March 2Andrew WK, “You’re Not Alone”The most positive rocker in the world returns after almost eight years to grace us once again with messages of hope, fun and partying on “You’re Not Alone”. In between bouts of being a life coach, spoken word artist, and shaking off internet conspiracy theories, Andrew WK found the time to make another wonderful record. I will freely admit that I love the first album “I Get Wet” with an unending passion, and I could very easily see “You’re Not Alone” fitting into that same category if given enough time and enough beers are shared amongst friends. The lead single “Music Is Worth Living For” is absolutely wonderful, with uplifting, strong lyrics and vocal delivery from the main man himself, accenting with heavy riffs and the trademark synthesizer work that brings his music to a cut above the rest of the rock world. The second track “Ever Again” opens up with some of the catchiest “Whoa-O’s” this side of an Offspring record. There is something about this record that hits me in the perfect way. I legitimately get choked up listening to “Music is Worth Living For”. Sometimes admitting the need for help is just as powerful as being the helper. I think this album has the power to help people in a way that was maybe intended, but certainly not expected by me. No one will ever argue that the music on this record is complex or progressive in any way, but sometimes you need anthems that you can shout with your best friends.
Slugdge, “Esoteric Malacology”Praise Mollusca, for he is risen again. UK based slug-focused death metal duo Slugdge has returned to once again be the metal band that everyone should listen to. If you are a fan of heavy music you will find something to love on “Esoteric Malacology”, it has riffs for days calling to mind the best tracks from classic acts like Strapping Young Lad and Carcass. It has atmospheric hauntings and meandering prog passages that call to mind the work of Cynic, Atheist, Ihsahn, and the best that the Icelandic black metal scene has to offer. The opening track, “War Squids,” may be one of the best opening tracks on a metal album in the last few years. It wastes no time punching the listener in the gut with a rapid fire barrage of double bass work on the drums, and a stirring tremolo laden guitar line. This leads into the amazing bass and subdued clean vocals of “Crop Killer,” which slowly builds its atmospheres before finally reaching the breaking point and the distortion kicks in. The songs are long and complex, but never outstay their welcome or feel artificially inflated, weaving instead a narrative that is both compelling and fun to listen to.
Other releases this week: New albums from Tech N9ne, Joan Baez, Torey Lanez, Titus Andronicus, The Breeders, and more!