17 May 2016

White Lung- "Paradise"

White Lung, the scornful banshee baby of Mish Barber-Way and her Vancouver-bred cohorts, have faithfully stayed true to the ride-or-die punk ethos passed down from generation to generation. They've slugged it out cross-country in countless vans, played practically every festival/dive bar/tent from here to hell, and managed to churn out a hearty fistful of vitriolically enrapturing albums.  2014's "Deep Fantasy" found the band branching out from the thrashing trappings of post-hardcore agony to delivering the musical equivalent of smashing soapbox antics and spearing the bystanders with the wooden shreds.  Their most recent offering, "Paradise" finds the band polishing & streamlining their sound for a surprisingly accessible album to newcomers.

The elements of their prior releases are all present and (brashly) accounted for- the concussive drum blasts and swirling machine gun guitars punctuate each throughout, but Barber-Way's shrill megaphone (sans megaphone) shout delivery is seemingly restrained.  Having practically shred her voice while touring "Deep Fantasy", the assertive front woman now embraces a more melodic (but recklessly so) approach- some songs even border on chorus-driven! This is a polished, aggressive record; indicative of a band with long-term potential- provided they don't kill themselves amidst the reckless abandonment.

Grab your copy of White Lung's "Paradise" RIGHT HERE!

23 March 2016

Primal Scream- "Chaosmosis"

With over two decades under their collective belt, it's hard denying Primal Scream's status as a contemporary legacy band.  Culled from the depths of Brit-rock austerity and flavored to taste with a patented blend of gospel chorus and warehouse dance grooves, Bobby Gillespie and company have cultivated an ever-expansive 11 album library with rarely a detour.  Often brash, rarely subtle; each album executively demonstrates a confidence and panache so many bands flail to evolve toward- AND THEY COME BY IT NATURALLY, almost scoffing at the formative norm. 

Their latest offering, "Chaosmosis", finds the band venturing into familiar waters in modern ships.  The usual trappings and tropes are on full display- the half-in-the-bottle sauntering guitars, the textural synthlines- only this time there's a polished pop sheen in the execution. With the borderline hero-worship aid of newcomers like Sky Ferreira and the ladies of Haim, Primal Scream teeters on the edge of the youth market (while simultaneously making a healthy jab or two, as per usual).  Streamlined are the spacey, elongated instrumental musings of their prior work on "More Light"; finding them at their hookiest and most exuberant.  Let no words be minced on the subject- Primal Scream make Primal Scream records- and "Chaosmosis" is a prime example of them doing what they do best.

CLICK HERE to get YOUR copy of Primal Scream's "Chaosmosis"

23 December 2015


Claire Elise Boucher has established herself as one of the most relentlessly prolific musical forces to be reckoned with in the last five years; through an earnest, whimsical art school approach and neon-pop allure, she's carved a name for herself as both performer and producer under the name GRIMES.  Releasing a slew of self-produced/self-contained EP's and albums under both her name and the Grimes moniker within a few short years- the debut of her widely-revered label debut "Visions" is what cemented her path as an intriguing, idiosyncratic creator.

Pushing her wide gamut of influences (which scour the deep cuts of electronics, dance, pop, R&B, and practically everything but the kitchen sink), her new album "Art Angels" finds the mystical misadventures of Grimes swimming into the waters of an uncharted pop space odyssey.  The bleeps and bloops of the critically-acclaimed "Visions" is still there, as are the frantically manic blasts of near-violent synthscapes-- but now they serve as a source of rhythm and texture to accompany MELODY.  Never one to shy from her love of radio-friendly hooks or refrains, "Art Angels" is a widely-intoxicating and wholly engaging album to first time listeners as it embraces its pop-sensibilities whole-heartedly.

25 November 2015

Neon Indian- "VEGA INTL. Night School"

Neon Indian, otherwise known as its charismatic frontman/multi-instrumentalist/mastermind Alan Palomo- broke onto the independent electronic scene in the mid 2000's with a compelling debut, "Psychic Chasms".  Blending retro synth patches and analog keyboards by the truckload, the band executes a confident flair for throwback-futurism with modern hook writing with the strength of a group that's toured for years.  Rapidly following up their debut with effortless pinache with "Era Extra├▒a" merely a year later, Neon Indian snuck into the folds of critical darlings without breaking a sweat.

While not exactly breaking formula, "VEGA INTL. Night School" finds Neon Indian wading into the waters of pop accessibility without reservation.  The strengths of the band are on full display- almost heightened so, bringing the hooks and synth waves originally buried for texture, are at the forefront as a punctuating force for the undeniably catchy songwriting.  The borderline-bubblegum approach is what separates this latest offering from its predecessors- this is a close cousin to a perfect Saturday night party album.

Click Here to grab your copy of Neon Indian's "VEGA INTL. Night School"

12 November 2015

BOOTS- "Aquaria"

Boots, or Jordan Asher behind closed doors, has had an inspired introduction among the troupes of producers-turned-musicians.  Being the head cook in the kitchen behind a good share of Beyonce's last album, as well as collaborations with FKA Twigs and Run The Jewels, Asher's resume is filled with promise for his solo effort.  Which makes his debut solo-outting, "Aquaria", such a curious outing. 

Boasting some (expected) dynamic production, Asher balances complicated beat production and sparse synths as the underlying thread of an often-indecisive sing-speak lyrical delivery.  The results are mixed at times, but they work on multiple levels; controlled chaos pushing melodic undercurrents throughout.  There's no denying his pop roots, he shines brightest when his glossy production takes center stage- his songcrafting could easily fit among the Top 40 charts with an unabashed adherence to hooks.  If he continues exploring the mesh of his frenetic instrumentation with his cool & collected delivery, there's a definite mainstream crossover on the horizon.

27 October 2015

Wavves x Cloud Nothings "No Life For Me"

Kids that play guitars like the vitriolic, weapons of mass destruction and chaos have been rapidly fading into the ether as a thing of the past; by all accounts, if the mandolin-lined hallways of modern alterna/indie fodder is any indication- this will be the first generation of misguided youth whose parents rocked harder than them.  But there are still a few stragglers clinging to their distortion pedals and post-punk inclinations, enter WAVVES and CLOUD NOTHINGS.  Both have set themselves apart from the Pitchfork darlings with a brand of thrashy, reckless abandonment and banshee-shrill vocals, not seen since the departure of the late Jay Reatard and both embrace the role without a moment's hesitation. So it would only make sense that the two groups joined forces to create a barn-burner of a rock n' roll avalanche.

The album, clocking in under a half hour at just nine tracks, however, is surprisingly RESTRAINED.  On paper, one would expect sheer chaos and borderline unlistenable garage fuzz- but both Dylan Baldi and Nathan Williams' separatist ideas and approaches marry and compliment in ways completely unexpected.  Potential trainwreck allegory aside, the strengths of each band compliment the others- but so much so, in fact, that the two become indistinguishable. Wavves nuance for sugary choruses crosses paths with Cloud Nothing's manic riff science like reunited family and LOUDLY.  If you're searching for a refreshing blend of modern post-punk sensibility and sturdy songwriting, "No Life For Me" might be the beacon of hope for those rabblerousing kids you need.


19 August 2015

Health- "Death Magic"

HEALTH is a musical conundrum by sheer definition.  Born out of a pastiche of cacophonous synths and percussive blasts of sheer noise, the band's latest album Death Magic, is elegantly violet and visceral from beginning to end.  Formed in 2007 and gaining rabid appreciation thanks in part to a remix from fellow avant-popsters Crystal Castles, HEALTH released their self-produced/self-titled debut to almost immediate critical acclaim.  Mixing contortionist noise rock and hack/slash electronics with unaffected, melodic vocals, the band has continuously reinvented itself with each of its albums and counterpart remix albums.

With nearly five years and no new material proper from the band (par for a surprisingly brilliant turn as soundtrack composers for the video game Max Payne 3), HEALTH quietly released the track "New Coke" to Sirius XM to surprising jubilation.  Death Magic  finds the band honing their patented sound and refining it to its most impacting and streamlined- embracing their adoration for modern pop hooks and crafting a record that balances both the menacing and the elegant.

Get your copy of HEALTH's "DEATH MAGIC" by clicking RIGHT HERE!