What We Heard: December 2017
In What We Heard we highlight a few choice quotes from our writers regarding albums that stood out from this month, and provide you with a playlist of this month’s best songs (featured in the “Favorite Tracks” section of each review).
Deftone’s 2016 GORE will find a worthy, albeit flawed, contender in MATERIAL CONTROL, the post-hardcore veterans’ first full-length album in 15 years. MATERIAL CONTROL is not Glassjaw’s finest, nor particularly their most toothsome (have they ever been?), but maybe it’s for the best. It helps to illustrate the current state of things with all of its bloodshed, chaos, and inexorable grind with little sign of hope . . . Two years ago, with the release of the album’s first single, “new white extremity,” Palumbo only gave this in lead-up: “This is a song about walking out your front door.” On these optics, perhaps this is less of a comeback album and more of a second mic-drop, so let’s be thankful — Nick Funess on Glassjaw’s “second mic drop” MATERIAL CONTROL
Stapleton, who looks like a Kentucky-born Yeti, is almost singlehandedly changing the game in country, with a sound that feels both old and new, with prominent rock and soul influences, an emotional rawness that hasn’t existed in country for decades, and one hell of a singing voice. He sings and writes with his wife Morgane, an equally talented artist and writer, and their combination immediately sent team Stapleton to the top of the country music world. Stapleton’s genre-blending sound is as good as any mainstream country artist has gotten at appealing to non-country fans, and VOL. 2 offers up a good mix of traditional country songs, folk balladeering, and southern rock-influenced tunes that sometimes make you forget exactly what you’re listening to — Adam Cash tackling Nashville journeyman Chris Stapleton’s FROM A ROOM: VOLUME 2