Starting with its first LP in 1996, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, the Finnish band Apocalyptica has spent its career reimagining metal music from a neoclassical standpoint, a perspective responsible for the group’s one-of-kind sound. Now, nearly a quarter century removed from its initial Metallica tribute, the band’s latest effort, Cell-0, marks a notable return to origins for the quartet, which consists of three unconventional cellists and a heavy metal drummer. Continue reading Apocalyptica confronts the unknown equipped only with instruments and song names on new full-length, Cell-0
Photo from Weyrd Son Records
Way Station, the new album from Brooklyn industrial punks Pop. 1280, is a fitting title. It marks a new chapter for the band not only in material, but in its creative dynamic.
In the three years since the group’s last release, 2016’s Paradise, the band lost two key members with the departures of its drummer and synth player, leaving singer Chris Bug and guitarist Ivan Lip to figure out ways to fill the sonic voids their former bandmates left behind. Continue reading Pop. 1280 reemerges with a new lineup on Way Station, an ominous, psychological thriller of a record
Photo Courtesy of American Dreams Records
To interpret a piece as celebrated as Claude Debussy’s La Mer is a bold undertaking for any musician, even those as accomplished as Tosconini, Bernstein or John Williams. And further, to successfully adapt it into a different style of music comes with its own set of challenges.
But the decision by Forest Management, the Chicago-based music project of John Daniel, to sample and recontextualize the famous symphonic sketches into an ambient double LP feels wholly appropriate. After all, Debussy valued sound and texture over melody and progression much like today’s ambient artists. “There is no theory. You merely have to listen,” Debussy once said. “Pleasure is the law.” Continue reading Forest Management explores the formidable landscape of night on its new classically-inspired double album After Dark
Photo from Manifesto Records
In the age of the smartphone, if a musician was to test out new songs and ideas in front of a live audience, then, like clockwork, videos would be posted online for everyone to see and post comments. And even if the songs weren’t played live, there’s always the possibility of demos being leaked and downloaded, which has happened to dozens of musicians this century. But, back in 1968, the pre-internet world allowed for artists to take bigger risks in performances without fear of backlash from music bloggers. Continue reading Tim Buckley: Live at the Electric Theatre Co. 1968 provides another compelling touchstone in mapping out the masterful singer-songwriter’s stylistic progression
Photo courtesy of Caldo Verde Records
Joey Always Smiled, Mark Kozelek’s spiritual follow-up to his compellingly mellow self-titled release last year, finds the singer-songwriter reminiscing about formative adolescent memories and contrasting them with his more recent activities. Like listening to a folk rock radio station, the narratives Kozelek includes on this album, announced way back in February, span the 70s, 80s, 90s and today during the collab’s hour-plus runtime, as he deciphers which people and events most shaped the journey to his present self. Continue reading Mark Kozelek teams up with Petra Haden and wistfully drifts through decades of memories and deep-rooted friendships on Joey Always Smiled
Photo from morrisseyofficial.com
In music and film, there’s a certain sweet spot of nostalgia for the middle of the latter half of the 20th century, probably because so many people alive today have lived through it. Hollywood often loads its period pieces of that time, like Boogie Nights, Inherent Vice or Starsky and Hutch, with classic songs like “Afternoon Delight,” “Close to You” or “Stayin’ Alive.” But on California Son, Morrissey’s new cover album of 60s and 70s songs, he digs deeper than radio hits to repurpose for his own narrative use, choosing songs that have ties to our own historical moment. Continue reading Morrissey breathes new life into 12 songs from the 60s and 70s to craft a very 2019 album
Photo from Matador Records
Stephen Malkmus’ signature brand of abstract and non sequitur lyrics can most often be found floating over the instrumentals of Pavement and his own band, The Jicks. Raucous guitars and bombastic drums match his frenetic singing and shrieking crescendos, shirking any notions of predictability.
But on Groove Denied, his long awaited stab at electronic music, Malkmus allows synthesizers, drum machines and loops to bubble to the surface. Over a well-paced 33 minute runtime, Malkmus explores the different eras of electronic music and plugs his own charisma into the digital landscape. Continue reading On his latest offering, Groove Denied, Stephen Malkmus dives into electronic rock of yesteryear while never entirely shaking his indie rock roots