Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now
This week's curator: Graham Williams, founder of Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Graham Williams, concert promoter and founder of Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot
It took awhile, but while Andre 3000 was working on his acting career, Big Boi was laboring on his first real solo record. Now that it's finally out, I love this record. It's right up there with most Outkast records, filled with an awesome, eclectic mix of special guests (Janelle Monae, Too Short, B.O.B., and more) backed with amazing production. Even the skits are funny, which is rare on hip-hop records.
Bad Religion, the first five records
Maybe it's nostalgia, but I've been listening to a lot of old Bad Religion. All the '80s records have been rotating on my iPod. They've continued to release albums, but tour mainly via events like Warped Tour, playing to a younger crowd. Arguably, this was a smart business tactic that's kept them relevant to a new wave of kids, but it's definitely isolated them a bit from their original fans. Fun Fun Fun Fest will be a great time to see them with fans of all ages. And regardless of how many times they tour with Blink 182 or Foo Fighters, No Control will still be a fucking amazing record.
Listen: "Big Bang"
Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
We're in one of those rare moments when music obsessives have the same new songs playing in their cars as the soccer moms in the SUVs next to them. It seems like everyone bought this record. I remember the first time I booked Arcade Fire — opening for Unicorns in the small room at Emo's. 250 kids were seeing them for the first time. The crowd exploded — it was like Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show. They became one of the most popular bands in the country while on an independent label, with an independent booking agency and manager backing them. All this, while still riding that tightrope between edgy/progressive. It's amazing the same way all three of their records sound new and different, which is a tough thing to pull off when you're under a microscope. Everyone is waiting for them to fuck up… but they never do.
A few years ago, some punk and electro kids in Spain got together to make dance music. But it wasn't the typical DJ-based electro that was coming from overseas at the time. Delorean's music is more in line with Phoenix's dancier side, Austin/NYC migrators Neon Indian, or a less poppy version of Passion Pit. It's not easy to describe them, but that's a good thing. The point is, it's fun and upbeat and the music and samples layer to build something new. The music sounds very produced (in a good way), but I've been told their live show is as great as their recordings. We'll see when they play Fun Fun Fun Fest's dance stage this week.
The Sword, Warp Riders
Just when I was starting to get burnt out on Baroness's Blue Record and wanted some new metal, Sword brought it. Their first record was much-loved, but the second, while even more metal and technical, didn't quite have the hooks the first one did. That's changed with their third, Warp Riders. This new one has more riffs, more power, and even a few full-on ZZ Top-meets-Thin Lizzy jams. My personal favorite jams are parts I and II of "The Chronomancer." Oh yeah, and the layout rules — it's like an outer-space version of a Frank Frazetta swords-and-sorcery painting. This band has kept the full-on nerd-metal theme going, but in contrast to their earlier Tolkien-informed lyrics and imagery, Warp Riders is full-on retro starquest shit.