***** – An all-time classic album (highly recommended)
**** – Great album (recommended)
*** – Solid album (consider buying or streaming/downloading top tracks)
** – Weak album (only consider streaming/downloading top tracks)
* – Poor album (not recommended)
ALBUM: Heads Up
RELEASE DATE: 1 August 2016
FAVORITE TRACKS: “New Song”
COMMENTS: I enjoyed the band’s previous album, particularly the track “Disco // very” but there’s nothing that vital or energetic on this album. It’s dream pop, but it’s more sleep inducing with bland musical arrangements and not much emotion in the vocals. It’s getting good reviews, so your tastes may differ, but this one’s a bit too dry for me.
ARTIST: Against Me!
ALBUM: Shape Shift With Me
RELEASE DATE: 16 September 2016
FAVORITE TRACKS: “Boyfriend,” “Rebecca,” “Norse Truth,” and “All This (And More)”
COMMENTS: A great package of melodic punk from the Florida band. The lyrics rely heavily on the personal and intimate experience of singer/guitarist/songwriter Laura Jane Grace. But the personal is political for Grace who has become an icon for the transgender community since coming out as a transgender woman in 2012.
ARTIST: A Tribe Called Red
ALBUM: We Are the Halluci Nation
RELEASE DATE: 16 Septemebr 2016
FAVORITE TRACKS: “R.E.D,” “Sila,” “The Light,” and “Maima Koopi”
COMMENTS: The trio of DJs based in Ottawa combine traditional singing and rythmns with electronic dance sounds in what they call “Electric Pow Wow.” Their third album is unapologetic in its political stance and call to activism for First Nations cause, but also shows an increasing musical confidence and willing to experiment with styles ranging from R&B to pop to rap to the Inuit throat singing of guest artist Tanya Tagaq. This is an album at once good for the dance floor as it is for raising consciousness