Alcest's "Écailles De Lune"Alcest's Écailles De Lune (yes they are French) had a scheduled release date of 4/20/10, but now has a release date of 5/04/10 for the physical product and has been available in MP3 format on Amazon (for only $5.34) since 3/26/10. I have no idea what the confusion is about and quite frankly, it isn't really my concern because I bought the album last week and listened to it on my iPod on a flight back from San Francisco this past Sunday and very much enjoyed it. Shoegazer atmospheric rock mixed with black metal (more of the former than the latter).
Cathedral "The Guessing Game"
Cathedral's Forest Of Equilibrium, The Ethereal Mirror, The Carnival Bizarre and Caravan Beyond Redemption are four essential doom/stoner rock albums, if not four essential metal albums overall (especially The Ethereal Mirror and The Carnival Bizarre). The Guessing Game received a "?" review on a scale of 1 to 10 in the latest issue of Decibel Magazine. That is either a really good thing or a really bad thing (hard to tell from the accompanying review), but it certainly has my interest piqued.
Les Discrets "Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées"
France's Les Discret's Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées is being released by the same label as the above mentioned Alcest's album and is having the same release date confusion, but is also readily available in MP3 format on Amazon. The singer/guitarist/bassist of Les Discret is also in Amesoeurs with the guitarist/vocalist of Alcest and Amesoeurs' self-titled debut was one of the BEST records I missed of 2009...an incredible mix of black metal and synth-y new wave influenced post rock, so I figure this has a pretty good shot of being another interesting album from what appears to be a growing and vibrant metal scene in France.
Open Hand "Honey"
I forget how I even noticed that Open Hand's Honey was coming out since I had long since forgotten about this band, but I was happy to see that they are still active (or have reactivated...whatever the case may be).
I never loved any of Ratt's full length albums (except maybe their debut Out Of The Cellar) and was always more of a fan of their "greatest hits". And let's face it, Ratt wrote a couple fantastic hair metal anthems, but was never really on the same level as Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison, etc., so I was quite surprised when I first heard Infestation a few weeks ago and was impressed with it from beginning to end. This is arguably their most consistent and solid album in their entire catalog even if it is lacking a song of the caliber of "Round And Round". It is early in the year, but this album feels like a guarantee for my year end Top 25. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it truly is a great record.
Sweet Apple "Love & Desperation"
Sweet Apple is a side project of J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. (and Witch) fame along with members of Cobra Verde and Witch (besides J. Mascis). I'll admit to being totally unfamiliar with Cobra Verde, but I am a huge Dinosaur Jr. fan and am always curious about anything J. Mascis is involved with. A friend hooked me up with their debut album Love & Desperation a few weeks ago and I dug it on first listen. It isn't breaking any new ground and it won't change your life, but if you are a fan of rock n roll ala the style Dinosaur Jr. and their peers have been playing for years now, then this will be right up your alley.
Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders "Red Light Fever"
Taylor Hawkins is the drummer for one of my favorite bands the Foo Fighters. I never heard his first outing with the Coattail Riders, but always meant to check it out. I like the song he sings and plays guitar on in the Foo Fighters, "Cold Day In The Sun", so figure it is about time to get around to hearing his solo efforts. Red Light Fever is available to stream in its entirety here.