Album Review: Björk – Utopia

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Artist: Björk

Album: Utopia 

Genre: Ambient/Experimental/Electronic

Rating: 8.5/10

On her last album Vulnicura, Björk’s vulnerability was apparent. It was a gut-wrenching break-up album that spawned some of her darkest and most heartbreaking songs. Her personal despair was revealing but no less enthralling, but now her new effort is sort of an update on her state. She has found her own personal Utopia. Appropriately titled Utopia, the Icelandic superstar is now in a place of paradise. Paradise that was molded by her resilience. In this Utopian paradise we are offered brilliantly sprawled flute choirs, heavenly harps, and Arca’s explosive production that sporadically erupts at the most unpredictable moments, adding chaotic but necessary contrast to the lighter moments. Björk’s lyrics are filled with love, but it is love that leaves her unsure. Love that leaves her frantic, and it is a reflection of the internet age we live in and how it plays a role in young love or lust. The track Courtship reflects on dating websites and how superficial sites like these can be. “He turned me down, I then downturned another, who then downturned her” Björk sings detailing the world of dating sites like Tinder. The album’s second track Blissing Me tells the tale of two young people who fall in love through a mutual taste in music. They send each other music and talk for hours about their similar tastes, but then Björk playing the role of one of these so-called lovers wonders if she’s in love with this man or his music. Does she really love him? Or is she just in love with the idea of being in love? Moments like these explore and expose the many complexities people may face in relationships, but while these moments keep the listener grounded and down to earth, the listener is also taken on a journey through Björk’s Utopia. The title track invites us to a nature filled place surrounded with bird calls and flutes. This is a peaceful place but something is poisoning the air and damaging her serenity. Whether or not this is a metaphor for her past relationship is unclear, but it is a gorgeous moment on the album, but I dare you to find a moment on this album that isn’t gorgeous or captivating. Everything from the production to her thoughtful lyrics of love and overcoming the past are all packaged perfectly, and it’s astonishing that she still has the power to soften even the toughest of hearts. After the explorations of love, her resilience, and even the personification of music on the track SaintBjörk ends the album on a positive note with Future Forever. “Imagine a future, and be in it,” she sings while urging us to always look forward and to strive to make this world a better place. If you’re not already there, you too can find your own personal Utopia.

 

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: November 25, 2017

Album Review: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland

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Artist: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard 

Album: Polygondwanaland

Genre: Progressive Rock/Psychedelic Rock

Rating: 7.5/10

Very few bands would set a goal to release five albums in one year like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard has. Then again very few bands are like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Okay, no one is like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, but what seemed like a flat out crazy idea is turning out to be the most sane idea for the Australia based band. Why wouldn’t they release five albums in one year? Even if these albums were flops it’s still astonishing that in between touring these guys are able to create five albums worth of material in one year. Do these guys ever go home? Do they sleep? Maybe they truly are magical entities like their name suggests.

The band’s fourth album of the year Polygondwanaland is another victory. It’s as Psychedelic, Prog heavy, and bizarre as we want our Gizz to be. Though it may not be as hypnotizing as their first album of the year Flying Microtonal Banana, or as conceptual as the following album Murder of The Universe, it still has that sense of zany psychedelia with much focus and dedication. The balls out jam sessions of elevator music on LSD that were present on their previous and third album of the year Sketches Of Brunswick East force their way into Polygondwanaland, but this time around they demand our attention instead of humbly providing music for background. Along with lead singer Stu Mackenzie’s usual otherworldly lyrical content that for the most part was absent on that previous record is back in full force and is more cryptic than ever. What exactly is the crumbling castle he speaks of on the opening track Crumbling Castle, a ten minute odyssey that can be in the running for best Prog Rock song of the year. Whatever he’s going on about he definitely adds narrative to this other dimension the instrumentation puts us in, and from there on the bulk of the songs all run together with very little room to breathe, and it’s pulled off effortlessly.

This album may not be as obnoxious or hallucinogenic as some of their previous work, but it solidifies the band’s leading status in the world of Prog Rock. We’re less than two months away from the end of 2017, and the band has one more album to release to make good on their promise. Can they do it? There’s no doubt in my mind.

 

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: November 17, 2017

 

A Perfect Circle Share New Music Video For “The Doomed”

Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of A Perfect Circle

These past couple of months have been a treat for fans of A Perfect Circle, (unless you were one of the concertgoers who got kicked out for taking a photo at one of their shows) the band have embarked on a new tour, and they’ve recently released a brand new song titled The Doomed. The band have now released a brand new music video to accompany it. Watch the video below:

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Announce New Album “Polygondwanaland”

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are two albums away from accomplishing their goal to release five albums in one year, and the band have unveiled the title and release date of album number 4. It’s titled Polygondwanaland and it will be released for free this Friday. That’s right, free. Check out the cover art below:

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Check out out their newest track Crumbling Castle:

Eminem Teams Up With Beyoncé on New Track “Walk On Water”

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There has been much speculation about a possible new Eminem album. With cryptic posts from the rapper which look like ads for a new album titled Revival, and the just released new track Walk On Water featuring Beyoncé, a new album seems imminent. Check out the track below:

Björk Reveals Tracklist for Upcoming Album “Utopia”

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Björk’s follow-up to Vulnicura will be released on November 24th, and she has finally revealed the tracklist. The album was produced by Arca, who co-produced her previous album. The album will feature the previously released single The Gate. Check out the tracklist below:

Utopia Tracklist:

1. Arisen My Senses

2. Blissing Me

3. The Gate

4. Utopia

5. Body Memory

6. Features Creatures

7. Courtship

8. Loss

9. Sue Me

10. Tabula Rasa

11. Claimstaker

12. Paradisa

13. Saint

14. Future Forever