June 18, 2019

The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (Deluxe Edition) – Vagrant

By Kristi Kates | Dec. 29, 2018

If you’re a vinyl collector and a Hold Steady fan, make this your next purchase. This 10th anniversary reissue of the band’s standout Stay Positive set is jampacked with, well … loads of jams, broken down into three LPs that bring together the original album, three never-before-released tunes (the best of the bunch being the affecting “Ballad of the Midnight Hauler”), and a mini collection of rarities that are uber-tough to find anywhere else. ***

Twenty One Pilots– Trench – WEA/Fueled by Ramen
It’s taken a couple of years for the Pilots to circle back around from the massive breakthrough of the band’s 2015 set, Blurryface, but that caution has served it well on this new effort. The band has put down more solid foundations here, with more focus on its serious side, and that’s a good thing. While first impressions might have positioned them as a radio-rawk band, once you hear tunes like the solid alt-pop of “My Blood,” the swaggering “Chlorine,” and The Killers-esque “The Hype,” you’ll be even more intrigued. *** ½
RÜFÜS DU SOL– Solace– Reprise
Aussie band RÜFÜS decamped to Venice, California, to focus on writing tracks for its third album, and that location and the surrounding area clearly filtered into the its audio sensibilities. You can sense the long beats of the West Coast highways and stretches of beach in both the albums rhythms and droning choruses. Opener “Treat You Better” leans heavily on thick bass riffs and counterpoint drums, while “No Place” and “All I’ve Got” showcase RÜFÜS’ skills with house music. ** 1/2
Young the Giant– Mirror Master – New Elektra
More downtempo than previous efforts and shorter all around — some of the tracks are more like jingles than actual songs — Mirror Master comes across mostly as an interesting experiment for the band, in which it doesn’t dig too much into other sounds, but rather rearranges its usual methods of writing and puts emotions at the forefront, as evidenced on tracks like the growing pains of “Oblivion” and the reassurance of “Darkest Shade of Blue,” which offers personal insight into depression. ** ½


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