Needle Drop: Babbling April, Days of Retreat

PHOTO: MIKE KIM | It’s unclear whether Washington, DC-based Babbling April intended for their newest album, Days of Retreat, to be a perfect companion piece for ongoing quarantine, but their new tunes fall perfectly in step with the conscious consensus of millennials across the nation.

“We are finding that what we value may not be the same as generations past,” band member Vivienne Machi asserts. “This album is particularly relevant to those who have grown up through one national tragedy after another, graduated into a global recession, and now face a global pandemic.”

Tracks like “City to Spit In” offer up a hilarious spin on gentrification, boasting an unhinged, Violent Femmes vibe that feels like a breath of fresh air in an era of streamlined pop. The gorgeously adorned “Worst Kind of Parties” is another winner, exposing the kind of empty social norms that got tipped on their head after the pandemic and ensuing protests.

It’s a joy to see the band switch it up and indulge their punk ethos, swimming against the tide in a town full of workaholics focused on lofty career ambitions. When things finally mellow out on the acoustic closer “Fumbling for the Mute Button,” one can’t help but think of Babbling April as a contemporary Yo La Tengo, voicing their generation’s misgivings while exploring their internal creative potential.

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