From a rock band making a triumphant return, to country artists gearing up for summer tours, and rounding it out with an R&B queen undoubtably bringing back her unique sound to accompany her awesome name – April is a month for a few more great albums across the genres. Shall we?
Thirty Seconds to Mars – AMERICA
Release date: 4/6
Since the release of “Walk On Water,” there was no question that Thirty Seconds to Mars was going to make a statement with their latest album. We had to wait a while, but here it finally is.
Let’s talk about the cover art – you’re seeing ten album covers grouped here, all of which are relatively simplistic but with obvious tones alluding to the downfall of America. The band has released these as billboards to advertise the album, telling us that these are meant to be a collection of snapshots of America as it stands now. Take them for what you will from there.
“Walk On Water” was what started it all. Last summer, the band asked fans to record what they were doing for the 4th of July, and compiled a video across America on it’s birthday. The song itself has very clear daggers at some high-ranking officers, and has become an anthem for a generation taking a stand for themselves.
We’ve gotten three more tracks ahead of the release, each one reemphasizing the intensity we’re getting hit with on this release. “Dangerous Night” is sexy and adventurous. It’s romance at its best for a rocker. There’s a Cheat Codes remix that was released as well, so you can fall into that intense love in the middle of the club too.
“One Track Mind” brings us a track done with A$AP Rocky, and my expectations say this doesn’t fit. There are moments though, as it goes, that the song is heavy and musically it breaks to become impressive. It’s one to get lost in. Along the same lines, the last song as a preview (so far), “Rescue Me” proves that the band has definitely taken its time to experience and elevate this album beyond what they’ve done before. They’ve managed to make you think though, and force you to relate on a lot of emotional levels with the message of their music.
Other 4/6 releases:
Amanda Palmer – I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas
Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Jason Aldean – Rearview Town
Release date: 4/13
Some people are bothered by Jason Aldean’s party nature, largely crediting him with ushering in the generation of “Bro Country” that can tend to annoy diehard country fans. I admit, I used to be one of them. Then I experienced one of his live shows last year and was blown away. Sure, there were more drunk people there than I would have liked to be around, but what a show it was. We danced all night, cried, and sang back at him at the top of our lungs.
“You Make It Easy” reminds listeners that this man has an old school country heart and can set your boots dancing to a romantic sweet song just as much as anyone else could hope to. He then turns it around with “Rearview Town,” a song that will make you consider your past in a whole other light. There’s downright strength in it, amongst the anger that I think you could possibly vent out through a good listen.
It’s at this time I’d like to remind folks that summer concert season is right around the corner, and Aldean knows how to get folks excited to party with him out in the fields. “Getting’ Warmed Up” is going to be one of those early-show songs that will get people on their feet (a la “Lights Turn On” if you’re wondering). He rounds out the preview tracks with “High Noon Neon” that, well these days could easily be about Nashville. It’s the aftermath of the rough and tumble night of fun before. All in all, it seems like Jason’s got another classic album on his hands, and any longtime fan is going to continue to eat it right up.
Other 4/13 releases:
Breaking Benjamin – Ember
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup
Brothers Osborne – Port Saint Joe
Release date: 4/20
I’ve had a love in my heart for these boys since “Stay A Little Longer” (which was only intensified by the Demo version – stop, go listen, please, and thank you, this will be my exit song at my wedding).
They come back at us a few years later with their brand of outlaw country. Everyone adores Chris Stapleton now, right? Well Brothers Osborne need that kind of attention because their music is right along those lines.
“Shoot Me Straight” gives that good ol’ boys country drinking song with so much soul you get chills just hearing the vocal riffs. It’s the only hint we’ve gotten about this release so far, and to be honest, it my be enough for now. The sound is so good and solid, it’s enough to evoke a need for more. With these guys, simplicity and lack of saturation is key. It may not have gained them the biggest of fanbases, but the industry appreciation level is a slow burning candle that is all set to ignite.
Other 4/20 releases:
A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant
Old Crow Medicine Show – Volunteer
Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer
Release date: 4/27
Just one more reason I should have already seen Black Panther – apparently there’s a narrative film accompanying this album, and you get a preview of if there.
This album has been on hold for a while since Janelle (it’s still weird typing my own name but meaning someone else) has been busy with some incredible acting rolls (Moonlight, Hidden Figures), but the anticipation has built up accordingly.
While there’s not a complete track listing yet, we’ve been given two tracks to wet the appetite. Ðjango Jane seems to be very much a power song, and while it’s not up my ally as far as sound goes, the message is clear.
“Make Me Feel” brings back those Janelle vocals that we needed, with some funk vibes that are undoubtedly Prince inspired (they collaborated – how incredible is that to be able to say at such an early point in your career?) with enough to bring you back to his classic hits. To hear that female voice taking lead on it though is going to have girls every where taking charge of their expression. If we’re in for a powerful album to strut down the street to, I’m game. Bring it on, Janelle.
Other 4/27 releases:
Twin Shadow – Caer
Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing