Woooooo album review time.
What we have here are three stellar albums that you should most definitely check out. The first album is sick rock & roll from New York City, the second is pristine pop music and the third is a washing, dream-infused rush. Let’s get into this, shall we?
The Men – Open Your Heart
I was introduced to The Men last year with their album Leave Home. My eardrums still haven’t forgiven me for that. That album was probably the loudest thing that I had listened to all year, characterized by hacking screams, ear-blistering guitar solos and just back-breaking intensity across the board.
This album, on the other hand, doesn’t contain the same amount of soul-shattering bluntness that that record contained, but it brings something totally new to the table. This album brings elements from not only hardcore punk from New York, but parts of classic country, post-punk and alternative rock from the early 90’s. This combination of genres come together to make one of the best albums of this year, dealing out something for everyone. This album is still intensely fun to listen to, since they do every genre so well. When they need to go hard, they go hard. When they need to bring it down a bit and relax, they do that well. Check this album out for sure.
REC’D TRACKS: Turn it Around, Oscillation, Please Don’t Go Away, Open Your Heart, Candy, Cube, Ex-Dreams
Julia Holter’s latest album, Ekstasis, is one of great mental capacity. Now you might be thinking, “Why are you putting it that way? How does an album have a great mental capacity?” Well friends, the reason why is because this is a very complex album to decipher. I’ll just give you the images that it conjures in my mind: imagine sitting in a Japanese garden, one that features young bonsai trees and a rock garden with intricate patterns drawn across the sand. You’re sitting there, in the middle of the garden, listening to the bamboo fountain “plunk” every so often. You’re at equilibrium, physically and mentally. But, this album is taking place about 100 years in the future. The music on here is hyper-modern in the way that Grimes created her album, by combining many styles into one fluid genre. Listen to this album. It’s worth it.
REC’D TRACKS: Marienbad, In the Same Room, Für Felix, Goddess Eyes II, Moni Mon Amie, Four Gardens
School of Seven Bells – Ghostory
Ghostory is a story of redemption. Not in the musical sense, but in the sense of the band. School of Seven Bells used to be a three-piece, but one of the members left, leaving a giant, creative rift within the group, leaving the other two members floating by themselves. They surged back with Ghostory, the band’s best release to date. This integrates elements of shoegaze (see “When You Sing,” is a blatant copy of My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon,” but I love it anyways), adds icy-synth pop waves that feel like snow-filled gusts blasting at you and some ambient-textural characteristics of lounging, electro music.
This is a great album that you should definitely check out if you enjoy being totally submerged in an icy world of electronics and warm, soothing female vocals.
REC’D TRACKS: The Night, Lafaye, Low Times, Scavenger, White Wind, When You Sing