UK duo The Big Pink has released a new single “Hit the Ground (Superman)” off their upcoming sophomore album, set to release in January. It’s a synthtastic landscape and it’s massively catchy. Check it out.
Even if you don’t have a thing for punk-kick anthems and rock n’ roll guised folklore, Frank Turner’s third and most recent release “England Keep My Bones” is an album to live by. In 12 adreneline-infused tracks (18 if you splurge on the deluxe edition), Turner manages to leave you feeling somehow stirred. The album bears the motifs of homeland and England and belonging but ultimately it’s about living your life to the fullest. It’s a reminder that life is a gift you must make the most of. Yet it’s daring and offensive enough to deliver this message realistically without sounding tweenish. In fact it’s anything but tweenish. There are no subtle undertones; it doesn’t beat around the bush. It’s just as bold and audacious lyrically as it is instrumentally and these combined efforts make the album really powerful. Turner artfully puts life into perspective, “‘Cos love is free and life is cheap/ As long as I’ve got me a place to sleep/ Clothes on my back and some food to eat/ I can’t ask for anything more” (If Ever I Stray). Each song is packed with its own wisdom. This is an album for the mind. It’s the rare kind of album that brings you to your feet and calls you to action. I for one am inspired. YOLO.
2. Peggy Sang the Blues
3. I Still Believe
5. I Am Disappeared
6. English Curse
7. One Foot Before the Other
8. If Ever I Stray
9. Wessex Boy
10. Nights Become Days
12. Glory Hallelujah
Since they first stepped foot onto the scene in 2006, Seattle’s Band of Horses has been a difficult outfit to compete with. An indie essential, they have a sound that is not easily missed; gentle and mournful what they have established is a comfort zone. Literally. You can’t help but feel at home listening to them. Their third effort, Infinite Arms, was released last year. They’re not pushing the envelope in any way; in fact they embody a sort of timelessness in that they don’t seem to age. Many bands tend to try too hard after the first effort and slump and then seek a sort of redemption with later albums if they don’t give up all together. Band of Horses has yet to experience this because they have yet to put anything out that deviates from what they’ve already established. And honestly, they don’t need to try. Their lyrical mastery is a driving force of the album. Each song, intricately contagious and melodically twangy, is charged with a subtle optimism that has the power to set the tempo for your day. Infinite Arms, though it received mediocre reviews, accused of a lack of oomph, is every bit a masterpiece as their previous efforts. It may still sit in the shadow of Cease to Begin, but it is not one to be ignored. It’s less arid and spacey than the first two, with more orchestral reverb and a rock sensibility to fill the spaces that left earlier songs hollow (even though that in itself is why many of their songs were so poignant to begin with). Songs like Blue Beard and the title track feel like they could fit right in with either of the first two albums while songs like Dilly and Laredo display much more of a pop appeal. If you missed this album when it was released, it’s not too late to pick it up. Listen to it when you fall asleep. You’re almost guaranteed good dreams.
Fresh on the music scene, San Diego’s Mrs. Magician is slowly but steadily churning out drum-kick, post-punk singles. With only five tracks released, it isn’t yet apparent exactly what their deal is—whether they’re trying to make a point or simply speak for a generation. With a bedroom pop sensibility driven by screeching guitar riffs, they are reminiscent of a rowdy night on the town. Whatever they’re doing, these guys are up to no good, with egregious track titles such as “I’m Gonna Hang Out With the Lesbians Next Door and Drop Acid” and “There is No God.” You almost get the sense that their primary aim is to point a middle finger at their conservative parents or elicit head shakes from the media. They take a slower spin with “Angel Baby,” a less controversial, doo-wop nap-track that feels like a slow dance in a 1950’s dream. Controversial as they can be, they’ve nailed a pretty cool sound and offer free downloads of all of their songs on their SoundCloud.
There’s something refreshing about Philadelphia five-piece Free Energy, like a cool sip of Classic Coca-Cola on a hot summer day. Their take on rock ‘n’ roll is something of a youthful mural in which they’re simply taking their favorite colors from different genres and decades and smearing them together to create something light-hearted and energetic. Their debut “Stuck On Nothing” is the sort of sunny album you want as a backdrop to a road trip or a Fourth of July get-together. Sometimes funky but always fun, it’s the kind of optimistic music you’ll want to jam to all summer. Enjoy.