NOW HEAR THIS!
Here’s what’s in heavy rotation in my world. It should be in yours, too.
Slowdive – “Star Roving”
The return of shoe gaze pioneers Ride and Slowdive has covered 2017 in beautiful clouds of rich distortion. “Star Roving” sounds exactly like it would have in 1993 and offers new listeners a glimpse of a music scene that has crept into almost every facet of contemporary music. When bands get back together, you hold your breath and hope they can find the old alchemy. In Slowdive’s case, the alchemy has only grown stronger.
The Struts – “One Night Only”
Unlike The Darkness, The Struts have never come across as a parody of rock’s golden era. Their love of Queen is hardly subtle but they aren’t a campy tribute act. The Struts have their own agenda and celebrate the larger than life excitement of rock-n-roll. The new single shows a band growing into their sound with a chorus suited for room far bigger than they are currently playing. Do not miss them when they come to your town.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “The Punishment Of Luxury”
The band’s 2013 gem English Electric moved them deeper into the electronic orbit of Kraftwerk and the first single from the upcoming album finds them at the center of that universe. The tongue-in-cheek video tears down our obsessions with social media and how we present ourselves to the outside world over an industrial clamor that Peaches would die for. Whereas the latest Depeche Mode album found itself sinking under the weight of such themes, OMD turns them into an electronic celebration of peak consumption. Share this, Like this, Tweet this, but most importantly, dance to this.
Garbage – “No Horses”
Political turbulence has always managed to spark amazing music and Garbage has never sounded more potent than they do on this new single. Shirley Manson paints us a dystopian landscape where money finally conquers all and the apocalypse rains down from above. Rather than lament the inevitable, Manson sings with the fierce determination of someone who will be kicking ass long after the rest of us have run for cover.
Waxahatchee – “Recite Remorse”
Kathie Crutchfield has dazzled us over three albums but the new Waxahatchee album, Out in the Storm, makes her strongest statement as an artist. A song cycle about the end of a relationship is nothing new but Crutchfield’s precise songwriting and sonic textures make it sound intimate and new. There is a droning haze around “Recite Remorse” that Slowdive would envy while Crutchfield’s unguarded honesty reveals her to be as fearless as Shirley Manson. Undoubtedly, one of the year’s best albums.