Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

It's the weekend again, time for music thoughts. I spent much of this week listening to a few new albums and a bunch of old ones. Along with reviews of the 2015 releases, I thought I'd share two albums from '99-'00 which have had frequent airplay in my world over the past couple of weeks. Given the nature of my days lately, there's been a lot of hip hop and metal on my playlists, but I've tried only to share the best, or ones that seemed worthy of mention due to past reviews. Next week should have more indie and folk, but we'll have to see. Hopefully you'll all find something to check out. Enjoy.

Nacho Picasso & Blue Sky Black Death - Stoned & Dethroned: Last week the Seattle rapper released his sixth full length album, and third where he's teamed up with the San Fran beat makers. Blue Sky Black Death has been producing the best hip hop beats over the past decade, and this album features some of their best work, bringing out the darkness in Nacho's surrealistic rants. "Coke Hyena," "I'm to Blame for the Rain," "Money," and "Bastard in a Basket" are my favorites and classic Nacho. His delivery always brings the humorous and profound together in a perfect flow of words. Definitely worth checking out. 

Milo Greene - Control: The L.A. indie folk band finally delivers the follow-up to their 2012 debut this week. I enjoyed their self-titled debut when it came out and was interested to see where the last three years had taken them. Their musical journey has steered them away from their folk pop sound and onto the road of indie pop, but the sound works for them. This album reminds me of the newest Magic Numbers record, a collection of danceable sad love songs. On the slower songs, it has an Xx feel to. "White Lies," "Parents' House," and "Lonely Eyes" are my personal favorites. A solid record, just as their first one was.

Callisto - Secret Youth: Due out at the end of the month is the atmospheric sludge metal album from the Finnish band, their fourth. Unusual for an album these days, this one starts off slow and gains momentum as it goes on. Typically albums open strong, lull in the middle, and leave you with a kicker at the end. That's marketing 101, but marketing doesn't apply to sludge metal bands. The music slugs its way through the bitter landscape, feeling very cold and desolate. A solid record. Nothing groundbreaking, but solid. "Grey Light," "Ghostwritten," and "Acts" are my personal favorites.

Relative Ash - Our Time with You...: The one and only album from the Chicago nu metal band came out in 2000, and I've had the CD about that long. For a time, I was really into this record and I recently pulled it out again after not listening to it in years. Musically, this album is shattering and relentlessly fast and heavy making it perfect headphone music. Lyrically it explores traditional nu metal realms of sex, life, death from an alternate perspective. This is definitely an album that falls outside of most people's comfort zones, lots of intensity and visceral emotion. It's always felt to me like a metal version of At the Drive In though perhaps that's just me. Far from perfect, but there a times when it is perfect for my mood.

Wale - Festivus: Right before Christmas, the D.C. rapper released his third Seinfeld themed mixtape. It's fitting that Wale would continue putting out mixtapes even after three major label albums since it was the mixtape scene which first got him attention. His early mixtapes are among my favorite hip-hop releases of the last decade. His flow is still as fresh as ever, but recently there seems to be a lack of effort. There's something to be said about how the hunger of an up and coming artist can drive them, and how success can make the art lazy. This mixtape, along with his last few albums, tend to fall into that predicament. There are far too many lesser talents on here and not enough Wale, and when he is on the mic, the dynamic spark isn't quite there. All in all, it's a decent listen, it's just I expect more from him.

Supergrass - Supergrass: The Oxford Brit-pop band's third album from 1999 has always been their favorite of mine. The band is in its prime,  cranking out their best early '70s Rolling Stones impressions and the result is an entire album of thumpers. Another album that I recently put back into the rotation, I've been listening to it the past two weeks and loving it. "Moving," "Beautiful People," "Mary," and "Pumping on Your Stereo" are highlights in this late '90s rock gem.

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