This week is Shaped by Passion, is Gassy, and has Fangs. Lets dig in!
Pure, unfiltered, rock and roll. The Gaslight Anthem prove their importance with each new release, and Handwritten is another fantastic piece of evidence. Somewhere in between the “Heart Of America” rock of Springsteen, the dirty punk of Social Distortion, and the polished sheen of Foo Fighters, Handwritten has something for everyone in its 11 tracks. Look no further than the thrilling opening track “45” (embedded below) to get a sense of how gripping this record can be. Other album highlights include the stunning title track, the rollicking “Desire”, and the album’s delicate acoustic closer “National Anthem”. The record’s title is more than just the name of a song, it’s also embodies the overall personal feeling of the album. This is not a record that was cobbled together by randoms in separate studios with computer magic, this is a personal mission statement by masters of their craft. The Gaslight Anthem is a band that loves old school Rock And Roll but they know how to package it for the YouTube generation. Grab it over at Amazon Mp3.
Fang Island makes super fun rock and roll. Their tunes are marked by excellent guitar work matched with bright, exuberant melodies. On Major, fans of the bands previous records will note the increase in vocals on every track, but everything that made their previous records so special is still there. Tracks “Never Understand” and the epic “Make Me” keep the thought provoking dance party going, while “Asunder” (below) effortlessly blends the progressive/art rock with a poppier vibe that should keep you smiling. I also loved the Bluegrass infused track “Dooney Rock”, a three and a half minute barn stomper that will have you clapping along. You can stream and download the whole album over at their Bandcamp page.
Planning a psychedelic-funk themed dance party? Well if you weren’t before you will be after hearing just a few tracks from Gossamer, the excellent new album from electropoppers Passion Pit. The album’s strength is its ability to blend the conventional and the weird, all while jumping genre’s faster than a “Now” compilation. The secret to being able to do whatever you want with a song lies in the artists ability to craft a solid melodic foundation, and that’s just what Passion Pit achieves here. The spectacular “Constant Conversations” is a spaced out soul jam, but at its core, its a wonderful R&B tune. As fantastic as it is with all the bells and whistles, you can imagine it would be just as effective as a John Legend style piano ballad (take a listen below and see if you agree with me). The same goes for the insane indie-art-pop of “I’ll Be Alright”, and the delightful lead single “Take A Walk”. Gossamer will receive a lot of deserved praise for its spot on production, but the tremendous songwriting is what will help the record stand the test of time.
I’ve stated on this site many times before how much I love artists who take risks and embrace a sound that may be left of center. Such a description seems built for a group like Micachu & The Shapes, an electro-art-rock group from the United Kingdom. The sound of the beautifully constructed Never can most nearly be described as the following: Think the kaleidoscopic pop of MGMT meets the big beats of Lady Gaga meets the performance art of Laurie Anderson meets whatever is going on inside Terry Gilliam‘s head. Never is not the kind of record you would put on to relax at the end of your day, or zone out to on a long drive. This album demands your full attention, and will take you on sonic field trip to places you might not have previously thought you’d want to go. My advice would be to grab your favorite headphones, close your eyes, and let Never do its thing. Pick it up at Amazon Mp3.