New Music Tuesday: Tyler, The Creator • Alkaline Trio • Cold War Kids • The Black Angels • Charles Bradley

Tyler, The Creator - Wolf

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


Tyler, The CreatorWolf

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Jamba”
“Colossus”
“IFHY”

Album Highlights: “Wolf” opens Tyler’s new album, flexing his pension for odd intros before bursting into “Jamba.” At this point, you are either nodding along with the analog-sounding beat and rhymes or have turned off the album in disgust. This is the nature of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s ringleader. Love or hate him, Tyler has churned out a stylish album full of profanity and confessional sincerity. “Slater” features the smooth vocals of Frank Ocean, just one of many guests, including most of Odd Future along with Pharrell Williams and Erykah Badu.

Album Lowlight: As long as you can take his obscenity with a grain of salt, realizing this is his “art,” you will enjoy this album if a fan of off-kilter hip-hop. Many people may write off the whole thing as juvenile, but once you look past that there is lots of fun to be had on this release.

Takeaway: Wolf is a wild romp of an album, as is to be expected from the off-the-wall personality that is Tyler, The Creator. The pace of the album is a bit reserved, which is refreshing coupled with the blistering baritone voice of Tyler. Maturity may come slow for this crew, but that certainly does not mean there isn’t a fair amount of talent shining through all the obscenity and profanity.

~Kevin Quandt


Alkaline TrioMy Shame Is True

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Kiss You to Death”
“The Torture Doctor”
“I’m Only Here to Disappoint”

Album Highlights: “Kiss You to Death” is my personal favorite, as it has a style similar to the songs that gave Alkaline Trio its start. Staccato guitars and big break downs with harmonic vocals that play on the juxtaposition of love, life and death all come together in this track to make you nostalgic for their earlier works, when all the songs seemed to have this same energy and feeling behind them.

Album Lowlight: “Only Love” was a bit of a snoozer to me, and it just sounded like they needed to throw in a more down tempo, change of pace song. It’s also just plain boring, with the chord progressions being pretty repetitive and the slight organ sound in the background just making it seem overproduced and more formulaic pop than the other songs.

Takeaway: “The Torture Doctor” grew on me the more I listened to it. It’s got enough energy and harmony to bring back memories of their older work, but enough maturity to give hope that the band’s particular brand of pop infused, tongue in cheek dark rock can keep going for years to come without sacrificing quality. Overall the album wasn’t amazing, but it has a handful of tracks that will entertain old fans and new fans alike.

~Sean Little


Cold War KidsDear Miss Lonelyhearts

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Miracle Mile”
“Lost That Easy”
“Tuxedos”

Album Highlight: Packing a punch with “Miracle Mile”, Cold War Kids kick off their fourth album with a track that gives established fans, new listeners and soon-to-be-converts a friendly reminder of just how talented of a powerhouse act they are. Nathan Willet’s vocals reign true, but aren’t necessarily the focus of this piano driven, guitar heavy track. Regardless of where this pop-rock anthem fits into a live set, it will undoubtedly get the crowd on its feet screaming along with the falsetto laced call-response chorus.

Album Lowlight: Although characteristic for the band to throw a couple slow, drawn-out tracks on each album, “Dear Ms. Lonely Hearts” almost is trying to be too epic. The initial build-up prepares you for what lies ahead, but it takes too long to kick in to the remainder of the song. Once past the initial lyrics and operatic drum rolls, the song still remains sub par and simply gets by on the Willet’s vocal skills.

Takeaway: An unexpected electronic effort, Cold War Kids masterfully execute their dance-rock track “Loner Phase”, showcasing their versatility as songwriters and ability to assimilate to current musical trends. Known as a band with a pension to branch out style-wise, this track ups the ante creatively and brings a whole new level of intensity to the band as they teeter between indie rock and mainstream success.

~Molly Kish


The Black AngelsIndigo Meadow

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Don’t Play with Guns”
“Indigo Meadow”
“Evil Things”

Album Highlights: The opening three songs to Indigo Meadow are the heavy hitters in the bunch, especially the first single “Don’t Play with Guns”, which is dark, psychedelic and could easily come from prior generations if you didn’t know better. The title track and opening song “Indigo Meadow” sets the stage quite nicely for the whole album, which contains The Black Angels’ signature psych-rock.

Album Lowlight: Indigo Meadow fucking rocks, but a few songs were a little too polished. I love the dirty acid rock that these guys started playing almost a decade ago in a grungy garage in Austin. Don’t stray too far.

Takeaway: If you dig the psychedelic sounds of the Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane, then I would definitely recommend Indigo Meadow. A casual listen will not do this album justice. You must listen to it loud and late at night — and you’ll get the idea.

~Pete Mauch


Charles BradleyVictim of Love

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Love Bug Blues”
“Strictly Reserved for You”
“You Put the Flame on It”

Album Highlights: Charles Bradley, The Screaming Eagle of Soul himself, is back with his sophomore release Victim of Love. Just like 2011’s No Time For Dreaming, Bradley pours his soul out with every song he sings. This man bleeds soul. Victim of Love continues where No Time For Dreaming left off, full of sounds reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s. You won’t know what decade you’re in when listening to Charles Bradley.

Album Lowlight: Don’t get me wrong, Bradley oozes and drips soul from every pore of his body, and as great as this style is, it feels somewhat pedestrian at times. Not much new musical ground is broken with Victim of Love, but that’s not the point. This album is all about the funk, soul and Bradley’s emotional release, which is very apparent with this record.

Takeaway: They don’t call him The Screaming Eagle of Soul for nothing. Charles Bradley is a modern day soul singer who draws comparisons to James Brown and Otis Redding. That’s quite a pair to be associated with, but who else is doing what Bradley is doing these days?

~Kevin Raos

Comments

  1. 4 Bams for The Black Angels-Guess I need to give it a listen

let's hear it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s