Falling through the cracks: Music you may have missed
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 03:04
There are so many new ways to acquire music and follow artists these days, it can sometimes become overwhelming. While some artists don’t 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 we’ve 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 Farrar’s 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, Ceremony’s 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.”
— Paige Lewis
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” doesn’t change its sound much from the New Brunswick band’s previous four albums, though ironically, it sounds a little cleaner thanks to Steve Albini’s production. What the album does offer, however, is another generous helping of Paternoster’s 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 don’t yet know the majesty of “Boyfriend.”
Tracks worth downloading: “5 High” and “Doom 84”
— Jimmy Geurts
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.
— Damon Lord
Tenacious D, “Rize of the Fenix”
It’s 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 Black’s 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 it’s 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 D’s 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.
— Benjamin Wright