Proving WUOG can be your home whether you are really cool or still think 1977 was the best year for music (it was, ok, it was) we have both Dan Deacon AND the Pop Group playing on the radio these days.
Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer
Baltimore is really churning out some great music these days and Dan Deacon is one of the city’s very best artists. Since his stunning breakthrough, 2007’s Spiderman of the Rings, Deacon has put out the gorgeous, live-instrument focused Bromst (one of my favorites of that year) and the ambitious America, and now Gliss Riffer, which feels like vintage Dan Deacon, while still experimenting with the ideas and forms that his fans are familiar with. The opener “Feel the Lightning” feels like the closest thing we’ve ever gotten to a Dan Deacon pop song. There’s a really discernible structure and catchy synth parts that augment Deacon‘s traditional joyful, electronic chaos. Gliss Riffer takes a really dramatic left turn is the last 2 tracks of the record. “Take It to the Max” and “Steely Blues” are two of the most experimental tracks Deacon‘s done since signing with Domino and display his masterful composition skills as well as his ability to create huge environments with his array of musical ideas.
The Pop Group – Citizen Zombie
The seminal post-punk band, The Pop Group has released Citizen Zombie, their first LP in 35 years, and they’ve picked up right where they left off. When beloved bands reunite and release new material, the new records often derided and met with skepticism, as it can never match the expectations presented by a legendary back catalog. With their three short years as a band from 1977-1980, The pop group seamlessly blended the noise of the Birthday Party, the political outrage of the Clash and the Sex Pistols, and the nerdy white punk funk of American New Wave, all the while lending more influences to these contemporaries. On Citizen Zombie the Pop Group still have the raw political energy and the rage of a young band while still offering a mature, postmodern sound that seems wiser than their previous work. The opener and title track, “Citizen Zombie” is funky and savage which somehow manages to include jazz inspired sounds, feedback and futuristic noise. In contrast to their usual punk-funk, tracks like “Mad Truth” and “s.o.p.h.i.a.” are dancefloor ready snythpop tracks. The Standout track is “Nowhere Girl” and its most reminiscent to their older material and verges on the anthemic, combining love song and atypical optimism with huge, blaring guitar riffs and U2ish backup vocals. Closer “Echelon” sounds like a synthed up Nick Cave song as its very pretty and eerie. Although the political lyrics can be bulky at times (see; “Nations”/ “Immaculate Deception”) they are still intriguing and give the album a dystopian vibe. The Pop Group’s Citizen Zombie is a strong effort that holds up to the band’s impressive discography without sounding trite and overdone.
– Tom Jurgens