QOTSA's newest album, Lullabies to Paralyze, necessarily begs comparison to their preceding mainstream darling, Songs for the Deaf. Yet while the subtraction of Grohl, Oliveri, and, for the most part, Lanegan, does account for a shift in the band's sound, this is still the rock of Gibraltar. Passionate, intense and skilled instrumentation, along with Joshua Homme's lush vocals, coupled with guest appearances by Billy Gibbons, Shirley Manson and Brodie Dahl make this album worth its weight in indie-rock gold. This is gorgeous, heavy, diverse and unrelenting rock 'n' roll.
This, Outrageous Cherry's 14th release, is comprised of three-and-a-half-minute bursts of throwback pop-rock tinged with saccharine psych. Pop romanticism is tempered here by cryptic lyrics. The pleasantly derivative trip opens with the horn and riff-infused "Pretty Girls Go Insane." "You're a Reflection of Infinite Chaos" showcases tight drumming and petulant, knowing vocals. The dangerously catchy number "What Have You Invented Today" might induce syncopated movement and post-listening humming. While there's nothing groundbreaking here, it's good music to shimmy to whilst remembering, or pretending to remember, the paisley days of yore.
Shurman's debut album, Jubilee, is barroom rock à la Americana bar none. Los Angeles-based Shurman has gifted us with 11 damn fine original compositions. Blending elements of country, folk, and southern-fried-rock, Jubilee presents fans of alt.country with songs about love, songs about loss, songs about community, and songs about drinkin'. Aaron Beaver's vocal style is simple, drawling, even rudimentary, but conveys emotion preternaturally. Shurman's sound is practiced yet spontaneous, confident yet unpretentious, and terribly energetic. Expect to see much more from these good ol' boys in the future. Sample their wares at www.vanguardrecords.com/shurman/home-m.html