Looking for new music? DJs at WVAU share their thoughts on a range of recent releases.
The Men | New Moon
Noise/punk rockers get crazy and dial down the crazy.
Last year, when The Men set the world on fire with “Open Your Heart,” they did it with noisy punk raucousness, thrashing around and coughing up lyrics like Japandroids’ angsty little brothers.
With the departure of bassist/vocalist Chris Hansell, The Men decided to take a very different approach to its music: Wilco-esque alt country.
The Men introduce harmonicas (which never sounded more punk rock than they do on “Without a Face”), mandolins, piano and other instruments to reign in their aggression to create a more mature and melancholy sound.
The first half of the record mixes noisier, more distorted tendencies with cabin-worthy jams, creating a sound that will either alienate old fans or get them excited for the band’s new direction.
The second half sees a return to the straightforward, hit-over-the-head-with-distortion rock that The Men are known for, but not without a decrease in urgency. Instead of angry and angsty, the band settles for moderately anxious, even excited.
Some longtime fans might be calling for the return of Hansell and the gutter-ready sound of yesteryear, but those who keep open minds will enjoy listening to a new chapter in The Men’s development.
Recommended If You Like: Dinosaur Jr., Wilco, Japandroids
By Michael Lovito
Kate Nash | Girl Talk
Pop goes punk.
On her new release, Kate Nash has pulled what most will consider a complete 180 from her past albums.
In place of the sweet, sometimes twee, singer-songwriter sound comes a louder and noisier “riot grrrl” feel.
With a feminist streak and a well-practiced snarl, “Girl Talk” comes out the gate wanting to make a point.
“Part Heart” is full of feedback, bass and Nash’s vocals, starting in at a whisper and rising in intensity and emotion as the song progresses.
Most of the album follows a similar theme, with Nash singing or speaking over a noisy and feedback ridden soundscape.
As a whole, “Girl Talk” is a bit scattered but full of emotion, feminist intention and punky energy that marks a new period in Nash’s music.
RIYL: Dum Dum Girls, Bikini Kill, Mika Miko
By Leigh Hopkins, “Ambient Bloom,” Wednesdays midnight-2 a.m.
The Cave Singers | Naomi
Like Cold War Kids without all the yelling.
“Naomi” is the fourth release from the Seattle indie rock trio.
Often labeled as folk rock, the Cave Singers give no hint of it here. There are no lo-fi sound or traditional instruments on this album. Instead, they opted for a dozen sparse and reflective songs suited for a rainy or autumn day.
The Cave Singers have all of the emotion of The Strokes but without the noisy filler. On “Karen’s Car,” fast and pounding drums are contrasted with quarter notes from the electric guitar to reflect the both passionate and sophisticated nature of the album.
“Easy Way” and “Early Moon” are simple and contemplative reminders of early U2 and R.E.M.
RIYL: Cold War Kids, Delta Spirit, Wilco
By Trevor Langan, “Gypsy Soul,” Mondays 4-6 p.m.