Spring has finally sprung following some miserable weeks of rain. Let’s cut through the gloom with some new tunes! Here’s what’s poppin’ in May.
Feist – Pleasure
I have a confession to make: I have been copping an attitude about Feist’s music for over a decade without ever really listening to any of it. This probably had a lot to do with ubiquitous media coverage of her connections to Broken Social Scene, an act that I did give a chance and found entirely insufferable. Now it’s 2017 and I’m more mature. I can give this new Feist record a spin and judge it on its own merits.
Feist is not my cup of tea. It seems self-consciously lo-fi and spare in a broken sort of way. She has an interesting voice and the songwriting seems thoughtful. The title track (linked above) has a rather unexpected bit of guitar shredding that provides some welcome interest. “Lost Dreams” features a fairly nice twinkling arrangement of instruments. I stopped listening at Track #5 (“Any Party”), because I absolutely hated it.
I think that I was probably wrong for me to dismiss this artist, but it would be equally wrong for me to expect that I would be into this. Is this a great Feist record? I’m not sure! You would have to ask someone who loves Feist. Is this a great record? It’s an “indie” singer-songwriter record. That’s for sure.
New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick
Yikes. Appropriate title. Anyone who was in a pop-punk band in their teens who didn’t “make it”, take heart! At least you’re not over 40 now and still having to peddle this kind of horseshit to people and pretend that you like it!
All That Remains – Madness
Is there a more boring strain of current heavy metal than this kind of formulaic, hyper-militant metalcore? I can’t imagine the audience for this outside of really angry 15 year olds and people who dig motocross.
Also, their front-man is an MRA piece of shit.
Linkin Park – One More Light
A band that has made an entire career out of making terrible, limp and formulaic “hard rock” appears to now be attempting to shift their focus into making terrible, limp and formulaic Justin Bieber songs. “Heavy” is remarkably bad, the kind of thing that makes songs like “One Step Closer” seem like truly brilliant work by comparison.
Fans would be off-base in claiming that Linkin Park has sold out, as you need to have a degree of integrity to sell out from in order to sell out. I can’t fault them for pining for the days when this sub-Incubus nu-metal knock off squad were still attempting to crank out Korn-lite angst anthems instead of whatever “Heavy” is supposed to be.
Danzig – Black Laden Crown
Everything about “Devil On HWY 9” feels like stock metal music that one would buy to insert into the opening crawl of a no-budget horror film from the mid-80s. When Danzig’s vocal track enters, it becomes clear that he probably did just buy some stock metal music and then recorded himself singing along to it in a bathroom stall. It is difficult to overstate how bad this recording sounds, how lifeless the band sounds and how over-the-hill Danzig sounds as he bumbles through it all.
Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth
I think that under any other circumstances I would tear this song up, but after hearing that new Linkin Park song, I’ve gotta hand it to Papa Roach. They are the same amount of awful as they’ve always been. It’s pretty awful, and I’m not sure how you get to be a man in your late 30s and still write about bloodying your knuckles on walls and how everybody’s out to get you, but let’s get real: This music has never been intended to be consumed with a mature attitude.
Papa Roach is better than Linkin Park. But this is like saying that a saltine cracker is more delicious than dirt. Like, of course it is. That doesn’t mean that I want a saltine cracker.
Harry Styles – Sign of the Times
Harry Styles is apparently a guy from that One Direction group that I know almost nothing about and don’t wish to know anything about. From the sound of this track, Harry Styles has a reasonably good voice and a decent production team behind him, making Harry Styles’ music better than Linkin Park.
Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
Mac DeMarco is somebody that the kids are all into these days. Kids these days sure are sleepy.
I’ve never understood the appeal of this guy’s shit, but at least the guitars are in tune on this one. I always feel like Mac DeMarco’s thing is that he would have been a mediocre singer-songwriter in the 70s, but that’s what makes him some kind of trailblazing genius in the 2010s. For those who are into him, though, this is probably a solid track. He’s really quite a lot better than Linkin Park, to be honest.
At The Drive In – in-ter a-li-a
At The Drive In were what I considered to be a capital-V Very Good Band fifteen years (?!) ago. At the time, they seemed singularly ferocious, standing head and shoulders over other like-minded post-post-punk bands. Then they broke up and formed a band whose entire purpose was to delve the depths of their own assholes.
Now they’re back. And I’m not 100% sure why. But here they are. Now, this isn’t absolutely terrible. There are some interesting musical ideas swirling around here, and some nice guitar work. The vocal work hasn’t aged well, though, reaching for the fury of the past and falling well short.
I rarely listen to even the older ATDI records at this point, and I feel like this style of rock was perhaps a part of a time and a place for me. I fear that I have no use for a re-formed ATDI. But maybe they shouldn’t have broken up in the first place, and maybe it is Linkin Park that should have broken up. Perhaps the timeline in which Linkin Park stays together is actually the darkest timeline?
Anyway, I don’t care for this ATDI song.
May: A month of music that makes me hope that June is a good month of music.