I stopped writing opening notes a few months back because I felt they got repetitive (“Yay new music!” Fun listens for the summer months!” “Let’s hear what’s out there!”). But this month it feels weird to stay silent as we open. Music has taken on an even more important roll in the world as our consumption rates are up more than ever as we are forced to stay home and face life. I can tell you my personal psyche is suffering from the lack of live shows (even with the over-saturation that are live streams right now), but I am so grateful for this industry and the artists that make it run. I hope you find some comfort in the music of the world and let it do what it can in our earth’s healing.
All Time Low – Wake Up Sunshine
Release date: 4/3
For a band I have no recollection seeing in my lifetime, though they’ve been around since I graduated high school, I find myself liking so much of their music whenever I hear it. Last Young Renegade has an incredibly important place in my heart, and I have a feeling this newest album may be adding to that (not to mention the first time I’ll actually listen to an album of theirs from end to end).
In the short months that have passed in 2020, the band has managed to pre-release about half of the tracks already. “Some Kind of Disaster” shows their pursuit of cleaner and crisper sounds that somehow manage to maintain their bit of grit and fun the band is known for.
“Sleeping In” weaves in some sound effects I don’t think you’d normally find on the old stages of Warped Tour, but it’s undeniably one you’d want to sing along to. It’s even hard sitting here without dancing in my seat while listening. The next one, “Getaway Green,” literally had me skipping across the street to the coffee shop the week it came out.
Even now as I got back and listen to the tracks that were pre-released, I’m finding I have them largely all liked and saved from the New Music Friday lists they appeared on. I don’t think I’ve been let down yet. “Melancholy Kaleidoscope” is such a little pop punk good song that seems to have the sing-along built right into the original vocals. Just when I think it’ll even slow down a little with “Trouble Is” (and comparatively, it kind of does), even if the mood is a bit more… I don’t know, serious? Your heart is still pounding just as hard, even if it’s for other reasons.
The layers in the recording on all of these just make the collection fun and primed for windows-open driving. I can almost guarantee when I finally have a car again I’ll be making sure to blast the title track and final pre-release song “Wake Up, Sunshine” down a highway. This is completely this manic-pixie-girl’s dream come true of a pop punk rocking time. Somebody loves you for yourselffffffff…
Other 4/3 releases:
Thundercat – It Is What It Is
Purity Ring – WOMB
Peach Pit – You and Your Friends
Sam Hunt – Southside
August Burns Red – Guardians
Steve Aoki – Neon Future IV
Ashley McBryde – Never Will
Phish – Sigma Oasis
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
Release date: 4/10
Have The Strokes really not released a new album since 2013? Okay, we had an EP in 2016. That’s a little better. It just feels like this is always a band on the fringes of conversation so this seems impossible. Nonetheless, here were are—2020 and a new set of tunes.
Now with that said, “At The Door” eases us into the sound, both literally and figuratively. There’s a buzzing beat as we launch in that takes about 2 ½ minutes to build into some semblance of a fully formed song, and even then we back off. Okay, well, we’ve arrived.
I’ve already starred “Bad Decisions” and didn’t even realize how long it’s been since there’s been new music here, that’s how much I didn’t realize it’s been seven years. Anywhos, this one’s a more fully formed song with a flipping sweet dance sound for the party to start to. “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” seems to carry on that though in an almost disco-inspired manner. All in all, I’m not sure what this will all sound like strung together—there’s surely a lot of variety—but I’m fascinated to find out.
Other 4/10 releases:
Nightwish – HUMAN. :II: NATURE.
Pokey LaFarge – Rock Bottom Rhapsody
Buckethead – Healing Inside Outside Every Side
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Release date: 4/17
I’ll admit, this week’s list left me scratching my head on what to feature, but I like variety. So here we go into a little more darkness (followed by… well, you just keep reading my friends).
Here’s a situation where I know a band name and can envision their type of music in my head, but can’t honestly say I’ve taken the time to understand or really listen to what they have to offer. “Verminous” (first track released, obviously the title track) reminds me why. But to be objective and not annoyed about not being able to understand the words here (I’ll even blame my poor computer speakers for now), I can appreciate the compilation of sound here. Actually, those guitars that come in are killer.
“Child of Night” is the one and only other song released thus far (more old school approach to an album lead up I suppose—much appreciated). It’s equally hard-hitting and rough on your eardrums with the kind of darkness the name provoke. If you can appreciate the art in the form though, this will be an album to be reckoned with.
Other 4/17 releases:
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Enter Shikari – Nothing is True & Everything is Possible
RJD2 – The Fun Ones
Billy Ocean – One World
Tech N9ne – EnterFear
Eddie Money – Brand New Day
Luke Bryan – Born Here Live Here Die Here
Release date: 4/24
A year ago, Luke released the song “Knockin’ Boots” and took off into one of the longest lead ups to an album I’ve been in a while. This man knows how to throw a party though, and I can’t say anyone was annoyed in waiting because the single provided enough fun on its own.
I met Luke back in college when he was just sort of starting out. He and Chuck Wicks came and did a little show at Belmont (and actually I’m pretty sure I knew more of Chuck’s music at the time), and they signed photos afterwards—and yes he was just as much of a gentleman and heartbreaker as you’d expect. It was actually that interaction that makes me unsurprised that the man runs a bar downtown that has both a rocking upstairs and a quite quaint downstairs. Such a well-rounded dude who knows how to please everyone.
I don’t digress, I swear, because this lets me transition right into the next single, “What She Wants Tonight.” If that first song got the night going, this one is where you make the decision of how it’s going to end.
But then I guess you’ve got to have your good ol’ boy track too, enter the title. “Born Here Live Here Die Here” deserves a relaxing play out on the lake in the middle of summer. God what I wouldn’t give to be out on a lake in the middle of summer.
And finally, we’ll take a drink lakeside. “One Margarita” is just plain old fun and needs the sunshine. We might be about to enter the weirdest summer ever if we’re still stuck at home, but if and when we can get back out, Luke’s ready to set the soundtrack to our summer. Cheers to the new album and cheers to all y’all!
Other 4/24 releases:
AWOLNATION – Angel Minders & the Lightning Riders
Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels
Dance Gavin Dance – Afterburner
Willie Nelson – First Rose of Spring
The Used – Heartwork
Indigo Girls – Look Long
Rufus Wainwright – Unfollow the Rules
Lennon Stella – Three. Two. One.