On their debut album, “Painted People,” NYC-based band The Ritualists showcase an intense, theatrical post-punk sound that seamlessly blends a variety of influences. The music can be dark and abrasive while also full of melodic hooks and soaring choruses. There is a strong glam rock undercurrent, but The Ritualists never come across as trying to emulate a particular style. Strong songwriting and creative arrangments make their influences coalesce into a sound all their own.
Since emerging in the early ’80s, Bananarama has had a string of hugely successful pop hits, including “Venus,” “Cruel Summer” and “I Heard a Rumour.” They’ve continued to tour and release music over the years and recently released “In Stereo,” their first album in a decade. “In Stereo” has a modern edge, but the pure, energetic pop songs are unmistakably Banarama. It’s become their most commercially successful albums in years, hitting the top 40 in England and several other countries.
In recent years, electronic music pioneer Howard Jones has been focusing his energy on live shows rather than new albums. His last release, “Engage” (2015) was part of a larger crowd-funded multi-media project. But having taken a break from touring to focus on new material, Jones is back with “Transform,” his first regular album in almost a decade. “Transform” showcases Jones fully embracing his electronic roots but within a modern context.
The Church recently kicked off the second leg of a US tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of their “Starfish” album. We interviewed frontman Steve Kilby before the first leg, and recently had the chance to speak with guitarist Ian Haug, as well. Haug is the newest member of The Church, having joined in 2013. Previously, he was best known for being part of the long-running and highly successful Australian band Powderfinger.
On “Romantic Cancer,” her latest release as Globelamp, psych-folk influenced singer/songwriter Elizabeth Le Fey has adopted a much more stripped-down sound than her previous releases. Le Fey’s powerful voice can effortlessly bounce between being ethereal and aggressive, and minimalism in the instrumentation lets it truly shine.
Cellist Julia Kent was an original member of Rasputina and worked with a variety of other artists before establishing herself as a solo artist with 2007’s “Delay.” Her instrumental compositions combine looped and layered cello with electronic sounds. On her recently released album “Temporal,” Kent presents “a meditation on the transitory and fragile nature of existence.”
On his new album Come, Deathless, musician/producer Surachai continues to blend styles into a unique dark electronic sound. There is a strong emphasis on sound design and electronic tweaking, but the rhythmic nature and tight composition instantly draw in the listener. Come, Deathless is the seventh full-length album from Surachai and features guests Aaron Harris (drums, ISIS/Palms), Joey Karam (keyboards, The Locust/One Day As A Lion) and singer Sara Kendall. In an email interview, Surachai discussed the making of the album.
“Arrive Without Leaving” is a mesmerizing adventure into sonic experimentation that brings together musical visionaries LARAAJI, Dallas Acid, and Arji OceAnanda. The project began when Dallas Acid sought out LARAAJI to share a bill at New York venue National Sawdust. Their label suggested that they spend some time in the studio together, and the resulting six-hour session provided the raw material for “Arrive Without Leaving.”
Glen Matlock is not clinging to his punk days but has maintained the raw energy and knack for using simplicity as power when it comes to songwriting. His recent crowd-funded solo album, “Good to Go” is full of tightly-crafted and catchy rock songs that at times have a rockabilly edge. Matlock recorded it in London and upstate New York, collaborating with Earl Slick (David Bowie) and Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats).