Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quick Spins

Gaslight AnthemAmerican Slang
More Gaslight, less anthem. The New Jersey punks return with their third album, clearly their most polished to date and finds the band stepping out of the shadows of the acts that have inspired them; Springsteen, Social Distortion, Bouncing Souls, Woody Guthry and The Clash and into a light of their own. American Slang runs just about a half hour and not as long as its predecessor, The ’59 Sound. Musically it is solid and Brian Fallon is still a master songwriter and like his contemporary Craig Finn, have a way of telling your life story through their words. New listeners will eat this album up, but devotees to the band, such as myself, will enjoy it immensely but still leaves you a bit hungry. American Slang is a must listen for anyone of any age who is still searching in the great yonder for something more.

Band of HorsesInfinite Arms
I never paid much attention to Band of Horses, or I should say, I never paid them the amount of attention they deserve. After witnessing one of the most beautiful live performances of the year when the band opened for Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden, I was instantly hooked. Infinite Arms is one of the most beautiful and lush records of the year and of the most striking pieces of modern musical work I have ever herd. It is a alt-country with ambient and indie thrown in, basically it something for everybody.

Black KeysBrothers
The modern Blues Brothers are back! Indie rocks favorite duo returns with a disc of old tricks but new ways to shell them out. After working with Danger Mouse on their last record, the Black Keys decided to record Brothers on their own and took the lessons from Mouse and adapted them into their own style. A great groovy blues rock record and one to indulge in.

Nas and Damien MarleyDistant Relatives
This was a record that I was most curious about this year. For me Nas is still a great rapper, though he has not put out his best material since 2002’s Nasir Jones, but that doesn’t mean he forgot how to raise hell. Combining his lyrical delivery and attack with Bob Marley’s son Damien, Distant Relatives is a must listen for any hip-hop fan.

Reflection Eternal – Revolutions Per Minute
Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are back! 10 long years since their debut, Train of Thought, the DJ/Emcee duo return with an album as classic as their debut. Both acts have been very successful on their own and a full reunion record was what fans have always wanted. Though, they gave us a great mixtape in 2003, The RE:Union, it still was not satisfying enough. Revolutions Per Minute quenches the thirst we all longed for from these two. Now if only Talib and Mos Def can get back together to do Black Star.

How to Destroy Angels – EP
Six songs from Trent Reznor’s new band is enough to give you a taste of what is to come. Think of it in terms of entering a dark chamber of the unknown, with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig on vocals. Think of it as Beth Gibbons of Portishead fronting Downward Spiral-era Nine Inch Nails.

Stephen EgertonThe Seven Degrees of Steven Egerton
Descendents and ALL guitarist does a punk Santana and enlists some friends and heavy hitters for solo debut. Stephen Egerton’s guitar work has been extremely influential in the punk scene since the 1980’s, and finding just a bit of downtime with both of his bands of hiatus and encouraged by his wife, Stephen’s solo debut is what you would expect from the axeman. Calling on Tim McIlrath from Rise Against, Milo Aukerman of Descendents, Chris DeMakes from Less Than Jake, Mike Herrera of MxPx, Scott Reynolds and Chad Price of All, Joey Cape from Lagwagon to contribute lyrics and vocals. Seven Degrees of Steven Egerton is a must listen for any punk fan.