Warm weather has returned over the last few days, kicking up a renewed interest in ROCK music for me. Call it a last gas for the summer, but the Roundup is heavy on good old rock 'n roll this week, though none of it really sounds old at all, but rather belongs to the many sub-genres that now pollute the idea of categorization. Regardless, there's a number of albums this week that I'd been waiting to hear for a long time. Most of them were well worth the wait and a few definitely have the potential to end up on the best of the year list in a few months. Hopefully there will be a few things that interest you. Enjoy.
Electric Wizard - Time to Die: Due out this week is the new album from my favorite drone metal band. It's the band's first full-length album in four years and it's heavier than ever. Shrouded in fuzzy guitar and satanic drumming, this blissful noise washes over you like a storm cloud. This record definitely delves deeper into the heavy psych sphere of their last release, the Legalise Drugs & Murder EP. I like this course for them, it allows them to branch away from pure stoner metal riffs and explore a general sense of creepiness, of which these songs are full of. "Funeral For Your Mind," "I Am Nothing," and "Lucifer's Slaves" are incredible songs on an incredible album.
Gerard Way - Hesitant Alien: A little over a year since My Chemical Romance disbanded, and four years since their last recorded material, their lead singer has finally emerged with a debut solo album. I was nervous about this, as I always am when a singer releases an album after a band has broken up, but this album is fantastic. This is a rock album, with glam and noise rock influences, and everything just comes together very nicely. It doesn't really sound like MCR, but it doesn't really sound that different either. If anything it feels more natural and less manipulated, which is a good thing. There really isn't a bad song on here, and certainly no cringe moments. From beginning to end, it's pretty darn good, but "Get The Gang Together," "Zero Zero," and "Brother" are my personal favorites.
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny: The lead singer of The Strokes released this neo-psychedelic experimental album this past week with the help of a piecemeal group known as The Voidz. This is one of those textbook "side project" type album, steering well clear of the band's work and taking a direction that will no doubt confuse and upset fans of said band. This is definitely an interesting album, with lots of moments to love. It's very disjointed, though that is on purpose in order to utilize the glitch-pop sound, but it makes it difficult to settle into it. I definitely like it, a sort of punk version of prog, but I'm just not sure how often I will listen to it. "Human Sadness," "Where No Eagles Fly," and "Nintendo Blood" are the standouts for me.
The Growlers - Not. Psych!: I came across this psychedelic garage band the other week, having not heard of them before even though they've been putting out material pretty regularly since '09. Hailing from Long Beach, Cali, it has the kind of upbeat feel that I've come to expect from Southern California. There's a little surf rock vibe thrown, a little 60's folk feel, and a Flaming Lips weirdness. The elements all add up to a completely fun and intriguing little record. This came out last Fall, and they have new album which just came out. There's a lot of releases that I can't wait to explore. "Dogheart II," "Ol' Rat Face," and "Nobody Owns You" are my personal favorites.
Mr. Gnome - The Heart of a Dark Star: The fourth album from the Cleveland indie rock band will be released this Fall, three years after their last record. A blend of psychedelic folk and indie pop, they manage to create a unique sound that is easy to listen to and easy to enjoy. At times they can sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and at other times like Big Blood. It's a pretty consistent album, but I guess I just wished it had more defining moments. Though it is definitely more of a Fall/Winter record, so my attitude towards it might change with the seasons. "Light," "Fools," and "Odyssey" are standout tracks.
The Fratellis - The Soul Crush EP: The Glasgow indie rock band treated fans with this three song EP earlier in the month. Following their return last year, these songs seem to go back to their roots, focusing more on the old school rhythm and blues that form the basis of their pub rock style. Had these been included on the last album, they would've easily been the three best songs, which gives me hope that now that they are back together, we can expect more greatness in the future.