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Popular music is like a revolving door of ideas and influences. Whether it’s a group recreating a sound from long ago, artists mashing together multiple influences and genres, reusing ideas that prove popular, or even bringing back a certain style of rock music that’s way past its prime, the door really never stops turning. To say that all musicians do this would be a lie though. There are some artists who prefer straying away from the norm and making something unique to them and their sound over rehashing what was done before or what’s proven to make money. The “indie pop” group Fun., punctuation intended, and “noise pop” darlings Sleigh Bells are among the few bands that aren't, so to speak, cookie-cutter-rock.
Sure, some of their influences are obviously from The Beatles or even that slight Queen reference, but what rock band nowadays doesn't have some influence from them? In addition to Fun. and Sleigh Bells, there are other equally impressive and unique groups releasing new albums today; like the pop-punk inspired Cheap Girls, indie rock stars Cursive and the jam band of funk, Galactic. If you’re interested in highly opinionated responses, what these bands have to offer you in the music department, or how the hell to describe Sleigh Bells sound, continue reading! Here’s this week’s installment of LP Release Tuesday :
The “No One To Blame” songwriters came out with their debut album My Roaring Twenties in 2010 to critical acclaim. Both the indie and punk circles fell in love with the record, giving it a constant stream of sales, even though the group is still under that crappy moniker “up-and-coming.” That’s hopefully all about to change today though, with their sophomore effort Giant Orange hitting shelves. The production on this album is just as sleek as their past efforts, but this time around they are taking in some new influences. With a band like Cheap Girls, change is always welcomed.
Cursive defies all odds though. Their epic sound evokes both the power of their leading man's angst, and maybe unintentionally, helps them overcome all their label mates by showing off impeccable musicianship. Cursive has since left their more indulgent tendencies behind though, and their amazing cello player Gretta Cohn, for a simpler sound. Yet, the group is still at its core a grave exploration of Tim Kasher, both lyrically and sonically. Their seventh album, I Am Gemini comes out today, and if you like thought provoking music with an emotional edge, I highly suggest checking them out.
There are some rappers who break away from the mold and strive to be different from the rest, like Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Busdriver and many more. There are also a couple of jam bands out there that aren’t pleased with simply recreating something that’s proven popular. Groups like Gov’t Mule, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and Umphrey's McGee are among the most unique. Yet, there is no other band that sticks out more than the funk induced jams of Galactic. Hailing from New, Orleans, the jazz-funk band's music takes the complexities of their contemporaries and strips the superfluous music down to a sound that is both widely popular with fans outside the jam band circuit, while still enthralling those who follow Widespread. Galactic is releasing its tenth album today, and it’s called Carnivale Electricos.
The second is that after much trial and error with their lackluster 2010 debut Treats, the duo learned how to benefit from their bizarre style of music without fundamentally changing. Instead of making an awkward sounding barrage of noises, the band has learned when and how to place sounds, synthesizers and noises at key moments throughout their work. Today Sleigh Bells releases its sophomore record Reign of Terror, which thoroughly creates an album populated with the sometimes eerie soundscapes they are known for, but their new found song writing abilities are top knotch here with great lyrics and catchy hooks. Reign of Terror is an example to audiences and other bands, that if you're talented musician you should take some risks, because the output will likely be outstanding.
The reason why this group is so special is that Aim and Ignite creates a complex work of progressive rock that features a great pop sensibility that's layered with electronic orchestra instruments and synthesizers. With Fun. making an album like that, their ambitions proved you can still make complex pop music and have wide appeal. In what’s sure to bring them more fame then before, Fun.’s newest album Some Nights hits stores today. Like most bands searching for wider acclaim, Some Nights features drastic changes in their sound. Their proggy indulgences are long gone, and are opted out for sleeker song structures with a wider variety of electronica beats, and pop oriented songs. The band has stated that their latest work took inspiration from hip-hop productions like that of Kanye West, which totally shows in the album's highly produced sound and occasional use of the vocoder. While I may enjoy their debut more, this once unknown and magnificent discovery is now looking to be appreciated by everyone. You should listen to Fun..
Other Releases This Week:
Archers of Loaf- VeeVee
Bright Moments- Natives
Josh Ritter- Bringing in the Darlings[EP]
Sinead O’Connor- How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?