New Music 5/6/16

After looking over the offerings for the stuff released this Friday, I’ve narrowed my reviews down to the following four albums. Here’s a quick rundown on what to expect in the upcoming week.

Vektor – Terminal Redux

I love all types of music, but if home is where the heart is, then metal is my home. Vektor is a progressive thrash metal band out of Arizona. Terminal Redux is the band’s third full length album.

Vektor-TR

JMSN – It Is.

I confess to being completely unfamiliar with JMSN, but anything that is described as indie electronica is going to pique my interest. I checked out some stuff off of his previous releases and got a Justin Timberlake vibe from his vocals, so I’m looking forward to the adventure.

JMSN-It Is

Death Grips – Bottomless Pit

The experimental hip-hop group out of Sacramento, CA; Bottomless Pit marks their fifth studio album since first releasing The Money Store in 2012. This album is, hands down, the biggest question mark of the four. I have no idea what I’m in for when I hit that play button.

Death Grips-Bottomless

Mike Posner – At Night, Alone.

At Night, Alone is the sophomore effort for this Michigan native singer-songwriter. A track off this album, remixed be SeeB, has already gained traction on streaming services and has landed on the Billboard charts, but now it’s time to find out what else this baby has to offer.

Mike Posner-ANA

 

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard- Nonagon Infinity

KGLW- Nonagon

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, to put it as plainly as possible, are music making machines. Since the band formed in 2010, they have done nothing but crank out content. Eight full length albums and two EPs in a six year span is impressive output by any measure, and their latest offering, Nonagon Infinity, proves that it is possible to sustain maximum quality with high quantity. Because quite frankly, this album is nothing short of amazing.

Nonagon Infinity is what I would call an album’s album. It is blistering and magical. From start to finish, it is an experience. Let me be clear on what I mean. There are, technically, nine tracks on this album, but in truth this album is comprised of one forty-one minute, forty-five second musical experience that should be appreciated and enjoyed as a whole. The tracks flow seamlessly into one another, elements from early tracks pop back up in later tracks, and as you listen you will completely lose your place. Even after listening through the entire work five times, I still can’t tell when one song ends and another begins unless I’m watching the timer. Mostly because it’s all so good I don’t care where I am. It’s a journey. Not listening to this entire album does a disservice to the music and to your experience. Just don’t do it.

The music itself is fast paced, psychedelic, and pulls from so many musical stylings it’s hard to keep up. At different points, it falls into something akin to a nineteen-fifties jazz lounge, transforms into a middle eastern inspired guitar riff, then dances around something close to Indian music. And somehow, none of it ever feels out of place. There is always enough to connect every second of the music to a single thread that is consistent from first track to last. When it’s over, you’ll want to ride the wave again and again, which is easy, because Nonagon Infinity is, literally, an infinite loop of music. Track nine blends seamlessly back into the beginning of track one, so if you put this album on repeat, you’ll never even realize it ended.

Don’t be surprised if, at the end of the year, you see Nonagon Infinity cracking people’s album of the year lists. There is nothing here that I can point to as being problematic. Not a track that I can single out as being weak by comparison or not working. It all works and it should all be consumed. I loved this album, in case you can’t tell. Impressive, considering I chose to listen to this album because I thought the band’s name was funny.

Overall Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Favorite Track: Gamma Knife

Chuck Inglish- Ev Zepplin

chuck inglish- ev zepplin

To solely credit Chuck Inglish for what, on record, is his third studio album would be disingenuous. From start to finish, Ev Zepplin is a collaborative effort. Every track features at least one guest artist, and the entire album is brought together by the highly touted (and deservedly so) production duo of JP and Rich Gains, collectively known as Blended Babies. The shine of their music is what ties all of this work together and, ultimately, is the only thing that keeps it from drifting into compilation disc territory.

 

And when I say shine, I mean really shine. The music of Ev Zepplin is easily the best part of the experience. Blended Babies never falls into a predictable method of delivering the listener a sound. Some songs, like We On, are driven by a thumping and distorted bass riff. Others, such as Scenic Route, fall back on splashy cymbals and a simple, yet effective, drum beat. None of the ten tracks ever are limited to what everyone on the radio does. It’s never predictable and it doesn’t endlessly repeat itself, either. Every song is worth listening to just to hear the arrangement if nothing else.

 

On the flipside, the vast number of guest spots on this album create a disconnect between the tracks. It comes close to feeling like a Pandora station, pulling similar songs together into a play list and feeding them to you one after another. The other problem here is that each song essentially lives and dies based on whoever is on the track. To put it simply, when things work, this album is amazing. The combination of artists works well together and pair well with the music that was laid down. Unfortunately, when things don’t come together just right, it completely falls apart. Some tracks feel like the rapper or singer added their contribution with little to no regard to the music. Other tracks feature artists that, to be blunt, just aren’t as good as others and drag the entire experience down. So what you the listener are left with is a very mixed bag of tracks that range from incredible to mediocre at best.

 

What you end up with is an okay album that could have been a great album, which to me is even worse than the album just being really bad. The potential was there, but something didn’t click or too many people got involved.

 

Overall Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

 

Favorite Track: Over Much (feat. Alex Wiley, Caleb James)

Pity Sex – White Hot Moon

Pity Sex-White Hot Moon

Is Pity Sex an indie rock band with lo-fi trappings, or a lo-fi band with an indie rock edge? Ultimately it doesn’t really matter, because whatever combination of sounds they have put together for their second studio album, White Hot Moon, blends into a melodic experience that appeals to both senses. From start to finish, the sound is polished and packaged into a consistent and trippy offering that fans across both spectrums can dive into.

There is an underlying sense of melancholy that permeates throughout the twelve tracks. Even the more upbeat and edgier songs are tainted with a deep sadness. Which isn’t a negative experience, mostly because I found myself trying to figure out exactly what this album was making me feel the first few times I made my way through it, only to realize that the blend of pop and gloom combine into something akin to nostalgia or longing. The toned down and distorted vocals, especially from the male vocalist, Brennan Greaves, are a monotonous droning that bleeds into the overall sound of the music, and is often perfectly juxtaposed to the sweeter, lighter vocals of Britty Drake.

For my money, tracks that lean into Drake’s vocals seem to work better. Her voice stands out better against the music, and unlike Greaves, she uses more range and is audibly more interesting to listen to. Which is a shame, because on certain tracks you can certainly tell that Greaves has more to offer than what we hear on this album. You get flashes of this on A Satisfactory World For Reasonable People and Wappen Beggars, especially.

Overall, the beats are solid, the music is catchy, and technically there isn’t really anything to call out as problematic about White Hot Moon. It certainly succeeds in taking the listener through a full range of emotions. It’s one of the happiest sad albums I’ve come across in recent years, and for some reason, it leaves me feeling like I should call my parents just to check in on them. The sophomore slump seems to have skipped Pity Sex. This is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of twelve songs.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Favorite Track: Plum

Rob Zombie- The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser

 

Zombie-EWAWSOCD

When you consider how long he’s been in the business of creating music, thirty-one years since his debut with the now legendary groove metal band White Zombie, the fact that Rob Zombie still brings the amount of raw energy and creativity to his work that is on display with The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser is nothing short of impressive. The album title itself should tell you everything you need to know about what is contained within these twelve tracks. It’s going to be strange, dark, and over-the-top. Which, for the most part, it delivers on from start to finish.

 

The guitars crunch, the samples are numerous, the beats are infectious, and it’s all bundled up with just a twist of electronica that should be familiar to anyone who has followed Rob Zombie’s career. In many ways, this album has the feel of his earlier efforts, but dialed up to the next level. The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God feels a lot like Living Dead Girl. In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire we All Get High has a lot of the same trappings as More Human Than Human. There just more guttural. Rougher around the edges. And shorter.

 

In fact, this entire album is incredibly short. None of the songs, save for the final track, have a runtime longer than three minutes. The entire album’s runtime is only thirty-one minutes and some change. Usually, twelve tracks crammed into a thirty minute album would feel rushed and incomplete. In this case, though, brevity works in favor of the piece. Most of these songs would most likely grow tiresome if they stretched out into four or five minutes. As they are, the songs get in, smack you around just enough to be enjoyable, then move on to the next track and do it all over again.

 

In short, if you are a fan of Rob Zombie or groove metal in general, then you should be pleased with what you’re going to find here. It doesn’t push boundaries, it doesn’t seek to be anything other than what it is. Thirty minutes of twisted, dark lyrics growled over power chords and infectious drum beats. If that sort of thing isn’t your bag, then this probably isn’t going to be your bag.

 

Overall Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

 

Favorite Track: The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God