With their 2019 album Pretty Buff, Angel Du$t branched out from their hardcore roots (members also play in Trapped Under Ice and Turnstile) and dove headfirst into jangle pop territory. It was an appealing, well-executed 180, but it wasn't a total pivot to traditional jangle pop; Angel Du$t's hardcore roots still shone through. For that album's followup, YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs, Angel Du$t have moved even further away from those roots. It's the prettiest, most tender sounding music they've ever made. Angel Du$t say the album was "fashioned in the spirit of a playlist as opposed to a capital-R 'Record,'" and a handful of these tracks had already been released on recent EPs, so it does seem a little bit more like a compilation, but it also plays out really well when taken as a whole. It's got more of the upbeat, percussive jangle pop that became the band's calling card on Pretty Buff, but it's also got shambolic folk rock ("Fear Some"), lush baroque pop ("Love Is The Greatest"), Petty-inspired heartland rock ("Truck Songs"), and more. There's also a retro ballad called "Dancing On The Radio" with guest vocals by Rancid's Tim Armstrong, who seems to be an in-demand guest vocalist in the modern hardcore community lately, though this song is basically the polar opposite of that Section H8 song he's on. The album was produced by Rob Schnapf, who's best known for working with Elliott Smith but who also has a history of helping punk bands make prettier sounding albums (The Anniversary, Saves The Day, Joyce Manor), and that Rob Schnapf touch is perfect for these songs. The punk roots aren't totally gone, but they're incorporated in a way that feels a little more intentional. Pretty Buff sounded like a punk band making a jangle pop record; YAK sounds like a genre-less band doing anything they want. [Notable Releases]
Angel Du$t (members of Trapped Under Ice and Turnstile) just released their new album YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs on Roadrunner this past Friday (that's my review above, and vinyl is HERE), and frontman Justice Tripp has now made us a list of 10 songs that influenced the album, with commentary on each pick. It includes classics like Lou Reed, Blur, Orange Juice, Greg Sage of Wipers, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, The Kinks, The Replacements, and more, and it also includes one by Seattle punks Big Bite (who a song on the album is named after) and one by emo-rap acts Cold Hart and Yawn. Read on to see what Justice had to say.