Today is Friday, the most wonderful day of the week for music lovers because it’s the day when new albums are released. Let’s celebrate by highlighting some of the new year’s new records.
DIY punk juggernaut Jeff Rosenstock dropped POST- without warning on New Year’s Day. The former Bomb the Music Industry! leader chose the date so that the album would be among the first new music of the first full year after Trump’s election, a time when it’s pretty clear we’re living in a state of fallout, plodding along and fighting off complacency.
With lyrics that drip of cynicism and frustration with the country’s political state, Rosenstock shouts himself hoarse and seemingly moshes around the recording studio. But as dark as things may be, his nervy power-pop hooks don’t let the listener sit still, either. There are times that both merit anger and call to action. Anti-anthem “USA” is straightforward with its theme of feeling betrayed by your own country, as a paranoid narrator side-eyes strangers as his internal monologue asks, in a desperate search for a scapegoat: “Was it you?” The song ends with an exasperated chorus that turns focus inward with the question “Et tu, USA?” in the words of a character famously betrayed by all those that he loves.
With that, Rosenstock sums up 2018 in a seven-minute track: An exhausted people who perpetually volley between self-absolution and deep, dark guilt while simultaneously trying to live. Living on that edge helps maintain focus, though, and Rosenstock’s POST- reminds you to stay vigilant and determined no matter what.
Listen on: Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal
Alabama native Anderson East straddles genres well; his music has been labeled country, soul, R&B and pop, to name a few. His first album was split between two discs for two different sounds, one based in soul and country music and the other plugged-in pop-rock. He melds them all seamlessly, largely due to his versatile vocals. East’s deep, sensual voice originates from his childhood background in soul and gospel music, as does his keen ear, attention to detail, and refined simplicity. His warm voice leaves nothing to the imagination and he likes it that way. That easy confidence saturates his tracks about romance and relationships, enabling him to casually whisk away someone else’s lover in the brassy tune “Girlfriend” or mandate a slow dance in the John Mayer-esque “King for a Day.” His fourth album, Encore, offers up both of these songs as singles and promises to take him to the top of charts of all sorts, if a wink and a smile doesn’t get him there first. Anderson East visits the Majestic Theatre on May 15.
Listen on: Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Offerings (Roll Call)
Indie band Typhoon are masters at creating an expansive soundscape, which is good considering the amount of creative minds the Oregon outfit has to draw from. Consisting of a whopping 11 members, the aptly named group create lush and enveloping music that washes over you, bursting at the seams with orchestral instrumentation that includes horns, strings and a literal chorus of three- and four-part harmonies. Their lyrical work is just as full and meticulous; primary songwriter Kyle Morton roots his concept albums deeply in self-exploration, as he pulls up and out and sloughs off layers of himself in order to be left bare and vulnerable for the sake of growth. Typhoon’s fourth effort Offerings is a nearly 80-minute epoch on the concept of memory, laid out in four separate chapters. It both laments the loss of memory and addresses what is sometimes the curse of its retention. Staged against such a sonorous backdrop, Offerings make for a cathartic and immersive listening experience. As part of FRZN Fest, Typhoon plays the Majestic on Jan. 18.