Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quick Spins

The London band’s debut is filled with serious riffs, catchy hooks and enough to keep asking for more. Tribes are a band that our London correspondent, Linn Branson mentioned to us in her list of British bands to look out for in 2012, she has not disappointed. The bands sound is very Britpop inspired – think later Stone Roses meets Blur but with a Pulp twist (if that makes sense), instead of ripping off those bands, they take serious inspiration from them and hone in on topics we all know and arefamiliar with – religion and relationships. Baby is a stellar debut and a serious contender for Top 10 of the year potential. With the new influx of British guitar bands – The Vaccines, The Maccabees, The Heartbreaks, Sulk and more breaking through, we can now add Tribes to that list.

The California hardcore heroes go for post-punk of their latest. You have to think of Ceremony the way you would think of hardcore legend Ian MacKaye’s career – starting off screaming your face off in a band like Minor Threat then slowing things down but becoming much more melodic and just as intense with Fugazi (We will skip Embrace for this example), Ceremony is much like that – they started off brutally hard in the new school of dark hardcore bands like Flats, Throats, Gallows, Dillinger Escape Plan and now went for the much more melodic and focused. Zoo is a very concentrated release and smart record that is not for the fait of heart but for the eager listener.

Action Bronson / Party SuppliesBlue Chips
Queens rapper Action Bronson and rising producer Party Supplies link up for a mixtape that plays like a full album of smart lyrics, masterful beats and slick production. Blue Chips maybe a mixtape showcasing Bronson and Supplies but it plays off like a movie trailer to the epic film you cannot wait to see – if this partnership continues, the big picture will be unreal.

The ShinsPort of Morrow
After five years away, James Mercer returns with a whole new Shins line-up and delivers more great music. Port of Morrow is the band finding a perfect balance between simple and seductive harmonies and arena size pop music. With many of the songs combining jazz and folk influence, the band’s atmospheric sound is still as present and abundant as it has been in the past, but has matured in all the right ways.

Depeche Mode’s original core of Vince Clarke and Martin Gore reunite after nearly 30 years since Clark left the band to form bands like Yazoo and Erasure. VCMG is the debut record from these two electronic pioneers and with the current DJ and club craze hitting the mainstream, they show the kids really how it is done.

Electric Touch Don’t Look Back
In the post-SXSW hangover a real bandfrom Austin, Texas are breaking out and making a name for themselves. Electric Touch are a straight-up, no frills, balls-to-the-wall, rock and roll band that are on the crusade to prove that the genre is far from dead. The band’s second release, Don’t Look Back is a testament to the notion of their power and belief that amps should go to 11.

Morning Parade
The Essex five-piece have been building a strong buzz for sometime in England and now have released their debut to live up to the hype. While they shook the ground in NYC recently opening for The Kooks, Morning Parade displayed their perfect pop-rock power to an audience who had never heard of them before and they were sold on the band. Morning Parade’s sound is a hybrid of contemporary British acts Coldplay / Elbow meets Kaiser Chiefs / The Wombats. They can get loud when they want and melodic when they have to and their debut displays all of their best intentions and introduction to their sound.

Paul Weller Sonik Kicks
The modfather returns with another record, yet while his last album, Wake up the Nation hit you in the gut straight away, Sonik Kicks needs time to marinate. Sonik Kicks hears Weller dabbling more into keyboards and electronic hooks, while incorporating his signature loud riffs and post-punk sound. Still singing about the current state of the global union, the former Jam frontman has nothing left to prove but still shows he can make quality music.

NnekaSoul is Heavy
The hip-hop soul singer returns withalbum number three and it is her most brutally intense yet. Never one to stray away from a tough topic or global issues, Nneka speaks her mind and presents her beautiful voice with the precision and poetry we have come to admire about her through the years. For Soul Is Heavy she incorporated more a full band sound and sounds as if she is fronting a group and really making music rather than presenting her words over beats or a drum track. With guests like Ms Dynamite, Black Though of the Roots, Wura Samba and Mohammed – this record is one to really seek out.

Esperanza SpaldingRadio Music Society
She came into our hearts and eyes at the 2011 Grammy Awards winning Best New Artist and now Esperanza Spalding releases her third album and its perfect for the café’s and lounging out. There is something so calming about Esperanza Spalding that it is hard to resist her music and style, its jazz and its also neo-soul and its R&B. Radio Music Society is a taste of all things that represent her.

Kid Cudi and Dot da Genious team up and bring the rock. WZRD is the group featuring normally a hip-hop line-up but in the vein of N.E.R.D., WZRD does the trick of blending rock, rap and alternative for an interesting listen.

Good Old WarCome Back as Rain
The indie-folk-jam band returns with a new record of the same sonic sounds they have served up in the past. Come Back as Rain may have a better production than past Good Old War albums, yet the band themselves have not done much to enhance their character as artists.

The Magnetic FieldsLove at the Bottom of the Sea
The British indie darling return with a new record and after three records of their “no-synth” policy, they go back to the sound that has made them as popular as ever, yet with a new release that sounds very tired.

The Ting Tings Sounds from Nowheresville
The Ting Tings were a band that started off with such promise, a very hyper-charged pop / electro duo that made very catchy songs but their second release hears them trying to repeat the same formula. The redundancy of Sounds from Nowheresville is just as annoying as modern pop radio; it’s the same thing over and over again.