Summer is in full swing now. The blazing hot days are here to stay, as is the brutal humidity. The season is usually very kind to us music lovers, however, and we're starting to see some of our favorite artists drop albums unannounced. Nothing makes me happier than to log onto my laptop and see fresh tunes to start off my day. Let's skim over this week's highlights.
Phantogram has been busy expanding upon their sound. Last summer, they reconvened with Outkast's more active half, rapper Big Bio, for the collaborative Big Grams, which amped up the hip-hop production qualities and beats the duo had been experimenting with in 2014's Voices, likely first spurred by their work with Big Boi on his Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors LP. Now they've released "You Don't Get Me High Anymore," the lead single off forthcoming appropriately-titled third album, Three. Sarah's vocals have a darker and more somber quality, influenced by the heavy weight of her sister's recent suicide. The production is on point. Heavy synths, skittering percussion and keys are lighter and brighter than the lyrics would suggest. We should expect the album to in a similar vein.
The Stone Roses just released another single, "Beautiful Thing," continuing to stoke anticipation about their first record in over two decades. This latest cut is produced by the famed Paul Epworth, and you can hear his influence all over the funk-laden tune, its psychedelic guitar riffs and catchy chorus stretching through more than seven minutes that speed right by. "Beautiful Thing" has been on repeat this past week and just serves as further proof that The Stone Roses really are timeless.
On the surprise release front, Disclosure just dropped a very cool EP, Moog For Love. It's only three tracks, but all are worthy of your attention. I selected "Feel Like I Do," a buttery smooth mid-tempo jam that finds their own modern electronics fused with the classic R&B/soul of Al Green via a sample of his vocals from 1972's "I’m Still In Love With You.” Well played, guys. Well played.
Red Hot Chili Peppers released The Getaway this past Friday. I've been anticipating their 11th album, and was even more excited after learning they finally got rid of Rick Rubin as producer, and replaced him with much finer and more innovative pedigree in Danger Mouse and Nigel Godrich. Granted, Rubin has been a huge part of their success, but I was curious to see what kind of record they'd put together without him at the helm. I'm seeing mixed reviews, and I'm still forming my opinion on it, but let me be clear -- there is some good music on this record. One of my favs is "The Longest Wave." I'm not sure I can put my finger on exactly why I like it, and that's the beauty of music. You can hear the strong Danger Mouse influence here and the guitar work is nicely done. The overall sonic vibe in much of the album is subdued and I'm perfectly fine with that ... but it seems many fans are not.
Side note: the new Local Natives track "Villiany" is damn good! If their next album is anything like the first two singles that have dropped so far, we're in for one hell of a ride. "Villiany" is swirling, lofty and punchy all at once with the staple hooky harmonies they've become so well known for. In my opinion, their songwriting skills are way above average and have always reeled me in. Give us the album already, guys!
1. Phantogram, "You Don't Get Me High Anymore"
2. The Stone Roses, "Beautiful Thing"
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "The Longest Wave"
4. The Avalanches, "Colours"
5. Tiesto, "Summer Nights" (Feat. John Legend)
6. Kaiser Chiefs, "Parachute"
7. Mitski, "Thursday Girl"
8. Delorean, "Limbo"
9. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, "First World Problem"
10. Peter, Bjorn and John, "A Long Goodbye'
11. Disclosure, "Feel Like I Do"
12. SG Lewis, "Holding Back" (Feat. Gallant)
13. Local Natives, "Villiany"
14. The Game, "Can't Wait"
15. Whitney, "Polly"