Cursive "Get Fixed (15 Passenger)"
A scant year since the release of Vitrola, Cursive are back with a whole new album! Also, I don’t use the word “scant” enough. In fact, I don’t think the word “scant” makes it out of cookbooks and into general language enough. Its a nice word. You know what else is a nice word? Get Fixed (15 Passengers)! Yeah, I know its two words. But with a release schedule as furious as Cursive’s newly found ferocity, its hard to keep up! What you need to know here is the band had some songs that were written during the sessions for their last album (remember, scant year?) and fleshed out for what feels like a companion album yet stands alone as a WHOLE NEW CURSIVE ALBUM ONE YEAR LATER. Check out “Barricades” and see what I mean!
Chris Farren "Born Hot (Polyvinyl)"
Few artists have equally keen ears for melodies and humor-Chris Farren definitely belongs in this category. No, his Polyvinyl debut isn’t a comedy album or anything-but with a name like Born Hot you have to expect at least a little humor. Well, if you do you won’t be disappointed. But if you are only expecting jokey songs then you will be disappointed as Chris is a gifted songwriter/performer and Born Hot is the record he was born to record. Quirky arrangements, pop punk attitude, singable choruses, this is a feel-good record about feeling bad about yourself. A tricky balancing act to be sure, but he does it with aplomb. Check out the positively danceable “Search 4 Me.” This really harkens back to a time (the 80s) when taking yourself too seriously was a no-no. So have some fun and dig in!
The Building "Petra (Concord Records)"
Multi-instrumentalist Anthony LaMarca, best known as the guitarist for The War On Drugs, has returned with another album as The Building-his main solo project. Though the recording of this album was not ideal (it was during the sessions that his Multiple Myeloma returned) Petra is, in fact, an ideal record. Stunningly beautiful songs with autumnal arrangements are the name of the game here. Like the frame of a building (Pulitzer please), The Building’s music is fragile like acoustic Neil Young and Bill Callahan. Recorded in his hometown of Youngstown, OH and bonus points for the album being named for his dog, Petra (the album) as pretty as music can get. Check out “Life Half Lived.”
Emptyset "Blossoms (Thrill Jockey)"
Blossoms (Thrill Jockey), the latest release from Emptyset, is a tough one to describe. Thankfully, someone with far more intimate knowledge has already done the heavy lifting:
Blossoms was generated entirely from the output of a neural network based artificial intelligence system. Developed over eighteen months through conversations with an international network of programmers working at the cutting edge of sound synthesis, Emptyset arrived at a system powerful and intelligent enough to create original complex structures of audio. Blossoms explores the dissonance between organic processes and machine learning principles, creating unsettling and uncanny sonics that give voice to non-human intelligence. Taking inspiration from cybernetics and literature, the album allowed Emptyset to further their explorations into generative composition and elemental aspects of sound, creating a system that was both inspiring and disconcerting in its behavior and results – opening up vast new possibilities and sonic worlds whilst simultaneously collapsing their previous methods of production.
See! I wasn’t fooling around! Check out “Blade” and see what I… er… Thrill Jockey means!