My name is Doug Wykstra, and this is some of the stuff I've read and watched.
I’ve been trying to keep up with newer music lately, mostly after reviewing my Best Music of 2015 blog post and realizing how much great music from that year I missed. So my Amazon Prime player currently is full of albums from the current year, some of which I’m planning to write about more extensively (Weezer), some of which I probably don’t have enough authority to talk about (A Tribe Called Quest), some of which I’m finding it hard to remember even as they play (sorry, Yuck, you have some cool hooks, but also too many 5-minute songs).
One band I didn’t expect to write about, or even listen to when I was looking for 2016 albums, was Kings of Leon. Am I the only one who completely missed that they had a new album out this year? It’s called Walls, and the cover photo features the band members covered in milk, only their faces visible. As for the music? Eh, it’s fine. Regular Kings of Leon stuff, so there’s some syncopated rhythms and insistently-repetitive-yet-distinct guitar riffs that makes you think of early Bloc Party, but also has Caleb Followill’s voice singing over it. The last Kings of Leon album I knew of was Only By The Night, but I never really listened to it beyond its two big singles.
The last Kings of Leon album to get major airplay on my personal stereo was Because of the Times. I was in England on a study abroad trip, and didn’t bring my iPod because the plugs wouldn’t fit and I was nervous about losing it anyway. So instead, I bought a discman for 10 pounds in a record store, and bought two CDs. One was a double disc by The Streets featuring their first two and best albums, and the other was Because of the Times. I ended up playing The Streets whenever I felt I was getting into the whole England thing, and Kings of Leon whenever I felt homesick.
The first song on Walls is “Waste a Moment,” and while the lyrics and music don’t strike me as nearly as weird or interesting as “My Party” or “Knocked Up” or anything off Because of the Times–it sounds like a pretty blatant radio grab, honestly–the first thing you really hear is the bass, and those bass notes brought me back to the way I was feeling in England, the sense of being on an adventure that was also occasionally boring and lonely, but also exciting because I was 21 and didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Basically it made me want to throw on my duds and grab some bottled Newcastle. These bass notes are so good, dude.
So a quick shout out to Jared Followill, who Google informs me is the bassist of Kings of Leon. They’re all brothers or something, right? That’s pretty cool. And I like the way this Jared guy plays the bass.