Inner Psyche Productions

musings and ramblings from the voices inside…

New Music Roundup – May ’22

Barely halfway through 2022, and it’s been quite a year for new music already! I suppose we’re starting to bear the fruits of forcing musicians into isolated lockdown for months on end…I’ve already written at length about Ghost’s Impera here, and in just a few short months we’ve been treated to new releases from Jack White, Halestorm, Motor Sister, and the surprise release from Seattle all-star group, 3rd Secret.

Jack White baffled most fans with his off-the-wall Boarding House Reach back in 2018, but like most experimental, transitional albums, what comes next is usually worth hanging with for the ride. Such is the case with Fear of the Dawn, White’s most interesting and hard-rocking album since the White Stripes’ Icky Thump. Whereas Blunderbuss and Lazaretto (both excellent albums in their own right) felt more like “best of” compilations for White’s various projects up to that point, we’re finally treated to something new here. Combining his experiments with hip-hop, sampling, and digital editing from Boarding House Reach with some excellent guitar riffage, Fear of the Dawn feels like his first true solo album, Mr. White even performing all of the instruments himself on some of the tracks. Jack White’s music (and personality) will always be divisive – it’s part of what makes him so fascinating.

I’m kind of a Lzzy Hale fanboy, so take this with a grain of salt, but Halestorm is making some of the most killer hard rock in the world right now. To fully appreciate what’s going on here you have to be willing to swallow a certain amount of cheesy, “we’re all freaks in this together, so screw the man and let’s rock,” but this is exactly what the world needs right now. Lzzy is an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, the LGBTQ+ community, and also happens to have the best pipes in hard rock and metal. Live, she delivers likely the best vocal performance I’ve ever witnessed, and her brother Arejay – whose drumming often suffers on record from overproduction – lays down some Neil Peart-level shit. Back From The Dead is 38 minutes of solid heavy rock, Lzzy shredding her vocal cords raw across 11 tracks that are among their best and heaviest yet – most similar to their breakthrough The Strange Case of… with better, rawer production and fewer ballads. Standouts include new territory like the slow-burning heavy groove of “Bombshell” and album closing ballad “Raise Your Horns,” Lzzy and her piano guaranteed to raise goosebumps on anyone who’s struggled with mental health issues.

I’ve already reviewed Motor Sister‘s latest for Heavy Music HQ, but given the strict 150 word limit they impose, I feel the need to expound further here because this band’s backstory is so fascinating. If you knew nothing else about them, your first reaction might be, “great, another supergroup.” Let’s be honest, most supergroups rarely live up to the hype, and that’s usually because they get together based on the premise that “we’re all so awesome, if we make music together, it will be the best thing ever!” (Side note: Remember that Cream picked their name because they were supposedly the “cream of the crop” of British music at the time – modest much?). This group exists for the best of reasons: shared love for the music of a criminally overlooked band. Motor Sister consists of Scott Ian of Anthrax, singer Pearl Aday (daughter of Meat Loaf, wife of Scott), Joey Vera of Armored Saint, journeyman metal drummer John Tempesta, and singer/guitarist Jim Wilson of Mother Superior (Who? Yeah, me too…to Wikipedia!). Ian was big fan, and convinced Jim Wilson to play a set of Mother Superior tunes with him for his 50th birthday party, which eventually led to recording 15 of them under the name Motor Sister (a song title borrowed from the “mother” band.”). The experiment was so successful that seven years later, they have morphed from a Mother Superior cover project into a legitimate band in their own right – releasing Get Off, a collection of all-new original compositions. See the linked review above for more!

How in the world do some of the biggest, still-living names in Seattle music record and release an entire album in total secrecy? I suppose this makes 3rd Secret an appropriate name, though I have to admit I have no idea what the first two secrets are…ANYWAY, one fine April day, this new band appears out of nowhere featuring Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden, Krist Novoselic from Nirvana, vocalists Jennifer Johnson and Jillian Raye from one of Novoselic’s other projects, and guitarist Bubba DuPree. Lead single “I Choose Me” sounds almost exactly like you’d expect, with Thayil’s instantly recognizable guitar sound and Cameron’s solid groove backing up some gorgeous vocal harmonizing. However, those of you expecting more of the same are in for a surprise – the bulk of the album more of an homage to Led Zeppelin III than Screaming Life or In Utero. Acoustic guitars dominate the album, with several tracks eschewing drums altogether. That said, opener “Rhythm of the Ride” is a total ear worm and will remain stuck in your head for days. Though absolutely more mellow than expected, the album’s 11 tracks (largely written by Novoselic and Raye) exude the mystical element that keeps drawing you back for another listen. To date, a physical format has not been announced, so stream away. (As much as I’m digging this: I’m still holding out for a Soundgarden reunion tour with Brandi Carlile on the mic…)

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