105.5 The Colorado Sound – Top Picks You Should Hear In August

by BandWagon Magazine

Ron: The Alarm – = (known as “Equals”)

Since 2014, Mike Peters, lead singer for The Alarm, has taken on ‘re-imagining’ some of his band’s catalog for 30th-anniversary tributes. Those albums (Declaration and Strength) weren’t just re-recorded, some songs were re-written to reflect modern times. Reflecting the world today is the angle Peters takes on the new Alarm album “=” (pronounced “Equals”). While themes of war have appeared in their songs before (“Sixty-Eight Guns,” “Blaze Of Glory,”) = lays a lot on the line with lyrics like “If I should die in a combat zone, box me up and send me home” and “No guitars in the war machine, my amplifier will drown your speech.” Some of the ‘guitar anthem’ quality is here but it’s the song he wrote with his wife after they both were diagnosed with cancer (“Beautiful”) which brings The Alarm back to the forefront. Footnote: Peters is also a co-founder of the Denver-based charity Love Hope Strength.

Margot: Iggy Pop – Teatime Dub Encounters

Iggy Pop, one of the grandfathers of punk, continually collaborates with interesting musicians; musicians one would not expect Iggy to venture into the studio with. But perhaps that’s his point. This time, Iggy Pop is teaming up with the British electronic group Underworld (remember the movie Trainspotting? Their song ‘Born Slippy’ was used in a particularly memorable scene.) Their collaborative EP is called Teatime Dub Encounters. The EP purportedly was recorded during afternoon tea and it has that vibe. Laid back, sometimes conversational, sometimes quiet, it’s another interesting effort for the rock icon. Standout track: “Belles and Circles”

Stacy: Flasher – Constant Image

DC trio Flasher made a splash in 2016 with their self-titled EP and took over a year to follow it up with their full-length debut, Constant Image. This ten-song romp, produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, War On Drugs) stands on its own with a nice balance of frenzy and contemplation. The LP ranges from the bombastic opener “Go,” clocking in under two minutes, to “Sun Come And Golden,” where we hear a more tuneful side of the band, bringing the tempo down and showcasing some sweet harmonies layered over synth-laden production. Throughout the album, Flasher shines with sometimes thoughtful, sometimes angst-laden lyrics, packaged into short songs. Rooted in the rich DC scene of the 80s, with an edgy, pop sensibility, Flasher delivers a solid debut with Constant Image.

Benji: Ashley Monroe – Sparrow

Sparrow is Ashley Monroe’s 4th album, a record that shows the Nashville singer-songwriter heading in a new direction. Monroe began her career as a straight-up country songstress off Music Row but after being dropped by Columbia Records, she began exploring roots and americana music, quickly finding a home. For Sparrow, Monroe teamed up with americana’s hottest producer Dave Cobb. Cobb has worked with Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton among others, crafting their sound. Cobb’s influence is felt throughout Sparrow, but it’s Monroe who steals the show. She demonstrates a much more soulful approach to singing and a more mature choice in song subjects with such varied topics as the death of her father to the birth of her son. If you want a soulful record with a touch of twang, Ashley Monroe’s Sparrow is the record for you.