Here are the albums that came out this past week-my thoughts on some, and my Top 8 albums of the week playlist which you can listen to here.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Bauhaus Staircase-14th album from one of my favorite bands who I collect intensely. I consider them one of the great synth pioneers-and then they became a great pop band. This album is a little bit of both of those eras, but also nostalgic in a modern way. Bands such as Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears are making albums that late among their best work (not this new Duran Duran Halloween throwaway, but Future Past). Some acts from that era (Simple Minds, A-Ha not so much). This album is in the prior category and the duo sounds great vocally and really have a lot of stand out songs here. Especially the title track, “Veruscka” and “Look At You Now”. It leans more towards the “If You Leave” OMD, but tracks like “Anthropocene” should thrill early OMD fans.
Black Pumas – Chronicles of a Diamond-When the first Black Pumas album came out I would plug my phone in at gathering and parties and make people listen to it. There were plenty of bands and artists making classic sounding sour, but most were copying and paying tribute in their sound and this band actually had a feel, a power, it felt as genuine as it could. They of course blew up pretty big. Here is that second album, which is hard because a band has pressure to meet or exceed the previous work and offer something different. The first couple listens of this record I felt like this was going to be a nice follow up to the first, but will always be an afterthought and people will just always put on that first album. The first half of the album I still feel that a bit, it’s solid AF, but kind of the same and since that first album even more acts have come out that do all of that. Now, the second half of the album they shske things up. It starts with “Hello” a shimmering track where he weirdly sings “hello” a lot. It’s odd, but cool, and not too odd. The fuzzy electric guitars at the end of the excellent “Tommorow” bring that song home and the kind of trippy and repetitive “Rock & Roll” I find more interesting than the Marvin Gaye sounding tracks, but those are there also. We will see where this album ends up…but it’s good and I hear new things every listen.
DJ Shadow – Action Adventure-this new DJ Shadow is very synth heavy, he is getting some new things happening here, for him. Synth music is my current favorite thing right now, and has been at other points in my life-so this has major appeal. I am not sure fans of Shadow will dig this, the last album was so hip-hop centric (and awesome) “Rocket Fuel” was the jam, and this is not really at all. Well it is, old school synth hip hop and soul. If you like synth though-dive in!
Sundara Karma – Better Luck Next Time-hooky rock music that probably has more current influences, but I hear some Bono vocally and the Killers pop in my head. Quite good, and not a thinker or something you need to spend a lot of time letting deep in.
The Mountain Goats – Jenny From Thebes-supposedly this is a sequel to All Hail West Texas and follows a long string of hit or miss theme albums. This is a big pop album (unlike hail) with piano, horns, strings and drama. Kind of cheesy and fun, and certainly different. The sequel part revolves around a character named Jenny, yeah, me either. I like that John keeps trying new things. This album will either be one fun listen or grow on me. I am undecided on where I think it leans. There is a track with Nebraska in the title. Sadly it is not about how he wouldn’t let Donovan sing on his stage at Sokol Hall. Not sure what the Nebraska reference is about at all.
Golden Apples – Bananasugarfire-More of a classic guitar rock indie rock album with a lot of pop overtones, but in the power pop vein. Nice listen, not sure if it will stick beyond enjoying a nice slice of what I consider nostalgic music.
Rett Madison – One for Jackie-second album from indie singer-songwriter who gets has some big sounds happen in her songs. Powerful vocals, honest emotion, good songwriting and one that can avoid the Phoebe/boygenius tag in comparisons.
Angie McMahon – Light, Dark, Light Again-we finally get a follow up to Angie’s debut album Salt from 2019, which was a favorite. Solid songwriter from Australia with a little bit of a Florence and the Machine vibe and drama to it, but more authentic. Looking forward to digging deeper into this.
Here are other albums I have enjoyed this week
The Serfs – Half Eaten By Dogs
American Analog Set – The Know By Heart
Auditorium – Life Changer
Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – 2
Egyptian Blue – A Living Commodity
Kojaque – Phantom of the Afters
Lydia Luce – Florida Girl
Mariah the Scientist – To Be Eaten Alive
Mayer Hawthorne – For All Time
Nora Jane Struthers – Back to Cast Iron
PAWS – PAWS
Shabazz Palaces – Robbed in Rareness
SIPHO. – Prayers & Paranoia
Viji – So Vanilla
Sofia Kourtesis – Madres
CASISDEAD – Famous Last Words
The Kills – God Games
Circus Devils – Squeeze the Needle
Flyte – Flyte
Gregg Kowalsky – Eso Es
Hinako Omori – stillness, softness…
HXLT – Original Crazy
Jessi Colter – Edge of Forever
Lucky Lo – The Big Feel
Mike Reed – The Separatist Party
Robert Finley – Black Bayou
Pony Girl – Laff It Off
SWMRS – Sonic Tonic
Here are albums that were not for me, but might be for you
Baby Tate – Baby Tate Presents – Sexploration: The Musical
Caleb Lee Hutchinson – Southern Galactic
Dokken – Heaven Comes Down
END – The Sin of Human Frailty
The Gaslight Anthem – History Books
In This Moment – Godmode
James Blunt – Who We Used To Be
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – The Silver Cord
Mark Tremonti – Christmas Classics New & Old
The Streets – The Darker The Shadow, The Brighter The Light
Taking Back Sunday – 152
Closure in Moscow – Soft Hell
Crime in Stereo – House & Trance
deathcrash – Less+
Dollar Sign – Legend Tripping
Flatland Cavalry – Wandering Star
Grave Secrets – Till Your Lungs Fall Out…
Ignited – Cradle of the Wicked
Jugger – Puppet Master
katie dey – never falter hero girl
Wargasm – Venom
Mass Hysteria – Tenace – Part 2
Mavro Gala – Tenderness
Mr Eazi – The Evil Genius
NYOS – Waterfall Cave Fantasy, Forever
Pattern-Seeking Animals – Spooky Action at a Distance
Poppy – Zig
Shordie Shordie & Murda Beatz – Memory Lane 2
Ragana – Desolation’s Flower
Red Axes – One More City
Tar Of – Confidence Freaks Me Out
The Third Mind – The Third Mind 2
Tortuga – Iterations
Video Age – Away From the Castle
VRSTY – Levitate
V V Brown – Am I British Yet?
Warhol – 3200 Vol 2
Wild Nothing – Hold
Year of the Knife – No Love Lost