"That was the album where I gave people what they wanted". That's how Kanye West describes his last solo album, 2010's grandiose and truly stellar 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. Garnering some of the highest critical praise of his career, that album also saw his lowest sales for a record to date, so the question has to be asked: Who was he trying to please? If the numbers are anything to go by, the answer is the media and music press and if this is the case, then what does that make this album? His attempt to rebel against the music press? Is he trying to reconnect with the public? Or is this Kanye just doing what he wants?
Is there a more demonised rock musician in Australia than Andrew Stockdale? As the frontman and driving force behind Wolfmother, he was lauded as a new rock god in the ilk of Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, winning ARIA awards (Best Breakthrough Album/Best Rock Album), placing two singles in the Triple J Hottest 100 (Joker and the Thief/Mind's Eye) and going five times Platinum in Australia. Yet, despite this, Wolfmother and Stockdale in particular, came to be the subject of widespread ridicule.
Queens Of The Stone Age's latest album '… Like Clockwork' starts off ominously. Michael Shuman's low pounding bass and the thumping drums delivered by (now-fired) drummer Joey Castillo stagger their way into album opener 'Keep Your Eyes Peeled'. This all combines with Homme's affinity for minor chords to unsettle the listener from the get-go, a feeling that doesn't let up for pretty much the whole album.
'Steal The Light' sees The Cat Empire return with their sixth album and there is a lot here which should keep critics, the group's fans and newcomers happy. The reappearance of Harry James Angus as a leading influence, with his trumpet and most prominently on this album with his vocals, is a welcome one after his limited visibility on 2010's 'Cinema'. In fact it is his contributions as lead singer which stand out on this album and which will remain on the group's tour set lists for the longest time to come.
'Trouble Will Find Me' sees Brooklyn based group, The National, return following their highest selling album ever, 2010's 'High Violet'. Since the group moved away from the rough edged sound of their breakthrough album (Alligator) they have largely been honing their sound, becoming more introspective and (generally) mellow with each subsequent release. This trend continues on 'Trouble Will Find Me', an incredibly melancholy and depressive album that could easily be promoted with a discount offer on prozac.
With 'Hex.Lover.Killer', Melbourne rockers The Delta Riggs have released a debut album that is captivating, intense but which is hindered somewhat by the presence of some filler alongside all of that killer. This record follows their seemingly annual EP release which has given them a strong catalogue of songs with which to unleash at gigs. 'Hex.Lover.Killer' will no doubt help even more with this, full of an intense energy they've been unable to capture on record before, this album is also crammed full of memorable songs that perfectly showcase lead singer Elliot Hammond's powerful and versatile voice.
Justin Vernon has carved out an indelible niche for himself as the lead singer of Bon Iver, whose first two records have been received with considerable sales and very positive critical receptions. When he announced to Rolling Stone that he was taking a break from the group and "winding it down" he cited the extra attention on the group as the reason; explaining that it was impossible to create music in their usual way whilst the attention was on them.
With "Dear Miss Lonelyhearts", Cold War Kids are back with another record following their critically slated 2010 effort, "Mine Is Yours". This album largely picks up where their last effort left off, continuing down the well-polished path their sound has been following of late. That being said, where 'Mine Is Yours' was an unfocused mish-mash, this is a much more deliberate product that portrays a much more complete picture of their aspirations.
Controller, the fourth album from Melbourne rockers British India, is a rocking album that fits neatly alongside the rest of the group's canon. Having built up a strong following through their consistent touring and album releases, Declan Melia and co. come to this album in a strong position with their last two albums having reached
This record sounds dangerous. This is the sound of a man on the edge, someone at the tipping point, pissed off with society and with an overwhelming feeling that something is wrong with this world. This is Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) on record: Songs for every disenfranchised outsider who can't take it anymore. There aren't many