DeLooze’s full-length debut, Glass Army, more than lives up to the spectacular promise of its first single, “DeathStar.” The album’s eerie, theatrical rock is exquisitely melodic and amazingly worthy of the Siouxsie & the Banshees comparisons DeLooze has received – though she could just as easily be compared to Hannah Fury, Choirgirl-era Tori Amos and even Florence + the Machine or Muse on certain songs. DeLooze is far too unique to pin down to one comparison.
The stand out tracks on the album are “Nature Boy” and “DeathStar,” but every song on the album is truly magnificent and I love it more with each listen (of which there have been many).
I can’t remember the last time an album excited me as much as DeLooze’s Glass Army. This kind of bold, bewitching rock is a very rare breed these days. It’s sure to be on my best of the year list come December.
The new release from The Killers, Battle Born, reflects the band’s Vegas roots with a grown up musical sound. Brandon Flowers continues to belt it out like a Broadway singer, but this time with a greater range and precision than he had on previous efforts. It sounds as though he has been taking vocal lessons from a stage performer, which only enhances the other band members’ individual qualities.
Conjuring up images of the desert and wild horses, the songs on Battle Born are forged poetically from the band’s hometown of Las Vegas. A few of the tracks begin with a twangy rockabilly strain. This blending of sounds from rock, electronic (yes, the band has picked up a synthesizer somewhere), western and show tunes makes this a difficult album to place in a specific genre.
Though I enjoy the album for its unique sound unparalleled by other popular artists, I find it difficult to distinguish one song from the next. It’s as though The Killers picked one song that was extraordinary and made it into an entire album. This serves to make Battle Born feel more like a modern opera where the music is made to blend together, but also has the potential to turn away listeners who have grown accustomed to simply downloading individual mp3s. I’m thankful to have the whole album to play from start to finish.
For anyone looking to download only one or two songs, I would suggest “Runaways” – a great narrative of troubled romance – and the lesser played but passionate song, “Flesh and Bone.”
Where did this guy come from? Other than Oklahoma, I mean. The photo on JD McPherson’s debut album, Signs & Signifiers, looks like another average singer-songwriter guy, but his music is a delicious mix of brassed up retro soul and rumbling vintage blues-rock. It’s been a very long time since I was struck by such an intense sense of awe while listening to an album.
Even more amazing than former art teacher and punk rocker McPherson’s robust voice is that he wrote almost all of these songs – most of which sound like classics by Little Richard, Jackie Wilson or The Big Bopper with a bit of Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Sun Studios-era Elvis thrown in.
“Scratching Circles” and “Fire Bug” are the standout tracks and other highlights include “Northside Gal” (you can download the mp3 below) and “I Can’t Complain,” but there’s not a weak track to be found here. This album will definitely be on my Best of the Year list.
Seminal female rock band Heart just released their fourteenth studio album, Fanatic. The album is somewhat of a companion to their new memoir, Kicking and Dreaming. I had a mixed reaction to the recording. It’s one of those albums that’s torn between magnificence and mediocrity. Thankfully, though, its strengths are far greater than its weaknesses.
Something about the production of the opening title track seems a little off. Neither the instrumentation nor Ann’s vocals are individually bad, but they just don’t mesh as they should. Her vocal track seems to have been laid flatly on top of the arrangement rather than properly mixed with it.
“Dear Old America” is much better, though. The song is a swirling rocker written from perspective of a Marine returning home from war. Said Marine just happens to be the Wilson sisters’ father.
The tepid “Walkin’ Good” seems a wasted duet with Sarah McLachlan. Again I feel the problem lies in the production or mixing. According to the liner notes, Sarah recorded her vocal track and emailed it to be incorporated into the song. As a result, her voice is barely audible in the chorus.
The sultry “Skin and Bones” sets things right again with a bluesy rock style that fits perfectly with both Ann’s rich voice and Nancy’s searing guitar work. It’s smooth sailing after that, as the album’s second half is totally solid and praiseworthy.
The fantastic blues-rock anthem “A Million Miles” was inspired by the traditional folk song “900 Miles.”
The epic “Mashallah!” is the standout with its thunderous rock arrangement and wailing chorus, both of which remind us why Heart used to be nicknamed Little Led Zeppelin.
“59 Crunch,” which the band describes as “psycho surfer,” is another guitar-heavy rock track.
The finale “Corduroy Road” is the perfect marriage of the Heart’s usually dueling rock and acoustic sides.
As a whole, Fanatic doesn’t quite grab me as much as its predecessor, Red Velvet Car. However, the standout tracks mentioned above are among the best Heart’s ever recorded.