Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24 Releases, 2013

By: Zack Baker, Copy Editor

New releases are on the light side this week, but that doesn't mean there isn't any great music dropping. Everyone seems to have jumped out of the way this week to make room for the OVO-headmaster himself (Drake), but a few other upstarts are on the calendar with our Canadian friend. 

Obviously, the most talked-about album hitting shelves today is Nothing Was The Same, Drake's latest full-length. The album's been pulling hype for the past few months with consistent lead-up singles spanning the genre grab bag that Drake occupies. There's radio-banger "Started From The Bottom," R&B-Drake classic "Hold On We're Going Home" and the controversially named "Wu-Tang Forever." 

Drake isn't breaking new ground with NWTS, but the production has been stepped up a level and Drake has a more consistent flow than on his past two albums. If you're a Drake hater, I doubt this release will convert you to The Church Of Drake™, but it's the best Drake album that Drake has ever made. Drake.

Odd Future-affiliated neo-soul duo The Internet dropped Feel Good today, and it's a marked improvement over their debut, Purple Naked Ladies. Fresh off a nationwide tour supporting Mac Miller, The Internet have put together a fantastic jazz-funk-soul-R&B-vibey-whatever album that doesn't sound like anything else out at the moment. 

Delicate chords tumble precariously over snappy basslines and fantastic drums, creating music that doesn't need to get into your face to prove its worth. Early single "Dontcha" and late album cut "Shadow Dance" are the best of the bunch here--they exemplify the fantastically aimless feel of the music and Syd's vocals drape perfectly over the chilled out instrumentals.

Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches also have a new effort out this week, and it's an album that I'm sure to be listening to through the end of the year. The Bones Of What You Believe is the culmination of almost two years of hype-building and scattershot releases from the group, and while many tracks have been kicking around the blogosphere for some time, the album still feels remarkably fresh.

Since the band caught some attention with "The Mother We Share" in late 2011, it has been expanding on what fans can expect from a Chvrches release. "Lies," "Gun," "Recover" and the subsequent Recover EP established the band's core sound, and thankfully The Bones of What You Believe reaches beyond those expectations. From the hard-hitting "Lungs" to the drifting "You Caught The Light," Chvrches prove that there was a reason behind all of its buzz.

Apart from these releases, the week is pretty sparse. There's a new Kings of Leon album, which I assume sounds like a Kings of Leon album, and a fantastic new Mazzy Star release to give a little more competition to the great Northern radio savior. Not the most amazing week for new releases, but plenty to keep you busy until Danny Brown's Old on September 30th.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 17 Releases, 2013

By Rachel Haas, Managing Editor

For me, this week is kind of an exciting week for music. Not only is MGMT’s self-titled third release finally coming out, but Mr. VanWyngarden and Mr. Goldwasser are accompanied by Nick Thorburn’s Islands, Grouplove and a band that I interviewed over the summer, Royal Bangs.

Like I said, you should start getting a little pumped.

Connecticut’s psychedelic rock duo is back with MGMT, an album that seemed to be pushed back for, like, ever. The follow-up to 2010’s Congratulations has been steadily building up buzz with the band's usual vague interviews and oddly wonderful musings. More recently, they put out the album’s first single, “Alien Days,” with live appearances on late-night TV not far behind. Many MGMT fans were disappointed with the outfit’s last release since, you know, the band didn’t have a thousand carbon copies of “Kids” and “Electric Feel.” Judging by “Alien Days,” don’t expect VanWynGarden and Goldwasser to return to the realms of Oracular Spectacular just yet.

Congratulations grew on me after a few listens, and I learned to love it like I love Oracular. I have no doubt that even if MGMT’s album is another deviation of their sound and skills, it’ll be hella fun, and I am so stoked.

OK, now that I’m done fangirling over that, let’s move on to Islands. Last year (Feb. 14, to be exact), former-Unicorn Nicholas Thorburn dropped A Sleep & A Forgetting. Thorburn told us that album was “centered more on life and things that happen while you are alive. It's kind of a dark sort of outlook on how life really is,” and the product of a very personal breakup. This time around, the singer says the band's upcoming release Ski Mask is all about being angry. After listening to the single “Becoming the Gunship,” I can’t wait to see where Thorburn’s anger takes him.

Grouplove makes some really top-notch catchy dance hits that are part of the handful of songs I actually don’t hate when the band comes on the radio. “Colours,” “Tongue Tied” and “Itchin’ on a Photograph” were so much fun and these guys put on one ultra-fun live show. I have a fondness for them in my soul, and my fingers are crossed for some more sing-alongs.

And finally, Brass is also set to drop courtesy of Knoxville, Tenn. band Royal Bangs, a rock outfit discovered by The Black Keys’ Pat Carney and formerly signed to Audio Eagle Records. They’re fun.

Oh, and a shout-out to Elton John. You little tiny wonderful dancer, you.