The Best Pick’s Monthly Audiophile | January 2017
Put your best AUDIOPHILE forward
Each month brings a lot of new albums. Some are of note, whether they’re good or bad – but you don’t always have time to sort through them yourself. This is where my Best Picks Audiophile steps in to do the work for you! So, let’s look at the Music of January – I’ve even thrown a playlist together for ya to sample a bit of each album!
Follow with me!
Fleece – Voyager
Montreal’s fleece have released several great albums already but this is by far the band’s defining moment. On Voyager the band finds the perfect balance between jazz, psych-rock, pop and aggressive rhythms mixed in with their harmonies to craft an album that flows elegantly from top to bottom, never lulling on the way. Begging for repeat listens the album even works for intense listens and background music alike. The shifting sounds on the record keep it fresh every time and overall the sonic exploration on this album never disappoints.
Ty Segall – Ty Segall
It’s hard to expect anything less than fun from Ty Segall, especially this far into his career. Considering the sheer volume of his discography the fact that most of his records just work shouldn’t really be a surprise. He blends classic-rock overtones on some really intense alt-rock jams, occasionally over-indulging into some longer tracks. The record is a solid entry that doesn’t quite reach Manipulator levels of greatness while pushing his distorted sound further than the past along with a riff on “Freedom” that sounds all too much like something from “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” The album never fizzles but ultimately it struggles to blow minds as well.
Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
The DC punk quartet finally releases a follow-up to their 2014 record and they surpassed all expectations. After a shorter release, this full-length evolves the band’s sound perfectly. giving a noticeable maturity to their sound without losing all the edge and grit that made them so great. A fun record from top to bottom it up its ante on political commentary. While the album could have been even more raw, the subtle touches the band used to evolve their sound are more than enough.
Austra – Future Politics
The new album, by Toronto’s favourite vibrato-heavy synth pop artist, is also her most ambitious. The dystopian centered album interestingly reflects its production in both Montreal and Mexico City, with notable changes in mood throughout the album. Unintentionally predicting the rise of a Trump-style politician – it was almost spooky when it released on his inauguration. The amazing instrumentation and composition along with some of the best vocal work Katie Stelmanis has done leave it as a powerful dance album, that moves as much as it forces you to think.
Foxygen – Hang
Coming off of their lackluster …And Star Power, this album was about the most refreshing return to form you could ask for. Going minimal on length and maximal on ambition, Rado and France are back at the top of their game. Mixing influences from the Rolling Stones and E.L.O, the band pushes their retro limits for an album that emulates the feel of that symphonic rock without ever being too derivative. Their pushes into stranger influences like Richard Harris and Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” make for some interesting and occasionally abrasive moments but altogether this is one Foxygen record to restore your faith in them again on record.
Run The Jewels – RTJ3
Lightning Round Reviews:
The xx – I See You: Ultimately a strong record for the band, with a consistent feel and groove that will wow fans but may sound too similar to the unconverted.
Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound: While maybe not as strong a record as I See You, this album brings post-punk to the kids that never latched on. Strong guitar tone exploration and vocals that pull in without going to cliché screams of the genre.
Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness: While it may seem less sonically interesting the overwhelming amount of emotion on this more acoustically toned record will charm people from all fandoms, with more sound exploration than you’d expect.
The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody: While it’s hard to not be a little disappointed by this record when comparing it to the heady majesty of The Terror and Embryonic. There’s still enough passion from Wayne Coyne and audio genius from Steven Drozd to make it worth a listen to the audiophile. Also, check out Mykki Blanco.
Come back next month for the February edition of the Owen Maxwell Best Picks Monthly Audiophile.