(re-post from Facebook, edited)
Completed New Music Week 15 through Tidal.
Each Friday release day, I’m going to download five albums with the only criteria being name recognition or the best pieces of cover art and review them. These are the releases of 4/12.
- Album: The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
- Previous knowledge: Their late 90s success
- Chosen: Name recognition
- Review: When I think of The Chemical Brothers, I go back to the late nineties where for a few years there was a big commercial push for dance/electronica/big beat to hit the charts. When I think of that era, three songs stick in my head in particular – The Prodigy’s “Firestarter,” Fatboy Slim’s “The Rockafeller Skank” and The Chemical Brothers “Block Rockin’ Beats.” So for me, The Chemical Brothers are OGs and what seems like the parents to the EDM music that has come back around in the last few years. The big difference to me is that the EDM children of today, seem to make calculated hits based on the fact that they collaborate with some of the most well-known vocalists on all their hit songs. The Chemical Brothers stopped that a few albums ago. Of course, that means radio play is kind of out of the question, but the music doesn’t feel as cold and calculated. Here, you get that amazing mix of beats and various 70s vocal samples to create a magnificent electronica album that stands with the best of them.
- Rating: 9.5/10
- Album: LSD – Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present… LSD
- Previous knowledge: Only Sia’s hits
- Chosen: The psychedelic trippy 60’s style artwork
- Review: Speaking of the EDM children, here’s Diplo. But this is very different than the music I would expect to hear from today’s EDM wave of artists. The web calls this a supergroup, though who knows if there will be another record or this is just a non-standard collaboration. Diplo brings the dance-pop beats with some dancehall elements in the mix. The British singer/rapper/producer Labrinth provides the vocals going back-and-forth with the critical darling, Sia and overall they create a pretty great, upbeat, funky, danceable pop/urban record. The mix of styles is great and Diplo plays to their strengths very well.
- Review: 9/10
- Album: Emma Bunton – My Happy Place
- Previous knowledge: Baby Spice!
- Chosen: Um, I just said it – Baby Spice!
- Review: Baby Spice is now 43 and still looks 21. No idea how much of it is natural still but she still looks as gorgeous as she did back in the Spice Girls heyday and it certainly looks like she’s just aged super gracefully. I would have listened to this anyway simply because I love me some pop hooks but I didn’t really know anything about this album before getting into it – so it came as a bit of a shock to me. She had three previous albums after the Spice Girls split – two pop records and one that was more of a soulful Motown vibe. This album is her first in 13 years and really, doesn’t need to exist. For all intents and purposes, this is a cover record – songs she loves in her “happy place.” There are two original tracks, both which sound like a throwback to the 60s or 70s – and frankly, so do most of the covers. Covers of “I Only Want to Be with You” and the Bee Gees “Emotion” fall pretty flat for me and the “cover” of the Spice Girls “2 Become 1” sung as a duet with Robbie Williams instead, is a low light of the album. She has a great voice and a captivating look but this wasn’t necessary at all.
- Rating: 5/10
- Album: Big Business – The Beast You Are
- Previous knowledge: Backing band for the Melvins for two records
- Chosen: Name recognition
- Review: Although I hadn’t actually heard any music from Big Business themselves, I knew this duo from their days as members of the Melvins for a few years starting in 2006. They would play a set of their own music, opening up for the Melvins and then be joined on stage by Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover for a Melvins set with double drums! While I didn’t see them, I can only imagine how fucking exhausting that must have been night after night. Either way, these guys play some combo of sludge metal and stoner rock, not unlike the heavier records from the Melvins, so it makes a lot of sense why they worked well together. That said, I heard a lot of Melvins in this album but I don’t know if they have always sounded this way, or the days with the band have sort of rubbed off on them. The sort-of unique thing about their sound is really the synth bass taking the forefront of most tunes, providing this sort of electronic buzz-saw tone throughout the record. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Jared Warren’s voice, so that kills this a bit for me but as a huge Melvins fan, this is certainly an intriguing listen.
- Rating: 8/10
- Album: Aaron Lewis – State I’m In
- Previous knowledge: Yes, the same Aaron Lewis from Staind
- Chosen: That Aaron Lewis
- Review: This is his third country record. Don’t know what the other two sound like but this one is absolutely the most basic country album you could think of. State I’m In very much sounds like an alt-rocker just figuring out yesterday that he might want to try his hand at country, still having not one unique idea in his arsenal. Fuck everyone for allowing this to be made.
- Rating: 2/10
Albums ranked 10/10 in 2019 (ranked in order of release date)
- Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, Terror Jr
- Emily King – Scenery
- Good Fuck – Good Fuck
- The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
- UB40 – For the Many
- Griz – Ride Waves
- Pup – Morbid Stuff