ETERNAL SUMMERS – YOU KILL
“Frank Ocean has quickly proven himself to be among the most gifted singer-songwriters of his generation.” Really? Pitchfork wrote this recently in their review of Ocean’s latest release Channel ORANGE. Wow, a bold statement. I don’t mind the occasional Frank Ocean song, and I give him kudos for revealing a same-sex love in a genre known for its machismo, but a poet he is not. He is honest, open, and genuine, but lacks art in his lyrical approach, and intelligent revelations. Even in the critical favourite Bad Religion (which is a pretty good song), his lyrics are far too direct, personal, and simple to capture a lyrical moment of genius (or to avoid corny pitfalls – Allah Hu Akbar sung in R&B never had a chance). Thinking Bout You and Bad Religion are modest successes, but songs like Pyramids and Forrest Gump are overcome by cheesiness and triviality showing an artist not yet mature in singing, or songwriting. However, Frank is big news, and an R&B singer who has a different approach and a great back story can give critics blinders. I have tried to ignore the roar of the bandwagon and continue on looking for great music. This is why I am glad to have stumbled upon this trio from Virginia, and their newly released single for the upcoming album Correct Behavior. The incredibly catchy track finds itself somewhere between the Cocteau Twins and Japandroids, giving it a distinctly retro feel, but also an exciting pace. The result is a dance-around-the-room post-punk gem. I suppose it is no surprise, just like with newspapers, the most substantial stories are usually not the cover stories.
JAPANDROIDS – THE NIGHTS OF WINE AND ROSES
Brian King and David Prowse have made a career out of documenting the desire to live it up. They don’t wanna worry about dying, they just wanna worry about those sunshine girls. New album Celebration Rock kicks off with that very same sentiment. “We’re still smoking. Don’t we have anything to live for? Well, of course we do, but until they come true, we’re smoking”. The Night of Wine and Roses is an anthem to enjoying every moment of your life, and that is reflected by the sounds that are created. King and Prowse shout out their lyrics with high-octane energy, the guitar powers forward along side the thumping drums, all in preparation for the stadium ready sing-slong chant and the climatic, melt-your-face-off, guitar chaos. Hell, the song starts off with fireworks. It is the perfect introduction to this fun-loving album.
JAPANDROIDS – THE HOUSE THAT HEAVEN BUILT
2009′s Post-Nothing by this Vancouver duo was a refreshing piece of alt-rock gold. Singles like Wet Hair and Young Hearts Spark Fire felt new but incredibly nostalgic all at the same time. It was raw, energetic, and epic sounding music. And all from two guys, a guitar, and a drum-kit… kudos. Fortunately, Brian King and David Prowse don’t break from formula on their new song The House That Heaven Built. It is fast, intense, fist-pumping, and forever-young rock. I think it’s a good sign that we still have artists who are so willing to continuously pour all their passion into their music.
THE MEN – EX-DREAMS
I have said this before, but it is worth saying again, we are in dire need of good rock music out there. Although I always love myself some synth pop or dub step, sometimes I just need some thrashing guitar and a real drum set. Not pretty, no wobbly bass, no keyboard, no eighties throwback, just some manly head-bang-until-you-pass-out style rock. Well lucky for me, The Men are back, and their new track Ex-Dreams is all garage band mayhem. Not even a word is sung until over two minutes of solid, high energy, jamming. The Men are a noise punk/post-hardcore band from Brooklyn who caught some acclaim after their 2011 release Leave Home. Now they are back and their new album drops tomorrow. I am excited about this because the two singles out for listening (Ex-Dreams and Open Your Heart) have been awesome. Imagine somewhere between Japandroids and Mclusky. Give it a spin while moshing in your living room.