Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
Battles – “FF Bada”
NYC dance-math trio Battles are returning with their third full-length, La Di Da Di later this month, and “FF Bada” is the second single released (the first being the mammoth “The Yabba”). “FF Bada” is more prickly and groovy, with Ian Williams (guitar, keyboards), Dave Konopka (guitar), and John Stanier (drums) really locking in and intertwining bits and pieces of melody and rhythm to form a swirling wall of undefinable sound that somehow still makes you want to shake your ass (especially when that melodica — or at least something that sounds like melodica — part comes in towards the end). It’s a perfect representation of what the group have always done best (both before and since Tyondai Braxton‘s departure), and it’s a great sign to see them seemingly doubling down on the more dense and fully instrumental parts of their sophomore effort Gloss Drop. Hopefully the band has some more tricks up their sleeve in the remaining tracks. We’ll find out soon enough on September 18 when the album drops through Warp Records.
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Coheed and Cambria – “Here To Mars”
I’m always interested in bands switching up their style, whether it’s conceptual or an actual musical shift. When the two merge together, I couldn’t be more excited. And so, the second single from the upcoming Coheed and Cambria has got me giddy. It displays not only the lyrical shift, no longer focusing on The Amory Wars, but also the musical shift we can expect from this album. On one hand, the second is a lot more poppy once again, with a fixed chorus and verse structure. On the other hand, the bass work is dominant and Claudio has all the usual frills we’re used to hear on his voice.
Some say that the lyrical quality seems to descending as Claudio moves away from the complexity of The Amory Wars. I, for one, welcome our new pop overlords. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to place intricate lyrical concepts over this kind of music and I’m glad that Claudio didn’t force it. All in all, this sounds like something I kind of need right now: a fun album that will deliver the pop-rock dosage I’ve been lacking this year so far. All in all, Here to Mars has me super excited (those keyboards near the end!) for a fun, light, refreshing album. Full speed ahead!
The Dear Hunter – “The Squeaky Wheel”
Have you noticed that we really like The Dear Hunter? If not, go over and read our insanely in depth *prognotes series and then come back here. Welcome back! If anything can be noticed from this discography of this amazing band is their ability to balance light and dark, to explore both melancholy and infectious happiness. And so, I present to you “The Squeaky Wheel”. In the album itself (which is amazing by the way) it comes right after one of the darkest songs of the album. And yet, somehow, it still works and feels in place.
So what do we have here? We have upbeat piano, a tropical sounding chorus and the sweet, sweet vocal antics of one Casey Crescenzo. This track, and indeed the entire album, speaks wonders about his ability to craft engaging and yet somehow complex creations. “The Squeaky Wheel” somehow draws on Queen, The Beatles and Coheed and Cambria at the same time, also introducing the unique string arrangements characteristic of Casey’s work. Then how, how does it remain so light hearted and fun to listen to? Only Casey has the answer and it lies within the incredible body of work that is The Dear Hunter. Act IV is just over the horizon and this track is a good preparation for its lighter side.
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Fit For An Autopsy – “Saltwound”
The new Fit for An Autopsy album is the best deathcore release of the year and “Saltwound” is a shining example as to why it’s earned that title. It presents itself with a foreboding intro that leads into an onslaught of drums and guitars, which pummel you as the vocals tear through your ears. The kickoff line for the first breakdown in this song, “God is a lie and man is a failure,” hits hard and makes you bounce until things slow down for a quiet interlude and tastefully melodic solo. After that, you hear one of the albums favorite new tricks, which is the signature Gojira pick scrape. It heralds the coming of one of the best quotables from the album, “Here’s the fucking truth: sometimes people should just fucking die. Stop pretending that’s wrong; Stop pretending it’s a lie.” Then the chorus returns and crushes you a little bit more. The album has much more to offer, but for now, take this single as a warning. A beast of great magnitude is coming for you and you’re not ready for it.
Slayer – “Cast the First Stone”
Hold my breath as I wish for death. Oh, please Tom, really? That’s where I’m at with Slayer and the Adult Swim released “Cast The First Stone”. I’m not being lazy by refraining from yammering about the line up, it’s just old and still kinda sad news. This is a Slayer song that ticks the boxes for being a Slayer song. Slayer fans will enjoy this particular Slayer song; after the first solo though as the song is a snooze before that. Slayer run though the paces yet again and people will still buy it and jam it and scream Slayer and all the rest. At least Metallica tried to change up the jam. To make it clear, I’m still not endorsing their general direction around when Hetfield’s hair died. Slayer are always going to be Slayer though, and a lot of people love that. Let them have their Slayer.
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TesseracT – “Survival”
Just a couple of short weeks away, TesseracT‘s new album Polaris is set to storm the progressive metal world after an anxiously long wait since 2013’s Altered State. With the second full single in “Survival” (coming after a nearly nonexistent teaser with a snippet of “Hexes”), the third track on the album stands strong on its own overshadowing the previous “Messenger” in strength and groove. It punches you pretty hard at its start with its main groove and dials it back ever so slightly only to ramp up again and keep the pace throughout. Fairly exemplary of the album itself, as Polaris begins strongly, lulls slightly in the middle, and finishes with muscle.
Hope this new track gets you excited for the full album. Polaris is out on September 18th, 2015 via Kscope. You can read our review right here.
Windhand – “Hyperion”
Whenever Windhand unveils a new track, it is hard for a music nerd so obsessed with doom/sludge metal, as well as shoegaze/psych rock, to hide my excitement. After all, the band flawlessly blends both styles into truly, miraculously heavy while still mellow masterpieces that almost always leave you feeling as if you just may have taken some mind warping, not-so-potent opiate. Well, I am happy to report that “Hyperion” is no different and shows Windhand once again not only hitting the mark, but completely demolishing it as well. “Hyperion” carries all the signature Windhand trademarks: thick, sludgy bass, pounding drums, and guitars that remain blissfully fuzzed out while still being able to carry a solid riff. Truly, Windhand’s strength lies in the fact that despite the massive amount shoegaze and psych rock influence play in their music, they never allow the ambience or fuzz to become a main feature, but rather, an added bonus on top of already stellar song writing. Windhand have never disappointed before, and it seems that will be more true now than it ever was before
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