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Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
Music Reviews

Roger Waters, Vince Staples and More... Beachcomber’s Record Roundup

Musicians! Send your CDs, vinyl and/or cassettes to Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 32540-5707. Email MP3s and streaming links to chris@beachcomberdestin.com.


Dim Existence

Dim Existence

Independent

Dim Existence is the one-man rock project of Jason Adams, who hails from Valparaiso. With crunchy guitars and melodic vocals, Dim Existence’s future looks quite bright. The five-song debut EP’s highlights include the mid-tempo “What to Say”—the chorus is catchy, with layered vocal tracks reminiscent of early Alice in Chains. Here’s hoping Dim Existence will bloom into a band that will be playing at a Beachcomberland venue in the near future.

- Nikki Hedrick


Hudson

Hudson

Motema

Hudson is a newly formed supergroup made up of John Scofield (guitar, flute), John Medeski (piano, organ, flute, vocals), Larry Grenadier (bass, vocals), and Jack DeJohnette (percussion, flute, vocals). The 11 tracks range from country rock (“Up on Cripple Creek”) to several Dylan covers, and some New Age-y stuff like “Great Spirit Peace Chant,” complete with (sort of) Native American chants. The content is part playful, part earnest, always swinging, affording all these venerable gentlemen a chance to shine and have fun being geniuses. For my money, Scofield’s the standout, particularly on “Cripple Creek” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”

- Bruce Collier


Jamie Lou and the Hullabaloos

Femi-Socialite

Independent

Jamie Lou isn’t a stranger to Beachcomberland, having been a member of Wild Fruit and other projects in the region. She found her Hullabaloos in Arkansas, and their debut album is the closest thing to a modern, organic Fleetwood Mac take on folky soul I’ve heard in a long while. With Jamie’s sultry voice leading the way, warm harmonies and a certain delicate feel to the instrumentation, this six-song EP will make a fan out of you.

- Nikki Hedrick


Panzacola

The New Holy Grail

Independent

Taking its name from Pensacola’s original spelling, this alternative rock band is out to explore new sonic territories. From progressive complicated rhythms to smooth southern soul, Panzacola works to craft contradictory styles into something uniquely them. Favorites include the guitar driven “Heaven Help Me,” with its stop-start rhythm and evocative chorus, and “Call Us Criminals” for its dream-like reggae guitar tones and unfolding crescendo.

- Nikki Hedrick


Palm

Shadow Expert

Carpark

Palm is a Philadelphia-based art rock band with one of the most delightfully entrancing albums of the summer. Their latest EP balances their deconstructed pop and cluttered instrumentals with a joyful spirit and organic synergy between the four-piece. Their writing style is similarly distinctive, with album opener “Walkie Talkie” a product of the band piecing together cutout words from magazines. Palm is making the kind of individual experimental music many bands strive for, but they are exceeding expectations, creating a world so fully their own that it feels natural and exciting to get lost inside of it.

- Jane Morgan


Royal Blood

How Did We Get So Dark?

Warner Brothers

In various interviews, Royal Blood have said their intention when making their newest album was to get back to their original performance style of music, while also emphasizing they’d like to progress. And yet the sound they deliver is one that’s familiar and easily recognizable, a good thing if you happen to be a fan. If you’re not, it’s easy to listen to, though this album is earth-shatteringly profound. Current single “Lights Out” is worthy of the heavy airplay it’s getting, but there are more just as worthy—the catchy “I Only Lie When I Love You,” “Where Are You Now” and “Hook, Line & Sinker.”

- Joni Williams


Vince Staples

Big Fish Theory

Def Jam

Staples, the 24-year-old rapper hailing from Long Beach, California, is one of the most consistently exciting and candid voices in music. His songs have always walked a line of being refreshingly direct and slick, but on his latest album, Staples is pushing himself beyond the personal and considering what it means to be a rapper in our society at large. Sonically, this is his most infectious album yet, with production by some of the biggest names in dance music, including Flume and SOPHIE. Big Fish Theory packs in timely, high-level critiques of class and celebrity in a way that makes everyone want to listen.

- Jane Morgan


Roger Waters

Is This the Life We Really Want?

Columbia

Knowing he hasn’t made an album in over two decades, I approached Waters’ new LP with the respect deserving of a rock legend and with the expectation that he’s probably gotten older. What I discovered by the second track, “Deja Vu,” is that I was listening to the closest thing to a Pink Floyd album akin to their late ‘70s-early ‘80s work. “Deja Vu” proposes a bold claim that Waters would have done a better job if he had been God. He screams and glass shatters on this track, and it’s such a genuine Roger Waters moment. This is a concept album that relates the same dystopian ideas and warnings Pink Floyd shared 40 years ago. Waters employs the dark angst and rebellious attitude his songwriting has always been defined by, and attaches it to the current events in the United States— it’s appropriately terrifying. Waters’ lyrics and phrasing are nothing short of ballsy on songs like “Picture That” and “Smell the Roses.” And “Birds in a Gale” sounds every bit like a lost track from The Wall. The whole album is exceptional, even decent by Pink Floyd standards.

- Chris Leavenworth


The Passion of Charlie Parker

Impulse!

Nine musicians and actors clubbed together to perform The Passion of Charlie Parker. The impressive roster includes (among others) Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Luciana Souza, Kurt Elling and Jeffrey Wright. Though the title might suggest it’s a tribute album of Parker’s greatest hits (there are dozens of Parker cover albums, some actually by sax players), it’s more of a cantata or operetta, the kind of thing Leonard Bernstein loved to compose. The worshipful implications of the title are well-founded. It’s part biography, part hagiography, part bebop tone poem. In other words, like Parker himself. Diehard fans will relish the drama.

- Bruce Collier