Strokes fans, breathe a sigh of relief. Albert Hammond Jr. has new music out and it sounds nothing like early Strokes, though it’s still worth a listen. For those who don’t want to bother, there’s new stuff from rookies and vets, and two albums that aren’t particularly good at all.
As you read through, listen to me chat about a few of these records with Adam12 on RadioBDC:
Albert Hammond Jr. – “AHJ”
The Strokes guitarist puts out his first new music since 2008’s “Como Te Llama?,” and while it’s only a four-song EP, he makes it count. Those who still wishfully expect a rough, garage-y “Is This It”-style album can look elsewhere. Instead, this EP delivers four deeper pop songs that don’t necessarily showcase his guitar-playing skills, but go a lot further in flexing his songwriting muscles.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Live From KCRW”
Get all the charm of “stripped down” without the minor inconveniences of “live.” This particular recording is crisp as hell, which really enables Cave and company to dig deep into this collection of chilling nouveau balladry.
The avant-garde project of songwriter Jamie Stewart has taken on many lineups and different styles since the band formed in 2001, but its latest is a sincere tribute to Nina Simone. “Nina” reworks a collection of Simone’s originals in an experimental and peculiarly jazzed-up fashion.
Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw releases his first solo album under the odd moniker of bEEdEEgEE. It’s an ambient collection of synth soundscapes heightened by the guest vocal contributions of folks like Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip and Gang Gang Dance bandmate Lizzi Bougatsos.
Black Flag – “What The…”
The title says it all on this one. Black Flag, one of the two latest reformations of the classic punk band, features original guitarist Greg Ginn — and already the band is having issues. Not only did Ginn just kick Ron Reyes out of the band on stage, but this latest album just flat out isn’t good.
Super poppy Irish quartet Dott delivers a charmingly garage-y bunch of harmony-driven tunes in its debut full-length. Think Ireland’s version of the latest Best Coast, but probably even better.
Britney Spears – “Britney Jean”
Whether you like it or not, Britney Spears has remained an important part of American pop culture for a good 15 years. While she always seems to bounce back, even when it’s least expected, she has continued to be defined by her down times, rather than her moments of pop brilliance. Spears had given hints that “Britney Jean” was going to be more “personal,” which opens up a world of opportunity. Unfortunately, she fails to go deep enough.