The weekend has arrived and the Roundup has returned after a week off. This week's list is another look at some recent releases that I'd been looking forward to hearing. Some of these are bound to be big albums of the year and deservingly so. Others are more nostalgic listens for me, but didn't disappoint. As the holiday's approach, I enter my mad rush to listen to the albums from the year that I might have missed in order to finalize my thoughts on the year that was in music. Hopefully you are all doing the same. Enjoy.
Beck - Colors: The long delayed new album from the funky Scientologist is his much anticipated follow-up to 2014's masterpiece "Morning Phase." This album is his interpretation of modern pop rock and it's quite fantastic. Having released the first single from this album over a year and half ago, and subsequent releases over the past year, many of these songs are familiar, but it's nice to hear them as intended. "Wow," "Dear Life," "Up All Night," "No Distraction," "I'm So Free," and the title track are my personal favorites.
Queens of the Stone Age - Villains: For their first album in three years, the stoner metal band turned to Mark Ronson to produce it and give them a fresh sound. The combination works much better than I would've imagined. It has a more radio friendly sound that actually suits them well, while keeping their signature creepiness and rock riffs. "Feet Don't Fail Me Now," "The Way You Used to Do," "Domesticated Animals," and "Head Like a Haunted House" are standouts for me.
Wu-Tang - The Saga Continues: It's almost 25 years since the Wu burst onto the underground and ain't nuthin changed, still better protect ya neck because they're still coming. Their 11th studio album continues the material arts saga they began with, thought their lyrics take on a more conscious hip-hop feel, urging men in the community to step up and be fathers. The originals are back, along with great guest spots with Redman. "Lesson Learn'd," "Frozen," "Pearl Harbor," "G'd Up," and "Hood Go Bang!" are standouts for me. A definite for fans.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Sketches of East Brunswick: This is the third album this year from the Austrailan psych band. It mixes elements of jazz fusion with indie psych and ends up sound like a funkier Flaming Lips or a wilder Beck. This is a California of the mind kind of record that sets up a groove that runs throughout the record, and like all of their work, it's definitely meant to be digested as a whole so the listener can be immersed in the atmosphere. It's different, and groovy, and for those reasons, I enjoyed it.
Sisters of Mercy - Some Girls Wander by Mistake: In the time before their debut, the goth band invaded the goth clubs with single after single that developed their trademark sound. Like The Cure and Joy Division, they reworked punk into something new, dark, and danceable. This '92 compilation captures the early years and some of their most iconic songs. "Floorshow," "Alice," "Temple of Love," "Anaconda" and their cover of The Stooges "1969" are my personal favorites.