Another week, another eclectic week of new music!
One of very few bands to boast the accomplishment of having songs on both hits of the 80’s compilation infomercials and prog-rock mixtapes, supergroup Asia packs many influences into their stellar new disc. Powered by all the pomp and grandeur of their individual members 70’s prog beginnings, tunes like the introductory “Tomorrow The World” and the triumphant “No Religion” spring to life with the kind of sharp melodic perfection you’d expect from a group of men who have spent a lifetime defining their musical chops. Asia has not grown soft with age in the least. Instead, they attacked XXX like all of their previous efforts have led to this. This is not a record by aged veterans who were just looking for an excuse to tour. Just take a listen to the spirited vocals of John Wetton and see for yourself. XXX is a carefully crafted Progressive Rock masterwork, created by some of the genre’s highest level musicians.
People who have read this blog in the past may be shocked to see this disc among my picks for this week. The reason I chose this record is simple: Despite the headlines, the hashtags, his personal life, and whatever your friend heard about him that one time, Chris Brown is making some of the most exciting and enjoyable Top 40/Hip-Hop/R&B out there today. Yes, he has all the best songwriters and all the best producers to help him, and yes he has all the major label money to broadcast his mug throughout the stratosphere, but he also has one of the strongest male voices in pop today. Before the “YIKES!”, he was poised to take over the mantle of “King Of Pop” and on Fortune, he reminds us why. Forget your preconceptions. Do as he says on the album’s dance hall anthem and just “Turn Up The Music“.
Remember when you were a kid and all music did was make you happy? There was no pretension, no search for a personal philosophy, no “Scene” influencing your opinion. Tunes just made you wanna dance your ass off. Well, Teenage Bottlerocket has crafted just the record to help you recapture that time of your life. Freak Out! is chock full of slick pop melodies and dirty punk rock riffs that feel exciting and fresh for a genre that has been dissected and twisted a million different ways. If the titles to songs like “Necrocomicon”, “Punk House of Horror”, and “In The Pit” make you smile, then the music that accompanies them will be stuck in your head for weeks. This is the kind of pop-punk that was blaring in your friends ninety degree basement when you had your first adult beverage and never wanted the summer to end. Pure, BS-less, and just plain fun rock and roll.
Fans of the currently on-hiatus band The Hush Sound should be ecstatic that Greta Morgan (formerly Salpeter) is still making the kind of ernest, bouncy alt/pop that made that band stand out among the quickly crowded Fueled By Ramen roster of the mid to late 00’s. Morgan’s charm as a singer songwriter is matched evenly by her male counterparts on this self-titled sophomore record. I dare you to listen to the shimmering jangle pop of “Your Own Ghost” or sixties girl group inspired “These Sore Eyes” and not fall in love with this records warm embrace. Hipstery enough for those with ironic facial hair, inviting enough for the general audience, Gold Motel is a melodic gem from any perspective.