Hot Chip, Why Make Sense?
It’s hard to believe it takes so many people to make something so pedestrian. It says something that the most memorable moment here is a cold, sexless, and borderline racist slow jam called “White Wine and Fried Chicken”, although I suppose you could call the garbage rap on “Love Is the Future” memorable in the same way as the death of a beloved pet or a severe case of food poisoning.
Brandon Flowers, The Desired Effect
Everybody’s favorite Kanye hatin’, Romney lovin’, beard-saving rascal is back with another solo album. You think it’s gonna be weird the way it starts with wind chimes, but then a bizarre-ass show tune theme kicks in and you realize you’re in for an entirely different kind of weird. The tinge of gospel that added so much to Hot Fuss has grown into a distractingly jubilant cacophony that lunges for your throat every time a chorus hits—just in case you’d forgotten. Flowers is hopelessly optimistic as ever, and damn if I can’t fault him for trying, because he still has moments like “Lonely Town”, “Never Get You Right”, and “Still Want You” where he nails it.
Faith No More, Sol Invictus
It rumbles, it quakes, it rips ass. As eclectic as you’d expect from Patton & Co., with plenty of beef to keep the headbangers’ interest. Hearing Mike Patton growl “I’ll be your leprechaun” on “Sunny Side Up” is exactly as silly as it sounds, and then on “Separation Anxiety” he puts his serious voice back on—and then on “Rise of the Fall” he’s chanting “bong bong bong bong bong” and you can’t help but feel Sol Invictus was sequenced this way to encourage the listener to take the darkness with a heavy grain of levity. Bless these goofballs.
Strange Names, Use Your Time Wisely
Go go go go go and get this, buy it, stream it, beg for it, just go. Pop it in your cassette deck and bliss the hell out, and don’t worry: every bit of it is great. I honestly don’t know how pop acts continue to make catchy, creative tunes in such a narrow format, but Strange Names manage just fine. Maybe it’s because they recorded the whole thing twice. Maybe it’s because the one guy likes the Cocteau Twins. Maybe it’s because that same guy also went to high school with Azealia Banks. Whatever the reason, this Minneapolis-to-NYC trio just fired the shot heard ‘round the summer.