September 19, 2020


By Kristi Kates | July 7, 2018

The Record CompanyAll of This Life - Concord
What do you do after releasing a Grammy-nominated debut album? You go seek out a top-notch mixer and try to top your last collection of tunes, of course — and that’s exactly what TRC did on this sophomore set. Digging further into its bluesy, rootsy rock sound, the band leans on Fleetwood Mac/Imagine Dragons mixmaster Mark Needham to present a set of tracks inspired by life lessons supplied by its fans over the past two years. It’s an interesting premise and presented well by this evolving band. ** ½

Gorillaz - The Now Now – Parlophone
Damon Albarn, the non-cartoon face of the otherwise animated UK band Gorillaz, recorded this album in something of a hurry, in anticipation of the band’s 2018 tour, so they’d have some new material to play live. That accelerated schedule proved to be zero detriment to the set, which is chock-full of catchy electro-pop numbers directly from Gorillaz’ usual wheelhouse. “Lake Zurich” is probably the best, with its cranking beat and lively synths. Other highlights include the contemplative “Idaho” and the smoothly looping “Humility.” *** ½

Panic! at the DiscoPray for the Wicked – Fueled by Ramen
Hailing from the same Las Vegas environs as The Killers, Panic! offers similar glam-rock sounds to some degree, but unfortunately not with the same sharp sense of lyricism and melody that The Killers offers. Now primarily consisting of frontman Brendon Urie (the other bandmates have departed), the band’s sound has shifted to more of an emo-Broadway feel, which doesn’t really appeal. Album closer “Dying in L.A.” is at least a little less melodramatic, but by the time it arrives, you’ll be more than ready for intermission. * ½

HakenL-1VE – Century
Offering up its unique brand of progressive rock (on the heavy-rock side), Haken returns with this album, which is an expanded version of one of the band’s live shows and comes with DVDs and bonus video footage. Openers “affinity.exe” and “Initiate” do a good job of capturing that “start of a live concert’ feel,” while “1985” chucks out a literal throwback (complete with keytar by Diego Tejeida). Additional tunes like “Red Giant,” “Atlas Stone,” and the ambitious 22-minute-long, six-song “Aquamedley” rounds things out nicely. ** ½


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