For Part 1 click HERE!
Hellions – Rue
Australian band Hellions has been on my radar since the 2016 Opera Oblivia. Hellions mix a lot of different musical styles with powerful lyrics. One listen is never enough to catch everything going on with the songs and this gives their albums a lot of longevity. Rue explores how our sense of self is under attack as we are assaulted daily by unreasonable expectations and comparison fueled by social media and the toxic notions of ambition that have been built in to our society. It’s a brilliant, challenging record from start to finish that is so varied in sound and influences you will find a new favorite song every listen. I’m ready to run, are you ready?
Clutch – Book of Bad Decisions
One of the biggest musical trends of 2018 has been the rise of both EPs and overall shorter albums, hearkening back toward rock releases of the 70’s. This is not the case for Book of Bad Decisions. The album isn’t a meal, it’s a banquet. And like a banquet while you may not love every dish there is so much to sample the result is a highly satisfying record from a veteran band that sounds as tight, energetic and hungry as ever. Even when the song is a crab cake recipe.
“Hot Bottom Feeder”
Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers
This is the second solo album from former(?) The Gaslight Anthem front man Brian Fallon and its also his most assured. The 2016 Painkillers is a great album but a lot closer in sound to The Gaslight Anthem or the work of his co-writer on many of the songs, Butch Walker, who also produced that album. The songs on Sleepwalkers are nearly all credited to Fallon as sole writer and there is a rawness on display that Painkillers was missing. Both are great records but Sleepwalkers feels just a touch more authentic and honest while still sounding 100% like a Brian Fallon record. I’ve seen Fallon in concert three times (once solo, twice with The Gaslight Anthem) and if you ever have a chance to see him, go! He puts on a hell of a good show.
“Forget Me Not”
Audrey Horne – Blackout
Blackout released way back in January and was still never unseated as one of the best hard rock albums of the year. If you like big riff heavy 70’s style hard rock with fist pumping choruses you will love these guys. And for all you purists, they don’t skimp on the cowbell!
Rise Against – The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1
Not just acoustic re-workings of some of the band’s biggest hits, The Ghost Note Symphonies are a revelatory view of songs re-imagined with new arrangements. The petulant tone of a song like “Savior” in its original incarnation is transformed in to a paean to a love lost. The stripped down nature of the songs removes much of the anger to find a raw, beating heart beneath the bluster. I can’t wait to hear Volume 2.
“House on Fire”
The last 5 albums are coming soon, stay tuned!