Tenacious D Expands Their Mythos With New Album and Animated Series

Post-Apocalypto may not win over the uninitiated, but it’s certainly a welcome new chapter for fans of the greatest acoustic metal comedy duo of all time.

     The self-proclaimed greatest band in the world, Tenacious D is an acoustic, comedy metal duo from Los Angeles. The group is comprised of Kyle Gass and Jack Black, and often features guest appearances from the likes of Dave Grohl, Meatloaf, John Spiker, and a multitude of well known actors and actresses lending their star power to music videos and films.

   Tenacious D rose to prominence in the late 1990’s with a short lived, three episode series on HBO, but they became household, or more accurately, dorm room names in 2001 with the release of their self-titled debut LP. The record was a unique mix of stoner humor and absurdism tied together by the pair’s obvious love of the metal genre and production and instrumentation which was far better than it had any business being. Five years later, they released Pick of Destiny as a film and album, which bombed in the box office, but has since developed a massive cult following. In 2012, we were given Rize Of the Fenix, another large success that launched a massive world tour. Six years later, we finally have our forth installment in the Tenacious D catalog, this time in the form of a soundtrack accompaniment to a six episode animated series on YouTube in which Gass plays himself, and Black voices all other characters as well as himself. The project is equal parts absurd and fantastic, resulting in a worthwhile return for the D.

   Firstly, we’ll need to discuss this story, in all of it’s insanity, beat by beat. JB and KG, as they are called throughout the record, begin by witnessing a nuclear holocaust and meeting a two headed dog, which they name Hope. They start traveling across the country and meet a clan of cave women who sleep with them before trying to feed them to the horrifying cave monster, Crackalackadingdong. Hope kills the monster and the three escape, running into a German scientist who lets the band audition for a trip to space station full of famous musicians and beautiful women. The scientist only takes JB, who excepts his offer, but returns to Earth after a heartfelt duet with KG because he misses his bandmate.

   After Jack returns, they are attacked by the father of Crackalackadingdong, Daddy Ding Dong, but they’re saved by a Terminator-esque robot, sent from the future by JB Jr, Jack Black’s son with one of the cave women. JB Jr. instructs his father and KG to retrieve the “Orb of Gilgamesh” from the White House, which is now under the control of a tyrannical Donald Trump Jr. and guarded by large numbers of KKK and Nazi soldiers. Along with the robot, Tenacious D battle their way through the armies and teach Trump Jr. the value of diversity before taking the orb to Egypt on Air Force One to meet JB Jr. in the pyramids.

   When they arrive, they find out that JB Jr. is evil and only wanted to orb to take over the universe. He’s about to kill the D when the tribe of cave women arrive on the Crackalacka Dragon and defeat JB Jr. The album ends with a quick interlude celebrating the fact that the band just saved the world and a reprise of the original title track and opener. A fair amount of story is cut in the transition from web series to album, but the bones remain, and they’re quite well executed.

   The story is told through two means. The first of these are spoken skits, which are definitely the album’s highlight. Bits like “scientists,” and “cave women,” show of Jack Black’s voice acting quite well, sold by his willingness to give his all to virtually any joke. On the other hand, “i’ve got to go,” and “desolation,” play on the stoner dynamic which has always been a staple of the duo’s comedy.

   These are balanced by musical passages which are a bit softer than what we’ve come to expect from Tenacious D, but nonetheless, very enjoyable. Most of these tracks wear their influences on their sleeve. “MAKING LOVE” is an obvious call back to the indulgent, orchestral style of acts like Styx, while “F*CK YO-YO MA” is almost a parody of the classic, musical theatre duet. The “JB JR RAP” near the end is, perhaps, the most impressive moment in the 30-minute runtime, though not the true best song on the album, because Tenacious D shows the ability to dabble in the rap genre without coming across as dated or out of touch.

   The album isn’t perfect. Few of the songs have the sing-along or replay value of some of their early hits, and some of the skits overstay their welcome, but overall, it’s a very listenable record.

   Post-Apocalypto may not win over the uninitiated, but it’s certainly a welcome new chapter for fans of the greatest acoustic metal comedy duo of all time.

6/10

HEAR POST-APOCALYPTO: https://open.spotify.com/album/4O83oaztVuBlPDrp50Q3mh

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Daughters is Back After Eight Years With the Best Metal Album of the Year

 You Won’t Get What You Want is an advanced piece of noise metal that is quite nearly perfect, and easily the best metal album of the year, if you’re up for the challenge.

     Daughters is an experimental, industrial metal act from Rhode Island. They’re well known for an absolutely hellish style, disjointed rhythms, wide array of influences, and, until recently, jarringly short tracks. Their 2003 debut LP, Canada Songs, had a runtime of just 11 minutes, with very few songs clearing a minute, which was complimented by the thrashing instrumentals of their early work. This continued on the slightly longer, Hell Songs, in 2007 which also hits hard and fast with a bit more character.

   This all changed, however, with what was meant to be their farewell project, which was self-titled and released in 2010. The record mixed elements of thrash, noise, and experimental metal with a heavy dose of post-punk to create a gothic cacophony of a farewell with a runtime that neared 30 minutes. Having bid the band farewell, their cult following was quite excited to hear news of an upcoming fourth album, and though listeners were quite surprised, they certainly weren’t let down.

   From the opening track, “City Song,” it’s very clear that we are in for something very different. The track feels like being lost in a dark ocean, with a driving bass, jarring snare-shots, and a panicked but hopeless vocal performance by Alexis Marshall. It’s sets a bleak tone, which the rest of the near 50 minute is all too happy to follow relentlessly.

   Energy is high on tracks like “The Reason They Hate Me,” or my personal favorite, “Long Road, No Turns.” Here, the drum work is explosive and the grating electronic leads make a listeners heart race. Daughters is able to use this manic noise rock to build tension in a unique way, not unlike a horror movie. It’s a style that, I would imagine, the vast majority of music listeners simply haven’t heard anywhere else.

   Tracks like “The Flammable Man,” and “The Lords Song,” call back to the earlier days of the group as the only songs to come in under three minutes. Here, we’re treated to a much heavier bleed in from the group’s more traditional punk influences along with the thrash style of released like Canada Songs. The bass guitar is especially brutal here, well mixed, and following a blistering tempo.

   On the other hand, “Satan in the Wait,” and “Ocean Song,” each top seven minutes, and make the most of every second. The former carries a horrific narrative over rhythmic drum and a howling guitar which almost mimics a siren, ending with a hellish chaos of shouting, squealing, and crashing cymbals. The latter is a true post-punk tune, telling what is essentially a horror story  over of the best instrumentals I’ve ever heard. These tracks are so fantastic and the slow burning style of Marshall’s story telling is so listenable that even longtime fans will find themselves wishing that Daughters had always been in the business of long-form, post-punk epics.

   The real shining point of the album, however, is the extremely unique instrumentation. The closer, “Guest House,” features a screeching synth that over scores the howling vocals well. “Less Sex,” is highlighted by a melodic choir part in the chorus, giving the track a distinct blues sound, and “Daughter,” opens with a gloomy piano riff which, though a bit gimmicky, is an interesting hook around which the rest of the tune is built.

   My complaints are slight, leading me to seriously contemplate my second ever perfect score, but, unfortunately, my complaints are present nonetheless. “Daughter,” is easily the weakest piece of the tracklist, held down by an odd organ section in the bridge. In addition, a few of the rhythm changes can be a bit underdeveloped, and the electric guitar, while used well for effect, could do with even a short turn in the spotlight. Aside from this, I must admit that the album lacks severely in replay value, with a tone so bleak and overbearing that, if you don’t find yourself in the mood, the project can simply come off as irritating, although, in fairness, it doesn’t seem that replay value and accessibility were ever goals held by Daughters.

   You Won’t Get What You Want is exactly the kind of album that music critics love. It tests the bounds of what music is and, in doing so, challenges even the most experienced music listener to make heads or tails of such a difficult piece of art. This album uses it’s smothering, gothic tone to tell interesting stories and create something that just doesn’t exist elsewhere in the music world, carrying all the lushness of a big budget rock album, but trading in the sweetness for horrific electronic tones and constant dissonance.

   You Won’t Get What You Want is an advanced piece of noise metal that is quite nearly perfect, and easily the best metal album of the year, if you’re up for the challenge.

9/10

HEAR YOU WON’T GET WHAT YOU WANThttps://open.spotify.com/album/7w7ZTlk8YLc0OxviTp97qA

Logic, Slash, Behemoth, and More! October Lightning Round

Believe it or not, I missed a few this month! Here’s the first of what will become a new series on the last day of every month. Lightning round!

Luca Brasi 3Kevin Gates

     Luca Brasi 3 is one of the most bland projects of the year. A few of the beats are fun, the lyrics range from inoffensive to cringeworthy, and Gates’ flow often struggles to find the beat. This album is nothing but basic trap and autocrooning with average execution which likely will not age well.

3/10

TracesSteve Perry

   If this album did anything for me, it made me appreciate the role played by the rest of the members of Journey. Perry’s voice has scarcely lost a beat, but the instrumentals behind him are often boring and at times unlistenable. The production is over polished, the lyricism is unimpressive, and the pacing is awful. True Journey fans may find something to enjoy here, but it’s a shell of Perry’s former glory.

4/10

Young Sinatra IVLogic

   To enjoy this record, you’ll need a love of two things: boom-bap and Logic. For me, I had the former in spades and the latter grew on me a bit. The beats are fun throughout, Logic’s flow is hard hitting, and the Wu-Tang feature is impressive. However, much of the lyricism can be a bit corny, a few of the hooks run a little long, and the second half sees a severe drop in quality.

5/10

Elephants on AcidCypress Hill

   One of the more unique experiment rap albums I’ve heard in a very long time. The combination of rock, boom-bap, and international, particularly Indian, influences make for a set of constantly surprising instrumentals. A few of the flows aren’t as hard as I’d like them to be, and there are far too many repetitive, instrumental only tracks, but much of the experimentation works very well and it’s an interesting listen for fans of progressive trip-hop.

6/10

I Loved You at Your DarkestBehemoth

   Unsurprisingly for fans of the Polish death metal outfit, their 12th LP is a brutal slog. The Zbigniew Prominski’s drums are fantastic, and the lead vocal screams are guttural and powerful. At times, the group gets bogged down in their own virtuosic abilities, and some of the production leaves a bit to be desired. However, for fans of extreme black and death metal, this is worth a try.

6/10

Living the DreamSlash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

   I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this record. Avoiding the possible pitfalls of sounding out of touch, two of the best rockers of the 80’s and 90’s craft a brazen celebration of that period, complete with roaring guitars and powerful vocals. The lyrics are a bit lacking and the production isn’t perfect, but the tempo rarely drops and the instrumentation will keep heads banging throughout the 50 minute runtime.

6/10

Hurry Up & Hang AroundBlues Traveller

   Nearly 30 years after Blues Traveler’s debut, we find them in 2018 with a creative, singable, and above all, fun album. Joh Popper’s vocals and harmonica are excellent, as always, the lyricism is thoughtful and unique, and none of it overstays it’s welcome. While a few of the tracks are certainly misses, there are far more hits. Overall, it’s an enjoyable entry to a classic catalog.

7/10

Lukas Graham Disappoints With Major Label Debut

The Purple Album is rarely unbearable, and often somewhat listenable, but it is, first and foremost, a disappointment.

     Lukas Graham is a pop/soul vocalist from Copenhagen. He catapulted into the American music scene in 2015 with the release of his breakout single, “7 Years.” This track hit number two on the US Billboard and currently sits at five times platinum according to the RIAA. Lukas rode this success to the relatively successful release of of his second LP, The Blue Album, which peaked at number three on the US charts and gained a gold certification.

   Graham’s sound, particularly as it was showcased on “7 Years,” was both unique and refreshing. His soulful performance, thoughtful lyrics, and minimal instrumentation broke virtually every rule for writing a summer pop hit, and yet succeeded massively. His large and seemingly effortless range, coupled with his clear hip-hop and R&B influences made him one of the most intriguing artists in the indy/pop scene, a status which didn’t fade with his LP. Unfortunately, The Purple Album sees Graham teaming with Warner Bros. record and flushing much of his unique sound down the drain.

   The vocal performances on this record are fairly impressive. Tracks like the opener, “Not a Damn Thing,” or “Promise,” find Lukas dancing around the upper reaches of his range with control and an excellent control. Even his lower register sounds fairly impressive on tracks like “Stick Around.” This album, as a whole, is a beast for any vocalist, featuring virtually no instrumental leads, and counting on Graham to carry every track, which he is, for the most part, able to do.

   Lyrically, this album is a mixed bag, though not without it’s highlights. “Everything That Isn’t Me,” is an interesting look at Graham’s shortcomings throughout his life, told in a series of apologies to those in life that he’s let down. “Say Yes,” my favorite track on the album, tells the tale of a man watching his wife walk down the aisle in the same church which held his father’s funeral. This juxtaposition provides a well written commentary on moving forward and finding happiness after loss.

   It’s in this same department, however, where I find my first major complaint. Virtually every track aside from the two I mentioned, are dripping in platitudes, repetitive topics, and few meaningless statements about love for good measure. “Love Someone,” for example, could’ve been written by a computer, and “You’re Not the Only One,” has an interesting message on the need for new artists like Bob Marley and other great, feel-good artists from the past, but it’s delivered with tactless, boring lyrics that rarely match the song’s original premise in creativity.

   The instrumentation is another quality of this record which varies across the relatively short run-time. There are tracks like “Unhappy,” which builds from a minimalistic, drum-heavy track effectively, or “Hold My Hand,” which benefits from the a more nocturnal beat and an organ with a lot of character. However, they are balanced on the other end by tracks like “Stick Around,” which is the musical equivalent of vanilla ice cream, and “Lullaby,” which features one of Graham’s best performances, vocally and lyrically, butchered by strange instrumental choices, decorating the chorus with a boring piano and the choruses with a terribly mixed string section which never appears again on the project.

   All of these issues are magnified tenfold by poor production. For some artists, signing to a major label deal improves the quality of their work and feels like a talented, indy voice finally being given the support they deserve. For others, it sucks the life and uniqueness from them, leaving a radio-ready but uninteresting final project. Lukas Graham falls firmly in the latter category. Overused trap drums, strange and random instrumentation, thin mixing, and a multitude of other problems plague this already flawed project, dealing quite a bit of damage to the final release.

   Lukas Graham showed a lot of promise with his breakout single in 2015, but three years and a Warner Bros. signing later, we’re given a bland pop record. The signs of life aren’t gone from the young artist, but they’re buried under weak lyricism, poor production, and boring instrumentation.

   The Purple Album is rarely unbearable, and often somewhat listenable, but it is, first and foremost, a disappointment.

4/10

HEAR THE PURPLE ALBUM: https://open.spotify.com/album/02gV87QEIFp2T9q7OqVBjj

Elvis Costello Drops Yet Another Excellent LP

Look Now is a fun listen, and yet another project from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

     Elvis Costello is a new wave/pub-rock artist from the UK. He is nothing short of an icon of popular music and one of the most respected writers of all time, despite having only one platinum certification and not a single number one album over his four decade career. While he hasn’t had the kind of commercial success one would expect from legend, you’ll be hard pressed to find an influential artist, post-1970 who isn’t a fan.

   His sound is hard to nail down as, over his long career, Costello tried his hand and multiple writing and instrumental styles. However, there is a general punk slant to much of what he’s done, as well as an affinity for the orchestral composition of new wave. He’s also flirted with jazz influences, recently working with The Roots on his 2013 release, Wise Up Ghost. Most of all, his lyricism is unique, poetic, and above all, powerful. Most fans agree that his massive discography is simply devoid of weakness. Because of this, I was over the moon to hear of Look Now’s release, and for good reason.

   Costello’s vocal, though aging, is quite effective on this album. Slower selections like my personal favorite, “Don’t Look Now,” are obvious examples of this, but he also keeps up well on tracks with beefier instrumentals, such as “Burnt Sugar is So Bitter,” or “Unwanted Number.”

   In addition, his lyricism hasn’t lost a beat. “Under Lime” tells a unique story dealing in sexuality and relationships, while “Photographs Can Lie,” is a beautifully written tale of love gone bad. On this LP, Elvis writes about life with the voice of a man who’s lived it, seeing new angles to old stories, and showing a wonderful understanding of love, change, and time.

   All of this, however, pales in comparison to the real highlight of Look Now, the excellent instrumentation. Elvis’ most recognizable musical partners, The Imposters, join him on this project to incredible effect. The bass guitar is active on tracks like “Mr. & Mrs. Hush,” or “I Let the Sun Go Down,” pushing the tracks along while providing a playful depth to each of them.

   The drums set a danceable groove on track after track. The rimshots on “Why Won’t Heaven Help Me,” are the highlight of the verses, while the open high-hat on “Under Lime,” moves the song to a perfect tempo. The rest of the album sees the drums take a more laid back, but equally important back seat, with an especially impressive ear for cymbal accents.

   Beyond the basic band instrumentation, this album’s palette is quite broad. The choirs on “Suspect My Tears,” and “Under Lime,” are fantastic, while the keys on intimate pieces like the beautiful “Stripping Paper,” or the closer, “He’s Given Me Things,” are simple and perfect. This record also features some excellent horn and string parts that build an orchestral sound and leave listeners wondering excitedly what they might hear next.

   There are very few complaints to make here. There are a few pacing issues, with most every track landing somewhere between three and four minutes and following a similar form. Costello’s voice can be a bit much at times, showing age by wavering on longer notes and in the higher reaches of his range.

   Aside from these small issues, Look Now is an exciting addition to Costello’s massive catalog. The mastery of form and helming of such a broad palette is the kind of skill which only comes from the kind of long, storied career this man has under his belt.

   Look Now is a fun listen, and yet another project from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

8/10

HEAR LOOK NOW: https://open.spotify.com/album/7dvbHsQbTs5RqE9iRgXHCC

Open Mike Eagle Mixes Chaos and Psychedelia on Newest EP

While What Happens When I Try to Relax lacks the focus and conceptuality of previous Open Mike Eagle Projects, his ability to spread this chaotic thought over smooth, psychedelic instrumentals makes for a fun listen that you’ll leave on repeat for a few days.

     Open Mike Eagle is a rapper and comedian from Chicago, Il. He is an absolute rockstar of the underground hip hop world with a unique flow and breakneck work ethic. He’s released nine LP’s in ten years, his latest project, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, finding it’s way onto nearly every end of year album lists in 2017. In addition, he’s released seven EP’s over this time and What Happens When I Try to Relax is the latest on this list. Having missed my chance to review his last record, I was determined to catch his next release, and luckily I didn’t have to wait long.

   The EP opens with “Relatable,” which sets the tone quite well, striking an almost epic feel in the opening verse despite the minimal beat. Mike’s flow is fairly simple but effective, and lyrically, he dances well between punchlines and serious diagnoses of his mind state and inability to cope with stress. He forgoes a chorus in favor of an excellent trumpet solo from Jordan Katz which acts as a kind of bridge between the track’s two verses. Overall, and excellent opener.

   “Every Single Thing,” follows with one of the funniest intros I’ve heard in a very long time which quickly dissolves into a much harder hitting track than it’s predecessor. Jumping from video game references to commentary on racism, Mike builds himself as a character in a very interesting way. His racial comments are particularly brutal, rapping “How it’s both sides, we both ain’t dyin’.” The instrumental is again, this time building mainly on slowly developing synth leads.

   The best track on the record falls square in the middle with “Microfiche.” Over the nondescript, psychedelic beat, Mike’s flow is unstoppable, mixed perfectly between lyrically heavy-hitting and melodically soft. The rapped hook is fun and singable and topics range from drug use to, again, video games, through politics, and a dash of mental health. His ability to filter his hectic lack of focus through a soft, listenable aesthetic is a microcosm of what makes What Happens When I Try to Relax such an enjoyable project.

   The follow up, “Single Ghosts,” is far more nocturnal as Mike tells a very October-appropriate tale of falling in love with a ghost. This track blurs the lines between comedy and horror rap in a unique way. I have the utmost appreciation for his replication of the Ghost Busters hook, and I enjoy the switch up, however, this will likely be the track I find myself revisiting the least.

   “Southside Eagle,” is up next with an excellent, dreamy chorus as the opening. While the flow is a bit boring, Mike’s lyrics about seeing fellow rappers around him but feeling out of place, as well as his lines examining the effects of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” on the lives of bullied youth, are especially thoughtful and a perfect example of what makes him such a beloved feature of the underground hip-hop scene.

   “Maybe Gang” closes the project very well. Much of Mike’s flow is comedically inept, though the several of the rhyme schemes are quite elite. The hook is an ear worm, one the only of it’s kind on the record, and the trap cymbals that adorn the entire track set the tone in an interesting way. It’s a respectable closer for a more than respectable project.

   This EP is fun, it’s comical at times, and more than anything, it’s supremely listenable. As Open Mike Eagle bounces from topic to topic with flow and conviction, there’s nothing to do but bob your head and try to keep up.

   While What Happens When I Try to Relax lacks the focus and conceptuality of previous Open Mike Eagle Projects, his ability to spread this chaotic thought over smooth, psychedelic instrumentals makes for a fun listen that you’ll leave on repeat for a few days.

4/10

HEAR WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TRY TO RELAXhttps://open.spotify.com/album/7qTEGu0Gvikwk1n8SwjmEL

Five Easy Tips for Becoming a Better Music Listener

Virtually every genre of music is thriving in an exciting way today, and sitting out on this exciting era is simply not an option for true lovers of music.

5. Learn an Instrument

     To start off, learning an instrument has numerous benefits. It’s shown to help younger children in school, it can serve as a creative outlet and relieve stress, and let’s not forget, ladies love a guitarist! In addition to this, learning to play an instrument for yourself can infinitely increase your enjoyment of music that you’ve always loved.

   This can be done relatively cheap, and I would recommend guitar as a cheap guitar can run under $100. Understanding chord structures, basic music theory, and the skill that goes into playing an instrument opens a new window through which to view some of your favorite tunes.

4. Listen with Intention

   This is one of the most important and most ignored pieces when it comes to enjoying music thoroughly. If you start a movie and let it play in the background as you clean the house, do homework, etc., you couldn’t truly say that you’ve “seen” the movie. In the same way, music, at least good music, isn’t made to be wallpaper, but to be the focus of your time with it.

   If I could set up the perfect listening environment, I’d start with a comfortable room and a closed door. Add a nice pair of headphones or speakers, and even a paper to take notes, and you’ve got yourself a perfect environment to experience a great album. Of course, driving, jogging, cleaning, and other activities provide excellent time to revisit old favorites, but to intently listen, especially to a new record, the music needs to be the primary focus of your time.

3. Listen to Full Albums/Discographies

   This may seem obvious to a lot of people, but many music fans, particularly younger, still view an album as nothing more than a collection of songs independent of one another. This couldn’t be a worse understanding of an album’s purpose. A great record functions much like a great film, with each song acting as a scene. Each informs the next, either through direct storyline in the case of a concept album, or through tone and pacing in the case of a traditional album. Experiencing the piece as a whole allows you to place each song in context of the album and gives a fuller understanding of how each track is meant to function.

   Beyond this, albums are far better appreciated when viewed in the larger scope of a band’s entire discography. To take a group like The Beatles for example, their discography tells the story of a young boy band developing into an experimental, psychedelic powerhouse, and similar growth can be seen in several bands of the same era. Placing the album you’re hearing into the larger context of the group’s full catalog makes the listening experience vastly better.

2. Read the Lyrics

   It’s shocking how few avid music listeners actually do this, especially considering what an important factor it is, but to truly appreciate a great album, you simply have to read and know the lyrics. Lyricism is especially important in folk and rap music, but across all genre’s, it’s one of the most important aspects of a track. Every word is placed in a song for a reason, and a good listener understands the purpose of each line.

   Finding lyrics is very easy. Nearly every song ever recorded can be found on genius.com, often with accompanying discussion on the meanings of each line. In addition, physical copies of music generally come with liner notes or a book which will contain the album’s full lyrics and maybe even a few illustrations. Developing the skills to pick apart lyrics and understand their meaning is a remarkably important skill to a music listener, and it will radically change your experience of some of your favorite records.

1. Listen to New Music!!

   This is, without a doubt, the most important part of being a good listener. The most uninformed statement I hear and read on a daily basis is some form of “there’s no good music these days.” The modern music industry faces several issues, mainly dealing with artist pay and copyright questions, but the one problem it absolutely does not have is scarcity! It’s impossible to adequately enjoy the work of someone like Tupac without hearing his heavy influence on an artist like Kendrick Lamar, you can’t fully appreciate the violent intensity of Pantera without hearing the way modern hardcore groups like Code Orange have brought their sound roaring into the 21st century, and ignoring changes in current music leaves you alienated as a listener and removed from the world of music as a whole.

   Finding new music is a question I get often, and so let me list a few suggestions. The most obvious and affordable may be Spotify, which takes your weekly listening habits into account to create a 30-song playlist for you every Monday, made up of songs you haven’t heard. Spotify also has playlists like “new releases,” which can give you a taste of what’s coming out now. On top of this, websites like nme.com or billboard.com have yearly lists of upcoming albums. If you have certain bands you enjoy, follow their social media accounts to keep updated on upcoming work and the work of their label-mates. As a reviewer, I also sign up for mailing lists for several labels I enjoy, which means I get weekly emails with updates about upcoming music from their rosters. Virtually every genre of music is thriving in an exciting way today, and sitting out on this exciting era is simply not an option for true lovers of music.