New Music 10/4/19

It’s week 41 of 2019 and I’m downloading music from the Tidal streaming service exclusively. Each week I sample the first 2 track of every new release on the service. If those 2 tracks are good I listen to the full record and then most of what I listen to you’ll see a review on below. If those 2 tracks don’t interest me then I move on.

Song of the week: The Menzingers, “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)
  • Album: The Menzingers – Hello Exile
  • Previous knowledge: None
  • Review: I’m a bit surprised I hadn’t heard of these guys before as they are from Scranton, PA – which, while not technically local to me, isn’t really that far away. And they play a brand of pop-punk that I like – however, they didn’t release their first record until 2007 and I’m thinking that I might have moved past their brand of punk by that point. Being that this is their 6th album, I went back and listened to the previous singles from the first five to get a feel for the progression of the band. They were certainly punkier at the start of their career but they’ve slowly moved into a more punk influenced indie rock sound. There are moments on Hello Exile, (“High School Friend” and “Hello Exile”) that really sound a lot like a charged up version of The Gin Blossoms in their prime period but “Strangers Forever” and “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” represent the band the best. Both are pop-punk in the fullest – melodies and hooks, mixed with a bit of aggression in key spots. The general gist of this album, is that if you’ve ever liked pop-punk or simply like sing-along pop hooks, you should be able to get into this easily accessible record. (And if nothing else, watch the video for “America” posted above. It’s awesome.)
  • Rating: 9/10
The Menzingers, “Hello Exile”
  • Album: Mika – My Name is Michael Holbrook
  • Previous knowledge: Various songs over the years
  • Review: I know that I’ve heard various Mika songs over the years but none of them really thrilled me to the point that I had been seeking his new record out. This record might change my mind now though. It’s his 5th studio record overall and has a very eclectic sound. The album starts with “Tiny Love” which has a bombastic overall feel, like a vintage Queen track would have. That’s followed up with a dance floor banger (“Ice Cream”) that would fit nicely right aside tracks from Prince’s Sign o’ the Times album. And since Prince is my favorite artist of all time, a track like this is surely going to get my attention. The third track is “Jealous” which might as well be a Backstreet Boys outtake. I was honestly shocked to see it wasn’t written by Max Martin. While I’m not going to break this down track-by-track, I’ve referenced Queen, Prince and the Backstreet Boys in the first 200 words, which should give you a good indication how varied the sounds are on this record. All of my favorite songs on the albums are funky and dancable – “Platform Ballerinas” and “Stay High” made me get out of my seat and move my ass. Some people have seen this before. Trust me, you do not. Overall, My Name is Michael Holbrook is an eclectic and insanely fun album that while I’m not sure has the legs to be a success on radio, is certainly worth your time and at least a stash of a few tracks in your personal playlist.
  • Rating: 9/10
Mika, “Ice Cream”

Notes: There’s a new album this week from Bedouin Soundclash, called Mass, that’s wonderful but I can’t put words to it, so it’s going below in the 10/10 section but no real review.

Albums ranked 10/10 so far in 2019 (ordered only by release date)

  1. Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, Terror Jr
  2. Emily King – Scenery
  3. Good Fuck – Good Fuck
  4. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
  5. UB40 – For the Many
  6. Griz – Ride Waves
  7. Pup – Morbid Stuff
  8. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
  9. Howard Jones – Transform
  10. Mavis Staples – We Get By
  11. Prince – Originals
  12. Yeasayer – Erotic Returns
  13. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – Turn off the News (Build a Garden)
  14. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants of the Sun
  15. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
  16. K. Flay – Solutions
  17. Tuxedo – Tuxedo III
  18. Dorian Electra – Flamboyant
  19. My Life Story – World Citizen
  20. Bedouin Soundclash – MASS

New Music 9/27/19

It’s week 40 of 2019 and I’m downloading music from the Tidal streaming service exclusively. Each week I sample the first 2 track of every new release on the service. If those 2 tracks are good I listen to the full record and then most of what I listen to you’ll see a review on below. If those 2 tracks don’t interest me then I move on. The last 2 weeks have been pretty ugly for new releases, though I will try to get a few in below.

Song of the Week: Wednesday 13, “Bring Your Own Blood”
  • Album: Adam Lambert – Velvet: Side A
  • Previous knowledge: Everything
  • Review: So Adam Lambert has one of the more interesting rises to fame from that crew that graduated from American Idol. He’s released 3 full solo albums so far, one being his first release in the wake of American Idol and those albums don’t quite count since artists are kind of forced into them in a way. Lambert other 2 records though have been very good. Pop, rock, glam, essentially everything you think of when you think of Adam Lambert. But the interesting part is while he has maintained a solo career he’s really made a name for himself mostly as the lead singer of Queen. It’s a pretty great gig for what would have been an unknown coming off a reality show. But with that, he hasn’t had the time that most artists do to cultivate their solo career. I asked my wife the other day if she thought he’d be as big as Justin Timberlake if he had nonstop touring off of solo records and while she didn’t think so she understood the point. But what do you do if you are Adam Lambert? Do you really turn down Brian May when he asks you to replace Freddie Mercury? While I think Lambert is probably pretty well off and enjoying his fate, it’s something to think about. All that said, Velvet: Side A is the first six tracks of the new disc to be released soon. The whole disc has a bit of a 70’s glam vibe to it, mixed with upbeat and catchy pop-rock. While it has a retro vibe, it’s also funky and modern as well, showing that he has his finger on the pulse of what works for him in his solo career. I often find him a little over the top with Queen and figured this new disc would give us much of the same, but it doesn’t. It’s well written, well produced and well sung without going too balls to the wall. Sure, he might have moments, like with “Loverboy” where I can picture him on stage screaming on his knees but there’s also just straight hook flled pop tunes like, “Superpower” or “Stranger You Are” which should appeal to any type of pop music fan. Overall, it’s a fun six track look into the new Adam Lambert, who is clearly as confident in himself as he’s ever been.
  • Rating: 8.5/10
Adam Lambert, Superpower
  • Album: Wednesday 13 – Necrophaze
  • Previous knowledge: Handful of solo tracks and songs with Murderdolls
  • Review: Wednesday 13 is always the type of guy that I would have expected to see having played with Marilyn Manson or maybe Alice Cooper in the past as I’ve seen his name a lot in the last decade or so. Necrophaze is his sixth studio record as a solo artist as well as his work as the lead singer of the Murderdolls. All the music I’ve heard from Wednesday 13 over the years has been pretty much the same thing, horror punk with a bit of an electronic or metal vibe to it. That’s what you get from start to finish on the new record here, a tight, well produced, rock ‘n’ fucking roll record. The aformentioned Alice Cooper lends his voice to the self titled opening track which sets the tone for rockers like “Bring Your Own Blood” and the darker “Decompose.” Alice Cooper keeps coming up in my brain because I picture Wednesday 13 as his son. He’s got the same horror shock value that Cooper did in his heyday, the same theatrics, and a very similar voice. Actually maybe very similar music as well. Wednesday 13 is obviously a little more modern in his take on shock rock but this very well could be the equivalent of Alice Cooper in his prime.
  • Rating: 9/10
Wednesday 13, “Decompose”
  • Album: Steel Panther – Heavy Metal Rules
  • Previous knowledge: Everything
  • Review: I suppose your enjoyment of a Steel Panther record comes down to whether the joke has gotten old for you yet? Hell, did anyone expect these guys to create hair metal dick jokes for two records let alone five now? There’s a few things they always had going for them though – they actually write damn solid music for a hair metal band in this decade and songs about sex and ho’s almost never get old. But… do they? “All I Want To Do Is Fuck (Myself)” seems like a track they’ve done before, as does “Always Gonna Be A Ho” even if I’ve never heard Russell Crowe rhymed with Ho before. And if you didn’t get it by the title, “Heavy Metal Rules” – which is interestingly enough, a ballad. Every Steel Panther record is worth one spin just to hear why they believe they are “Gods of Pussy” but the act is wearing thin a bit. Now, not nearly as thin as I would have expected at this point and maybe glam tunes about filling holes never go out of style but how can this show possibly go on for much longer?
  • Rating: 7/10
Steel Panther, “Always Gonna Be A Ho”
  • Album: Zac Brown – The Controversy
  • Previous knowledge: Everything from the Zac Brown Band
  • Review: So just last week, Zac Brown released an album with his band that was pretty much a horrendous mix of pop, country, rock, r&B and whatever else he felt like hitting record to in the studio. Then surprise, he drops a solo record the following week, which skews all his country roots completely. I had read user reviews that this was a hip-hop record but that’s not true – there’s a couple hip-hop songs but not a full album of them. But I can’t just gloss by that. It doesn’t compute, even if Brown has openly stated that he’s a fan of many genres of music outside of country. I can’t fault a guy for liking all kinds of music as I do as well. But it’s still super tough to listen to all these modern EDM tracks that are on The Controversy, mixed with hip-hop. The worst of these tracks is “Swayze” which I need not even comment on as Rolling Stone said really everything that needed to be said, here. Spoiler: RS says it’s the worst song of the year. And the simple fact that I wanted to listen to trap after this just to get this abomination away from me, speaks volumes. This is Chris Gaines but arguably worse.
  • Rating: 1/10
Zac Brown, “Swayze”
  • Album: David Hasselhoff – Open Your Eyes
  • Previous knowledge: Musically, I don’t know – laughing too much through everything I tried to listen to.
  • Review: This is the 14th fucking studio record from David Hasselhoff. Heavens to mercy. Seriously Germany, why the fuck do you keep this guy around? I have no problems at all with The Hoff as a person. Dude was pretty lame for a while but has started mocking himself lately which at least shows an understanding of his place in history. But he’s always taken his music pretty seriously. And based on the star power collaborating with him on this covers record, it seems others want to be part of his creations as well. Needless to say though, no one can save this from the trash heap. Not Elliot Easton (the Cars) on “Head On,” not Steve Stevens on his cover of Modern English’s “I Melt With You” nor Tyler Bates (Marilyn Manson’s drummer) doing David Bowie’s “Heroes.” And it’s because for everything that could be okay at best, there’s an abomination of a tune. The Hoff’s collaboration with Tracii Guns on Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” is absolutely putrid with Michael unable to hit the notes in the chorus at all. But nothing beats his cover of “Sweet Caroline” which is a tune anyone can really do, right? But he pairs with…wait for it… Ministry! of all fucking bands to create some kind of hybrid pop/industrial/dance version of the tune, which is right up there as one of the worst songs of the year. Hoff must still get Baywatch babes and have shared them amongst collaborators, because otherwise, none of this makes one bit of sense.
  • Rating: 0/10
David Hasselhoff, “Here I Go Again”

Albums ranked 10/10 so far in 2019 (ordered only by release date)

  1. Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, Terror Jr
  2. Emily King – Scenery
  3. Good Fuck – Good Fuck
  4. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
  5. UB40 – For the Many
  6. Griz – Ride Waves
  7. Pup – Morbid Stuff
  8. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
  9. Howard Jones – Transform
  10. Mavis Staples – We Get By
  11. Prince – Originals
  12. Yeasayer – Erotic Returns
  13. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – Turn off the News (Build a Garden)
  14. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants of the Sun
  15. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
  16. K. Flay – Solutions
  17. Tuxedo – Tuxedo III
  18. Dorian Electra – Flamboyant
  19. My Life Story – World Citizen