Like friendship and coffee, music is an essential element for surviving the college experience. Good tunes can fuel a manic cram session and help reset stress levels after tangling with a group project.
Everyone brings some music with them to campus, along with a toothbrush, a decent blanket and a stash of (hopefully) clean underwear. But if you leave CU without an album that encompasses that year you asked out your crush, finally decided on your major and learned how to tie your shoes with your teeth, then what are you doing with your life?
Here's a sampling of albums so ripe, they're ready to drop on your head.
Friday, Sept. 1
A lot of excitement around this one. LCD Soundsystem have confirmed that their sixth official studio album, "American Dream," will be out on Columbia/DFA records Friday.
"Call the Police" and "American Dream," singles from the new album, are a little more tame, cynical and introspective than the dance-punk bangers and hits that drove the group to success. For instance, the title track recounts the emptiness of a hungover morning after a one-night stand. But the change in tempo is an evolution in the LCD sound, one that portends well for the album.
It's always been a pleasure to watch LCD Soundsystem, to grow up and grow with them. I'm very curious to see what the next chapter holds for us all.
Alvvays released one of my favorite albums of 2014. Alvvays' self-titled record holds a great deal of memories for me, but there's something so nostalgic about that record in and of itself, borrowing dreamy guitars from '60s pop and darker synth sounds from the '80s.
It's been a quiet three years waiting for Alvvays' second record, but their latest single, "In Undertow," carries on the reminiscent whimsy that was so captivating about the group in the first place. This isn't to say that their record is just a reiteration of the last — both of their new singles sound more produced, fuller and larger. They're also shockingly synth-heavy considering the self-titled release could most definitely be described as guitar dominant. When the guitars do show up, they take on a very overcast, shoegaze sound.
This change might not be appealing to those attached to Alvvays' first record, but I'm intrigued to see what the band will do with a larger, pop-oriented song. I'm willing to say that I'm hopeful.
It's been a busy year for Deerhoof. They've been working on various side projects such as Nervous Cop, which features members of Death Grips, as well as recording their next studio album.
Two singles have dropped in preparation for "Mountain Moves," and both are promising. The first, "I Will Spite Survive" featuring Jenn Wasner, kicks off with an unmistakable '90s pop rock sound supplemented by an almost baroque riff on the synth. Bassist/singer Satomi Matsuzaki's sugary sweet voice juxtaposes the more sultry voice of Wye Oak's Wasner to create delightful harmony. The second single, "Your Dystopic Creation Doesn't Fear You" featuring Awkwafina, kicks of with a slacker-rock vibe that immediately jumps into an old hip-hop kind of sound provided by rapper/comedian Awkwafina. The track continues to jump in and out of lazier slacker-rock interludes and more upbeat guitars that back Matsuzaki's signature shrill vocals.
It's hard to say if these singles suggest a change or a continuation, because Deerhoof has traditionally been all over the place, and that's what makes them great.
June saw the announcement of Ariel Pink's newest album, "Dedicated to Bobby Jameson." If you haven't heard, Jameson was a musician who found cult success in the 1960s working with members of The Rolling Stones and releasing the album "Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest" under the name Chris Lucey in 1965. Jameson left the music industry in 1985 after he was unable to receive significant payment for his creative endeavors, and he passed away in 2015.
Ariel Pink has spoken of the connection he feels to Jameson and his life story, and this album is inspired by that connection. As to be expected with Ariel Pink, be on the lookout for freaky, blown-out, lo-fi wacko sounds and plenty of confusion.
Consisting of Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies and Chris Slorach, METZ has been one of the most solid punk bands in independent music for a couple of years. The brash and screeching guitars, battering rhythms and despondent lyrics on their latest single, "Cellophane" pound themselves into your ears with ruthless force.
The unbridled energy of METZ's music has undoubtedly been channeled and unleashed by legendary producer Steve Albini of Black Flag. From the sound of "Cellophane," this partnership seems to be quite fruitful.
As Edkins said in a news release from Sub Pop records, "'Strange Peace' is much more diverse and varied than anything we've done before, which was exhilarating but terrifying, too. We took the tapes home to Toronto feeling like we'd made the record we wanted to make."
Detroit's Protomartyr crafts metallic and moody soundscapes reminiscent of post-punk legends like The Fall or Wire. Lead singer Joe Casey's vocals reverberate deep and clumsily like a punch to the stomach while still maintaining a sense of lyrical dexterity. His vocal power coupled with grating guitars even calls reference to The Birthday Party at times.
This trend continues on the first single for "Relatives in Descent," "A Private Understanding." A churning, unstable rhythm guides us through the violent twists and turns of volume and tempo as we make our way through Casey's narration.
I'm anticipating a slight change in direction from Protomartyr on this one, something more deconstructed and abstract.
In June, St. Vincent dropped a new single, "New York," in conjunction with announcing a tour. One can only assume that this is the single off of her forthcoming album, but no official release dates have been announced yet.
"New York" sounds pretty different from the noisey, artistic chaos of Annie Clark's last record. It's minimal and calm, lacking her typically intricate guitar playing. But it manages to retain her signature, witty lyricisms. She sings, with angelic grace and delicacy, "New York isn't New York without you, love" and "Where you're the only motherfucker in the city who can handle me."
I can't give you a great idea about what you'll hear when St. Vincent's latest album finally releases, but I predict that it will be laden with surprises and juxtapositions, at the very least carrying something innovative and interesting.
"The Book of Zef"
Die Antwoord has been on the rise to international fame, in both mainstream and underground circles, since about 2009 when they released their debut album "$O$."
Lyrically, Die Antwoord are clinically insane, absolutely mental, say it how you will. They're crazy. Consistently running the gamut of taboo sex, drugs, violence and general profanity, I'm sure "The Book of Zef" will be no different.
With God providing all of the ridiculous, danceable beats your heart could possibly desire and Ninja and Yolandi going for maximum shock value, this album's going to be a trip. To further this claim, the group have also announced that this is their final album.
Klefeker is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists