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 Wavves, Depeche Mode, and more.
Afraid of Heights by Wavves
So this is what Nathan Williams giving a shit sounds like. In five short years, Wavves has gone from the bedroom noise punk of their self-titled debut and Wavvves to the lo-fi surf rock of King of the Beach to the stoner maturity of Afraid of Heights. There’s a likable goofiness to the album — see, the Iggy Pop-referencing chorus “Still I’ll be your dog” — but it also has ambitions beyond impressing the bros down at the taco shack. Opener “Sail to the Sun” is as full as anything Williams’s ever done, with whipped-around guitars crashing into the reckless drumming, while on “Beat Me Up,” his voice echos endlessly, with wavy production courtesy of John Hill (M.I.A., Nas, Wu-Tang Clan).
Afraid of Heights is still hook-heavy bubblegum pop, but Williams has upgraded from Fruit Stripe to a brand without a cartoon zebra on the package.
Recover EP by Chvrches
The debut EP from Glasgow’s shiniest, shimmering synth-pop trio proves their SXSW hero label was no sham.
I Am Not a Human Being II by Lil Wayne
OK, not really, but it is fascinating hearing how far he’s fallen. For more, check out the Smoking Section.
Delta Machine by Depeche Mode
If a male artist sticks around long enough, eventually he’ll make his “old man record.” Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind, David Bowie’s The Next Day, the entirety of Johnny Cash’s American Recording series. These are albums that look morbidity, if not death itself, straight in the eye, without blinking. Consider Delta Machine to be Depeche Mode’s first step towards their OMR, just with a lot more dubstep. Its twitchy synth dirges are ruthless, and unlike 2005’s Playing the Angel and 2009’s Sounds of the Universe, which went nowhere fast, Delta sounds urgent, Dave Gahan’s strange sexuality crawling out of his voice over beats that would make dark-corner club-goers proud. Depeche Mode have always taken solace in the gloom, but on Delta Machine, they’re actively fighting the light, too.
Comedown Machine by the Strokes
For more on the Strokes uneven, yet effective new album, check out our review.