Aural Pleasure: Nickleback, Parkay Quarts and Ariel Pink

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Nickelback | No Fixed Address | Republic | ★

Nickelback’s eighth album No Fixed Address finds the Canadians not learning much from their past efforts. Everything is still here: gruff, forced vocals, simplistic power chords and misogynistic and macho lyrical content focused on partying, booze, drugs and more partying. Fans will rejoice about the ever-so-static Nickelback material, but there’s a new ingredient to add fuel to the nonbeliever’s fire: a duet with Flo Rida on the country crossover-twanged “Got Me Runnin’ Around.” The lead single “Edge of a Revolution” is ironic to say the least. The lines “No, we won’t give up, we won’t go away / ‘Cause we’re not about to live in this mass delusion,” sound like a parody when sung by corporate rock god Chad Kroeger. But, “We won’t go away” is one of the more vicious threats to spew from Kroeger’s lyric book. –Shannon Sweet


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Parkay Quarts | Content Nausea | What’s Your Rupture? | ★★★

For a band that does casual brilliance so well, it warrants asking: What would an actual tossed-off Parkay Quarts record sound like? Content Nausea is likely as close an answer as we’ll ever get (Parkay Quarts is half of Parquet Courts, with the alt-spelling meaning all input came from songwriters Andrew Savage and Austin Brown). Released a few months after Sunbathing Animal, Content Nausea plays like an excuse to use up everything left over from those sessions: the suppressed rants (“Content Nausea”), leftover riffs (“Everyday It Starts”) and that horn section they hired (“Pretty Machines”). In that sense, it follows The Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot or Deerhunter’s Weird Era as a sort of unloading exercise. The comparison also works by virtue of displaying just how shit-hot PQ is right now: Even when they try not to try, they come up with gems like “Slide Machine” and “Uncast A Southern Myth.” Content Nausea may not be an essential record and, at worst, it’ll simply send you back to the previous releases with newfound respect for their craft. But at best, it’s more solid material from a band on a serious roll. —J.D. Swerzenski


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Ariel Pink | pom pom | 4AD | ★★★★

Since his brilliant 4AD debut Before Today, Ariel Pink has frantically bucked against his status as an indie rock headliner, evidenced by his frequent onstage meltdowns, batshit crazy interviews and trollish comments toward other artists. It’s refreshing then that pom pom, Pink’s third 4AD release, seems to find him finally comfortable in his own skin. That’s really the kind way of describing the balance he strikes here between his cracked melodic genius and his uber-creep persona. And Lord, is there a lot of creep to go around on pom pom’s 69 (natch) minutes. Before long, he’s morphed into the “sex king on a velvet swing” looking to lay you down on “Sexual Athletics.” By the time you scan down the tracklist to see songs like “Jell-O,” it’s pretty clear what direction we’re headed. It plays like the soundtrack to a ’70s porn flick directed by David Lynch, which, depending on your attraction to that concept, should denote whether you love or hate the record. —J.D. Swerzenski 




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