Thursday, March 31, 2016
What I'm Listening To: March 2016
As part of a new end-of-the-month series for this blog, I will do not just mini-reviews of new albums that I’ve heard in the following month but also profile songs that people should listen to as well as music videos to watch. With this blog now returning but in a new state where it’s just there every once in a while as I don’t have the desire to write full album reviews for the time being or maybe ever unless it’s for one particular artist or band like I did last month for David Bowie. For now, here is what I heard and such in the month of March 2016:
Album of the Month: Iggy Pop-Post Pop Depression
In his seventeenth and, maybe, final studio album of his near-5 decade period in music, Iggy Pop goes out with a bang in what is definitely an album that few of his age and stature would make. Produced by Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age who plays in the record with Queens multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, the album sounds definitely recalls the work Pop did in the late 1970s with David Bowie as it has that sound of something that is machine like but with an edge that is just terrifying. Songs like Gardenia, Sunday, and In the Lobby showcase not just Pop’s mastery as a songwriter that can create catchy songs but also with a dark edge. Something that occurs in American Valhalla which is one of album’s standout cuts as is the closer Paraguay that is Pop at his most vicious proving that the Godfather of Punk isn’t going away quietly.
Song of the Month: Deftones-Prayers/Triangles
Though they’re often linked to the late 90s/early 2000 metal sub-genre of nu-metal, unlike many of their contemporaries like Korn. Deftones has managed to really create music that is always different with a sense of edge and creativity that really makes them one of the last unsung heroes of metal but also offer audiences something more in terms of melodies. From their upcoming eighth studio album entitled Gore, the leading single is a track that has a lot of layers in its sound from the melodic guitar textures and slow drumming in its verse. Then goes loud and pummeling in its chorus as Chino Moreno’s vocals is even more powerful while the production and sound itself is even more enthralling thanks in part to Stephen Carpenter’s guitar, Abe Cunningham’s drums, Frank Delgado’s ambient-based synthesizer, and Sergio Vega’s bass. This song is a sign that Deftones are back and metal is still alive and kicking.
Video of the Month: Bat for Lashes-In God’s House
From the upcoming fourth release by Natasha Khan’s Bat for Lashes moniker in a concept album The Bride is its leading single In God’s House. The video is truly one of the most gorgeously shot videos in recent years while saying a lot as it plays into a bride dealing with the loss of her groom. Shot in the desert, the video does have this sense of loss but also elements of surrealism in the fact that a car lights up from inside while Khan sings very somber lyrics of what had happened and how her character in the song is just falling apart.
Massive Attack-Ritual Spirit EP
It’s been a very long time since Massive Attack put something that has been worthwhile as their trio of 1990 albums in 1991’s Blue Lines, 1994’s Protection, and 1998’s Mezzanine are considered landmarks for the world of electronic music and defined the sound of trip-hop. After that, things have messy as albums such as 2003’s 100th Window and 2010’s Heligoland didn’t have the consistency of their previous albums nor material that is memorable. This 4-track EP however is actually the best thing they’ve done since Mezzanine as it doesn’t just feature the long-awaited return of trip-hop artist Tricky in their first collaboration since Protection in the song Take It There. The track is just one of the highlights as the rest of the record including the song Voodoo in My Blood features the group in their darkest and most dangerous as it is probably a glimpse of hope that the band could deliver once again with a great album as the video for that song starring Rosamund Pike is just phenomenal.
2013’s More Light was a return to form for the British indie-rock group after a near-decade of albums that were messy or misguided as eleventh studio release sort of scales things back a bit while being more of an electronic-based album. Featuring contributions from Haim, Rachel Zeffira, and Sky Ferreira, the album does bear elements of past albums but in a more simplified presentation that also owes more to today’s electro-pop. Yet, the standout cuts in the single Where the Light Gets In with Sky Ferreira and the folk-based ballad in Private Wars with Rachel Zeffira are the big highlights. The rest of the album show that Primal Scream still has some juice left and can still provide music that is vital.
The second studio release from the post-punk band may not have that same air of thrill like its predecessor. Yet, this album proves that the band still has that ferocity and danger that made them so fucking good in the first place. The album does feature some more melodic elements than its predecessor in cuts like Slowing Down the World, When in Love, and the first single Adore. The rest of the album is about that energy and danger as it is the kind of record that audiences need in a sea of over-produced pop music that plays it safe.
One of the most influential and certainly one of the most important bands of the 1990s Brit-pop movement, Suede who reunited in 2010 and released their sixth studio album Bloodsport to great acclaim returns once again proving that they’re here to stick around. Their seventh studio release may recall some of the ambitious elements of the band’s 1994 album Dog Man Star in terms of its symphonic approach yet it still has that sense of rock bombast that the band is known for. There are also moments that are quite catchy and melodic as it’s an album from front to back that really has a lot of bite and flair for the dramatics that should put the band up there with the many great bands that defined British music.
Underworld-Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future
For anyone that was listening to electronic music in the mid to late 1990s would know exactly who Underworld is as they were one of the groups in that period that defined not just rave culture but also electronic music at its finest. While the group has been keeping a low profile for much of the 2000s as they focused on film scores, they never stopped making albums. Their ninth studio release is the sound of an act that isn’t just feels revitalized but it sounds like a group that is moving forward while creating the kind of electronic music that means something. Not the kind of music that is made for radio and clubs but rather the kind of music that plays into the senses and the body while showing these young deejays with their laptops in how it’s supposed to be done.
© thevoid99 2016