Ye – Kanye West
A fascinating but ultimately kind of dopey peer into the psyche of Kayne West. I like the candor, but wonder how much of it is simply part of the act. Kanye’s a complex artist, when he’s upfront here it’s great. When he’s coy or indulgent, it’s a slog.
Chvrches – Love is Dead
Is it? You couldn’t tell it from this sugary sweet album that does little to display such a bold statement. Lauren’s vocals carry the show and it’s an easy listen, but for my money, Paramore’s After Laughter beat this album to the punch.
Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer
A fun album, Screwed and Make Me Feel are standouts and I really really Janelle as a performer and artist. However, I can’t quite buy in to what’s being sold on tracks that put her vocals above the buttery smooth production; she just doesn’t have the voice being sold here. But those tracks are merely a short diversion in a great album and let’s face it, Janelle is impossible not to like.
Roxy Music – Roxy Muxic (1972)
This is not the band that did More Than This ten years after this debut album. It’s a messy glam album but you can definitely see the blueprint established here. Without this album would there ever have been a David Byrne? Brian Eno would find his home making more atmospheric stuff after a brief stop off with Peter Gabriel’s wacky Genesis finale, but he starts off ably here. The album is a sensory overload, but enjoyable.
The Birthday Party – Prayers on Fire (1981)
As a vampire, I know how troublesome it is to keep the act up long, and thus most goth bands fall into parody or irrelevance if they don’t sensibly bow (wow wow) out. So it is with The Birthday Party, an odd band fronted by graveyard crooner Nick Cave. Post-punk, whatever you want to call it, it winds up with an interesting sonic profile that challenges like a hardcore band, without having the constant fear of getting your ass kicked that comes with listening to that. A lot of fun to listen to, if you’re into being sonically assaulted.
Machines Of Loving Grace – Concentration (1993)
More awesome vampire music, industrial was really the best thing to happen to goth music wasn’t it? A lot simpler and digestible than something like Skinny Puppy, these guys are less concerned with being counter culture than just writing cool songs that sound spooky. Butterfly Wing is an awesome cut no matter what your outlook on the band is.