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Iggy Pop — Post Pop Depression

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Iggy Pop. What a name. What a legend. Just the thought of Iggy’s music and stage performance makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Over the years, Iggy has released a wide array of music and has changed the face of rock forever. That started with The Stooges’ self-titled debut album that was released in 1969. Many music historians credit this album as being the birth of Punk Rock.

Iggy has had a ton of success over the years partly because of his own style and presence, and partly because of the work he has done with other artists and producers. After the fall of The Stooges in the early 1970’s, Iggy began working with David Bowie, who had taken a liking to Iggy and what he was doing for music. Bowie loved Iggy so much that he decided to go on tour with Iggy and play keys throughout the entire tour. Bowie also helped to produce Iggy’s next few albums which included some of his most famous songs, such as Lust for Life.

Iggy’s desire to work and collaborate with the greatest artists in music has never died, and is ever apparent in his latest album Post Pop Depression. The album was produced by Josh Homme, of Queens of the Stone Age. Homme also played guitar, bass, piano, and synthesizer on the record.

If you are familiar with any of Josh’s work (QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal), you know that it has a feeling that is distinctly Josh. This record is also distinctly Iggy Pop. The two have combined forces on Post Pop Depression to bring you one of the coolest sounds that either superstar has ever been a part of throughout their respective careers.

Iggy’s voice is eerily weathered throughout the tracks of this album. When you think of typical Iggy Pop, I’m sure his fast pace music, lyrics, and antics come to mind. Please wipe those thoughts away because that is not what you are getting with Post Pop Depression. Each and every song is distinct yet similar, to give you a very cohesive and well calculated listening experience.

Pop and Homme have taken their show on the road for the Post Pop Depression Tour. The tour began on March 9th of this year in the USA, with the European/South American leg of the tour still going on today. So, if you happen to be in South America in the near future, and have the opportunity to see these legends perform on the Post Pop Depression Tour, don’t miss your chance. It very well may be the only time you will ever be able to see these two legends perform together!

— B

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GROUPLOVE — Big Mess

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Every band has a story — How they started, how they met, how they write songs, their sound, inspiration, and so much more. GROUPLOVE is no different. They have a story and with the release of their third album, Big Mess, it’s another amazing chapter.

Hannah Hooper (vocals, keyboard) and her now husband Christian Zucconi (vocals, guitar) were living in New York. Hooper heard of Zucconi from his work with his former band ALOKE. Hooper invited Zucconi to an artist residency she was leaving for in a week in Crete, Greece. It was at this artist residency that the rest of the band met: Andrew Wessen, Ryan Rabin, and Sean Gadd. The rest is now part of their story.

GROUPLOVE has a sound that is reminiscent of the bubbly, poppy, catchy 1960s. Their first two albums Never Trust a Happy Song (2011) and Spreading Rumours (2013) are full of head-bobbing beats, uplifting vibes, and quirky lyrics. There is a chemistry you can feel in the music that represents the band as a whole — with the release of Big Mess (2016) you can still feel all the engaging qualities from the previous albums with an additional sense of growth, maturity, and musical advancement.

The band came into the music scene in a big way after the release of Spreading Rumours. They were touring all around the country, utilizing social media endlessly, and putting every ounce of energy into providing their fans an amazing experience. Big Mess, while maintaining their staple glorifying and beautifying vibes, was surrounded by chaos the group was experiencing after endless touring. The band returned to their home in L.A. to find it in shambles — neglected and forgotten while traveling and focusing on the amazing music they create.

GROUPLOVE certainly portrays optimism and bubbly happiness in all their music; however, just like you and me each member of the band experiences adversity and difficult situations in their daily lives. Big Mess does a great job of communicating this constant battle of feeling cheerful even when life tries to bring you down. The album doesn’t stray too far from the sound created in their first two albums but you can certainly tell the maturation — not only in the music but with the members of the band.

Tracks like “Enlighten Me”, “Welcome to Your Life”, and “Traumatized” expose the struggles the band was facing at the time. Hooper and Zucconi are new parents and are trying to balance the life of being in the spotlight while also raising their child. The album speaks to finding harmony, being true to yourself and the ones you love, and finding happiness in all facets of life. The symmetry GROUPLOVE provides in their lyrics and music for the listener to embrace is one of the most attracting qualities of the band. The rhythm of their music helps to find rhythm in our own lives.

GROUPLOVE is currently on tour. Check their website for a date near you: http://www.grouplovemusic.com. If they are close, make your way there for a night you will not forget or regret!

— Angelo

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Wolfmother — VICTORIOUS

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Formed in 2000, in Sydney Australia, Wolfmother set out to create a sound that would take listeners back to the beloved hard rock of the 1970s, while maintaining a modern creativity. The band has done just that and continues to do that today.

When their first charting single, Woman, was released on June 17th, 2006, I heard the greatest description of the 3-piece rock monsters. The description was this; “If Black Sabbath and Zeppelin came together and had a love child, Wolfmother would be that child”. The Single was recorded for their self-titled, debut album, and peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock chart. This heavy, nostalgic rock sound produced by Wolfmother has not slowed down, and is ever apparent on their fourth studio album, Victorious, that was released on February 19th, 2016. In our first episode, Music with a Purpose¸ we discuss the title track from the album.

The band has gone through some lineup changes over the years, but what has remained constant is the powerful, intricate, ear bleeding guitar and incredibly distinct vocals of Andrew Stockdale. With an undeniable voice reminiscent of that of Robert Plant, Axl Rose, and any of the vocalists of Uriah Heep over the years, you are sure to feel at home when listening to this album.

Victorious does not have a track that I could honestly say I don’t dig, but there a few that stand out to me. The first being the title track, Victorious. The guitar riffs are incredibly intricate and heavy. Added to the high vocal range of the song, this song is deserving of the title. As tough as it is to pick a favorite track, I’d have to say that my favorite is the 5thtrack on the album, City Lights. The lead guitar in this tune is incredible. The chorus is catchy and of course, Stockdale’s voice is unmatched. And lastly, as you heard in Music with a Purpose, the last song we will touch on is Best of a Bad Situation. This track is not quite as heavy as many of the others, but this in no way means the song does not absolutely kick ass. This song grooves in way that tickles your ears and as always, those vocals make the hair on your neck stand up.

If you have never heard of Wolfmother, or even if you have and you haven’t listen to Victorious, you need to. Like, Now! Otherwise, you are depriving yourself of hearing one the current bands in the world that are keeping rock alive. Seriously, the album is incredible and so is Wolfmother.

-B

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Weezer: The White Album

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Fall has been in full effect for almost one week now; however, summer is still all around me when I spin Weezer’s newest record: The White Album.

As mentioned in Episode 1: Music With A Purpose, Weezer’s 10th studio album (their 4th self-titled) was released on April 1, 2016. The amount of times I have put this album on my record player and listened to it the whole way through is absolutely absurd — especially for someone who never really got into Weezer.

Not getting into, and not liking, are two different things. I always appreciated what Weezer was doing and can recognize their talent. I always struggled to connect with their music due to some of the immaturity I felt existed in their lyrics and themes. There are some who look at old-school Blink 182 that same way and lack the ability to recognize the growth and maturity. While The White Album suggests Weezer is heading back to their roots that made them a staple in the late 1990s, this album clearly is a propellent for more complex, intricate, and dynamic music.

Weezer’s front man, Rivers Cuomo, steps up his lyrical game like he was Lebron James in Game 7 of the NBA Championship.  In songs like “King of the World”, Cuomo pays tribute to his wife Kyoko who has a fear of flying. He also implemented new writing techniques, showing themselves in songs like “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” and “L.A. Girlz”, utilizing a lyrical spreadsheet to count syllables and word stress.

The whole album gives the listener a calming, smooth feeling as if you had your feet in the sand and tasting the salt of the ocean on your lips. There is a clear influence from Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, which is never a bad thing to implement on any album and especially on one that invokes good feelings and positive vibes. This is Weezer’s first concept album since 1996’s Pinkerton. Do yourself a favor and buy this album (preferably on vinyl) and listen to it in its entirety. as Cuomo says: “Girl, we got a good thing — you know where this is heading. Just a couple lovebirds happy to be singing”.

— Angelo