August has certainly proved a vibrant month for rock. In the second August edition of ‘New Releases,’ let me take you through four fascinating releases: Rainier Fog by Alice In Chains, Future Me Hates Me by The Beths, Performance by White Denim, and Go to School by The Lemon Twigs.
Rainier Fog by Alice In Chains
In the early 90’s, the Seattle grunge movement brought a stellar collection of bands to the fore. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, Alice In Chains became one of the scene’s most famous bands. Rainier Fog, their sixth studio album, proves that the band’s dark and alternative metal spirit is still glowing.
Drone is a brilliant track that is reminiscent of Black Sabbath and that trailblazing sound. Maybe is more melodic and plays into the dark fantasies of the album in a way that is tantalising, emotional, and desolate. Alternatively, the title track is the album’s most positive touch. The uplifting Rainier Fog really reminds you that you can move on towards better times. Plus, it really displays the excellent vocal harmonies of Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall. Standing as a beautiful tribute to Chris Cornell and Layne Staley, Never Fade is comforting.
Future Me Hates Me by The Beths
On the 10th August, New Zealand indie band The Beths released their debut album. This new band beautifully blend the spaces of misery and darkness with those that beam with energy and warmth – with the latter of these moods coming from their spirited rock sound and playful lyrics. The band’s lovely lead vocals come from Elizabeth Stokes, and her vocal style warmly reminds me of Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) and Kim Wilde.
The title track, Future Me Hates Me, has a very 90’s sound, paired with the excitement and uncertainty that brews with a new summer romance. Uptown Girl is the ultimate song to play before a night out – its energetic and humorous nature makes it easily enjoyable. One of my favourites is Little Death, a raw track which explores how vulnerable we can feel when we fall for someone. It beautifully pairs the life, excitement, and passion we feel from love with the numbing sensations, risk, and confusion that comes with it. Another highlight from the album is the troubled Whatever, which explores the internally churning and chaotic kind of love that can become destructive. I cannot wait to hear their future releases.
Performance by White Denim
Yesterday, psychedelic rockers White Denim released their eighth studio album. The groovy Performance is a fun mix of classic psychedelia and Southern rock. It is so upbeat and apt for a summer of fun. The guitar riffs are the album’s crown jewels, with each and every one of them helping to make Performance an infectious and entertaining collection of feel-good tracks.
The stylish bass grooves along in Magazin, where the dub edits and psychedelic vocals of frontman James Petralli particularly shine through. The blues-esque It Might Get Dark warmly reminds us of that classic Rolling Stones sound. Its chaotic change of tempos also makes it an exhilarating track to follow. The same goes for Sky Beaming, which sees the band experiment with retro synths. If you want a song that includes a minute of instrumental experimentation, then make sure you check it out! One of the album’s best tracks is Good News, which gleams with excellent vocals from the frontman and guitar solos that immediately take your spirits to new heights. Overall, if you want a groovy and experimental rock album to listen to, then Performance could be the one for you.
Go to School by The Lemon Twigs
Scheduled to support Arctic Monkeys on tour next month, The Lemon Twigs are a young rock band fronted by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario. Their entertaining sound consists of reworkings of that classic 60s to 70s baroque pop and art-rock sound. Think The Beatles, The Raspberries, and Supertramp combined, and yet, you would have only decoded a part of the puzzle. Essentially, Go to School is as bizarre as it is admirable. The mammoth 16-track concept album is about a chimpanzee, called Shane, who is raised as a human boy. However, this strange narrative has another dimension: the album orchestrates Shane’s journey through the many emotions that we all experience when growing up.
The Student Becomes The Teacher has some lovely strings, and stands itself as a cool back to school track. Rock Dreams includes vocals by the mother of Michael D’Addario. This spirited and bitter track about a failed rock musician provides us with the perspective of Shane’s mother. The beautiful and gentle Lonely, written by Michael when he was 15, explores the feeling of loneliness many kids feel at school. Located in the last quarter of the album, Born Wrong/Heart Song is the album’s tribute to the family’s love of musical theatre. It is climactic, theatrical, and a real tantrum of a song!
In Part 3 next week, I will be looking at the new releases from the following: Interpol, Mitski, Death Cab for Cutie, and Our Girl. Keep an eye out!
For my previous New Releases post, click here.
From Sophia with Love x