The Consumer: January & February Picks

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By Spencer. The first couple months of 2016 were a little slow on breakout albums, and I’ve frankly been playing catch-up on a few things. However, as I think back over my listening habits so far this year, there are a handful of new releases I seem to keep coming back to. They’re growers—albums that may not grab you right away, but that reward repeated listens. And if past experience is any guide, these growers often end up being my favorite albums in the long run; past examples include Radiohead’s first three discs, Ryan Adams’s Gold, Travis’s The Man Who, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and pretty much the entire collected works of PJ Harvey. So while it may be too soon to put any of these new releases in that illustrious company, keep an ear out. Continue reading

The Consumer: The New Monsters Of Classic Metal

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By Spencer. A year ago, I declared that rock was officially dead. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bands out there fighting the good fight, though. Maybe it’s my recent reintroduction to vinyl talking, but I’ve been on kind of a classic metal awakening lately. Not glam metal or death metal, but the true roots of metal, back when it first sprung loose from hard rock—I’m talking bands like Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Kiss, and of course, Led Zeppelin. (Though I still insist that it’s a crime to categorize Led Zeppelin first and foremost as a metal band, since their music completely transcended that genre). This brand of early metal gives you the best of both worlds: the darkness and attitude that eclipses mere rock, and the melody, songcraft, humor, and simple fun that were missing from later metal.

But before you accuse me of living in the past, this edition of The Consumer takes a look at a few bands that are reviving that classic metal sound in the here and now. Continue reading

The Consumer: September Picks

By Spencer. September was full of so many big releases, I’m still working my way through them all. So while we very well may have more to say about The Dead Weather, Gary Clark, Jr., Foals, Beach House, Joan Shelley, CHVRCHES, Patty Griffin, Silversun Pickups, and plenty of others, today’s edition of The Consumer is a progress report of sorts on several artists who have been longtime favorites of the site. We start with Glen Hansard. Continue reading