By: Solomon Etuk, Alexander Kenny, and Winona Young
Outsider by Three Days Grace
With the release of Outsider, Three Days Grace mark the sixth instalment in their discography. While the album definitely has its upsides, tracks like “Love Me Or Leave Me” and “Me Against You” are bland, forgettable, and repetitive attempts to emulate previous tracks which had made the band popular. However, this album does offer a deeper list of solid tracks than the previous couple of albums; songs like “The Mountain,” “I Am An Outsider,” “Nothing To Lose But You,” “Chasing The First Time,” and “Villain I’m Not” offer a vibe reminiscent of some of their earlier works.
The album is punctuated by a strong display of Matt Walst’s vocal ability, while emanating a more pop-like vibe in songs like “Strange Days.” The album is capped by “The Abyss,” a well-written departure from what fans may have been expecting, but a welcome one. The album isn’t their best — on occasion it feels shallow. Overall, it has some surprises for long-time fans, with a strong enough mix of hallmark Three Days Grace sound while still being different enough to make Outsider a fun listen. – AK
2012 – 2017 by All Against Logic (A.A.L)
All Against Logic — an alias of Nicolas Jaar, who is an esteemed electronic composer — quietly released his new album 2012 – 2017. Jaar is primarily known for his thoughtful, electronic compositions. He turns the tables on 2012 – 2017, as it’s full of house-esque, danceable production. Being a stark contrast to his previous work, it’s a nice step away from his serious nature, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. 2012 – 2017 is very sample heavy. “I Never Dream” and ”Now U Got Me Hooked” are great highlights of the album. They are carried by the manipulation of vocal samples, while still keeping an uplifting, danceable mood. 2012 – 2017 is a very accessible album for fans of electronic music, or any other genre of music. You’ll find yourself dancing to this in your kitchen in no time. – SE
Cocoa Sugar by Young Fathers
Edinburgh-based experimental rap trio Young Fathers came out with a genre-blending release in their album Cocoa Sugar. Very few artists and bands are both as experimental and unique as Young Fathers. Cocoa Sugar experiments with incorporating R&B, hip hop, and pop in order to create an idiosyncratic palette of sound. Throughout this album, it sounds like Young Fathers doesn’t want to stick to a particular genre. Highlights within this album include the tracks “Tremolo,” “Lord,” and “In My View” — all very different in feel, but still well incorporated into the album. Cocoa Sugar is not groundbreaking material, but it is a great album for a well-rounded musical experience. – SE
One Stone by Trixie Mattel
Part drag queen, and part singer-songwriter, Trixie Mattel returns to music with One Stone. This album stands as her second album, and this time she is serving Mid-Western, melancholic, but melodic country-boy realness. Since 2017, Mattel has shown growth in her craft as a lyricist, writing vivid narratives and memoirs of her life as a worn-out workaholic, a concerned older brother, a wounded lover, and more.
Unlike on her debut album, Two Birds, Mattel crafts bittersweet songs that feature a more nuanced perspective on both life and love. However, Mattel does have a tendency to be heavy-handed on the conventional country sound, and borders on being hokey. Instead, Mattel’s strengths lay in her cathartic songs, laden with emotional vulnerability. By far, “Red Side of the Moon” best showcases Mattel’s vocals, heart, and musical arrangement. Overall, One Stone shows Mattel’s maturation as a songwriter with a lot of promise. – WY
The Magic Gang by The Magic Gang
Picture a hybrid of the Beach Boys and (early) Arctic Monkeys, but self-described as “four very sad young men”, and bam! You’ve got the Magic Gang. Recently signed to Warner Brothers Records UK, the Magic Gang are a Bristol-based indie-pop band who have finally released their debut album. Upbeat, energetic, and most of all, mellow, this album is home to some of the most lively songs about heartbreak I’ve ever heard. The Magic Gang mostly focuses on their love troubles, but add a more optimistic tone and sound to the topic. Their songs are filled with dynamic guitar riffs, steady beats, and ‘60s-esque harmonies that would put the Monkees to shame. While some tracks are a bit difficult to distinguish because their upbeat sound is a little bit too cohesive, their tracks leave the lovelorn with an air of optimism, and leave listeners with a new talent to keep listening to. – WY