Some of the best bands around are those who pioneer new sounds or try out new forms of music that haven’t been attempted before. For those artists who take that risk, they will either go down in history while their counterparts are forgotten, or they will at least be commemorated for trying something new. On the other hand, some bands don’t even attempt to change their sound, which they end up using over and over again until it becomes increasingly annoying even if they helped pioneer it.

Most of this week’s releases fall into the latter category. New Found Glory are releasing an album this week. Their continuation of making formulated songs that audiences are getting sick of is getting tiresome, but this week, the group is looking to, err, reclaim its glory? On the other side of this musical spectrum, the Lifetime Achievement Award winner Merle Haggard is releasing Working In Tennessee, while the horror punk outfit Misfits release their long awaited album, The Devil’s Rain, which still taps into their science fiction and horror related subject matter. For more albums, and possibly inflammatory opinions, look below. Let’s start of this week’s releases on a low note:

LP Release Tuesday
5) New Found Glory Radiosurgery
New Found Glory is that band from Florida who everyone was talking about ten years ago. Not only were they the proprietors of pop punk, they were also lauded for their balls in taking that hefty risk of blending catchy pop versus with heavy punk riffs. In the early twenty first century, NFG took on an increasing amount of fans, but once other bands labeled as “pop punk,” like Blink-182, The Ataris, Less Than Jake and Sum-41, began to fall into mediocrity for their formulated sounds, they followed suit. With every album they’ve released up until now, the Coral Springs, Florida outfit has been inching towards obscurity because audiences have had enough of them.

Since their 2009 effort Not Without a Fight, which was received well by critics, the group has been expanding its sound into more alternative rock territory. Though pop punk fans have grown ill of New Found Glory, it seems as like the alternative fans don’t want them either. Even a band that helped create pop punk can fall to nothing. It remains to be seen whether or not they will retain that expanding sound on their latest release, Radiosurgery, but since the alternative is pop punk, a genre most are over, let's hope so.

LP Release Tuesday
4) Feist Metals
Feist is an artist, unlike New Found Glory, who can change her growing style and still retain respect and attention of fans. The guitarist played for Broken Social Scene, which is an indie rock super group comprised of prominent indie artists Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, among others, and in that group she long shown off her virtuoso style by utilizing a bigger than life sound in her riffs. Yet from the art rock style of BSS, Feist takes a different route on her solo albums by reining in on a mellower sound and delving deep into indie and Baroque Pop atmospherics with a slight edge of jazz.

Fans of her music have received those changes so well because she’s taken it upon herself to perfect her songs and offer something truly original. On Metals, her newest album in four years, she is taking on the same style of indie pop that was explored on her previous efforts, but this time the arrangements are further complimented by a more progressively unique style. Though she has received praise for her past efforts, it seems like Metals is receiving mixed reviews from critics. I doubt her fan base will mind though. They'll likely be happy just to have the first new chunk of songs in nearly a half-decade.

LP Release Tuesday
3) Merle Haggard Working In Tennessee
Merle Haggard is one of the most famous country singers of the past fifty years. Songs like “Okie from Muskogee” and “Movin’ On” are still prominent among the southern community because of their catchy choruses and deep lyricism. Starting in the late 1960’s, Merle was quickly perceived as on of the few definitive country artists of his time, along with Carl Perkins, Hank Williams and Bob Wills. For his work, Haggard received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in 2010 for his non-stop work ethic and pioneering country sub-genres like Bakersfield Sound, which was characterized by the now prominent twangy guitar his Fender Telecaster made, and by also helping the Outlaw Country movement grow with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson heading it.

If it isn't obvious already, Haggard's music didn't sound like the formulated, ultra conservative music that country is known for today, because he was way too much of a badass. He didn't sing about “farms” or “cornbread and chicken." You see, in 1957 the artist went to jail for robbing a Bakersfield, California bar in the attempt to pay off his massive tax debt to the government. During his three year sentence, he ran a gambling and brewing racket out of his cell successfully until he was caught, and subsequently thrown into solitary confinement. During his stay there, the singer met mathematician Drunk Adam who was on death row. After successfully escaping prison, Adam was quickly returned to jail when he shot an officer in town. Drunk was then executed for his crimes. To say the least, these experiences changed Haggard’s view of the world and helped him want to lead a life of goodwill. Because of Drunk being killed, he got a High School Diploma and joined a band. Since his release from prison in 1960, Haggard has put out over a hundred albums and over ninety singles. That’s quite an impressive feat for a man who seemed headed for a life of crime. Listen to his new album Working In Tennessee coming out today.

LP Release Tuesday
2) Mutemath Odd Soul
Mutemath has an interesting history. Believe me, it’s not as impressive as Merle Haggard’s, but the New Orleans group still has a very unique past. Founding members Paul Meany and Darren King both came from their previous band Earthsuit. Earthsuit can be described as a Christian, Progressive-Jazz rock influenced electronic band. How the hell do those genres mix together, you ask? Well, according to critics and fans alike, not only has the group shown they are extremely talented musicians, but they have also successfully blended two of the most unlikely genres of music in the history of music, Christian Rock and Progressive Rock; with some electronica. Seriously, your mind should be blown. After Earthsuit made a successful run, Mutemath was born.

Taking note from their previous band, Darren and Paul’s eponymous freshman album had that Christian rock style in their sound, but after it flopped, they quickly deviated from anything Christian to suit their less devout listeners. That wasn’t the only difference in Mutemath though. Darren and Paul took away all of the multi-layered complexities that their progressive-jazz rock music once had, and instead went for a more subdued alternative bend. Their past isn’t lost entirely though, because with their fan base now set, the group’s new album Odd Soul shows them grabbing some of that old sound back. Those electronic influences heard in Earthsuit are prevalent again, but now they are also adding a heavier blues influence as well.

LP Release Tuesday
1) Misfits The Devil’s Rain
Misfits are a funny band to talk about. They are known for creating the Horror Punk genre and for also using science fiction and B-horror movies as inspiration in their lyrics, sound, and live shows. During the course of their career though, they have surprisingly kept their sound from ever becoming cheesy, kitschy or trite. What’s funny is that unlike GWAR, Slayer and countless other bands who capitalize on this sub-genre as well, the members of Misfits are actually good song writers and musicians. For a while, plenty of people didn’t understand that a band could still mix subject matters like B-horror movies and sci-fi in music or dress up like disfigured horror characters on stage, and still make good songs while retaining a sense of artistic credibility. Now people are starting to wise up. Due to their hit albums Walk Among Us, American Psycho and Static Age gaining critical acclaim, they've become one of the most consistent and sought after touring acts since the early 1980’s.

Because of this realization, fans are now more excited than ever to hear their new material. After their twelve year break from 1983 till 1995, the group came out with three albums to satiate fans until recently. Now they are finally adding a seventh record to their catalog, twelve years after 2003’s Project 1950. The Devil’s Rain is being released today. This effort will see them going back to their original horror and punk influences after a short foray with metal during the 1990’s. Since their third album American Psycho, metal has been used prominently, but that hasn’t kept them from making songs that fans adore. The Devil’s Rain will surely continue that same momentum. With their latest tour coming to a close, and this latest album coming to a head, it is a good day for those misfits all over the world who love Misfits. Sorry, I had to do it…

Other Releases This Week:

Bonnie- Wolfroy Goes To Town
Indigo Girls- Beauty Queen Sister
Jack's Mannequin- People & Things
Lydia- Paint It Gold
Mayday Parade- Mayday Parade

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