Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘The Getaway’
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Rick Rubin and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS seemed like a unbreakable alliance for far too long. Still, after six albums and 27 years of constant collaboration Anthony Kiedis and his gang were desperately in the need for a change. While 2011’s I’ll Be With You was a solid continuation of things it clearly lacked of surprises and energy. Following John Frusciante’s departure prior to the album it felt like the CHILI PEPPERS were just trying to hard to create another record packed with stadium rock party anthems. Maybe it was a bout time to free yourself from that urgency. Danger Mouse as the new producer seems to be the perfect choice for a fresh start and the result clearly doesn’t disappoint. The Getaway is a return to former strength and adventurous songwriting from the cross over legends. Kiedis, Flea and Co. are not trying to hart this time. You won’t find another Can’t Stop, Dani California or Give It Away on this LP and that’s the biggest achievement of Danger Mouse.
The new RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS sound is a bit more discreet and soulful and less forced than the Rubin one. Yes, there are a few furious rock attempts with tracks like We Turn Red, the dirty blues of Detroit and the wild This Ticonderoga but the majority on the LP shows a return to the tender and soulful side of the band. The title-track starts with a sweet and smooth groove and the dreamy guitar play of Josh Klinghoffer might make you finally accept Frusiciante’s departure. Klinghoffer brings his own style to the formula, although he subordinates it to the ideas of the band. There’s still that nervous bass play of Flea but in tracks like the lead single Dark Necessities and the sweet Go Robot it’s not the dominant element. ThePEPPERS open themselves to electronic sounds, dry beats and conscious restraint. And in the middle of it all, such tender melancholic gems like Encore spread exactly that sweet sentimental Californian vibe you’ve come to love on songs like Scar Tissue. The Getaway is surprisingly reflective and mature as if the band finally embraced the fact that they are not 24 anymore. The group is entering their late work phase with dignity and confidence and that itself is one of the sweetest surprises we’ve experienced lately. (Norman Fleischer)
Swans – ‘The Glowing Man’
Label: Young God Records/Mute
The American Horror Story that is Michael Gira’s SWANS, has come to an end. At least in the current incarnation. The Glowing Man will be the last album of the band as it is around now for pretty much six years since it was reborn with a boom in 2010. Their first appearance in New York’s experimental rock scene of the 80s might be legendary but it was with their last three records My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky and especially the following The Seer and To Be Kind that SWANS have grown into one of a kind. A band that, in sound and in appearance, is uncompeted. If you were to witness SWANS live in this latest band period you probably redefined the term rock concert for yourself. The amount of energy and loudness, the sheer thickness of a SWANS-concert’s atmosphere was bound to devour itself at some point. And so were their records. If you make it through The Seer, To Be Kind and The Glowing Man alive, then you’re ready for something else anyway. This record is the logic conclusion and a once more hard to devour two-hour trip into the heart of darkness.
The entrance double of Cloud Of Forgetting and Cloud Of Unknowing is setting the record straight from the beginning: A long time domesticated cacophony only to still completely fall apart in the end. A good SWANS song is one that leaves you begging for this moment of cleansening apocalypse. You just want the horror of repetition that, f.e. the 25 minutes of Cloud Of Unkowing bathe in, to end. And they do. You’ll experience it. There are shorter moments of relaxation in between these monoliths of metaphysical madness. But The Glowing Man ends the way it has to: With the ruthless 28 minutes of its title track and the suggestive statement in the last song – Finally Peace. This is it then. It’s the end of the SWAN as we know it. Two things are for sure: There never has been and never will be another band like this. And: Michael Gira will find other ways to unsettle us. Prepare for it and meanwhile, behold the SWAN. (Henning Grabow)
Weaves – ‘Weaves’
Label: Kanine Records
WEAVES is a toronto quartet that just released its debut self-titled LP. Their story is quite simple for this first adventure. It’s not so much about exploring territories but really to create a singular energy. Structures are quite conventional, vocals can sometime feel a bit similar – lacking a bit of craziness. But above all, it’s all about groove. Drums are sometimes off-time, the bass is groovy as hell and the guitar often feels like a warm caramel. If we had to describe this album in a more irrational way, that’s perhaps a good way to summarize it. And you could go for all sorts of different sweets for this, as the powerful single Candy let suggests it.
In the end, WEAVES self-titled is an energetic collection of songs that manage to create some kind of a jazzy groovy energy to their well-defined noise-rock sound. Sounds are often buzzing and we can’t imagine how much they must have played with distortions or meters in the red. Tracks like the other single Coo Coo will be perfect assets for your summer and you surely want to have this album as a go-to car favorite. Now we are very curious to see what’s next for this formation. They still have tales to create and tell, and they’ll have to prove that they’re adventurous in the coming years. Weaves is an efficient starting point, and we’re excited to see what path their story will take. (Bastien Perroy)
Ólafur Arnalds – ‘Late Night Tales’
Label: Late Night Tales
A Late Night Tales sampler by ÓLAFUR ARNALDS ? That premise itself sounds so good that really nothing can go wrong here, right? Yes, indeed. Let’s break it down to the core right at the start. Hiring the acclaimed Icelandic composer to compile his personal soundtrack for night times was one hell of a good idea. The BAFTA-winning musician follows similar waters like his British composer colleague JON HOPKINS last year as he unfolds a selection that can be best described as a vivid electronic mixture with a certain classical sensibility. ARNALDS‘ selection turns out to be more calmed down than previous editions like RÖYKSOPP‘s soft pop-driven collection from 2013.
Starting with gentle folk sounds from his home country (Hjálmar Lárusson & Jónbjörn Gíslason) the composer mixes his musical roots with a certain contemporary approach and takes us on a journey towards darkness. From the ethereal structures of JULIANNA BARWICK to the playful synthsounds of KORELESS and the gentle groove of FOUR TET and JAMIE XX: ÓLAFUR ARNALDS understands how to craft an ambitious compilation project like this and you can totally sense what took him so long. Just like with his own compositions everything feels at place on this Late Night Tales. And he’s even delivering plenty of exclusive content with the DESTINY’S CHILD cover of Say My Name (featuring AGENT FRESCO‘s Arnór Dan) being the cherry on top. Whether you love a good sampler, great mixtapes or the work of ÓLAFUR ARNALDS in general: this selection really won’t disappoint you. (Norman Fleischer)
Delorean – ‘Muzik’
Spanish synthpop collective DELOREAN still somehow feels like a hidden treasure of contemporary pop, despite the international buzz their last two albums Subiza (2010) and Apar (2013) managed to create. And while many music critics tended to mention them in the same league like PASSION PIT and CARIBOU it somehow felt as if the four-piece never actually reached that level certain people saw them on. Now, LP number six is trying to make a change. Muzik sees the group further developing away from the pop structures of their previous releases and heading straight towards the dancefloor. The new DELOREAN album offers more four-to-the floor material than its predecessors but also lacks of the tender guitar vibes we’ve come to love, especially on Apar.
That summery and harmony-seeking atmosphere is still sensible in songs like the opener Epic, the title-track or the smooth Limbo but it’s getting a bit harder to differentiate the single songs on Muzik, I must say. In its strongest moments DELOREAN manage to reach a certain CARIBOU-level on tracks like Push or the tender closing track Parrhesia but there’s an element of surprise and bravery we’ve come to love on the previous albums which gets hard to find on this one. DELOREAN are still able to provide proper sun-drenched synthpop songs but you can’t shake off the thought that they can do way better than what they delivered with Muzik. (Norman Fleischer)
DJ Shadow – ‘The Mountain Will Fall’
Label: Mass Appeal Records
A ninety approach to modern sounds. A simple synthesis that is both accurate and telling many things about the last full length record from DJ SHADOW. With Endtroducing, released back in the glorious days of Mo’Wax – the famous label founded by its former friend James Lavelle with which they made UNKLE’s Psyence Fiction, another landmark record from the nineties – DJ SHADOW held the spirit of the nineties within its hands.
The Mountain Will Fall is made with the same spirit. The one that makes you explore genres in a very curious way. The one with soulful distorted rythms that let room for experimentation and adventure. Though, the difference is that it’s not a record from the nineties. It is basically DJ SHADOW projecting the same spirit but on modern problematics, on modern musical adventures. Sounds are adventurous and therefore it is totally possible to like the old records from the man but not this new adventure. The high number of featurings and collobaration also diversify the soundscape, but still in this ninetish spirit. Our german beloved man Nils Frahm is in the journey with Bergschrund, one of the high moments of the album. There’s a thin mix between energetic down to the ground tracks such as Swerve and some more aerial and melancholic tunes with Ashes to Oceans and Suicide Pact, another shining gems on this album. On the whole, It might be a bit difficult to enjoy the extended diversity of the influences explored, but it is definitely a true DJ SHADOW record. True to itself, a journey for the mind mind that’ll make remember how you were approaching music many years ago – going to the record store, listening your only album on your pile because it was so soulful. (Bastien Perroy)
Hot Hot Heat – ‘Hot Hot Heat’
Label: Kaw Liga Records
Hot Hot Heat is the final album of the Canadian indie-rock band. After a six years hiatus, HOT HOT HEAT come back for their final act. singer Steve Bays said: ‘To be able to tour from 1999 to 2014 and play hundreds of shows a year was amazing. It changed all of our lives. It was the greatest experience I could ever imagine.‘ This experience comes now to an end with an album that is multi-colored. Bays added on the album: ‘We wanted it to feel cohesive and representative of the aesthetic we were into at that point. We wanted it to feel like it was all the same album even though it had been written over several years. The songs are the ten songs we were the most excited about in the moment. The idea behind the album was: If you want to try and do something great, it can only be when the inspiration hits.‘
After the good beginning with 2002’s Make Up Breakdown followed two albums with a lower impact – 2005’s Elevator and 2007’s Happiness Ltd. One of the most important moment in their career was 2010’s Future Breeds with which the band made a sucessful return and proved to be worthy of their reputation. Needless to say, HOT HOT HEAT ending self-titled was much expected. In the end, It is a good album with a perfect mixture of instruments and electronica. A mix of THE STROKES‘ signature, some STROKES‘ guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. solo projects and most importantly an accurate syntesis of the band fifteen years of soundscapes. Kid Who Stays in the Picture catches all the bittersweet taste of this last chapter. Modern Mind, Bobby Joan Sex Tape and Mayor For The City are very good songs, full of inspiration. The album finishes with The Memory’s Here and a little bit of sadness grows up thinking about how we will miss HOT HOT HEAT. Thank you boys! It’s not that often that we see that good of a mise-en-scene of for a moving finale. (Fernando Rennis)
Deerhoof – ‘The Magic’
Label: Polyvinyl Records
To say that DEERHOOF previous adventure was a bit deceiving is a bit risky, because 2014’s La Isla Bonita was a good record – though easy-listenning oriented to some regards. The band must have felt it somehow, because their new adventure The Magic is all about that: how do we create a story that is true and adventurous ? Drummer Greg Saunier describes this project as a pursuit for ‘what we liked when we were kids – when music was magic – before you knew about the industry and before there were rules.’ To accomplish that, and despite their tremendous success over the last few years, DEERHOOF chose to risk everything again by leaving ultramodern studios to go in the desert of New Mexico in an abandoned place. Music is all about exploring territories in your mind, but we don’t often think about how the environment in which it is conceived is part of the story.
In our era, we explore new kinds of storytelling by making the story wider than ever. The idea behind The Magic is to fully go in a DIY spirit find the most of their groove and creativity. The result of it is clearly a huge success if you like it lo-fi. It is much more draft alike, but also way more soulful. It flirts within new-wave or synthpop territories and it’s diversity makes it for a new kind of story for the band. The Magic is simply a successful attempt to recreate it. It’s the end result of a difficult but beautiful journey for the band. It might be the best album from the Californian formation for everyone, but at least it’s a honest album and they deserve shout outs for that. (Bastien Perroy)