Placebo – Loud Like Love (UMe) – Placebo’s main man Brian Malko describes their sixth studio album as “hard pop”, which sums up this vital, energetic and catchy record very well. The mix by veteran Alan Moulder (NIN, MBV, Smashing Pumpkins) highlights a killer 90’s wall of guitar sound, but the main vibe that hits me is the love of life and positivity emanating from this batch of songs. To quote Malko again: “We’ve made a record about choosing life, about choosing to live, about stepping out of the darkness and into the light. Not necessarily turning your back on the darkness because it’s there, it’s essential; it’s a part of who you are, but more about the choice of standing in the sunlight instead.”
Video: “Loud Like Love”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi_AJxsdOKo
MGMT – “MGMT” (Columbia) – If this was their first record, MGMT would be riding critical acclaim for their unique, psychedelic approach to pop songwriting. Alas, they’ve been having trouble overcoming high expectations ever since their first awesome offering, and while this is a good album, full of interesting sounds, it’s a bit uneven and meandering, and doesn’t top that first effort.
Video: “Your Life Is A Lie”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cye-1RP5jso
Mark Lanegan – “Imitations” (Vagrant) – The latest record from this smoky-voiced crooner is a covers album, yes – a covers album. Believe it or not, Lanegan tackles Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone”, Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice”, Nick Cave’s “Brompton Oratory”, and Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife”, among others. His voice really stands out due to the wise choice of using restrained, acoustic-based instrumentation. If you’re like me and you love Lanegan’s voice, I would get this record if only to hear him wrap his whiskey coated vocals around these classic tunes.
Video: “Mack The Knife”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4S-WWL5Zq8
Sebadoh – “Defend Yourself” (Joyful Noise/Domino) – The original line-up of Lou Barlow, Jason Lowenstein and Bob D’Amico is back after 14 years, with a return to their classic DIY sound, doing this one all by themselves. Barlow says of the band’s resurrected sound, “We kept to ourselves during the recording & didn’t have much, if any, outside intervention. That, to my mind, makes it a true Sebadoh record & aligns the style of Defend Yourself with our early releases.” I couldn’t agree more and highly recommend this record if you’re a fan of their earlier stuff!
Video: “I Will”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9le5NEroLg
Other Notable Releases:
El-P & Killer Mike – Run The Jewels (Fool’s Gold)
The Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves (Republic)
Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note)
Grouplove – Spreading Rumors (Atlantic)
– Mark Reback for The Independent FM