The Needle Drop


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This month on YUNR, Anthony gives explanations as to why he's let new releases from Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, Noel Gallagher, Russian Circles, and the Beach Boys pass him by. Here's some short explanations of other albums worth checking out as well:

1. Thee Oh Sees- Carrion Crawler / The Dream (In the Red)

I've gotten quite a few requests for this one, and I can understand why. This album is noticeably better than the album the Oh Sees put out earlier this year. No doubt. The production on this album is clearer, the songs are a bit catchier, and the total package is pretty accessible.

If it's on, I'll listen to it; however, I have no real desire to come back. The reason is I feel this album doesn't really tell me much of anything past Oh Sees records haven't already. To be honest, I haven't been into much of anything the band has put out since they've been opting for a much more shrill and brittle production quality.

Like I said, this album brings things into a much more accessible direction, but that's a place the Oh Sees have already been with releases like The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In, which is one of my favorites in the group's discography.

I'll give these guys props for being one of the most consistent groups in garage rock, but that's ultimately the issue I have with this album. It's like I know exactly what to expect before I even listen, which makes maintaining any excitement for forthcoming releases difficult. Still, I'll probably at least try to listen to whatever these guys put out next, just in case there is a bold change in style that manages to blow me away.

2. Vallenfyre- A Fragile King (Century Media)

This was an album I was considering reviewing, but I ultimately skipped for a few reasons.

Initially, I was pretty intrigued by the very readable vocals and the doomy approach to death metal this outfit took. Plus, the frontman lacing feelings about his recently deceased father into the lyrics was captivating as well.

Though I dug a lot of the slower tracks--because they were loaded with murky, low-end harmonies that sounded fantastic--Valenfyre kind of loses its flavor when they speed up. Some of the riffs and faster-paced moments on here felt like they could have been pumped out by just about any band, and that broke my heart a bit. Still, it's at least worth checking out if you consider yourself a death metal fan.

3. Mutemath- Odd Soul (Warner Bros.)

Surprisingly, this is the first I'm hearing of this New Orleans rock band, and maybe Odd Soul wasn't the best introduction. While this album is well-produced, I guess a lack of originality is what's ultimately keeping me from loving it. These guys clearly have a deep appreciation for classic rock, funk, and blues. Yes, no arguing about that. However, the end product just ends up sounding a bit too much like a Black Keys record with more instrumentation and a more marketable sound.

I don't think these guys are directly biting their style from the 'Keys, but they're not really coming together with a unique spin on their influences with these tracks. If that's somehow intentional, that's fine. It's just not for me, then.

If alternative rock with a vintage aesthetic if what hits the spot for you, hit this up. These guys will scratch most of your itches.

4. Los Campesinos!- Hello Sadness (Arts & Crafts)

Yes, I've gotten a lot of requests for this one, I think. Maybe not a million, but a noticeable amount. Ya know, I've always had a soft spot for this "twee"-flavored indie coming out of the UK. Gimme a Belle & Sebastian record or a Dolly Mixture record to listen to and I'm set. Plus, I've got to give it to Los Campesinos! for carrying the torch and kinda digging out their own niche in the style. They play this rock with more modern production and lots of instrumentation. It's kind of like the overly emotional simplicity of older twee, but pumped up with a grandiose sound--not to mention it sounds a bit cleaner, too.

Still, for some reason, I don't feel all that captivated by this group. I think the closest I ever came to really like a record from this group was last year's Romance Is Boring, and I don't recall even reviewing that, sadly.

If emotional, rowdy indie rock choruses viciously lashed with strings stick in your head and keep you humming all day, then make sure to give a listen to this.

5. Machinehead- Unto the Locust (Roadrunner)

When it comes to the styles of Nu Metal and Groove Metal, which currently dominate pretty much every commercial metal and hard rock radio station in America, Machinehead is one of the groups you could say is directly responsible.

Well, of course the rise of these styles of metal is just as much, if not more, indebted to labels, marketing, and the collective tastes of young metal fans. Oh, let's not forget Pantera, too. Ugh. I'm getting off point.

I guess, ultimately, this just isn't for me. This flavor of metal used to be one of my favorites, sure, but that was back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I'm a different person now.

I think I can still throw on a copy of Vulgar Display of power and dig it, but I think I'm going to remain only a casual fan of this sound for a while.

6. Evile- Five Serpents' Teeth (Earache)

I heard these guys started as a Metallica tribute act, and I'm not surprised by that bit of information at all. I mean, some of the vocals even remind me of Hetfield's.

This record is certainly not terrible. It's solidly produced, teh vocals are on point, and the riffs hit a nice groove. However, I prefer my thrash a little more aggressive, I guess. I think this has already been made obvious by previous thrash albums I've favored: Vektor's Outer Isolation, Havok's Time Is Up, Toxic Holocaust's Conjure and Command.

If you're up for the idea of solid thrash metal record that's in the vain of Metallica's early output, then this is worth hitting up. I guess I'm just looking for something a little different.