PUP – THE DREAM IS OVER
Genre: Pop Punk
Favorite Tracks: “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will,” “DVP,” “Sleep in the Heat”
Every time I start to think I’ve outgrown punk rock, some record like THE DREAM IS OVER will come along and punch me right in the angsty teenager feels. It’d be possible to construe this as just another Warped Tour-core album, but in truth Pup makes the kind of music bands like Man Overboard and The Story So Far wish they could make. THE DREAM IS OVER manages to be earnest without ever sounding like it’s taking itself too seriously, keeping Pup from crossing that line into whiny white guy pop-punk that gets so tiresome. In all honesty, nothing is tiresome about THE DREAM IS OVER; this is just 10 tracks of sing-your-heart-out fun choruses and beer-buzz mosh music. Plus, if that isn’t a perfect album cover, I don’t know what is. This is a fantastic album to kick off your summer, and you can hear it here.
Zeal & Ardor – DEVIL IS FINE
Genre: Black Metal, Spirituals
Favorite Tracks: “Devil is Fine,” “In Ashes,” “Sacrilegium I,” “Blood in the River”
Is it problematic to combine black metal, a genre inextricably tied to its white supremacist roots, with traditional blues and black spirituals? Is it awful that this combination is infectiously catchy and leaves the listener just wanting to dance? Manuel Gagneux certainly succeeded in creating a provocative and challenging record with DEVIL IS FINE, perfectly and perversely intertwining the sacred and the profane until it’s impossible to tell the two apart. At the end of the day, it’s Gagneux’s deft ability to faithfully render both Lead Belly-inspired blues alongside Mayhem-inspired black metal which makes this record so undeniably impressive. Add in regular interstitials of electronic music with the “Sacrilegium” series and you’ve got a record that refuses to meet easy genre expectations. You can be confused and challenged by DEVIL IS FINE here.