New Music Tuesday: Jimi Hendrix • How to Destroy Angels • The Men • Youth Lagoon • Rhye • The Cave Singers • Blue Hawaii

Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell and Angels

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks, album highlights, lowlights and important takeaways for select albums.


Jimi HendrixPeople, Hell and Angels

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Earth Blues”
“Hear My Train a Coming”
“Somewhere”

Album Highlights: The solo in “Hear My Train a Coming” is quintessential Jimim and it bridges the gap between beginning and end of the song perfectly. This early take on the classic song is quite powerful, and the solo alone deserves a listen. “Somewhere” has Hendrix showcasing his amazing Wah Wah pedal skills, and his stream of conscious style singing makes this song come to life. The album opener “Earth Blues” is probably the most complete song with great lyrics and classic Jimi riffs throughout.

Album Lowlight: I thought the album lost its place during “Let Me Move You,” even though the great Lonnie Youngblood was featured on Saxophone. The track seems out of place on the record, and the same could be said for “Mojo Man.” Also, the album ended with a whimper by picking “Villanova Junction Blues” as the outro song, and it isn’t even two minutes long. While I can’t exactly blame Jimi for this choice, I would prefer to hear a blistering solo to end the record.

Takeaway: It’s just great to hear Jimi Hendrix play guitar, and for that I am grateful this album has been released so far after his untimely death. It definitely helps us see which direction Jimi was going right after the Experience broke up. Most of the recordings are from sessions he played with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, the rhythm section from the Band Of Gypsies. Hendrix was straying from his psychedelic era sounds with the material that ended up on People, Hell and Angels, leaning more toward bluesy rock from Hendrix’s early years.

~Pete Mauch


How to Destroy AngelsWelcome Oblivion

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Keep it Together”
“Ice Age”
“The Loop Closes”

Album Highlights: Welcome Oblivion is a brilliant experiment in collaboration between Trent Reznor and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig (formerly of West Indian Girl), also featuring his usual suspects, Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan. To take the industrial tension of Nine Inch Nails and have the vocals fronted by the sultry and angelic Maandig is a winning formula. Tracks like “Ice Age” turn down the synths and simply pair staccato strings with soft vocals, throwing the listener for a loop compared to previous tracks. Recently, Reznor has become the master of keeping his fans on their feet, this recently demonstrated by the quick and startling revamping of Nails, all before he’s even debuted How to Dress Angels on stage. Production is heavy on the chiller side of industrial/glitch electronic music, even industrializing the sound of vocals as seen in the beginning of “Too Late, All Gone.” Not all tracks feature vocals, something Reznor is a bit fond of.

Album Lowlight: The inclusion of Mariqueen as lead singer alleviates some pressure from Trent, and it certainly shifts the overall sound and feel away from something that is wholly Nine Inch Nails. With this stated, I would have liked to hear a bit more of Reznor’s characteristic vocal style. “Keep it Together” is a prime example of Trent augmenting Mariqueen’s steamy female vocals, and this would have been welcomed on more tracks.

Takeaway: Fans of Nine Inch Nails will enjoy this release, furthermore listeners who may have been scared away by the likes of the brutal side of NIN (see “Closer”) will feel it is more palpable, especially to female listeners. Reznor is not a musician who takes much down time, and he has kept himself busy since temporarily dissolving NIN a few years back. This project is not brand new, but has now fully taken flight with the impending live debut coupled with a debut LP. Welcome Oblivion is a satisfying listen overall, taking a great leap in con-temporizing the brilliant industrial sound Trent Reznor and his cohorts have polished over multiple decades.

~Kevin Quandt


The MenNew Moon

Top Tracks:
“The Seeds”
“Electric”
“I See One”

Album Highlights: New Moon is a different album than previous, likely pointing to maturity or fear of being lost in the ever increasing bands that sound akin. It leans more on the poppier side than the noise side of rock, especially when viewed compared to previous releases. Songs like “The Seeds” are a fun romp in folk rock that is becoming evermore popular, as demonstrated by Father John Misty and the likes. “I Saw Her Face” features a heavy, lo-fi guitar lead full of drudge and weight to accompany the lulled-out drumbeat and bass. “Bird Song” lends itself to a more personal side that would make Crazy Horse smirk. One can almost hear old Neil play his harmonica along with ‘em.

Album Lowlight: It feels as if the track order was a total toss-up, and gives the album a lack of direction and flow that is not easy to look past. Maybe they should slow down and take some time with these efforts, as this is the fourth release in four years.

Takeaway: An enjoyable spin on the current state of modern rock, full of hooks and unique tracks placed side by side in no distinguishable rhyme or reason. It’s lighter on the tinges of punk that these New Yorkers have been somewhat known for, but there is a sound for just about everyone on New Moon.

~Kevin Quandt


Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Mute”
“Dropla”
“Raspberry Cane”

Album Highlights: Trevor Powers, the boy genius behind Youth Lagoon, has created a sequel to 2011’s Year in Hibernation that continues the dreamy low-fidelity indie rock and succeeds in many spots. “Mute” sounds clear and cheery after the opening track “Through Mind and Back,” and it is the best track on the long player. It starts with a Bradford Cox-like wandering space into, but when the track transitions to it’s second phase dominated by repetitious keyboard strokes and Star Wars destroyer swoosh-byes as part of the conceptual build, the song begins to fly. “The Bath” and “Third Dystopia” are also stand-out tracks.

Album Lowlight: Overall, Wondrous Bughouse could be viewed as a soundtrack to a sinister clown carnival, and only rarely succeeds (“Raspberry Cane”) while looking at the record through this prism. Upon repeat listens, Youth Lagoon’s newest effort is more appropriately seen as a collection of tripped out lullabies. But what holds this record back from greatness is that it feels like an exercise in seeing how many carnival sounds Powers could layer on top of each other while still creating likable pop songs. Creating this sound aesthetic is a tightrope walk, and it often works. It does not work with “Attic Doctor,” “Sleep Paralysis” & “Daisyphobia,” and these tracks push the “trippy lullaby” theme to the edge of the listener threshold.

Takeaway: The most joyous thing Powers established with The Year of Hibernation was a nuanced song structure. Most tracks thrived on introspective, exploratory introductions that thrived on building to a second-half sonic payoff. And it is the second-half building in tracks like “Afternoon” that smacked you out of your wondrous state, creating a contrast that is goose-bump inducing. Overall, this quality is less present in Wondrous Bughouse. However, the record is a grower, one where the nuances present themselves more and more, and most tracks subsequently get better with each listen.

~Mike Frash


RhyeWoman

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“The Fall”
“Open”
“3 Days”

Album Highlights: The highly anticipated debut album from Rhye, the producer duo Robin Braun and Mike Milosh, is an infectious, soulful, electro-R&B album. Women is highly sensual; this album is perfect for a late night romance or a long drive in the middle of the night. It’s upbeat enough to keep your head bobbing, but mellow enough to fall asleep to. And I say “fall asleep to” in the most endearing way possible.

The vocals are the true highlight of this album. Milosh and Braun’s voices work together in perfect venereal harmony that keeps the listener longing for more.

Album Lowlight: I’m nitpicking here, but I simply want more from Rhye. I can’t wait to see how their sound develops with future material, and I’ll be spinning this record for a while.

Takeaway: Woman has an incredibly developed sound that mixes elements of minimalist electronic with a orchestral components, highlighted by the incredible vocal performance. The album is extremely well produced and mature. For a debut album, it is a sensational effort. Dim the lights, open a bottle of wine and enjoy this album.

~Kevin Raos


The Cave SingersNaomi

2.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Have to Pretend”
“Shine”
“Northern Lights”

Album Highlights: The Cave Singers present a lighter, spring time soundtrack on their 4th album Naomi. The addition of Morgan Henderson on bass/flute (Fleet Foxes, Blood Brothers) and producer Phil Ex (Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Modest Mouse) allows the northwestern folk quartet to stick to their simple yet original and audible recipe while dabbling in some new territories. Front man Pete Quirk also sings in tune…on purpose, throughout the entire album! We can thank Ex for that suggestion.

Album Lowlight: Naomi lacks a certain flow that 2007’s Invitation Songs and 2009’s Welcome Joy possess. “Easy Way” ventures into a generic cookie cutter rock song that pushes Quirk to stressful, at times uncomfortable harmonies.

Takeaway: Fans that are looking for the same dish that The Cave Singers have been delivering will surely be satisfied. The fuller sound and additional band member definitely works in favor for the band. Still, The Cave Singers use the same, simple rifts with very little key chord progression, relying heavily on lyrical melodies. Don’t expect the same foot stomping, glass shattering sensation that “Dancing In Our Graves” delivers. This album will be great for sunny spring time mornings.

~Sam Heller


Blue HawaiiUntogether

2.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Yours to Keep”
“Try to Be”
“Sweet Tooth”

Album Highlights: Divided into two separate installments, “In Two” highlight’s the dual nature of this album’s artistic influences and conception. Cowan and Preston are both able to communicate their individual spin on the track in an extended jam, mixed perfectly through electronic dance-style cohesion.

Album Lowlight: Although tight on the mixing and an impressive execution of skill, “Sierra Lift” would have been better without as much editing. Standell-Preston’s vocals are excessively staggered and nearly indecipherable due to the choppiness of the track. The effect audibly is interesting, but becomes exhausting throughout the song’s duration, and album in general.

Takeaway: “Try to Be” is the best representation of what Untogether is aiming to achieve both in sound quality and songwriting. Blue Hawaii, a duo of Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Alexander Cowan, recorded Untogether with the intention to explore deviating genres and the audible patterns that lie between them. “Try to Be” showcases the natural symbiosis of their co-writing capabilities.

~Molly Kish

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