Five-Minute Record Reviews: New Albums By Warpaint, Mogwai, Reverend Horton Heat and Andi Denis of Helloween!

Warpaint - Warpaint
If you're a fan of Radiohead and U2's quieter moments and are not already familiar with L.A. mood rockers Warpaint from their percolating debut The Fool, this album has your name written all over it.  Produced by Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins) and mixed by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Jason Falkner), the album is a slow-building monolith that slowly sinks its claws into you without you feeling the pinch until its too late.

There is nothing groundbreaking here, though, just wiry guitar lines gliding effortlessly over pulsating rhythms and topped by the shiver-inducing vocals of Emily Kokal.  This album is the very epitome of a grower, though. You'll be thinking "meh" for the first couple listens and then BOOM, you can't stop spinning it.

Mogwai - Rave Tapes

Let's face it, in this day and age, words are overrated.  Heck, we've whittled communication down to 140 characters or less and still have nothing to say.  Mogwai's genius in crafting mesmerizing sonic soundscapes is already documented, but their true genius lies in recognizing early on that words and phrases are unnecessary.

Opening with the brooding "Heard About You Last Night", the album ramps up the anticipation on "Simon Ferocious", all the while setting the listener up for a chill-out session like no other.  By the time "The Lord Is Out of Control" closes this album, you will realize that gravity no longer applies to your soul.  Is it too early to vote this instrumental tour de force as Best Album of 2014?

Reverend Horton Heat - Rev

Let's face it, this old school rockabilly trio has been re-making the same album over and over since 1990's Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, but it's a great album, so why stop making it until every last hold-out is finally on-board?  Titles like "Victory Lap", "Smell Of Gasoline" and "Scenery Going By" should dispel any thoughts of touchy-feely hipster mope rock.  These guys are the roots rock equivalent of driving a dump truck through a nitroglycerin factory.

On Rev, the Reverend's eleventh studio effort, we see the band join forces with local label Victory Records and come up with the sort of record that jumps off the stereo and swipes the beer right out of your hand, just like all their other albums.  

Andi Deris And The Bad Bankers - Million Dollar Haircuts On Ten Cent Heads

You may or may not recognize Deris as singer for German metal band Helloween, but on his latest solo outing, Deris joins forces with Bad Bankers to create an honest-to-god heavy metal protest album that is just as heavy on the "protest" as it is on musical ferocity.  Make no mistake, this isn't just another tossed-off metal effort.

Album-opener "Cock" and "Will We Ever Change" are great settings for Denis's vocals to worm their way into your head.  By the time your ears are treated to the feast that is "This Could Go On Forever", you'll be headbanging like a good little fiend. Album closer "I Sing Myself Away" will leave you with a new appreciation for the versatility of Denis as a vocalist and songwriter.

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