Monday, 24 September 2012

New Music Monday #24

Push and Shove (Album)
by No Doubt (2012)

Here’s a question for you. No Doubt; how would you describe them? Pop? Rock? Ska? Ska-punk? Pop punk? 80s? 90s? 00s? Two-tone? Reggae fusion? Pop? Yeah, see; who are No Doubt? All of the above. It’s with this in mind we get to Push and Shove, the latest album from No Doubt, released eleven years since their last. What was one to expect when listening to it? Pop? Rock? Pop? Ska? Punk…yeah you see what I’m going with here. No Doubt have their own little sound, greatly influenced by the lead vocal of Gwen Stefani and Push and Shove, like their previous albums has the influence of many genres that make up the pop sound that is uniquely No Doubt. This album doesn’t give me that same “oh my this is awesome” feeling that Tragic Kingdom did, but then I’m not the same person I was when I first heard them, and likewise, neither are the members of No Doubt. With that little bit (lots) of time between their last release and now, what they’ve created isn’t pushing any boundaries, it isn’t like something I’ve never heard before, but Push and Shove is a nice little piece of pop perfection. The first single 'Settle Down' is a pleasant intro with a catchy hook that creeps into your brain and stays (“eh eh eh” damn you Stefani, I didn't like it at first but that one sticks), the title track 'Push and Shove' keeps a sweet bouncy reggae beat and great tempo changes to keep it interesting. 'Gravity' is pure pop with cringe worthy lyrics to match. “Just like Venus and the morning sun, you and me got gravity” (but that’s what makes great pop music, doesn’t it?). 'Undone' is the obligatory ballad that No Doubt are so good at (but probably not given enough credit for), 'Sparkle' shines with its mid-tempo-ska-punk-pop sound and 'Heaven' is a track that is made for moving to. After all, who doesn’t love a hand-clap? Push and Shove is not going to change your life (the way Tragic Kingdom did mine), but if you let it grow it’s going to make you dance, smile and sing along when you least expect it. That’s what good pop music does and that’s what No Doubt do best. 

Jo Michelmore gives Push and Shove three Britney's out of five...

Battle Born (Album)
by The Killers (2012)

It's always nice to be reminded why you once loved a band in the first place. You know, how you really loved a band that had an incredible, universally loved debut (Hot Fuss) and then that buzz died down a bit, but you still got a huge kick out of their sophomore effort (Sam's Town). Then they lose their way by straying just a little too far from their roots (Day and Age - I'm looking at you, 'Human') and you think you're done with them. To your surprise, they make an extremely focused return that not only harkens back to their glory days, but shows a band capable of growth... a band that's capable of growing with you. It's oh so satisfying and is just the reminder you need as to why you loved them in the first place. For The Killers, Battle Born is the reminder I needed. Now, there's nothing revolutionary about Battle Born. The same American rock and roll spirit from Sam's Town anchors each track, they straddle a fine line between indie gems ('Be Still' and 'Flesh and Bone') and stadium anthems ('Runaways' and 'Battle Born') like on Hot Fuss and they lightly retain their electronic influences from Day and Age. Brandon Flowers' voice still drives The Killers and still has that ability to make you want to both get up and dance and sit down to reflect. But there's a sense of purpose here that's been lacking since they debuted. A certain quality that truly makes you believe they deserve to be treated like one of the biggest rock acts in the world today. It's all very Bruce Springsteen by the way of Fleetwood Mac with a modern twist. This is Americana 2012 and, surprisingly and satisfyingly, Battle Born is just the reminder I needed as to why The Killers still matter and why I loved them in the first place. What more could you ask for?

Matt Bond gives Battle Born four Kurt Cobain's out of five...


Come Into My Head
by Kimbra
Album: Vows Deluxe Edition (2012) 


Sometimes, when I know for sure no one is watching, I'll attempt to have a little dance like Kimbra does throughout the 'Come Into My Head' video. What I don't do is grab a knife and terrorize the staff of a psychiatric hospital. This is why Kimbra is better than I am. She'll dance like everyone is watching and she will grab a knife and terrorize the staff of a psychiatric hospital. And she'll look amazing doing it. All of Kimbra's videos have been beautifully shot so far, but 'Come Into My Head' is a huge step up from previous video 'Two Way Street' in terms of story. Oh... ... ... ... sorry, I just drifted off thinking about how gorgeous she looked in the 'Two Way Street' video. Uh... ... ... ... let's wrap this up by saying, "great video, amazing artist and I am not a stalker." 

Matt Bond gives the 'Come Into My Head' video four Lady Gaga's out of five...

Knock Knock
by Band of Horses
Album: Mirage Rock (2012)

A cute catchy song, comedy AND a vintage inspired clip? You know I’m going to like this. It’s a parody of a 70s style nature documentary; with the Band Of Horses playing in some stunning landscapes and being hunted down by documentary makers who are trying to capture their audio, it’s kind of interesting that it’s easy to forget to listen to the song, but this is a clip review so who cares? Almost five and a half minutes of watching a band run around a desert landscape all the while being chased by awkwardly (that is, retro awesomely) dressed academics, this clip is totally silly and that’s what makes it fantastic. To top it off, the song’s not bad either.  

Jo Michelmore gives the 'Knock Knock' video four Shirley Manson's out of five...

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