Weekly Roundup: January 19, 2018
There is a never ending onslaught of music coming out. Each Friday sees the release of a slew of new records worth your time and notice. Here are a small fraction, rounded up and reviewed to the best of our ability:
Night Verses - Copper Wasp
RIYL: Animals as Leaders. And So I Watch You From Afar, Strawberry Girls
Night Verses have been at the bleeding edge of post-hardcore since their inception. The band has deftly melded forward-thinking metal with backwards-looking post hardcore sensibilities into some of the best goldarn post-screamo one could hope for. With Copper Wasp, a three song teaser for the band's forthcoming third record, the band looks to continue the trend. Most notably, this release eschews vocals of any kind, save for the use of samples throughout each of the three tracks. Instead we are treated to a dizzyingly intricate instrumental record that hits like a punch to the gut, soars to the highest heights of the bands discography, and leaves you slavering for more. While Copper Wasp is deeply gratifying, I do hope that the vocals havn't been done away with altogether, however.
Fall Out Boy - M A N I A
RIYL: Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Skrillex
Look, Fall Out Boy are more than likely nothing more than an extremely intelligent means to an end. You know it. I know it. They have cleverly guided an third wave emo pop punk band to a pop music powerhouse wielding unbelievable influence and star power. But the band has churned out garbage pop records for a full decade now. The most egregious being the last three records since their initial hiatus. Its at the same time incredibly frustrating--it gets my critic hackles up and my hardcore kid panties in a bunch. But at the same time, you look at these songs and you can see that each is an incredibly savvily orchestrated pop song that shows a keen eye towards going trends, necessitating a level of engagement not only with popular culture and popular music of any genre but an awareness of audience. Fall Out Boy are no longer the underground stalwarts for the nerdy, literary, heartbroken, or plucky. They are stadium-fillers with pyrotechnics and dancers and a hip hop entourage (and, admittedly a truly legit drummer in Andy Hurley who seems to get less and less to do but goddamn do I not mind he succeeds in whatever he does). The silly-named M A N I A is absolute trash. The songs are annoying, Maroon 5-lite with the occasional allusion to their roots or to a strange, sing-song-y hip hop flo and the dubstep bass-drop dropped in every song or two for good measure. Its music by numbers, I-am-pop-paint-me-whatever bullshit. Its the most easily digestable, ignorable, insipid crap that you can imagine being pumped through the speakers of a store demanding you continue to feed the capitalist system. AND I CANT EVEN FAULT THEM FOR IT BECAUSE ITS JUST THERE AND GODDAMNIT WILL THEY PROBABLY SELL ANOTHER COUPLE HUNDRED THOUSAND TICKETS. So...I don't know guys, fuck it, they know exactly what they are doing so more power to them for going after it.
Speak Low if You Speak Love - Nearsighted
RIYL: Born Without Bones, Reggie and the Full Effect, This Wild Life
Everything but What You Need was a perfect little dose of extra-personal acoustic emo. It's mixture of confessional-to-the-point-of-feeling-like-a-voyeur with its Into It Over It acoustic stylings make for an incredible listen, especially when in a weakened emotional state. The sophomore effort looks to continue this trend, but begins to shed much of the act's original more third-wave-emo-influenced leanings in favor of a more pop-oriented sounds. Synths and electronic flourishes clash incongruously with the acoustic bits. It's...it's honestly fine for a listen, but the change in direction is jarring and doesn't seem to suit the confessional nature of the music as much as Everything But What You Need did, consequently drawing a lot more attention to the record's faults and inconsistencies and making it a challenging listen.
Bahamas - Earthtones
RIYL: Benjamin Booker,
Bahamas' fourth record is finally here. I wasn't much a fan of his (admittedly well-received) Bahamas is Afie. I felt as if the songs not only didn't quite fit with each other, but barely fit with themselves. But Barchords is one of my favorite records, admittedly with a fair degree of associations. Earthtones feels like a slight jump backwards into more digestable territory for the alternative singer-songwriter. Mixing soul, blues, and reggae into a solid, even minimalist mixture, Earthtones continues Afie's signature sound. Within a couple seconds of having it on I found myself dancing in my kitchen. I wouldn't be surprised if this stays in HEAVY rotation for me for the rest of the year--this is a very early AOTY contender on our hands and its only the third week of January.