Saturday, 18 June 2016

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, June 2016 Vol. II

THE LOUDER STUFF

BLAAK HEAT – Shifting Mirrors

Rooted in metal but with a strong Middle Eastern flavour and healthy doses of everything from spaghetti western to surf, this French-American power trio delivers an album that’s intriguing, exciting and above all fun. (7)

FATES WARNING – Theories Of Flight

I just can’t get over how good this is. Best prog-metal album of the 21st century. (10)

GOJIRA – Magma

Another excellent effort from the French masters of “modern” metal. (8)

I SEE STARS – Treehouse

Just a super-compressed, ultra-triggered, auto-tuned piece of plastic (or bandwidth). They call this “electronicore” but basically it’s Linkin Park with all traces of testosterone removed. (4) 

LETLIVE. – If I’m The Devil

Music for young people. It’s aggressive and melodic and catchy and a bit too emo for my taste and age. (7)

RIVAL SONS – Hollow Bones

The expected Led Zep worship. (7)

SWANS – The Glowing Man

Classic latter-day Swans, meaning it’s three weeks long featuring a bunch of tracks that last a couple of days each. It’s droning and repetitive and loud and scary and beautiful and forget all the hipster post-rock crap you’ve been listening to, this is the real thing. (8)

VIRUS – Memento Collider

Carl-Michael Eide is one sick puppy and “Memento Collider” sounds just like a sick puppy’s soul throwing up. Compelling but not necessarily pleasurable listening. (7)

ZEAL & ARDOR – The Devil Is Fine

A DIY, homebrewed hybrid of gospel singing, black metal blastbeats, Godflesh heaviness, Μiddle Εastern chants, hip hop beats, children’s lullabies, even some “Rain Dogs”-era Tom Waits guitar skronk, a bit all over the place but I’ll take this over Virus for kicks any day of the week. (8)


THE OTHER STUFF

BRANDY CLARK – Big Day In A Small Town

She writes songs for Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert and keeps some of the better stuff for her solo records. Subject matter: Former beauty queens stuck in dead-end marriages, cheating husbands in one-horse towns, substance abuse, odes to deceased loved ones, the usual happy country fare. (8)

ELI PAPERBOY REED – My Way Home

Soul/blues shouter goes down ‘n’ dirty with a pure 60’s southern juke joint sound. By the way, the guy’s so white he makes Zooey Deschanel look like Oprah Winfrey but listening to this album you’d never believe it. (7)

ELISABETH COOK – Exodus Of Venus

Swampy country rock from a Nashville renegade. There’s been divorce, death of close ones, mental illness, substance abuse and rehab in Cook’s life and this album reflects the pain and darkness. (8)

FANTASTIC NEGRITO – The Last Days Of Oakland

THIS is what the blues should sound like in the 21st century: Angry, wild and funky. (8)

MAREN MORRIS – Hero

If you’re into that whole Taylor Swift/Kacey Musgraves pop/country hybrid you’ll love Morris, plus she says “shit” a lot and I like girls who cuss. (8)

NEKO CASE, K.D. LANG, LAURA VEIRS – Case/Lang/Veirs

All-star Americana female singer/songwriter team comes up with some beautiful, smart songs to light up your breezy summer evenings. (8)

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – The Getaway

First time in 25 years without Rick Rubin at the helm and RHCP sounds like a totally different band, much more laid back and refined and focused on the melodies. Just goes to show how important the choice of producer is. (7)

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