Sept. 1LCD Soundsystem, “American Dream”After the announced breakup, a slew of tour dates, and a reconvening, LCD Soundsystem is back with what is probably their last record. James Murphy has danced around the trends of subdued electronica for a long time, and on this new record, he harps on the same thematic elements he always has: aging as a musician, and maintaining direction when you feel directionless. “American Dream” has some different stylistic elements than the back catalog, with a bit more of a traditional rock structure, and more minimalist drums beats. But do not fret. There are shimmery synths aplenty on “American Dream.” What makes Murphy shine is how he can take simple moments and ring a perfect emotional note, with lyrics like “You’ve got numbers on your phone of the dead you can’t delete/and you’ve got life-affirming moments in your past that you can’t repeat.” LCD Soundsystem has never been about bombast (which continues on this record) and the band sounds reinvigorated after the few shows.
Nine Inch Nails, “Add Violence”For a while now, Trent Reznor has focused on soundtracks and scores to major motion pictures, with “Gone Girl” being a highlight. Then, out of nowhere, last year Trent and Co. dropped two digital EPs, “Not The Actual Events” and “Add Violence” one month apart. The second of the two got the first of the physical releases, and it is a hell of a record. It reminds me of the old school, synth-heavy NIN. There is groove to it, but it takes a back seat to some gnarly electronics that creep up your spine. I have never been a huge NIN fan but I respect the hell out of Reznor, and this EP shows why his music had such a huge impact on the scene back when he first dropped “Pretty Hate Machine.” But don’t think the sound is throwback-y; it sounds fresh as hell, and I’m glad for the newly revitalized analog electronic scene that one of the masters can show back up and still rule.
Dalek, “Endangered Philosophies”Long before there was Death Grips, before there was Clipping, before Kanye brought the sound to the masses with “Yeezus,” there was Dalek. As I have said, in dire times, extreme music thrives and becomes more and more important as a means of protest. Dalek (pronounced die-uh-lek) has been making politically charged industrial rap for almost 20 years, and they have a lot of new material to work with these days. The vocals ebb and flow out of earshot, sometimes purposely getting drowned out by searing synthesizer squelches and feedback-laden effects. If you are in the market for some new hip-hop that makes your upper lip curl and your head bob with purpose, look no further.
Septicflesh, “Codex Omega”Cornering the market on the orchestral metal scene now that Dimmu Borgir has gone under the radar for a few years, Septicflesh returns with their 10th studio album, “Codex Omega.” Recorded with a full chamber orchestra and choir, “Codex Omega” is one of the few times where the descriptor “epic” is truly applicable. The orchestra acts as a wonderful foil to the buzz-saw guitars and pummeling drums. Lead vocalist and bassist Seth Siro Anton is the glue that holds the performances together. He has one of the best harsh vocal deliveries in the scene, growling like an unearthed lovecraftian horror but still intelligible, so you know the horrifying details of the cyclopean madnesses the lyrics portray. A highlight is the track “Enemy Of Truth,” which hits hard in this political climate, both in America, and in the band’s homeland of Greece.