The Week In Music: Throwback Grooves With The Arctic Monkeys, Janelle Monae’s Space Jam
While everyone was caught in the shine of Arcade Fire‘s “Reflekor” this week, quietly there was a batch of new releases. Full on albums and what not.
Before I get to the best of the week, there’s a few worth mentioning.
“Essential Tremors” is the third release from J Roddy Walston And The Business. It’s an album I had high hopes for, and at moments breaks out in spectacular fashion. “Marigold” and “Tear Jerk” are back room late night jams that stand out with swagger, but unfortunately the space between finds Walston and company posing as a Dr. Dog tribute band more than their original promise.
Janelle Monae is a rock star with a crystal voice and the sass and strut of Prince. “The Electric Lady” is the latest installment in her Space Opera that centers around a character named Cindi Mayweather in the year 2719. I believe it’s part four and five? Ask Coheed And Cambria, maybe they can follow it.
Nobody can take away her talent, and a lot of the songs are amazing. She outshines Prince (yeah he’s there), Solange, and Miguel within a twenty-minute span. However the Sci-Fi story weighs down the album. At times it’s clumsy and confusing, pieced together through a series of Space Radio vignettes. The songs shine, but I keep getting sucked out of the experience by the Mystery Science Theater quality package they come in.
The real winner of the week is the Arctic Monkeys. “AM” is a crunchy, dark ride that’s not a tribute to 70’s glam rock, it is 70’s glam rock. That’s an important distinction. The Arctic Monkeys don’t imitate the pounding bass and sharp riffs of an era, but puree them into a sexy strut that Billy Squier and Ace Frehley would be proud of. Alex Turner croons with blended harmonies that bleed a porno back beat until it crescendos with Black Sabbath like force, all done with the lyrical luring of a guy who drives a carpeted van. But it works.
They’ve come a long way from MySpace buzz band of the year.