New Music Through Old Ears – Captain Disturbed: Gin Impala

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It’s time for some new music, as entertainment editor John Turnbull checks out new albums from Kiwi songstress Gin Wigmore, Aussie elctro-rockers Tame Impala, metal journeymen Disturbed and French punks Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!

New Album from a New Artist

Tame Impala Currents

Starting life as a one-man band from the multi-talented Kevin Parker, and expanding to include a touring lineup when necessary, Tame Impala released first single Sundown Syndrome in 2009 and debut album Innerspeaker in 2010. Critically successful, the album won the J Award for Album of the year in 2010, and catapulted the band to international attention.  Second album Lonerism was released in 2012 and included the single Elephant, which Parker has admitted ‘paid for half of his house’.

Much like its predecessor, Lonerism was lauded by critics, winning Best Rock Album and Album of the Year at the 2013 ARIA Awards and being nominated for a Grammy. Maintaining the psychedelic influences that infused Innerspeaker, Parker increased his use of electronic beeps and bloops, telling deeply personal stories of loneliness, detachment and ennui.

Continuing this trend, Currents strips back the guitars even further and increases the use of bass and electronic effects, creating a sense of space and depth. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on your feelings towards psychedelic electronica, but there is certainly some interesting material across the album. On the downside, there are a couple of transitional throwaway tracks including Gossip and Nangs, which is named after the semi-legal high that used to be known as whippets when I was young and stupid.

Some people have compared Kevin Parker to a young Brian Wilson, a reclusive genius who struggles to translate the beautiful and complex music inside his head. Currents does little to contradict this position, with an air of detachment from the real world and visions of worlds strange and surreal. It’s a bit of a trip, really.

Standout tracks: Let It Happen, Cause I’m a Man, Yes I’m Chaging

Sample Lyric: ‘They say people never change, but that’s bullshit, they do.’ (Yes I’m Changing)

Verdict: 8/10 an interesting album that grows with each listen

New Album from a New Artist

Gin Wigmore Blood to Bone

Virginia Claire Wigmore was born in Auckland in 1986, wrote her first song Angelfire in 2000, won the prestigious International Songwriting Competition in 2004 and released the wittily named Extended Play EP in 2008. The following year she released her debut album Holy Smoke, which included the smash hit Oh My and follow-up singles Too Late for Lovers and Hey Ho.

Sophomore album Gravel & Wine found financial success through soundtrack appearances on TV series including Grey’s Anatomy, Revenge, The Good Wife and Teen Wolf. Wigmore also flirted with the commercial world, licencing tracks to advertisers such as Guinness, Alfa Romeo and Johnnie Walker, also appearing in a short film with Daniel Craig promoting the partnership between Heineken and the Bond movie Skyfall.

Sometimes accused of having a “duck voice”, Gin Wigmore plays honest rock ‘n roll with touches of folk and blues. New album Blood to Bone is a little more laid back than previous releases, but still manages to capture the passion and spirit that separates Wigmore from a host of generic female singer/songwriters who fill the charts then disappear just as quickly.

While she may never be a star to rival Madonna or Beyonce, Gin Wigmore is one of those artists who you can rely on to produce well-written, accessible folk rock songs, and it will be fascinating to watch her evolution as life throws challenges and experiences her way.

Standout tracks: New Rush, Nothing to No One

Sample Lyric: “I can blame all my mistakes I made on you.” (New Rush)

Verdict: 7/10 an home grown (well, almost) artist with a distinctive voice

Album I Expect to Suck

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! Get Lost, Find Yourself

Sometime you buy an album based purely on the name of the band. Sometimes this will lead to disappointment (Steel Panther – Feel the Steel), other times to unpolished gems (The Finger - We Are Fuck You), and will occasionally give you a flashback to a hazy time in the mid-Nineties that you thought you had forgotten. With a name taken from the cult 80’s film The Goonies, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! is one of those bands.

Formed on the mean streets of Paris back in 2007, the band is led by brothers vocalist Bertrand Poncet and guitarist Eric Poncet (now there’s a pair of rock ‘n roll names) Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (hereafter known as C!NCC!) blend the pop punk of bands like Blink 182 and Green Day with Slayer-inspired hardcore riffs. After struggling to find an audience in France, the group built a following in Asia and North America, and released debut album Something for Nothing in 2010.

Including the single in Friends We Trust, the album was re-released when C!NCC! signed to  Fearless Records, dropping awesomely named tracks MILF and Alex Kidd in Miracle World and replacing them with the relatively pedestrian Make The Believe. After spending the next couple of years touring, the band released second album Pardon My French in 2013, a name so cheesy that sounds like it was coined by a record company exec rather than the band.

While it took me a couple of listens to work out whether the band were being ironic or not (I don’t think they are), if you’re a longtime fan of punk and metal you could do worse than check out Get Lost, Find Yourself.

Standout tracks:  Playing Dead, Worst Case Scenario

Sample Lyric: ‘Can’t stop us now, we’re burning this city to the ground.’ (City of Lights)

Verdict: 6/10 a little derivative, but if you like 90’s pop punk with a touch of metal this should be right up your alley

Ch-check It Out

Disturbed Immortalized

Formed in Chicago, Illinois back in 1994, Disturbed started their musical life as a band called Brawl, featuring singer Erich Await, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist Steve Kmak and drummer Mike Wengren. Not a lot happened for Brawl, and two years later they recruited new vocalist David Draiman and changed their name to Disturbed. With his guttural vocals and percussive style, Draiman transformed the band’s sound, and they found a mascot in the image of ‘The Guy’, the zombie-like character that adorns the cover of all their albums. Releasing their debut album The Sickness in 2000, the band found moderate success with single Down With The Sickness. 

The band followed up with Believe in 2002, and ran into trouble with TV networks who claimed their video for single Prayer has similarities to the 9/11 attacks. Despite this negative attention, the band kept moving forward, releasing live album Music as a Weapon II in 2003, followed by studio release Ten Thousand Fists in 2005. Somewhere along the way Steve Kmak left the band due to creative differences, replaced by John Moyer. The band built a strong following on the touring and festival circuits, headlining Ozzfest in 2006, then released the hugely successful album Indestructible in 2008.

After the 2010 release of Asylum, the band went on hiatus to pursue solo projects, with Draiman joining industrial metal combo Asylum, Moyer joining Adrenaline Mob and then Art of Anarchy, and Donegan and Wengren joining Fight or Flight. As tends to happen in these situations, Moyer decided that the grass was greener on his new project and didn’t return for Immmortalized, with Dan Donegan taking over the bass parts.

Over the years Disturbed have become known for their somewhat quirky choice of cover songs, including Genesis Land of Confusion, Tears for Fears Shout and Faith No More’s Midlife Crisis. On Immortalized we are treated to a cover of Simon & Garfunkle’s Sound of Silence, which resists the urge to go full metal and is surprisingly tender as a result.

As an album, Immortalized is exactly what you’d expect from Disturbed – super heavy riffs, growling, machine-gun style vocals and the odd moment of soft reflection.

Standout tracks: Immortalized, Open Your Eyes, The Sound of Silence

Sample Lyric: ‘Why can’t you see? Are you afraid to be exposed to the demons around you?’ (Open Your Eyes)

Verdict: 7/10 very metal

Like what you read? John’s books are now available on Amazon and Kindle. For about the price of a cup of coffee you can take a journey deep into the disturbed psyche behind columns including Screen Themes, Think For Yourself, New Music Through Old Ears and JT on NXT. There’s supernatural thriller Damnation’s Flame, action/romance Reaper, black comedy City Boy and travel guidebook Bar Trek: Europe. Check them out!

Like what you read? John’s books are now available on Amazon and Kindle. For about the price of a cup of coffee you can take a journey deep into the disturbed psyche behind columns including Screen Themes, Think For Yourself, New Music Through Old Ears and JT on NXT. There’s supernatural thriller Damnation’s Flame, action/romance Reaper, black comedy City Boy and travel guidebook Bar Trek: Europe. Check them out!

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