This week I got to listen to way more than last week, so we are splitting up the singles and albums because the post would be so long. I don't want to do that to you, so hopefully this is easier to digest. Not only did I listen to a lot this week, but the music was all over the place, in the best way possible. These are what I thought some of the best albums of the week were.
One of the only bands that I have never missed a tour cycle for any of their albums is Franz Ferdinand. I have even seen in between shows where they are testing out new material. To say I'm a huge fan of theirs would be an understatement. I do not understand how they are not bigger than they are. With their latest album Always Ascending original member Nick has left the band and Alex, Bob, and Tom have replaced him with two people, Julian Corrie and Dino Bardot. I can only imagine how hard that was for them, but they have seamlessly transitioned into a now 5-headed monster. The band has the same distinct sound, but it feels a little punchier this time. The entire band wants to remind people they are still here and are still ready to make some waves. From the title track to "Paper Cages" to "Glimpse of Love", Franz Ferdinand are back and out for blood. "Feel the Love Go" might be there most fascinating song they have ever recorded. The outro jam including what sounds like a saxophone is just jaw-dropping. I heard a few of these songs live during their tour in 2017 and they didn't disappoint a bit. My hope is more people take notice of them and they can continue to rise to where they should be over here in the U.S. Their mix of rock and dance hall madness is the perfect way to let loose in the anarchy that we currently live in. Go blow off some steam and enjoy this record.
Niklas Paschburg released his debut album Oceanic this week and its a calming beautiful ode to the ocean. Recorded in a make-shift studio with a view of the Baltic Sea, he created this great record that puts classical music into modern times. It isn't just a piano plodding along, but samples of various sounds, an accordion, and a bass drum are littered throughout. The songs have the feel of water meandering over an area of land, coming in and out with the tide, and gracefully moving across the world. The record's 47 minute goes by in a flash, yet you will feel as though you just had hours of meditation done. Tracks swell and fade with the tides that Niklas was dreaming about and looking at and Oceanic captures it all perfectly. The album's first and last sound are of his footsteps walking into the room and then out of the room. The tide moves as he does and as this album does. Get this in your ears now!
Everyone I know in New York City raves about Julian Lage and I feel I have done a disservice to him to not only yet to see him in person, but to listen to his records. You want some jazz with just the right amount of attitude, then The Ramble is the record to put on. Julian makes every riff and solo seems so easy it's not fair. Each song is it's own soundtrack to a short film that you can picture in your head; "General Thunder" is a western, "Wordsmith" is the ebb and flow of a first date, and "Atlantic Limited" is a walk along busy streets as you just try to make your way to where you need to go. Julian along with Scott Colley on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums nailed every aspect of this record perfectly. 2018 goals is to see some of this performed in person and watch in amazement as they play these songs with an air of calmness and confidence like I've heard about.
You want to dance, laugh, smile, reflect, headbang, be weird, and just be yourself for 46 minutes? The return of Fischerspooner, with Sir is your miracle drug then. it's been almost a decade since this iconic duo released new music and we are all better for the new music. With help from Michael Stipe, yes that of REM fame, this record is not groundbreaking or new, but it feels very fresh and exciting. The raunchy lyrics are still there and if we are being honest it feels a little dirtier now that they are older. A lot of todays electronic pop songs owe a lot to Fischerspooner, and they are back to remind them of that. Just try to not have fun while listening to this record. It is currently streaming on NPR's First Listen, go enjoy - Fischerspooner Sir.
Kyle & The Pity Party released a new EP this week titled Home. The four song release has the band showing their influences on their sleeve in My Blood Valentine, Interpol, The War on Drugs, and even a bit of the themes of Twin Peaks. Each song has a great full band jam in it, and as I have just seen them live, these jams really can go places in the live setting and they do a great job of transferring that feeling to the record. There is a great music scene happening in New York in the Kingston, Beacon, Hudson area of the state, and you should jump on board now before it disappears.
After their first record with the hits of "Kids" and "Electric Feel" I kind of wrote MGMT off. The singles didn't do much for me and I did not even seek out their last two records, which I think I'm going to rectify. Their latest, Little Dark Age, is a very loose feeling record. It seems they went into the studio to get weird and psychedelic and also ended up with some terrific songs that could easily be hits on the level of the aforementioned singles. "She Works Out Too Much" and "When You Die" are very weird, but the song structures themselves are impressive. "Me and Michael" sounds like an 80's song was given a bit of a face lift and brought into the 21st century. The entire first half of the record is just spectacular, which isn't a knock on the back half, it's just that the front half is that good. "Days Got Away" is easily one of the weirdest tracks of the year, it's just out there and keeps going for it through all five minutes of the song. I'm glad I decided to give them another shot and cannot wait to back track to their other albums.