Albums of the Month: March 2016
The Drones - Feelin’ Kinda Free
Experimental rock outfit The Drones hail from Australia, and it shows in their music. Leadman Gareth Liddiard’s thick accent is a real ear-grabber; being able to switch from unapologetically venomous to heartbreakingly passionate whenever the song calls for it. However, most of all, his vocals are undoubtedly Aussie. This makes his delivery of the group’s most politically charged lyrics that much more enthralling. However, while the lyrical and vocal content may be relatable to listeners from down under, the sonic experimentation within the instrumentals may be off-putting at first to most. Incredibly dense and pulling from the musical worlds of noise rock, ambient, post rock, and even a smidge of hip hop, The Drones have delivered one of their most diverse albums yet 19 years in their careers.
Recommended Tracks: Private Execution, Taman Shud, To Think That I Once Loved You, Tailwind, Boredom
Esperanza Spalding - Emily’s D+Evolution
Before my experience with Emily’s D+Evolution, my opinion of Esperanza Spalding was that she was simply an incredibly talented bassist that had her 15 minutes of fame when she claimed the Grammy award for Best New Artist in 2011. However, I now see her as so much more. Across these 12 tracks, Spalding delivers some of the most imaginative, artful, and eccentric neo-soul to come out this year. Her talents are spotlighted greatly throughout the record as well, providing some prodigious bass, and her crooning vocals aren’t too shabby either. Emily’s D+Evolution showcases Esperanza Spalding’s transition from musician to full-blown artist.
Recommended Tracks: Good Lava, Judas, Earth To Heaven, One, Ebony And Ivy, Elevate or Operate, Funk The Fear
Matmos - Ultimate Care II
Of all the albums that have come out this year so far, Ultimate Care II is probably the most odd of them all concept-wise. Throughout the 38 minutes of this piece, every sound used was sampled from a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine. Matmos are known for their unorthodox sampling experiments, but Ultimate Care II has to be one of their strangest yet. However, the craziest thing about it is how well it works. The San Francisco duo are able to pull off so much with this washing machine samples, from vast ambient passages to mind-bending IDM tracks to industrial-tinged bangers. Never before have everyday appliances been so absolutely fascinating.
Iglooghost - Little Grids
It’s rare for an artist to develop a unique sound for themselves on their debut project, but up-and-coming UK producer was able to pull it off with Chinese Nü Yr, one of the best EPs to come out last year. Striking while the pan is still hot, Iglooghost sticks to his signature style here on Little Grids, with a couple slight diversion. Still, even a standard EP from one of the most imaginative electronic producers out there is still worth checking out.
Recommended Tracks: Peanut Choker, Gold Tea, Peanut Choker [Maxo Remix]
Sheer Mag - Sheer Mag III
For three EPs straight since their debut, Sheer Mag has yet to stumble with a subpar release. While their brand of punk rock is a bit on the simple side, they pull it off quite well with skilled songwriting and catchy riffs that harken back to the days of acts like Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy. The rough, attitude-filled vocals of Tina Halladay are just the cherry on top. They aren’t looking to revolutionize the rock world, but instead to simply kick ass and rock hard.
Recommended Tracks: Can’t Stop Fighting, Night Isn’t Bright, Nobody’s Baby