Brian Eno, Run The Jewels, Dropkick Murphys Shine In Top Albums of the Week - January 6
Thu, 05 Jan 2017 14:05:58
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The week in album releases is as confusing as the start of a new year — those staggering days that inevitably follow the holiday season when we're uncertain of the day, the date, or just how much we ate, drank and forgot.
So, here we are, dragging away from the tail end of 2016 into the bright, white morning of 2017, one of these albums, from Run The Jewels, dropped in the final week of last year as a Christmas gift — and one of them from Brian Eno, was dropped in a variety of unprecedented formats on the first day of this year. Also in the mix is a classic beer-stained band — The Dropkick Murphy's, and what can only be described as a purebred heavy metal supergroup in the shape of Gone is Gone… there's so much to discuss, so without further ado, here's our lineup of the most interesting album releases that we're listening to in the first week of a brand new year.
Brian Eno — "Reflection" — Warp Records
Brian Eno may well be considered to be one of those timeless, yet always timely artists. His ability to tap into the zeitgeist and deliver art that encapsulates something of the moment, whilst also leaning back in and leading forwards, is remarkable. With the release of "Reflection", an ambient album adding to the catalog of amorphous music from the artist, Eno extends himself further into the role of cross-media experimenter. Prior to release the artist likened himself to a gardener — working the same land and seeing what he could harvest, working again in the ambient genre. Yet this new album is so much more than his typically humble self-assessment. True — vinyl and digital releases are somewhat limited by format and time at 54 unbroken minutes, but the iOS versions of the album, available for download on iPhone, iPad and AppleTV each provide an endless piece of music, and accompanying, extraordinary visual work that generates and regenerates… forever. The harmonics are wonderful, the shift pace is sombering and this latest piece from Eno is staggering in conception and delivery. Few artists this year will deliver a piece as arresting and as courageous as "Reflection" and yet Eno, politely infers that that should try harder now, than ever, to make sense of their world and share solutions with us all.
Dropkick Murphys — "11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory" — PIAS Collective
Boston rockers Dropkick Murphys know how to retain their position on point. 20 years of rocking has taken a toll on the band — with personal stories of family fallouts and community pains — but at the center of themselves this is a band that knows how to rally and reflect on the human condition, relevant to their niche. There's a sense of togetherness; a sometimes clinging issue of friendship and loyalty that fans of the band will love… and the song selection reflects well the desire to vent heartbreak, and the very real glory of simply remaining alive through the ordinary and extraordinary days of being a human being on a small planet with big problems.
Gone Is Gone — "Echolocation" — Rise Records
Troy Sanders of heavy-hitters Mastodon, Tony Hajjar of similarly Metal At the Drive-In, Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age, and the film composer Mike Zarin make up the supergroup Gone Is Gone, a band who join the recent crop of metal collaborations like Sumac and Palms. The new album "Echolocation" is an unsurprising, solid album of reliable rock tunes that reward the cross pollination of metal sub-genres with an interesting, sometimes arresting moments that are so full of heart and lack of irony that it's rare a group of such pedigree is this down to earth. Any possible pretension drops away to deliver an album that points other metallers to what is possible when egos combine, take the back seat, and let experimentation and chemistry lead the way.
Run The Jewels — "RTJ-3" — Mass Appeal
Killer Mike and El-P haven't just done it again — they've done it better than before. The premature release of their latest collaborative effort, RTJ-3, displays all the good elements of what the pair can achieve when efforts are combined. Lyrics that hook and torment the listener long after the tracks have ended, and beats that demand repeat and volume at every turn, this is an album that already feels like an album of the year contender. It's vital, it's strong and for all of it's textures and contrasts it retains a sense of continuity that articulates the shared vision of two artists. Available as a free download from Christmas Eve, there are also ‘bundles' available from the RTJ Official website where fans can grab physical copies of the album along with all kinds of merch that continue to enhance the experience of being a fan who wears their hearts on their sleeves.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff