Well, hello there 2017! That came quick. New year, new music though, and we’ve got another few weeks to take a look into and get pumped for, not unlike the rest of the year. I’ve looked back at 2016 in a lot of ways (posts, articles, etc.) but here at Turn It Up, we’re all about looking forward, so let’s do it!
Dropkick Murphys – 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
Release date: 1/6
Any self-respecting New Jersey Irish Pop-Punk Kid has to grow up loving this band, and it seems like they’ve grown up right along with us. I say this while listening to the first song available as of last month, “Paying My Way.” While the harsh gritty vocals are familiar, and there’s strings of Irish heritage through the backing music, the song is lighter and heartfelt in a different way. But heck, it’s still an Irish drinking song if I’ve ever heard one.
The band left Boston to record this, which is a first, and traveled to Texas, of all places. Not exactly a state that screams Irish Punk, but okay, we’re talking about growth here after all.
What strikes me the most regarding this record is the devotion the band is showing to various organizations and initiatives that they’ve taken to heart. It seems like each song was picked as a devotion to a cause of some sort, or in memory of someone or something. It certainly brings a new perspective to being a fan for life.
Other 1/6 releases:
Dale Watson and Ray Benson – Dale & Ray
Gone is Gone - Echolocation
The xx – I See You
Release date: 1/13
A friend gave me a CD from The xx a few years ago. I remember it being a really cool moment because it was the first time he’d recognized that I was a music person and wanted to share what it meant to him. So, that said, when the band pops up, it means something to me.
Okay, sentimental moment over. So, something I’ve always kind of liked is that this group gets a great blend of pop and electronic going. It’s not overwhelmingly either genre, and it’s still relatable. “On Hold” is available to listen to on Spotify as we speak, and it’s a welcome sound after four years of nothing new from the band (while, granted, Jamie xx released a solo project). Actually, it’s sort of refreshing, almost like we’re coming out of the shadows and into the light. Maybe that’s just this song, but the band has said that this album would be more positive and ‘expansive.’ If this song is any indication, they’re reaching that sound goal, and brilliantly.
Other 1/13 releases:
Danny Gokey – Rise
The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody
AFI – AFI (The Blood Album)
Release date: 1/20
AFI. Now, this is one of those bands I wasn’t so sure I would hear from again. It’s one you get really into as a fringe band alongside your other angst-y teen music, but seem to lose track of over the years. Was that just me? Well, my article, my back story.
They’re back this year with The Blood Album, and if memory serves, this is a more polished version of what we were familiar with back in the day. Of course, when I look to find information, the most valuable piece of fact I get is that there will be four limited vinyl color variants, each based on the different blood types. Okay, well, that’s cool.
Rolling Stone has already gone ahead and deemed two tracks, “Snow Cats” and “White Offerings” as dramatic. In the meantime, I got a taste with “Aurelia,” and yes, that description seems fitting, but not negative. I’ll put it this way – I think that if you were into AFI four years ago (from their last album) or earlier, you won’t be disappointed.
Other 1/20 releases:
Tycho – Epoch
Tim Cohen – Luck Man
Lauren Alaina – Road Less Traveled
Release date: 1/27
You may remember Lauren Alaina from American Idol, who some were calling the next Carrie Underwood, or at least a little mini her. She had the big voice and the big hair, and was our new little country girl.
Well, it took her a few songs and a little work, but I think Lauren is onto something here. The lead and title single, “Road Less Traveled” reached mild hit status, and provided country radio with a new girl song to jam out to. It’s encouraging and fun and has just that slight rock edge that country seems to be craving right now. While that was technically included on an EP from last year, I’m thinking it would be included in an album of the same name.
She followed that up with “Queen of Hearts” recently, a song that echoes that same sound. It seems like she’s building up a solid country rock collection of songs, and we’re going to finally hear it at the end of the month.
Other 1/27 releases:
Train – a girl a bottle a boat
Ty Segall – Ty Segall