I’ve been to listening to New Order for 30 years now, and I can say with complete confidence that this is the first New Order single in their storied history that brings nothing, absolutely nothing to the table. The band is on complete autopilot, playing a second-rate mid tempo jam that you’d expect from a lower-rung Arts & Crafts band. Sure, it’s brisk, and Gillian’s synths sound pretty, but they’ve gone to an overused well and have finally yielded nothing. The bass melody is an insult to Peter Hook, and as for Barney, he’s not restless at all. He sounds bored to tears. As am I. For its level of sheer disappointment, this is easily one of the worst singles I’ve heard all year.—ADRIEN BEGRAND [1/10]
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Berlin trio Kadavar started off innocuously enough, first attracting attention from the stoner/retro-heavy rock crowd, but in 2013 their second album Abra Kadavar, followed by a series of revelatory performances in North America and Europe, established them as a true force to be reckoned with in hard rock and heavy metal. Their follow-up, the aptly-titled Berlin, places more emphasis on the rock ‘n’ roll side of their sound (as opposed to stoner metal) than ever before, echoing the filthy, gritty sounds of Detroit’s Stooges and MC5.
I’m not necessarily entirely huge on the electronic funk that Silicon seems to be bringing to the table, but I can definitely appreciate it for what it is from a technical standpoint. He’s being remarkably clean-cut with their mastering for a debut release, and that’s something that I think will carry them far within their respective lane. A bit too calculated to be quite sensual to me, which seems to be what the song is trying to evoke, though I know there’ll be plenty who’ll dig it all the same.—JONATHAN FRAHM [6/10]
No longer one half of country duo Steel Magnolia, and coming off a run on The Voice that saw here place second, Meghan Linsey has undergone a transformation from mainstream country chanteuse to pop/soul belter. And judging by what you hear on her new EP Believer below, the new sound suits the Louisiana-raised, Nashville-based singer to a tee. Produced by Ashley Monroe collaborator Tyler Cain, Believer retains enough country influence to attract listeners from that side, but make no mistake, this is one assertive, sassy little pop record with strong crossover appeal, highlighted by the Southern-tinged rocker “Counterfeit” and thunderous ballad “Best of Me”.
Just in time for the dog days of summer, musician W. Heyward Sims, AKA Devereaux, has released a video for his current single “Bikini”, from the 2014 album Pineapple Flex. A sun-splashed chillwave-meets-Kraftwerk piece that evokes the dreamy, hot laziness of late July, the video itself is simple yet effective, nothing more than slow-motion footage of seagulls swooping on a beach. Normally in real life that’d be annoying as hell, but on video the movement of the birds comes across as languid and graceful, just like the hooky little track itself.