New Music Reviews: March 2016

New Releases from Astropol, Rüfüs du Sol, the Black Queen, and more!
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MOTÖRHEAD
BAD MAGIC
UDR

In the wake of Lemmy's untimely passing, let us right a grievous wrong and call readers' attention to Bad Magic, the 22nd, and what we now know to be the last, Motörhead album (released last summer). With hindsight, listeners can hear a slight fragility in the iconic frontman's always gravelly voice, but he lacked no musical intensity, and the record is replete with those unmistakable Motörhead rapidfire rhythms and buzzsaw riffs. And some pretty damn cool songs as well. Crank it the way Lemmy intended.
BARBARA SCHULTZ

NEVERMEN
NEVERMAN
IPECAC/LEX

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Metal-clanging beatbox rhythms, three-part R&B harmonies, delicate percussion, and succulent synthesizers make up the rapturous debut from Nevermen. But Nevermen are everymen: Mike Patton (Faith No More/Fantomas), Doseone (Anticon label founder), and Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio). A dizzying, daring, and often complex recording, Nevermen successively captures the energy of these serious musoheads with absolutely no downside. From “Hate On” and “Tough Towns” to “Non Babylon” Nevermen deliver intricate music that is compelling, tuneful, and hot damn—fun!
KEN MICALLEF

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RÜFÜS DU SOL
BLOOM
SWEAT IT OUT!

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If you loved the sun-kissed vibes of Rüfüs du Sol’s first album, Atlas, then you’ll love its follow-up, Bloom, as it is exactly the same. The Australian dance-pop trio aims its groove-laden, soft beats toward daytime beach parties rather than dark dancefloors. The happy rhythms are evened out by melancholic vocals, which if they were any other way would make Rüfüs too sugary. Instead, tracks such as the caressing “Brighter” and lively “Like an Animal” hit a perfect balance.
LILY MOAYERI

ASTROPOL
THE SPIN WE’RE IN
INGRID

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Astropol features the Shout Out Louds’ Bebban Stenborg, Björn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John, plus Swedish indie fixture Smash, and the 10 tracks on their full-length collaboration showcase appropriately trembling, bruised sonics for an album about love’s embers. There is an intimate bleariness to the wistful make-out sessions between breathy vocals, drowsy synths, butterfly-kiss drum beats, and washed-out guitars. It’s comforting heartbreak pop wrapped in echoes of Suicide’s punk-synth doo-wop and shoegazer vapor trails.
TONY WARE

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THE TIES THAT BIND: THE RIVER COLLECTION
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
COLUMBIA

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Some fans would argue that The River (1980) marks The Boss's artistic zenith—when his rock 'n' roll everyman songwriting dovetailed with his most thrilling performances with the E Street Band. His latest deluxe reissue commemorates that time, complete with a full album of outtakes, previously unreleased concert film footage, and a new documentary, and even a coffee table book of rare photos. For completists who were there, The Ties That Bind captures a perfect musical memory.
BARBARA SCHULTZ

THE BLACK QUEEN
FEVER DAYDREAM
(SELF-RELEASED)

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Produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen, The Black Queen comprises Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan), Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), and Steven Alexander. Writing and recording in a bleak downtown L.A. warehouse and deluxe Hollywood Hills digs, respectively, TBQ comes off as equal parts Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, and Jodi Watley. Programmed beats and sinister synths paint nightmarish mood candy, while the trio’s way with a pop hook pushes their music beyond the wormhole of torpor.
KEN MICALLEF

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
PAINTING WITH
DOMINO

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Animal Collective operates along an alternate timeline where 1960s helical oscillator duo the Silver Apples charted as prolifically as the Beach Boys and Paul Simon, and the new weird America is old hat. On the group’s 10th studio album the psyche-pop trio of David “Avey Tare” Portner, Brian “Geologist” Weitz, and Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox giddily interlaces modular synthesizers and handmade percussion instruments into a less hazy, still dizzy three-minute immediacy, burbling melodically across motorik infrastructure.
TONY WARE