Oct. 13Beck, “Colors”After a few years of teasing, Beck is finally releasing the follow-up to 2014’s critically lauded “Morning Phase,” an eclectic and uplifting burst of experimental pop that only an artist like Beck could construct and keep from falling apart under its own weight. To my ears, it’s almost a bit too happy, filled with a joviality that toes the line between sticky sweet and saccharine throughout the album to become tiresome. At the same time, some of the tracks are so goddamn strange that I’m not sure what exactly I’m supposed to be feeling. The track “Wow” is a standout, a weird reverbed-out boom-bap trap music song wrapped around a warbling synth line that would be at home with some modern hip-hop acts. There is only one definitive thing I can say about the record, and that is that it is a Beck record.
Robert Plant, “Carry Fire”Robert Plant is a rock legend who seemingly abandoned rock music wholesale. His last record, “Band of Joy,” did absolutely nothing for me. It was boring and lacked any character. “Carry Fire,” though, has character in spades. I have not heard a record more instrumentally lush in a long time; it calls to mind some of the later Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros albums, wholeheartedly embracing the mantle of world music, gathering inspiration from various walks of life. The opening track “May Queen” is a prime example, a foray into wonderful strings, droning synthesizers, naturally rhythmic drums and the soaring voice that anyone who has called themselves a music fan over the last 50 years will know.
Wu Tang, “Saga Continues”No matter your opinion on the state of the game of hip-hop, everyone stands up and listens when a new Wu album drops. This one is a proper crew album, featuring all the notable cast of characters propped up by astounding production by DJ Mathematics, who has been an unspoken hero in the tao of Wu since its inception. He even designed the W logo all those years ago. The production favors soul samples and piano, not getting bogged down by modern trappings and equipment to keep the soul of Wu Tang alive and fiery. On the few songs I’ve heard, every rapper has shined. I’m partial to Ghostface Killah myself, and always have a soft spot for RZA lines. Any fans of hip-hop won’t be disappointed with new Wu.
Spectral Voice, “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing”This is one I have been excited about for a while, as Denver-based Dark Descent Records puts out some of the best metal around. Whenever I flounder during my radio show, I know I can go to their website and find the best. “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” has been on my radar, promising some of the best suffocatingly slow riffs and howls of terror this side of a Pallbearer record. Black Sabbath worship this is not. “Corridors” is the sound of a gargantuan lovecraftian deity ripping its way through our spacetime, unconcerned for the mortal worms who look up in awe at it. At times it lurches at a languid pace, gains its footing and sprints toward the listener, then steps back with the quiet calculation of a predator dissecting its prey.
Other notable releases: St. Vincent, Dirty Heads, Pink, Billy Corgan,King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Exhumed, Enslaved, Fozzy, King Krule, Stick to Your Guns, Mychildren Mybride, Gucci Mane, Tech N9ne Collabos, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.Cooper Stapleton