Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Quick Spins

James BlakeOvergrown
British beatmaker and digital crooner James Blake returns with his sophomore album and after his breakthrough 2011 beautiful self-titled debut, Blake grows and stretches his limbs as an artist, composer, singer, producer, and lyricist. Overgrown hears Blake take more of an R&B approach to his music rather than writing folk tunes over dubstep beats, it is a swelling and emotional record that takes the listener on a journey into the darkest places of their heart and mind. With a guest appearance from RZA, it is a testament that a brilliant mind from another genre is running to work with him.

Caitlin Rose The Stand-In
The young rising Nashville star strikes a chord outside of country music’s realm and releases a fantastic rockabilly, skiff-rock, record that still has Caitlin Rose staying true to her roots. While many believe country music these days is whatever garbage maybe on the radio or dominating award shows, it is great to hear women like Rose staying true to the genre that Johnny and June Carter Cash loved so much. The Stand-In is a record that should be embraced by all.

The Norweigan death metal band, whose name means “chokehold,” returns with their second record of simply brutal and blood pumping metal anthems. Recorded in Massachusetts and produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, it is no wonder that this is the hardest record to arrive in 2013 thus far. Meir only leaves you wanting more.

BonoboThe North Borders
The British DJ returns with his fifth record and creates a world that embraces the audience in a tight hold and transports them to a whole new universe.

Gin WigmoreGravel & Wine
The New Zealand songstress returns with her sophomore record and brings forth a much more aggressive and darker sound than she did when she entered our musical lives nearly three years ago. Wigmore, who had The Cardinals as her backing band on her fantastic debut, Holy Smoke, comes back with her unique voice but brings more rock and roll than Americana folk and pop and comes heavier and harder than before. Wigmore is poised for a big year and this record explains why.

Killswitch EngageDisarm the Descent
Over a decade away form original singer Jesse Leach, Killswitch Engage return with the man who originally gave them their vocal steam, after they parted ways with their acclaimed singer Howard Jones in 2012. Killswitch are back in the saddle like Black Sabbath were after Ozzy returned when they parted ways with Ronnie James Dio, they still pack the same punch and power they did early on in their career and have not lost a single step. While Jones may have brought singing and melody to the bands sound, as well as brutality, Leach’s sound – which can be compared to fire coming from a dragon – is now a reality rather than a memory.

Tyler, The CreatorWolf
The Odd Future leader comes back with his third album, and while much of the production still sounds like it was made on a $15 Radio Shack keyboard, Tyler ventures into deeper personal territory. With songs about his MIA father, his newfound fame, and being one of the most sought after emcee’s in hip-hop, Tyler, does have much to discuss, and as soon as he shows improvement on maturing, he then drops the ball with counterintuitive lyrics and terms for homosexuals and women. As Tyler goes on with his career, Wolf maybe the turning point where he has evolved as a story teller, but we only hope his mind evolves past certain ideals.

Peace In Love
The British indie darlings finally release their debut album, and with slick garage rock hooks and catchy songwriting, Peace is finally here – at last.

Team Spirit
The New York City garage rock band releases their debut EP and it packs as much energy as their live shows and is the perfect introduction as to how much fun this band is. If this is a prelude to what a debut LP will sound, we expect great things from this already awesome band. To get to know more about Team Spirit, take a look at our March interview with them HERE.

British Sea Power Machineries of Joy
The Brighton, England, indie rock band return with the sound that got them their acclaim and attention nearly a decade ago and back to form after the disappointing 2011 release, Valhalla Dancehall.

The somber English synth-pop duo, Hurts, return with their first album in three years and still bringing the same minimal but powerful formula they did with their debut, it does not sound or look as if the duo are going to be evolving anytime soon. Hey, they say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right?

LowThe Invisible Way
With Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy producing the Minnesota indie rock bands 10th album, Low do not show off new tricks, but bend toward the sonic style Tweedy uses for his band, which makes for an interesting sound and idea, but still makes for a worthwhile listen.

Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubSpecter at the Feast
The San Francisco band returned with their seventh album and while this was supposed to be “classic” BRMC, it seems to sound flat and uninspired. With a few moments of great hooks that make the listener believe this is going to be a grand song from a grand album, Specter at the Feast loses its mojo and hears a band just making records for the sake of making records.

KEN ModeEntrench
The Canadian metal core band return with their fifth album, and Entrench had much hype behind it, however, it fails to deliver. The record sounds unfocused and at points generic for the genre and while much was made about it, it does not pack the punch it was supposed to.

She & HimVolume Three
M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel aka She & Him, return with their third album. Of the 14 songs off the record, 11 are originals and three are cover tunes, but nothing is new in sound or style. If you heard the last two She & Him full lengths, you pretty much heard this one as well.

The StrokesComedown Machine
After 2011’s disappointing Angles, The Strokes return two years later with Comedown Machine and has us asking, is this it? Comedown Machine sounds like a band going into the studio and throwing as much shit on the wall to see what sticks. It is a disjointed, discombobulated, uninspired, and frankly, makes us wish the band will throw in the towel so we remember them for what they were – New York City’s premiere garage rock and roll revivalists that changed the music world and had rock and roll at its feet over a decade ago. The Strokes have no plans to tour behind this record, the main reason may be is that they embarrassed by this unlistenable material to even play it in front of a crowd of fans.