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Adjust the Bass N Let the Alpine Blast // End of Summer New Releases

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Leon casino, Connections

Connections
Into Sixes
(Anyway)

Rock music is great for Saturday nights. Top down, riding fast, knocking back a brew or two and enjoying (or lamenting) a moment, or at least that is part of the romance in that thinking. It is an anthem for life and living, the ups and the downs, the clouds and the stars. Connections’ music fits into this frame, with that sort Replacements/Guided By Voices/Dinosaur Jr. thing of anthemic rock, subtly brilliant musings of love and loss and moving on or going back. The album opener “Ayliah” is everything that an album opener should be: driving and triumphant, great guitar lead, big chorus. It is a method employed on other songs (“Beat The Sky,” “Extremely Boss”). Then, there are the slow burners like “Calm Down,” which purports the need to drink in the car and get high by yourself and “chill out.” “Angie” is a ballad, a slow jam, the one about that girl, the dangerous times and the good times, and the awesome guitar solo, again. This is rock at its best and simplest, not simple, but its most basic: guitar, drums, backbeat, and something you can chant while doing that repetitive activity you do as you daydream or plan the next the activity to one day daydream about.

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Spoon
They Want My Soul
(Loma Vista)

It is possible that Spoon is a soul band-like Sam and Dave-it is possible. Since maybe around the time of “Girls Can Tell,” little shades of soul have sprinkled and spread throughout the band’s sound. So it is inevitable that they might one day make a full soul album, not saying that is what this album is, but shades of Stax soul, Prince, Motown soul all over this thing. However, it is not blatant, but more in spirit. “Do You” is brilliant, everything, the handclaps, the chorus, the background vocals: it is a song to chase a lover to, to play on that first date as an implication of intent. “Rent I Pay” is that foot-stomping, pop-rock anthem, with that kind of Otis Redding spice, but also sort ELO. I don’t know. Spoon is always been good to me, they have a catalogue. Spoon is unique in sound and aesthetic-the proverbial “Spoon” song-signature in a day when everyone sounds like everything but themselves. Cop this shit yo!

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Jhene Aiko
Souled Out
(Def Jam)

I would say that Jhene Aiko has done it right. For this to be a debut album (sort of), for this to be her major release, she hasn’t made it a big deal, letting songs and EPs (the wonderful “Sailing Souls” EP) and guest appearances with everyone (Drake, Kendrick Lamar. Ab Soul, Vince Staples) flow sporadically. She is allowing you to get to know her, build a relationship. So the album, “Souled Out,” while being a play on words and perhaps anticipatory of the tired critique of success, is the consummation of this relationship. Aiko’s music is of a vulnerable place. It is not afraid of pain, but unlike a lot of songs, there is the examination of both sides- you AND I. It is not huge in sound, it is that mellow roll music. She gets stoned, and the music has that vibe. Ultimately, because she is a songwriter, these are her words, her emotions, and the songs mirror what seems to be her truth. Those who are hyped (myself) have bought into her campaign, have listened to her stories and championed her success-this album will  illuminate that for the world, but regardless, she has her fans, who love her hippie/west side homegirl chic. They love her voice as a conversation, more than a yell. They love her trunk music ideal. Aiko has built the relationship, before shelling out the product. This album is more communication than commerce, buying more into her soul, than what is being sold.

 

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