Another monthly installment of the non-metal albums that have been in heavy rotation…
Straight to VHS – Landmind
Connecticut has a long and storied punk rock history. While that apple down 95 gets all the fame and glory, CT is not without bands that have made their own mark in the punk rock world. New London’s Straight to VHS have spent the last handful of years slowly creeping towards the top of the punk rock heap with their brand of catchy, garage rock infused noise. Their newest EP, Landmind, has them hinting at more accessible territory, taking their already infectious vibe into more alternative waters. While losing some of their overall cacophony, they certainly don’t lose any of their ability to write a song that sticks to your ribs.
Se Delan – Drifter
In 2014, multi-national outfit Se Delan delivered one of my favorite albums of the year with The Fall. Fast forward to our current calendar iteration and Se Delan have once again offered a completely engaging and enrapturing collection of songs. This time around finds Se Delan delving even deeper into the darkness of this thing called life to pull together their brand of ethereal dark wave. Gothic elements run deep on this album like a river of blood spilled by a million suicides. It’s not as hopeless as it sounds though. Se Delan write music that is as infectious as it is grim. A positively must have album for anyone whose favorite color is black and favorite time of day is midnight. A truly beautiful expose on life, love, madness, and everything in between, framed in indie and pop-tinged goth rock packages.
Charles Bradley – Changes
I count myself very lucky to have grown up in a household where music was a constant. Like any small child, I was subject to the musical whims of my parents, especially my mother. Her love of, among many other things, classic R&B and Motown has been successfully passed down. In fact some of my fondest memories are tied to artists and songs who had been given the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” treatment, or emerged from the Motown machine. So when I tell you that no, and I mean absolutely no artist recording new material today hearkens back to those classic 60s and early 70s R&B/soul records the way Charles Bradley does, please take heed. This man exudes pure, unadulterated soul. It seethes out of him in every pained, tortured, glorious note as he and his band do their best to relive the glory days of classic R&B. As a bonus, Bradley also delivers the best cover you are going to hear this year with an amazing rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Changes.”