New at Southwest Sound: April 28

by Cooper Stapleton

April 28Gorillaz, “Humanz”The big one for the summer, and possibly the rest of the year, is finally here: Gorillaz’s glorious return. Once the track list came out, I was worried about it feeling bogged down. I wasn’t a fan of “Plastic Beach” and thought that it had entirely too much whatnot that wasn’t actually Damon Albarn singing songs. And don’t get me started on “The Fall.” Regardless, I went in with high hopes, because, recent output notwithstanding, Albarn knows how to put together a song. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. Though nothing will ever hit the high of “Demon Days” ever again, there are some outstanding moments on “Humanz.” As a huge Pusha T fan, “Let Me Out” was a massive highlight, even though it was a quick two-and-a-half minute burst. Some of the tracks felt a little superfluous, or could’ve ended sooner. The one thing I don’t like about the more recent Gorillaz is how it’s moved so far away from being a concentration of Albarn’s experimental output and become basically a massive mixtape of people he likes working with. Some might not be put off by that but the lack of cohesiveness is off-putting to me.

Thurston Moore, “Rock N Roll Consciousness”Do you like noise rock and/or being bummed out? Hurray! Me, too! Let’s hang out and stare at our cellphones and listen to the new album from Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. All I needed to hear before getting excited about this one was the 45-second loop he had on his YouTube channel and I was hooked. “Rock N Roll Consciousness” is moody post rock at its very best, and I can’t wait for other people to be able to hear it. Where everyone else’s summer music is probably going to be Kendrick’s “DAMN” or whatever that last Drake album is called, this is my type of summer music, as moody and muggy as a sunset at that long, green park by the river.

Dimmu Borgir, “Forces of the Northern Night”Oh, Dimmu Borgir. You used to scare the shit out of me. They were the first black metal band I ever laid my ears and eyes on and I was immediately infatuated. The corpse paint, the spikes, the boots, and the sheer grandeur of it all. “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” made black metal fans out of an entire generation that heard that song, and this live album allowed me to relive that experience anew. Performing with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra lends the performance far more gusto than the records ever gave, and gives the truest experience of Dimmu Borgir’s music out there. I don’t listen to them much anymore, but this record brought me back to being 15 and being really excited to find some way to rebel that felt genuine to who I am.

Mark Lanegan, “Gargoyle”Speaking of moody summer music, here is the new one from ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan. I’ve been on a big Sisters of Mercy kick lately, and this one is just about scratching that itch so I can stop annoying my girlfriend by repeatedly playing goth classic “Floodland.” “Gargoyle” is a contender for taking that spot. Lanegan’s voice isn’t as scratchy as it has in the past, especially on the Screaming Trees stuff or on Queens of the Stone Age’s “Songs for the Deaf” (the greatest rock album of all time). Regardless, his voice still aches with pain, rivaled only by progenitor of the genre Tom Waits, and contemporary Nick Cave. “Gargoyle” has its moments of levity, but don’t dive in unless you are prepared to get a little bit sad.

Cooper Stapleton

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