Album Review: Titus Andronicus Hold Nothing Back on the Relentless An Obelisk

The Lowdown: New Jersey punk outfit Titus Andronicus catapulted to greater heights in the indie circuit following the release of 2010’s The Monitor, an album that received unanimous praise and made the “End of Year” lists of publications such as this one. The success of this LP, however, was as much a curse as it was a blessing. Every subsequent full-length, from 2012’s Local Business to last year’s A Productive Cough, failed to meet the lofty expectations that have been set by what many consider the band’s crowning achievement. This is not for lack of merit. Titus Andronicus have maintained an impressive batting average with each release and, as evidenced by their 2015 rock opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, have been far from creatively stagnant. Still, their heartland rock-infused punk style has been one of their core-defining characteristics, and with the production chops of Hüsker Dü co-founder Bob Mould, they tread that familiar ground on their sixth studio effort, An Obelisk. (Buy: Tickets to Upcoming Titus Andronicus Shows) The Good: While Titus Andronicus have been able to achieve grandiosity without the bombastic self-importance that lesser artists would gravitate towards, An Obelisk is easily their most digestible and contained album yet. […]

Whitney announce new album, Forever Turned Around, share “Giving Up”: Stream

Whitney have announced their sophomore record, Forever Turned Around. The follow-up to their breakout debut, 2016’s Light Upon the Lake, is set for a August 30th release via Secretly Canadian. Featuring co-production from Brad Cook (Bon Iver) and Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Father John Misty), Forever Turned Around was largely recorded in Chicago. Whitney’s main duo, vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakecek, joined returning rhythm guitarist Ziyad Asrar in his basement studio for the sessions. Local artists including Lia Kohl and OHMME’s Macie Stewart also contributed to the album. (Read: Five Rising Chicago Acts You Need to Hear) A press release describes the album as being about all forms of partnership, with an emphasized focus on “the bonds between two best friends and creative partners and the joy and stress that comes with it.” While on the surface new single “Giving Up” sounds like a track about a slowly disintegrating romance, it could just as easily be interpreted as an ode to bandmates leaning on one another for support. “Though we started losing touch/ I’ve been hanging on because/ You’re the only one I love/ Even when you’re giving up,” go the lyrics. Take a listen to the new track below. [embedded […]

The Killers perform “Land of the Free” live for the first time on Kimmel: Watch

Earlier this year, The Killers released a brand new single called “Land of the Free”. Packaged with a powerful music video directed by the Spike Lee, the song saw the band taking a strong political stance regarding the America’s commitment to freedom and diversity. On Monday night, Brandon Flowers & co. performed “Land of the Free” live for the first time on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which this week is filming in the group’s hometown of Las Vegas. The live debut began with Flowers sitting and singing alone at a piano, the stage behind dim. The frontman was then later joined by his bandmates, a youth choir, and dramatic lighting to fit the soaring single. (Read: 2018 Filmmaker of the Year: Spike Lee) Additionally, The Killers’ Kimmel set included “All These Things That I’ve Done”, from their 2004 record, Hot Fuss. Replay it all down below. [embedded content] [embedded content] The Killers will also serve as Kimmel’s musical guest on Tuesday, replacing James Taylor, who was forced to cancel last minute due to illness. In his honor, The Killers’ cover of Taylor’s 1968 classic “Carolina in My Mind” (originally recorded Monday evening) will be aired. Flowers and the rest of the band are scheduled to […]

The Front Bottoms reimagine Kevin Devine’s “Just Stay” for new Devinyl Splits collaboration: Stream

Kevin Devine has announced the final addition to volume two of his Devinyl Splits Series. As a preview of the 7-inch split single, Devine has shared The Front Bottoms’ cover of his own “Just Stay”. The track comes from Devine’s 2006 LP, Put Your Ghost to Rest, and as frequent tourmates and collaborators — and close friends — The Front Bottoms are a perfect choice for the cover. Their take is searing and powerful from the start, standing in stark contrast to the original number, which opts for a simple acoustic guitar and crisp vocals. The two renditions remain consistent in their mournful tone, however, even though the avenues they use to get there are wholly different. (Read: Top 50 Cover Songs from Movies) Devine actually features on the track, while TFB serve as the accompaniment for his B-side cover of “Rhode Island” off the New Jersey folk-punk band’s 2011 self-titled debut LP. Take a listen to “Just Stay” below, and pre-order Devinyl Splits No. 12 before it’s released on March 29th via Bad Timing Records. [embedded content] For each Devinyl Split, the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter collaborates with another artist. For the second, six-part volume — which has been rolled out throughout 2018 and […]

Album Review: Stella Donnelly Takes the World to Task on Beware of the Dogs

The Lowdown: Stella Donnelly is a virtual newcomer to the musical scene, but Beware of the Dogs, a glimmering yet no-frills portrait of the political and personal realities and shortcomings of average life, makes one wonder where we ever were without her. She kicks off with an energetic push into the action with “Old Man”, before pulling back into the threads of something a little less pop, a little more indie, which guide the rest of the album. It’s a quick odyssey into a world Donnelly clearly knows well, from the delightfully acerbic family tensions in the lyrics of “Season’s Greetings” to the pinnacled mourning of “Boys Will Be Boys”. Haunting yet real and comprehensive but manageable, Beware of the Dogs is an indie folk wake-up call and a more than apt introduction to this young, fearless expert, who is quickly making herself impossible to overlook. [Buy: Tickets to Upcoming Stella Donnelly Shows] The Good: Beware of the Dogs shines in its concrete approaches to meaningful subject matter. Most markedly, Donnelly’s exasperation with the patriarchy bobs to the surface regularly across the album’s 13-track span; even in the moments when it’s not directly articulated, we feel the way that it informs […]

The Black Keys return with first song in five years “Lo/Hi”: Stream

The Black Keys are back. The garage rock duo have been everywhere over the last five years except together. Frontman Dan Auerbach has been off releasing albums with The Arcs and solo, as well as launching his Easy Eye Sound label as a home to the likes of Shannon & The Clams, Sonny Smith, and others. Meanwhile, drummer Patrick Carney has dipped into producing for artists including Tobias Jesso Jr., Tennis, Wild Belle, and Turbo Fruits, not to mention penning the BoJack Horseman theme and finding parental bliss with fiancée/collaborator Michelle Branch. Now, though, the two are finally back where they both belong: together. (Read: Ranking: Every Alternative Rock No. 1 Hit from Worst to Best) Today, The Black Keys have shared a new single called “Lo/Hi”. The track marks their first new music together since 2014’s Grammy-nominated Turn Blue. Written and produced by Auerbach and Carney themselves, the song was recorded at the former’s Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Take a listen below. [embedded content] Whether or not “Lo/Hi” is the signal of more new music on the horizon is yet to be seen. In the meantime, pick up some of The Black Keys’ past efforts on vinyl […]

Album Review: Panda Bear Takes a Calming Breath on the Immersive Buoys

The Lowdown: For Buoys, Noah Lennox’s sixth solo album as Panda Bear, he decided to slow things down. Reunited with producer and longtime collaborator Rusty Santos on their first Panda Bear record together since Person Pitch, Lennox made it a goal to explore modern methods of recording and production in his current home of Lisbon. Beginning with a sketch of vocals, guitar, and simple arrangements, he built off those using Auto-Tune and other elements of rap production to expand his sound. The result is an album that evokes the feeling of being submerged in a sensory deprivation tank, awash with sound that envelops the listener in a gentle, serene manner. Lennox’s sparsest music since Young Prayer and the early days of Animal Collective, Buoys is an immersive wonder. [Listen: Panda Bear on How Success Affected Animal Collective] The Good: Lennox is a master at crafting bright melodies that rush and overwhelm, stretching the definitions of pop music by incorporating atonal and dissonant sounds alongside sugary hooks. He stretches the syllables of words, taking the familiar and making it sound like something completely new, pairing that with tunes that sound like they could come from Gregorian chants. He gradually builds pieces […]