New music never stops giving, so neither do we especially this week where we deliver 3 out of WELL DONE!. We’re bringing back some old school soul to nourish you throughout the week thanks to the New Born by Charles Bradley. We then deliver to you indulgent teen angst from Weezer’s return, White Album, before we slow down the tempo a bit for some stoner rock to get you through the inevitable midweek hump. It all comes peacefully together when we wrap it all up ready for the weekend with Frankie Cosmo’s Lo Fi pop melodies. Now doesn’t that make the impending week a bit easier to face?
Artist Charles Bradley
Album Title Changes
Label Daptone Records
Moments Of Sharon Jones, James Brown
Stand Out Changes, Ain’t It A Sin, Nobody But You’
They just don’t make em’ like they used to. Heart and soul seems to fall by the wayside in favour of marketability these days. Not when it comes to Florida/Brooklyn native Charles Bradley. A prime example of how to never give up on your dreams, no matter how long gone they may seem.
This one-time James Brown impersonator was discovered at the ripe old age of 62. Releasing his debut record to widespread critical acclaim soon there after. His incredible story being immortalised in the award-winning documentary, Charles Bradley: Soul Of America. Having never missed a beat since then, Changes is Charles’ 3rd record in just over 4 years through the iconic Daptone Label, a label housing some of the best session musicians in the game. Traversing through funk, deep soul and its fair share of slow jams, you hear that same, old world sound, nostalgic production and revivalist approach that Daptone are best known for.
Though flawless in execution, it’s all about that voice. That somehow, familiar voice that encapsulates everything it’s owner has been through. You can hear the pain, the struggle and the hardship but surprisingly, the most prevalent thing you hear, is this unwavering sense of optimism. Broken many times, but never beaten.
Kicking the record off with Charles’ spoken word confession of the love he has for his country. That same country that swallowed him up way back in 1948 and spat him back out. “America you’ve been real, honest, hard and sweet to me”, he confesses before passionately singing “God Bless America”.That sense of love and appreciation lays the foundation for the entirety of the record and his sentiments are completely infectious. “Its my turn to love and be loved” he shouts at the beginning of ‘Ain’t it a sin’, hands down, the funkiest moment of the record. The Album center-point and title track is Charles’ breathtaking take on the 1972 Black Sabbath song, ‘Changes’. Having been previously released as a one off 45 for record store day, it’s a perfect example of a sequel being better than the original. Charles sings “I’m going through changes in my life” with such passion that you’d be forgiven for thinking that he penned the lyrics himself.
Other than the iconic voice all over the record, it is imperative to mention the incredible horn section. Something that’s almost a given when listening to a Daptone Label Record. So warm and just so darn smooth. The outro on ‘Nobody But You’ and entire hook on ‘Change For The World’ are particularly brilliant. It’s a shame that we’ve only had 3 albums from such an amazing artist such as Charles Bradley over the years. I guess, everything happens for a reason, funnily enough, a sentiment undoubtedly shared by Charles Bradley himself.
With a record like Changes, it’s impossible not to sit back, close your eyes and be taken away to another era.
Album Title Weezer (a.k.a The White Album)
Label Crush Music
Genre Pop punk, alt rock
Moments Of The Beach Boys
Stand Out Jacked Up
Weezer just dropped their tenth studio album, self-titled ‘Weezer’ but known as The White Album. The L.A band have ruled for a massive twenty four years, creating a tough act to follow for themselves every time they release something new. This record is a big, sun bleached love letter to Weezer’s hood of Westside California so destroy your sweaters and control your brain for a triumphant return of big harmonies, wack lyrics, and fuzzy guitars in what is set to be one of the most welcomed albums of Weezer’s career.
Weezer have stayed true to their alt rock sound, enlisting L.A based producer Jake Sinclair to summon the 9’0s power pop with which they earned their glory. With a nostalgic feel that revives the sentiments of the naughties hit ‘Island in the Sun’ The White Album easily holds its own among the shredding solos and overdriven guitars of Weezer’s timeless discography. Lyrically speaking The White Album is completely transcendent. Front man/songwriter Rivers Cuomo mused that it was inspired by his love for the characters of California and is proud of the absurd yet poetic lyrics. The song writing takes The White Album to the next level, and combined with winning production it’s exciting to know that Weezer are staying fresh and sticking around.
The album fittingly starts with ‘California Kids’. This song lives in a realm of roller skates, tourists on the esplanade, disposable cameras and chicks in whitewashed denim. Cuomo is proving to be quite the Peter Pan as the well-weathered muso still pulls off singing about being a dysfunctional teenage boy falling for radiant girls.
Speaking of, third track ‘Thank God For Girls’ was the album’s first single and bears trademark punchy hook of a Weezer classic. The lyrics trace the modern male/female dynamic back to Adam’s rib being microwaved by God on ‘the popcorn setting’ to make Eve. ‘(Girl We Got A) Good Thing’ is an old school pop song, a nice nod to Cuomo’s love of the Beach Boys. The following track ‘Do You Wanna Get High’, the second single, has a massive attitude matched only by ‘L.A Girlz’. Weezer remind us of their darker Pinkerton days, these moments of gloom completing the album’s sincerity.
Although every song is a strong contender, the stand out is ‘Jacked Up’; a brilliant, angsty, tune with a fresh falsetto chorus and lyrics that talk of love, aliens and dead flowers. ‘Endless Bummer’ closes the album, an anthem for the inevitable end of a summer romance.
Summer days fly by, each one better than the last. That’s what Weezer (The White Album) feels like: track after track of bliss that you wish would never end. The band’s ability to stay relevant in a musical landscape that has completely changed since the boys brought us The Blue Album in ‘94 is a testament to their untouchable song writing and electrifying dynamics. The White Album doesn’t cling desperately to a dated sound; neither does it try too hard to keep up with the times. Instead it’s in a league of its own and can only be likened to the white light of a UFO that appears over the ocean at sunset to beam us up into Weezer’s world.
Artist: Black Mountain
Album Title: IV
Genre Spaced: Space Rock
Moments Of: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Mazzy Star
Stand Out: Line Up, Over and Over (The Chains), Mothers Of The Sun]
Vancouver born rock band Black Mountain came onto the music scene twelve years ago, establishing a strong ‘stoner’ rock name for themselves with their first 2005 EP release Druganaut . Composed of Amber Webber, Jeremy Schmidt, Stephen McBean and Joshua Wells. Since then, Black Mountain have released eight singles and three albums. With IV being their fourth album. It is safe to say that Black Mountain have ventured into the world of intertwining pop, electronic sounds with their eerie gothic sound.
The opening song ‘Mothers Of The Sun’ definitely makes a statement, at eight minutes long, the song progresses from Black Sabbath sounding thick guitar riffs, to melodic celestial synth sounds provided by Jeremy Schmidt with Amber Webber singing almost anthem like verses transports you to outer space.
IV displays many genres of sound although staying true to themselves, with long-standing chord changes and outer body drones. IV also has sporadic moments of sometimes cheesy synth and electronic pop beats which is what ‘You Can Dream’ embodies. Alternatively there are moments of slow, soft angelic melodies, which are heard in the songs ‘Line Up’, and ‘Space to Bakersfield’ shows similarities to Mazzy Star. Amber Webber and Stephen McBeans harmonization on the tracks ‘Defector’ and ‘Constellations’ compliment the variations within the tempered electronic sounds.
Black Mountain has definitely progressed into, what some would call, modern music on IV. Allowing themselves the space to experiment with their once staple rock sound. With the tracks making you feel uncomfortably numb, IV is a very cosmic album, giving the listener an almost outer body experience.
Artist Frankie Cosmos
Album Title Next Thing
Label Double Double Whammy
Genre Lo-fi Pop
Moments Of Kimya Dawson, Girlpool
Stand Out Fool, Outside with the Cuties, Sappho, I’m 20
The sophomore album, Next Thing, has shot Frankie Cosmos to new lo-fi pop heights. New Thing is a world away from her 2014 debut album Zentropy. The sound has developed into a more rounded out, garage pop vibe but still retains the teen dream, almost spoken word vocals, that gives Frankie Cosmos such a memorable sound.
Growing up in New York as the daughter of Hollywood actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, Greta Kline has an inherent link to the entertainment business. As a musician, Kline has not followed a conventional instead crafting a beautiful, intimate sound in Frankie Cosmos that defies mainstream musical culture.
The lyrics on this album are about real human emotion and concerns of a young artist. The album discusses the trials of being a young musician in contemporary society. On the song ‘I’m 20’ opens with the line “I’m 20 / Washed up already” confronting the fragility of careers in the music industry and her own youth. At the same time Kline just as easily sings about young love and heartbreak in a way that is hard not to relate to as she sings “Where should I kiss you / If I could kiss you” in her song “On The Lips” or “You make me feel like a fool, waiting for you” in “Fool”.
The dichotomy between Kline’s songs about common themes of young love and those that deal with issues and fears unique to her creates an intense sense of intimacy throughout the album. The highly personal lyrics make it feel as if you’re hearing a musical reading of Kline’s diary. For example her track ‘Sinister’ opens with the lines “My soul is not like a water park, it’s big but surprisingly dark.” These endearing, twee and simple lyrics are similar to those of Kimya Dawson, however Frankie Cosmos has a fuller, more emotional sound.
New Thing has a different sound Frankie Cosmos’ 2014 debut album Zentropy. Frankie Cosmos’ sound has greatly matured in the time between the albums. The production has developed to create a grungier, more garage and increasingly punk sound. Kline’s signature short, snappy tracks have carried on from Zentropy with most tracks around two minutes long. Her lyrics are just as minimal with choruses rarely repeated more than once. The simplicity and refined natures of her lyrics ensure that they stick with you almost instantly. If you were the star of an indie film this album would be your soundtrack.
New Thing is young, emotional and blissful and not to be missed.