For 60 years, or at least since he was a young Welshman who moved to New York and joined The Velvet Underground, Cale has been reinventing his music with dazzling and inspiring regularity. Mercy-- his first full album of new tunes in a decade-- moves through true dark-night-of-the-soul electronic blues toward vulnerable love songs and hopeful considerations for the future with the help of some of music’s most curious young minds.
The Bad Ends qualify as an Athens supergroup, and not just because they include two local legends. Mike Mantione of Five Eight and Bill Berry of REM tap into a familiar strain of jangle rock for a set of inventive songs about growing old and dying in a small college town with a big music legacy. It’s life-affirming songs about death and dying, and an immediate classic showcasing the best of early 90s college rock.
Bulli glimmers with an almost-uncomfortable pop sheen, whirring with strutting positivity and rich instrumentation that is at stark odds with the lyrics. Touchstones of leftfield electronic sounds meld with nods to alternative rock, power pop, even tender R&B and deft hip-hop. It’s at times frantic and manic, swirling with fragmentary soundscapes, but always pushing forward into somewhere that feels new and vital.
Once again, the Opium label started by Playboi Carti proves they are the future. Destroy Lonely’s No Stylist, his debut project with the label and his first project since 2020, lives up to the expectations ten-fold. As required, the release contains enough fashion-related quips to fill up Popeye Magazine, but the real gems are the lively, euphoric beats and airy synths with Lonely matching its breeziness with playful lyrics.