Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bad Religion go hard on new album

Bad Religion released their sixteenth album last week and it's very much the same as most of their other albums. In punk rock it's hard to reinvent the sound. On True North, the band keep with their usual blend of punk and melodic hardcore. The songs are short and aggressive, much like their previous albums.
The title track and first song on the album is the best song on the record. Other highlights include "Robin Hood in Reverse" and "Dharma and the Bomb." While on the record it's hard to tell the songs apart, these songs in addition to the first single "Fuck You" stick out in the crowd of generic punk.
While the album doesn't break any new ground for Bad Religion it's still an amazing record. The passionate lyrics that the band is known for are part of that. "And trash piles high in the rubble we forgot/ The angels of our nature just sit and watch it rot," singer Greg Graffin croons on the melodic "Past is Dead."
While every song tends to sound the same they are all fast, aggressive and passionate. Also each chorus is catchy and makes you want to sing along at high volumes. That is what makes this album so great. Despite the fact that every song sounds the same, no songs are bad. It may have only been four weeks, but this is defiantly the best punk album of the year.

Final Otep album is a pile of shit

Nu-metal band Otep have released their sixth and final album Hydra. The album is based off of a graphic novel that vocalist Otep Shamaya has been writing for close to two years. Otep have always been known for their albums being a mix of songs that are heavy and emotional and more traditional and then seven minute long spoken word wastes of time.
After four stellar albums, Sevas Tra, House of Secrets, The Ascension and Smash the Control Machine, the band released their awful album Atavist. On that album Shamaya got lazy in her songwriting and the songs weren't as great as past hits like "Warhead" and "Sacrilege."
Shamaya has said that Hydra is inspired by American Horror Story as well as her graphic novel and that really comes out on the shitty ass "Hematopia," "Necromantic" and "Quarantine" that all blend together to form one big mess. Then there's the spoken word "Voyeur." This "song" is a spoken word pile of garbage about a kid who takes webcam videos of himself killing animals. Shamaya then goes on to murder him and rip out his jaw. Hot mess.
There are some real songs like "Blowtorch Nightlight" and "Hag." These two are the best songs on the album, but there isn't really anything memorable about them. Other songs like "Seduce & Destroy," "Crush" and "Feral Game" are also more traditional songs but lack the spark that older Otep songs had. There are no meaningful lyrics, no catchy screamed chorus, nothing to make each song stand out.
The single "Apex Predator" is a hip hop song that is weird, but something about it works. Yet these moments of greatness are overshadowed by the weird spoken word songs like "Livestock" and "Theophagy."
This album makes me sad because Otep announced that Hydra was their last album and they're going out on such a low note. Otep's fans are so loyal that they love this terrible album. It's sad that a person's past work can blind people from the atrocity that their last two albums have been. Thankfullly Otep will never make another album again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Used rerelease new album

The Used released their latest album Vulnerable in March 2012 and they've re-issued it last week creatively titled Vulnerable (II). While a few songs on the album ("Machine" and "Disaster") have already been released on the iTunes edition of the album the two new songs "The Lonely" and "Surrender" are both new. "The Lonely" is a soft song with gorgeous vocals and lyrics.
There are several remixes on the bonus disc. "I Come Alive (Revolvr and Danny Mihai remix)"  is dubstep as fuck and the remixes of "Hands and Faces" and "Put Me Out" are simply just there.
The album also features some acoustic renditions of the songs "I Come Alive," "Put Me Out" and "Together Burning Bright." These songs were also on the iTunes edition of the original release.
Although some of the songs are pointless and many of the "bonus" content was already available, the original album is still fucking sick. The Used always outdo themselves and Vulnerable is no exception. The Used can do no wrong and here's hoping that their next record is as great as this one is.

Kelsey Chaos releases video for new single

Kelsey Merritt was a member of the pop-punk band Kelsey and the Chaos. The band was on the rise and then in 2010 the band broke up so Kelsey could go solo and make catchy pop anthems. While at first I was resistant to the new sound it's hard to not love Kelsey Chaos. She gave her debut EP away for free at Warped Tour and then finally released two songs off of it as the "I'm Single" single.
"I'm Single" and "It's a Stickup" showcase Kelsey's fun sound. Her songs aren't meant to be taken seriously yet there is still emotion behind her voice. This is especially true on her new single "In for the Kill." The dance-pop/rock anthem which is about another girl hitting on her boyfriend. Kelsey get's defensive of him. "You think you're something special/ you're just a stupid girl/ You think you're something special/ you're just a dirty hoe," Kelsey sings on the prechorus.
Kelsey has been playing Warped Tour and at gay clubs across the country in support of her new EP which is due out soon. If "In for the Kill" is any indication about what Kelsey can do, she's in for great things.

Vanna stream new song, announce new album

Post-hardcore superstars Vanna have released the first single off of their fourth full length album, The Few And The Far Between. The single is called "Year of the Rat" and it follows the Vanna formula. This is the band's second full length and second album with current vocalist Davey Muise and the first with new clean vocalist Joel Pastuszak who takes the place of Evan Pharmakis.
The song is aggressive and catchy and everything that fans have come to expect from Vanna. The song, like most Vanna songs, goes from Muise's harsh verses and goes into Pastuszak's clean vocals on the chorus.
While the band are hardly inventing the wheel on this song, they do what they do so well that it's hard to fault them for essentially making the same album over and over again with few changes. With the inclusion of Muise, the band's music got a darker, heavier feel but it was still the same old Vanna. The lyrics of the song are basic Vanna. They are singing about the usual life struggles.
"Year of the Rat" is a great first single. The song is sure to be in fan's heads for months to come and it goes to show that Vanna aren't going anywhere. The Few And The Far Between will be released on March 19.

Nicole Scherzinger tackles haters on new dance anthem

Former Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger has had two failed solo albums. Her Name is Nicole was never released anywhere and her impeccable Killer Love was only released overseas and was scrapped in the US. Killer Love featured two of the best songs of 2011, the single "Don't Hold Your Breath" and the synth rocking title track.
Nicole released the music video for her single "Boomerang" from her as yet untitled sophomore solo album. While the single isn't being released on iTunes until March, the video is quite enough. The single has no US release date but Scherzinger wants this album to come out worldwide.
The song is an uptempo dance ditty about surviving life's obstacles. "I can take the hit/ cause I'm a boomerang," Scherzinger sings on the chorus.
Everything about this song is great. The beat is very catchy, the lyrics are uplifting and her vocals are insane; especially in the bridge. While it isn't the best Scherzinger has released it is a good preview of things to come. Hopefully Scheerzinger's album has more jams like this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Solange expands on new EP

Solange Knowles, younger sister of Beyoncé has always been forced to live in her sister's shadow. Despite the fact that Solange is not similar to her sister musically and that she is more original than her sister. Her last album had a truly phenomenal song in "Sancastle Disco." The old school soul sounds of her sophomore album should have made her a star. Yet Solange rarely gets acknowledged as a credible musician.
Her first EP True is sure to change that. The album takes the soul sounds of Knowles' previous work and adds in new wave and indie pop to the mix. This results in some great songs. The first single "Losing You" is a new wave masterpiece. Other album highlights include "Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work" and "Lovers in the Park" mix her new wave sounds with R&B.
Another highlight is the new wave ballad "Bad Girls (Verdine Version)." The song features smooth synth grooves with some great guitar work. Also "Locked in the Closet" and "Don't Let Me Down" are all up to par. Every song on this EP is great. This release really shows that Solange is so much more than a subpar version of her sister. She is a completely different artist. Where Beyoncé copies from those that came before her, Solange melds old things together to form something new. That is the difference. Hopefully True can bring the world's attention to Solange. With a new album out this year mainstream success can be just around the corner for this soulful songstress.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs announce new album

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have finally announced the release of their fourth record Mosquito. The album will be out April 15 in Europe and the next day in North America. The album is also said to be a return of sorts to Yeah Yeah Yeahs old sound.
The band have stated that the album will feature some blues and psychedelic sounds, it will sound more like older Yeah Yeah Yeahs albums than the hot mess that was 2009's It's Blitz. That album featured a new wave/dance punk sound reminiscent of Blondie and The Sounds. While that sounds great, it didn't turn out well when set into action.
A video was posted on the band's Facebook featuring a snippet of a new song and a newly blond frontwoman Karen O. The single is yet to be released but it is rumored to be the title track which is about what else? Mosquitoes. The music sounds awesome and it really got me excited for this album. Hopefully the record delivers.

Paramore change things up on new single

Paramore have released their first single off of their fourth self titled album. "Now" features a sound that can only be described as No Doubtesque. Haley Williams channels rock goddess Gwen Stefani. The song abandons the band's pop-punk and emo influences. In the opening seconds of "Now" traces of Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs can be heard.
The lyrics of the song are some of the best that Paramore have ever written. "Lost the battle, win the war/ I'm bringing my sinking ship back to the shore/ We're starting over, or head back in/ There's a time and a place to die but this ain't it," Williams sings in the prechorus.
The song is better than most of the songs off of their Singles Club release. While their last album brand new eyes had some amazing songs, there was also a lot of filler. With the release of "Now" the band are setting the bar high for Paramore.

Metal goes techno

In This Moment rereleased their fourth record Blood last month exclusively through Hot Topic. The album features a bonus disc of remixes and their cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." Though marked on the package, this isn't on the rerelease.
The bonus disc has some great songs. Sluggo's remix of "Blood" is a great imagination of their hit single. The Mr. Kane remix of "Adrenalize" changes the entire feel of the song. It's got a more fun sound, while staying sexy. The bouncy Nikka Bling remix of "Whore" takes the original song and makes it sound new again. While none of these remixes outdoes the original song's greatness, they do help the listener see the music in a new way. The Mitch Marlow remix of "The Blood Legion" is the remix that stays closest to the original. There is some extra programming added but for the most part this song stays true to the original.
This rerelease isn't as great as when the band rereleased their second album The Dream. This rerelease should keep fans happy and it is sure to convert non-believers of the Blood album.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top 10 most anticipated albums of 2013

It's about that time again. There are so many great albums coming out this year I could literally make a top 50 list but who has time to read that? Here are my top 10 most anticipated albums of 2013.

10. Otep-Hydra
Nu-metal band Otep have announced their sixth and final album Hydra. The album is a follow-up to their terrible fifth album Atavist. On that album front-woman Otep Shamaya got lazy. Writing lyrics such as "fist-fuck their face/ God doesn't care!" Shamaya's lyrics used to be poetic and aggressive but on their her last album it felt childish and clichéd. has previews of the tracks up and they sound good. The first single "Apex Predator" will be released on January 15, a week before the album is released. Hopefully Hydra is good so Otep can go out on a good note.

9. A Day To Remember-Common Courtesy
A Day To Remember announced the title of their fifth album in May and their single came out last month.  "Violence (Enough is Enough)" is a great song but it's nothing special. This hardcore band have set trends and other bands try to be them. Their past albums were classic and this one is sure to be as well.

8. Leona Lewis-Glassheart
Leona Lewis has never made music that is very exciting. Her ballads are touching and fantastic but an entire album of ballads can be boring. This is not true with her third album. It mixes in synthpop and dubstep into her soulful R&B sound. The album is already out around the world but it has yet to be released here in the United States. Although not a single the title track is a dubstep and house song about the end of a relationship. It's catchy, yet sad and beautiful. While some of the songs on her album aren't that great this song makes up for it. The album is set to release in the US this year.

7. Kelly Rowland-Year of the Woman
Kelly Rowland has always been very underrated. Her albums are amazing and she definitely makes better music than her former Destiny's Child band mates. While a few of her singles have been hits  Rowland gets the short end of the stick. She released her first single "Ice" featuring Lil' Wayne. Her new album is set to be a return to the R&B sound of her older albums. The album is due out sometime this year.

6. After The Burial-Haunt and Catalyst
Little information is known about the deathcore/metalcore/melodic death metal/progressive metal band's fourth album except this rumored title. If it's anything like their last album In Dreams we're in for a treat. On that album the band mixed in clean vocals with their eardrum assaulting instrumentation. The album is set to be released sometime in 2013.

5. Vanna-Untitled
Post-hardcore band Vanna are always good to release catchy and aggressive albums. The band are set to release their fourth studio album sometime this year and while all of their songs tend to sound similar, they're always good. This album will defiantly be opening up mosh-pits all year round. The album is to be released sometime this year.

4. Lady Gaga-ARTPOP
Lady Gaga is known for being out there. Her first two albums mixed so many genres together. Pop, house, rock, metal, hip hop, and dance all seep into her songs. Gaga never disappoints. The album doesn't have a release date. It is said to be due sometime this year.

3. Katy Perry-Untitled
Katy Perry is set to release her third album this summer and it's sure to be a great album. Her first two albums are pop classics and this one is sure to be a hit as well. The sound is said to be a little darker. Perry got divorced from Russell Brand and had a few songs off of her re-release dealt with that topic. Mostly a breakup leads to a great album. Adele's 21 and No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom are both classic breakup records. No release date yet on a single or the album but it's sure to be great.

2. Paramore-Paramore
Paramore have been recording their fourth record for some time now and it's finally going to be released on April 9. The first single "Now" is set to be released on January 22. Paramore always make great albums so this one is sure to be getting heavy rotation once released.

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Untitled
Yeah Yeah Yeah's third album It's Blitz was released almost four years ago. It lacked the punch of their first two albums. The new wave approach to the songs just wasn't as effective as their garage punk sound of their older music. Buzz for a song the band played live last year was good, one reviewer compared it to Florence and the Machine. Hopefully the band get back to their classic sound on this album.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fefe Dobson quietly releases shelved second album

Fefe Dobson released her unreleased sophomore album Sunday Love a little over two weeks ago. The album which featured her singles "Don't Let it Go to Your Head" and "This is My Life" was originally intended to follow up her stellar 2003 self-titled debut in 2006. The album was pushed back several times before Dobson was dropped from her label on the day of the album's supposed release.
The Label dropped Dobson due to the album's grungy new sound. Dobson then went independent while her former label Island Records sold songs from her unreleased album to be covered by artists like Selena Gomez and the Scene and Jordin Sparks.
Eventually Dobson signed back with Island and they released her sophomore album Joy. The album was clearly meant to make her label happy due to it's mainstream sound and often childish lyrics. The album was a flop.
There is no mention on Dobson's Twitter feed, Facebook page or official website about the release. The album clearly won't go anywhere which is a shame because the album has some amazing songs. Catchy rockers like "The Initiator" or "Get You Off" could have been huge hits in 2006 when pop-rock was all the rage but now the album won't go anywhere. Dobson should get a new label so she can get the commercial success that she so clearly deserves.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ke$ha rocks out on new album

Ke$ha's debut album Animal and her companion EP Cannibal were packed with epic party jams with a few gorgeous breakup ballads peppered in to give us both sides of partying. There's the fun side of partying and then there's the sad, crying, falling down side. Ke$ha shows us both sides. When Ke$ha began recording her sophomore album Warrior she wanted to have a "cock rock" sound. While that isn't really prevalent on most of the songs it is featured on a few of the rockers on the album.
Warrior is a great next step for Ke$ha. It opens with three of her classic club jams. The title track is a catchy ode to freaks everywhere. Then comes here singles "Die Young" and "C'mon." These songs are both about having fun at the club.
Next up is the best song on the album, "Thinking of You." Thinking of you is a loud, rocking breakup song with Ke$ha kissing off her ex. "I know I said I wouldn't talk about you publicly/ But that was before I caught you lying and cheating on me slut," she sings in the pre-chorus. The song talks about how Ke$ha thought about him so much but now she's famous and all over the radio and now he has to miss her.
The album goes into the thumping, yet acoustic "Crazy Kids." This song very much like "Warrior" in content. It features Ke$ha doing her signature rapping. "Wherever You Are" is a electropop love song, showing Ke$ha's vulnerable side. This doesn't last long as she goes into the filthy trashy rocker "Dirty Love" which features Iggy Pop. This punk rock number is all about doing the nasty.
Then the album hits a snag with the song "Wonderland." This cheesy ballad is all about her past experiences before being famous. She recalls friends and lovers from that time. The lyrics come off as very cheesy. That stops with the next song, "Only Wanna Dance With You." This rocker is about falling in love with somebody. It's a fun and fast song with great instrumentation played by The Strokes.
The album then hits another low with the song "Supernatural." This song is allegedly about having sex with a ghost but none of that is apparent and it just seems like a club song. The album then picks up with the closing songs. "All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)" is a fun song that showcases Ke$ha's dance side. While the lyrics get cheesy at points in the song the message of just enjoying life and having a good time is a good one. More people could use more positive songs like this. The album closes with the 80s pop ballad "Love into the Light." This song follows along with the theme of the last one. It's all about how as a people we need to bring love into the light.
The deluxe edition bonus tracks are great. She should have just made these songs as part of the standard disc. "Last Goodbye" is a touching song about looking back on a love gone wrong. Ke$ha clearly misses her lover and wishes that they were still together. It's like a sequel to "The Harold Song" from Cannibal. The next song is the silly and fun "Gold Trans Am." Ke$ha stated that the song is about her lady parts. "Wham, bam, thank you man/ Get inside my fuckin' gold Trans Am," She sings.
The next song "Out Alive" is enjoyable but forgettable. I'm still trying to remember anything about this song and I can't. The disc ends on a high point with "Past Lives." The song calls to mind early slow jams by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and was written solely by Ke$ha. It was produced by The Flaming Lips and features vocals by front man Wayne Coyne. The song features references to events through history that happened during their "past lives." The song features Ke$ha's best and most heartfelt lyrics to date. "Then we made it through the Ice Age/ But I lost you in the Crusades/ I built the pyramids for you babe/ Just to see your face," Ke$ha sings during the second verse.
This album is a huge step forward for Ke$ha. Hopefully on her next album she rocks out more.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top 10 albums of 2012

Being the first day of the new year it's hard to not look back at the last year in music. This year had some great albums.

10-The Strange Case of... by Halestorm.
The second album by hard rock band Halestorm featured a newer sound for the band. Their heavy songs got heavier and their softer songs got deeper. While there were Tons of rock anthems like "Daughters of Darkness" and "Mz. Hyde" the slower songs like "Break In" and "Beautiful With You" touched on a side of front woman Lzzy Hale that we didn't see on their debut. Not to mention that this album features their Grammy nominated single "Love Bites (So Do I)" which may be the band's best song ever and the song "Here's to Us" which was featured on Glee.
Key Tracks-"Love Bites (So Do I)," Beautiful With You," and "Rock Show."

9-Picture Show by Neon Trees
New wave alternative rockers Neon Trees topped themselves with their second album. Every song on the album is fantastic. From the rockers like "Hooray for Hollywood" to the dance songs like "Lessons in Love (All Day, All Night" to the ballads like "Close to You, this album had it all. While their debut was great this album is ten times better. The album featured the platinum hit "Everybody Talks" which went on to become the band's biggest single.
Key Tracks-"Everybody Talks," "Mad Love," "Lessons in Love (All Day, All Night)," "Close to You," Hooray for Hollywood," and "I Am The D.J."

8-Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded by Nicki Minaj
Rapper Nicki Minaj released her second album a little over a year after her debut and the album was more experimental than her first. The album features club tracks ("Starships," "Beautiful Sinner") hip hop anthems ("Beez in the Trap," "Come on a Cone") and some slower songs about heartbreak "Marilyn Monroe," "Fire Burns") and Minaj pulls them all off. The songs on the album mixed many genres together like pop-rock, R&B, dance, house, dubstep, reggae and of course hip hop. The album featured the hits "Starships" and "Pound the Alarm."
Key Tracks-"Roman Holiday," "Beez in the Trap," "Starships," "Pound the Alarm," "Marilyn Monroe," "Fire Burns," and "Stupid Hoe."

7-Electra Heart by Marina and the Diamonds
Indie pop singer Marina and the Diamonds tried new things on her sophomore album. Firstly she went for a more mainstream sound. This disc features traces of dance, pop and rock music. She also co-wrote her songs on this record. The result may not always be good ("Valley of the Dolls," "Hypocrites") but for the most part the album is amazing. From bouncy songs "Bubblegum Bitch" and "How to be a Heartbreaker" to emotional ballads like "Lies" and "Starring Role," this album has it all.
Key Tracks-"Bubblegum Bitch," "Lies," "Staring Role," "Power & Control," "Sex Yeah," "How to be a Heartbreaker" and "Radioactive.

6-Covered by Macy Gray
Macy Gray's sixth album contains covers of songs and a few silly skits. If you ignore the skits then the album has nine great covers and one that isn't all that great. Gray brings her crazy brand of soul to songs such as "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs or "Sail" by Awolnation. She also rewrote the My Chemical Romance hit "Teenagers." The song is now about the struggle of raising teenagers.
Key Tracks-"Here Comes the Rain Again," "Creep," "Teenagers," "Sail," :Maps," and "Bubbly."

5-Warrior by Ke$ha
Ke$ha's sophomore album shows that the popstar can grow from simply singing about clubbing. Some of her best songs on her last album and EP were her ballads and on this album she brings out the ballads. "Past Lives" and "Love Into the Light" are packed with emotion. The album also features more guitars and a more rock oriented approach. The best rockers on this album are "Only Wanna Dance With You" and the album's best song "Thinking of You." The later being a breakup anthem about moving on from a cheating boyfriend.
Key Tracks-"Warrior," "C'mon," Thinking of You," "Crazy Kids," "Only Wanna Dance With You," and the deluxe edition bonus tracks "Last Goodbye" and "Past Lives."

4-Red by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has always ridden the line between country and pop and on her fourth album Red she really weaves the two together. She also mixes in rock, dubstep and electropop influences into her sound this time for a great new sound. From her love songs like "State of Grace" to her bitter breakup jams like "I Knew You Were Trouble." and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" Swift always writes from the heart. Swift's new style seems to be paying off. Red sold one million copies in it's first week of release.
Key Tracks-"State of Grace," "Red," I Knew You Were Trouble," "22," "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "Stay Stay Stay," "Everything Has Changed," Starlight," and "Begin Again."

3-Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey released her major label debut in 2012 but she's been making music for years. On her debut Del Rey mixes in many styles like baroque pop, sadcore, alternative hip hop, indie pop and trip hop. One of the things that make Del Rey stand out is her songwriting style. Songs like "Video Games" and "Diet Mountain Dew" showcase her strange way of telling a story. Her unique voice is also what is so great about her. While she has many haters Del Rey is clearly the breakout star of 2012 and with a new album in the works she won't be slowing down anytime soon. 
Key Tracks-"Born to Die,"  "Video Games," "Diet Mountain Dew," "National Anthem," "Dark Paradise," "Summertime Sadness" and "This is What Makes Us Girls."

2-Push and Shove by No Doubt
No Doubt's sixth studio may not be their best album, it doesn't have the spunk and attitude of their previous albums and it isn't as catchy as their other music but that being said it's still a great album. Every song on the album is good and even though a lot of the songs may have the same new wave sound, they are still strong songs. The best song on the album is the title track. It mixes in reggae and ska with alternative rock to form a fun, catchy song. "Push and Shove" is definitely the best song on the record and it is one of the band's best songs. The rest of the songs are a mature look at relationships. Hopefully the band will get back into the swing of things and get back to their former greatness. While Push and Shove is a great album and is worth the 11 year wait that it took the band to record this record.
Key Tracks-All of them

1-The Truth About Love by P!nk
P!nk's sixth record is by far her best. This is the first record of hers to not have a bad song on it. This album is coherent and gets back the spark that was missing on her last record Funhouse and the songs on her greatest hits album. P!nk's strong points has always been her fast-paced rock songs. From party songs like "Walk of Shame" and "Slut Like You" to breakup songs like "How Come You're Not Here" P!nk is always at her best while banging her head. She also packs in the emotional songs on this song. Great ballads like "Try" and "The Great Escape" really tug at the heartstrings. P!nk's voice and songwriting have always been great but on this album they're much improved.
Key Tracks-"Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," "Try," "Just Give Me a Reason," "True Love," "How Come You're Not Here," "Slut Like You," "Walk of Shame" and "Here Comes the Weekend."