The Hold Steady have never been big on “happy” songs. But, somehow Craig Finn and his gang always found a way to see hope in the lost and downtrodden souls that find themselves a subject of the band’s songs. This hope however, is almost nonexistent in their new album Teeth Dreams.
After the first collaborative song between Freddie Gibbs and Madlib was released in 2009, it was apparent that the two artists were working closely together on a new project. And finally, in 2014, their joint album has been released. Combining Madlib’s smooth-sampled 70’s beats with Gibbs’ gruff flow the duo released their album to not much fanfare. Although the songs “Thuggin,” “Shame” and “Real” were all released previously to acclaim, not much buzz has grown around this album. But hopefully it will, as it is fantastic.
Last week, Montreal post-rock group Silver Mt. Zion released their newest album Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything and the LP is a fresh entry in the group’s discography and shows the evolution of the their sound.
Silver Mt. Zion is an off-shoot of Polaris-winning and punctuation aficionados Godspeed You! Black Emperor. GY!BE can be called the current kings of the post-rock genre fans of both of these groups would be familiar with the political nature of frontman Efrim Menuck’s music. This LP as with the other more recent releases from Silver Mt. Zion incorporates vocals of Menuck and the rest of the group to convey their image of a crumbling society that may be past redemption. With tracks titled “Austerity Blues” and “Little Ones Run” the group isn’t holding back in its depiction of a world that’s falling apart at its seams. The vocals on this LP may be off-putting to long time GY!BE fans but Menuck’s vocals have pleasantly evolved into a great accompaniment to the heavy layering of sound that the group known for.
Aloe Blacc is best known for his hit song “I Need A Dollar,” his last album, Good Things, was released in 2010. Good Things featured some strong songs and revealed Aloe Blacc as a funky, soulful singer that has an ability to write impactful lyrics, a gem to this generation of music. Aloe Blacc’s latest release was motivated by the success of DJ Avicci’s single “Wake Me Up!” which featured uncredited vocals from Aloe Blacc. Wake Me Up-EP is not the full-length album fans were hoping for, but the EP’s five songs pack quite a punch. The lyrics and themes on the EP are creative and meaningful; the production is stellar and at times almost steals the show from Blacc’s lyrics. Wake Me Up-EP was released in October but has not been charting well till recently. The strongest tracks on the EP are “The Man” and “Wake Me Up,” these songs set a tone that the rest of the tracks fail to match. The EP’s commercial success is going to be driven by its leading tracks, and while the proceeding tracks don’t surpass the initial two they should not be ignored.