Music » Music Feature

Now Hear This



These are troubling times. All around us, zombies lurk and peddle gadgetry and pharmaceuticals and the likes of Katy Perry. If you're not armed with a cache of dabs and some good music, you're donezo.

From the opening churn of alternating technological growls and deep, deep bass bombs, EMA's The Future's Void is an ear-catching ode to our mad, mad digital culture. In a phrase, it's simultaneously unsettling and enticing. Like the dirge of Facebook's timeline, one just can't seem to turn away.

Only EMA's latest album is actually an enjoyable experience, rather than the time-suck that so much of our tech-lust society has become. "Satellites," the album opener here is a brash statement piece that expands on all earlier works (like Past Life Martyred Saints). Everything is bigger and fuller. From there, though, the album opens up into really great, hook-laden songwriting ("So Blonde," "When She Comes").

A real standout on the album is "Neuromancer," which blends heady tribal rhythms with nonchalant lyrics about, of all things, selfies. There's some great instrumentation throughout this one, and it bleeds  nicely into the aforementioned "When She Comes." The bridge there is a good illustration of how this album moves from one mood to the next with deftness, which is in turn something of a commentary on how we're all flitting about from social media pool to social media pool.

Elsewhere, what in the world is going on in this new John Fru-sciante album? He's clinging with vigor to this odd electronic arm of his career, but one major problem is that a) few, if any, listeners are going to Frusciante for a solid electronic fix and b) even if there were, there remains such a vast field of better options out there.

There's some great music on earlier outings, like To Record Only Water for Ten Days - stuff that leans more closely to his Red Hot Chili Peppers lineage. "Ramparts," for instance, is a wonderful little tune that does so much to bring out the best in Frusciante. This business on Enclosure? Take a pass, and take this moment to refamiliarize yourself with what the musician does best (actual guitar-led compositions and solos).

Although, speaking of electronic-type stuff, the new Colourmusic album does sorta hit the spot. The experimentalists from Oklahoma dropped May You Marry Rich this week, and it's a great stab at dreary/dreamy emotional rock. There's some great sludge all around this album; note "Audacity of Hope," Snake in the Mouth," "Idiot".

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