This Week’s Best Albums: February 5, 2013

This Week's Best Albums: February 5, 2013

Each week, editor-in-chief Chris Force and music editor Scott Morrow choose ALARM’s favorite new releases for This Week’s Best Albums, an eclectic set of reviews presenting exceptional music.

The Bronx: (IV) (White Drugs / ATO)

"Ribcage"


After a few albums of Mexican folk rock as Mariachi El Bronx, The Bronx is back to bleed ears with its punk-band incarnation. From the opening salvo of guitar to the last shouted vocal, (IV) is gutter-dirty, anger-fueled punk rock.

With a feel that wouldn’t be out of place in the ’80s, this is a fast album, with only one song breaking four minutes and most lyrics delivered between a growl and a scream. The closest thing to a ballad is “Life Less Ordinary,” which reads more like a breakdown, giving listeners just a moment to catch their breaths before the circle-pit spin to the end. Frantic and violent, (IV) should be heard with the volume cranked.

- Lincoln Eddy

Local H: The Another February EP (Slimstyle)

"Another February"


With a brand-new video is tow, "Another February" is the ode to Chicago winters from Hallelujah! I'm a Bum, Local H’s 17-track return after another four-year layoff between LPs. It's a fun winter jam for complaining about the coldness, but more notably, this EP marks another chapter in the cover canon of the duo, which has paid tribute to acts such as Misfits, The Jesus Lizard, and Britney Spears, and whose 2010 EP, Local H's Awesome Mixtape #1, was eight such covers.

A hard-rock rendition of Rush’s "2112 Overture / The Temples of Syrinx" steals the show, with front-man Scott Lucas’s rangy vocals hanging with Geddy Lee impressively, and there's also a cover of "Terrible Love" by The National, which Lucas cited as an unexpected influence on Hallelujah.

Two alternative cuts round out the EP — an acoustic version of "Waves Again" and an electrified cut of "Look Who's Rocking on Four Legs Again," which was a rare quiet moment on the Hallelujah LP. Despite having zero actual new songs, The Another February EP is worth the admission.

- Scott Morrow

Helen Money: Arriving Angels (Profound Lore)

"Shrapnel"


Allison Chesley, the Chicago-based musician who performs as Helen Money, brings out a side of the cello that’s rarely seen. There’s palpable emotion in her rock-infused work, be it rage or melancholy. On Arriving Angels, backed for the first time by a drummer (Jason Roeder of Neurosis and Sleep), that feeling punches into your ribcage.

Produced by Steve Albini of Shellac, the record is, at times, surprisingly raw. And the addition of piano and drums gives a fuller sound to certain tracks, with a metal beat driving the heavy rasp of the cello. But Chesley excels with or without the additions, as subtle melodies alternate with fierce slashes in a testament to her command of the instrument.

- Lincoln Eddy

Honorable Mentions:

Björk: Bastards remix album (One Little Indian)

Coheed and Cambria: The Afterman: Descension (Everything Evil / Hundred Handed)

Frightened Rabbit: Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic)

Jim James: Regions of Light and Sound of God (ATO)

Matmos: The Marriage of True Minds (Thrill Jockey)

Night Beds: Country Sleep (Dead Oceans)

Umberto: Confrontations (Not Not Fun)