Bass Drum of Death – Rip This (Innovative Leisure; 2014)
by Mia Pearson
For first-time listeners of Bass Drum of Death, you’ll first be slapped by John Barrett’s guitar which has overdrive cranked to 11. That’s exactly how all of Rip This sounds—it’s completely driven by glass shattering heavy guitar that only occasionally pauses to let this infamous “bass drum” be heard. Rip This rips your eardrums apart in a good way: Barrett’s boyish punk vocals are angry enough to ascend the brawny guitar’s distortion, and on a song like “Sin Is In 10,” Barrett adds some cute and mean harmonies.
He has an inimitable knack for writing an album full of the catchiest tunes in town, and has established an instantly recognizable sound.
However, BBoD’s sound hasn’t changed whatsoever since 2011’s GB city or 2013’s self titled album. Barrett plays it way too safe throughout, sticking to the same song formula, which leaves the songs one dimensional and hard to tell apart. Instead of being all about the chase, Barrett should come up with catchy licks, add some atmospheric wailing guitars, or, like, hire a flute player for good measure.
Trial Track: “For Blood”
The Twilight Sad- Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave (Fat Cat Records; 2014)
by Jessica Romera
The Twilight Sad’s fourth LP to date, Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave sees the disintegration of a toxic relationship. The Scottish three-piece start off with “There’s A Girl In The Corner”, highlighting feelings of isolation and setting a somber tone for the rest of the album. The shoegaze style of guitar playing and reverb is at the forefront of most of the tracks, along with a darkly brooding melancholia. Comparisons to The Cure are easily felt on tracks like “It Never Was The Same” and “I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want” with frontman James Graham’s echoey vocals. Though a raw display of human emotion is felt through the deep basslines and percussion, the album’s gloom can become overwhelming, and at times suffocatingly so. Ultimately, there is no resolution for this downward spiral of a relationship, but The Twilight Sad manage to accurately capture every moment of this cruel twist of fate.
Trial Track: “I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want”
Allo Darlin’ – We Come From the Same Place (Slumberland: 2014)
by Oneida Crawford
Fresh from Australia, Allo Darlin’s We Come From the Same Place was released Oct. 6 on Slumberland Records. We Come From the Same Place starts with a relaxing ukulele and guitar ballad. Then, it gradually progresses from a few fun and gentle tracks to a slightly punk-esque vibe, especially noticeable on track seven, “Half Heart Necklace.” Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Morris’ charming vocals are clear and calming, with a subtle twang of her Aussie accent. The lyrics tell stories of love, travelling, and nostalgia. While the album overall is slightly repetitive and thus not terribly exciting in that sense, it is worth a listen for those who enjoy simpler indie-folk, or singer-songwriter tunes. We Come From the Same Place is highly recommended to fans of bands like This is Ivy League and Laura Marling for similarities in style.
Title track: “We Come From the Same Place”
The Budos Band – Burnt Offering (Daptone; 2014)
by Paul Traunero
Marked as a clear departure from The Budos Band’s previous three enumerated self-titled releases, Burnt Offerings introduces an unexpected genre into the band’s instrumental afro-funk mix: doom metal.
Drawing clear influence from psychedelic rock and early heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, Burnt Offerings is spooky, funky and savage. Its distorted guitar, heavy metal drumming and eerie organ add a primordial and almost occult vibe to the band’s signature afro-funk horns, while a funky bass that underlines the album.
While still borrowing from their signature Fela Kuti-inspired jazz funk style, the The Budos Band have expanded their sound to better reflect their live show and full-band dynamic. Though some purists may be turned off by the new direction, Burnt Offerings is a refreshingly passionate vision from a band that has been playing it safe for far too long.
Trail Track: “The Sticks”