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On Air Next

On Air Next 7.30.15

Dan Burney

Radio 1190 KVCU

James Calvet

After many months of waiting, the new Tame Impala record, Currents finally here. After a few singles that confused, delighted and infuriated fans it is obvious that the group is not going to release another Lonerism. Instead of the cerebral, guitar-based group they have presented themselves to be, this newest record is focused more on dance-grooves rather than a trip into psychedelic space. The first track "Let It Happen", compared to other Tame Impala openers is relatively subdued and mellow. Rather than dragging the listener down a trippy rabbit hole, some kind synthesizers and mellow drumbeats are presented and toyed with for about seven minutes. With a lack of real climax or any experimentation at all, the group is obviously more focused on the dance floor than the depths of your mind. 

With all this psuedo-psychedelic studio trickery the album as a whole sounds like a 21st century interpretation of Supertramp. In an interview with frontman/spokesperson Kevin Parker he stated that he did not want the track "The Less I Know The Better" to appear on the record because it sounds like "dorky, white disco funk" and sadly that's exactly how the whole record sounds. Each track has an incredibly repetitive four-on-the-floor drum beats and cheesy 80's prom ballad synthesizers that are in no way offensive but just incredibly underwhelming compared to their past records. Even in the track "Past Lives" has a really silly pitch-shifted spoken word performance throughout the whole song recalling a past love that is unnecessary and incredibly embarrassing to listen to. Overall, even though Currents isn't an unpleasant experience, it is just an album that was not made to further their sound but to reaffirm themselves as the background noise to your next music festival experience. 

Out of nowhere on a Wednesday evening Wilco surprise-released their new album Star Wars. Though this is not a new concept for bands in the slightest, this album is indeed an interesting addition to their huge, diverse discography. Though the first track "EKG" is a bombardment of tones and noises, the track seamlessly transitions into the good old Wilco sound on the second song "More...". In true Wilco fashion, the group meshes mid-90's alt-country with canonical early 00's indie rock. Though the track is nothing new for the group in terms of sonic experimentation, the mixing and panning of vocals and instruments is simultaneously soothing and perplexing. Near the end of the track walls of noise cover up Tweedy and company as they still play as if they don't even know the drones are present. 

The rest of the tracks on Star Wars follow this formula very closely with some variation from here to there but bring up enough variety to keep the die-hard fans satisfied. After multiple listens it's apparent that Jeff Tweedy and his band aren't going to make a deep emotional impact on the listener as they have done before on Sky Blue Sky or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but it seems that the group is actually just looking to have some fun. The mood is loose and light hearted, but Wilco being such a well-seasoned band don't sound sloppy or amateurish in the slightest. This collection of eleven track seem more focused on musicianship rather than substance, which does not inherently make it a bad album, just not a great way for first time listeners to get into the band. With this taken into consideration, the fact that this album is completely free of charge makes all the more sense. Though Wilco's Star Wars wont be making many year-end lists, it's an immensely enjoyable and satisfying release from one of America's best bands.

Off the heels of their debut EP, northwest trio Strange Wilds has released their debut album Subjective Concepts. Though the group plays noise rock close to their label mates and Metz or Pissed Jeans, their sound is much more youthful and hardcore-driven. On tracks such as "Autothysis" and "Lost" a more drab and gloomy mood is presented that is strangely reminiscent of Nirvana during the Bleach-era but sound just as fresh as acts such as Speedy Ortiz. Though the group can get a little slow at times, they prove that they can be incredibly dynamic in tracks like "Disdain" where they sound closer to 1980's Los Angeles hardcore than Northwest grunge. At the end of the album, Strange Wilds have proved that they are a conglomeration of the Northwest sound and have made it their own .