Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Music Releases For March 18th, 2014

Today is not a day I would prefer all my selections to be heavy and hard riffed.  While sifting through my regular sites for new albums being released, I cam across two albums of artists I have not indulged in as of yet.  Both George Michael's "Symphonica" and Foster The People's "Supermodel" will be my new additions to the playlist.  Not venturing too much into their catalogs, their massive fans base almost prompts me to give the album a spin to see what the buzz is all about.  I've tried my hand at FTP before and wasn't too impressed.  But then again, I am always on the lookout for new music so listening once or twice won;t hurt anyone (but possibly my ear drums haha).

(George Michael - Symphonica)

There was a time when the British singer’s music was the soundtrack to your wildest memories fueled by shaking asses and supermodels hanging upside down or foaming up a hot tub. Symphonica is the album you play when you invite your parents over for dinner. It’s an inevitable move for anyone becoming an adult, and true school George Michael fans will know that he’s been on this path for years. While this project aims to more or less prove that despite a number of heath-related issues, George Michael can still belt it out, it would have been great to have one or two upbeat songs tacked on, to bring us back to his seedy night club days. C’est la vie. -Idolator

(Foster The People - Supermodel)

Let's save everyone a lot of trouble. If you're looking for "Pumped Up Kicks 2: The Sequel" on Foster the People's new album, "Supermodel" (Columbia), it's not there. There's nothing even close.

It actually becomes quite an engaging party game throughout "Supermodel" to try to filter out all the various influences that helped shape a song. The raging sprawl of "A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon" could net you everything from Boston to Silversun Pickups. -Newsday

The we move into the safe zone of music.  This is where I won;t necessarily run to listen to the album, but past history of these artists indicate that I would most likely enjoy the new tunes.  I have no qualms with Skrillex's music, just the image (but that's slightly superficial of me to say).  Taking Back Sunday has been on regular rotation since my days of working at CD Plus, and The Pretty Reckless is your standard bad girl, kick ass rock n roll music that's sure to either have you cracking a beer or banging your head.

(Skrillex - Recess)

At first listen, the standout tracks are those where Skrillex teams up with high-profile collaborators including Chance the Rapper, Diplo and Passion Pit vocalist Michael Angelakos.

The eponymous and instantly danceable “Recess” blends the talents of Angelakos, Kill The Noise and Fatman Scoop into a bouncy, high-energy piece that’s easy to leave on repeat.

But it’s probably best not to think too hard about Skrillex — if the music works for you, the appeal is visceral, and if it doesn’t, no amount of critical analysis will change that. -Toronto Star

(Taking Back Sunday - Happiness Is)

As top-heavy as the record is with adrenaline-fuelled anthems, arguably the highlights of Happiness Is come when the band take a step back and adopt a more restrained approach. “All the Way” isn't quite a ballad, but it's significantly more mellow than your average Taking Back Sunday number, and it's well-written to boot. “When We Were Younger” and “Nothing At All” are both down-tempo numbers that finish the record off on a delicate vibe, but the crest of this record's many waves is surely “Better Homes and Gardens,” a measured telling of an impending divorce with themes of regret, anger and eventually acceptance. Lyrically it's one of many accomplished offerings here. The band asks the question Happiness Is and answers it with this track as Lazzara screams wildly, “you'll never be happy.” Like the protagonist in the song, the band seems to have realised that throughout the line up changes, the scene moving on, and fans clamouring for the days of their earlier records, they'll never be able to please everybody. Even they themselves had a dislike for 2009's New Again. So Taking Back Sunday has decided the simplest course to take is to embrace the formula with which they are both comfortable and accomplished, hence Happiness Is is jam-packed with upbeat pop-rock anthems and reflective cuts of radio-friendly angst that should appease fans new and old alike. Most of 'em anyway. -411 Mania

(The Pretty Reckless - Going To Hell)

The tone of "Going to Hell" is nearly as naked as its cover. THE PRETTY RECKLESS sound hung over and not on substances. This is a shell-shocked, stripped-down form of modern rock 'n roll that sounds at times like HEART in their early years and even their most recent few albums. Taylor Momsen carries some Lita Ford edges to her vocals on a couple songs, but she assumes her own identity brewed of rock, blues and country and she is well on her way to becoming a force in hard rock.

Nevertheless, "Going to Hell" is hardly a happy pill, as would be expected from players strung out by their material losses. What they gained, it appears, is a toughened resolve that makes "Going to Hell" a fierce and entertaining record. This album sounds like THE PRETTY RECKLESS picked up a remaining handful of instruments and had at it, just to spite to Mother Nature.

In this case, Catholic school girls do rule, but not for any presumed stall humping moves. -Blabbermouth

Then of course the bread and butter of my music life.  Despite my mood swings and ever changing dynamics of my love for music, I could never stray away from my distortion and pounding double kickers.  While some new comers to the list like Years Since The Storm and Buried In Verona have great potential for impressive debuts, metal standards like Demon Hunter and Gus G (aka Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist) are sure to bring top quality tunes to your buzzing ears.

So like all other Tuesday releases, show some love and grab a physical copy of their albums from your local record store or online retailer.  If you are a digital fan, then be sure to grab it from a legal source so the band(s) can see the fruits of their labour.  Cheers!

(Years Since The Storm - Hopeless Shelter)

“There are only so many ways we can attempt to describe this album to you.  Every track has a different feel and emotion behind it. There are pissed off, crushing songs like ‘(Sin)ical’ and ‘Parasite,’ and softer, sadder, more hopeless sounding songs like ‘Frigid’ and the title track, ‘Hopeless Shelter. ‘We put everything we had into writing and recording this album, and are extremely excited to be sharing it with all of you. There is no love, only hatred, in this hopeless shelter we have created.” -Eric Snapper

(Buried In Verona - Faceless)

Unfortunately, there are two glaring problems. First is a problem that BIV have had since ‘Notorious’: they just keep coming off as a poor man’s AMITY AFFLICTION. The mix has a metric tonne more guts than AMITY, but the sing alongs, the breakdowns… they just make me want to jam ‘Youngbloods’. The bigger problem is that, despite all the lyrics and media statements about how the band are tired of all the nit-picking, nay-saying and trolling, that they don’t give a damn what anyone thinks and they’re totally gonna do this their way, they don’t. BURIED IN VERONA toed the line between their roots and commercial success on ‘Notorious’ and the same is true on ‘Faceless’. They can say what they want, but listening to RICHIE NEWMAN croon on ‘Set Me On Fire’ does cause their protests to ring hollow.

However, the reality is that this is a solid record from a band that knows what they want. It’s just that they’re much better at metal than they are at pop punk sing alongs (‘Illuminate’ is the exception that proves the rule). Every time I thought they were really getting into a rhythm, they’d wheel out NEWMAN, he’d sing and everyone would get uncomfortable. Sing alongs are supposed to complement the songs in a deep, profound way. On ‘Faceless’, they all just feel like they’ve been thrown in at the last minute to add some marketability. -SF Media

(Gus G. - I Am The Fire)

Gus G, guitarist extraordinaire for both OZZY and his own band FIREWIND has unveiled his debut solo album for Century Media Records in I Am The Fire, out March 18 and sporting a veritable who’s who of guest stars. Billy Sheehan, DEVOUR THE DAY, David Ellefson, Jeff Scott Soto, Alexia Rodriguez from labelmates EYES SET TO KILL and more. Swedish vocalist Mats Levén handles four of the album’s tracks, and for the most part they’re winners, as is pretty much the whole record, honestly. 

With rapier-like precision Gus starts us off with “My Will Be Done” the first Levén track and a strong opening statement. It shows that this is a ballsy guitar album so you’d better strap in. The solo is intense, and the riff of “Blame It On Me” manages to be as sharp as it is contagious. Plus, you all know I love my drivin’ songs and this is certainly one of them. I am also a big DEVOUR THE DAY fan, especially after seeing them live last year and this pairing on title track “I Am The Fire” is pure gold, Blake Allison infusing just the right amount of attitude and “Fuck You” into it. -KNAC

(Demon Hunter - Extremist)

One of Demon Hunter’s distinguishing features has always been their softer side. Their slower, more melodic songs tend to stand head and shoulders above the rest of their work, and that trend continues on Extremist. Tracks like “I Will Fail You” and “Gasoline” highlight frontman Ryan Clark’s versatility as a vocalist, and the closing song, “The Heart of a Graveyard,” with its subtle synthesizers and surprisingly catchy chorus, is the closest thing to a pop song that Demon Hunter are likely to write.

Demon Hunter are first and foremost a metal band, and they aren’t afraid to get heavy on Extremist. “Cross To Bear” and “Beyond Me,” for example, are unrelenting blasts of distorted guitar riffs and double bass parts that should have no trouble inciting mosh pits at shows, and “What I’m Not” features a blistering guitar solo. However, the songs on Extremist often feel too unrelenting. Many surpass the four-minute mark without offering enough variation to stay interesting, making the album a chore to get through in one sitting. -Under The Gun

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