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GHOST ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM

Swedish metal act Ghost (formerly known as Ghost B.C) have announced a new album, out August, during a VH1 showing of Caddyshack last night. The album will be called Meliora (latin for “for better”). The band is known for their anonymous identities, satanic overtones, and multiple frontmans. According to the video, the former singer, Papa Emeritus II, has been replaced with Papa Emeritus III.

 

Watch the epic trailer announcement and check out the track listing. That’s the album art above.

Tracklist:

01 “Spirit”
02 “From The Pinnacle To The Pit”
03 “Cirice”
04 “Spöksonat”
05 “He Is”
06 “Mummy Dust”
07 “Majesty”
08 “Devil Church”
09 “Absolution”
10 “Deus In Absentia”

Meliora will be out 8/21 via Spinefarm Records.

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“Wilder Mind”Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons

Wilder Mind Album Review

Island Records

Released May 4, 2015

Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock

May 4th marked the release of Mumford & Son’s 3rd studio album, Wilder Mind. I think I can safely say that despite hype for the album pre-release, including an interview with Rolling Stone (which you can find here) and an appearance on SNL, the album has been received rather poorly by the music world. Although a lot of folk musicians have taken the risk of going electric as of late, Mumford & Sons hasn’t joined the ranks of those who have been successful in this transition- such as Laura Marling, one of the band’s previous collaborators.

After a careful listen it’s clear that the main fault of the album is in the drastically different instrumentals. Marcus Mumford’s vocals sound fairly consistent with the other work he has done to date- it’s the lack of their signature banjo and addition of synthesizers and percussion loops that has changed the band’s sound for the worse. On top of that, Wilder Mind is missing the reflective lyrics I expect from Mumford & Sons. What happened to the stories of suffering, humanity, love, hope and spirituality so vital to their previous two studio albums, Sigh No More and Babel?

Perhaps the problems with Wilder Mind should be blamed on producer James Ford, but it’s hard to say just how much influence he had on the new sound. The band themselves have stated in countless interviews that they were ready for a new direction in their music, making it seem that the they are the ones truly responsible for the failure that is Wilder Mind. After all, James Ford has quite successfully worked with notable names such as Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, and Birdy.

The only conclusion I can come to regarding the new album is that for whatever reason the band listened to someone who told them what other people would want to hear and opted for a more commercialized sound. Wilder Mind is, at best, the debut of Mumford & Sons as a slightly angsty and mostly boring rock band one might listen to as background music while driving or doing work. And for perspective, this is all coming from someone who once listened to Mumford & Sons almost daily with the release of Sigh No More. Although the band claims the sound on Wilder Mind to be a natural transition from their rootsier past, it feels that they have taken perhaps one step too far, losing some of the aspects of what previously made them who they were- the most striking being the absence of banjo and kick drum.

 

So, where does the album stand in terms of redeeming qualities? The quieter moments in tracks such as “Snake Eyes” and “Only Love” bear some resemblance to their earlier sound. If you took out the instrumentals and isolated the vocals some tracks, such as “The Wolf”, wouldn’t be so terrible. Otherwise, there are none, except for the hope that the band will learn from their mistakes and turn back to their folkier sound in their next album. This seems unlikely, however, as the general public seems to be responding well to this album, with it reaching #1 on both US and UK charts at it’s peak. Unfortunately, for many artistis today, music is no longer driven by a pursuit of creativity, but a wish to sell records.

 

FAV TRACK: Only Love (maybe?)

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Believe, The Wolf, Wilder Mind, Just Smoke, Monster, Broad-Shouldered Beasts

 

SCORE: (2.0/10)

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DOWNLOAD SURF, DONNIE TRUMPET & THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT’S NEW FREE ALBUM

Looking for something to do that’s entertaining and FREE?  That’s quite rare in our society isn’t it. Well, look no further than Surf, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s highly-anticipated new album, available completely free of charge on iTunes.

Nico Segal, a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet, follows in the footsteps of his good friend Chance, The Rapper. Segal tours with Chance as a member of his backup band, The Social Experiment, but Surf serves to highlight his talents as a trumpeter.  Read all about them in this informative article by Fader.

But enough talk, check out the 16-track playlist, running at 52 minutes:

1. Miracle
2. Slip Slide
3. Warm Enough
4. Nothing Came to Me
5. Wanna Be Cool
6. Windows
7. Caretaker
8. Just Wait
9. Familiar
10. Smthnthtlwnt
11. Go
12. Questions
13. Something Came to Me
14. Rememory
15. Sunday Candy
16. Pass the Vibes

 


Okay.  Go check it out now!  Look for a review soon… But in the meantime, seriously, DOWNLOAD IT.

Watch the music video for “Sunday Candy”:

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FUN FUN FUN FEST REVEALS 2015 LINEUP

The prestigious Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin will return on November 6 – 8, 2015 at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas. Today, the lineup, which once again spans everything from hip-hop to garage rock to metal to dance to comedy, has been announced. Look above.

The lineup includes D’Angelo, Wu-Tang Clan, CHVRCHES, Jane’s Addiction (performing Ritual de lo habitual), Ride, L7, Future Islands, Grimes, Chromeo,  Coheed and Cambria, Drive Like Jehu, American Nightmare, Gogol Bordello (performing Gypsy Punk), Converge, Neon Indian, Cass McCombs, Antemasque, Hudson Mohawke, Peaches, and Fucked Up.

Other confirmed acts include ScHoolboy Q, NOFX, Odesza, Toro y Moi, Mikal Cronin, OFF!, American Football, Parquet Courts, Benjamin Booker, Viet Cong, Alvvays, Joey Bada$$, Doomtree, Shamir, BadBadNotGood, Dwarves (performing Blood, Guts & Pussy), Andrew Jackson Jihad, together PANGEA, Babes in Toyland, The Growlers, King Khan and BBQ Show, and Big Freedia. See the full lineup at Festival Outlook.

Three-day and VIP passes are now available through the festival’s website.

Below watch a special transmission from Bill Nye regarding the festival:

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“Sol Invictus” Faith No More

Faith No More

Sol Invictus Album Review

Reclamation Records/Ipecac

Released May 19, 2015

Genre: Experimental Rock, Alternative Metal

It’s been almost two decades since radio-rock weirdos Faith No More album released their last album, Album of The Year. Fans have been eager for more odd chord progressions, oddball lyrics and cartoony vocal deliveries. Well, these hardcore fans have nothing to worry about when listening to Sol Invictus, because Mike Patton and company bring the expected goods. However, those who didn’t love the formula before or wanted something especially weird will be slightly disappointed by this long-awaited comeback.

The usual Faith No More experience is definitely here, the keyboards are zany, the choruses are catchy. Those looking for nostalgia will be especially pleased with a track like “Superhero,” with the energetic energetic repetition of the word “Go!” pumping this radio-ready song. The bass also maintains a steady pulse that will appease those hardcore fans of older Faith No More bass-lines. Mike Patton’s voice is versatile and wonky as ever, toying with spoken word (“Mother****er) and nasally warbling (“Rise of the Fall”). Sol Invictus is all over the place but not scatterbrained, just as expected. It’s all tightly packaged into this under 40-minute album, which sounds short considering the long break in between albums for the band, but it does not overstay its welcome or end too quickly.

The musical diversity, tightness and experimentation is exactly what is anticipated from Faith No More, but sometimes the experimentation is either not weird enough or too abstract to connect to. The title track delves into complex religious themes, with Patton saying that he “can’t repent if I’m wrong, impartial,” finally asking “where’s my faith, my monastery.” It feels like Patton’s trying to tie these religious tropes together but it feels too abstract. Other songs like “Sunny Side Up” are too straight-forward, the keys droning on at the very beginning. It’s not elementary by any means, but awaiting more avant-garde composition ends in a let-down for this song. Other tracks aren’t as straightforward but feel like they need slightly more weirdness or gusto to stick out.

Faith No More get the job done with this comeback record, but sometimes the charm and energy that makes some of their classics releases like Angel Dust so great is lacking on Sol Invictus. Sol Invictus will not offend an uber-fan or a newcomer, but the former will definitely like it more.

FAV TRACKS: Superhero, Mother****er

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Sol Invictus

Score: (6.1/10)

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STREAM CHRISTOPHER OWENS’ SURPRISE ALBUM Chrissybaby Forever

Chris Owens, the former frontmand for the short lived indie rock duo Girls, has released a new album out of nowhere, the follow-up to last year’s A New Testament.. It’s called Chrissybaby Forever and has sixteen tracks, all co-produced, engineered, and mixed by JJ Wiesler.

Last week, Owens shared a new track, “Selfish Feelings”, which he said was “from a forthcoming album.” Listen below:

Stream it below and get it on Owens’ Bandcamp. It will be released on vinyl this August.

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“The Waterfall” My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket

The Waterfall Album Review

ATO Records

Released May 4, 2015

Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock

There are few things more frustrating in the world of music consumption than an album that’s about nothing; an album that’s just a series of slapped-together, individually produced songs. I don’t demand the records I hear to tell a continuing, coherent story by any means, but it’s important that I get the definite sense that the band I’m listening to has something to say. With The Waterfall, the seventh studio album by My Morning Jacket, there is never an inkling of doubt that frontman Jim James and company feel anything less than passionately that they needed to produce this collection of songs. The Waterfall is not only an enjoyable listen, but it’s seriously important, and reflective on the nature of relationships but never anything less than optimistic.

While The Waterfall’s collective whole is a noticeable change in pace for the band, My Morning Jacket makes a conscious decision to start off in familiar territory. “Believe (Nobody Knows)” is the first track, and it demands to be performed live. This is a great rock song that fully utilizes James’ one of a kind, still fascinating voice. Track two, “Compound Fracture,” is a particularly strong song that’s a bit funkier than we’ve come to expect from the band, but could nonetheless never be confusedly attributed to any group but My Morning Jacket.

The first couple songs are great listens, but The Waterfall’s following three tracks, “Like a River,” “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall),” and “Get The Point” take worthwhile risks. “Like a River” seems to be a widely agreed upon favorite track and, though it’s not mine, I can understand completely. It’s a relatively slow exploration piece, but it feels big, grand, all the same. Next is “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall),” a truly powerful piece; as this song builds, the metaphor of a waterfall as the constant pressure and activity in our lives becomes evident, and James explains this better in the song than I could ever describe in a review. My definite favorite track on The Waterfall, however, is its fifth, “Get The Point.” It’s a short, obvious, kind of schlocky and simple breakup song, but there’s so much pathos infused that it’s hard to not fall in love with “Get The Point.”

As we move into the second half of The Waterfall, minor issues begin to crop up, but these are more than balanced out. “Spring (Among The Living)” has some amazing guitar work, but it’s still longer than it needs to be at six minutes. I’m sure this would be a tremendous work to hear live, but it doesn’t wholly succeed on this album. Similarly, “Thin Line”, song seven, is a good song with everyone firing on all cylinders, but it simply doesn’t stand out. Thankfully, both of the (incredibly small) missteps in “Spring” and “Thin Line” are forgotten by “Big Decisions.” A crowd-pleasing single, “Big Decisions” is just a really fun, addictive jam. Writing this review was especially hard because I kept wanting to replay “Big Decisions.”

The Waterfall climaxes well with “Tropics (Erase Traces)” and “Only Memories Remain.” The former has a catchy hook, but is notable mainly due to the surprisingly high level of aggression featured. My Morning Jacket, though never naïve, is generally a hopeful, non-cynical group, but “Tropics” is a huge shift, one that works because it’s rare. And the very last track, “Only Memories Remain,” is seven sweet minutes of sad nostalgia. If this song doesn’t make you feel anything, you’re even more of a mostly unemotional robot than I am. Maybe it didn’t need to be seven whole minutes, but “Only Memories Remain” is the only song on The Waterfall that could possibly close out this album; it encapsulates the record as a whole in a special way.

If you don’t enjoy The Waterfall, that’s fine. I can’t really understand how you wouldn’t love the majority of the album, but hey, you’re more than welcome to make up your own mind. Still, one critique that has no hope of standing up is that The Waterfall isn’t about anything, because that couldn’t be more incorrect. My Morning Jacket’s newest album isn’t quite their best, but it’s an important record that is about so much. Go listen to it now. And then listen to it again.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Believe (Nobody Knows), Big Decisions, Get The Point

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Spring (Among The Living), Thin Line

Score: (9.0/10)

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“Blurryface” Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots

Blurryface Album Review

Fueled By Ramen Records

Released May 17, 2015

Genre: Indie Pop, Indietronica, Alternative Hip Hop

In their defense, I thought Twenty One Pilots’ major label debut Vessel was a solid album. It perfectly balanced catchy hooks, exciting instrumentation, and just the right amount of corniness to make it enjoyable. The album also touched upon an array of different genres, but not so much as to become a mixed up jumble of an album. However, Blurryface finds the duo spreading their arms once again to the point of irritation as they attempt to don many musical masks, and consequently fail because of it.

Fairly Local”, the first track to be released in anticipation for Blurryface attempts to take the band into a darker direction, similar to the intro of “Ode To Sleep” but the song can’t be saved by the terrible lyricism nor can “Tear In My Heart.” Any song that has a lyric that says “My taste in music is your face” can’t be saved, period. The reggae influenced “Ride” is only enjoyable instrumentally as Tyler’s raps have shifted from becoming admirably fast to incredibly obnoxious (“Heavydirtysoul”). “Lane Boy” can only be described as gaudy as it attempts to build up an “incredible drop” but only results in an insulting bastardization of it.

The ukelele comes back around on “The Judge,” which brings back the corny charm last shown on “House of Gold” but doesn’t grow from anything other than a catchy hook and an emphatic yet redundant chorus. “Doubt” is an, for lack of a better word, awful pop rap/ R&B imitation; ‘We Don’t Believe What’s On TV,” I don’t even know what the hell is going on. Like seriously guys, what were you thinking?

I don’t have any kind words for Blurryface, it’s an atrocious amalgamation of colors swirled around and around until it’s an ugly shade of brown. As a band, I like Twenty One Pilots, but this album has me questioning if they’ll ever get out of this hole they’ve dug for themselves. Vessel established Twenty One Pilots as a daring duo that was able to adequately master almost every genre of music, incorporating it tastefully and admirably. Now, they’ve changed; Blurryface is the musical equivalent of taking all the groceries in one trip. The more you take, the more you’ll drop.

 

FAV TRACKS: None of Them

LEAST FAV TRACKS: All of Them

SCORE: (1.5/10)

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"Dark Bird Is Home" The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth

Dark Bird Is Home Album Review

Dead Oceans Records

Released May 12, 2015

Genre: Indie Folk, Chamber Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Folk Pop

In my recent memory, The Tallest Man On Earth (Kristian Matsson) was the epitome of everything I loved about folk: captivating melodies, stripped back instrumentation, and rustic production. Matsson’s most notable release The Wild Hunt was a solid snapshot of these merits, interlaced with poetic lyricism filled to the brim with heartache, wanderlust, dreams, and above all, solitude. Matsson’s work feels utterly personal, upfront, and intimate. The Wild Hunt’s greatest attribute was how raw it sounded, as if it was plucked fresh out of the dirt. It’s lyrical themes tapped into the mindset of youth, yearning for a better tomorrow. On Dark Bird Is Home, Matsson lets the instrumental floodgates break open through the album’s ten tracks, pouring his heart into each song.

There are moments where the added instrumentation makes these songs feel refreshed and rejuvenated such as the cinematic journey of “Timothy” or “Sagres” which has a synth melody that sounds like it was pulled right out of Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A. Described as his most personal record, these tracks take us into Matsson’s head where his musical ideas are tossed back and forth, echoing off the walls dripping with thoughts and memories that he holds quite dear to him. “Beginners” even takes us back to his past albums with a bit of the ‘ol raw emotion to help close out the album.

However, the tracks fail to be as compelling as his past works. What makes this record pale in comparison is how superficial these songs feel. Albums like The Wild Hunt and Shallow Grave feel raw, emotive, and real as if it came out just at the right moment. However, there aren’t any bright moments on Dark Bird Is Home, just tracks that were “real” and altered with reverb and added instrumentation in post-production. Lyrically, Matsson is speaking from the heart, which I admire incredibly. But with the atmospheric production and more than enough instrumentation, there isn’t much to return to on this record other than a story that only Matsson can tell and relate to.

FAV TRACKS: Sagres, Timothy, Beginners

LEAST FAV TRACK:

SCORE: (5.5/10)

from the album "Poison Season"

DESTROYER WILL RETURN

Destroyer, the project fronted by singer/songwriter Dan Bejar, released their fantastic 2011 LP Kaputt. They will return in 2015 with a new record entitled Poison Season  (via Merge in the U.S. and Dead Oceans in the UK) on August 28. That’s the artwork above. There’s the track listing below.

Poison Season:

01 Times Square, Poison Season
02 Dream Lover
03 Forces From Above
04 Hell
05 The River
06 Girl in a Sling
07 Times Square
08 Archer on the Beach
09 Midnight Meet the Rain
10 Solace’s Bride
11 Bangkok
12 Sun in the Sky
13 Times Square, Poison Season II

They have also released an exuberant and joyous new track in anticipation entitled “Dream Lover”, Listen below:

Additionally, they have announced plans for a world tour. Check out the dates below:

09-18 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
09-19 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
09-20 Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater
09-21 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
09-23 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
09-24 Dallas, TX – Trees
09-25 Lawrence, KS – The Granada
09-26 Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe
09-27 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
09-29 Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch
09-30 Toronto, Ontario – The Danforth Music Hall
10-01 Montreal, Quebec – Theatre Fairmount
10-02 Boston, MA – Royale
10-03 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
10-04 New York, NY – Webster Hall
10-05 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
10-07 Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
10-08 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
10-09 Atlanta, GA – The Loft
10-10 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
10-11 St. Louis, MO – The Ready Room
10-13 Denver, CO – The Bluebird Theater
10-14 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
10-15 Boise, ID – Neurolux
10-16 Seattle, WA – The Neptune
10-17 Vancouver, British Columbia – The Commodore Ballroom
10-30 London, England – Islington Assembly Hall
10-31 Brighton, England – The Haunt
11-01 Leeds, England – Brudenell Social Club
11-02 Bristol, England – The Lantern
11-04 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique
11-07 Bologna, Italy – Covo
11-08 Rome, Italy – Biko
11-09 Luzern, Switzerland – Sudpol
11-10 Lausanne, Switzerland – Le Romandie
11-11 St. Gallen, Switzerland – Palace
11-12 Vienna, Austria – Sczene
11-13 Munich, Germany – Kammerspiele
11-14 Cologne, Germany – Luxor
11-15 Berlin, Germany – Lido
11-17 Bergen, Norway – Hulen
11-18 Oslo, Norway – Parkteatret
11-19 Stockholm, Sweden – Kagelbanan
11-20 Copenhagen, Denmark – Pumpehuset
11-21 Utrecht, Netherlands – Le Guess Who? Festival