- Weezer The White Album
With each new album, Weezer has a polarizing effect on its listeners. The praises of glory-day releases like Pinkerton are countered by a bounty of justified criticisms. The “return-to-form” Everything Will Be Alright In the End was too quickly assigned its moniker, as many tracks feel just too on the nose and over the top…even for Rivers Cuomo and company. On the flip side, albums with terrible reviews (Make Believe, The Red Album, Raditude) all have amazing singles hidden somewhere in the track listings that fans adore. This new album, which continues the self-titled color scheme motif, eeks above the mediocre pile and sits somewhere around The Green Album in terms of overall greatness. The tunes are catchy and none of them beg to be avoided. If “inoffensive” is Weezer’s new game plan, then count me in. I miss the middle-of-the-road rock tunes Cuomo pens. There here in spades.
Standout Track: “Jacked Up”
2. Gallant Ology
Electronic R&B has a new contender: Gallant. The power falsetto the singer brings is countered with bassy, thudding drum rhythms and thick synth chords. Gallant’s style is a more direct throw-back to 90s era slow-jam R&B than, say, The Weeknd’s pop appeal or How to Dress Well’s alternative lane.
Standout Track: “Bone + Tissue”
3. Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid
Aesop Rock has the most commanding voice in hip-hop. Lots of rappers lean heavily on the production to create a compelling listening experience. Aesop Rock could rap with just a metronome and it would still hold strong as an effective art piece. Because of his overbearing tone, I have found Aesop’s side projects more digestible as he gets to share the microphone with other contributors (e.g. Hail Mary Mallon’s Rob Sonic, The Uncluded’s Kimya Dawson, and the collaborative EP Lice with Homeboy Sandman). On his newest full-length solo project, Aesop tells us amusing tales and showcases his deep lexicon. It’s all fairly even-keeled from track to track and the full-length music video is a lovely visual paring.
Standout Track: “Lotta Years”
4. Big Black Delta Trágame Tierra
80’s synth dance music might never die. And that’s alright. Big Black Delta’s new LP has some sounds that are ripped straight from a 1980’s Hollywood montage scene. Kimbra makes a haunting appearance on the Halloween-esque tune “Bitten by the Apple” and Debbie Gibson lends her vocals to the very dancy “RCVR.” A lot of fun for the dance floor on this release.
Standout Track: “Kid Icarus”
Other Solid Releases: Frankie Cosmos Next Thing; Gwen Stafani This is What The Truth Feels Like, Deftones Gore, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Fields PersonA, Suuns Hold/Still