This Month's Picks

In The Wild (CD)

The Interrupters
The Interrupters continue their reign as the ruling torch-bearers of old school ska-punk on their excellent new album, In The Wild . This is a band that knows their musical history—they wouldn’t sound out of place next to classic ’70s/early ‘80s acts like The English Beat—and understands how to inject a contemporary vibe into the mix that keeps the proceedings feeling fresh and exciting. Produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong (who also splits guest vocals with Rhoda Dakar on the second track), the album also features appearances from The Skints, Alex Desert, and Greg Lee. Spirited, upbeat, and rich in the original socially-conscious spirit of the genre, In the Wild is guaranteed to energize your day. More
Genre: Rock, Reggae

Cheat Codes (CD)

Black Thought, Danger Mouse
Can it really be seventeen years since DangerDOOM , the last hip-hop album from Danger Mouse? That collaboration with the late MF DOOM became a legend…and it looks like this new pairing with Black Thought is on the same stratosphere-reaching track. With a duo this talented, you know a galaxy of stars is gonna want to come out to play and the guests are truly high-caliber: Raekwon, Kid Sister, Joey Bada$$, Russ, Dylan Cartlidge, Michael Kiwanuka, A$AP Rocky, Run the Jewels, and Conway the Machine are all along for the ride. MF DOOM even plays a part in the track “Belize.” It should come as no surprise that Cheat Codes is one of the most buzzed-about albums of 2022—and for good reason. It’s one of the year’s best. More
Genre: Hip Hop

Hotel Kalifornia (CD)

Hollywood Undead
Rap-rock, industrial hip-hop, nu nu metal—whatever you consider Hollywood Undead, you’ll definitely consider Hotel Kalifornia the band’s most incisive, hardcore release yet. Producers Erik Ron (Panic! At The Disco, Godsmack), Andrew Migliore (Papa Roach, Zero 9:36) and Drew Fulk (Lil Wayne, Motionless in White) add intensity to the raucous proceedings. The vocals switch from brutal metal to RATM-style rap to darkly melodic, as each member of the crew serves up their thoughts on the current state of the world. (Spoiler alert: things are not going great.) Bristling with energy and tempered by rage, Hotel Kalifornia was made to be cranked up loud. More
Genre: Rock

Jackpot Juicer (CD)

Dance Gavin Dance
Clocking in at just under one hour and three minutes. Jackpot Juicer is Dance Gavin Dance’s longest album. It’s fittingly epic. Digital meets hardcore with unforgettable, anthemic choruses and intense metalcore percussion. Strings appear throughout the album, adding yearning and keening beauty throughout the proceedings; they complement the slowed-down, emotional interludes that serve as the eye of each track’s storm. New this time around is the addition of Eidola guitarist Andrew Wells, who also performs vocal duties on a number of the songs. Jackpot Juicer is one of those bigger-than-life albums that demands to be heard…and turned up to ten. More
Genre: Rock

Entering Heaven Alive (CD)

Jack White
Entering Heaven Alive showcases the softer side of Jack White. These stripped down and beautifully-constructed songs are an intimate listening experience. Lyrically, you feel like you’re getting a glimpse into the singer’s psyche, even as he veers into occasionally tongue-in-cheek moments on the offensive (“Love Is Selfish”) before diving into themes of mortality and lasting love (“If I Die Tomorrow”). The production feels like White’s singing just to you, from the corner stage of a tiny, gritty venue. Album closer “Taking Me Back (Gently)” features a swoon-worthy fiddle and olde time orchestrations with White’s lilting vocals—it’s a beautiful bow on top of this rootsy, imaginative package of songs. More
Genre: Rock

The Northman [Score] (CD)

Robin Carolan, Sebastian Gainsborough
Robin Carolan & Sebastian Gainsborough’s score for Robert Eggers’ early Norse saga The Northman is evocative and epic. Out via Sacred Bones, the album traverses deep psychological territory and sweeping terrain, calling to mind mind majestic northern landscapes, harrowing human acts of violence, and swirling supernatural occurrences. The tracks seamlessly slip from bristling, percussion-driven tense atmospherics into a sort of medieval psychedelia and into an icy, anticipation-heavy avant-garde. Keening strings and awe-inspiring choral vocals add emotional and sonic layers to the folk meets ambient soundscapes; it’s a stirring listen, as crystalline in its beauty and brutal in its nature as the North itself. More
Genre: Soundtracks

RAW (That Little Ol' Band From Texas) [OST] (CD)

ZZ Top
ZZ Top’s RAW is a companion piece of sorts to their 2019 Netflix documentary, That Little Ol’ Band from Texas . Produced by Billy Gibbons, it’s a rollicking eleven-track collection recorded live at Gruene Hall, “the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas.” RAW feels timeless as perhaps Gruene Hall itself; these are songs with deep riffs and even deeper staying power. The tracks feel simultaneously (yes) raw and barebones, even as they’re imbued with the rough-and-tumble, pure rock energy that only ZZ Top can conjure up. Featuring the band’s original lineup of Gibbons, drummer Frank Beard, and the late great bass guitarist Dusty Hill, RAW is essential for any fan of the band. More
Genre: Rock, Soundtracks

XI: Bleed Here Now (CD)

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Longtime ATX art punks And You Will Know Us by The Trail of Dead return with another brilliantly bruising collection of songs, XI: BLEED HERE NOW . For their eleventh album, the band recorded in quadraphonic sound, creating an immersive surround sound experience that feels dynamic and urgent. The tracks are blissfully shambolic, veering from brutal sonic assaults to good-natured, riff-heavy rockers. If you loved Trail of Dead before, this album will, if possible, make you love them even more. And if somehow this is your first introduction to the band, get ready to have your socks knocked off. More
Genre: Rock

Growing Up (CD)

The Linda Lindas
When you burst onto the scene (any scene) with a viral video, the pressure’s on to prove your success wasn’t just a one-time hit. With the release of Growing Up , fans of The Linda Lindas can breathe easy knowing that these ultra cool teens and pre-teens truly deliver. That is, if you can breathe at all with all the head banging you’ll be doing to this killer album. “Racist, Sexist Boy,” the song that ignited the storm of attention the LA quartet would receive, is a let-‘em’-burn banger and worth the price of the album alone. But it’s not the only bravura performance on Growing Up . Each short-but-sweet track tears into your headphones with gleeful intensity, whether the band is flexing its pop muscles or creating riotous, no-holds-barred classic punk. Turn this one up loud—the Linda Lindas are the future of punk. More
Genre: Rock

Cave World (CD)

Viagra Boys
Viagra Boys’ Cave World fires up with an irresistible fury; it is the sound of 2022, of the undercurrent of rage and fear, the constant bad news assault we all have to grin and bear our way through. Throughout the album the Swedish post-punks turn their acerbic wit toward alt-right lunatics and losers, occasionally taking a break for tracks which serve as a sort of narration for a nature doc on the seeming retrogression of society. The band is dead serious in their takedown of these topics, but that doesn’t mean this is one of those dreaded, difficult Serious Listens. On the contrary, Cave World is addictive and enjoyable. The band skips gleefully between post-’77 genres, with songs marked by full-throttle, classic punk, mutant disco, menacing Big Black-style noise, and hypnotic post-punk. The effect is intense and exhilarating. More
Genre: Rock