A live album by New Model Army was not expected, but I’ll take it. They have pushed the boundaries of punk since 1980, and this album is another example of how they outgrew the punk label. How many punk bands bring an orchestra with them? New Model Army was never just a three-chord band bashing things out with youthful recklessness; thoughtful songwriting and darker dynamics have always been a part of who they are. This album makes perfect sense given the breadth of their work, as it’s not the first time strings have played a role in their songs.
Ever since their debut album, Feel Something, blew up in 2017, the massive surge of dedicated fans have held Southern California post-hardcore and emo band Movements to a high standard when it comes to follow-up material. As the group grows older, their music continues to grow with them, as made evident with their 2020 release No Good Left To Give, and now their third full-length album, RUCKUS! (Fearless Records). While the band is no longer the same sad boys they started out as, there are still pieces of their old selves mixed into their new, matured evolution, with RUCKUS! about to elicit a peculiar balance of dancing, moshing, and crying.
Saint Agnes, from the UK, spark the fires of aggression with Alt. Nu-groove album Bloodsuckers (Spinefarm Records). The band fits within the label’s ranks with ease alongside acts that have their own vision,but crossover appeal such as Sleep Token, Atreyu, and Killing Joke. Add in a Mimi Barks cameo (the short and ferocious ‘Body Bag’) and a Sean Bevan production boost on the semi-glossy ‘Follow You’ and this record has the potential to be a Summer ’23 pit starter.
With how common it has become for strong artists to get watered down by overproduction, it is refreshing to hear some raw, straightforward garage rock made solely for the love of music. Cardiff-based quintet James And The Cold Gun recorded their self-titled debut album (Loosegroove Records) from their very own garage, bringing an astute balance of polish and roughness – in other words, pure rock n’ roll.
Turn On. Tune In. Drop Out. That’s the overarching feeling with the newest Greta Van Fleet, Starcatcher (Lava/Republic Records). Starcatcher has swirling browns and oranges reminiscent of the seventies. It evokes lava lamps and black light posters. There is an earthiness to Starcatcher, a richness in tone. It’s an album that is felt as much as it is listened to. Starcatcher’s sound is as close to analog as you can get in this digital age.
Venerated singer-songwriter PJ Harvey has returned with her tenth album, the first since her 2016 release The Hope Six Demolition Project. This new record is entitled I Inside the Old Year Dying (Partisan Records) and Harvey has once again collaborated with producers Flood and John Parish.
John Mayer once referred to a budding alternative rock vocalist as “the great orange hope” in reference to her hair color at the time of the Riot! album cycle; Mayer was nodding to none other than Paramore’s eccentric powerhouse, Hayley Williams. It can’t be a coincidence that those who hit the ground running don fiery locks that set the stage ablaze – LA’s pop-rock duo Honey Revenge has poured the gasoline and they’re holding a lit match.
Ayron Jones delivers blockbusting, heartbreaking, beautiful, and bluesy rock ‘n’ roll on Chronicles Of The Kid (Big Machine/John Varvatos Records). “I came for the title,” he sings. “I got a word to my rivals.” The verdict? If it’s a matter of survival, this kid’s still standing.
Our favorite desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age are back just in time for the weather to heat up. The quintet have been building friction for the last few months, teasing fans with cryptic, eye-catching clips of gluttony and pleasure that hinted at big things on the horizon. Six years have flown by since their dance-rock album Villains and fans can breathe a sigh of relief with the announcement of their swanky and suave In Times New Roman… (Matador Records).
Ronnie James Dio. David Bowie. Dimebag Darrell. Lemmy. Jeff Hanneman. John Lennon. Kurt Cobain. Layne Staley. Trevor Strnad.
We all know where we were when we first heard they had died.