Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Mars VoltaNoctourniquet 
The prog / metal / rock / indie / haymakers of sound return with album number six and prove that you can make a living out of making music far beyond the human condition could allow. Noctourniquet is simply one of the best albums of the year, thus far, however, it is not for everyone, it is a record for the open minded and one with adventurous taste in music that is not afraid to hear something so foreign, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly you maybe hearing. The record is devoid of the band’s usual story lines but still a concept record based off nursery rhymes, Solomon Grundy, and the Greek myth of Hyacinthus. One of the most daring and brilliant records released so far.

Rocket Juice & The Moon 
Damon Albarn, Tony Allen and Flea are all in a band together – that enough should suffice as something amazing but then add Erykah Badu to the mix and cornucopia of African musicians, Rocket Juice & the Moon goes from a super group to a group that is super. A band for the world around them, Albarn recruited various musicans from various styles from jazz to hip-hop, R&B, rock, funk, soul and tribal and mixes it together. While elements are reminiscent of Gorillaz, Albarn still makes it sound so fresh.

Dr. John Locked Down
The legendary Dr. John links up with Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach for a new album filled with the blues, rock, jazz and his signature Bayou beast style. Locked Down showcases Auerbach and Dr. John working in tandem as two generations of rockers hit the decks for no bullshit, no frills, no gimmick record.

Lee RanaldoBetween the Time and Tides 
Sonic Youth member goes solo on a record that is far from the indie post-punk roots he helped pioneer and closer to a perfect pop / rock record. Ranaldo strays from what has made him famous and becomes something more, of all of the Sonic Youth solo records, Between The Time and Tides ranks as one of the best.

Sharks – No Gods 
British punks return with a new record and have no problem getting in your face about it. No Gods is the supreme blend of rockabilly, pop-punk, garage and backed by slick guitars and catchy hooks, a record to really pay attention to from a band that has so much promise in their career.

Another British singer with a big and soulful voice comes into the limelight. At first listen to Birdy, one would just write her off as another Adele, Amy Winehouse, Duffy wannabe, however, Birdy opens up beyond what one would expect. Her self-titled solo record is not so much a girl signing with a broken heart but someone singing for hope, love and guidance. A promising debut from one of 2012’s new voices.

Margot & the Nuclear So &So’sRot Gut, Domestic 
The beloved indie band returns and hears a heavy influence from The Pixies, Melvins and Cure. While Rot Gut, Domestic is a solid effort from the band, one would have expected a much more original sound, however, they still make it work, even when taking a stab at sounding like those that have played a major role in influencing their sound.

The Wedding Present Valentina 
The British indie rockers are back! The Wedding Present released their long awaited new record. While swimming in the ether of bands they have influenced, they tend to not stray away too much and sound vastly different; Valentina is a safe comeback album.

Odd FutureVol. 2 
The most controversial group in hip-hop returns with a new mixtape of the same vulgar-yet-clever material that have made them famous. The latest installment in the Odd Future mixtape series finally hears the enigma Earl Sweatshirt, which is the real treat, but still is more of the same lyrics and content. While lyrically it sounds rather familiar, Sid the Kid still provides brilliant beats, mixing and Tyler is on point with the production value of something that is looked at as a free record to fans.

New BuildYesterday Was Lived and Lost
The debut LP from members of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem is exactly what you think – fun dance music with great production. However, that seems to be all it really is. While New Build are a new band with brilliant members of two of electronic music’s biggest names, one would have expected something much more grander and bigger in sound.

Susan JusticeEat Dirt 
The former Susan Cagle comes back with a new name, new attitude and new material. The New York City songstress has gone from singing in Subways to singing to Oprah to now finally releasing a long awaited debut of folk and mellow rock tunes.

Blood Red Shoes In Time Voices 
The British guitar and drum duo return with a typical Blood Red Shoes record. In Time Voices is more of the same from the duo that have proven, in recent years, England’s answer to The White Stripes, while fans (including myself) are excited over a new album, it sounds very much like a Blood Red Shoes record. The clear surprise on the record is “Je Me Perds,” which is something the record needs more of to stray away from what they have given us previously.

Unsane - the heavy / post-hardcore band return with a new record of thumping basslines, pounding drums, screaming vocals and roaring guitars – sometimes in life that is all you need.

The Queen of Pop returns with a new album that hears her attempt to keep up with the new class of female artists in the pop world. While Madonna features guests like MIA, and Nicki Minaj, Madge’s appreciation for current music is not new – in the 90’s she worked with William Orbit, Bjork, Babyface then in the naughties she linked up with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, so the duet’s are not new and that is not what makes the record unoriginal, MDNA is just Madonna trying to sound like everyone else, when she is far more talented than this. With MDNA, she tries to push the envelope, she tries to make the record a club record, she tries to make the record a pop record, she tries to make the record something people will remix, with all of this trying she strays far from herself and it feels like desperate attempt to stay relevant while the Pop throne is all of hers.

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday…Roman Reloaded 
Nicki Minaj returns with album number two but as her alter ego – Roman. Much like her debut, it is a hard attempt at sounding controversial, sounding hard and wanting to be taken serious with colored hair and thick make-up. While Minaj’s appearance is like a real-life cartoon, what Roman Reloaded displays is something much more introspective and much more serious and underneath the gimmick look, Minaj has something to share to the world, yet, still would rather draw attention to who she is than what she has to say.