Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy
The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a double, concept album focusing on a protagonist dealing (like Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles) with mental illness. Stickles has been actively working on TMLT for about the last 4 years, but in many ways the album has been foreshadowed (both thematically and musically) for the band’s entire existence.
Lyrically, TMLT is dark and beautiful, despairing and hopeful, and will move many to tears. Divided into 5 parts, the lyrics follow the unnamed person through all the ups and downs of manic depression: Breakdown, treatment, prescriptions, the highs and lows that still affect everything you do, and how to connect with your loved ones who, despite their best efforts, can’t begin to understand what you’re going through. Mostly, though, the album is about the internal war between a person and himself, and this war does not have a happy ending.
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Omar Souleyman – Bahdeni Nami
The best known Syrian dabke wedding singer, now based in Turkey due to the Syrian civil war, is back with his second studio recording following 147,692 (number approximate) tape releases in his native country. Souleyman, who uses electronics and his soulful voice to craft fun, incredibly danceable tunes, again worked with Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden on Bahdeni Nami and the album does not disappoint. Souleyman’s lyrics are, of course, in Arabic, so very few native English speakers will be able to understand them, but the sound of his voice blends so well the music’s high pitched keyboard sounds that their meaning is really irrelevant. All that matters is the music irresistibly makes hips shake and heads bob.
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Tame Impala – Currents
Prior to his third album as frontman of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker collaborated with Mark Ronson on his mega hit Uptown Special (including singing lead on that album’s actual best song “Daffodils”), and it appears he learned a few things from Ronson. Currents is still very much a Tame Impala record, but where InnerSpeaker and Lonerism were insular psychedelic rock made for putting on headphones and shutting out the world, Currents takes the band’s sound in a dancey new direction that begs to be played at high volume at BBQs and on beaches. Whether it’s the sprawling jam of “Let it Happen”, the earworm hook of “‘Cause I’m a Man”, or the pure beauty of “Eventually”, Currents is, quite simply, the perfect summer album.
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