Eddie Vedder. Earthling
In the golden age of grunge, this style was held on several whales, including Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and, of course, Pearl Jam. Essentially the main gangs in this direction were Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder. Combined with a common context, location, spirit and sound, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were still involved in different tests. If the former looked more towards punk and hardcore, the latter were monumentally based on folk and hard rock foundations.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. After such a demarche, it was difficult for the others to continue speaking in the same vein. In addition, most of the participants in the process continued to struggle with their own demons and addictions. Vedder and Pearl Jam had every chance of collapsing and ceasing to exist. But the guys swam out. And from time to time they release not as bright as before, but still worthy albums. And the band’s frontman sometimes steps aside and composes solo records. The last one is separated from the previous one by 11 years. For these 11 years, something serious has been going on inside Eddie Vedder. The album turned out to be authentically close to the early Pearl Jam, but it sounds very modern. Listening to him, it’s as if you’re blowing off the gold dust of the nineties, but this dust doesn’t blow musty, it falls in a beautiful pillar in the rays of the setting sun.
The protagonist of the record is still the amazing voice of Eddie Vedder, one of the most recognizable and great voices of grunge. Shabby, shabby, hoarse and full of great power. On the record, the musician breaks away from the soul, not caring about its integrity, and also realizes his childhood dreams and invites to participate in the work of the great Ringo Starr, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. Who would have thought that three decades later grunge is alive again, and in such an unexpected quality and with such a cheerful and bright company.
The first two Korn records once revolutionized the world of heavy music. It turned out that aggressive metal can be played non-linearly. And it turned out that enough niche music, usually loved by hairy and brutal target audience, can, if desired, go to the broad masses of fashionable musical youth.
In fact, it was with the first releases of Korn that the “new metal” style began, which was initially perceived by everyone as a sip of living water, but very quickly went into circulation, overgrown with imitators and emptied to the point that music critics unanimously speak of it as a major musical error of the twenty-first century.
Korn, we can say, was in trend and along with the style went through all the transformations – from the revolutionary fervor at the beginning of the journey to the stillborn releases of stadium pathos, from inspiration to fatigue and disappointment.
From the good news: it looks like they pulled back after all. The latest album, despite the sad title, Jonathan Davis’ ongoing depression over his wife’s death, and the unhappy circumstances of the pandemic, the musicians tried to make more positive than the previous release of Nothing. But the main thing is not even whether he became more optimistic or not. The main thing is that on the last record the musicians seem to have returned to their original sound. It is pure guitar and vocal expression, laconic arrangements and general internal pressure. Great and evil record for harsh weather.
Alt-J. The Dream
With just three of their albums, Alt-J have proven to the world that intelligent and difficult music can be at the top of mass popularity. Proof of this – some very huge circulations, which sold their previous works.
It is difficult to determine exactly the genre of what these high-minded geniuses are doing. They do not have the most catchy melodies and quite similar arrangements. Their songs are hard to call obvious militants. But definitely in the songs of the group there is the same magic, which can not be achieved by any production tricks. It is also impossible for her to learn, she does not come with years and experience. God’s spark, which is either ignited or not, has long since turned into a flame in Alt-J.
In fairness: their fourth and last album, so awaited by fans, is still difficult to call another masterpiece. There is a feeling that the band has slipped a bit. Learned to make strong songs, continues to be a conceptual project. But listening to the album all the time there is a feeling that it has already sounded somewhere. Well, more precisely, not somewhere, but on the first three albums of the band. The spark, of course, has not gone out, it is still smoldering, warming, shining. And listening to the new album, of course, is necessary, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the band. But I want to believe that musicians understand how careful you need to be to keep the fire going. Especially in conditions when new matches have not been delivered yet, and old lighters have dried up.
Animal Collective. Time Skiffs
Each new Animal Collective album is a new trip into the unknown. Another steep route laid out on the territory of modern rock psychedelia. At one time, the band’s records made a quiet revolution, uniting a small army of musical intellectuals and creating a decent number of musicians-followers. With their music, the band always comes from the unexpected, does not seek to fit into any particular music marketing niche, and in the best traditions of Dadaism and Surrealism “breaks away” in full. “Art for Art’s sake” and other similar beliefs help musicians to do exactly what they want and come up with right now, enjoying it and infecting the energy of their listeners.
At the same time with each new release, there is a growing danger that the curve of uncontrolled creation will take musicians to such a path that it will be impossible to listen to them. So far, these fears have not been confirmed. Their latest work is a powerful and joyful, clever and hooligan modern psychedelic, which has reached such a level that you can no longer even strain your brain and not “turn on” the music snob. The songs still “come in”, and not just “come in”, but also stay for a long time. Neither expel nor untie.
Metronomy. Small World
Surprisingly, the band, which has released less than ten albums and become widely known recently, has actually been around for more than twenty years. Metronomy approached us very carefully. They did not press, did not press on the ears from radios, did not fall under the news from the pages of specialized media. They just played hedonistic dance electronics with very good melodies. And at some point they became a great project for connoisseurs. A special dish for aesthetes. Such a project, which does not generate a crowd of fans, does not attract to their music networks unconditionally, but it is always nice to meet.
The band’s breakthrough began when their light, rhythmic and atmospheric tracks were taken up by fashionable DJs. And through discos and dance charts Metronomy got stuck in the minds of dancing youth. And then there was the matter of technology – not to fail, to justify the trust and continue to do well. Musicians can do it one hundred percent, but they are a little tricky. The fact is that they are close in one style, so without changing the declared quality of the songs, they are experimenting all the time.
Metronomy’s latest record is only half dance, and the rest is guitar indie-pop with sensual vocals. Admittedly, they also do great indie pop. It’s not a fact that the latest album will reach the previous records in terms of hits, but it’s still a great pleasure to listen to it.
25/17. “Fables from the crypt. Afterword »
25/17 – a band that plays hip-hop (although with great reservations), stands in a hip-hop party alone. And it’s not about the lack of contacts and collaborations (with this 25/17 just fine, all the classics of the genre – fit and special guests on their tracks abound). The point in their approach to the very concept of the track, more precisely, is that they do not make tracks, namely compose songs.
Hip-hop for them is just one of the possible tones of expression, almost arbitrarily taken genre, with which they solve much deeper issues. I would even venture to suggest that it is actually 25/17, despite the formal musical discrepancy, playing real Russian rock. Much more real than the huge number of empty style neophytes. No wonder Konstantin Kinchev speaks respectfully about the band’s songs. And Dmitry Revyakin gladly takes part in the recordings.
The latest album is not a new album, but a collection of remixes and covers for the 2020 album. The original work itself was a very powerful statement. By the way, she was the one who signaled to the listener as much as possible that hip-hop here only pretends to be such. And in the new interpretation from very different musicians from completely different electronic circles – from Ilya Baramia (AIGEL) to DJ Grove – the songs gained a completely new energy and meaning.
A rare and wonderful example of how the alteration of the source code is not felt by an incomprehensible trailer, but becomes a valuable work. And at the same time it helps to look at the originals differently.
Novoselie. “Glorious Peace”
In recent years, baroque music has been experiencing a real boom around the world. “Blame it all” enthusiasts of this phenomenon, tireless researchers of authentic sound, who are convinced that for his time Baroque was a real revolution. Moreover, the energy and philosophy of this style will be enough to make even ancient music sound relevant and modern.
Naturally, great musicians with a broad outlook and high search activity often try to combine pure styles with some other genres and forms. They try to break, while carving out new meanings. Baroque in this capacity is just the perfect material for experiments. Not without reason, in the VOLKOV ManiFEST regularly held in St. Petersburg and Moscow under the direction of musician Vladimir Volkov, one day is always dedicated to baroque and all its combinations, the more unexpected the better.
The most interesting thing is that the combination of baroque and folklore, which seems innovative and especially strikes the soul of the modern listener, in fact, already has a huge history. At the same time, which is nice, this story is Russian.
In the time of Peter the Great, the concept of “Peter’s edging” appeared – almost imperatively descended from above the imperial order to combine in one work of Baroque with spiritual and folk motifs. Three hundred years later, this combination regained an explosive musical meaning. This was very precisely and subtly felt by the Moscow musician Rust Pozyumsky. Gathering a group of like-minded people, Rust studied and performed the surviving works for a long time. And then decided to go further. Thus, in the arsenal of the Novoselie musical ensemble appeared not only ancient works, but also author’s works, true to the spirit of the canon, but playing with its “letter”. That’s why the music of the first album of the project sounds as if the perfect recipe for finding the past into a fascinating present has been found. And yes, it’s also infinitely beautiful.
Denis Rubin, especially for Fontanki.ru