July 3, 2020

Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride –  Columbia

Modern Rock
By Kristi Kates | May 18, 2019

The follow up to the Weekend’s 2013 set, Modern Vampires of the City, is produced by band founder Ezra Koenig and wraps 18 tracks into an album that shifts the band into a new age (not the music style, thankfully). Now minus member Rostam Batmanglii (who left for other interests) and relocated to L.A., the band’s sound seems to have grown in its vastness since its last collection, from the rambling first single “Harmony Hall” to the dance-floor ready, bright “This Life” and “Married in a Gold Rush” featuring Danielle Haim. All in all, a solid return. ***

Mike Posner – A Real Good Kid – Island
We last heard from Posner in a big way with his hit-turned-meme “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” (2015), but since then he’s taken a few steps away from the club life and is looking deeper into the grooves of his music than what trends would immediately embrace. Some of the tunes do still reference Posner’s dance beats of yore (“Stuck in the Middle”), but the rest of the set is far more pensive and showcases audio maturity, as on the soulful “Drip” and the unpredictably acoustic “Wide Open.” ***

Bad Religion – Age of Unreason – Epitaph
Also hailing from L.A. is Bad Religion, now expanding its lineup by adding three new bandmates. The modern skate-punk outfit is offering up a set that’s a little different from previous efforts in one major way: There are no immediately discernible hooks here, and nothing particularly sticks, even after a third listen. Sure, you’ll hear punchy chords and ambitious lyrics on protest tracks like opener “Chaos from Within,” the acoustically-grounded “Candidate,” and the attempts at groove via “Big Black Dog” — but for some reason, they never quite reach cohesion. **

Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon – DFA
Featuring ex-members of Page France embarking upon a new, soulful folk-rock/casual psychedelia project, this Maryland-based outfit languidly saunters forth with their wafting, plaid-jacketed country-hipster tunes. Featuring frontman (and bandleader) Michael Nau alongside accompanying frontwoman Whitney McGraw, the pair, their steel guitars, and whirling keys recollect the duos of the Nashville ’60s on harmony-filled tracks like “Gone the Bells” and quietly accusatory closer “I Am the Changer.” ***

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