Monday, March 12, 2012

Recent Albums You Might Have Slept On Vol. 1

Saul Williams, "Volcanic Sunlight"
This album was actually released in November of last year, and I had mentioned its release before. This is very much a something-for-everybody kind of album, as there are all kinds of songs on here: fun, happy songs with simple hooks (“Girls on Saturn”); songs that you definitely want to play at your next house-party (“Dance”); songs with lots of poetry (“Look to the Sun,” “Explain My Heart”); and the more trippy, experimental songs (“Diagram”). There is a bit of dance album feel to a lot of the music, but the lyrics are at the level of what fans of Saul Williams would expect, so they would not be disappointed.

Outernational, "Todos Somos Ilegales (We Are All Illegals)"

This album was released online at the end of 2011 to provide a soundtrack to resistance and revolution—it is “future rock” after all. There have been some good things said of the album, some of which you can find on the band’s Tumblr page. Here I’ll focus on my highlights, which include the funky “The Beginning Is Here,” which looks to set the tone for 2012; “We Are All Illegals,” a new anthem for all those fighting against the attacks on immigrants featuring a bunch of guest stars on the track, including some short but politically sharp lines from Residente of Calle 13; “Canta El Rio,” a beautiful and eerie sounding song with Ceci Bastida providing vocals; and my personal favorite, “Que Queremos,” which the band has been playing at shows for a long time and finally released. It’s a pay-what-you-can album, so there’s no excuse not to have it on your computer’s music library right now!

Ana Tijoux, "La Bala"

The first album that I was excited to hear this year and it did not disappoint. It starts off strong with the title-track, “La Bala,” and then quickly hits its high-point with “Shock,” and you know right away that this album will be even more politically charged than her previous work—of course, with everything that is going on in her home country of Chile, you can’t be surprised that it was a politically heavy album. Some have said that they did not dig the beats as much as they did on her previous album, and although I agree (just a little), I have to say that the songs are just more meaningful and powerful than her last disc. (Also, I love her singing; her voice reminds me a bit of Nelly Furtado).

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