Indie Rock band Waxahatchee is back with another interesting work that features basic instrumentation and raw (without being loud or over the top) and slightly out of tune vocals that narrate the songs in ways that reach deep into the listener’s soul. I stand by my assessment of their previous album (Cerulean Salt): the vocalist merges elements of early Alanis Morissette, Dolores O’Riordan, and Karen O. The guitar distortions are also a plus. This is a band worth watching!
Twin Shadow is an Indie/Synth Pop band that is clearly talented. Their third album contains entertaining songs, solid musicianship, good vocals, and rhythms that keep the listener engaged with the music. I particularly like the synthesizer sounds and guitars that are used… they fit the music very well. Also, there is a melodic quality to this band that permeates every song. Very good album!
Whitehorse delivers well-played, fun, and entertaining Folk Rock in Leave No Bridge Unburned. The style here is very easy-going that is probably more Rock than Folk, and it reflects what appears to be a very good relationship between the duo, who are husband and wife (her voice sounds like Lana Del Rey sometimes!). There is strong lyrical content here along with a musical awareness that shows through the various styles and competent play.
Chelsea Wolfe is back with a haunting album that combines Atmospheric Death Metal-like musical drops with Otep-like musical narrations–even though this is not a Metal album at all. Quite interesting and effective, although sometimes the songs seemed to carry on for a while longer than they should (the main reason this is not a 5-star album). I liked the varied instrumentation that included pianos and violins. The songs definitely matched the cover for this album.
The Soft Moon is a Post-Punk band that sounds like a mixture of Gary Numan and early Depeche Mode, especially the vocals that are eerily similar to Dave Gahan. While the music seems to mix two giants of the ’80s, it is still not as good as those artists’, though (of course not!). In some instances, I had the feeling that the band lost its direction mid-song or did not quite know where to go once they had a general feel for what the track should sound like. But this may get better with time… I’ll keep an eye on this band.
Indie rockers Of Monsters And Men surprised me with the quality of their latest album. I noticed that they have been quite successful lately, but did not expect that their record as a whole would be so good. There is a lot of creativity here along with the usual songs tailored for airtime; yet there is a sense that this band is maturing and could reach higher levels of talent despite already being very talented. I will definitely watch for their next one!
Progressive Rock band The Dear Hunter’s album was mostly nice to listen to, as they incorporated various styles, nice vocal work, and multiple instruments–I especially liked the piano–in the same song. They are clearly talented artists, but must be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to sound like other ProgRock bands or including radio-friendly tracks to sell more (a couple of songs here sound just like that). They are probably on the right track overall because several of their songs have Queen-like elements… and that band (my favorite) is renowned for keeping things original.
Hard Rock Superband Revolution Saints is a great new album for those who like ’80s Hard Rock and miss the good days of turning the radio on to the tunes of Bon Jovi, Poison, Whitesnake, and the likes. This band has Deen Castronovo (Journey) on lead vocals and drums, Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) on bass,, and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio, etc.) on guitar. They sound great despite Castronovo’s not-as-powerful vocal performance. With the exception of maybe a couple of tracks, this album is very, very good and is worth your investment.