Morning Glory's Recent Tour Felt Like a Symbolic Farewell to Ezra Kire's Past, Invitation to his Future
April 10, 2012
I didn't have as much time to listen to new music releases this month, so this list is ignoring some heavy hitters. Instead, I'm going to justify why you should listen to two releases from bands you've probably sworn off in the past due to unjustifiable sins against your listening ears. And then throw on two more releases from bands you might not have heard of yet. These are all worth listening to, so take some time to jump on Spotify and do so.
Released March 20th
Oh god, I know. Trust me...I know. Anti-Flag is awful now. I'm right there with you. I grew up jumping around my bedroom and singing along to the "Woooooooooooooah!"s of their hyperbole-ridden, angst-filled anthems. I held on to the legacy way longer than I should have. Terror State was/still kind of is a favorite of mine, though some of the songs are just too cheesy for me to listen to anymore. I even followed them along to For Blood and Empire, though my heart wasn't really in it anymore.
I think the cheese overwhelmed me at this part of the opening track. I walked away from the band, and was happy ignoring them for the next several years. But for some reason I decided to check out their newest release, The General Strike. I was ready to hate it, but I just couldn't. It's good.
The difference -- at least for me -- probably is that it doesn't feel like the angst is at the forefront any more. It sounds like they focused first on making some fast, fun, energy-filled punk rock, and everything else that used to seem like such a big part of their aesthetic just came along for the ride. It's a short burst of punk goodness, and it makes me smile and rock out. That is all that is important to me.
Released April 3rd (Alright, bit of a cheat. Whatever.)
Joyce Manor aren't wasting any time following up their debut album, which also happened to be named punknews.org's Best Album of 2011. And they definitely shouldn't. One of the best things about this band is that everything they release is deceptively haphazard sounding. If they started spending years putting way too much thought into their music the magic might be destroyed.
Their sophomore release has some unique twists, but overall it sticks to the simple and fun formula that made their debut work so well. There's a rapidfire cover of Video Killed the Radio Star, and a song reminiscent of those throwback indie acts like The Drums, but neither of those pull their sound too far away to hurt the appeal.
Released March 27th
Everyone has their own unique journey through The Mars Volta's discography. The band has taken enough weird right turns that probably every single one of their fans has an album of theirs that they completely hate.
Me? I liked Comatorium quite a bit, but it didn't blow me away. When Frances came out, however, I was obsessed. The follow-up was a stumble in my mind. Amputechture clung too tightly to the sound of Frances for me, but just got goofy at points. Bedlam was a return to Comatorium form, and the story and songs sucked me in quite a bit, but come time for Octahedron, I was bored.
So I honestly didn't know what to expect from their 6th album, Noctourniquet. Honestly, though, I'm really falling for it. It's a new sound, with a bit more of an indie rock influence than anything they've done before. It is certainly worth a listen, even if you're getting tired of the bumpy road that is Mars Volta's career.
Released March 27th
A lot of solo outing's are fairly one note, but Brendan Kelly (of The Lawrence Arms)'s attempt is hardly that. It sounds and feels like a full-fledged band, and still manages to stay far enough away from Lawrence Arms territory to be relevant.
There's quite a bit of variety in the album. There are twangy, acoustic, folk-like songs, as well as those that border along full-out punk songs, and everything in between. I get the feeling the twisted lyricism is going to further draw me in, though I haven't analyzed them too much yet.
Either way, you shouldn't write this off as a hastily thrown together solo effort. It's good, and will more than satiate you until a new Lawrence Arms record drops.
Other Notable March Releases
Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Bowerbirds - The Clearing
Magnetic Fields - Love at the Bottom of the Sea
Xiu Xiu - Always
Grinderman - Grinderman 2 RMX
Meat Loaf - Hell in a Handbasket
Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear
The Ting Tings - Sounds From Nowheresville
The Decemberists - We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live)
The Shins - Port of Morrow
Miike Snow - Happy to You
All-American Rejects - Kids in the Street
Fat Mike/Dustin Lanker - Rubber Bordello Soundtrack
Real McKenzies - Westwinds
Upcoming April Releases
Breton - Other People's Problems - 3rd
Dan Vapid and the Cheats - Self-Titled - 9th
M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion - 10th
Trampled By Turtles - Stars and Satellites - 10th
Maps and Atlases - Beware and Be Grateful - 17th
Battles - Dross Glop (Remix of Gloss Drop - 17th
Dragonforce - The Power Within - 17th
Hank Williams III - Long Gone Daddy - 17th
Horse Feathers - Cynic's New Year - 17th
The Raveonettes - Into the Night - 24th
The Dandy Warhols - This Machine - 24th
Jack White - Blunderbuss - 24th