As much as I hate grouping recommendations into posts like this, I am still in catch-up mode from the holidays, work travel and whatnot, so this will have to serve as a ‘better than nothing’ post.
Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
(Car Park, 2012)
Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings have arrived with Attack on Memory. There was no doubt this album would be my pick for this first month of 2012. It’s inevitable that I miss out on a band at Fun Fun Fun fest every year and it seems 2011 was no exception. I had no desire to see Cloud Nothings based on their past two albums, but every time I listen to Attack I kick myself for missing their set. ‘Addictive’ is the right word to explain this 33 minutes of lo-fi garage punk.
Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless
Alcest – Les Voyages de l’Âme
(Prophecy Productions, 2012)
Alcest is a project from Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France led by a man named Neige . Some call it black metal but Alcest are probably the least ‘metal’ band to ever be labeled such. In fact, the predominately ‘clean vocal’ tracks on Les Voyages de l’Âme stray even further than previous albums from what most would consider extreme music. That being said, fans of Alcest’s atmospheric soundscapes should not be disappointed in their latest for Prophecy Productions. Les Voyages is exactly what you’ve come to expect from Alcest, and (in my book) that is never a bad thing.
Alcest – Autre Temps
Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes
Those hoping for a The Hold Steady album will be sorely disappointed in Craig Finn’s debut as a solo artist. There are no anthems here. No ‘walking around and drinking some more‘. The stories (and that’s what they are) contained within this record will not have you raising your beer in the air to the ‘boys and girls in America‘. That being said, the foundation that holds that band steady is Finn’s lyrics — his storytelling. Sure, the world’s best bar band is what makes the live experience, but on Clear Heart Full Eyes Finn is in his element. He is free to bring his downtrodden characters to life in a speak easy voice. Think of this as a book of short stories — short stories written by Finn and then read back to you. This might be his solo album, but it could just as easily be his first literary release — Craig Finn reads Craig Finn. I doubt this album is going to stick with me very long, but I can appreciate it for what it is.
Craig Finn – Terrified Eyes
First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
Infectious folk music from Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg. They have been compared to Fleet Foxes, Neko Case, Joanna Newsom and others, but I believe they have to potential to be better than any of those artists. There is something very old fashion about these young girls, especially on the standout track Emmylou — an ode to legends past.
First Aid Kit – Emmylou
Lamb of God – Resolution
Virginia groove metallers Lamb of God continue to be Lamb of God on their seventh full length, Resolution. To be honest, I haven’t followed this type of metal since Pantera released Far Beyond Driven, but I can’t deny the appeal of this album. It’s polished, highly produced metal, but sometimes that’s alright. And sometimes, in the hands of true professionals, it’s a lot more than alright. I haven’t spent enough time with Lamb of God’s discography to compare Resolution to past releases, but (in the simplest terms) this album fucking rocks.
Lamb of God – Ghost Walking
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Say what you will about Lana Del Rey, a quick Google search will prove it’s all been said before. Ten years from now the material written about her in 2011 will still outweigh her artistic output. In an effort to balance things out, I will just say I enjoy this album. Period.
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
My dad got me into Leonard Cohen when I was in high school. I will never forget the day he came home and put I’m Your Man in the CD player. “They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom for trying to change the system from within” I had never heard a voice like his before and I have been a huge fan ever since. In 2008 Cohen announced his first tour in 15 years. My dad and I attended the Phoenix, AZ show in April of that year. The 75 year old man performed for hours on end and sounded perfect. He exhibited the energy of a man in his prime. That show is one of my most memorable experiences and I would have been content if he retired the next day. But after touring for almost 3 years straight, L. Cohen now presents Old Ideas, his first album of new material since 2004’s Dear Heather. 10 perfectly crafted songs from one of the most important voices making music today. Thank god for Leonard Cohen.
Leonard Cohen – Show Me The Place
Olds Sleeper – New Year’s Poem
Olds Sleeper makes hellfire fried country/folk music from ‘the hills, shade and streams of Pennsylvania’. I wish I could tell you more, but I really don’t know much about the artist Olds. New Year’s Poem came across my desk via the comment section of this very blog and I’m glad Mr. Sleeper felt the need to share his latest album with me. Prolific since June of 2010, his bandcamp page has shit ton of music for your listening pleasure. Just be warned, the songs contained within are evidence the Devil’s made his way north from Georgia. Look for more from Olds on this site once I find the time to dig a little deeper…
Olds Sleeper – Walk With Me
Pop. 1280 – The Horror
(Sacred Bones, 2012)
Frightening noise rock from a group of Jim Thompson fans from New York, Pop. 1280’s debut album is a bastardized form of goth noise with possible influences that range from Sonic Youth to Grinderman to Swans to The Men. Their obsession with dogs just adds a level of creepiness to an album that requires a shower after each listen. If you like your noise with a little filth, The Horror is your kind of drug. Pop. 1280 know where the bodies are buried and they arn’t afraid to share their secret. Sacred Bones scores again.
Pop. 1280 – Bodies in the Dunes
ScHoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions
(Top Dawg, 2012)
ScHoolboy Q is the second member of Black Hippy to attract the attention of the blogosphere. Habits & Contradictions has ScHoolboy following Kendrick Lamar into a rap game dominate by young up-and-comers. This is down and dirty stuff and is not for the faint of heart, but I find it refreshing to see this old school form of West Coast rap surfacing again. Like Lamar before him, ScHoolboy is able to build on the foundation left behind by the Los Angeles pioneers — creating something fresh and exciting from the ashes of the past. I can’t say I like everything on this album, but it’s a strong sophomore release just the same.
ScHoolboy Q – Hands on the Wheel (feat. A$aP Rocky)
WHITE HORSE – PAC & BIG
On the latest from his WHITE HORSE project, Ben is once again channeling those whom are no longer with us. This time it’s 2Pac and Biggie Smalls who get the murky, syrupy WHITE HORSE treatment. Chelsea Wolfe lends her haunting vocal to Biggie’s “Hypnotize” as well. The seven track mix can be downloaded at Terroreyes.tv.