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Hot Stuff: Taking Back Sunday Restores Classic Line-Up

The classic Taking Back Sunday line up is back nine years after their previous record. The classic Taking Back Sunday line up is back nine years after their previous record.

It’s another week of cool records bumping the stereo speakers in the Rosebud Magazine office. I know we usually present a fairly eclectic mix for you, but this week, we’re really all over the map. Taking Back Sunday delivers the best mainstream rock has to offer, while Lykke Li darkens up the pop world. Meanwhile, we’ve got pop-punk from Fireworks, mellow indie sounds from Vetiver, the return of an old favorite hip-hop MC, and some black metal to peel the paint off your walls. Ready? Let’s go.

Taking Back Sunday – Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday made a splash with their debut full-length Tell All Your Friends nearly a decade ago, but the line-up that recorded that album dispersed soon after the record came out. The band soldiered on, landed a major label deal, and continued to get bigger and bigger. But for the new, self-titled record, the Long Island group decided to get back to their early days, reassembling the Tell All Your Friends cast. However, the result is not much like what the same guys produced back in 2002.

In their early days, the band was making unremarkable pop-punk. In 2011, Taking Back Sunday has grown up. The songwriting is catchier, the production is smarter, and the playing is more considered. The whole project is less run-of-the-mill, and has truly developed a voice of its own. The songs are catchy, fun, and perfect summer listening.

 

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

This is the type of pop that pop needs. In Lykke Li, you have a female singer who is serving up tunes as catchy and danceable as the biggest pop stars out there, but the difference is that on Wounded Rhymes you get songs that are smarter and often darker than your typical radio fodder. These songs are a far cry from the mind-numbing hyper-sexualized nursery rhymes that often top the charts lately. Lykke Li creates music that doesn’t insult your intelligence, that has substance as well as style.

 

Fireworks – Gospel

Detroit’s Fireworks continue the growing trend of making pop-punk vital again. There have been more good pop-punk releases in the past year or so than in the previous several years combined. The days of paint-by-numbers three-power-chord songs with nasal vocals and puerile lyrics may soon come to a close, and it will be because bands like Fireworks are out there kicking ass, creating honest, thoughtful songs that are still upbeat and catchy. At their core, the songs on Gospel are still bouncy three- or four-chord ditties, but they are augmented by interesting dynamics thanks to creative drum parts and distinct guitar lines. None of the creative playing strays too far outside of the lines - it still does the essential work of supporting structure and melody of hook-laden punk rock songs, but adds an extra dimension to the composition. If this deconstruction is getting too heady, I apologize. Ultimately, you can still just pick up the record, crank it through your headphones, and rock out.

 

Vetiver – The Errant Charm

For those of you looking to kick your feet up and enjoy a mellow summer afternoon, Vetiver’s new full-length should be your soundtrack. The San Francisco indie-folksters’ The Errant Charm is an acoustic parade of melody and charm, with a dose of atmospheric synth to help set the mood. Vetiver comes up with some sweet melodies, a touch of melancholy, and some classic songwriting with a touch of rock n’ roll influence.

 

Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

Back in the early ‘90s, Digable Planets were the coolest hip-hop act on the planet. Their blend of skilled MCing, jazzed up beats, and social consciousness made them an unparalleled rap group and a breath of fresh air as gangsta rap started to dominate the charts. Fast forward a couple of decades, and one third of Digable Planets, the MC formerly known as Butterfly, is back in full effect with Shabazz Palaces. On Black Up, you get the familiar voice in a progressive alt-rap full-length that pushes the boundaries of hip-hop, but still compels you to bounce with the beat. There’s even a callback to Digable’s seminal Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space). This could be the best hip-hop album of the year, a pleasure for old and new fans alike.

 

Krallice – Diotima

American black metal acts continue to crush it these past couple of years. New York’s Krallice is another band to add to the list of artists pushing the genre beyond mere imitation of its European roots. Krallice’s form of black metal is experimental/progressive, but still adheres to many of the genre’s classic conventions. On Diotima, the band does a fine job of blending traditional elements of atmosphere, drumming, and voice with melodic elements and unique touches like higher guitar and bass tones than the typical low and heavy black metal approach. Overall, Diotima is an interesting and powerful foray into the outer reaches of black metal. Worth checking out.

 

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A classic cut from Digable Planets, almost two decades before Shabazz Palaces.
Last modified on Friday, 03 August 2012 13:19

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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