I love Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (kind of joyful, japanese dance pop).
She recently released the album Pika Pika Fantajin.
And a single from the album, very nice video:
Opeth: Pale Communion
More 70's prog worship from Opeth, though it displays a greater ranger of influences than Heritage did. What it might lack in memorable moments (compared to stuff like classic King Crimson and Yes, at any rate) it almost makes up for with wide-ranging and technically accomplished instrumentation and beautiful production. I also feel like front man Mikael Akerfeldt turns in one of his more emotionally involving vocal performances in a while, particularly in the last two tracks, which together might constitute one of the finest endings I've heard on any album yet this year. This is a real album's album, for listening to from front to back, and then meditating on it for a little while afterwards before hitting repeat. I think some people will 'get' Pale Communion right away--others might have to give it time to grow on them. It doesn't reach the heights of their best work, but for people who like the idea of Opeth but have never been able to get beyond the metal crunch of their finest work, this might be a great starting point. (Though I still think Damnation remains their most palatable album for a general audience with modern tastes.) As for Opeth fans who were left feeling a bit lost after Heritage, I don't know that this will quite make up for that feeling of abandonment. But if Heritage has grown on you since its release, then know that Opeth has surpassed the achievements of that album here--a point I think most people will agree with. Ultimately, it's not the finest prog rock of even the last three or four years, but it's a pleasurable listen nonetheless, and I think it'll make it into my top 40 or 50 albums of the year pretty handily.
Earth: Primitive and Deadly
I try not to have too many back-to-back posts on this thread, but I just had to share this one with someone as soon as I finished listening to it for the first time. Earth has always been a good-great band. Led by front-man Dylan Carlson, whose stately guitar explorations and remarkable tone would, in a fair world, land him towards the top of any reasonable 'best living guitarists' list (even if he never shows off), Earth was a pioneering force in early drone metal, and their largely instrumental brand of psychedelic rock, post-rock, and drone has earned them a lot of praise and admirers over the years. But even as I've enjoyed all of their recent work, I couldn't help but feel that these venerable giants were stuck in a bit of a rut. They were no longer reinventing themselves--they were just throwing in new instruments here and there. But with Primitive and Deadly--man, they haven't felt this alive in years. Guest vocalists are the most readily apparent 'upgrade' (in fact, I don't think they've used a vocalist period since... Kurt Cobain), but the faster tempos and all-around rocking attitude that's on display here banish the somnolent weight that's been firmly settled upon their work almost ever since Dylan's self-reinvention in the mid 2000s. I can see myself cooling on this album a bit as the year winds towards the end, but at this moment, right here and right now--this is a top 5 of 2014 for me.
We Will Reign by The Last Internationale
You'd expect the songs by a band with a name like The Last Internationale to touch on revolution and other political themes. What you might not expect, is the hard-rocking tight sound from this trio, that includes Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk. The music includes strands of country and folk, but never veers too far from rock. Lead singer Delia Paz passionate delivery puts love on equal footing with revolution, and lucky for us--punk trumps polemic.
The new releases just keep rolling in...
Billy Joe Shaver has a new release for traditional country fans. The first track includes vocals by Willie Nelson because Willie knows the deal:
There is a new release by the Counting Crows called, "Somewhere Under Wonderland." This is perhaps the most interesting release by them in quite awhile.