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Albums of the Week

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Pity Sex
“Feast of Love”
Run For Cover, June 2013

Britty Drake and Brennan Greaves’ dark vocals add a touch of ’90’s grunge nostalgia to Pity Sex’s new album. The lyrics from the opening track, “Wind-Up,” set up the overall theme: disconnecting. “Don’t come too close/Don’t try and know me/cause there’s nothing to know/Wind me up and let me go.”

This shoegaze group from Ann Arbor, Michigan, reels in new fans with their mysterious, “don’t bother me” attitude. I can definitely feel a bit of Sonic Youth influence on this album; it contains the same ambient sound and angsty attitude in their lyrics. “Wind Up” speeds up the album and gives it a tad more of a punk vibe. Run For Cover Records represents a few punk bands, like The Wonder Years and Citizen, each of whom released an album in 2013. “Feast of Love” will join them in the victory club.

The 1975
The 1975
Dirty Hit/Polydor, Sept. 2

The 1975 has been juggling ambient and pop music since the formed in 2002. Though they’ve released four EP’s, “Self Entitled” is their first album release. It begins with a really slow and calm intro, only to be contrasted by the album’s fast, stimulating songs jumbled in between.

Their music always evokes a definite ’80s feel, like something heard in “The Breakfast Club” or “Pretty in Pink.” The most memorable track contains fun, catchy rhythms, lyrics and percussive work, as heard on the singalong, “Chocolate” (which appeared on their previous EP “Music For Cars”). I suspect their use of mixing confidence and experimentation will make it one that teenagers can relate to.

Drug Church
Paul Walker
Run For Cover, July 2013

Drug Church creates probably their most edgy, aggressive, post-hardcore album to date. An explosion of angry sound, they somehow put together heavy guitar riffs, lots of yelling and pulsating drums to make a great album. “Paul Walker” contains a lot of rough riffs and distortion, but the lyrics give the listener a vision of a less-than idyllic life. The album artwork solidifies it with a picture of kid in his birthday hat and a clown behind him, as he cries in unhappiness. It perfectly paints the picture of their track “Attending A Cousin’s Birthday Party,” mimicking a party gone wrong.

“Paul Walker,” which reflects the ’90’s NYHC era, does not contain whiny lyrics like most modern hardcore albums. Drug Church looks to be on their way to making hardcore music cool again.

Grouplove
“Spreading Rumours”
Atlantic, September 2013

Grouplove looks like such a happy band; in all of their pictures, at least one band member has a huge grin on his face. Listeners can hear the passion and love they put into their music; overall, Grouplove offers an example of what bands should strive to do: have fun. Their 2011 single “Tongue Tied” seems to define them. Cheerful and pleasing to the ear, “I’m With You” entices. “Raspberry” remains one of my favorites and starts with low bass before transforming into a memorable chorus.

The progression of the album manages to pull in the listener to realize each song becomes better than the last. Many artists make a major mistake by putting their best tracks in the beginning and the rest of the album fades. Grouplove’s last track “Save The Party For Me” is the perfect closing track: long vocal notes, acoustic musicianship and a slower in pace.

Even better, Grouplove’s keyboardist Hannah Hooper designs their album covers, merchandise, backdrops, website and animates video, as seen in “Borderlines and Aliens.” She also sings more on this album than before.

“Spreading Rumours” amasses great energy—even better than “Never Trust a Happy Song.”

MGMT
“Self-Titled”
Columbia, September 2013

MGMT’s “Alien Days,” from their newly minted self-titled release, actually came out on Free Record Store day, April 20th. Fittingly, it evokes an unearthly sound. Known for their eccentric, experimental sounds and artsy style, “Alien Days” isn’t for everyone, but it can expand many horizons for those unfamiliar with their work.

“Alien Days” defines the album altogether, as it sounds like an acid trip: synthesizers shrieking with low bass, mixed together with an uneven pop of turbulence. “Mystery Disease” gives off the allure of a sci-fi alien movie. “Your Life Is A Lie” basks in repetitive flair and too much cowbell.

None of the tracks on the album fill out harmonic rhythm. Fans looking to hear a redux of “Time To Pretend”, “Electric Feel” or “Kids” most likely will be let down. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of MGMT’s new album; it definitely isn’t for everybody. For fans of cerebral electronica, this may be for you.

(Aside: MGMT released an album trailer a little over a week ago, which features lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden showing up late to recordings. He was attacked by a possum. The band finds some sort of spy bug and the trailer diverts to really weird territory.)

Balance and Composure
“The Things We Think We’re Missing”
No Sleep, September 2013

Balance and Composure’s 2011 “Separation” remains a favorite because they’re a band that can put a modern twist to rock ‘n’ roll but not make it sound lame. To match the success of 2011, they’re following up with “The Things We Think We’re Missing.” And it hits the mark.

The opening track “Parachutes” literally bursts with aggression and leads straightforward into the album. So much happens within the song, it may take a listener a few times to capture it all: backup vocals, background sound, change in beats, etc.

It is apparent Balance and Composure put a lot of thought into the album. They successfully craft something beautiful, with overtures of ’90s grunge and rock bands.

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