Whether you’re exhausted from being cooped up in your house, trying to keep your kids from killing each other, working long hours, or just dealing with life right now — you could use some new tunes to rawk out to. Our girl Sylvia June brings you recently released albums that promise to deliver.
The Strokes, “The New Abnormal”
Release Date: April 10, 2020
Why I Like It: It’s been 7 years since The Strokes put an album out together, it was about time. They have a unique sound that I really enjoy, but “The New Abnormal” is definitely the best they’ve been since the early 2000s. The 80s influence is apparent here with heavy synthesizers and some shameless melodic borrowation. And good cover art is hard to come by — the cover is American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting, “Bird on Money,” inspired by jazz musician Charlie Parker. It seems a bold choice, seeing as how Basquiat used his work to criticize power structures like racism, but I suppose The Strokes are trying their hand at some social awareness themselves. The album’s title is a reference to climate change and the present age of environmental disaster, which is also referenced in “Eternal Summer.”
Top Three Songs:
- “Bad Decisions” — Driven by the melody line from Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself,” I love this upbeat dancy song that might become my summer 2020 anthem amidst this pandemic lockdown business.
- “At the Door” — It was the first single off the album for good reason. That heavy synth opener is similar to a dirge, which seems fitting for the melancholy mood of the song. It ends up being very ethereal and lovely, though. It’s just fitting in my headspace right now.
- “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus” — So yeah, I did end up choosing the three singles from this album as my favorites. I keep expecting Flock of Seagulls or something with all this synth, though. I wanna hear more real drums, y’all!
Honorable Mention: “Eternal Summer” — Julian Casablancas’ falsetto is cute. The song sounds exactly what I’d expect an eternal summer to sound like, so it’s a perfect listen on any summer drive.
Local H, “LIFERS”
Release Date: April 10, 2020
Why I Like It: Local H’s first album in 5 years, LIFERS attacks out the gate with high energy that is still buoyed during the more introspective songs. The band has been around for 30 years (at least vocalist/guitarist Scott Lucas has), but WHOA these dudes could give anyone a run for their money. This heavy rock album is a whole mood (at least for me) and listening to it has been extremely cathartic. It is pissed off, raw and real. It also makes me sad I can’t go see these guys perform right now. Their shows, especially in Chicago, are not to be missed.
Top Three Songs: I’m really having trouble picking only three, y’all. Even the songs that are 6+ minutes long are amazing.
- “Hold That Thought” — It’s a rager. “Hold that thought and don’t get caught falling for the shit that we’re taught / Addicted to the same old stories / Hundred percent you are correct, out of your depth, out of your mind alright”
- “Patrick Bateman” — There are a lot of songs out there that are frustrated with our current state of affairs, politically or otherwise. But I haven’t heard anything quite as brilliant and seething as this album opener, and the American Psycho comparison is right on the money — “fucking lizards wearing human skin.”
- “Turn the Bow” — The cymbal intro softens the incoming barrage of guitars and drums just enough to take you off guard, and it fades out hauntingly. “If you can teach, I can learn.”
Honorable Mention: “Sunday Best” — The one “slow” song in the middle of the album is beautiful. Life isn’t easy. These dudes get it.
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