Best New Albums of 2013, Round 3
Paul McCartney, New: I can be unbiased towards McCartney’s work, and can honestly tell you that I have not fully embraced one of his albums as an all out classic since the early ‘80’s Tug Of War. Everything he’s done has had some worthy moments, and of course I can’t help but compare everything he does to Revolver, RAM and Band On The Run, which isn’t really fair. But then again, I compare the Stones to Let It Bleed, The Who to Quadrophenia and the Kinks to Something Else, so why shouldn’t I? In NEW, McCartney has exceeded my expectations for the first time in more than 3 decades. It’s good, really good. It’s full of silly pop songs, of course, but with multiple producers it gives it all a modern vibe that’s been lacking with the guy, The Fireman albums excluded.
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories: I think it’s fair to say that I loved this album immediately, although I have to also say that I had my reservations prior to the first spin. This is not your Daft Punk, it’s your Daddy’s Daft Punk! The reason for the massive, mainstream success of this is down to Nile Rogers. Take the rhythm section from Off The Wall, a Vocoder, Nile Rogers, Giorgio Moroder, and the best damn sound production I’ve heard in decades and you get one glorious soul/prog/disco/pop/house sloppy masterpiece of a modern dance album! POPMATTERS summed it up recently by saying “While disco may not exactly mirror Modernism however, Random Access Memories is still a thoroughly Modern text, if only because it does so many new things. It shows us, for example, how retro influences can be spectacularly re-incorporated, unencumbered by either irony, or authenticity for its own sake. (Something articulated on the album via “Fragments of Time”’s series of endlessly ‘shining’ moments).”
Motorhead, Aftershock: If there’s one band you don’t want to change it’s Motorhead. It’s all about crunchy guitars, gnarly bass work, a punk backbeat and vocals that sound like vomiting hellfire. The death of Lou Reed and the ill health of Lemmy have made me appreciate Motorhead once again for the first time in years, and this new album’s right up there with Ace Of Spades. Because sometimes you need something heavy.
Steve Mason, Monkey’s Minds In The Devil’s Time: I really do miss the Beta Band. Those guys were weird, funky, uncool and cool as f*&k all at once, with everything they did. I only need to point to The House Song for proof of this. Once they broke up (‘cause they were, like, broke) a portion came back and formed The Aliens, a wonderful little psychedelic pop group, and while the 2 records they released were pretty good they seemed to lack the weirdness and the funkiness of their former band. Steve Mason is the ‘other half’ of what made the Beta Band so amazing, and this odd little gem of a record, held together by many little “song” fragments is an engaging listen, and well worth your time.