New at Southwest Sound: March 17

by Cooper Stapleton

March 17Depeche Mode, “Spirit”There are two different types of music listeners in tough times: Those that seek happy music to counteract the world, and those that seek catharsis in music that exemplifies the sad state of the world. On the final track of “Spirit”, “Fail,” singer Martin Gore shows which side Depeche Mode falls on, and in his immortal words, “We’re [effed].” Over Depeche Mode’s 40-plus-year career, they have encapsulated the state of their times so well and so consistently, taking a soulful and bluesy singing style and adapting it to their own means. Some of the tracks on “Spirit” are fairly forgettable, but overall it’s a good bit of cynicism that can be good for the mind sometimes.

Real Estate, “In Mind”If you weren’t satisfied with last week’s offering of sappy saccharine indie pop, then I have something to show you! Having a dreamier production bent than that new Shins album, Real Estate’s “In Mind” floats about three feet above your head, like a really good sativa. The lead single for the album, “Darling,” reminded me strangely of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” with its whispered harmonies and quietly plucked guitar lead. Lovers of dream pop will find a lot to dream about on “In Mind.” It finds the band having a bit more maturity and it’s a good look for them.

Dodecahedron, “Kwintessens (Through Bodies Measureless to Man)”Now we get to the good stuff. This is the type of music that makes your parents afraid. These Dutch madmen make some of the angriest black metal music out there right now, comparable to the likes of Deathspell Omega or Portal. Dodecahedron makes music that is not for the faint of heart. Those that desire strength of mind and heart should drink from this chalice and welcome this beast into their bodies. Occasionally, songs like “Dodecahedron: An Ill Defined Sense of Otherness” show up and add a breath of fresh atmospheres before plunging back into the depths. This is one of the most versatile and powerful metal records I’ve heard this year, and it is truly something special.

Spoon, “Hot Thoughts”Spoon is one of those bands that I never listened to because I just assumed I knew what they sounded like. I wouldn’t say I was wrong, but “Hot Thoughts” has surprised me so far. The title track is their usual sound of pop that has one toe over the “art pop” line, and I dig it. The jangly xylophone is a sound more bands need to utilize effectively. It sets a much different mood than most contemporary pop pieces tend to. Other songs, like “Can I Sit Next To You,” did absolutely nothing for me, while some of the tracks like “WhisperI’lllistentohearit” have a strange but enamoring krautrock bent. I would like to hear more of this straight up experimental side of theirs. Oh well. Maybe next record.

ADULT, “Detroit House Guests”Speaking of krautrock, ADULT has returned with their weird style of off-brand electronic tunes. Drum machines and weird vocal harmonies abound. That’s how you know Cooper is gonna like it. Listen to “We Chase The Sound” and if you like it we should be best friends. Seriously, come to the record store and be my friend. If you like the strange alt electronics of bands like HEALTH or The Knife, you really should know about ADULT.

Cooper Stapleton

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