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New Album Review

Lorde is Back and Happier Than Ever

The day that Lorde fans have been waiting for has finally arrived: new Lorde music. After nearly four years without any new music, and with her general absence from the internet, Lorde fans have been aching for any hint of a return. There was even a ruckus when she rebooted her onion rings review Instagram account.

There have been stirrings on the internet for a while that she might come back this summer, and the other day when the album cover was posted by Jack Antonoff (her producer and long-time collaborator) on Instagram, fans knew her return was imminent. With the title “Solar Power,” and Lorde’s connection to nature (see: her trip to Antarctica), there was an assumption that the song would come out on June 21st, the day of the summer solstice.

On Thursday, June 11th there began to be rumors that the song was coming out that day at 6pm EST. This caused a panic, and there were even a few short minutes where the song was available to stream on Amazon Music, Tidal and Apple Music multiple hours before the supposed release. The song was quickly removed, but leaks spread like wildfire because of this error.


With backing vocals from Claire Cottrill (better known as Clairo) and Phoebe Bridgers, Lorde has branched out in a lot of ways. The track is mellow and happy, distinguishing itself from her past work, which is often introspective and moody.

The music video feels a lot like Mamma Mia: full of feminine energy, carefree happiness and a general aura of light and love. I know I’ve said the pressure of having a “song of the summer” can be an overwhelming premise, but this genuinely feels like the pop song of the summer.


In an email to her mailing list, she told fans that “Solar Power” was also the name of the album. She described the upcoming album as a “celebration of the natural world.” She also said that fans should “look to the natural calendar for clues” about when she might drop her album. Immediately, fans began looking up when the next solar and lunar events were, scrambling to figure out when it may come.

If we know one thing, it’s that this Lorde era is going to be unlike anything she’s ever done before. 

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New Album Review

New Album Review: Delta Kream by The Black Keys

If you’re like me, you despised “Let’s Rock,” The Black Keys’ most recent album behind “Delta Kream.” It lacked all the gritty, garage blues of their previous releases, and seemed to indicate that the rock duo was moving closer and closer to pop. Needless to say, I was not necessarily looking forward to listening to “Delta Kream,” thinking it would be comprised of the same kind of stuff.

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. “Delta Kream” could not be more different than their previous album. It’s a magnificent homage to the Mississippi Delta blues that Patrick Carney (drums) and Dan Auerbach (voice & guitar) drew their original musical inspiration from. Comprised of covers from classic artists like R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Johnny Lee Hooker, it’s a masterpiece of slow, crawling blues. In fact, Burnside’s bassist (Eric Deacon) and Kimbrough’s slide guitarist (Kenny Brown) play alongside the duo throughout the entire album.

Recorded in just ten hours at Auerbach’s Nashville studio, it has the spontaneous energy of a jam session, rather than a meticulous, drawn-out album. Studio chatter and little mistakes fill the gaps between songs, reminiscent of a true rock ‘n roll spirit. You can tell that there were no rehearsals and little planning, just a group of amazing musicians coming together. Nevertheless, each song is incredibly nuanced. The addition of Deacon and Brown creates a sound that is wonderfully layered and free-flowing, unlike the usual hard-hitting simplicity of the Black Keys’ work. Though I’m a real sucker for their original sound, “Delta Kream” is a refreshing pull in a new, yet classic, direction.

Some would argue that there’s not much variation between the songs, but it is a tried and true tribute to country blues. Many of the tracks are classics that have been covered and re-covered for decades. Originally performed by Big Joe Williams (but made famous by Johnny Lee Hooker) “Crawling Kingsnake” is made into a muddy, six-minute-long jam, contrasting the twangy ’60s rock version by The Doors. “Going Down South,” a Burnside track, stands out with a rare falsetto appearance from Auerbach and some truly amazing sliding guitar work.

You can really sense how passionate Carney and Auberach are about country blues, especially the work of Junior Kimbrough. Their 2006 album “Chulahoma” is comprised entirely of his work, and “Delta Kream” is nearly the same. The song “Do the Romp,” one of Kimbrough’s originals, also appeared on The Black Keys’ first album. It’s incredible to hear the difference in their style and how they’ve matured after nearly two decades of fame.

Yes, better covers of the songs in “Delta Kream” exist. It is certainly not the best blues album in the world, but The Black Keys’ spirit and passion is tangible. It’s clear that their hearts lie with country blues, and they sure are good at it.

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New Album Review

Alice Phoebe Lou – Glow Reviewed

ALBUM: “Glow” by Alice Phoebe Lou

RELEASE YEAR: 2021

LABEL: Self Released

RATING: 9/10

BEST TRACKS:  “Mother’s Eyes”, “Dirty Mouth”, and “Lovesick”

FCC: None

Alice Phoebe Lou pours out her heart on her newest record “Glow.” The South African artist wrote on her website that her third album was “An outlet. A place I blew off steam. I poured my most personal feelings, experiences & realizations into it and I stand before you completely naked, encouraging you to go to that place within yourself.” You can feel the earnestness throughout the album. Lou’s soft vocals belt out heartfelt lyrics backed by soothing keys, guitar, and bass. The album was recorded purposely on older equipment to give the songs a vintage sound. Lou sings about love for the first time, bringing us into her psyche. 

Here are my favorite songs from “Glow.”

Mother’s Eyes

This track has a slowed-down groove, giving Lou plenty of time to work her lyrical magic. Delving into post break-up insecurities, this song ultimately speaks to self-confidence and self-reliance. She acknowledges it is a process with her lyrics, “feels like I’ll get there one step at a time”. Even without analyzing “Mother’s Eyes,” it is still a sultry track that has lyrics catchy enough to belt out in the car. 

Dirty Mouth

The single, “Dirty Mouth,” might be my favorite from the whole album. Lou sings energetically and with the bouncy guitar, and the highs of the song are impactfully paired with the slower lulls of the track. This track has a punk/garage influence that you can hear in Lou’s rousing vocals towards the end of the song. “Dirty Mouth” has been my get-up-and-go track for a while now.

Lovesick

With a swinging beat, this track ends the album with a bang. She sings about an unrequited romance with such hope and wild abandon. I can’t stop thinking about the bridge of this song and the lyrics, “Would it be alright if we sat side by side and didn’t say a single word? Just let ourselves drown in the sweet sunny silence.” Lou is such an evocative songwriter, you feel drenched in the feeling of a short-lived summer romance.

9/10 amazing summer album!

-DJ lil witch

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New Album Review

L’Imperatrice – Tako Tsubo Album Review

Alright, this one is from the boards. L’Imperatrice is a disco fusion group from France, who is bubbling under American success. Their new album “Tako Tsubo” has gotten some attention and Reddit and the like as a raw slice of European dance cheese. They are firmly entrenched in some of the most passe styles of pop from the ’70s. The two genre tags alternatively used to describe them are Eurodisco and space rock, two colorful genres that fuse surprisingly well on their new album.

With lyrics mostly in French and a focus on funk, this album leans towards “vibe music” rather than deep listening. It’s not strictly ambient, the music is not crafted exclusively for the background, but as I write this it’s raining beside me, there’s a cat on my desk and this album is making me feel like I live in a YouTube playlist thumbnail. The grooves are expertly crafted, so the vibes don’t wear out as fast as you’d think, but they definitely do wear thin eventually.

I do not speak French, so I’m working off what other people say the lyrics are about. Supposedly this is a feminist band with lyrics focusing on misogyny and violence. I say ‘supposedly’ because their English songs are pretty boilerplate disco and dance cliches. They may be better poets in their native tongue, but I assume most of you can’t really work with that. The music makes up for it though, so if you need some hi-fi Nu-disco beats to study/groove to, give L’Imperatrice a shot.

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New Album Review

New Album Review: Changing Colours

ALBUM: “Changing Colours” by Babe Rainbow

RELEASE YEAR: 2021

LABEL: Eureka Music

RATING: 8/10

BEST TRACKS: “New Zealand Spinach,” “Rainbow Rock” and “The Wind”

FCC: Clean

In the sea of Australian psychedelic rock bands, Babe Rainbow will always stand out to me as the most dreamy. You may recognize their hit song “Peach Blossom Boogie,” a track that testifies to their talent in surfy doo-wop type music. However, their newest album, “Changing Colours,” has a nice range to it. It’s obvious that they are just beginning to branch out from their classic sound.

“Changing Colours” is the sunny beach rockers’ fourth album. Just by listening to this release alone, it’s clear to see where they get their inspiration: nature, weed and surfing. Hailing from Byron Bay, the foursome is known for their signature dream-like melodies. Though their membership has changed considerably since the band’s start in 2014, they’ve stayed relatively true to this style.

But it seems like Babe Rainbow is dipping their toe into the pool of possibilities. Their popular single “Imagination,” which is included on this album, features Jaden Smith. A definite stretch away from the band’s usual rhythm, if you ask me. This particular track, which appears to be inspired by “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” does have that signature relaxing tone, but Jaden’s spoken word takes it to new levels.

Speaking of the early ’70s, listening to both “California” and “New Zealand Spinach” feels like being transported back to that glorious musical era, especially in the latter. Guitarist Jack Crowther takes on a twangier sound, creating sounds reminiscent of Woodstock. Meanwhile, “Ready for Tomorrow” and “Rainbow” Rock” stray into the funk realm, providing a glimpse into just how upbeat these mellow hippies can be.

Though “Changing Colours” is a great album, you can sense the shift the band is going through. The last song, “Different Stages of Life,” confirms this. It’s nice to see a new voice from them, but it feels like they’re fighting against it in an attempt to preserve their loyal, serene fanbase.

Babe Rainbow, I say just go for it.

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New Album Review

New Music Floodgates Open: Indie Rock Edition

With the pandemic winding down, musicians are now releasing long-delayed albums, so there is a lot of new music to cover. Indie Rock has evidently taken the lead here because numerous great indie albums have dropped in the past week. I thought I’d give you an annotated list of some of the new albums I’ve been listening to. Hope you see something you like.

Iceage – Seek Shelter

Iceage are technically a punk band, but they have moved in a warmer and more elaborate direction lately. This new album is lavish and densely orchestrated art rock. It also gets points for having the only sample of “May the Circle Be Unbroken,” I’ve ever heard outside folk music.

The Armed – Ultrapop

Your inner emo kid will rejoice at this album from the anonymous post-hardcore band The Armed. While Ultrapop strays far away from pop and even further from melody, the album is still accessible as mood listening. If you want to study and/or cry, this is the album for you

Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies

I have an allergic reaction to all things prog, so I was very skeptical of this album at first. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of pretension in this instrumental space rock release. The album name really gives you what you need to know: it’s melodic to a fault. The primary compositional trick at work here seems to be the baroque counterpoint, where different melodies are played to create harmonic relations without relying on chords. It’s an acquired taste, but the album creates a spacey and beautiful vibe.

St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home

Alright, I’ve spoken about this album at length in a full review, so I’ll be brief. St. Vincent has reversed course yet again, leaning into ’70s aesthetics of glam, hard rock, and AM singer-songwriters. It’s Joni Mitchell, it’s Lou Reed, but most importantly it’s St. Vincent.

Weezer – Van Weezer

Rivers Cuomo sings “Pump it up into me please daddy,” and if that’s something you’re interested in I need not say more.

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New Album Review

St. Vincent- Daddy’s Home Album Review

The elusive songwriter and indie darling St. Vincent has returned with a new album, “Daddy’s Home,” a legacy rock album filtered through her unique lens. Now, at the risk of giving up the goods too quickly, I’ll preface this with my personal thoughts: the album is very enjoyable, though not Vincent’s best work. If you like St. Vincent, or heck if you like female-led indie rock of any kind, you will probably enjoy this record. The duo of her virtuosic arrangements with ubiquitous producer Jack Antonoff is virtually untouchable from an auditory perspective and easily makes up for any faults in lyricism and songwriting. That said, I’d like to take you on a tour of the album’s reception and influences, and ask what’s next for St. Vincent and her generation of indie stars.

Reception to the album has been positive, but somewhat fraught. St. Vincent is a notoriously reclusive singer who dislikes press interviews, and this album is her most personal record yet. Unsurprisingly, this has generated conflict. While some publications have condemned Vincent’s press hostility, including her alleged attempts to “kill” an interview with Jezebel she didn’t like, I do have to admit some of the reviews and coverage for this album has overhyped the autobiographical nature of “Daddy’s Home.” The title, ostensibly a reference to Vincent’s own formerly imprisoned father, signifies that this will be personal for a St. Vincent album. However, in the scheme of indie records, this is still a strictly musical affair. The lyrics play second fiddle to the music, the songwriting to solos and so on. The press reaction has largely focused on Vincent’s personal life, so I’d like to take a moment to appease Ms. Clarke and analyze her music from a purely auditory perspective.

This is a legacy rock album, which is a label usually a pejorative for bands stuck in the past, but St. Vincent owns the label. While I would hardly call “Daddy’s Home” an innovative record, it also doesn’t feel anachronistic. The production aesthetics are vintage 1972, with Vincent purchasing period-accurate technologies to produce the album. The justification was that Vincent was trying to connect with the musical language of her father’s vinyl cabinet. As a result, there are a lot of boomer influences on display that have gone out of fashion in favor of more ’80s-oriented synthpop and punk aesthetics. All of Vincent’s previous work has favored the likes of Kate Bush or of David Bowie’s ’80s output, making this change of pace abrupt, but at the very least sonically interesting.

Bands like Greta Van Fleet still nip at the heels of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, but Vincent is more interested in blending these influences with her own personal pantheon. On “Melting of the Sun” Vincent lays out this pantheon of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos and the ever-present Candy Darling, who gets her own tribute song. These women, combined with Amos’ perennial male influences of David Bowie and Lou Reed, blend together into a kind of classicism. She is not trying to sound like any one of these artists but work within a venerated classical tradition of rock songwriters, using their style to express her own ideas. The effect is an album that is rooted in the past without being backward facing. However, this can also leave the album feeling formulaic at points, as the only songs that really caught my ear outside the context of the record were the singles.

As St. Vincent and many of her indie rock contemporaries age out of the mainstream, I expect they will experiment with this retro style more freely. Indie needs new ideas, and St. Vincent has responded by looking to the past. If this is her new direction, she will need new ideas and different angles. “Daddy’s Home” is pretty good, but here’s to hoping she has some more retro tricks up her sleeve in the coming years.

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New Album Review

Album Review: Female Species – Tale of My Lost Love

ALBUM: “Tale of My Lost Love” by Female Species

RELEASE YEAR: 2021

LABEL: Numero Group

RATING: 9/10

BEST TRACKS: “Tale of My Lost Love,” “Bye Bye Bye” and “Till The Moon Don’t Shine”

FCC: Clean

Review

The new release of Female Species album “Tale of My Lost Love” follows the band from California to Nashville. The tracks on this album start with their garage 60s/70s sound which gradually transitions to 80s/90s country folk-pop. The compilation allows a listener to dive into the whole story of Female Species.

The Female Species started with two sisters, Vicki and Ronnie Gossett. In 1966, as teenagers, they released peppy pop in their home in California. With the culture shift in 70s, they moved into more psychedelia, experimenting with their sound. In the 80s the sisters moved to Nashville and began songwriting in the industry.

It’s so special to be able to see them transform their careers from swinging girl group to prolific songwriters in the Nashville scene. You can hear how Female Species evolves on “Tale of My Lost Love”. For example, the tracks “Chinchilla Hat” and “Chinchilla Cat”. The two songs have the same lyrics but in the second version you can feel the vocals are more soulful and almost bluesy. I really enjoyed how retrospective the compilation is, it feels respectful of the Female Species 55-year journey.

I first heard of the band from La Luz’s cover of their song “Tale of My Lost Love”. The cover came out April 16, 2021. I was enthralled by the harmonies, minimal drums and swinging guitar. After finding the original, I was taken aback by how well the two bands fit each other; La Luz with a fresh modern surf rock sound and Female Species with classic garage rock. I hope the cover increased awareness of Female Species, they deserve all the recognition.

-DJ Lil Witch

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New Album Review

YUKIKA- timeabout Album Review

A young Asian woman in a pink outfit posing for a promotional image
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yukika Teramoto, known by her stage name YUKIKA, is a Japanese pop singer, model, and actress working in Korea. From that description, most Americans generally know whether her music is something they are going to vibe with, and if you are stridently against K-pop I don’t think she will be what converts you. However, if you are at least K-pop curious there are some unique elements to this new ep that might appeal to you.

Yukika is working from well within the mainstream South Korean music industry, but her solo career is not quite as closely tethered to the tentpoles of the genre. Her music incorporates a slightly unusual range of stylistic influence, drawing both from the Pop of her home country, creatively titled J-pop, as well as more Western retro styles like synthpop and nu-disco. There’s a strong impulse here in America to categorize anything from East of Europe into nationality-based buckets, but Yukika’s music is a little too broad to categorize in this way.

This new ep sounds immaculate, even if there are no radio hooks. She sings mostly in English, her songs all have English titles, and the sound is more oriented to Western ears than the average K-pop artist, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is ep is trying to introduce her to Americans in anticipation of a crossover attempt, but we will have to wait and see about her next full-length album. If this is your genre, or if you’re like me and you just like to see what’s new in the genre every now and then, give Yukika a listen.

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New Album Review

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (2021)

The 15th studio album by the OGs of Death Metal, Violence Unimagined by Cannibal Corpse was released on April 16th, 2021 (Metal Blade). Of course, it’s awesome! It’s Cannibal Corpse! But more than that, this record is their best in over a decade! Cannibal Corpse always delivers the beatings; you always know what is coming. After 32+ years there is no sign of them slowing down or losing a step. In fact, with Violence Unimagined, the opposite is true. Cannibal Corpse have solidified themselves as the kings of terror, horror, torture, crunch, and furious frenzy.

One major reason for the bands rejuvenation on this record is the addition of guitar mastermind, producer genius Erik Rutan (Morbid Angel; Ripping Corpse; Hate Eternal) on lead guitar. He filled-in for Pat O`brien on the band’s 2019 tour, and produced four of Cannibal Corpse’s albums. In February of 2021 Erik joined the band full time. For ViolenceUnimagined, Erik wrote the music and lyrics for three songs (“Condemnation Contagion,” “Ritual Annihilation,” and “Overtorture”) and he even sings backing vocals on “Murderous Rampage.” Erik compliments long time member Rob Barratt (lead and rhythm guitar) very well. Founding members Alex Webster (bass) and Paul Mazurkiewicz (drums) are one of the hardest working rhythm sections in all of music. And what can you say about the most recognizable voice (and neck) in Death Metal?! George “Corpsegrinder” Fischer (vocals) steps it up another notch with his powerful holler/gutteral/scream. 

Two singles were released for Violence Unimagined, “Murderous Rampage” and “Inhumane Harvest.” The former is the opening track that beats you to a pulp from GO, and the latter is one of my favorite songs on the record; with its unforgettable, Cannibal Corpse trademark buzzing riff. “Condemnation Contagion” and “Slowly Sawn” bring the heavy grooves. “Ritual Annihilation,” “Bound and Burned,” and “Overtorture” contain some of the crunchiest riffs on the album. “Follow the Blood” is almost a throwback to their thrash metal roots, and is nearly anthemic in the chorus. “Necrogenic Resurrection” and “Surround, Kill, Devour” are straight-forward bone crushers. And “Cerements of the Flayed” is a great song that seems a leftover from A Skeletal Domain (2014) and reminds me of “Skewered from Ear to Eye” on Evisceration Plague (2009).

Favorite Songs: Condemnation Contagion; Ritual Annihilation; Slowly Sawn

Rating: 9/10!! Great technical Death Metal with powerful gutterals; exactly what you expect from Cannibal Corpse, with a fresh infusion of the seasoned Erik Rutan! 

Stay Metal,

THE SAW