Once again the week was filled with current releases, some of which I'd eagerly been anticipating. For the first time in quite a while, this is one of those lists that has no common theme. The genres vary widely from folk to metal, thus representing my musical leanings. Perhaps the most exciting music news of the week however was the discovery of a ton of albums that due out in the next few months by some of my favorite bands. The Fall is always ripe with releases and this year looks quite promising. As always, I will share my thoughts as soon I get my hands on them, but for now enjoy these recent finds. See you next week.
Stardeath and White Dwarfs - Wastoid: Five years after their amazing debut "The Birth", the psychedelic rock band finally returned this past week with a follow-up. The band is related, both literally and artistically, with The Flaming Lips and they definitely seem to be following the same path as The Lips have over their past few albums. What I love about this album is how expansive it is, taking influence from metal, psych rock, and indie rock and blending it together into something that sounds new and powerful. "Birds of War," "The Chrome Children," "Frequency," and "Luminous Veil" are my favorite tracks at the moment, but there aren't really any that I don't like. Another album to possibly look for on my best of the year list.
Black Submarine - New Shores: It's been three years since this off-shoot band of The Verve released their debut EP under the name Black Ships. This past February, they finally released a full-length album under their new name. Their neo-psychedelia sound is comparable to some of what can be found on The Verve's Forth album, particularly on songs like "Noise Epic." But there is also an electronic edge, mostly in the background. The album succeeds on tracks that are more like dreamscapes inspired by '90s shoegazer bands. These lengthy tracks are the best of the bunch, and a step above of the songs on the debut EP. They create a perfect haze for lazy summer days. The album though is uneven, but still worthwhile for fans of the genre or those interested in hearing Nick McCabe's "Gravity Grave" style of guitar work. "Is This All We Feel," and "Here So Rain" are the two best songs in my opinion.
Odawas - Reflections of a Pink Laser: This is the Berkeley psychedelic folk band's fourth album, released last month. This is one of those under the radar bands that is mesmerizing in a sort of post Syd Barrett, still finding their sound, Pink Floyd kind of way. Their work reminds me of albums like Meddle and UmmaGumma and I ordered this from the French label that released it. The most exciting thing about it is how much growth it shows from their previous records. Their sound has expanded into truly epic visions. This is the perfect kind of record to listen to while I write and I plan on doing that quite a bit in the next several weeks.
Demon Eye - Leave the Light: This debut album from the North Carolina metal band came out in January and after reading about it this past week, I was intrigued enough to seek it out. They have a classic heavy metal sound that reminds me of heavier Deep Purple but with an updated feel. The also remind me of a more blues influence version of Dead Child. Basically they have solid metal formula of grinding guitars and screeching vocals, and there's also a good swing in the rhythm section like in Black Sabbath's early work. This is a quality metal record for fans of traditional heavy metal. "Hecate," "Edge of a Knife," and "From Beyond" are standout tracks.
Nine Black Alps - Everything Is: The 2005 debut from the Manchester based band is a grunge inspired piece of indie rock. The Mudhoney/ Nirvana guitar hooks are mixed with a more British garage style of singing that feels like the London band Dogs. The songs are filled with intelligent angst and energy. Certainly nothing groundbreaking on this, but still quite an enjoyable rock album that's rough around the edges. "Get Your Guns," "Cosmopolitan," "Not Everyone" and the title track are currently my favorites.
Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone: The third album from the Australian indie folk duo was released this past week. I've been a fan since their debut back in 2007 and was excited for this one. Their voices blend so well together, and by alternating lead vocals, they create an album that seems to continuously surprise as it plays on. It doesn't stray far from their previous releases, though it does trend more towards folk pop. This albums feel to me like something The Carpenters might have made if they'd come along thirty years later and been influenced by indie folk. "A Heartbreak," "Death Defying Acts," and "Main Street" are standout tracks.