Thursday, July 19, 2012

Periphery release epic, yet repetitive new album

Periphery's debut album was kind of overrated. There were nothing but good songs and yet nothing really stood out with the exception of a few songs. That's how their new album Periphery II: This Time It's Personal plays out. While certain songs like the "Facepalm Mute" and the first single "MAKE TOTAL DESTROY" stand apart from the crowd, other songs towards the end of the record simply tend to melt together into one metal monster song. This album however is better than the first. There are more memorable songs. From the "Have a Blast" to "The Gods Must Be Crazy," the album is full of great songs.
The best two songs are the intro "Muramasa" and the true album highlight "Scarlett." The band called the later the poppiest thing the band has ever done and that's no understatement. The song is melodic and catchy, something about it is beautifully done. Front man Spencer Sotelo is part of what makes the band so great. He can go so effortlessly between clean and unclean vocals. He is like a male version of Mary Zimmer from the defunct metal band Luna Mortis. She, like Sotelo have such smooth transitions, it's like they don't even take a breath. The one thing that Sotelo and company could do to improve their sound is to just change things up on the musical arrangements and vocal arrangements. These changes could make this band all the greater than they already are.

Nelly Furtado saves career on new single

Nelly Furtado released a video her song "The Spirit Indestructible" which serves as the second single and title track of her new album. The song is a return to the sound that made her great. With her 2006 album Loose, Furtado combined her folk-pop sound with a more urban and dance filled sound. The record was the greatest and cohesive thing she ever released. However with her greatest hits album, Furtado released several new songs that were lame.
It didn't get any better when Furtado released her first single "Big Hoops" earlier this year. "The Spirit Indestructibly" starts off slow but puts in a nice danceable thump. The song is mixed in with ballad like guitars. If this single is a sign of the direction the new album will take, Furtado is sure to reclaim her crown.

Monday, July 16, 2012

No Doubt release best six minutes of the year

No Doubt recently announced that their sixth studio album, Push and Shove, would be released on September 25, 2012. The first single "Settle Down" was released today and it is definitely worth the almost eleven year wait since their last studio album, Rock Steady. The single is a ska/reggae/rock song that could easily be on an album by M.I.A. or Santigold. The song was produced by Diplo and written by Gwen Stefani. The song takes one back to Rock Steady but a more updated version. The lyrics are about making sense of life's problems and making light of them. The song is about persevering through hardships. "I'm a rough and tough. I'm a rough and tough. And nothing's gonna knock this girl down," Stefani sings during the bridge.
The best part of this song is by far the chorus. "I"m trying to get a hold on this" Stefani declares in the chorus. One can't be sure if she's talking about her marriage or her insecurities about being in a band that hasn't had an album out in over a decade and whether they are still relevant.
While the single may be a bit long, none of it is wasted. The single is a great preview of what Push and Shove will be and if it's all as good as this song, we are in for a treat.

Abandon All Ships stick to their guns on new album

Trancecore titans Abandon All Ships have never been a very traditional band. Their electronica infused metalcore has always been a tad out there, but that is the band's charm. On their debut album, Geeving the band had songs about religion and heartbreak mixed in with hip hop and dance influences. Their second album Infamous follows the same road. While the first single and title track was terrible on first listen it has now become a guilty pleasure of mine. The great thing about Abandon All Ships is clean vocalist Martin Broda's parts. The ballad "August" features Broda singing about a love gone bad and the regret he feels over it. While his vocals are Auto-tuned as fuck they are still emotive and as somebody who has seen this band live I can tell you that Broda is the real deal. The Auto-tune is more of a trend their following than a necessity.
The songs on this album for the most part aren't as memorable as their last record. Almost every song is about relationships gone sour. While the screams of Angelo Aita during most of the verses are good, Broda's clean vocals take the songs to another place. "You don't hear my prayers to you, when will be be together?" Broda sings on "Less Than Love," Broda sounds vulnerable and about to break while Aita takes care of the anger on the song. On the album opener "Good Old Friend" the band provide the listener with a good picture of what the album will be. Harsh screaming with a touch of clean vocals. Broda's sung bridge is the highlight of the intro. "I'd rather walk with you in the darkness of the night, than walk alone with no one lit up by the light. I wanna feel you when theirs nothing left inside, fuck whatever they say girl, this moment feels so right," Broda sings during the bridge. If the band had more of Broda and less of Aita the songs could be so much better. The breakdown at the end of the title track is further evidence of how Aita should be cut back. "If you don't like us, fuck you. Forever Lonely Crew. FLC ain't running. UO is rising. You're with us, or against us. AAS is coming. New York's running. LA's running. Yeah, you should be fucking scared.
Toronto's coming," Aita screams pointlessly over a crushing metalcore breakdown. The song could have used more of Broda and his clean vocals.
The band have also changed their song content on this album. Their previous album and EP featured religious lyrics. Songs like "Take One Last Breath" and "Megawacko" featured songs about their faith. Infamous has none of that and for some people that may be a hindrance for the band, most will probably be glad that the band rid themselves of their cheesy religious lyrics.
Abandon All Ships stand out over many of the dance filled metalcore bands and if they want to continue to stay that way they should have more clean vocals in their songs. The clean vocals contain so much more emotion than the screams.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Maroon 5 release poppy new album

Maroon 5 released their fourth studio album, Overexposed last month and it is the most poppy album they have ever done. From the terrible Wiz Khalifa assisted first single to the fun reggae bounce of the second single and album highlight "One More Night." Other highlights include the funky "Ladykiller," the dancy "Doin' Dirty" and the beautiful electro ballad "Fortune Teller."
The album isn't as original or as catchy as their last albums but it is a fine effort. It is clear that since the band's mega hit "Moves Like Jagger" last year, the band want to recreate that success.
While many songs rely on dance, pop and hip hop music one of the best songs is the simple ballad "Sad." The song features front man Adam Levine's emotional singing over a gorgeous piano melody.
The lyrics are about love and heartbreak, like the band's earlier albums. The lyrics tend to get cheesy but the package the band wrap them in are what really sell the songs. The music, Levine's voice and sex appeal are what will surely keep fans coming back for a very long time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

P!nk back to basics on new single

Pop-rocker P!nk released her first single off of her sixth album, The Truth About Love at the beginning of the month. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" continues in the dance-rock vein of her previous songs off of her greatest hits album with the same quirky, cartoonish lyrics that P!nk has become known for.
This song, like many of the singers other songs are about a breakup and feature P!nk's punk-rock attitude. The song is about the decline of a relationship and proves that while P!nk is happily married with a baby, she still knows how to write a kick-ass pop song.
The lyrics are typical P!nk, lots of cursing and sass. "No more sick whiskey dick. No more battles from me. You'll be calling a trick. 'Cause you no longer sleep," the singer snarls as she is clearly moving past this bad breakup. She's had it and she won't take it anymore.
The only problem with the single is that some of the notes P!nk sings are a The chorus has some odd chord changes, but P!nk is always one to pull it off.

P!nk's album comes out in September and is rumored to have guest spots by Snoop Dogg and Brandy. Below is a video of the song.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chantal Claret puts the puzzle together on solo debut

When Chantal Claret, former vocalist for Morningwood released her first solo EP a few months ago I wasn't a huge fan of it. I thought she put out four good songs but that there was nothing special about them. Then a few weeks ago her debut full-length came out and it all made sense. The 13 songs make a cohesive album that prove that she didn't make a bad decision leaving Morningwood. The One, The Only..., contains soul music mixed with pop and rock undertones.
The album shows that Claret has not lost her rock roots. Songs like "Bit Your Tongue" have a rock and roll swag that prove Claret still has what it takes to get a crowd moving. Other fast-paced songs such as "Honey Honey," "No Love Lost" and "Black Widow" are what makes the album so much fun. Claret lets all her inhibitions go. "Song For The Sinners" and "Real Girls" show that Claret will always have her badass side.
The album highlight is the love song "Never Gonna Let You Go" which features a 1960s sound that is pure fun. Those unsure of whether Claret's music is worth paying attention to should listen to this song, it will surely make a fan out of any Morningwood purist like I used to be.
The album's lone ballad "Can't Save Her" proves that Claret can rock a slow jam as well as she can rock the house with her faster songs. The album closes on a mellow note but that doesn't mean that the rest of the record will bring down the mood. Claret proves that she isn't going anywhere just because her former band folded.

For All Those Sleeping wake up on new record

For All Those Sleeping have released their second full-length album, Outspoken. The band's first album Cross Your Fingers had several great songs, but an overall boring sound. The post-hardcore meets pop-punk of every other band ever didn't quite catch the listener's attention. That is until Outspoken.
The album features songs that are much more heavier and catchy. The first singles "Mark My Words" and "Once A Liar (Always A Fake)" are sure to be the soundtrack to any Hot Topic employees breakup. While most of the songs are angry metalcore about breakups, there are a few highlights that aren't angry. "One Kiss" is more of a love song than any of the others and "Follow My Voice" is an uplifting track for the band's fans and friends and it's the best song on the record. Both songs are more melodic and feature mostly clean singing.
While most of the songs on the record are straight up metalcore, some of the songs feature dance undertones. "Turn of the Century" has electronic and dubstep influences, mixed in with the hardcore sound.
The musicianship is another thing that set this album apart from the slew of other post-hardcore bands out there. While For All Those Sleeping's music may not be the most original thing, they play it well and in this world that is what we need. Not the most creative music, but the most well played music. For All Those Sleeping combine killer talent with fun, aggressive music. This band have proved that they aren't going anywhere fast.

The Agonist take no Prisoners on new album

Last month The Agonist released their third studio album Prisoners. The record shows the a great growth for the band. While their first record. Once Only Imagined was a decent metalcore album that mixed in a melodic death metal style, their second album Lullabies for the Dormant Mind took on a heavier sound and showed front woman Alissa White-Gluz using a stronger death growl in than on their first album in which her screaming wasn't as good. One thing White-Gluz has always been fantastic at is singing. Her clean vocals are always emotive and strong.
Prisoners takes both albums and sort of combines them. On songs like "You're Coming With Me" and "Everybody Wants You (Dead)" the band take their aggressive metal sound with lighter elements like acoustic guitars. While the album, like their last two can get a bit tiresome towards the middle and end, each song in and of itself is memorable and great. From the first single "Ideomotor" to the creepy child choir on "Predator & Prayer," each song is a highlight. The Agonist have the ability to shine on heavier songs like "Panaphobia" and "The Escape" in additon to lighter songs.
Another thing The Agonist are well known for are White-Gluz's lyrics that focus on animal rights, struggles and fear. Alissa and the rest of the band start out right for their enemies in the opening song. "I'm going straight to Hell and you're coming with me," White-Gluz sings in the chrous of "You're Coming With Me." The song shows that they won't let anybody get in their way and if this album is any indication of what The Agonist can do, few people will be able to.