Looking for new music? DJs at WVAU share their thoughts on a range of recent releases.
The jon Spencer Blues Explosion | Meat + Bone
The blues punk veterans’ reunion offers exactly what one would expect: high-energy, greasy rock.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is perhaps the perfect name for the band and “Meat + Bone” the perfect album title. Right off the bat, you’re going to get exactly what you would imagine. The band plays sloppy, swaggering, fuzzy blues-rock while Spencer manically yelps, howls and grunts into the microphone, sounding like the Rolling Stones if they played stupidly drunk and listened to more D.C. punk.
The album jumps off to a start and never loses its energy, only slowing down for its jammy closing track and the angular “Unclear.” While it may be difficult to say you haven’t heard something similar, “Meat + Bones” is a fun, unpretentious album that manages to avoid the embarrassment that normally comes with such reunions.
Recommended If You Like: The Black Keys, The Sonics, The Rolling Stones, The Libertines
By Cameron Stewart
Michael Kiwanuka | Home Again
Michael Kiwanuka may be a soul singer from Britain, but his sound is a lot closer to R&B’s roots in the American South.
Not only does he play an older style of R&B, he himself sounds older than he is, with a voice that, like Otis Redding’s, is gentle and soft but with an edge that suggests a lifetime of hard times.
The album takes an all-encompassing approach to R&B, incorporating elements of folk, blues, country, jazz and gospel throughout. The high points on the album are also the songs that push the boundaries of R&B hardest, such as the jazzy “Tell Me A Tale,” which is reminiscent of Gil Scott-Heron; “Bones,” which is more doo-wop that R&B; and “Lasan,” which sounds like a soulful reworking of a folk-country tune.
RIYL: Lee Fields, Gil Scott-Heron, Sam Cooke
By Sean Meehan
Seapony | Falling
“Falling” delivers an incredibly catchy indie pop listen, with airy vocals and lively guitar riffs that are marked by beachy cords and chill harmonies.
Seapony’s second full length LP, “Falling,” matches its release (and album name) perfectly for a sweet listen for the transition into fall. Once again, this Seattle trio is able to compose a number of catchy jangles by layering the sound of vocalist Jen Weidl’s comforting croons against euphonic cords and splashes of percussion. Although the release is rather short, hitting under the 40-minute mark, it makes effective use of its time by providing a balanced contrast between soft songs (like “Sunlight” and “Fall Apart”) and more upbeat tunes (such as buoyant “Tell Me So” and “No One Will”). Every track is characterized by pleasantly harmonic riffs, as highlighted in “Follow,” where the instrumentals almost sound like they could be right out of The Smiths back catalog.
The lyrical content in most of the tracks is simple, at times reminiscent of Best Coast’s lonely-sad-girl songs. However, this sense of simplicity works in the favor of the material, as it is carried out in a way that suits the bubbly instrumentals well and overall, makes “Falling” a solid lo-fi pop record that is difficult not to replay.
RIYL: Cults, Blouse, Wild Nothing
By Andrea Cortes
The Raveonettes | Observator
Clocking in at just over half an hour, “Observator” is a much more intimate side of The Raveonettes.
Each track has a hazy production quality to it and deceivingly simple arrangements that highlight the skill of this band. The first half of this album is a notable amount more relaxed than the second half, where The Raveonettes decide to head back toward the sound they’re known for, but with a notable amount of control that hasn’t been seen in their previous releases.
In the early tracks on the record like “Observations” the duo’s harmonies shine, and with this track specifically the introduction of an ethereal piano paired with the noise of the guitars layer for a masterful dissonance. “Sinking with the Sun” comes a bit later in the album and is driven by twangy guitar and cloudy vocals that demonstrate a new production style.
“Observator” as a whole gives off the vibe of being recorded in someone’s basement coupled with a thoughtfulness that’s new to the noise pop duo.
RIYL: Young Prisms, Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose
By Leigh Hopkins