Thursday, May 14, 2015

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress (Constellation, 2015)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

Rating: Yep.

I'm not entirely sure what to say about a Godspeed You! Black Emperor recording after this many years...they have a sound all their own, and this new record very much sounds like their sound.  Spacey, doomy, loud, symphonic, dark, abrasive, know what you're getting here, and I highly doubt anyone interested in these Canadians needs to be sold on it.  If you need something that differentiates this from their other records, it feels like there might be more violins this time around, or they're at least louder in the mix.  The final song "Piss Crowns are Trebled" is amazing, very dynamic.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, and I'm not sure why you would be looking at this dumb review on this obscure blog to start with.  Just go check out their album "Yanqui UXO" and go from there. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lower Dens - Escape From Evil (Ribbon, 2015)

Lower Dens
Escape From Evil

Rating: 8 friendly forces out of 10

I've listened to a lot of Lower Dens recorded output and even seen them live a time or two, but the band has really hit new heights with their latest offering "Escape from Evil."  This record is fantastically polished, a judgement that can be perceived as both good and bad but in this case it really works...the retro eighties New Order meets C86 vibe is strong here, and oh so catchy and listenable.  Baltimore might be the best city in the world for cultivating this sound these days, from Jenn Wasner's work with Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes to big dogs Future Islands; perhaps only Sweden's Mary Onettes do a better job at making cold eighties pop songs sound retro and modern at the same time.  "To Die in LA" was my quick favorite from the album...and I'm sure it's not just a coincidence that the name is so similar to the movie/soundtrack "To Live and Die in LA," an original from the era this album seems to be aimed towards.  This is going to get a lot of spins this summer, and will surely find it's way onto my "best of" list at the end of the year. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Best Coast - California Nights (Harvest / Virgin, 2015)

Best Coast
California Nights
Harvest / Virgin

Rating: 7 green straws out of 10

Best Coast signs with a major label and their sound gets considerably more polished.  Surprising?  Of course not.  It's also not a bad thing in my opinion - the pop songs Bethany Cosentino has been writing all along could have easily gone this route if the money had been there - the only reason this band was ever considered "indie" in the first place was because they didn't have the money behind them to be otherwise.  Songs like "In My Eyes" or "Run Through My Head" are no different than something Kelly Clarkson would release, they're just coming from a band with more street cred.  The thing is though, those two songs are catchy as shit, as are many others on this album, and in the realm of pop music that's all that really matters.  The only thing keeping this band from being all over top 40 radio at this point is purely luck (and/or getting the fat envelopes of money into the hands of the correct station managers).  God knows if it was 1985 a band and an album this polished and likable would be everywhere; guess we'll just have to wait and see what 2015 holds...