Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15 Releases

By: Colin Roose, News Editor

Hm. A rather threatening vibe emanates from the list of this week's new album releases. Just looking at the list right now, I see Bloody Knives, Fearless Vampire Killers, The Grotesquery -- I bet their mothers are proud. What happened to the peaceful names of yore like Love or The Pretty Things? Or Bananarama?

Anywho, the new records this week. Looming large on the list is Bloom by Beach House, everyone's favorite teen-dream-pop duo. Though you might have heard it already, as it was leaked way early. I started seeing reviews for it a couple of months ago. Take a listen here.

The musical descendants of Brian Wilson's fantasy lands, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, have created another 50 minutes of synthy bliss, reverb-laden vocals, and one-word song titles. Not quite rock, not quite electronica, the songs flow together in a waterfall of keyboards and Legrand's celestial singing. The only thing keeping the tracks from having any sense of time is the presence of "psht-psht" percussion, as I've heard one reviewer call it.

Lo-fi tendencies aside, your mileage of this album will really depend on how mellow you're willing to go with your indie. Programmed and carefully planned atmospheres resonate with me, but if you prefer organic, have a look at this week's other fine wares. 

Like the always earthy Willie Nelson! It's a landmark in itself to still be releasing albums at age 79, but the real reason to pick up his new release Heroes is to hear Snoop Dogg attempting a country drawl on the single "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die." Reminds me of a certain other unlikely cross-genre collaboration with a major R & B star.

Not being familiar with his back catalog, I can only add my two cents by saying that his voice is in alarmingly fine form considering his age. It has a certain everyman quality that, in my humble opinion, many other country acts overdo with their exaggerated accents. As with B. B. King, the fact that he's still at it is enough reason to check out his new efforts.

I also have to admit that Garbage is not very familiar to my ears. But being something of a production buff and Nirvana fan, the fact that it features Nevermind producer Butch Vig is a pedigree I can't really pass up.

The lead single of Not Your Kind of People, "Blood for Poppies," at least sounds like it is straight out of '90s MTV - crashing drums and distorted guitars, but with a somewhat modern rap-tinged feel. I wouldn't really know though, Sam Boyer could tell you more about that than me. But if you can't stand Victoria Legrand's straight-from-heaven vocalizations, Shirley Manson's tougher pipes will be a much better fit for you this week.

The last album I'd like to point out is by a guitarist dear to my heart, but one you may never have heard of. Trevor Rabin is best known for being the guitarist for Yes in the '80s, the favorite band of yours truly. If you ever fell in love with the irresistible poppy riff from "Owner of a Lonely Heart," you have this man to thank.

His new solo album Jacaranda is apparently all over the map, with classical, rock, and jazz being primary genres. I haven't found a stream to give it a listen yet, but it's worth a mention in this week's roundup because the guy has languished in obscurity since leaving the best band in the world, doing fittingly obscure soundtrack work. Do a Yes man a favor and give him a listen.

Check out the corresponding reviews this week on ACRN for more detailed overviews. And don't forget to skip the processed Glee banality newly thrown onto the racks.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 8 Releases, 2012

By: Cassie Whitt, Blogs Editor

It has all come full-circle, folks. This is my final "Drop It Like It's Hot" post as Blogs Editor for my beloved ACRN. I would get all sentimental, but there's a coincidence here cooler than anything mopey I could say to make you guys cry.

The first time I wrote an entry for this blog, I  gushed about the then latest release from Amanda Palmer. Much like that first time, I am writing about Palmer again because I can, for continuity's sake and for the sake of bringing finality to this segment of my life.

Of course, the record doesn't actually come out until September and, as (former) Blogs Editor, I know that's not the point of this blog, but--well--the Kickstarter project for it debuted last week, and it's pretty revolutionary. Seriously, check it out:

This is the future of music. Brilliant, AFP.

Now, onto the albums that are actually coming out on May 8, 2012.

Also a beautiful coincidence for my final entry: one of my favorite artists (second only to My Chemical Romance), Matt Skiba debuts his newest project Matt Skiba and the Sekrets with Babylon.

In my head, Skiba, 1/3 of Alkaline Trio and an outstanding solo artist, can do no wrong (see my ACRN review of his rough-cut 2010 Demos for evidence.) His Sekrets project does not change my mind about that, at least not from what I have heard, and considering 4 of the tracks are refined Demos songs ("Haven't You," "Olivia" [Formerly "Nausea (Cruel and Unusual)"], "How The Hell Did We Get Here?" and "Angel of Deaf"), I have complete faith in the album.

Check out track 1, "Voices," below.

All the more reason to expect great things: Matt Skiba and the Sekrets also includes Hunter Burgan from AFI and Jarrod Alexander formerly of A Static Lullaby (though he's often credited as being a member of MCR--that's just not true. MCR does not currently have a permanent drummer and have said many times that they do not see themselves acquiring one any time soon, funfact kthnx and get it straight, please.)

Also releasing this week: Neck of the Woods by Silversun Pickups. I chose to look into this album particularly because I wanted to rip on mediocrity.

My disdain radar for the complacency with unremarkable music of late beeped wildly when I saw the name "Silversun Pickups;" as, I leveled them with that Kings of Leon crowd who have been putting out the same song for the past few years, getting huge from it and consequently pissing off the hip kids who used to be their fans.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by the album and even revisited their "Lazy Eye" song that bothered me senseless a few years ago.

Neck of the Woods has the rising intensity and vague creepiness I crave in music. You win this round, Silversun Pickups. I was wrong.

For a change of pace: OFF!'s OFF! --- Ooohhh, yes. The longest song on this throwback hardcore-punk album is 1:36, which translates to: "it's perfect." Plus, it sounds like it was recorded in 1979. Black Flag fans, Keith Morris' latest will not disappoint you.

Not bad, May 8. Not bad at all...

And, with that, I conclude my final "Drop It Like It's Hot" post.
Never let them take you alive,