I had been hearing about this album for a significant amount of time, and as the release date approached, my fears grew worse. Then after listening to the first song off the album, “Out of My League”, my fears were confirmed. The Fitz and the Tantrums I knew and loved had ceased to exist.
About two years ago, Fitz and the Tantrums came out with their debut LP, Pickin Up the Pieces and it literally blew me away. The band, driven by Michael Fitz’s new-found organ, funky sax lines and powerful male and female vocals, was a retro throwback to the sound of 60s soul. It was awesome. Every track off that album was excellent, and versatile. There were songs that were infectious and made you want to shake it and then there were beautiful ballads that brought tears to your eyes. I thought this album solidified them as a band, and established their sound. I expected more of this funky soul from them, but unfortunately, they did not deliver.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve listened to LL Cool J, so I thought it would be good to start with his most recent release, Authentic. This album is filled with monster collaborations from all spectrums of the music industry. With the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Travis Barker, Seal, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and many more, how could you go wrong? It took me a while to get through my first listen of the album, but after all of the distractions and interruptions, I was able to enjoy it.
When I heard that Bring Me The Horizon was coming out with a new album, I was not particularly exited. I was never a huge fan of BMTH, although I had seen them several times live with other bands that I liked. For me, the old music was always a bit too raw and not well thought out. I had basically written BMTH off as a band I would never really like, but this new album has won me over. When my friend came back from England with an early release of the record, I did not expect to be impressed, but I was totally wrong. The first song I heard was “Shadow Moses” and I found the opening riff stuck in my head. I was shocked and blown away by the amazing change the band made. I didn’t believe it was still the same BMTH. Everything from the production to the song writing to the way Ollie sings was completely different and much better, in my opinion. The instrumentation was much cleaner than on the previous album, with the guitars more clearly defined and the drum parts tighter.
Lady Antebellum released their new album Golden last week. This album has twelve country pop tracks. This is their first release since 2011 (not counting their Christmas album), and it was not worth the wait.
After a nice Mother’s Day brunch with my family, I was ready to head back to the city to see Lady Lamb Upstairs at World Cafe Live. Sitting down at a candle-lit table by myself, I could not help but feel as if I was taking myself on a date! So I decided to treat myself and order the Grilled Cheese Special, which was well worth it.
Frank Turner is someone I had heard about, but never really listened to. Tape Deck Heart is the first full album of his that I listened to. After giving it a couple of listens, I was left wondering why the hell I hadn’t listened to him before. The regular edition of the album consists of 12 tracks that are consistently good and blend together well.
If there is one universal ingredient present in the recipe of all definitive records it is the concept of sonic exploration. To positively define yourself as being separate from any other dish on the menu you need to be deliciously unique; the bacon cheeseburger at a hotdog joint if you will. History has shown this to clearly be the case with sonic shifts like Radiohead’s Pablo Honey to Kid A and Wilco’s A.M. to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.The willingness to explore and the self-assurance (or perhaps recklessness) to take risks are both crucial.
With Kurt Vile’s fifth studio album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze (his third since signing with Matador Records), it is without question that the Philly-born musicman has brought a definitive record to life. While KV has never been one who fears risk-taking, as evident from his previous efforts Smoke Ring For My Halo, Childish Prodigy and Constant Hitmaker, he has brought the experience accumulated over years of writing and recording this time around to execute at a level unprecedented in past attempts. Whether it be the marvelous chaos of delay-soaked shouting on “Shame Chamber”, the cowbell driven psych-groove “KV Crimes”, or the sonic-staining of acoustic guitars on the delicate yet gloom-lingering “Girl Called Alex”, it is clear that the self-proclaimed childish prodigy has reached a whole new level of eclectic craftsmanship.
Andrew McMahon recently released a new EP titled The Pop Underground. For those of you who may not know, he was previously in Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate. This is his first release since his time with the bands has ended and it is definitely worth checking out.
Some bands will play one hometown show for their album release. Some will release the album and then embark on a month- or season-long tour supporting the new album. In support of The Greatest Generation – The Wonder Years’ final installment of their trilogy of albums describing the trials and tribulations of battling anxiety and depression, coming of age, and making a mark on the world – the pop-punk five-piece decided to break the rules. The kings of the Philadelphia suburbs chose to play four shows in four cities, in three different time zones, in twenty-four hours. The Wonder Years began the 24 Hour Tour in the City of Brotherly Love and packed all five members of the band plus buckets of merchandise, tour managers and other personnel, as well as a bunch of guitars, basses, drums, and keyboards into two vans, and they are currently unpacking their gear at the Grammercy Theater in New York City as I write this. From New York they will hop on a commercial flight to Chicago for a 10am show, and finally they will trek to Anaheim, California for a 6pm show tomorrow night.
Culprit is based out of Los Angeles and these guys are a joy to listen to and see at a show. You can check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the band’s website to stay updated and listen to music. Zach, the band’s bassist, recently answered some questions about being signed to a label, their new EP, and include some fun facts. Take a look at what he had to say!