New Albums to Check Out This Year (part 3)

New Albums to Check Out This Year (part 3)

In the previous issue, you’ve seen short reviews of the new albums that the Pop singer Rihanna, the New Wave band James, and the Progressive Rock band Dream Theater released this year. Those were just three of the slew of new music that listeners can grab at the music stores or on the Internet.

There’s more!

When you hear some people claim that there’s no more good music being made in this time and age, don’t believe them. Don’t be swayed by the opinions of often hateful individuals whose perspective is usually narrow and borne out of their failure to investigate the various aspects of cultures around them. They may have the assertiveness in expressing their claims, but they obviously lack the initiative really to research and validate their assumptions.

The fact is, there’s great music to be enjoyed in whatever genre of music you prefer in any given time. And here’s yet another batch of newly released albums worth checking out. There’s really something for everyone, whatever kind of music one prefers.

B-Movie – Climate of Fear
Fans of New Wave music will most likely know the English band B-Movie for the songs “Nowhere Girl,” “Switch On, Switch Off,” and “A Letter from Afar,” which enjoyed regular radio airplay during the heyday of the genre, in the 1980s. Sadly, B-Movie got to release only one full-length album, 1985’s Forever Running, and then they broke up. Because of this, B-Movie did not reach the same level of popularity achieved by batchmates like Tears for Fears, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Duran Duran, but the band certainly achieved a cult status worthy of recognition. Fortunately for fans, however, B-Movie has since reunited in 2004, resulting tThe Age of Illusion and this year’s Climate of Fear. Those who missed the sound of the band will not be disappointed; the songs from B-Movie’s latest offering carry the trademark style of the band–simple structures, driving basslines, icy keyboard melodies, flanger-drenched guitars, baritone vocals, and gloomy lyrics. Recommended songs from the new album include “Another False Start,” “Forgotten Souls,” and “Feeling Gothic.”

Kula Shaker – K 2.0
Having formed in 1995, the English band Kula Shaker may be regarded as a latecomer to the genre Britpop, which began as early as the late ’80s and peaked commercially in the mid-’90s. However, through time and with its outputs, Kula Shaker had long proven itself to be among the bands associated with Britpop that have developed a very unique and distinct style and musicality. The band broke up in 1999, after releasing two albums: 1996’s K (“Govinda,” “Tattva”) and 1999’s Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts (“Great Hosannah,” “Golden Avatar”). And then, in 2006, an official announcement confirmed the band’s reunion, resulting in three more albums, the latest of which is K 2.0. Kula Shaker’s musical style draws from the Raga-inspired Psychedelic Rock of the ’60s combined with the gloss and sheen of New Wave and Britpop and the angular ruggedness of ’90s Alternative Rock. And true to its trademark, Kula Shaker delivers the same sensibilities in their newly released album. Recommended songs include “Infinite Sun,” “Holy Flame,” “Hari Bol (The Sweetest Sweet),” and “Mountain Lifter.”

Yanni – Sensuous Chill
The U.S.-based Greek composer known as Yanni shot to commercial popularity in the late ’80s when some of his compositions started to feature on T.V. show soundtracks, particularly the piece “Santorini,” from his second album, released in 1986. He may not be in the radar of mainstream media, but fans of instrumental and New Age music are surely aware of Yanni’s prolificness. From 1984 to this day, he has released 18 studio albums, the latest of which is Sensuous Chill, unleashed on January 26, 2016. The sound of the pieces in this album is a mélange of Tropical, Ambient, Electronica, and New Age, akin to the style of the group Enigma (“Return to Innocence”). And despite the synthesized drum loops and big bass lines, the acoustic guitar melodies are still ever-present, making the entire album still well-rooted in Classical. Recommended tracks from Yanni’s new album include “Thirst for Life,” “Desert Soul,” “Whispers in the Dark,” and “Retreat to Dream.”

Final Note
So, there goes another trio of good new albums. Next time, we will check out another set, which will include Pet Shop Boys’ Super, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, and Gwen Stefani’s This Is What the Truth Feels Like.