There are so many new ways to acquire music and follow artists these days, it can sometimes become overwhelming. While some artists dont even register as a blip on the radar of music retailers like iTunes, they may just be your favorite band.
A few recent albums and singles have caught the attention of Scene & Heard that you may not have even heard of, so weve accumulated this list to keep quality music from falling through the cracks.
Last month brought the release of Zoo, the newest album from hardcore act Ceremony. The band recently signed with Matador Records, home to acts like Sonic Youth and F—– Up, which may be a factor in the overall progressive sound of the album.
In the opening track, Hysteria, the music is surprisingly collected, with lead singer Ross Farrars lyrics lacking the personal perspective that explodes from many earlier albums. With songs like Adult and World Blue, which seem to lash out at universal problems rather than at specific people, Ceremonys new album sounds more like punk than hardcore.
While it is a breakaway from their earlier sound, Zoo still incorporates the simple but devastatingly truthful lyrics that made Ceremony stand out from other hardcore acts in the first place.
Tracks worth downloading: Citizen and Repeating the Circle.
Screaming Females, Ugly
If Ugly and Cheap Girls also-great Giant Orange are any indication, unironic shredding is once again cool in the punk world and Screaming Females vocalist and guitarist Marissa Paternoster is one of the best shredders out there.
Ugly doesnt change its sound much from the New Brunswick bands previous four albums, though ironically, it sounds a little cleaner thanks to Steve Albinis production. What the album does offer, however, is another generous helping of Paternosters unbelievable, wildly creative riffing.
Two standout tracks are 5 High and Doom 84, with the former initially lurching along before breaking out into a glorious riff and ending with the band playing their instruments at a furiously rapid speed. Even the more relatively poppy tracks like Rotten Apple and Expire have the noisy, messy catchiness of a good Dinosaur Jr. song.
While Ugly may disappoint fans looking for a drastically new sound from Screaming Females, it delivers exactly what previous fans loved about their earlier albums while offering a good entry point for any newcomers who dont yet know the majesty of Boyfriend.
Tracks worth downloading: 5 High and Doom 84
Beach House, Myth
Early in March, dream-pop band Beach House released the new single Myth for free through their official website. It is the first single from their upcoming album Bloom, set to be released May 15.
Lead singer Victoria Legrand takes a deep breath and practically exhales spring-like hymns with her booming voice while the bouncing strings provided by guitarist Alex Scally take on a magical, almost bell-like presence.
If this song alone is able to melt away any lingering winter chills, then the title Bloom may be a bit too on-the-nose for the upcoming full-length album. To feel some unfiltered spring or summer vibes, immediately head to beachhousebaltimore.com and download Myth for free.
Tenacious D, Rize of the Fenix
Its been almost 11 years since actor Jack Black and his counterpart Kyle Gass unleashed their popular self-titled debut album Tenacious D upon the world. Yet since then, the wattage of Blacks stardom has dimmed significantly and the catastrophic release of their film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny seemed to lose the group quite a bit of fanfare.
The release of their single Rize of the Fenix, their first since POD from the Destiny soundtrack in 2006, is a bit bemusing because its actually quite good. Lampooning everything from the failure of their film, to signaling the resurrection of the group from the ashes of their supposed failures, Black and Gass are back with a style that hews closer to their influences like Dio and Foo Fighters than other comedian-based music acts such as The Lonely Island.
While Rize of the Fenix is far from Tenacious Ds most memorable track, it offers an assured level of musicality and creativity that few seemed to be expecting from the group that went by the cultural wayside.
With the new album, also called Rize of the Fenix, to be released May 15 and a hysterical star-studded clip called To Be The Best making its rounds on the Internet, it would look as if The D is indeed back.