This Week in Music, April 9, 2013: Paramore is less Page 2

Knife Shaking

The Knife: Shaking the Habitual

New release (Rabid/Mute)

Continuing with all things electronic, here we have the first album in 7 years from the Swedish brother/sister duo known as The Knife. Judging from the advance singles “Full of Fire” and “A Tooth for an Eye,” Olof Dreijer’s constantly percolating, percussive music remains a vivid setting for Karin Dreijer Andersson’s pleas and howls. Think of an early, octopod Sinéad O’Connor, fully armed with drumsticks and let loose in a kitchen of pots and pans and keyboards, and you get the idea.

OMD English

Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark: English Electric

New release (BMG; tour dates)
Photo by Tom Oxley

Then there’s the old wave of electronic music, with Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey still synth-popping away, 35 years after the launch of OMD. On their celebratory tour, they’re joined by original contributors Malcolm Holmes and Martin Cooper. Among the 12 tracks on this album is “Kissing the Machine,” composed with former Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos. English Electric is available on CD, CD+DVD, or LP as well as in a collector’s tin containing the CD (and another disc of demos), the DVD, an exclusive 7-inch vinyl single (with an unreleased B-side), a 16-page lyric booklet, three artwork prints, and a photo of Humphreys and McCluskey, who have signed the included Certificate of Authenticity.

Paisley Wheelhouse

Brad Paisley: Wheelhouse

New release (Arista Nashville; tour dates)

When is Brad Paisley not in his wheelhouse? Truth be told, the biggest puzzler related to his ninth studio album was the decision to release the second single, “Beat This Summer,” in early March and not smack dab in the middle of July. Otherwise, as the title of the first single says, he is definitely in his “Southern Comfort Zone.” That upbeat ode to his current Tennessee home opens yet another album that features his attractive but persuasive vocals, always entertaining and frequently scorching guitar work, and often clever songwriting. Various guests help show the range of his love for country music (Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, and a sample of the late Roger Miller) as well as his humor (Monty Python’s Eric Idle, mugging on “Death of a Married Man”) and his sense of social justice, controversial though the end result may be (LL Cool J, rapping on “Accidental Racist,”). And ya gotta love that album cover. Dive in, indeed.

Dawes Stories

Dawes: Stories Don’t End

New release (Hub; tour dates)
Photo by Noah Abrams

It was only fitting that Dawes accompanied Jackson Browne at an Occupy Wall Street appearance in December 2011. The L.A. foursome is reminiscent of the backing that Browne had in the mid-1970s on Late for the Sky, The Pretender, and Running on Empty. Not only that, but lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith’s tone is often a dead ringer for Browne’s smooth tenor.

Hearing this brand of folk rock, you can call it neo-Laurel Canyon if you want, but you can’t pigeonhole it there. Not when Goldsmith composes ballads as forlornly beautiful as “Just My Luck” and “Something in Common.” Not when he delivers a fine, incisive guitar solo like the one on “From a Window Seat.” Not when he can deftly arrange entwined vocal lines for “Most People” and then open up his voice to the heavens on “Bear Witness.”

Along the way, Goldsmith and his bandmates (brother Griffin on drums, Wylie Gelber on bass, and Tay Straitharn on keyboards) lay down a full-bodied sound, climaxing in the glorious refrain of “Side Effects.” Credit their producer (Jacquire King) and their recording location (a studio in the mountains of North Carolina) for helping the guys in Dawes to achieve natural, neighborly sonics while expanding their music to a wide-open panorama.

Device self

Device: Device

New release (Warner Bros.; tour dates)
Photo by Paul Brown

“It’s not metal,” according to Disturbed lead singer David Draiman, who co-wrote and recorded the side project Device with former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo. “It’s influenced by early industrial rock — Nine Inch Nails, Ministry — and has a dark electronic vibe. At the same time, these are big, anthemic, and intensely melodic songs. It’s futuristic rock.” It’s also loaded with guests, including System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler. The touring edition of the band (shown above) has Draiman joined by Evanescence drummer Will Hunt and Dope/Rock of Ages guitarist Virus.