Monsters Of Folk / Monsters Of Folk / Rough Trade
The group Monsters of Folk involves an almost double-take worthy combination of members from Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket, and two touring singer-songwriters that answer to the names Mike Mogis and Matt Ward. Due to other commitments, the men may have tried the patience of anyone following developments in the interesting case of Monsters of Folk, but finally, the self-titled debut from the group (formed in 2004) is seeing the light of day. Sonically, the results are not that much different from Outer South, an album released by Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band earlier this year. Also similar to that album is the fairly even sharing of vocal duties amongst participants. The combination of voices, and the wide array of instruments (banjos, slide guitars and… synths and looped samples?) heard on Monsters of Folk actually turns it into a collection of songs that folks on radically different ends of the political spectrum can enjoy, and one that’s worth receiving a second look.
Download: “Whole Lotta Losin’,” “Baby Boomer”, “Map of the World”
Children Of Bodom / Skeletons In The Closet / Universal
Finnish heavy metal heavy weights Children of Bodom are sure to raise some pierced eyebrows with the release of this, their first ever compilation cover album. Some great metal covers turn up in the track list in the form of Slayer’s “Silent Scream,” Anthrax’s “Anti-Social” and a grandiose version of Iron Maiden’s “Aces High.” But the boys of COB do far more with Skeletons In The Closet than just deposit further credibility into the coffers of metal acts still widely regarded as cool today. Hair metal (Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me”), classic rock (CCR’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”), country (Kenny Roger’s “Just Dropped In” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” made famous by Johnny Cash) and even Britney Spears get nods on the album. It’s commendable that they’d take on such a wide variety of covers, but tracks like“Oops… I Did It Again” and “I Just Dropped In,” despite including impressive instrumentation, are really only good in terms of gag value, and that quickly diminishes.
Download: “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”, “Aces High”
Buckcherry / Live & Loud 2009 / Universal
Buckcherry – the guys behind obnoxious single “Crazy Bitch” – have recently gone on tour as opening acts for groups like Motley Crue and KISS, making them the hard rock equivalent of Jason Seigel. However, this live album (which, judging by singer Josh Todd’s ‘Oh Canada!’ at the start of “Next 2 You” was recorded in the Great White North) shows them as more than just perennial second bananas, as they spew forth crowd pleasing over-driven blues for 15 tracks with an often better-than-in-the-studio sound.
Download: “Next 2 You”, “Crazy Bitch”
AFI / Crash Love / Universal
Following two years of writing, the culmination of AFI’s hard work is an album that sounds a lot like their last one. It’s far glossier than Black Sails in the Sunset and even Sing The Sorrow. Besides “Sacrilege,” the pretentious lyrics of the past have been replaced with obvious twenty-year-old goth clichés. It seems as though Davey Havok’s trademark hardcore punk rasp is a long forgotten relic, lost sometime during the band’s December underground. Can you blame him though? I remember losing my voice after just singing along to just a couple old AFI songs. Still, Crash Love leaves you missing the old days when there really was a fire inside AFI.