Dan Auerbach / Keep It Hid / Nonesuch Records
If Dan Auerbach, also of The Black Keys, had put some of these songs together as a demo in 1959, record executives would have been pounding on his door over the interest they surely would have had in the soulful ballads and dirty blues grooves found on this album. Indeed, if you didn’t know any better, it would be easy to mistake Keep It Hid for an album from a completely different time – perhaps restored from an old 78-rpm vinyl.
While the older sounding tracks stand up on their own, the buzzing and strutting heard on “The Prowl” and the Jack White-like wailing and shredding on the title track are enough to prove that Auerbach knows how to rock in this decade as well.
– Dan Rankin
Thursday / Common Existence / Epitaph Records
“Now I’m back to life!” belts Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly on “Resuscitation of a Dead Man,” opening track off of Common Existence, the band’s first full length since 2006. Yes, Thursday is back, but it’s not exactly with a bag of new tricks. Still present are the unrelenting downpour of overdriven guitars and chaotic post-hardcore drumming, even Rickly’s socially conscious lyrics, yet most cuts sound as if they were just unused tracks off 2001’s Full Collapse. “Time’s Arrow” and “You Were The Cancer” feature pleasing avant-garde atmospheric instrumentals and some of the best vocal work on the disc but “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain,” a track that blends their old urgency with a sublime guitar line, stands (not surprisingly, considering the title) above the rest.
- Dan Rankin
Lily Allen / It’s Not Me, It’s You / Capitol
The not-so elegant British songbird noted her new record would have a completely different sound (which made some critics tape their ears shut) but one thing’s for sure, Lily Allen’s unique and famous attitude is still there. Raw, bold and at times shocking, It’s Not Me, It’s You is brutally honest and intriguing. Songs like “Not Fair” and “Who’d Of Known” may not be filled with rays of sunshine like the tracks off her previous album, but the deeper meanings behind the lyrics show Allen is a true musician. Critics have damned her for her change in style, but musicians go through emotional circumstances, which in their case, sometimes leads to music that’s unique and memorable.
- Joshua Khan