The Nutwork’s Album Picks – June 2014

Posted: May 31, 2014 in Music


4 Ahhh, summertime.  The sunny days, the mild, cricket-filled nights, the constant smell of barbecues and campfires.  No one likes the year’s best season more than me. Kicking on the flip-flops and kicking back a few cold ones in June is as traditional as decorating a fake tree in December for a mythical elf and a mythical holy man.

As a music writer, one of my favorite things about summer is the avalanche of new music. The summer festivals are in full swing, offering up chance after chance to see great acts (and usually tons of them together). Most of these acts time album releases around this time as well, ensuring the fans a new song or two to keep interest peaked, and revenue pouring in.

Here are a few early summer releases to wrap your ears around, with plenty more to come…


Powerman 5000 – Builders of the Future (May 27th)

Throughout the years (and throughout constant lineup changes) Rob Zombie’s little brother Spider 1 has continued to experiment with all kinds of different approaches to his music. It appears the web is finally complete with the release of Builders of the Future. The band combines elements from hard rock, club-based electro, and punk into ten songs of guilty pleasure. From the raucous opener “Invade, Destroy, Repeat” to the slowed down “I Want to Kill You”, Spider 1 has finally found the perfect elixer of sound. There isn’t a track to miss on this album as every guitar riff, synth blast, and drum fill will either have you banging your head, shaking your ass, or pounding your fist – and what’s more fun than any of that? 7/10


body count

Body Count – Manslaughter (June 10)

Way back in 1991, legendary West Coast rapper/gangster Ice-T  surprised crowds at Lollapalooza by finishing his hip-hop sets with a few down and dirty heavy metal songs with his band he dubbed “Body Count”. Fans and critics alike loved it, as well as the album the group released the following year. Recent history involving Ice-T, though,  has had more to do with television shows and the size of his wife’s breasts – so what better time than now to get back to being the bad-ass of yesteryear than by “getting the band back together”? Manslaughter is a kick-in-the-face reminder that Ice-T will always be one hard son-of-a-bitch, whether he’s doing rap or hardcore metal. Need an updated version of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” or a hood-smart version of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”? – Body Count has you covered. Throw in a bucket full of messages from the street, a f*ck-all attitude and an in-your-face musical approach, and you’ll soon realize that Ice-T is still one of the greatest and most-feared musical forces of our time. 8/10



Echo and the Bunnymen – Meteorites (June 3)

Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant. They may not quite have the iconic status of other songwriting partnerships like Lennon & McCartney and Jagger & Richards, but since 1980 they’ve created a pretty sparkling legacy. If you wasted the 80’s listening to Madonna or Bon Jovi, Echo and the Bunnymen may have completely passed you by – but don’t feel bad. The band has endured as much dysfunction and tragedy as it has success, leading to a quite ride into obscurity the last decade or so. With McCullogh and Sargeant the last core members remaining, I wondered if there was even a need for a new Echo and the Bunnymen album when I heard rumors of it a few months back. Fortunately, the answer appears to be yes.

The duo have obviously not forgotten how to write great songs, as Meteorites takes the listener on a voyage of unusually personal lyrics and grand musical styles, ranging from the dark and haunting to the upbeat and poppy side of things. “Holy Moses”, “Explosions” and“Lovers On The Run” are in the classic Bunnymen mould with big choruses and Sergeant’s shimmering guitar riffs to the fore, while “Grapes On The Vine” and “New Horizons” showcase soft melodies and an almost epic approach. All in all, Meteorites is a decent, if hardly vital, album from one of Britain’s true national treasures. While we might not have exactly “needed” a new Echo & The Bunnymen album. it’s nice to have one anyway. 8/10

Casualties of Cool – Casualties of Cool (May 13)
I would be a fool not to mention this album, even though it came out weeks ago. Casualties of Cool is a alternative/country/rock/jazz album put together by Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval. I’ve oozed my love for the great Devin Townsend all over these pages in the past, and this time is no different. Where Casualties of Cool is different is that the vocals are mostly handled by Dorval, leaving Townsend to concentrate on the beautiful arrangements and smoothed-out style throughout. In describing the album, Devin stated “It sounds like haunted Johnny Cash songs. Late night music, completely isolated sounding and different than anything I’ve done. Che sings most of the leads, and it’s probably the truest reflection of who I am in life at this point.”
Standout tracks include the bluegrass-fueled “Mountaintop”, the upbeat “Ether”, and the new-age “The Bridge”, but the album – being a conceptual piece – is best listened to in its entirety. Ive always asked you to trust me when it comes to the vision and perfection of anything Devin Townsend gets his hands on, and Casualties of Cool is no exception. 9/10
Check back soon for in-depth reviews of: Killwhitneydead – Suffer My Wrath  //  Night Ranger – High Road  //  The Phenomenauts – Escape Velocity  //  Killer Be Killed – S/T  //  Peter Murphy – Lion  //  Jack White – Lazaretto  //  Mastodon – Once More Round The Sun



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