ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
While eating a burrito in the park where he grew up, Alex Nieto was killed by four officers responding to a 911 call from a tech transplant who mistook Nieto’s 49ers jacket for gang attire. Shortly after a jury cleared the police, Prophet recorded “Alex Nieto,” a protest-song on par with CSN&Y’s “Ohio.” (Chuck Prophet)
by Eric Shea
Behold a sophomore album as rich as a pirate’s relationship with the sea.
John Oliver’s writer Josh Gondelman follows up his 2011 debut Everything’s the Best with Physical Whisper. His upbeat delivery and whimsical premises are belied by astute comments on the world at large, whether it’s selfies through history, awful groomsmen speeches or brainstorming better names for medical marijuana.
Ding Dong, the witch is NOT dead!
If the triangles, crucifixes and backwards letters didn’t give it away, the glorious cascade of prismatic 8bit swirl, gristled synth buzz and blunted beats most definitely should. It’s technically POST witch house now, but this slab of grave-raving, electro-gloom sounds as exciting now as it did back in the genre’s heyday.
Various Artists – Southern Family
It’s hard to compete with the lineup here, from Miranda Lambert to Jason Isbell. But the star is producer, Dave Cobb. He led the current revolution in country music as the genius behind projects from Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. Here, he introduces some of his favorite artists and their stories of growing up in the south.
Quiero saber más.
From the too-cool minor chord guitar vamp intro and subsequent kick-snare head-nod, to the first line uttered, we’re paying attention. This is what a lead single is supposed to do. Spalla emotes a highly self-assured easy quality to her vocal performance, despite the inherent vulnerability in lamenting ones inability to leave a malfunctioning relation in the past.
Collecting An Eclectic Identity
Getting his start in the Anjunabeats progressive house stable, Zo stood out with complex melodies and flawless production. His 2013 debut album Damage Control surprised with its carnival-esque diversity, and Self Assemble continues the exploration, nodding to jaunty funk, garage, trippy downtempo and of course filter house on the storming single “Soul Food.”
by Party Ben
The OC-bred punk outfit earned their standout status in the SoCal music scene.
Given a name that pays homage to first-wave punk band X, it comes as a surprise that this 11-track album mostly feels like a combination of New Order, The Smiths and the Ramones. They’ve honed in establishing their own sound (and totally nailing it).
A Melancholy Blend Of Sonic Poetry
Kim Gordon’s latest musical endeavor Glitterbust is a joint effort with Alex Knost of Tomorrows Tulips. Glitterbust easily blends Kim’s trademark elements of feedback heavy, lo-fi sounds with the perfect amount of hypnotic noisecore. Do yourself a favor and let this album consume you in its entire, borderline, chaotic, droned-out splendor.
by Crystal Lowe
The first country artist signed to Jack White’s label.
Like the Coal Miner’s Daughter, the Midwest Farmer’s Daughter plays the kind of timeless twang that sounds like she was born in Butcher Holler – landing on Third Man Records makes perfect sense to anyone who loved Van Lear Rose. Price sings gripping honky tonk narratives with a hauntingly beautiful old soul.
by Eric Shea
“Philosophy is the highest music.” – Plato
Singer Hutch Harris is one of our greatest living philosophers. His tweets, stand-up comedy and lyrics are equal parts Vonnegut and David Cross. Harris’ garage-guitar hooks combined with one of the best rhythm sections in the business lead us to another album that will appeal to punkers, indie kids and political wonks alike.
by Mat Bates