What’s going on in music this week? A Perfect Circle announces a new album, Creeper drops a stunning debut LP, and Depeche Mode finally releases Spirit. All this and more on this week’s On the Radar.
Depeche Mode drops their new album Spirit
When Depeche Mode revealed plans for a new album last year, it quickly became one of my anticipated releases for 2017. Then I heard lead single “Where’s the Revolution?” While the song didn’t really do much for me, I liked it all right and still couldn’t wait to get my hands on the album. It dropped a few weeks ago and what do I think? It’s solid but doesn’t hit that sweet Mode spot. Many criticize the band for going the political route, something they’ve done rarely throughout their career. While politically charged songs like “The Worse Crime” and “Going Backwards” are well meaning in their messages, it does get a little tiring.
I commend the band for getting out of their comfort zone and exploring territory beyond lust, desire, and love. But half of the album is full of reminders why the world sucks right now. Maybe it wouldn’t be such an issue if they presented it in a different way. Instead, the messages are beaten over your head with slow, bleak songs, which isn’t appealing for repeated listens. There’s nothing wrong with commenting on what’s happening right now; it’s just the way they do it isn’t all that interesting.
There is a handful of upbeat, groove based songs longtime Mode fans will love, like “You Move” and “So Much Love to Give.” The songs are not only fun, but they help break up the bleak tone of the album. None of the songs are outright terrible; they can just be a bit of a drag at times. Still, the songs are enjoyable within the scope of the record. Outside of it? Probably not.
Spirit is out now. To check out where Depeche Mode are heading on their 2017 tour, check out dates here.
Welcome to the Creeper Cult
UK horror punk band Creeper turned a lot of heads when they dropped their EPs Creeper, The Stranger, and The Callous Heart. With their energetic and friendly gothic sound, they were quickly hailed as one of the UK’s best new bands. Now, their debut album, Eternity In Your Arms, has finally dropped and, man, did the critics get this one right. Creeper is a mix of AFI, early era My Chemical Romance, Misfits, and Meatloaf wrapped up in a strange, black clad package. Songs like “Suzanne” and “Black Rain” highlight the Gothic nature of their songs, often dealing with death and love, but also show off their undeniable camp. Singer Will Gould switches from sounding sinister to pulling off his best Meatloaf impression. And I mean that in the best way possible.
What’s impressive is their musical range. It would be easy for them to stick with tracks like “Poison Pen” and “Room 309” which are high-speed punk rock anthems. But they also have a softer, sentimental side which somehow isn’t cheesy. “I Choose to Live” is a bonafide stadium anthem about making it through all the hard stuff and coming out stronger in the end. Co-vocalist Hannah Greenwood shows off her impressive chops on “Crickets” where she mourns the loss of a lover, but vows to move on at the same time. But don’t worry, it doesn’t take long for the band to get back to their fun, raucous affairs.
Creeper may have dropped the best rock debut of the year. Their songs are irresistible, fun, and infectious. One listen to “Hiding with Boys” and you’ll be humming it all week. Check out Eternity In Your Arms if you haven’t already. And make sure to check out Creeper on the Warped Tour, which stops by Chicago on July 22.
A Perfect Circle announces their first album in 13 years
It’s official! New music from A Perfect Circle is coming later this year. Though there were previous talks of the band working on new music, nothing was officially announced. This changed last week when the band signed a new deal with BMG for the fourth album. “We just signed a new record deal with BMG! Looking forward to sharing new music with you soon. New APC-2017!” says guitarist and founder Billy Howerdel.
There’s still no word on title or release date, but the new album is slated to come out later this year. This will be the first album since 2004’s eMOTIVE.
A Perfect Circle is also heading out on tour, their first since 2011. Shows kick off April 6 in Las Vegas and wraps up May 7 in Los Angeles. Sadly, the band has no dates scheduled in the Chicagoland area. During this trek, they’ll make appearances at the Welcome to Rockville, Fort Rock, and Carolina Rebellion festivals. The band’s current lineup features Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel, James Iha, Jeff Friedl, and Matt McJunkins.
I can’t wait to finally hear some new music from these guys. Now, if only we could get a release date on that Tool album.
Before they’re inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, you can catch Journey at the iWireless Center on April 3 in Moline, IL. They’ll be touring with special guests Asia. It’s going to be a night to relive those big 80s rock anthems. Make sure you have your lighter ready for the obligatory “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
If you’re looking for something a bit funky that makes you dance, but is out there, check out electronic/folk band Crystal Fighters. The band is currently touring in support of their latest album, My Family is Everything. Catch them at the Concord Music Hall on April 2. Tickets are still on sale.
Want some hot hip-hop to livin’ up your night? Check out Chicago’s own BJ The Chicago Kid at the Chop Shop on April 6. Grab tickets while you still can. And make sure to pick up a copy of his latest album, In My Mind, before you hit the show.
Finally, critically acclaimed indie pop band Bastille will be in Chicago touring their latest album, Wilf World. Catch them at the Aragon Ballroom on April 3. Grab tickets here.
Chicago Artist Spotlight: G Herbo
After putting on a killer show with Lil Bibby at the Metro, it only felt right spotlighting G Herbo. Hailing from Chicago’s East Side, G Herbo is a rapper on the rise. When he dropped the single “Kill Shit” in 2014, Drake called him and Lil Bibby “the future.” If one of the biggest names in hip-hop gives you praise like that, you know you’re doing something right.
What makes Herbo stand out is the way he attacks tracks like “Pull Up” and “Ain’t Right.” He takes aim and slaughters everyone and everything in his path. His brutally honest lyrics and powerful music grabs you by the shoulders and violently shakes you. He’s not afraid to tackle controversial or taboo topics, like politics. With everything going on in the world right now, he’s a voice we need in hip-hop. Check out his latest mixtape, Welcome to Fazoland 1.5, which dropped a few weeks ago.