New Music Monday

On September 30, three ridiculously good albums were released. Excellent for my iPod, not so great for my wallet. It was, however, completely worth it. On the same day, Haim released Days Are Gone, Lorde came out with Pure Heroine, and Justin Timberlake brought out The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2.

I’ll start with Haim. These women are my idols. They are easily the coolest rock-and-roll chicks of the last decade, and they can play roughly five instruments a piece. The current single, The Wire, is the best pop-rock song I have heard in years. (Bonus points for putting a Lonely Island alum in the music video!) Between the strong lyrics, staccato guitar sections, and alternating vocals that switch between every talented sister, Days Are Gone is completely packed with hits. Personal favorites include My Song 5if you’re looking for a dark sounding, edgy rock song, or Days Are Gone for a lighter pop tune.

Next comes Lorde. I have discussed (at length, sorry!) my love for this girl. She is sixteen and completely annihilating the pop charts right now. In the land of Miley and her “wrecking ball”, admittedly selling sex and shock instead of pure talent, this girl is churning out high-quality lyrical beauty with simple vocals. No theatrics. No tricks. Just a girl, singing about what she knows. But even that is done better than her peers! Songs like Royals (the mega-hit that you must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard) expound on social class and materialism, while Ribs explores the fears of growing up and learning to take responsibility for yourself. Other personal favorites include Glory and Gore and Team. And, as a sidenote: go listen to Pentatonix’s version of Royals for a fresh take on the chart-topper.

Finally, we come to JT. The man. The myth. The beautiful, beautiful legend. I was a little scared about this album. I loved The 20/20 Experience: 1 of 2. Why would I need more? The answer? Because it’s JT and he just keeps getting better. Part 2 is the sexier, cooler older brother of Part 1. The songs are long because Timberlake admittedly “didn’t want to edit them.” I only noticed the length on one song. With cameos from Timbaland, Drake, and Jay-Z, and dirtier tracks that are meant to get you dancing, this album is truly special. Murder features Jay-Z, which is always a success in my book. True Blood has such a dark, sexy tint to it, that it’s impossible not to groove when the song comes on. Finally, Drink You Away just may be JT’s best song ever. Bold statement, but I’ll stand by it. 

justin-timberlake-20-20-experience-part-2

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Mad Moon Riot

When I first heard about this band, through a friend of a friend, I was a little hesitant. I get a lot of recommendations for rock bands, and very few of them end up panning out for me. I just don’t like when a singer screams at me with very little actual notes. I was, in this case, pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong.

I was told that MMR is an LA-based rock band, which is true if you ignore the fact that two members are from the UK and one is from New York. I will give my friend this: They do currently live, play, and are trying to get a record deal out on the west coast. This band’s sound is modern rock with just enough 80’s hairband nostalgia to be awesome but not dated. The guitar is absolutely ridiculous (in the best possible way), and the bass line always comes in at a really interesting point. Mia Swier, the band’s lead vocalist and resident bad-ass chick of the bunch, is a solid choice to lead the group. Her vocals can, on occasion, feel a bit forced, but seeing as she was the bassist in her previous two projects, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. There is an edge to her voice that can’t be taught like vocal phrasing and breath control can.

The best thing about this band? They put their entire EP up on bandcamp for free. There’s literally nothing to lose by checking them out, so do it before they get signed, make a record, and are forced to charge you for it! Knock on the Door is a personal favorite of mine. It can power you through any bad day, tough workout, or just be used as an excuse to headbang in the car. The lead single is Running on Empty, if you’d prefer to check that out instead. It’s a close second for my top pick.

http://madmoonriot.bandcamp.com/