First things first: LOOK ON MY NEW COLUMN GRAPHIC, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR!
Seriously, though. It’s not half bad, coming from a guy who probably shouldn’t have been allowed to pass his college Graphic Design class.
Second things second: February was an insane month for new music. There were enough solid albums released to fill two of these roundup posts, but since I’m a nice guy who doesn’t want to go on and on and on, I’ve picked out the cream of the crop just for you. This does mean I’m probably going to have to write another Albums I Missed post in December, but I think if we all band together, we’ll get through it.
Okay, enough stalling. Let’s get to the music.
Army of Bones – Batteries / River
Technically, Batteries / River is only a single. With only two songs to its name, this is the type of release I’d hold off writing about in favor of waiting on a longer release. But this one is different. I absolutely had to write about it now, even with so many other great February releases, because that’s just how good these two songs are.
Army of Bones is the new project from former Delirious? frontman Martin Smith, and what a project it is. Simultaneously gritty and anthemic, these two Brit-rock gems are the perfect way to introduce the world to what Army of Bones is all about. We can only hope there will be many more songs to come.
Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil – Wow to the Deadness
A couple years ago, Steve Taylor made his return to Christian music as a performer. After twenty years spent running Squint Entertainment and making movies, the oddball singer-songwriter teamed up with Peter Furler (of the Newsboys), Jimmy Abegg (of A Ragamuffin Band), and John Mark Painter (of Fleming and John) to put out one of the most underrated albums of 2014 in Goliath. It was fun, quirky, and seriously great alternative rock music.
Now he’s at it again, and he’s added another familiar name to the lineup in Danielson’s Daniel Smith. If Goliath was quirky, Wow to the Deadness is outright weird. This is the kind of album you’ll either love or hate, but even if you end up in the latter camp, you have to respect Taylor’s artistry. There’s a gutsy, brazen creativity to go with the raw energy of these songs, and, at least to me, the whole vibe is just strange enough to be hypnotic.
I’ll be perfectly honest: I went into this album really wanting to like it because the first song is called Terror Bells and that’s just an awesome name for a song.
As it turns out, I would’ve liked this EP if the first song was called Boring Beige, because Figure It Out is a near-perfect collection of pop songs in the vein of Passion Pit and CHVRCHES. Each song is synth-drenched and catchy, but never too sugar-sweet, which is exactly how I like my pop.
Fifteen seconds into the latest album from multi-instrumentalist Bryce Avary, I knew I wasn’t listening to the same old Rocket Summer. There were still hints here and there of the bouncy piano-pop Avary’s fans have come to expect, but more than anything, Zoetic marks a further evolution of his sound. To get an idea of what you’re in for, take the classic Rocket Summer sound, blend it with the pop of Justin Timberlake, and add some of the punk and noise of The Pink Spiders. We’re left with a catchy, addictive, head-banging good time that should put Zoetic in the conversation for The Rocket Summer’s finest album to date.
The new album from DENS has so many of my favorite things that have nothing to do with the overall quality of an album. All caps band name! Long album title with odd yet poetic syntax! Simple and slick album design! Parallel naming conventions for song titles!
It would have been a total bummer if, after all that awesomeness, From Small Seeds Come Giant Trees didn’t connect with me, but fortunately the music is even better than the packaging. The album combines the distorted guitar walls of the shoegaze movement with the melodic sensibilities of the mid-2000’s emo movement, and then uses those tools to enhance DENS’s thoughtful, worship-focused lyrics. If you wished older Starflyer 59 wasn’t quite so noisy, or if you wished newer Jimmy Eat World was a little more so, then From Small Seeds Come Giant Trees might be for you.
Download From Small Seeds Come Giant Trees on iTunes here