The Riff Report: New music this week
Starting with the garish cover, Morrissey makes it clear he is in control, keeping from us the listeners that which we want most from him. A quick analysis of the image of Morrissey withholding a reward/treat from an obedient, undoubtedly salivating dog at his feet, indicates we will not be finding it here and he knows that, making a game out of it. This image then functions as a defiant mission statement of sorts, spelling out the idea the sole purpose of “World Peace Is None of Your Business'” existence, from the title, cover and songs on down, is predicated on angering as many people as possible.
-- John Paul, Popmatters.com
John Hiatt — “Terms of My Surrender”
Over the last 10 to 15 years, John Hiatt seems to have had a purposefully lower profile despite releasing eight albums of new studio material between 2000 and 2012. That's pretty good going by anyone's standards, and each album cemented his reputation as something like the Philip Roth of rock ‘n' roll - keeping quiet at home, but putting out consistently literate work. Rock, folk, blues, whatever you want to call it, may keep us young, but fortunately Hiatt seems to be growing old gracefully; it's unlikely he'll get caught up in a twerking-style publicity scandal any time soon and that's a good thing. Stranger things have happened, but you could say the man carries himself well.
-- Charles Pitter, Popmatters.com
Reigning Sound — “Shattered”
Greg Cartwright, the principal member and songwriter for Reigning Sound, spends a lot of time collecting music. He has his own vast collection, but he also essentially heads up the acquisition and sales of 45s for Harvest Records in Asheville, N.C., the town he moved to from Memphis, where Reigning Sound first made its name, after Cartwright had already had great runs with the Oblivians and Compulsive Gamblers. This collecting of music, this archiving of musical history, has always bled into Cartwright's music, as thick layers of R&B, country, soul and pure rock ‘n' roll spread over his songs like a coat of dust on a yard-sale bin single.
-- Matthew Fiander, Popmatters.com
Other notable releases this week:
Bleachers — “Strange Desire”
Fink — “Hard Believer”
JPNSGRLS — “Circulation”
Jungle — “Jungle”
Jason Mraz — “Yes!”
Pennywise — “Yesterdays”
Rise Against — “The Black Market”
Slow Club — “Complete Surrender”
Trampled By Turtles — “Wild Animals”
Weird Al Yankovic — “Mandatory Fun”
NOW HEAR THIS
Amoureux — “Lost the Plot” (audio)
The L.A.-based duo of Holiday J and Nicole Turley have taken on the name Amoureux in making their romantic, hazy dream-pop. A remarkable distinctive for the duo, however, is that rather than getting caught up on the treble end of the sonic spectrum, as many dream-pop bands do, the duo emphasizes rhythm instruments, particularly Holiday J's distinctive bass playing. “Lost the Plot,” a track from their soon-to-be-released debut EP “Never Young As Tonight,” balances washes of textural sound with a pronounced low end. Like the rest of the EP, the song retains a loose, improvisatory feel, due in large part to the fact that most of the tracks on the EP were recorded in one take.
Kinky Love — “Hush” (audio)
The Chicago-based duo of Dan Zima and Xoe Wise, who go by the attention-grabbing name Kinky Love, are in the business of textural, spacey synth-pop. With their recently released “Promise” EP, the two garnered some attention to their take on this increasingly popular genre, and now with “Hush,” they are demonstrating their continuing interest in the craft. The clipped beat of the song, combined with its layers of synthesizers, proves to be an appropriately understated backing to Wise's airy vocals.
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas — “No Place Left to Hide” (audio)
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas, a Detroit-based group that prides itself on genre-melding, will release their newest recording, “Secret Evil” quite soon. Leading up to the album, you can stream the toe-tappingly catchy “No Place Left to Hide” here. The track's simple, staccato riff is a perfect backup to Hernandez' powerful vocal. Says Hernandez of the tune, “With music you can turn an irrational pissed off frustration into a cohesive emotional thing that people actually want to hear. It's much more pleasant than calling someone up and telling them they have ‘No Place Left to Hide.' Music makes us less crazy.”
Orlando Julius and the Heliocentrics — “Buje Buje” (audio)
Stream a song from the forthcoming collaboration between Nigerian music staple Orlando Julius' forthcoming collaboration with the London group The Heliocentrics, entitled “Buje Buje.” Orlando Julius is a legend of Nigerian music, having played now for decades, which has included playing with legends of American blues, jazz, and R&B, including a performance with the legendary Louis Armstrong. His fusion of Nigerian music with global influences makes him a voice unlike any other.
Charli XCX — “Boom Clap (ASTR Remix)” (audio)
This year has already shaped up to be a busy year for the London musician Charli XCX, with her own “Boom Clap” as well as her co-write on Iggy Azalea's “Fancy” taking national airwaves by storm. The former tune has an excellent new remix by the New York-based duo ASTR, which reimagines it as a minimalist, icy club bumper.
The History of Apple Pie — “Tame” (audio)
The affable pop of London indie rockers the History of Apple pie has not at all changed since their last LP, as their new tune “Tame” evidences. The band released a new tune from their forthcoming album, “Feel Something.” This LP follows their debut, “Out of View.” Just as it was the case on “Out of View,” the band's new tune, “Tame,” is a tasty slice of pop, with pumped piano chords forming a jaunty rhythm that complements the song's somewhat hazy production quality.
Jungle — “Time” (video)
If Jungle isn't on your radar now, then adjust your sights. (Although don't say we didn't warn you!) This group, based out of London, are in the business of making pop music that is impossible to get out of your head. Their latest video, the positively infectious “Time,” is an appropriate teaser for the band's forthcoming full-length, self-titled debut, which brings together pop, funk, and electro into a striking mélange.
Busdriver — “Ego Death (feat. Aesop Rock + Danny Brown)” (video)
“Ego Death,” the latest cut from the always-eccentric MC Busdriver, includes the phrase, “Playing patty-cake with Ira Glass.” (It also opens with the timeless question: “Is it sexier than torture?”) The song is indicative of the more song-oriented direction Busdriver has taken following his 2012 release, “Beaus$Eros.” Like many of the tunes on that record, his hyper speed flows are anchored by simple hooks that provide continuity to his unmatched verbosity. Joined by Aesop Rock and the always zany Danny Brown, Busdriver once again proves there's no one out there making rap music like his.
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