My god, what an incredible album this is. It’s some kind of demented and artful post-punk. It’s somehow unnerving and empowering at the same time. It’s the slight winds through the trees as you stare at the dreadful storm brewing on the horizon. It’s the faint scratching at your door in the dead of the night. It’s cold steel that’s been possessed by demons that are here to guide you into the tunnel. Turn it the fuck up.
With their new album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, Deafheaven have leaned as far into their post-rock influences as we have yet to hear from them previously, complete with spoken word pieces, piano, and long sections of tremolo guitar slathered in delay that builds and crashes. This is a good thing. They are at their best when they are blurring the lines between black metal, post-rock, and shoegaze instead of trying to please and be accepted by the metal culture which many would feel the pressure to do. They never have, and with the new album, it is hard to think of anything that is so aggressive and so beautiful at the exact same time. This music is some of the most cathartic and peaceful that there is. There is something so euphoric about floating along to Deafheaven’s slow parts, knowing full well that, at any moment, they are about to hit you in the soul with a wall of sound capable of challenging the very matter you are made of. This is waves of euphoria. This is an out of body experience. This is first class transdimensional travelling. This is the singularity. Close your eyes, sit back, and lose yourself.
The Danish band Iceage recently released their fourth album since 2011, establishing them as one of the best working bands today. With each release they’ve grown so much from the previous, and in the process have added to and enriched their unique sound. They’ve come a long way from the harshly beautiful punk rock of New Brigade, and Beyondless continues this thrilling progression into a full, rich sound complete with lush horns and violins still shrouded in the darkness of the brooding lyrics and vocal delivery. This album is concise and efficient, and even though it often sounds like it’s coming off the hinges, I have no doubts every step was methodically calculated. Beyondless is undoubtedly one of the best albums of 2018, and with such a huge leap in overall quality with every album they release, the magic this album conjures makes me incredibly excited to see where the band can go next.
As a brief preface, I’d just like to say that I’m just about as big of a fan of The Strokes as can be, and I am of the opinion that Julian Casablancas is one of the best songwriters since the millennium turned. Is This It was one of the first non-rap albums I bought as a kid and now he can basically do no wrong in my book. That said, my over exuberance for his latest creative effort could possibly be taken with a grain of salt.
Now that that is out of the way, I was a fan of The Voidz’ first album, 2014’s Tyranny, but still acknowledge the fact that it might not be the easiest listen for anyone other than someone who shares my opinion of him. It’s a little messy (on purpose, of course), certainly rough around the edges, experimental, and a bit of a challenge to listen to. The Voidz’ new album Virtue, which was released this past Friday (03.30.18) is more of a middle ground between his work with The Strokes and that first Voidz album. In fact, I think it is a perfect medium between the two, taking the unforgettable hooks that made the former a worldwide sensation and the abrasive experimentation that made the latter such a challenge. The same nostalgic feeling is still there, but this time it’s from the future. I’m not ready to say this is better than the first two Strokes albums, that’d be crazy at this point and it is hard to imagine anything having the same enormous ripple effect on music as a whole that those two albums did, but I really fucking like how Casablancas and his friends are pushing themselves to create new things instead of recycling the formula he already knows will work. Great artists evolve and try new things, and I’m glad one of my favorites keeps pushing himself in new directions. I think this is one of the most interesting and fun albums of 2018 thus far.
This week, two new songs have been released by Julian Casablancas with his secondary band, The Voidz, and if it wasn’t apparent before with their first album, Tyranny, it’s time to come to terms with the fact that The Strokes are dead, and along with it, their sound. It is possible he is attempting to blaze a new trail once more. He almost single-handedly started a movement in the early 2000’s with The Strokes, it’s quite possible he’s attempting to do it once again in a complete opposite direction.The Voidz aren’t a tangent, they’re an about-face.It’s like desperately wanting some honey because you know how good it tastes and instead getting lemon juice; different flavors and sensations, yet both are good in their own right.One thing I know for sure is that I’m on board.All hail, in Julian I trust.
Glassjaw’s first full length album in 15 years feels different. It’s the same bludgeoning, relentless, powerful music but it feels more calculated. More like it has a methodical plan with unknown intentions as opposed to their previous efforts which felt like a speeding train that could go off the rails at any moment. The hooks and melodies aren’t as apparent, but there is no doubt they exist. In any event, it’s good. In fact, it’s fucking good. Where their contemporaries At The Drive-In failed to captivate with their 2017 comeback which had it’s moments but overall felt hollow, Glassjaw delivered a nonstop stream of twisted consciousness that punches you in the mouth, and after all these years, that familiar pain is very welcomed.
This is an incredibly fun album by a punk band from Bogota, Columbia. Punk en Español sung by a female vocalist?! How can you not love that? Their album is out for purchase mid-November but you can stream it now at their bandcamp site:
MGMT have just released their promising new single and title track for their upcoming album “Little Dark Age”. Hopefully this album will be a return to the magical form of Oracular Spectacular and Congratulations.