Five November 2017 Albums You May Have Missed
From soundtracks to movies that never existed to honoring some of the most influential bands of the last few decades, we have five November 2017 albums you may have missed.
How was your Thanksgiving? Still working through leftovers? Ya’ll get that new Taylor Swift album? Let us know how it is, because we’re #TeamCardiB over here and will stream “Bodak Yellow” all day to keep Tay Tay from getting #1 chart placement.
We had some great gems in the form of music this November, sure, but we can’t have nice things anymore so we also had to endure some horrible turns of events: aside from allegations against both creeps and former heroes, Morrissey came out with a new album and continued to make it more and more difficult to separate art from the artist. Malcolm Young, one of the best rhythm guitarists hard rock has ever known passed away at 63, and promising emo/trap genre-bender Lil Peep died of a drug overdose at the all-too-young age of 21. It was enough to make me want to put the leftover turkey down for some Wild Turkey.
Aside from all of that though, we also had some great albums come out – and I mean great.
Some East Coast hardcore veterans returned to show us what pain really feels like, one of the most arguably influential punk bands got an all-too vital reissue, an 80s obsessed weirdo from New York made us wish for the good ol’ days of the Cold War, and there were a few other treats hidden behind a wall of endless New York Times and Washington Post push notifications while we slept. It’s all below. We hope you enjoy.
The Dusk In Us
It’s difficult to say something revealing or special about Converge that long-time fans don’t already know. For nearly two decades, the Boston hardcore band has continually upped the ante and elevated hardcore music into something elite. Converge albums have always been worth the wait because you know when you get one it’s going to be something mind-bogglingly insane and rewarding. Very rarely do bands operating in this genre give you something so dense that it requires multiple listens. The only question is: are you prepared to keep coming back?
I’m hoping so because the first thing that stands out is just how good this album sounds. Once again it was produced by guitarist Kurt Ballou and it’s apparent that as Converge continues to evolve and grow as a band so too does Ballou’s chops behind the mixing board.
Opener “A Single Tear” shreds with serpentine riffs while frontman Jacob Bannon howls about, of all things, the newfound revelations of fatherhood. Needless to say, he’s taking this next chapter in his life as seriously as he’s taken any of the other subject matter he’s tacked with his band. Other songs like “Under Duress” and “Trigger” are here to pummel your skull while “Arkhipov Calm,” a song written about a Russian naval officer who helped to quell the Cuban Missile Crisis, is as compelling in its lyrical content as it is in its fury. These guys are hardcore heroes, forever pushing themselves and us, the listeners, into new possibilities and undiscovered turbulence. Strap in.
Savage Young Dü
With little warning, these past few months have become a celebratory period for one of the greatest pop-punk bands ever to emerge from Minneapolis, or any other city for that matter. First, there was the excellent Do You Remember, a five-part podcast from Minnesota Public Radio that served as an incredible oral history on all things Hüsker Dü, and now we have Savage Young Dü, a sweeping anthology painstakingly assembled from archival label Numero Group. What makes this such a great collection – and something worth listening to by any Hüsker fan – is that it essentially tells the story of the band’s beginning in a new and remastered light.
The compilation includes remasters of that band’s earliest demos taken straight from the mixing board, as well as remasters of their first two albums, “Land Speed Record” and “Everything Falls Apart.” In the case of “Land Speed Record,” it was recorded originally as a live album for $300 and couldn’t find distribution until Mike Watt stepped in to help; an album that showcased just how fast and brutal the band could be before they spread into more sonic pop territory in the latter stages of their career. Hearing it newly remastered is akin to a vital history lesson in the origins of American punk and the heritage of Minneapolis music.
In the era of streaming everything you can hear all 69 tracks from this compilation on pretty much every streaming service out there, but if you’re really into the band then look no further to the physical collection on the Numero Group site that includes 4 LPs, a 144-page hardcover book, flyer collection, 40 previously unpublished photographs, an essay, and heaps of other goodies.
If that’s not your speed or if you’re not that into the band, just go to your streaming site of choice and shred. These sixty-nine songs hit like a bushel of bottle rockets.
Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve probably felt Quicksand’s influence. The band dropped two influential albums in the 90s and then disbanded before the turn of the millennium. Frontman Walter Schreifells went on to front Rival Schools and a multitude of other acts, while bassist Sergio Vega took over bass duties for Deftones following the tragic passing of Chi Cheng. So in a way, there have been elements of Quicksand floating around us since their breakup in 1999, but there ain’t nothing like the real thing, as they say.
From the outset, Interiors sounds like a Quicksand album; it’s angular and muscular, with the occasional odd time signatures and subversive melodies so prevalent in their patented brand of post-hardcore music. It sounds like it rightfully belongs in the Quicksand canon, even if it did take twenty years to follow up. The main caveat here is that it’s a slower, more spaced out, and at times less aggressive than the music they made in the 90s. And hey, that’s totally fine, because even within those spaced out moments you get great songs like “Cosmonauts” and “Hyperion,” with their dissonant lead-ins and achingly melodic choruses.
On the flip-side, songs like “Under the Screw” and “Fire This Time” still show that penchant the band had for grabbing onto a banging riff and driving it through the walls to get their point across. The best thing about a new Quicksand album in 2017 is that we never asked for one. We could’ve gone the rest of our lives wondering what if, but we don’t have to anymore because now we know how the story of this great underrated band ends… or possibly continues on.
Midnight Signals (Original Motion Picture Score)
It seems like the modern-day wave of 80s inspired synth acts is being pretty much ignored by most critics these days. Perhaps they deem it too derivative. At DBP, however, we don’t really care about critics. We make our own soundtracks.
If you’re still needing a fix of revisionist retro after your Stranger Things 2 bender, then have we got an album for you. Brooklyn’s mysterious Starcadian has given us a pulsating synth-driven soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist. Conceptually, you could imagine what this movie might be like as you lose yourself in the melodies of album opener “Interspace,” but we never found time to have that hypothetical discussion of what Midnight Signals might actually be about because we were too busy just having fun while listening to it. In short, most of it sounds like early 80s Prince teamed up with late 90s Daft Punk to produce a John Hughes movie soundtrack that takes place in an alternative universe.
Song “Freak Night” is pretty much a Morris Day and the Time jam a-la “Jungle Love,” but remade for the post-everything world we live in. “Pollyanna” sounds like an 80s TV show theme reimagined by George Benson with Hall & Oates as guest stars, while latter album tracks like “Trapped in America” could serve as chase theme music on Night Rider or Air Wolf (in said alternate universe). There are also touches of Tango in the Night, Fleetwood Mac, and notes of everything kids too late to be Gen X but too young to be Millennial might hearing on FM radio as they rode home from soccer matches or swim class.
It’s funny to hear the promises of the future-past reimagined by people who weren’t alive during the era that originally spawned it, but why contemplate it too much? Just give in and go to the re-imagined past.
Too Dumb for Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs
When he’s not making absurdist and surreal comedy with his partner Eric Wareheim, staging his own mock trials, or reviewing banal movies with Gregg Turkington, Tim Heidecker has been known to drop an album or two.
Last year’s In Glendale blurred the line between earnestness and comedy, and now he’s back with some hilariously pointed barbs for Donald Trump. In his own words, “Most of these songs were written and recorded quickly, with the blood still boiling from whatever indignity or absurdity had popped up on my newsfeed that day.”
The end result is an album that skewers everything from the quality of Trump’s bowel movements (too much KFC) to the trolls who support him in “Four Chan.” Song “Mar a Lago” is basically a “Margaritaville” piss take with Trump as narrator, bemoaning life in Washington D.C. while dreaming about escaping to his tacky golf resort and hoping that it won’t sink into the ocean. Then there’s “Richard Spencer,” a Bob Seger-esque riff that posits if you ever do indeed see Richard Spencer in person, then it’s totally OK to punch him in the face (fun fact: it’s totally OK).
Then there’s “Sentencing Day,” a more somber piano-laden song where the bars serve free drinks and the nation just might deem it a national holiday when Trump is served whatever justice is looming over him. It may never happen, but we can always laugh and dream together, right?
Looking for More albums you missed?
Check back at the beginning of each month for Nate’s ongoing column highlighting music you may have missed from the previous month. And if you’re looking for a little seasonal music, we have you covered on that too.