By Bryan Menegus, Columnist
John Mulaney- New in Town
At 29 years old, John Mulaney has already established himself as the youngest (and among the brightest) of the current crop of writers for the iconic if not long in the tooth Saturday Night Life. His first stand-up album, The Top Part, was one of the worthiest comedy records of '09, and New in Town does not disappoint as a sophomore effort. While he tends to avoid weighty subjects, Mulaney's delivery is human and charming, and his instantly-engaging wit belies a surprisingly density. While Louis C.K. is all the rage right now (and rightfully so), Mulaney is fresh and gifted new voice.
RIYL: Demitri Martin, Todd Barry
The Menzingers- On the Impossible Past
Since forming in '06, PA punks The Menzingers have accrued quite a bit of credibility for their well-structured but aggressive sound. On the Impossible Past continues the trend in their records toward something more melodic and, dare I say, slower. The results teeter and occasionally fumble, but never blunder enough to ruin the experience of their respectable third LP. Laudibly, The Menzingers are allowing themselves to evolve, but they're very much between shores presently.
RIYL: Banner Pilot, Fake Problems
Sleigh Bells- Reign of Terror
The Sleigh Bells I remember (from less than two years ago) was just another buzzband who got a lot of unearned acclaim for being somewhat trashier than most other buzzbands at the time. Now, Allison Krauss and Co. have taken the talentless sonic blitz of Treats, their debut LP, and refined it into snortable boredom. Get it? Because they probably did too much coke and can't write music anymore? I digress—Reign of Terror is astonishingly underwhelming and totally undeserving of your time. Reign of Terror is a lazily-sung stillbirth. Reign of Terror is a bag of wet farts dribbling into your ears.
RIYL: Just don't listen to it. It's pretty bad, dudes.