New Music Friday - October 6th, 2017
Looking for something new to listen to? Look no further - every Friday we'll round up our favorite new albums to share with you. Here's our favorites for the last week of September. Don't want to read words? We've put each of these albums into a playlist for you here.
Liam Gallagher - As You Were
As You Were was recorded in two locations. Greg Kurstin performed all of the instruments on the four songs that he produced ("Wall Of Glass," "Paper Crown," "Come Back To Me" and the psychedelic whoosh of "It Doesn't Have To Be That Way"), while Dan Grech-Marguerat produced the remainder of the album at Snap! Studios in London.
The result is exactly what you would have hoped a Liam Gallagher solo album would sound like: the passion for the classic 60s/70s influence that he's always had has been updated for the here and now.
"I didn't want to be reinventing anything or going off on a space jazz odyssey," says Gallagher. "It's the Lennon ‘Cold Turkey' vibe, The Stones, the classics. But done my way, now."
Cults - Offering
When Cults returned from the four-year hiatus that followed Static, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion took a new approach to their music. They took inspiration from Pink Floyd's atmospheres and the chugging new wave of Gary Numan and the Motels, and they collaborated more closely on their songs, jamming them out in the same room with Follin playing drums and keyboards as well as singing. As a result, Offering introduces a livelier, more eclectic Cults.
The title track reflects new beginnings in its big, buzzy, Chvrches-like synths and its leap-of-faith lyrics; when Follin sings "Such a terrifying jump/But I can make you an offering," it's the perfect start to an album full of changes. Though traces of their girl group homages remain on the sweetly spooky "With My Eyes Closed," Oblivion and Follin spend more time with unexpected sounds like the '80s synth brass that peppers "Recovery." They incorporate their newfound influences seamlessly on "Natural State" and "Nothing Is Written," where bouncy keyboards descended from '60s pop and '80s new wave combine with sweeping passages that echo Pink Floyd's scope, if not their exact sound. It all comes together brilliantly on Offering's final third, which is so impressive that the rest of the album almost sounds like a warm-up: the sweeping ballad "Talk in Circles," which raises the emotional stakes with each synth that joins the mix, is one of Cults' most ambitious songs yet. The spacy new wave pop of "Clear from Far Away" and the huge, heartbroken "Gilded Lily" follow suit, presenting the duo's vintage melodies with a scope and impact that feel decidedly new.
Ultimately, Offering lives up to its name -- Cults give more of themselves on these songs than ever before, and opening themselves to more possibilities pays off with some of their most exciting music.
Listen on Spotify
Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down
After a late-career rejuvenation with 2015's The Pale Emperor, Marilyn Manson extended his creative hot streak with musical partner Tyler Bates on the band's tenth offering, Heaven Upside Down. Originally saddled with the punny title Say10, the album bares sharper teeth and bloodier knuckles than its predecessor, combining Pale Emperor's bluesy, vampire-roadhouse sleaze with the jagged industrial edges that first propelled Manson to notoriety in the '90s. Cocaine and heartbreak continue to fuel the reclusive ghoul, recalling the best of 2007's forlorn Eat Me, Drink Me, a record that gave listeners the first peek at Manson the man. That change in the perception of the artist -- who went from America's Most Wanted to a fallible Hollywood Hills fixture in just a decade -- is part of what makes these late-era efforts so accessible and enjoyable. He can still menace and push the boundaries of taste, but with so many real-world monsters to worry about, Manson's brand of offensive troublemaking and reckless hedonism remains unique and oddly comforting.
The album kicks off with the hulking "Revelation #12" -- stabbing like "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" twisted through Portrait's organ grinder -- which forces listeners to choose a side at the end of the world. The explosive "We Know Where You F*ng Live" is the most overtly political statement on an album that could have actually benefited from more of the firebrand's outspoken wit, but it pulverizes nonetheless. The pulsing "Kill4Me" flaunts its Bowie flair, while "Say10" takes its time with destruction, a slow burner that builds to a crushing chorus that would have fit perfectly on Holy Wood. Album centerpiece "Saturnalia" is an eight-minute epic that rides an elastic bass throb -- courtesy of patient and forgiving sidekick Twiggy Ramirez -- through a swamp of Manson-isms like "just smile like a rifle" and the appropriate-in-1999 warning of "I was invited to eat the young." The album closes on a trio of introspection, the spiritual siblings to peak-era favorite "Coma White." Of these, "Blood Honey" is a grand moment that finds Manson taking a vulnerable look at his life, lamenting "I'm not being mean, I'm just being me," offering an intense peek at his emotional turmoil and damaging addictions. "Heaven Upside Down" is the de facto close to the album, with "Threats of Romance" the so-called final credits music where Manson reveals "I like you damaged/But I need something left...for me to wreck."
For all his pain and suffering, he needs it to feel real in the end. Heaven Upside Down is Manson at his most human. If Pale Emperor was a welcome return to form that signaled a new day for the band, its successor is just as satisfying, if not better.
Listen on Spotify
The Replacements - For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986
For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 is the first official delve into the vaults for The Replacements since the 2008 expanded CD reissues, and hopefully the first of a series of albums of unreleased material. And what better place to start that with this live recording from Maxwell’s in 1986, a relic from the much beloved era of the band with Bob Stinson as the guitarist.
This 29-song performance, captures the Replacements just a couple weeks removed from their performance on Saturday Night Live, with a set list touches on all five of the band’s albums to that point, plus a few rarities and covers.
Listen on Spotify
Mister Heavenly - Boxing the Moonlight
Released six years after Out of Love, their self-described "doom-wop" debut, indie super trio Mister Heavenly regroup with their more muscular sophomore effort, Boxing the Moonlight. Comprised of Ryan Kattner (Man Man), Nick Thorburn (Islands, the Unicorns), and Joe Plummer (the Shins, Modest Mouse), Mister Heavenly first arrived on the scene with a set of pop expectations which, a bit surprisingly, resulted in a dark-hued vamp on early rock and doo-wop. For their follow-up, the band pulls from a more diverse sonic palette loosely centered around scrappy power pop with forays into synth pop, Krautrock, and even early-'90s hip-hop beats.
Opener "Beat Down" is an early highlight with a pounding piano rock feel and smartly written lyrics swapped back and forth between vocalists Kattner and Thorburn. The slow-building rocker "George's Garden" is another bright spot with a propulsive feel built around a dynamically percolating synth bed. The production as a whole is uniformly bright, clean, and colorful even as the songs veer dramatically from one style to another, like the shimmering low-key synth grooves of "Crazy Love, Vol. III" that precede the blown-out fuzz of the Monks-inspired "Dead Duck," where Kattner offers a spazzy update of Gary Burger's garagey dance howls.
In all, Boxing the Moonlight is a solid follow-up, offering a bit more of the variety that fans of this indie supergroup might have expected the first time around.
Listen on Spotify