Now’s about the time when the Couldawouldashoulda’s start to really look like Honorable Mentions, albums you wish could have stayed on the top fifty for just a little while longer, but, alas, had to make way for other deserving releases. Hayes Carll’s fourth album is a great exhibit of an engaging personality. His voice is cracked and borderline drunken, slurring through his lines like he may just hiccup the next verse. But where this description may connote laziness, Carll brings a distinct voice to each of his songs, whether with wry political humor or homely specifics. His best work comes out on the hapless duet, “Another Like You”, the wartime frenzy of “KMAG YOYO” and the still heartwarming family get-together, “Grateful for Christmas”. Even if you’re not a fan of country music, KMAG YOYO is an album more than worth your time.
E-40 – Revenue Retrievin’: Graveyard Shift
Right now, I’m working on a review compilation of E-40’s Revenue Retrievin’ series, so it’s fitting that this album should appear in this segment. We know that E-40 felt like releasing two albums on the same day last year and now two albums on the same day this year. This year’s Overtime Shift is the clear best of all four, so, thusly, Graveyard Shift should be completely ignored. Well hold on a second, not so fast. Graveyard Shift may not be as colossally satisfying as Overtime Shift, but it’s still a great album. Tracks like “E-40” and “My Shit Bang”… well, bang, and I’m not going to just sit around and watch people disparage it just because its companion piece is the musical equivalent of the doctor brother that the family keeps complimenting at Thanksgiving dinner. Graveyard Shift may not be as fruitful as Overtime Shift, but, if you’re an E-40 or just plain old hip hop fan, it’s a no brainer to get. Who knows, you might even enjoy it more.
Lupe Fiasco – Lasers
LOL REALLY? I like thought this album was total shit! Lupe goes mainstream? HOW DROLL!!!!!! How could it possibly be on any honorable mention list? RU some kind of Lupe Fiasco fanboy or something? Well, yes, but that’s beside the point. We can get into a conversation as to whether it was right of Lupe Fiasco to go in the direction he did for his third album, Lasers, but there is no denying that, nevertheless, it is a very solid album. It sounds nothing like his magnum opus Food & Liquor or the comparatively disappointing The Cool, but it still observes Lupe in fine lyrical form over hooks that are actually quite catchy. So what if it works better at a club than a house party this time around? Does that make it worse? It doesn’t, so don’t believe the anti-hype. Lasers is a worthy addition to the Lupe catalogue, and I’m glad he’s back in the hip hop conversation.
Julian Lynch – Terra
Check Your Mode: Hey Julian Lynch.
Julian Lynch: Ummm, yes?
Check Your Mode: I wuv you.
Julian Lynch: Well gee… thanks.
Check Your Mode: Hey Julian Lynch.
Julian Lynch: Yeah?
Check Your Mode:
Julian Lynch: *sigh* Thanks.
Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand
Because I am constantly making lists and categorizing the music that comes out of the 2010’s, comparisons are inevitable, and the biggest may be 2010 overall vs. 2011 overall. It’s a valid query, but one that cannot be objectively inspected, because there are too many variables. However, I can safely say this: In terms of metal, 2010 definitely has the upper hand. By this time last year we had fantastic releases from Barren Earth, Stam1na, Triptykon and Nachtmystium. As of now, we only have two outstanding releases from Moonsorrow and Septic Flesh. Things can change of course, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I was a little disappointed, being an enormous metal fan and all.
In terms of quality, Primordial is in a run for third place for best metal album so far (In a dead heat between Devin Townsend and Týr). The Irish metal group’s seventh album slays like their others, trudging through lands of distortion and double bass drum to deliver blows and vanquish enemies with the uniting power of massive balls. Singer Naihmass Nemtheanga rants at you to an almost numbing degree, but it’s all motivational, so it’s all good. Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand makes you less want to destroy shit than spout rhetoric at that shit until it realizes its life is worthless and decides to shy away and kill itself. Not much music does that, but, if there’s one thing you need to know about the newest Primordial album, it’s that it succeeds at it. Oh yes does it succeed.