New at Southwest Sound: Oct. 21

by Cooper Stapleton

Oct. 211. Wardruna, “Runaljod – Ragnarok”Wardruna is a group dear to my heart. They are a Norwegian folk music outfit led by the enigmatic and mysterious Einar Selvik, who make music based on the runes of the elder futhark, the oldest of the runic alphabets. Wardruna make music ancient and primordial, chants to call the sheep from the field, chants to war, calls celebrating the birth of new warriors and the death of mighty berserkers. Each song is an invocation of a specific rune from the alphabet and features instruments that have existed for more than a thousand years. Listen and prepare for Ragnarok!

2. Lady Gaga, “Joanne”It’s already been three years since the release of “Artpop,” and Mother Monster has returned with another massive pop record sure to satisfy those with that specific itch. Eschewing the motions that worked so well previously, “Joanne” only has one feature from Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, rather than bringing in massive names like Beyoncé. The few singles released sound like the pop powerhouses you know Gaga to produce, so “Joanne” should hold no real surprises.

3. Dean Ween Group, “Deaner Album”Deaner returns! I know Durango loves its Ween. I see more Boognish tattoos around here than infinity symbols, and that is saying something. The few songs off this that I’ve heard sound like Primus if they drank a lot of moonshine. Or some burnt out surf rock made by guys who haven’t left the beach in three decades. You all know what Ween sounds like. If you like Ween, you will like this record. Be prepared for jams.

4. Lazarus, “Original Cast Recording” Lazarus is one of the final composed works of David Bowie before his death at the beginning of the year. The songs are new arrangements of familiar tunes, including a morose rendition of “Changes” and Michael C Hall of Dexter fame singing a glorious rendition of the title track, the final single off Bowie’s final album “Blackstar.” Those looking for another way to mourn and celebrate the Thin White Duke’s final burst of creativity will find solace in the cast recording of Lazarus. We miss you, David. Come back.

5. Stranger Things, “Original Soundtrack”“Stranger Things” took the world by storm earlier this year when the nostalgia-filled sci-fi show made its way onto Netflix. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the show, and something that reinforced the setting, was the focus on the analog synth work by the band SURVIVE. Coming off the wings of acts from the ’70s and ’80s like Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, up to contemporary acts like Zombi, analog synths bring a serious amount of warmth to electronic music that is usually categorized as cold and hollow. People looking for a nostalgia trip reminiscent of “Blade Runner” and the like, look no further than SURVIVE’s work on the “Stranger Things” soundtrack.

­Cooper Stapleton


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