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Hot Stuff: Ric Ocasek & The Cars Set the Comeback Standard

The Cars come back in classic style with a new album for 2011. The Cars come back in classic style with a new album for 2011.

Welcome to our weekly look at what’s rocking here in the Rosebud Magazine offices. This week’s music picks are a bunch of can’t-miss records – from fist-pumping to hauntingly moving. As usual, we’ve got a blend of poppy and heavy, and all points in between. To kick things off, The Cars’ first album in 24 years, Move Like This, has been in steady rotation around here. Ric Ocasek hasn’t missed a beat. This stuff could seriously hang with any of The Cars' catalogue. Then we'll move on to some indie rock, some metal, some doom, and some punk. Buckle up. It’s another week spanning musical genres with hot new albums for hydroponics gardeners of all types – something for a variety of indoor growers. Let’s get to it.

The Cars – Move Like This

For about a decade ending in the mid-‘80s, The Cars were a veritable hit factory. Ric Ocasek penned immortal pop-rock tracks, setting the bar high for other artists hunting for infectious hooks. Now, 24 years since their last studio album, Ocasek and The Cars are back with Move Like This. As reunion records go, it doesn’t get better than this. There’s no attempt here to sound like anything other than The Cars who produced so many classic songs. In fact, Move Like This could have been released in The Cars’ heyday, with tracks like “Sad Song,” “Blue Tip,” and “Take Another Look” standing out as particularly catchy and ‘80s-inflected. Once again, Ocasek and company have set the bar high - this is the model for bands attempting a comeback.

Antlers – Burst Apart

A gorgeous, sad listen from Antlers, Burst Apart evokes something wistful and regretful in its combination of atmosphere and exquisite guitar lines. But beyond the style, Antlers never forgets to find the right melody for these tunes, a lost art among so many indie-rock bands, especially those with a little bit of an artsy bent. Antlers’ melodies are sung in a daring falsetto, a risky move carried off without a hitch. Once again, Antlers has produced an intimate, sometimes desolate, but always compelling record.

Before the Dawn – Deathstar Rising

On the other end of the spectrum, Finnish metal heads Before the Dawn have blasted out their sixth full-length, Deathstar Rising. These guys are keeping it real, unleashing straight up melodic death metal at its best. There’s so much about the genre at this point that is trite and passé, but when it’s done well, there’s no denying it. And there’s no denying Deathstar Rising. The combination of heavy guitars with killer leads, monstrous vocals with catchy singing and harmonies – it’s all here. The genre has been watered down immensely since breaking out of Gothenburg about a decade and a half ago, but Before the Dawn proves that there are still bands capable of doing it right.

Maritime – Human Hearts

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Maritime, but patience pays off with their new full-length, Human Hearts. The songs remain smart, evocative, and catchy, winding their way through the indie-rock landscape deftly. Of course, most of us who came of age in the ‘90s will never be able to hear Davey von Bohlen’s voice without thinking of The Promise Ring, but that’s hardly a bad thing. It makes kicking back with the new Maritime album feel like catching up with an old friend.

Indian – Guiltless

The latest offering from Indian is a punishing doom metal masterpiece. Guiltless is oppressive in its intensity, with crushing riffs, pummeling down-tempo drums, and utterly caustic vocals. Following a lineage that can be traced back through Crowbar, the Melvins, and Black Sabbath, Indian drags the sludgiest corners of metal kicking and screaming into the 21st century. If you’re looking for an anti-summer album, this is surely it.

Red City Radio – The Dangers of Standing Still

It gets harder and harder every decade to sift through the punk world and find bands you can get behind, but Red City Radio is one of those bands. This is passionate, catchy pop-punk (of a sort) with a rawness and earnestness that transcends any genre tag you would like apply. The Dangers of Standing Still is a record of fist-pumping, no-frills anthems – rock n’ roll the way it was meant to be. Highly recommended.

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Here's a classic Cars tune from the early days.
Last modified on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 16:23

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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