Cave, Foals top CD reviews

Nick Cave, left, and the Foals, right. (WENN.COM file photos)

Nick Cave, left, and the Foals, right. (WENN.COM file photos)

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

HEAR IT

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Push the Sky Away


Nick’s in a mood. After the Biblical power and noisy sleaze of Grinderman and Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, the singer-songwriter turns inward for album 15 with his Bad Seeds. Lowering the volume but not the intensity, Cave growls and moans his sinister poems and twisted narratives over a rich yet restrained backdrop of gospel, blues and indie-balladry. Brilliant. As always.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

Foals
Holy Fire


Go big or go home. These Englishmen rise to the challenge for their third album, ambitiously inflating their mathy indie-rock into stadium-sized monuments that meld wiry dance-punk energy, twitchy Afro-beat grooves and soaring rock grandeur. Imagine Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads jamming with Muse and TV on the Radio and you’re at the right festival.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

SKIP IT

Ex Cops
True Hallucinations


More hallucination than truth. This co-ed New York duo’s debut resides happily in a psychedelic pop dreamscape of gently breezy tempos, sugary melodies and vocal harmonies, chiming guitar arpeggios and cavernous reverb. It’s all reasonably pleasant but hardly groundbreaking.

RATING: 2.5 (out of 5)

Mike Oldfield
Tubular Beats


Exorcist meets electronicist? Sounds great in theory — especially since composer Oldfield joined remixer York (Torsten Stenzel). The reality says different, sadly. Too many cuts meander aimlessly and endlessly, sacrificing the original’s ominous melody and ambience on the altar of generic house music. Where’s Father Karras when you need him?

RATING: 2 (out of 5)

ALBUMS

Tim McGraw
Two Lanes of Freedom


Last time he was battling emotional traffic and his label. But now, honky-tonk hunk McGraw has a new deal and a renewed joy — manifest in redneck-rock barnburners, playful pop singles and lovey-dovey ballads. As likeable and lightweight as the man himself. 

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Puscifer
Donkey Punch the Night


Maynard James Keenan plays by his own rules. And on the third EP from the Tool / APC frontman’s third band, that means playing two new post-industrial creepers — plus a spot-on Bohemian Rhapsody and a woozy Balls to the Wall, because hey, why not?

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Bullet for My Valentine
Temper Temper


Making cliches sound new isn’t easy. But the Welsh quartet almost pull it off on their fourth disc, arc-welding modern metal’s shuddering riffs and whisper-to-shriek vocals with old-school riffs and duelling solos to forge an intriguingly inspired headbanger hybrid.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Flux Pavilion
Blow the Roof


Tick-tock — it’s only a matter of time until dubstep falls off the EDM playlist. So you might want to score DJ Josh Steele’s third EP while the iron is hot. The fact that his tracks boast melodies and choruses to go with the wubba-wubba and laser blasts kinda helps.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Darkstar
News From Nowhere


This just in: These three Londoners take a left turn on their second album, leavening glitchy dubstep and moody electronica with dreamy confections that warmly glow and gently flow on buoyant ripples of delicate psych-pop. A name change may be in order.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Pure Love
Anthems


Frank Carter has survived the Gallows. Proclaiming he’s “sick of singing about hate,” the raw-throated rebel has abandoned bloodthirsty hardcore for positivity and classic riff-rock. It doesn’t kick in your teeth like his old crew, but hey, we all grow up sometime.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Esben & The Witch
Wash the Sins Not Only the Face


You can’t have salvation without sin. Fittingly, the female-fronted British goth-pop trio balance the two on their sophomore disc — while their writing and playing have become more lively and dynamic, their spectral songs still drift by without leaving a mark.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Thomas D’Arcy
What We Want


What he wants. On his first official solo disc, Toronto vet D’Arcy — an alum of Carnations, All Systems Go! and Small Sins — is truly his own man, painstakingly crafting a moody indie-pop world flecked with glam, new wave, reggae and more. All you need.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Jamie Lidell
Jamie Lidell


Some people want to be king. Lidell wants to be Prince. Or at least P-Funk. The British singer-songwriter parties like it’s 1989 on his fifth album, anchoring his soulful falsetto with rubber-band basses, thwacking beatboxes and electro-funk synths. Get down.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

MORE ALBUMS

Bobby Long
Wishbone


The new British invasion continues. Another product of London’s folk scene, singer-guitarist Long is a young man with an old soul and weathered pipes. Both serve him well on his compelling sophomore set of raw-boned roots-rock and earthy southern soul.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

Frightened Rabbit
Pedestrian Verse


Misery loves company. Or at least accompaniment. Misanthropic Scottish singer-guitarist Scott Hutchinson lightens up his fourth disc with life-affirming lyrics — and inventively idiosyncratic indie-rock anthems penned with his band for once. Feel the love.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

The Virginmarys
King of Conflict


Rock is dead, they say. Long live rock, reply this hard-hitting U.K. power trio. And they’re as good as their word on this explosive debut, noisily fusing ’60s blues-based bombast and ’90s grunge intensity with today’s feisty indie mayhem. Worship at their altar.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

The View
Cheeky for a Reason


Cheeky, yes. Prompt, no. The scrappy Scottish lads’ fourth full-length came out in the U.K. last summer — but for those who haven’t savoured their clanging, melodic and exuberantly shaggy brand of Arctic Monkeys-style rock, there’s no reason to delay.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

COLUMN

Fleetwood Mac
Rumours: Super Deluxe Edition


Yesterday’s gone, Fleetwood Mac promised in 1977. They’ve been eating those words ever since. More than 35 years after releasing their magnum opus, the California rockers still can’t escape Rumours. Nor can we. The album has sold 45 million copies over the decades, and was already expanded for reissue back in 2004. But since the Mac are hitting the road again — and without a new album — it’s back again. And kitted out with even more goodies in a $100 Super Deluxe Edition housed in a slipcover box. Along with CD and gatefold-vinyl versions of the album — a frankly revealing document of the bandmembers’ soap-operatic romantic trials and tribulations — the box includes:
n Two CDs of intriguing demos and outtakes, including a stripped-down Dreams, early versions of Planets of the Universe and plenty more (one of the discs was included in that 2004 reissue); n Another CD of energized live recordings from their 1977 tour, which will remind (or inform) you how hard the Mac used to rock at times; n A DVD featuring a 30-minute 1978 documentary with six live performances, including a compellingly fiery Rhiannon; n A 20-page booklet with the usual assortment of liner notes, track-by-track reminiscences, photos, and whatnot.
Sure, it’s mostly second-hand news. But there’s no denying it’s the definitive version of a ’70s classic — until the 40th anniversary edition in 2017, anyway. After all, if the Mac have taught us anything, it’s never to stop thinking about tomorrow.

RATING: 4.5 (out of 5)

SINGLES

Fall Out Boy
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)

After a four-year hiatus, the Chicago indie-rockers recently revealed they’ve reconvened to release the album Save Rock and Roll. The first salvo in the campaign? This typically anthemic cut, which may or may not be a rewrite of an old leftover from 2005.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)
 
Fitz & the Tantrums
Out of My League


What do you get when you cross the ’60s and the ’80s? Nope, not the ’70s. You get this tune from Fitz and co., which gussies up their retro-soul with the neon lasers and handclaps of new wave. It’s from their disc More Than Just a Dream, due May 7.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Boys Noize
What You Want


“This is what you want, this is what you get,” chants a robotic voice on the German DJ’s latest cut. Sadly, it’s not a PiL homage. It’s a catchy electro ditty fuelled by buzzy keys and a funky four-on-the-floor groove. See his Out of the Black disc for more.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

DVDs

Queen
Hungarian Rhapsody

It was the original bloc party: The first stadium show by a Western band in Budapest. And with this umpteenth reissue, Queen’s groundbreaking and typically grandiose 1986 gig gets an overdue upgrade, including Blu-Ray video, 5.1 audio and a half-hour doc. Worthy.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

The Replacements
Color Me Obsessed


The world needs a definitive Replacements doc. Too bad this isn’t it. Despite two hours of entertainingly revealing anecdotes from friends and fans of the self-sabotaging punk misfits, the lack of actual ’Mats — and their music — leaves you unsatisfied. Sorry, ma.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

IN THE PIPELINE

FEB. 26

Ashanti
BraveHeart

Atoms for Peace
AMOK

Michael Bolton
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.

Ed Harcourt
Back Into the Woods

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Old Yellow Moon

Justin Hayward   
Spirits of the Western Sky

Jeff Healey Band
House on Fire: Demos & Rarities

Johnny Marr
The Messenger

The Mavericks
In Time

Sally Shapiro
Somewhere Else

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