Pickpocket’s Locket is the follow up to Frog Eyes’ comeback album from last year, Carey’s Cold Spring (review). That album, influenced by a number of personal experiences such as the death of frontman Carey Mercer’s father, led the band into a more restrained and accessible style of music and lyrics. The press release for Pickpocket’s Locket explains the background for the album: Mercer’s father left him an acoustic guitar, which he used as inspiration.
By Tim Murr
Sometimes you just don’t need to re-invent the wheel. For example: thrash metal, which pretty much got it right the first time and hasn’t done a hell of a lot of evolving since the early 1980s. Sure, some thrash bands progressed and started playing different types of music, but as far as I can tell, thrash metal has stubbornly dug its heels into the ground and stayed true to itself. It’s the bastard son of hardcore and metal, epitomized by bands like Suicidal Tendencies and DRI.
In the tradition of those great bands comes Montreal’s Dealer who recorded their debut EP earlier this year. Don’t Worry I Got You Man contains five tracks of unadulterated metal that is as fun as it is brutal. Even the album art calls to mind old school Suicidal Tendencies.
The album kicks off with “House Wins” and for a minute, you don’t know if it’s 2015 or 1985. The vocalist has a screechy yowl which fits the tunes well and is a nice reprieve from the Cookie Monster vocals a lot of bands are (over)using these days. You’ll definitely hear shades of Exodus, but Dealer has a more confrontational, frenetic, punk approach. The third track, “Game of Death,” might be my favorite of their songs. It’s a pummeling two and a half-minute pit classic if I’ve ever heard one. The longest track on the EP clocks in at less than four minutes; all five tunes fly past in a blur of belligerence and head banging.
The members of Dealer are true students in the art of thrash. Don’t Worry I Got You Man is a nice taste of their sound and I hope to hear much more from them in the future.
Monk Parker’s solo debut album How The Spark Loves The Tinder could be filed under alt-Americana, but what it really brings to mind is if an alien recorded an Americana album. Everything is there: harmonicas, strings, horns, guitar, hushed husky vocals, but it’s all a little… off. It’s brilliant. It’s alien Americana.
By Tim Murr
I was ready for The Sword’s High Country and was initially excited when I heard the first single, “High Country.” While there’s still a lot to appreciate about the album as a whole, I found the overall experience a bit of a let down.
By Tyler Hodg
Rather than indulge in generic, mainstream topics and themes of current day hip-hop, Wordburglar has chosen to write about subjects much more close to home—like hockey players, Canadian issues, and video games—with conviction and humor. But don’t get him wrong, Wordburglar is far from a joke.
Noah Gundersen is a seeker. On his follow up to the much-lauded Ledges, Carry The Ghost, he looks inward, questioning the nature and existence of God, of Gundersen’s own chosen means of expression and career, and exploring loneliness and love. It’s a heavy, introspective album.
It’s also startlingly quiet; there are moments that are so deeply felt by Gundersen that his voice, already hushed, trails off to a strangled choke, phrases ending on a breath. Coupled with Gundersen’s tendency toward acoustic guitar and piano, it becomes a journey in which the listener sometimes wonders just what was sung and perhaps one might need one of those fancy ear horns (but mercifully, Carry The Ghost on CD comes with a lyric booklet that is mighty handy, and a fine way to join Gundersen in existential questioning).
Jackie Greene has quite the pedigree. He’s toured with The Black Crowes and Phil Lesh and Friends, played with Levon Helm, and was in an acoustic trio with Chris Robinson and Bob Weir, called WRG. An enormously talented multi-instrumentalist, Greene aspires to be the whole package; musician, songwriter, singer, and on his latest, Back To Birth, he nails it.
By Tyler Hodg
Best Behavior showcases their take on surf, punk, and garage rock all at one time with their latest offering, Good Luck Bad Karma. The Brooklyn-based band is a no-frills act, void of musical or lyrical cliches, which isn’t the easiest thing to do when so much has been achieved and repeated in rock music. Despite that respectable feat, Best Behavior’s songs unfortunately only fall into the “good” category rather than “great,” due to the lack of uniqueness in their music.
By Tim Murr
Probably every town has some awesome band the rest of the world will never see. These days, thanks to the Internet it’s easier for some Oklahoma punk band to reach listeners in Japan, but back in 1980, forget it. Victims, perhaps, of the glut of metal bands from all over Europe and the UK, Acid fell through the cracks. There wasn’t a huge metal scene in their native Belgium when they formed, and little in the way of avenues out of the country. So they formed their own record label, Giant, and between 1980 and 1985, when they broke up, released three solid albums.
The venerable British heavy metal band Iron Maiden is returning with a new double album, The Book of Souls, and the first single, “Speed of Light,” is a five-minute-long, arena-sized rollercoaster ride through a thunderstorm, with a hot riff so slinky, the Lord of Darkness could floss with it. It’s a swift kick in the ass for a rock and roll scene grown stale and over-inflated with buttrock and pseudo-Satania. There’s more energy in this one single than there has been in the last three Foo Fighters albums. Leave it to a bunch of 50-year-old Brits to rear back up and bring a whole genre back to life, like a collective of Victor Frankensteins.
That’s pretty heavy praise for just one song, and I know that, but listen, you guys.
No, I mean, listen to the song.