Deadspin ranked the top music genres with no explanation. I can dig it.
Behold, the most mixed bag of reviews possible!
Sixx:A.M. – Modern Vintage
Rating: The Darkness Has Turned to Madness.
When 2008’s The Heroine Diaries came out, it was perfect timing. Each track cut deep, documenting Nikki Sixx’s rise, fall and resurrection (literally) from heroine addiction. When I thought things were going bad in my life, I turned it on and I would be reminded of how bad life could get. I had no reason to complain and it got me through. It still stands as one of more significant rock albums of this generation.
Two albums later, and with the heroine story already told, they are just a band. I don’t know what their angle is, because this new album is bizarre. They took all the weird parts of 2011’s This is Gonna Hurt, which I really enjoyed, and expanded on them.
“Stars” starts the album off well enough. But “Gotta Get It Right” doesn’t do it for me on any level. It could be the theme song to a cheesy teen drama, which is a terrible thought to have. But what’s scarier is that there are other songs just like it!
“Get Ya Some,” which should never be printed on the back of a rock album, ruins a decent start at a cool circus song. I can’t even explain what happens in “Drive.” It’s like they took an awesome guitar solo and wrapped it in Mr. Rodgers’ sweater. And I love James Michael as a vocalist, but did Nikki Sixx sign off on “High on the Music?”
Thank goodness the return to aggressiveness in “Let’s Go,” “Give Me A Love” and “Hyperventilate” gave reprieve from the madness.
Maybe, since this was their first album not purposed as a soundtrack to a Nikki Sixx book, this is who the band really is. I will try to connect with this new sound, but having known what they are capable of, this is quite a letdown. Mostly because I don’t think I can make it through any emotional struggle listening to this.
Yellowcard – Lift a Sail
Rating: Pleasant. Nothing More, Nothing Less.
One day you wake up and, goodness, Yellowcard has nine studio albums. Ever since 2007’s Paper Walls, I couldn’t find much from this band to latch on to. This album is somewhat significant only because they took a slightly different direction.
The term “mature sound” is relative, and while this album is quite mature for the former pop punkers, it’s bedroom music. They still have the sophisticated presence of the violin and Lift a Sail has a nice accompaniment of piano. But there is a rock edge in between the pleasantries that reminds me of a Mae or Angels and Airwaves sound.
It’s sad that these “Warped Tour bands” have kind of faded into the background (New Found Glory released an album this week!). They’re not exploring any new musical ground (they never were), but they spoke to the teens of the 2000s. Now grown, both the band and I are on different wavelengths. Other than occasional background mooding, not sure how much I’ll play this one.
“MSK” is a very nice track, however. At least give that one a shot if you’re feeling sappy.
Broods – Evergreen
Rating: Restoring Faith of the Electro-Pop (Indie?) Bands.
There was a point in 2013 when the Lordes and the CHVRCHES and the London Grammars were getting out of control. Don’t get me wrong, I highly enjoyed their soothing beats and unique female croons. But the music took over the airwaves to the point of being unoriginal and not “indie.”
Enter Broods, a brother/sister duo from New Zealand. They had a string of EPs and singles that came out earlier this year, and I’ve been a fan since the first listen. And now with a full album to draw from, the electronic pop “indie” group has restored my faith in the genre. Or whatever it’s called.
I shouldn’t have to tell you about “Bridges.” That song is their perfect intro – melodic, heartfelt but with a spruce of danciness. They are quite versatile for two people. “Everytime” is triumphant, “L.A.F.” has cool clap beats and “Never Gonna Change” speaks sadness both lyrically and musically. And then “Four Walls.” What a beautiful cry for love.
This is probably not going to be one of the top albums of the year, but it is definitely worth your time.
Updated Best of 2014 playlist:
I did not realize Brody Dalle was married to Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. That family knows how to rock.