So part of the reason for the neglect of my personal blog is that I was writing twice weekly for an awesome site called Lefty Pop. It was a wonderful co-op of writers passionate about music, politics, and pop culture. Sadly, the editors decided to shutter the doors in mid-October. I’ve decided to move one of my recurring Lefty Pop posts over to this site. Each month I’ll give you the readers’ digest version of the albums released during the previous month that are worthy of a listen. No long reviews. No music snobbery…okay, maybe a bit of snobbery. I hope this will be a great way to share my love of music with the world, find some fellow hardcore music fans, and give my friends who are clambering for some good, new music a source from which to tap each month. This recurring post will also be part of me venturing back into a semi-regular blogging habit. I’ll very likely be revamping the site as well (new look, new name), so stayed tuned. I see great things ahead…and definitely great music. I’ll have your October digest up later this week, but in the meantime, please enjoy these selections from September originally posted over at Lefty Pop.
It’s finally gotten to the point that I can’t even stomach, let alone enjoy, the “music” being played on Atlanta’s local Top 40 station. I know what you’re thinking, “why are you listening to the radio?” Drive time morning commute baby! I have a long running habit of toggling between two local morning shows. Here’s where it gets sticky; sometimes the morning show on the Top 40 station plays songs in between segments. Let me tell you, I nearly throw my shoulder out switching to anything else. Even a commercial is preferable. It’s gotten bad people, really bad. In case you’d like to inflict some pain on your ears, because you’re into that sort of thing, Google “All About That Bass”, anything from the new Maroon 5 album, or Iggy Azalea (dumb name, even dumber songs). But please, you must save yourself from Jason Aldeen’s new song where he imagines what would happen if his truck could talk. Jesus.
But have no fear, if my opener has you longing for the old days and U2’s forced download has you thinking that musical bliss is a thing of the past, I’ve got the fix for what ails ya. Here are six solid releases from September for your listening pleasure.
Lonely the Brave: “The Day’s War”
What’s this?! Guitars in a new release that’s actually climbing the charts? Hell yeah and rock on. Though LTB’s offering is a little more Biffy Clyro-espue, new age, arena anthem than gritty, in your face, rebel rock, it’s still rock, and I have to say, I love this album. It’s cohesive and listenable start to finish. The bands sites The National and Pearl Jam as influencers and you can hear it. Critics and fans alike can’t get enough.
Also check out: Trick of Light, Deserter, and Dinosaurs
King Tuff: “Black Moon Spell”
King Tuff is the moniker adopted by Kyle Thomas for his offering of what can be described as lo-fi, stoner rock, 60s and 70s nostalgia, and glam rock all at once (depending what track you’re currently spinning). He’s back with his third and what I’d argue, best offering. Though critics are giving “Black Moon Spell” middle of the road marks (C+ to B-), I quite enjoy the album and find it far more accessible for the casual listener attempting to discover new rock. I also dig that KT, in the spirit of Pearl Jam and The Gaslight Anthem, took a stab at a vinyl tribute song with “Black Holes in Stereo”. Does anyone else here Danzig’s “Twist of Cain” in the title track?
Also check out: Beautiful Thing and Sick Mind.
The Preatures: “Blue Planet Eyes”
Like your rock a little more on the poppier end of the spectrum? Check out The Preatures. Fans of Haim with feel right at home amongst the dreamy and then groovy offerings of Blue Planet Eyes. Danceable tracks, sing along lyrics, and funky guitar, this album has it all. It’s totally fun. It get bonus points for Spoon’s Jim Eno’s involvement in its production.
Also check out: Rock & Roll Rave and Ordinary.
Alt-J: “This is All Yours”
Let’s move from very accessible to very polarizing. Alt-J is a love em or hate em band. Even the critics can’t agree. One lauds praise like they’re the next coming and another compares them to Radiohead rip offs doing it wrong. I happen to dig Alt-J. Bizarre for sure: I know their new album will firmly cement them in the instant skip category when my husband is in the car. But this album, just like “An Awesome Wave” will definitely get some time in the rotation from me. Approach with an open mind and lay aside your hipster hate, and you just may find you have a little room for “This is All Yours” in your playlist.
Note- Their single “Left Hand Free” was made at the behest of the record label to “appease the American audience”. It sounds nothing like the rest of the album. Satire or no, I still enjoy the track.
Also check out: Every Other Freckle and Nara
Mazes: “Wooden Aquarium”
British rockers very clearly influenced by 90s American alt-rock. The very clear comparison to their influences has garnered a bit of a rating problem amongst critics who believe the band is struggling with their own identity. I don’t care, I’m all over this 90s throw back. At times a bit Pavement and at others reminiscent of Oasis, “Wooden Aquarium” delivers a wildly enjoyable album sure to be at home in any Gen Xer’s collection.
Also check out: Mineral Springs
Death from Above 1979: “The Physical World”
My favorite September release, I adore this album. From the opening song “Cheap Talk”, it’s got a rocking synth momentum that carries you through the final track and then sends you right back to the start to do it all over again. Sebastien Grainger’s voice is slightly reminiscent of Britt Daniel’s (second Spoon reference this post) and is a wonderful fit for his hefty drumming. Guitar riffs, odd beats, delicious synth infusions, I just can’t say anything else without going full fan girl. Go listen and let the album speak for itself. Wonderful.
Also check out: Cheap Talk, Virgins, and Gemini