Saturday, March 4, 2017

Weekend Music Roundup

The weekend is here once again, and what a difference a week makes. Last weekend it was like mid-Spring outside, on the verge of summer, and this weekend that wind is howling and winter has returned with a vengeance. But due to the temperamental weather, most of these selections are geared more to last weekend's warmth, meaning there is mostly rock music on here. Maybe next week I'll be able catch back up with the weather. This is a list that is half 2017 releases and half old records. All were decent, and some were fantastic. Enjoy.

The Pigeon Detectives - Broken Glances: It's been a decade since this British indie band made its debut, and now they return with their fifth album, and first in four years. They continue to move into more post-punk and indie dance with this album, a far cry from their garage-ish beginnings. After a few weak albums in the middle, this one continues the upswing from the last one. Probably their best since the debut (not to mention their best cover), it's nice to see them finding their groove again. "Sounding the Alarm," "Wolves," Enemy Lines,"  and "Change My World" are personal favorites.

Johnossi - Blood Jungle: It's hard to believe it's been twelve years since the Swedish indie rock band's wonderful debut. This is their fifth album, and first in four years. The sound had changed over the years. This album continues that shift with a fuller, more mature, and understandably more commercial feel. It seems they are following a similar path that Kings of Leon followed, keeping elements of their beginnings, but adapting it an arena style sound. Very listenable, and one of those albums that would sound great on a long summer road trip. Some ups and downs. The ups for me are "Blood," "Air is Free," "Hey Kiddo," and the wonderful "War/Rain."

Chronus - Chronus: The debut album from the Swedish metal band was released earlier this month. This album is a powerhouse of groove guitar and quite easy to enjoy for fans of the genre. While not perfect by any means, this is a decent record. The vocals could be a little stronger, but for those who don't particularly pay attention to vocals, it's probably worthwhile. "City of Light," "Avarice" and "Hold Me" were standouts for me.

Gentle Giant - Free Hand: This 1975 album is the fifth record from the famed UK prog rock outfit. This is genuine prog, with playful and complex arrangements and tempo shifts that include jazz fusion and funk influences. Admittedly, I have to be in the right mood for this kind of album, but when I am, I really dig it. The opening track kicks off the upbeat groove that follows through both sides of the record. The playing on here is incredibly intricate and easy to appreciate. "Time to Kill" and the title track are my personal favorites.

The Doors - Morrison Hotel: The band's fifth album from 1970 sees them embracing the blues in a way that they hadn't necessarily done on previous records. Until recently, I've always swayed back and forth with this band, but in the past two years, I'm firmly in the camp that they are pretty amazing. This is one of the finest psychedelic blues records. "Waiting for the Sun," "Peace Frog," and "The Spy" are my personal favorites.  

Van Halen - Van Halen: The original California hard rockers debut, released in '78 was the beginning of the explosion of rock bands coming out of the area. I recently picked this up for a few dollars and it's one of those records that I can't believe I've ignored for so long. Eddie's work is legendary, but Alex's drumming is also great, and David Lee Roth is electrifying. In addition to the hits like "Runnin' with the Devil" and "You Really Got Me," I'm the One," "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" are phenom.

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