Music: The Cults, Explosions In The Sky

The Cults - The Cults
Released on Lily Allen’s record label (In the Name Of) in early- June, this is the self-titled debut album from the duo named “Cults.”  Although once considered “a couple of NYC nobodies,” the band has certainly been receiving a lot of attention lately for their first full-length release.  Despite the band’s seemingly dark name, this album fits perfectly into the Indie pop/rock category.  The sweet vocals of Madeline Follin, backed by the smart production work of Brian Oblivion, create an album that combines the best of 1960s pop with modern dance-rock.

Most of the songs on the album have fairly simple arrangements, but the addition of synthesizers, electronic samples, big drum beats, and distorted guitars push the music to a level beyond generic “pop music.”  The vocal melodies seem familiar, like something you’ve heard from the Shirelles or Shangri-Las, but with lyrics like, “I knew right then that I’d been abducted” and “I can never be myself, so f--- you”- this is definitely not your parents’ girl-band.  Cults make good use of changing the mood and tempo between songs, keeping the album from feeling stale and predictable.  Stand-out tracks include “Go Outside,” “You Know What I Mean,” and “Walk at Night.”  The sounds of dreamy surf-guitars, pianos, and the occasional xylophone, fit nicely with the echo-fuzz vocals, delivering hooks that are sure to get stuck in your head.  Do yourself a favor, and check out this feel-good summer album, before we get thrown back into the depths of winter.

Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Released in late-April, “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” is the sixth release from this Texas-based band, the follow-up to 2007’s “All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone.”  Although the band rejects the “post-rock” genre label, this album definitely continues in the tradition of heavy, wide-open soundscapes that form the core of the evolving post-rock scene.  The pounding rhythms and intricate guitar melodies create the perfect soundtrack for an engaging film or a late-night drive. 

Right from the opening track, the band finds familiar ground with reverb-heavy guitar melodies, layered within crashing rock rhythms.  Where previous albums seemed stylistically similar and songs flowed together, each track on “Take Care…” stands on its own, creating different moods at every turn.  The song “Human Qualities” features electro-drum beats and string arrangements, reminiscent of Radiohead, but this somewhat introspective tune is followed by the galloping drums, thick cymbal crashes, and screaming electric guitar of “Trembling Hands.”  The final track, “Let Me Back In”, rises and falls with dramatic crescendos, subdued grooves, and distant guitars- clocking in at just over 10 minutes.  This song serves as a great example of Explosions in the Sky’s style, because even though their songs can be long-winded at times, the changing tempos and interwoven melodies keep the listener from getting bored with repetition.

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