Sunday, May 20, 2007

Summer Preview '07 -or- I'm Too Lazy and Unfocused to Write a Whole Review

The summer album release marathon always comes with a lot of excitement/anticipation/disappointment. Much like the summer blockbuster movie season, a lot of this year's biggest albums will drop between May and August. What this little post plans to do is prepare you for it. I've got 5 tracks from 5 of the most anticipated albums of the summer. I've listened to them over and over and over again just so I can tell you all about them. Enjoy!

The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
From the album Icky Thump (due out: 6/19/07)
There's a lot of worried speculation about this record. The White Stripes recording on digital equipment? Absurd! Well fear not, because at least "Icky Thump" is a hit. Choosing this title track as the lead single was a bold move by Jack White. It's far and away the most difficult single they've released, but it works. The track contains some of White's most impressive guitar work, and changes its style at the drop of a hat. It's a complicated song, but what it says about the rest of the album is bold as hell. Lead single says "most accesible track," and if "Icky Thump" is the most accessible track on this album, I'm psyched to see what other kind of insane shit Jack and Meg have come up with for Icky Thump. The song is worth it for the 3 separate guitar solos and the stomping organ riff in the song's intro. (4.2/5 Stars)

Against Me! - "White People for Peace"
From the album New Wave (due out: 7/10/07)
This album probably isn't in the same echelon as say, the new White Stripes or Kanye records, but it's got a place in my heart, and it is probably the biggest punk album coming out this year. That being said, I picked up this final version of "White People for Peace" from their tour-only 7 inch, after having heard it a couple of times live, plus some random YouTube videos of it. To be fair, this has been my least favorite track that I've heard from this album, which isn't to say that it's bad, it's just a little lackluster. The overt political message reminds me a lot of Searching for a Former Clarity's "From Her Lips to God's Ears (The Energizer)", which also wound up being a single that I didn't particularly care for. Musically, it's a much slicker track, and almost, dare I say, trendier sounding. It has been growing on me as I've exhausted the hell out of it, but it's still a pretty weak single for a band that can do a lot better. Oh well, at least it's not as bad as "Full Sesh," the b-side of this 7 inch. (3.2/5 Stars)

Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothing"
From the album Graduation (due out 9/18/07)

This track was a big disappointment to me. Kanye sounds lazy as hell on it, and the lyrics leave a little to be desired. I dig the beat, but I feel like Kanye is trying way too hard to be Jay, and unfortunately, that seems to include aping his reitrement home sound from Kingdom Come. I'm still reserving some hope that the rest of Graduation will reaffirm my faith in Mr. West, but this is a very poor first impression coming from a man whose first two records had great singles. Not to mention the reappearance of Coldplay's Chris Martin on the album. What the fuck is next? Coldplay drops their next album on Roc-A-Fella and brings Dame Dash along as hypeman on their next tour. Come on guys. (2.0/5 Stars)

Aesop Rock - "None Shall Pass"
From the album None Shall Pass (due out 8/28/07)
This track has been in my head since I first heard it. It's nice to hear a good old fashioned Blockhead beat again. Aesop is at the top of his game on this track. It's simple, repetitive, and limber, and it's catchy as fuck. This is, hands down, my most anticipated hip-hop album of the year. And the recent confirmation that The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle will be guesting on the album just makes it more exciting. (4.0/5 Stars)

Queens of the Stone Age - "Sick, Sick, Sick"
From the album Era Vulgaris (due out 6/12/07)

I'm not yet completely sure what to make of this tune. It's much more harsh and abrasive than any other single QOTSA have released. It kind of makes sense though. The way Josh Homme has described the upcoming Era Vulgaris, is that it was inspired his daily commute through Hollywood, which he's described as being "dark, hard, and electrical." The track features Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas on Casio synth guitar and backing vocals. It has the same trippy, spaced-out atmosphere, and fuzzed-to-death guitar that I've come to love about the Queens, but it worries me if this is what the whole album is going to sound like. Josh Homme's voice is still in top form, and the band doesn't seem to have slipped much after the loss of Nick Oliveri, but I definitely couldn't handle a whole album of this. For extra gross-out factor, check out the video for the track. Terrifying. (3.7/5 Stars)

Download all 5 tracks here:

Hey guys! I realize I took a considerable amount of time off there, but I unfortunately fell into that whole "post-spring break realize I've got a ton of shit to do and the year is almost over" thing, and I just never got back to this bad boy. Unfortunately for you, here I am. My semester just ended, and I've got two more days before my summer classes start, so I'm going to try to update this sucker more often. I've got an ass-ton of stockpiled reviews/review ideas that are just sitting around that I need to throw on here. The only bad news is that free links might have to stop for a while because my external hard drive (where I keep all of my music) got pwn3d, and I need to take it to Best Buy for a full data backup, but sooner or later, they'll start again. If I really get off my lazy ass this summer, I'll try to update this every day, or at least every other day. I know I said that during spring break, but come on, I've got 3 months of nothing here. I need something to keep my brain going.

But hey, it's summer. I'm going to go outside tonight and grill myself a big ass steak, have some beers, and maybe take a nice jaunty little walk around the neighborhood. Later skaters.

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