With beginnings in indie style music with the release of Oh My God Charlie Darwin in 2009, The Low Anthem has gained many listeners. According to an interview with the band, their growing relationship with Bright Eyes and Iron & Wine has made them consider developing a more folk-based sound. TLA’s new album, Smart Flesh, represents a pretty drastic change in their compositions. With the single, “Ghost Woman Blues,” the band beckons similar folk tones to the bands they’ve been associating with but still showcases Ben Miller’s intriguing vocal styles. This new album has an unmistakable tone of self-discovery and musical journey that will spark TLA’s upcoming tour with Iron & Wine. Since the band’s 2007 formation, they’ve been fervently followed by NPR reporters and their progress in both folk stylings and lyricism is not to be missed.
In April, we will be hosting Motion City Soundtrack and 3OH!3 for the annual Spring Concert. Two similar artists are releasing albums this week that sound an awful lot like MCS and 3OH!3. Bayside, who’s been around for awhile carving new trends in a mix of indie, punk, and hardcore, released a new album, Killing Time. This new release sounds an awful lot like MCS, with their cynic look at relationships and young fringe life, in general. Bayside’s had a growing number of fans, as well as long time listeners, but Killing Time is an obvious deviation from their previous norms. This time around they have seemingly better choreographed guitar patterns with a greater infusion of punk riffs, and as always, their drum patterns are the same punk progressions. The consecutive tracks “Mona Lisa” and “It’s Not a Bad Little War” sound so much like Motion City Soundtrack that it’s freaky.
I See Stars, on the other hand, embraces the growing trend in keyboard-based “popcore” that 3OH3 is streamlining. With beginnings around the same time as Attack, Attack! and 3OH!3 themselves, I See Stars showcase higher vocals and a bigger appeal to female listeners with songs like “Your Love” and “What This Means to Me.” Their music reminds me of being part of the early teenaged collective that frequented local hardcore shows, but the band is breaking new ground with today’s younger generations. In terms of mass appeal, hardcore is the new punk, and if you can make hardcore your own with the addition of keyboards and unique vocals, then so be it. The album name pretty much sums up the band’s style: The End of the World Party. While their music is sort of generic, as most of it is immensely similar to 3OH!3 and the numerous up-and-coming other bands, it shouldn’t disappoint for fans of the genre.
In the world of metal, two veteran bands released new albums this week. Formed in 1995, Swedish progressive metal masters, Evergrey, released the long-awaited Glorious Collision. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Tom Englund, showcases a more technical sound and the band has gotten back to their roots. Their guitars emphasize screaming and pinch patterns and their drums revolve in a power-progressive style that really comes together. Evergrey has been steadily getting better, and while it’s hard to say that this album is their best from their 8 other releases, it’s an amazing achievement for balladic European metal. The single from Glorious Collision is “Wrong”, but two other greats are “Frozen” and “The Disease.”
Devildriver also released a new album called Beast, but it’s sort of obvious that it pales in comparison to their 2005 release, The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand, and 2009’s Pray for Villains. The newest single by these groove metal icons is “Dead to Rights”, and while it brings back that sound that Slayer mastered in the last decade, we’re subject to the band’s often repetitive sound. However, even though new release, Devildriver has made their mark in the metal world with past releases and I don’t think they’re out of steam yet. Not every album can be a great one, but this artist is surely one to watch in the coming months as they start their tour with Iron Maiden and All That Remains. “Coldblooded” is probably the favored track on Beast.
Lastly, we come to the long awaited Radiohead release, The King of Limbs. Radiohead has been carving their own niche since the late ‘80s to the point where they have a pretty specific fan-base, large as it may be. Their ambient sound isn’t unfamiliar to most, but I think the band’s true fans will agree: Radiohead is a musician’s band. This is to say that if you play music, you’ll appreciate Thom Yorke’s style more. Opening with “Bloom”, my personal favorite from the album, King of Limbs has already been heard by some here at Behrend, and I wanted to get their opinions. Junior History major Rob Moeller states, “the closest comparison in Radiohead’s oeuvre is probably Kid A. My first few listens make me think King of Limbs isn’t as good as that album, but it comes close with its near perfect second half.” Junior Mechanical Engineering major Dan Lowe was stunned to the point of only being able to say, “it good.” Senior International Business major Aki Srivastava explained, “Separator[the final track of the album] has the best guitar solo out of any Radiohead song ever… Johnny Greenwood[the band’s guitarist] is absolutely beautiful.” Campus has spoken in great favor of The King of Limbs, and with songs like “Codex” and “Lotus Flower”, it’s near impossible to argue against the greatness of this new release. Radiohead keeps making great albums, and it’ll be interesting to see what they release next.