Bosnian Rainbows, “Turtle Neck”
Before we talk briefly about Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s current band, let’s talk briefly about his old band. Ten years ago this week, the Mars Volta released De-loused in the Comatorium, a post-hardcore Tales From Topographic Oceans that I still haven’t fully deciphered in spite of many trips through its ridiculously convoluted segues and dead-ends. Which is probably why I feel a strong urge to play this Mars Volta record (and only this Mars Volta record) at least once a year; I’m convinced that I’ll eventually figure out whether I love it or hate it. (Gun to my head at this very second, I’ll say “love,” though my next listen isn’t scheduled until June 2014.) As for Bosnian Rainbows, which Rodriguez-Lopez formed after announcing the hiatus (and then breakup) of the Mars Volta last year, I’m a little amazed by how likable the group’s just-released self-titled debut is. Surely the musos who compose the most vocal contingent of the Mars Volta’s fan base will regard the relatively straightforward ’80s alterna-pop of Bosnian Rainbows as yawn-worthy safeness, but I welcome Rodriguez-Lopez’s 90125 period. Once again, he’s playing to the strengths of his singer — the icy sensuality of Siouxsie-be Teri Gender Bender is a refreshing breeze after a decade of Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s gales of hot air.
Heliotropes, “The Dove”
What if Billy Corgan wrote and produced a Courtney Love record in 2013 that sounded like Gish? It would probably be terrible. But what if a young fresh-faced band from Brooklyn made a record based on that concept? It would probably sound like “The Dove.”
The year of gorgeously wussy metal continues with the self-titled debut by Palms, a thinking man’s Audioslave composed of Deftones singer Chino Moreno and three members of the late, great prog-metal outfit Isis. Palms is comparable to the similarly shoegazer-influenced Sunbather by the critically slobbered-over black-metal duo Deafheaven, only with much silkier vocals — which isn’t saying much, but still, this will surely rank among the very small handful of metal (or “metal-ish”) records released in 2013 that can be credibly classified as “sexy.”
The Mavericks, “Back in Your Arms”
For fans of adventurous country music, the Mavericks’ wonderful “comeback” record In Time — the group’s first full-length in nine years — is as welcome in 2013 as new music from Daft Punk was for the indie crowd. In Time is hardly a country record at all, really — “Back in Your Arms” showcases the Cuban and ’50s rock sides of this consistently winning band’s personality.
Jackson Scott, “Evie”
I will never not love songs that trick me into thinking that I’m listening to Built to Spill’s Perfect From Now On.
U2, “This Is” (Aslan cover)
I’d never heard of Aslan before hearing this cover; like most clueless Americans lacking in serious Irish rock knowledge, I would’ve just assumed this was a song from U2’s new, long-in-the-works album due this fall. And that would’ve made me very excited, since “This Is” could be a really good, lump-in-the-throat U2 track. So now I’m hoping that the new U2 record will merely rip this song off 12 times.
Disclosure ft. Sam Smith, “Latch”
“Get Lucky” for summer 2013 shut-ins.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, “Mind Crawler”
I have two theories on why the new Black Sabbath album isn’t doing it for me: (1) 13 is an example of a legacy band attempting to give fans precisely the record they think they want, and not having the energy or inspiration to really pull it off; (2) I was never going to like 13 because Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats’ Mind Control is a much better Black Sabbath record. I lean toward the first theory, but “Mind Crawler” makes a strong argument for the second.
Diarrhea Planet, “Separations”
I know, I know, but just listen to the song, OK?
Wilco, “Marquee Moon” (Television cover)
(Insert dad-rock joke that implicates myself as being the exact sort of dad who gets excited about a Wilco cover of “Marquee Moon.”)