Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9 Releases, 2013

By: Emily Votaw, Features & Interviews Editor

The week of April 9, 2013, is just not a good one if you, you know, like music. Right off the bat we’ve got some real clunkers: Paramore, Brad Paisley, Stone Sour and even the infamous Paul Anka--bringing the softest of rock and the strangest of cover selections to his latest release.

Paramore was got pretty big sometime around 2007, and the world has been regretting whatever horrible toxic agent polluted the national water supply enough to make an entire generation of eighth graders purchase Riot! ever since. To me, this is nothing but boring pop punk riffs and dead percussion. But to some, Paramore is one of the defining bands of my generation, so maybe I’m missing something. Listening to the singles the band has been releasing over the past several months--and believe you me, this took some mighty self discipline on my part--I discovered one thing: I still really, really, really don’t enjoy Paramore. I couldn’t advise watching the video for “Now” because I don’t think I “got” it either. There are people in a desert, a guy in a military uniform--I don’t understand. 

Up next is Brad Paisley. Need I say more? If there is a man who single-handedly encapsulates the culture that has forever changed modern country music, it is Brad Paisley. I don’t like so many things about Brad Paisley. Once again, that’s just my snotty take on Mr. Paisley. I did grow up in a very rural area, and at some point, modern country-rock started to get under my skin. Warning: his new album is entitled Wheelhouse--and I want you to know that that is the word for that goofy little room on a boat where they keep the steering wheel. I hope you have been to Put-In-Bay, and I hope that you have ridden Miller’s Ferry, because one of those boats (which takes people to the most depressing party isle on Lake Erie) is a perfect depiction of what a “wheelhouse” is. I know that Paisley is probably not trying to conjure anything nautical with the title of his latest release--I just desperately hope that he is.

I mentioned Paul Anka earlier--and I do intend to write about him, but I need to save the “best” for last because, sadly, the guy who sang “Diana” is arguably the most artistically legitimate of the last two acts I named off. Really, this album, cleverly titled Duets, is made up of just that--a collection of duets that Anka recorded with all types of odd and kind of boring musicians. You’ve got Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, Gloria Estefan and, of course, no truly vanilla recording would be complete without Michael BublĂ©! I can’t say that I enjoy this material, and it’s not just because it’s showing all the classic symptoms of “Grandma Music”--it’s because the duets just aren’t cohesive. There is too much jumping around, and this just does feel like a collection of mediocre crooner songs.

I know I have been rather negative, and perhaps not as eloquent as I could have been. I just feel like I owe it to my fellow music-lovers to let them know that this week of releases is just a big ol’ barrel of stinkers. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2 Releases, 2013

By: Zack Baker, Copy Editor

This week has basically been the week from hell for me. I’ve been buried under papers, exams and quizzes for every single one of my classes, so taking a break from all that stress to check out this week’s new music was much needed for me. And luckily, this week’s releases rule in so many different ways.

Up first is Tyler, The Creator’s Wolf. If you’ve been paying attention to music at all for the past few years, you know who Tyler is. The ringleader of hip-hop collective Odd Future, Tyler’s been putting out music that varies in theme from offensive jokes about rape and homophobia to introspective tracks about his estranged father and social anxiety issues. His collective’s gained quite a following, and the follow-up to his 2011 release Goblin has been hotly anticipated. Wolf is a continuation of these themes, and while production quality has gone up significantly, the weird split between Tyler’s styles has only become more prominent. Next to the album’s numerous high points (“Jamba,” “Answer,” “IFHY,” “Rusty,” “Tamale” and “Lone”), a lot of the songs on this 18 track opus fall flat.

The Cold War Kids also dropped Dear Miss Lonelyhearts and, even though I’ve never listened to the group before, I thought I’d give it a shot. Based on what little I know about the band, this album definitely seems to be incorporating a lot more electronic stuff than their previous albums (it’s 2013, what else is new?). Lots of really thumping basslines here, and Nathan Willett’s vocals fit right in with the chaotic instrumentals below them. Seems like some pretty groovy stuff for anyone looking for a harder take on indie rock with a dash of electronic influence thrown in for good measure.

So, New Kids On The Block are apparently back. How could I pass up the opportunity to see what a band who peaked well before my time are producing well after their prime? 10 is an album with a deeply confusing name (it’s not the ten year anniversary of anything as far as I can tell, nor their tenth studio album), a fantastically outdated album cover and no discernable style of its own. Particularly strange and hilarious is “Remix (I Like The),” which sounds like what would happen if Nickelback tried to do a psuedo-dance track and talked about remixes as a metaphor for a female dancing. Pretty much everything else here sounds like an attempt to bring the boy band craze back, and while it’s nice to reminisce about what bad taste we all had back then, the album doesn’t serve any purpose other than that.

This week also brings the release of new albums from Alkaline Trio and Bring Me The Horizon if you like your music on the heavier side, and Telekinesis and Generationals if you’re more keen to the indie rock persuasion.