Landon’s Pick: “Drain You” (Live) – Nirvana
I’m a sucker for live albums. Always have been, always will be. When executed well, they can really set certain bands apart from the pack. Think about it; any band can sound polished on record, but it takes a certain finesse for an artist/group to bring that same vivacity to a live setting. And for that reason, any band that does can immediately gain a lot of respect from me. No band was better at doing this than Nirvana. Though the group has a ton of live material from over the years, their set recorded from the 1992 Reading Festival is a truly electric embodiment of everything Nirvana stood for: distortion, rebellion and a fuck-you attitude that resonates well in this release. The 24-song, hour-long set has many stellar moments, but their live version of Nevermind deep cut “Drain You” kicks the set off extremely well, preparing you for the grunge-infused onslaught that’s to come.
Joe’s Pick: “Viking Death March” – Billy Talent
For the Billy Talent fans who were apprehensive about a new album after the somewhat lackluster III, never fear. The Canadian punk rockers are back and sounding better than ever on their brand new release Dead Silence. The album’s first single, “Viking Death March” is a hard, upbeat and politically charged tune that delivers a perfectly timed message: “Change will have to wait/ if we can’t decide on a fate.” This call-to-arms is guaranteed to get you fired up and singing along on first listen.
Megan’s Pick: “Color” – The Maine
It’s been a rough week. Strangely, I’ve turned to an odd source to keep the crazy down. The Maine’s “Color” has certainly been a pal. Its calmness is reassuring while its consistent mentions of stability become helpful. Also, the cheery “everything will be alright” attitude is influential. This song’s understanding of frustration, insecurities, and little struggles makes it relatable and refreshing as the tough gets going. It’s basically a peaceful fight song.
Jason’s Pick: “Thinkin’ Bout You” – Frank Ocean
I have no problem admitting I’m a little picky when it comes to hip-hop and R’n’B. Frank Ocean’s LP Channel Orange is stellar enough though, from the catchy hooks to often surreal instrumentation. “Thinkin’ Bout You” is the first true track on the record, and it sets the bar high with a laid-back tempo and luscious melodic slathering from start to finish. If anyone had any doubt as to whether he could rise a bit above the pack of Odd Future, it doesn’t take long for us to figure out Frank’s nimble vocals make him confident and spectacular in his element.
Nick’s Pick: “To Our Savior” – Midtown
A Cobra Starship song came on the other day at work and made me nostalgic for the days before Gabe Saporta wore head-to-toe neon and made songs with Mac Miller. The second track off Midtown’s final album shows Saporta at his finest. His energetic vocal performance meshes perfectly with the track’s blistering up-tempo drums and wailing guitars. The emotion and energy of the song are palpable, and the dark lyrical themes that are present throughout the album give it an angry, agitated feel. “To Our Savior” showcases what Midtown was capable at the top of their game, which only makes me more depressed every time I turn on the radio and hear Saporta sing about making good girls go bad.
John’s Pick: “Sylvia” – The Antlers
Something reminded me of this song – I can’t say what – but I’m glad that such an event brought me back to this gem of 2009. This is the kind of song that is best heard within the context of listening to the entire album. It makes it seem grand in a way that I can’t adequately describe to those unfamiliar with Hospice. The album has a very somber feel to it and is by and large more famous for eliciting tears than head nods. If you are in the mood to hear a band really go at it, you should check this track out. It’s rocking out in the most emotional way possible.
Drew’s Pick: “My Last Serenade” – Killswitch Engage
It is one of those throwback weeks. I’ve been listening to Killswitch Engage’s second album Alive or Just Breathing at least once a day during this past week. I could easily choose any song from the album, but since I have to single out one it is obviously going to be “My Last Serenade.” Now a metalcore classic, Alive or Just Breathing is a pivotal stepping stone in my music tastes. I’m quite excited that Leach has found his way back into the band and I’m excited for future things to come from the guys in KsE.