As fun as it is to complain about “music these days,” and how it’s all been downhill since The Chronic came out, it’s even MORE fun to listen to — wait for it — good music. Every Tuesday, a.k.a. Music Release Day, we’ll highlight five albums worth (legally) downloading or driving to the local Best Buy (lolz) for.
Today, we've got albums from Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, DJ Khaled, and more.
Mature Themes by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
A hi-debut for Ariel Pink, who sounds like he's channeling early-David Bowie, with his light, talk-heavy singing style, by way of We're Only In It For the Money-era Mothers of Invention. The lyrics are absurd ("blowjobs of death"?), the musical styles varied (everything from R&B to AM radio), and you get the sense that no matter how much the listener might enjoy the album, the guys in the band had more fun making it. There's very little about Mature Themes that makes sense; it's better to just let it happen.
Kiss the Ring by DJ Khaled
Worth a listen for the guests alone: Meek Mill, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Big K.R.I.T, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Scarface, and Birdman, among many, many others. The fact that Kiss the Ring is good — and full of the flashy production that we've come to expect from DJ Khaled — and not a cameo-heavy mess is just icing on the cake, much to Rick Ross's delight.
Four by Bloc Party
After slowly drowning themselves in electronic elements on 2008's Intimacy, Bloc Party, who were rejoiced in the mid-2000s for saving "guitar-based music," are back to doing just that: playing jerky post-punk...that you can just so happen to dance to.
Life Is People by Bill Fay
Bill Fay is an English singer-songwriter who released two albums in 1970 and 1971, Bill Fay and Time of the Last Persecution, and then went silent for over 30 years, when 2005's Tomorrow, Tomorrow, & Tomorrow appeared essentially out of the blue. Even with a limited output of material, however, his legend grew thanks to endorsements from indie rock mainstays Will Oldham, Nick Cave, Jim O'Rourke, and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, who sings Fay's "Be Not Fearful" in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. On Life Is People, Fay sounds quietly triumphant, his voice quivering with heartfelt emotion. It's a lush, Kinks-like album that could have been recorded in the 1960s, but wasn't discovered until 2012. Like many a-Brit, it's quietly charming.
Hot Cakes by the Darkness
Big, dumb rock 'n' roll that should have come out on Independence Day. And only in strip clubs.