By: Andrew McNallyColumnist
Titus Andronicus - Local Business Grade: A-
Titus Andronicus is like the “Breaking Bad” of music. You either don’t know them, or love them deeply. 2010’s “The Monitor” broke us to pieces, but “Local Business” attempts to put us back together. “Local Business” could never equal its perfect predecessor, but Titus was aware of this and created something more accessible but equally ambitious. The lyrics are more personal than ever, and after a few Clash-influenced opening tracks the music is still across the board. The best tracks stretch into Americana and indie territories, far past punk. It’s no “The Monitor,” but Titus has delivered another great album.
IYL: F**ked Up, Japandroids
Kaki King – Glow Grade: B+
immpeccably talented guitarist Kaki King found herself going through a personal crisis after her previous album – 2010’s great “Junior” – strayed away from her folk roots and more towards radio rock. So “Glow” is a collection of acoustic instrumentals, complete with a hired string section. The emotions and cultures that come through her guitar playing are insurmountable, if not occasionally tedious. The better tracks borrow rhythms and instruments from other cultures, like a compilation of world music. Lesser tracks can fall into repetition if not paid proper attention. But overall, “Glow” shines as an homage to her earlier work.
IYL: Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Mom’s Relaxation Tapes
Coheed & Cambria - The Afterman: Ascension Grade: B-
More ambitious than ever, Coheed and Cambria have released the first of a double album, set in their fictional Amory Wars world. Musically, they haven’t come closer to familiar rock territory, actually a relief given the ridiculousness of their past albums. Lyrically though, Claudio Sanchez is still singing falsetto in a fantasy world, and loving every minute of it. The album is shorter and the band sounds better than before (although the album is ultimately forgettable). But when you remember that this story is becoming a coffee table book and an action movie, you’ll realize it’s still just as insane as before.
IYL: Dream Theater, Rush