now, and I put out the call for readers to submit their list of songs everyone should be listening to. After sifting through the thousands of responses I received, here is one man's list. Brandon Jacobs listed 40, and here they are, after the jump:

1. Money Tree -- "It Ain't Mine"
2. Beirut -- "Postcards from Italy"
3. Scouting for Girls -- "She's So Lovely"
4. Other Lives -- "Paper Cities"
5. Sia -- "Breathe Me"
6. Rilo Kiley -- "More Adventurous"
7. The Wombats -- "Kill the Director"
8. Amazing Baby -- "Pump Your Brakes"
9. Walter Meego -- "Forever"
10. White Lies -- "Death"
11. Mumford & Son -- "Dust Bowl Dance"
12. The Gutter Twins -- "The Stations"
13. My Morning Jacket -- "Librarian"
14. Jeremy Warmsley -- "Lose My Cool"
15. Erykah Badu -- "The Healer"
16. Sean Hayes -- "When We Fall In"
17. Conor Oberst -- "Snake Hill"
18. Rufus Wainwright -- "Tulsa"
19. Jay Jay Pistolet -- "Happy Birthday You"
20. The Maccabees -- "Lego"
21. Drake w/ Lykke Li -- "Little Bit"
22. Arctic Monkeys -- "You Know I'm No Good"
23. Cold War Kids -- "Audience"
24. Heartless Bastards -- "The Mountain"
25. Gipsy Kings -- "Hotel California"
26. Michael Jackson -- "Beat It" (Blister Boyz Remix)
27. Frightened Rabbit -- "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms"
28. Bon Iver -- "Skinny Love"
29. CocoRosie -- "Werewolf"
30. Glasvegas -- "It's My Own Cheating Heart"
31. Laura Marling -- "My Manic and I"
32. Los Campesinos! -- "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future"
33. Matt & Kim -- "Daylight"
34. Monsters of Folk -- "Temazcal"
35. We Were Promised Jetpacks -- "Quiet Little Voices"
36. Fink -- "This Is the Thing"
37. Norah Jones -- "With Wax Poetic Angels"
38. Classified -- "Inspiration"
39. Das Racist -- "You Oughtta Know"
40. The Dodos -- "Park Song"

So, thanks, Brandon. We can at least agree on Frightened Rabbits, Cold War Kids, and Los Campesinos!. I noticed you left off Unnatural Helpers, a band from Seattle that has a damn fine new record on Hardly Art Records. 

Judging by your list, U.H. may not really be your thing, though. Think 40 years of Pacific Northwest rock squeezed into 15 songs in 29 minutes. It's all there: Sonics, Mudhoney, Wailers, Dead Moon, Makers, even Nirvana. The only thing missing are Hendrix and Heart. Cracked Love & Other Drugs is a simmering stew of stomping drums, super-fuzz-big-muff guitars, a singer that sounds more than a little bit like Mark Arm, and some big-time garage-rock hooks that seem to appear out of nowhere then disappear as quickly as they emerged.

Best song: "Claim It Mine"
Rotation: Heavy
Deja vu: Garage-y grunge or grungy garage
I'd rather listen to: Hardly Art act The Dutchess & the Duke, whose Kimberly Morrison (a.k.a. The Dutchess) played bass on this Unnatural Helpers record
Grade: B+

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

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