This week, not much is sounding new as we arbitrarily decide what music you should listen to.
The Monkees – Good Times!
Their first album in two decades, ex-television band The Monkees newest release isn’t exactly breaking new ground. The usual happy-psychedelic pop, done in the usual lo-fi, lo-bass 60’s sound. Surprising considering current recording technology, unsurprising considering this gives the almost a faux-hipster, old school before it was old hat aesthetic.
Which actually makes them pretty cool in a self-aware but unapologetic honesty. They even acknowledge it in Birth of an Accidental Hipster: It’s late and I’m scared/so please, don’t be long/I’m still not sure where I came from.
Sure you can make jokes about senility, but the tunes are good and the psychedelia everlasting. Not bad for a band once described as wanting “to be the beatles, but was never that successful”.
Cat’s Eyes – Treasure House
Male/female vocal pairings tend to play off some sort of juxtaposition like with The XX, but Treasure House works almost like a double album, with Faris Badwan of The Horrors-fame and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira taking turns on vocalist duties for separate tracks. Bawan’s moody baritone gets lifted out of its Horror’s gothic reviere and gets its own heart-wrenching indie cred a la Stephen Merrit.
Departing from the fuzzy dream pop/noise of their maiden effort, Treasure House is musically splendid; at times orchestral, at times 60s drenched surf-pop and most importantly never boring with its harp sounds and choral singing.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – The Getaway
Thing is, they have done this for so long that writing songs should come easily to them; the decision to return to a Stadium Arcadium-era sound means that one can lambast them for being repetitive. But one doesn’t.
Moving away from the sparser, dance-f(p)unk I’m With you means a warm welcome-back from old fiends; it seems like RHCP can do no wrong at this point. That isn’t to say that nothing is new – the band has both sped up and slowed down; The Hunter sounds like it came right of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.
Monotony might come in the form of Kedis’ voice for every album, but The Getaway has matured in it’s own way after Frusciante’s departure, becoming as strong guitarally as it is bassically – the sounds are as Flea bitten as ever, but Klinghoffer comes in just as strong, laying down impressive guitar work.
Who knows, he might just join in with the next slightly-self-important carpool karaoke.