Talk Show Host and ‘Mid-Century Modern’

Talk Show Host – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Talk Show Host and 'Mid-Century Modern'
Cover photo: Amanda Fotes

Talk Show Host and Mid-Century Modern are yet ANOTHER band and entry into the 2021-Punkaverse riding the wave of gruff, Indie and Alt. Rock influenced melodic Punk built entirely on life experience. You know the type, Red City Radio, Hot Water Music, Burnt Tapes, Spanish Love Songs, Iron Chic, The Menzingers; I could go on. The above regularly bare all definatly. Through either sardonic smiles or effervescent grins of temporary emotional and euphoric freedom, they spill all. Combine the bands above, socio-political frustration, Punk exuberance and their inherently quirky Indie delivery, and you have Talk Show Host. Mid-Century Modern, is their new album released via Wiretap Records and Disconnect Disconnect Records. To Toronto!

A discordant but playful lead line twists and turns as your attentions follow in ‘You Asshole’. Talk Show Host are beckoning and approachable unlike the asshole in this tale. The lasting influence of Pop-Punk lingers as an aesthetic over a more than grounded and charged rhythm section. Talk Show Host are “poppy” but their Punk streak is open, abrasive and alive. ‘Blood In The Sand’ puts the “rock” in Indie-Rock whilst simultaneously tracing the genres’ roots back to Punk with fluid ease and is finished with a Power-Pop lacquer. Track two is energetic and yet easy-going as the embodiment of the Power-Pop/Indie-Rock hybrid hinted on previous material stretches its legs on the debut. Albeit with a little Surf-Rock in there. Change my mind.

‘Crisis Actors’ changes tone again, opting for a brooding Alternative Rock with a bitter, aggravated and sardonic Punk streak. Talk Show Host are no strangers to social observations. Three’s humorous discussion of “crisis actors” and pseudo support swimming in hashtags and through rehearsals marks an infectious high point on Mid-Century Modern. Well, sonically anyway. ‘Warm Condolences’ will then have you repeating the line ‘don’t make me tell on you’ verbatim in tone. ‘Warmest Condolences’, as it lambasts more than one facet of our so-bad-its-funny society, is another “proof is in the pudding” deal where a Pop song is perfected by politically aware guitar music.

‘Sorry, My Mistake’ hits with a moody, melodic trudge matching the very realisation of the aforementioned mistake. TSH then move into a reflective, calmer ebb as the trudge lulls. Five’s heavy-set Alternative Rock captures the Post-Grunge world as meandering guitar lead captivates and then solicits an up-tempo drive in one of the best moments on the release. ‘Syntax Error Ok’ reinjects the Punk streak of the previous release as Talk Show Host and Mid-Century Modern alternate yet again with a little vocal help. The band aren’t fans of stillness. ‘Up To No Good’ is another case for the roots of Indie-Rock as the ubiquitously gritty and heavy-set rhythm section of Talk Show Host looms over the rate at which the album changes. There is a near unlimited power to Talk Show Host and it’s sentient enough to opt to run symbiotically with the Power-Pop-Indie-Punk powerhouse.

A rambunctious, writhing Punk-Rock bass crashes against the walls the fluttering Indie-guitar-work has built in ‘Too Many Problems’. However, they escape, because of course they do. The second half of Mid-Century Modern is the selling point. The band’s refinement is comfortably laid bare. Talk Show Host cut across their hybridized sound with more cohesion as they now know that they have you.

‘The Ballad Of Jack Nance’ is another one of those infectiously hooked guitar-Pop songs where Talk Show Host substantiates their art. However, ‘Lame Duck’ then cuts the pace and alternates for a final time. Vocally, the band’s ever light-hearted yet soulful tone leads a brooding, low ridden beat. Now is the perfect time to mention how that via the production, each member of the three sounds as they should. This is why the band are able to balance their writhing abrasive approach with smiles both sonic, lyrical and verbal to create the greater whole. TLH’s drummer’s performance has been effortless throughout Mid-Century Modern and as a part of the gritty rhythm section, channelled through this natural-sounding filter, is a huge part of why the record lands as well as it does.

‘Lame Duck’ is joined with guest verses and harmonisations yet again. ‘Lame Duck’ is the natural end to an album that chops and changes in the best way. Post-2:52 a discordant warped lead flies high as the rumbling drum patterns match the repetition of the vocal indecision. Talk Show Host then move on to end post-catharsis and still amidst their maelstrom of headfuckery to slow thuds and feedback. That’ll do.  



Founder of Ear Nutrition, Matt is sadly over 30 and first cut his words writing for the now defunct site, Musically Fresh. He enjoys a variety of guitar-driven music but can usually be found navigating a web of Skate Punk, Hardcore and everything in between.