Two albums quickly come to mind as comparison points for Beck’s first studio album in 6 years: Beck’s previous departure into folk, 2002’s Sea Change, and the ultra-specific and ultra-personal Benji from Sun Kil Moon. Morning Phase in many ways acts as the sequel to Sea Change, with Beck shedding his chameleon coat for a straightforward and earnest singer/songwriter record. Sea Change happened following a breakup, and while it was beautiful at points, the overall tone of the record was reflective and sober. On Morning Phase, is similarly beautiful, but takes more of a turn towards the euphoric than the brooding, catching a glimpse of the beauty of life. Benji acts as the antithesis in many ways Morning Phase. Where Benji is hyper-specific and includes deeply personal accounts of Mark Kozelek’s experiences with death, Morning Phase is a very simplified and impressionistic look at life, allowing the viewer to read their own experiences into the words. They also work as a comparison since they are the two best records so far in 2014, masterful at the disparate approaches they take.
We heard a small snippet of Beck’s newest single “Blue Moon” in his album preview video in which they cut the first vinyl of Beck’s upcoming album, Morning Phase. It was just a short minute and a half snippet of the song, but it immediately resonated as an instant Beck classic. Now Beck has released the full version of the song, and the initial love for the track that was seeded in our hearts with the preview has only grown.
Death Grips have yet again turned to the free space of the inter-webs as their medium of release for a new and unexpected album. This marks the second full LP the band has released online without prior notice, and I am guessing this will not be the last. They seem to give zero shits about maximizing profit on their music and rather focus on just being as in everyone’s face as possible lately. Apparently for them that means not showing up for shows to prove a point and releasing all of their music and videos online for free, so for that Death Grips (well at least the latter part) we thank you. Since this album was just dropped today, the review will have to come at a later date, but for now, go download the full album at the below link while it is still active:
Sleigh Bells may not ever go down as one of the best bands of this musical generation, but dammit if this Brooklyn spawned two piece isn’t one of the more fun acts around. Their music is loud. It’s punchy. And it’s infectious. When first hitting the scene with Treats, Sleigh Bells’ sound was brilliant, new, and fresh. Following up with Reign of Terror, without changing their sound, they were able to continue to garner praise and expand their fan base. Now with the release of their third album Bitter Rivals, they are once again able to hang on to that signature high octane, overdriven sound. But will their still-young audience stay interested?
The irony in the title of course is that the song “Brand New” by Rhymefest ft. Kanye West is now almost five years old. Nonetheless, here are some of my favorite actual new tracks for your weekend that have all been getting some heavy play time in my headphones lately:
Sleigh Bells – “You Don’t Get Me Twice”