As fun as it is to complain about “music these days,” and how it’s all been downhill since The Chronic came out, it’s even MORE fun to listen to — wait for it — good music. Every Tuesday, a.k.a. Music Release Day, we’ll highlight five albums worth (legally) downloading or driving to the local Best Buy (lolz) for. (Banner via)
Today, we’ve got selections from Jet Life, the Evens, and more.
The Odds by the Evens
For many music fans, Ian MacKaye is to them what Mitch Hedberg is to comedy nerds — an underrated, under-appreciated genius, first with Minor Threat, then Fugazi. So whenever MacKaye puts out an album, it’s a big deal, and The Odds, his third album as one-half of the Evens with wife Amy Farina, isn’t a letdown. The songs are necessarily stripped down from, say, “Screaming to the Wall,” to the point of lone mellow guitar and drum minimalism, but the lyrics are still politically effective in the way that only MacKaye can muster. Except now his anger is more a sad cryptic sigh than a shouted unsubtle scream. Such is the life of a husband and a father.
Into the Future by Bad Brains
The incendiary punk-reggae legends are back for their first album since 2007, and as always, their musical allegiance is mostly split down the middle — half blazing hot hardcore, half chill, laid-back reggae, including a tribute to deceased Beastie Boy, Adam “MCA” Yauch. But that’s what iPods are for — skip past the dub, which even H.R. sounds bored by, and barrel straight into the ferocity.
Jet World Order 2 by Jet Life
For more on Jet Life, check out the Smoking Section.
Celebration Day by Led Zeppelin
Five years ago, Led Zeppelin reunited for the first and only time in the 2000s, at London’s O2 Arena for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert, a performance that holds the record for the “Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert” (and will until Hootie hooks up with his Blowfish again). The gig, with John Bonham’s son Jason on drums, has now been turned into two-disc album, with an expected, yet no less triumphant track listing, including “Kashmir,” “Stairway to Heaven,” and “Dazed and Confused.” Still the world’s greatest geek-rock band.
Unapologetic by Rihanna
Rihanna has released seven albums over the past seven years, so it’s no surprise that Unapologetic isn’t exactly full of surprises. (17-minute drum solo or GTFO, is not something Rihanna’s ever been told.) The bass is still heavy, there are still the requisite amount of rave-ready singles and vaguely introspective ballads, and the production is sleek to the point of pop-music-bliss absurdity. But the one big difference between Unapologetic and the rest of her discography is how angry she sounds; it’s impossible not to read into the album as a middle finger to her critics, whoever they may be, because of everything that’s been said and written about her and Chris Brown. It’s uncomfortable at times, knowing how much of a monster he is, and that may understandably taint your impression of Unapologetic, but beneath all the ick, it’s a remarkably proficient dance album.
We’d expect nothing less from Rihanna.