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 the Joy Formidable, Fidlar, Hilly Eye, and more.
FIDLAR by FIDLAR
FIDLAR stands for "F*ck It Dog Life’s A Risk." By the band name alone, you've got a pretty good idea of the kind of music you're in for: basement punk rock played quickly, with shouted lyrics sung with nasal inflections about beer and teen anger and more beer. But goddamn, do they know how to write moshpit-ready earworm anthems, which, lucky for us, is the one thing they give a f*ck about.
Wolf's Law by the Joy Formidable
Wolf's Law is a great album for what it doesn't try to do: too much. Ritzy Bryan's vague lyrics are simpler and less distrcting than on the Joy Formidable's debut album, The Big Roar, and the melodies, much catchier. But the power-trio's energetic, buzzing aesthetic remains, though they've since learned to pace themselves, to spend just the right amount of time getting to the song's build. They're a band that people want to hear MAKE LOUD NOISE first and foremost, and with their arena-sized ambitions, Wolf's Law gives fans exactly what they clamored for.
Studio One Ironsides: Original Classic Recordings 1963-1979 by Various Artists
"Hey, what do you think of this reggae song?" "Which one?" All of them." So goes the easy, if sometimes accurate joke about reggae, a genre of music that's been corrupted by white high and school college students with dreadlocks. But if you don't know much about reggae and want to take it back from smelly hacky-sack players, the Studio One Ironsides: Original Classic Recordings 1963-1979 collection is a good place to start. It's a mix of names both obscure and popular, featuring everyone from the Skatalites to Prince Jazzbo, from one of the genre's most famous labels.
Or you could just listen to "Jamming" again. Whichever.
Reasons to Live to Hilly Eye
Amy Klein was a guitarist for Titus Andronicus before leaving the band and starting her own, Hilly Eye, with drummer Catherine Tung. Reasons to Live is their first album, and it sounds like it: Klein's voice occasionally sounds too timid for the gnawing punk-rock noise she and Tung are making. But when she gives into the song, like on "Jersey City," Klein's tenderness turns into a bratty X sound-alike, in the best way possible.
True North by Bad Religion
Bad Religion is beyond the point of surprise. That's what happens when a band sticks around since 1979 and remains relevant for 16 albums. So, while True North doesn't reinvent the melodic punk wheel, it doesn't sound as at-odds with itself as their last album, The Dissent of Man, which the group spent three years working on. North is snappier, hookier, more focused, and angrier, without resorting to easy talking points and tired cliches; its closest companion in their discography, Against the Grain, might be their best work. Most importantly, it's not the embarrassment a punk album sung by a 48-year-old man should be.