It is finally Friday and no matter how badly your week has been dragging, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! While you’re speeding up towards the weekend, make sure to keep up with the newest albums from your favorite artists and the best newcomers on the scene—Howl’s Release Radar features fresh tunes from artists like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kali Uchis and Kylie Minogue.
Sex & Food—Unknown Mortal Orchestra
They’ve been on the scene for some time now, but if you haven’t unearthed the grooves that make up Unknown Mortal Orchestra yet, now is the perfect time to start. The New Zealand group’s fourth studio album, Sex & Food, features everything that has made this band grow so feverishly since appearing on the scene in 2010. The alchemic blending of genres and sounds are just as present as they were on 2015’s Multi-Love and 2013’s II, featuring the group seamlessly flowing between 60’s psychedelic rock and modern electronic music, while this time factoring in a heavy influence of noise rock and even plenty of disco.
Singer Ruban Nielson’s slightly delayed and uniquely layered vocals are still at the forefront, plus the backbeat remains a testament to excellent drum machine programming and outstanding production. This time featuring more fuzzed-out guitars, swinging rhythms and the grooviest bass lines in 2018, Unknown Mortal Orchestra has, once again, crafted more than an album. This is an experience.
This next album is the equivalent of musical popcorn. Debut albums are not supposed to be this much fun and so easy to listen to, but Kali Uchis’ Isolation has already managed to shatter ceilings as she climbs to the top. The album takes the best of classic R&B and soul music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, sprinkles in some disco and new wave, and creates a fusion that doesn’t feel dated or ripped off—just fresh. Uchis’ vocals finds an outstanding place in the mix, never strained or inauthentic, just comfortable, sultry, and classic while swaying in front of deliciously jazzy instrumentals.
Isolation only loses points when the modern meets the classic. Features are aplenty on the album, with names like Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins, Reykon and BIA bringing their unique tones to the album. The appearances don’t make for bad music by any stretch, and if heavier beats and dancy flare is what makes you move then these tracks are certainly your speed. But in context with the album as a whole, there’s a fundamental difference in feel that can feel distracting (the Tyler/Collins track “After the Storm” is a notable exception to this point—Bootsy can still groove.) However, tracks like “Flight 22”, “Feel Like a Fool” and “Tomorrow” are what Isolation is all about and make for a record that can be spun on repeat for years to come.
We’ve seen some major musical transformations in 2018. Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods saw him dive head-first into his Memphis roots and the Walmart kid has managed to yodel his way into hearts across the nation. Kylie Minogue’s takes influence from both of these icons, and her emergence as a country singer may be the most dramatic change of the year. Golden, a full-fledged country album, may not be the road least travelled in the industry, but certainly is a new venture for the singer. With songwriting from the team that built up genre-giant Taylor Swift, Nathan Chapman and Liz Rose, the album certainly has some shining moments, but as a whole, the finish ends up looking pretty dull.
It should come as no surprise that country music still comes at the distaste of a majority of Americans, but many can still appreciate the authentic tales from many of the genre’s songwriters. Minogue and her team are, unfortunately, not those songwriters, and similar to issues that were voiced after Timberlake’s album was released, Golden feels lost. The album’s 54-minute run begins with “Dancing”, which is arguably as “country sounding” as it gets before Minogue fully embraces the pop stylings she built her name on in 13 previous albums. As a whole, Minogue seems only to be comfortable exploring the spectrum between Shania Twain and 2014-era Taylor Swift. Albums don’t always have to be versatile to be good, but what really brings Golden down is its instrumentals. The music behind her voice can often feel ill-fitting and the production occasionally even feels cheap, lacking the kind of tweaking and customization that makes an album unique. The product ends up feeling rushed and worst of all, ordinary.
Live Music Venue
Regardless of your favorite genre, Howl at the Moon can make your night out unforgettable! Featuring our thrilling band playing hit music all night long, plus plenty of requests from the crowd, we’re ready to get you and your crew down onto the dancefloor and having a blast. Plus, with the most outstanding drinks in town we’re ready to get your night howlin’. We even host unforgettable birthday parties, holiday parties, corporate events, bachelor parties, bachelorette parties and more.
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