Django Django — ‘Glowing in the Dark’
THE GOOD: British indie poppers Django Django give us a jumbled fourth.
THE BAD: Not all of the excursions work, but most do.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Django Django has always been a rock band with live drums and guitars fully intact. But it’s never feared a splashy synth or solid dance beat. That’s why its albums have been varied and gleeful (even when the lyrics weren’t optimistic) from day one.
“Glowing” embraces this well-established unpredictability. Lead track “Spirals” speeds to a frenzy and BLAM! The party is in full gear. From there, it’s rhythmic left turns, bits of post-punk, chunks of folk-rock, catchy melodies, loopy keyboards and even one or two underground house anthems recalling prime Hot Chip.
You can criticize the band for a couple of unnecessary indulgences along the way, but you can’t knock its creative spirit. “Glowing” is a blast from beginning to end. Even the more tempered “The World Will Turn” feels more like a necessary breather and less like a buzz kill.
BUY IT?: Definitely.
The Antlers — ‘Green to Gold’
THE GOOD: Brooklyn-based indie rockers the Antlers are back with their sixth (first in seven years).
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Songwriter/vocalist Pete Silberman put the band on hold for about five years. “Green to Gold” is now his contemplative return. Here, the Antlers turns up the space rock elements and combines them with some folk flavors. Silberman described the sound as “Sunday morning music.” It does possess that laid-back vibe. However, the music is also rustic — very “lost in the forest.”
Tracks such as “Solstice,” “Just One Sec” and the slow-burning title cut patiently establish themselves. Silberman and his crew never interrupt the flow; even tempo changes don’t prevent songs from melting into one another. All the while delicate rhythms, subtle guitars and swirling atmospherics paint the record in not only shades of green and gold but moody blues as well. This is a headphones set in which you can easily become lost. But that’s exactly what you want to do. Enjoy the drift.
BUY IT?: Yes.
Royal Blood — ‘Typhoons’
THE GOOD: British alt-rock duo Royal Blood turns up the beats on its third.
THE BAD: Don’t expect anything particularly unique. “Typhoons” is a direct, no-frills rock album. And there’s nothing bad about that.
The spirit of “Typhoons” finds the guys wanting to get out again. COVID-19 had us all in lockdown. Now things are starting to open up. Nightlife might actually happen? What?! Here’s your soundtrack. Rhythm is definitely more important this time. Royal Blood doesn’t mind if you dance and get loose.
Songs such as “Oblivion” and “Who Needs Friends” are direct in drive and spirit, punchy, catchy and not overly produced. “Typhoons” never lets up until the very last song, a quick piano ballad called “All We Have Is Now” that brings us in for a nice, soft landing.
BUY IT?: Sure.