April 7Joey Badass, “All American Badass”One of the most promising young rappers in the game returns with his second full-length “All American Badass.” Joey Badass prides himself on having an old-school vibe, and that is evident immediately upon listening to tracks like “Rockabye Baby,” which sounds like it could’ve been lifted straight off GZA’s “Liquid Swords” or Big L’s “Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous.” A lot of “All American Badass” feels like a hardline counter argument against mumble rap and the EDM-focused beats that seem to dominate the charts lately. If rap has left you with a sour taste lately, check out Joey Badass and the rest of the Pro Era crew. RIP to Capital Steez.
Clan of Xymox, “Days of Black”Now here’s a name I haven’t thought about in a long time. Have you ever been listening to The Cure and thought, “Man, I wish there was more harsh electronics in this”? Do I have a surprise for you. Clan of Xymox has been doing exactly that for more than 30 years and have not slowed at all in that time. “Days of Black” is their 16th studio album and it sounds straight out of the black combover heyday all those years ago. If Jesus and Mary Chain and Depeche Mode’s new releases over the past month didn’t scratch that itch enough for ya, then I definitely recommend “Days of Black.” It’s moody and brooding without crossing into cheesy territory that can so easily overcome music like this. Get your black platforms and your favorite grimace on and sway slightly to the tunes of Clan of Xymox.
Deep Purple, “Infinite”With the demise of Black Sabbath earlier in the year, Deep Purple is one of the few progenitors of heavy rock that remain touring in spite of themselves (drummer Ian Paice suffered a stroke last year that doesn’t seem to have hindered him). I don’t think you can like rock ’n’ roll without appreciating bands like Deep Purple. Their influence touches so many cornerstones of music today that it is a shame they are often thought as merely a band that, in high school, one pulls their first full song on guitar. “Smoke on the Water” one-shots they are not. There isn’t a whole lot of experimentation on “Infinite,” but that isn’t a bad thing. There are spacey synths, there are riffs, there is Ian Gillian still being able to sing like a madman, and some genuinely groovy songs. I loved the solos and synths on “All I Got Is You.” Check it out if you are lamenting the death of rock from earlier, if only to remind that some of the greats are still going.
Chainsmokers, “Memories … Do Not Open”You ever listen to something so steeped in emotional cliché that it loses all credibility? This is music made for beer and car commercials. It has its place, I guess, but it’s not for me. If you think you are clever for writing the lyrics “… on that mattress that you stole from your roommate back in Boulder, we ain’t ever getting older,” you aren’t. You are lowest-common-denominator pop music. Of course, this band has a three-year performance deal in Vegas.