A new year will bring a few new directions in this blog. The first is that, due to time and other obligations, the reviews will now be monthly, at varying times during the month. This will help me keep it focused and not as random as they have been. That being said, it has been a tremendous month for music with many new releases and news of upcoming albums. And we commence:
Bad Religion - True North
On this, the band's 16th album, Bad Religion rely on some old tricks. It is one of their shortest since 1988's Suffer, and maybe this is a good thing. Previous albums did have some filler tracks. (their last two especially), and the band has trimmed the fat. This record is one of their best since 1992's Generator. Tracks such as Robin Hood In Reverse, True North, and Everybody Knows. Greg Graffin has a degree in zoology and teaches at UCLA, and Bad Religion's trademark dictionary like vocabulary is still intact. You won't find many albums nowadays with words such as plutocrat, and declination. It's incredible that even at their old age, they still manage to make awesome music and have such energy.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
Nick Cave has several incarnations. the crazed screecher on the Birthday Party, the crooner and sometimes poet with the Bad Seeds, and the loud rock of Grinderman. This album, the band's 15th album recalls albums such as The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part. It's worth noting that this is their first album without Mick Harvey, who has been the Bad Seeds guitarist of nearly 30 years. Warren Ellis really shines on this album, and you can hear lush strings and lots of flutes. The first single, We No Who U R, is built on a drum machine, and sees Nick being the crooner once again. Another highlight is Jubilee Street, which is about a murdered prostitute (which would fit in on Murder Ballads), and one of my favorites is the song Higgs Boson Blues, in which Nick Cave makes references to everything from Lucifer, to Robert Johnson to Hanna Montana. Theses songs supposedly came about from "random Googling and reading wikipedia entries" and it's a fitting tribute to our information age, and sees Nick mellowing out, but still rocking. The closing title track may be one of the most beautiful songs Nick has ever done,and one of the best closers to an album ever. One word to describe this: hallucinogenic.