Shiloh have been banging out rock hits since the early 2010’s (that’s the first time I’ve ever used that phrase). Their early releases are rooted in country and folk styles but have hints of a more alternative rock/garage sound to them. Those early demos are what you’d expect from a few ’90s kids who discovered Big Star and The Replacements at the right age and made some very impressive home recordings with that knowledge.
This past August, they released their third proper full-length record Last Time For Everything, and they’ve come a long way from their humble roots recording in basements throughout the Midwest.
Right from the start this album commands your attention. “Bang For Your Buck” opens things up and sums up the cavalcade of first world problems facing America’s youth within the first line,”More bang for your buck but the kids don’t give a fuck”. By the chorus you’ll already be hooked on these guys.
“It’s Not Me” is a bittersweet tale that sounds like it could’ve come right off an Elliott Smith album (his later stuff, when he had a full band). The guitars layer nicely with the band trading licks back and forth throughout most of the song. It’s a very ’90s affair, in all the right ways though.
Continuing the album’s loose theme of “letting life get you down” is the track “9 AM”. Shiloh know their way around a pop song and this is a great example of that. Lyricists Alex Reindl and Ryan Ensley have a great sense of humor and a sharp wit that give all of their songs a sense of honesty (a quality too often lost in pop music these days.)
At the half-way point of the album sits my personal favorite track, “God Is A Girl”. Besides it being a hard rocking and catchy tune, the final verse is nothing short of lyrical perfection.
God is a girl, blue eyes and curls and I met her in a drunken haze on State Street after getting off the train.
She bummed me a smoke, I told her a joke that lasted twenty-two years and from her tears I could tell she’d heard this one before.
“No Good” is more of an interlude than anything. The instrumental track clocks in under 1 minute but still seems to ache with a melancholy sound that pairs well the rest of the album.
It kicks back in with the energetic “Get Alone”. Another standout on the album, this one once again shows off the bands lyrical prowess while still providing a ton of fucking rock to back it up. If the teenage version of myself had heard this one some years ago, Shiloh would’ve instantly been my favorite band ever.
I want to start this next sentence with “As the album winds down…” but it doesn’t wind down, if anything, the band brings even more energy to these last few tracks. “The Drugs Won’t Bring It Back” is another rock epic that touches on the band’s country storyteller side but with a lot more overdrive and hard hitting drums.
The last original tune on the album starts with a damn catchy guitar line that builds to an even catchier song. “Sicker Thoughts / Something Good” keeps up the ’90s sound. It feels like a Pavement song if they had been bit more pop-punk (and had a J. Mascis for a lead guitarist). This one shreds, another instant favorite.
For good measure, the band threw on a cover of The Replacements classic “Can’t Hardly Wait”. The song was also a staple of their recent tour (and their set at last month’s ElSounds Fest) and is as faithful of a cover as you can get (minus the horns and string section). It fits well on the album and shows that Shiloh is not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve. Singer, Alex Reindl has a hauntingly similar throaty growl as Paul Westerberg did when the original song was record, making this cover seem like a necessary inclusion.
And that’s about it. 8 fine rock tracks later you have an album that leaves you wanting more but is so damn satisfying at the same time. Personally, I feel like I’ve lived a version of each one of these songs at some point in my life. In many ways, it becomes an extremely cathartic listening experience. The stories told on Last Time For Everything are extremely relatable and that to me, is the mark of good songwriting.
If you want more bang for you buck and love this album as much as I do you can head over to bandcamp and download it for a measly $5.
What’s even better is that you can see these songs live and pick up a CD from the band this Saturday, September 13th during a very special Album Release Show at The Flowershop (Irving Park Rd. between Broadway and Sheridan). Joining Shiloh is a star-studded lineup including MAMA, Hollow Mountain, and Jollys.
Get all of the details on the show and RSVP via Facebook