Devastate Me - Josh Flagg

The feeling that sticks after listening to Josh Flagg's record "Devastate Me" is something I wasn't surprised to see as a buzzword in the musician's bio: velocity. There's a sense of urgency that colors the songs individually, and the record as a whole. From start to finish the record is less than forty minutes, and in that time Flagg soars through eleven songs. And that's maybe what I like best about the record: that it doesn't waste any time. None of these songs here fill like filler, and even the organization of the tracks feels purposeful. It's a record that maintains the most strength when listened to as a whole.

In the title track, Flagg sings "If every night could be a catastrophe/don't wake me, devastate me" and it creates an interesting contrast with the press photos for this album that show the musician with a bloody nose and torn-up knuckles. What interests me here is how the record, and the musician himself, deals with these two types of violence. It makes for an interesting lens by which to funnel this record through, and speaks to Flagg's control over concept.

Comparisons to The Foo Fighters have been drawn with Flagg's music, and I think that similarity works best in "Don't Wake Me," an acoustic break from the drums and distortion that comes toward the record's end. It calls to mind how wonderful Dave Grohl can be with nothing but an acoustic guitar, and reveals Flagg's softer side. I'd contest that it's the best track on "Devastate Me"— or at least my favorite.

But listen for yourself. The music here is worth hearing, even if power pop might not be something you're usually drawn to. There's hybridity in these songs, even if some tend to overlap one another. More importantly, they're fun to listen to, and make for a nice soundtrack on a summer day. Check out for more, where you can stream "Devastate Me" in its entirety free of charge.

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