Music News and Reviews

Check here for the latest music news on album releases, tour announcements or your favourite band's gossip

 
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Prophets of Rage

Prophets of Rage, the supergroup formed by members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, deliver a new record that seems 15 years too late.

Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello described the bands decision to record new music as necessary -. “Here we had, sitting dormant in the garage, these 20 kilotons of explosive rock’n’roll music of the Rage Against the Machine catalog,” So they heeded the call: If they don’t play the old hits, and now new songs that sound an awful lot like those old hits, who will?

Between the battering-ram rhythms and Morello’s volatile guitars, Prophets of Rage’s originals land with the brute impact of the RATM classics. However, without de la Rocha leading the charge, it’s harder to humour the fantasy of this lineup on the frontlines. Their physically demanding music needs a singer with stamina and titanic lung capacity—the kind of dynamo frontman you picture spending most of their concerts midair. Due respect to Chuck D, even in the prime of his youth he wouldn’t have fit that bill. 

If nothing else, Prophets of Rage washes down the sour aftertaste of their opportunistic EP, which introduced a band seemingly less interested in justice than a quick buck.  Activist music is less of a commodity today than it was during the formative years of Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy. Good art doesn’t need the word “political” appended to it. Good art is dangerous, radical, and inherently political. It says something new, persuasive, or inspiring. It lays out an actual vision for unfucking the world.

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The National - Sleep Well Beast

The National have been around for a bout a decade and a half, quietly brooding seven albums to a loyal fan base.  I say quietly but over the past few years The National have become one of the most popular bands around. There distinctive commentary style is particular relevant in what some consider dark political times. 

The Beast Sleeps well is there latest album, and i think one of there best.  The album shows crafted experience and switches beatifully from slow and moody melodic pieces such as the title track. To much more aggressive angst, in songs such as "id still destroy you"  Matt Berninger's lyrics are as usual moody and melancholy, introspective and topical.

If your A fan of The National, you'll have picked this up, but if you havent been this is well worth a listen

Written: JW, editor.

 

U2's new single is "Punk motown"

U2, are back, although with a band this big they've never really been away, with a new single - You're the best thing about me - and in typical U2 form it's as catchy as hell.

Described by Bono recently on - the tonight show, with jimmy Fallon- as "punk motown" and "punk supremes" it's described as a song for his loved ones in interesting times. 

The single has what many U2 fans come to expect from the band, busy and harmonic guitar from the edge, melodic bass lines from Adam clayton, and a dance inspired groove from drummer Larry Mullen jr. over top bono melodically delivers emotional lyrics while managing to take a jab at himself in the process. 

The song will be included in the upcoming LP, Songs of Experience, a title that probably sums up U2  and their music in 2017. 

Written: JW, editor.

 
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Neil Young's Unearthed 1976 Recording 'Hitchhiker'

10 newly unearthed studio recordings, cut in one acoustic session, featuring a solo and and intimate Neil Young Experience on August 11th, 1976. 

Listening to this album you can just imagine the room; a slighty under the influence Young, and audience, a beaten up accoustic guitar, and an occasional harmonica appearance.

The album includes mostly well known songs, however very much stripped back with often different arrangements.  Young's voice is strong and emotive and his guitar playing is just right for the occasion. 

This is an album that any Neil Young fan should own, its his pure essence.

Written: JW, editor.

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LCD Soundsystem Album Review - 'American Dream'

LCD Soundsystem is back with - American Dream - An album full of infectious grooves and melodic tracks.

James Murphy is in fine form here, more assured that in the past, and the album feels more relevant, particularly relevant, and darker than previous releases.

It's brilliant lyrics are melancholy and somewhat somber,  but these are parred with the uplifting musical tracks, including irresistible grooves, quotable lyrics, and moments of spine-tingling beauty.

American Dream is a worthy addition to the LCD Soundsystem discography

Written: JW, Editor

 
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Villans,  QOTSA

Josh Homme is a genius. When he's not performing with QOTSA, or Eagles of Death, he's collaborating with Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, or countless other top flight musicians.  He uses all that talent on QOTSA latest album 'Villans'. 

It's the Queens seventh album and they've lost none of their urgency. The band still sounds like a group of young enthusiastic musicians trying to push boundaries and get their big break in the industry. 

'Villains', has all the punchy, gritty sleazy guitar riffs that the fans have come to expect from the band, but they've also managed to weave in hints of Disco, glam, moody melodies and some almost ballad like passages. These  are potentially an influence from Mark Ronson who was used for his poppy production skills on the album.

I'ts clear the band doesn't care about being safe or topical, they are living in the moment and deliver an album that, while isn't at the top of their discography, is certainly able to stand in that company.

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Jack Johnson Returns with 'All the Light Above It Too'

We've all been there, relaxing on a beautiful sandy beach with clear blue water and cocktail that's slightly too strong.  Its relaxation, and relaxed is always how a Jack Johnson album makes me feel. His laid back surfers attitude comes through in his musical style,  via soft melodic guitar, smooth vocal delivery and calming grooves.

Sure 'All the Light Above it Too, has some topical content, a hint of actisism and the hints that even a former competitive surfer, now musician can stress about the world too. But generally this album is all you'd expect from Johnson.  And any music that helps me think of the sun is a good one in my book.  

 

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Neil Finn's latest album is here, Out of Silence,  and it’s one of his heaviest. No, don’t worry, it’s not full of dirty distorted guitar, in fact musically it’s spacious, delicate and elegant. But the tone of the record lyrically is full of commentary and contemplative questions about terrorism, war, love and even death.

Finn, is a master musician, his ability to craft simple but elegant musical pieces and deliver beautiful melodies is a skill he has crafted over his extended and varied career.  

On Out of Silence, Finn leads from the front using simple arrangements that rely on space, pauses and subtle piano pieces to gently guide the listener’s ear into a building climax of heavier content.

Favourite tracks are the gospel like The Law is Always on Your Side, including sobering lyrics about police violence. And Widow's Peak. A song that could have easily been a whimsical tale about taking his dog for a walk, but instead delves into the realities of being on a battle field.

Out of Silence is a beautiful record, with wonderfully recorded instruments such as Finn’s piano, that absolutely shine in the recording.

Well worth a listen, and one of Neil Finns best solo outings.