July 21Wintersun, “Forest Seasons”In 2004, Wintersun released its self-titled record, a revelation of folk and prog metal. For the next eight years, they promised us “Time,” an album to end all albums. After years of delays, they finally released “Time 1” in 2012, supposedly the first half of the aforementioned “Time.” It was wonderful, but it was half an album. Now, five years later, we are given “Forest Seasons,” which has nothing to do with “Time.” As a big fan, I gotta say I’m frustrated but excited. Wintersun makes absolutely wonderful music, and I cannot disregard anything they do because of that. But seriously, give me “Time 2.” No one has heard any full tracks from “Forest Seasons” yet, but over the years we have gotten snippets, which show their same orchestral approach to folk metal, with a lot of grand solos, and even some pure black metal moments. It’s gonna be good. But I haven’t forgotten about “Time 2.”
Tyler The Creator, “Scum Fuck Flower Boy”I have been an Odd Future guy since they first dropped in 2008, with interest waning after the group started releasing records independently. Tyler’s solo output has been solid, and I think SFFB is the culmination of what he has been trying to do sonically for a long time. As far as I can tell, the man did all the production throughout the record, which keeps his gnarly, jangly, cavernous beat style – punctuated with some warm and warbly synth lines – from getting too intense. Lyrically, it has some nice callbacks to earlier material, which had the conceit based around a therapist session. SFFB is reminiscent, in that the lyrics are introspective and bombastic, with his trademark baritone sometimes taking a backseat to a surprisingly good singing voice.
Lana Del Rey, “Lust for Life”Fresh off of the release of “Honeymoon” a little less than two years ago, the music world’s current favorite whispy-voiced sad girl, Lana Del Rey, is dropping her fifth record, “Lust for Life.” She has always been one of those artists who appeals to me on paper, yet has never caught my attention on record. This one has a similar end result, but overall, I enjoyed my time with “Lust for Life.” The tracks where she is on her own with a sparse electronic backing are wonderful. I do not vibe with the juxtaposed Playboi Carti, Weeknd, or ASAP Rocky guest spots. Weeknd fares better than the rest, but I find myself hoping for Lana on her own, waxing poetic over something cold and sad rather than out-of-place rap MCs.
Tau Cross, “Pillar of Fire”There aren’t a lot of bands that sound like Tau Cross anymore. Formed by Rob Miller of seminal crust punk band Amebix, Tau Cross make an excellent brand of mid-tempo crust punk/straight-up heavy metal. Imagine Motorhead embracing their punk roots, or Killing Joke with more street cred. The track “Bread and Circuses” was the highlight for me, with Rob bellowing “There are monsters we must defeat,” punctuated by driving drums and simple but marvelously effective guitar work.