THE MELVINS won't be picking up any new listeners with the release of SUGAR DADDY LIVE (out May 31, 2011 via Ipecac), but at this stage in the game that's hardly the point. This new 13-track set recorded live at The Busta-Guts club in Downey, California is a cornicopia of tracks from their more recent albums, peppered with a few old favorites.
Having first discovered FACE TO FACE in while browsing the bins at countless now-deceased independent record stores in Iowa during my early-90's high school years, I was excited to hear that the band was back together and releasing a new album. Out today, LAUGH NOW, LAUGH LATER finds Trever Keith and Co. returning to the straightforward punk sound that shaped their early records at a time that couldn't be more appropriate. This year, the band celebrates their 20th Anniversary.
In stating that he's "trying to make rock & roll in the age of hip-hop," British-born, Thailand-raised, NYC-based gangsta rocker HUGO could be interpreted as insinuating that rock is dead. Instead, it's likely a statement in regard to the state of pop music or the Top 40 realm of popular culture. While hip-hop crossovers dominate the pop landscape, one is often hard-pressed to find much rock represented in the mainstream these days - unless you're looking for it. On his debut album OLD TYME RELIGION, HUGO finds himself as the first rock artist signed to ROC NATION, the label headed by the almighty JAY-Z. Released this week, the album is not only one of the best releases of 2011 thus far, but an album that may too, find itself struggling to find the right audience.
At first listen, something that becomes very apparent about the new album from OTEPis that it sounds a bit different than the recent recorded output from musical auteur OTEP SHAMAYA and her co-conspirators. Like it's namesake, ATAVIST, the album is a resurgence of the passionate anger that flowed so heavily through her vocals on SEVAS TRA and HOUSE OF SECRETS nearly a decade ago. While a call to action has always been present in OTEP releases, there was an abrasiveness in those early releases that had been sanded down and polished-up in recent years. ATAVIST scratches the paint to expose the innards to the elements - allowing the rust to bleed through like the imperfection found within life itself.
One of the bands mentioned back in February during my 2011: The Year that Pop Punk Strikes Back feature, BOWLING FOR SOUP have positioned themselves as a unique player in a packed field. While many of their peers have evolved into something far beyond their pop punk roots, BFS is unapologetic in carrying a torch for the light-hearted genre in which they've carved out a nearly two-decade niche. They're damn good at what they do, and for their diehard fans there's safety in knowing that the band will continue to deliver.
A couple of weeks ago I joked on Facebook that the Swedish Government had officially announced that from here on out, their sole products of export would be death metal albums, ABBA reissues, and Movits! albums. Sadly, few people actually understood the humor there, but a new Movits! album was released this month. For the unfamiliar, the band is curious beast - an odd little mixture of hip-hop, jazz, and pop - and yes, it's in Swedish. In fact, Movits! joins RAMMSTEIN and BRUJERIA in a select group of artists that sing in a language that I don't understand, but listen to quite frequently.
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME has been one of my favorite bands ever since THE SILENT CIRCUS first came to town in 2003. Now, after nearly a decade as a member of the Victory Records family, the band has moved onto Metal Blade for the release of THE PARALLAX: HYPERSLEEP DIALOGUES (out 4/12). Containing only three tracks, this release is billed as an EP - but at thirty minutes in length, it's practically an album.
From the stuff we missed for review department comes BEYOND HELL/ABOVE HEAVEN (out now via Universal/Republic), the latest album from Danish rockers VOLBEAT. The follow-up to their 2008 album GUITAR GANGSTERS & CADILLAC BLOOD, Hell/Heaven picks up where that record left off, presenting a 50-minute set of metal with a distinct flavor.
What a shame. A concept with vast potential is met with poor execution to equal a sonic travesty...
When I first mentioned back in January that there was a metal tribute to FRANK SINATRA on the way, I said I'm not quite sure how I feel about this - curious, worried, or excited. When we previewed the first three tracks a few weeks ago, I was fairly confident that my answer was disgusted. Now, with the release of SIN-ATRA (out today via Eagle Rock), that feeling has been amended to be disgusted and angry.
It's always awkward when a beloved band switches labels mid-career, only to see their former label release a greatest hits set on or about the same date that their first album on their new label is set for release. It puts the most hardcore of fans in a pinch, as there's always questions as to the reasoning behind the releases. Is it band-authorized? Is it a deal-breaker that allows the band to move on? Is there something here that I don't already have? In the rock world, KORN, PAPA ROACH, FEAR FACTORY, ATREYU, and ROB ZOMBIE all come to mind as artists this has happened to. Now, with the March 29th release of The Best of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME approaching, we BTBAM becomes the latest addition to the aforementioned list, as Victory Records beats their first Metal Blade release to market by a couple of weeks.
Nearly a decade ago, I recall seeing a private performance by YELLOWCARD in a non-descript ballroom hidden deep within the bowels of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. It was during my oft-referenced time with the now-defunct Sam Goody, witnessing the tail end of the music industry's self-destructive days of excess. Even with breaking bands, those private performances didn't come cheap, but it was a chance to witness Yellowcard on the eve of their breakthrough success that would be OCEAN AVENUE. Now, returning from a self-imposed hiatus and back on an indie label, Yellowcard have delivered When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes, an impressive set of grown-up pop-punk, laced with their signature blend of sharp hooks and electric violin leads.
It would be impossible to discuss the collective works of the Brothers Cavalera without making comparisons to their vast, yet very similar other works. While it would be easy to consider the CAVALERA CONSPIRACY to be "SOULFLY with Iggor (yes, two g's now) on drums," that's not a fair assessment of the situation. Despite the similarities in sound and personnel, there is a certain spark that occurs only when the brothers perform together, and with BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA (out March 29 via Roadrunner), Max and Iggor have returned with a set that absolutely obliterates their 2008 debut, INFLIKTED.