With the barrage of great music 2013 has offered up thus far, we at LxL are struggling to keep up with everything we feel we should be touching on. Enter our first mid-week entry of LxListening, and a new concept behind it: Rapid Fire Album Reviews. Granted, all of the albums listed below should be warranted their own full review, but three men at one post a day can only accomplish so much. So here we are in an effort to try and not let some of this springs most dominant releases slip through the cracks. If you haven’t already heard these, I urge you to give the following albums a listen:
Savages – Silence Yourself
Come out of the gate swinging! Not only is that what I am doing by beginning this post with its best album, but more to the point, that is what Savages are doing with their debut LP. More than any of the following albums, this album deserves much more attention that just a blip in this post. From the moment the albums pulverizing opening bass line on “Shut Up” begins, you know you are in for some “serious” punk music. Not the bar-chord driven, grungy punk style we are most commonly graced with, but more of a cold, bass-driven, noise guitar, ramped-up Siouxsie and the Banshees type of punk. The pristinely produced nature of the album allows for every role to be as important as the next, demanding a lot from each band member. Jehnny Beth, the lead vocalist sounds like weird combination of Biafra from Dead Kennedy’s and Geddy Lee from Rush, which makes for a hell of a lead vocalist. The guitar is a steady mix of noise and brightly distorted lead. Tonally similar to Sonic Youth but with more precision, speed, and attention to detail. The bass lines are the driving force behind the fury of their songs. Played fast, tonally cold and clean, and they perfectly lead the band from building versus to exploding choruses.
It’s too bad for some of the other great punk acts releasing albums this year, because they are sure to be overshadowed by Savages debut. Not that the FIDLAR’s and Pissed Jeans of this year singing about “cheap beer” aren’t dominant, fun-filled punk albums in their own right, because they are. But intelligent, artistic punk music is a fallen form that we haven’t seen in a while. This is like the Sigur Ros of punk music, coincidentally managed by the same man. Of course, just because they have more of an artistic nature to their music doesn’t mean that I and everyone else at any Savages live show won’t be losing their minds in a mosh pit. Of which, I cannot wait for.
Can’t Miss: Every Song … from “Shut Up” to “Marshal Dear”
Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons To Die (Presented by Arian Younge)
A concept album with a story line to shock and impress the likes of horror film directors and writers across the globe. The story takes place in 1960’s Italy, where Tony Starks (Ghostface) is murdered by the DeLuca crime family, a former employer of his. Apparently sleeping with the mob boss’s daughter was a bit frowned upon in the DeLuca circle. After being melted and pressed into twelve vinyl records, Tony is resurrected as The Ghostface Killah, and wreaks havoc on those who have crossed him. Badass storyline aside, the music was brilliantly put together by Adrian Younge, and Ghostface spits his venom with the ferocity and flow of a murdered mob member risen from the ga-damn grave. This is a rap album with some serious style and a haunting vibe that will leave you with chills.
Can’t Miss: “Blood On The Cobblestones”, “Rise of the Ghostface Killah”, “The Sure Shot”
Deerhunter – Monomania
The ever-changing Bradford Cox has done it again. With his sixth studio album as leader of Deerhunter, he has found new ways to remain fresh, remain great, and remain a total punk-ass. Finding new avenues to explore his punk-rooted rockabilly, Deerhunter finds themselves crossing sound-paths with bands from Spoon, to Pavement, to Iggy and the Stooges. Coming off Halcyon Digest, another brilliant album that was a bit more digital and a bit more polished, Monomania steps back to a rustier, grungier, more raw form of Cox and his gang. And I could not be more pleased with the result. Six albums deep, and still getting better with age.
Can’t Miss: “Leather Jacket II”, “Pensacola”, “Blue Agent”, “Nitebike”
Charli XCX – True Romance
If you’re like me, you knew her as the voice of what has now become a smash hit, Icona Pop’s infamous “I Love It”. She transferred her “I don’t care” attitude over to her debut album True Romance, which aside from having just one or two too many tracks, makes for a great pop-wave album. She’s a snarkier, sharper, more lively version of Lana Del Rey, and has the edge of Grimes with an added bit of playfulness and accessibility that makes her a bit more fun on the dance floor. Plus, she apparently named her album after the Tarantino/Scott masterpiece of the same name, which says something about how awesome this British bombshell must be. This will be a strong card to have in your hand for this summer.
Can’t Miss: “You (Ha Ha Ha)”, “So Far Away”, “Set Me Free”
Can’t Hit: “You’re The One”, “How Can I”
Baths – Obsidian (A Premature Evaluation)
Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld has seemed to have had a boost of confidence after the success of his 2010 debut Cerulean based on how much more of a vocal performance we are getting out of him on his new material. Which is not so minimalistic compared to his previous efforts, but still hasn’t seemed to lose the edge and poise he holds from behind the turn tables (or lap top rather). His sound is seeming a bit more melodic, but still holds its beautiful digitally ambient demeanor that makes Baths’ sound as unique as it is. He has seemed to infuse more of the Radiohead-esque electronic drum beats of the glitchy nature into his music as well, making it a bit more spastic than Cerulean. He is providing to me the fun and diversity that I want, but don’t get from a James Blake album, while also supplying a leveled out darkness and stage-matchable-performance that I wish I had from Passion Pit. See if you hear the same thing when the album drops on 5/28/2013.
Premature Rating: 8/11
Can’t Miss: “Worsening”, “No Eyes”, “Ironworks”
Can’t Hit: “Earth Death”