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Hot Stuff: Simple Plan – The Guiltiest Pleasure of 2011

Simple Plan may not exactly be critical darlings, but they know how to serve up a catchy pop tune. Simple Plan may not exactly be critical darlings, but they know how to serve up a catchy pop tune.

All right growers, it’s that time again. We’re sharing some of the records that have been rocking the Rosebud Magazine offices this week, and while they’re all fresh releases, I have to admit, not everyone has been on board for our first band here. That said, enough of the staff have been unable to get enough of Simple Plan that we’re leading with them. That’s right. In spite of the fact that none of us are teenage girls hanging out at the mall, the new album from the Montreal pop-punkers has infected us in the best way. But we’ll get to that soon enough. Rest assured that we also have a healthy dose of cutting edge music from a variety of genres, as usual, including some amazing electronic next-level goods from Vagrant Records. We’ve also got some punishing raw hardcore, dark synthpop, and slow as molasses doom rock. All that darkness ought to balance our accounts. But first off, let’s get to the pop!

Simple Plan – Get Your Heart On!

Okay, this isn’t doing much for our street cred, but damned if the pop songs on Get Your Heart On! don’t have (some of) us singing along to every catchy chorus and bopping our heads incessantly. This is absolutely the definition of guilty pleasure, but we don’t care. Not every song on the record is a winner, but enough of them are such sugary sweet bubble gum gems that we dare you to listen to a hook-laden track like "Jet Lag" and reject it completely. Come on, you’ve got to admit that some of these songs are perfectly crafted pop masterpieces. And even if you don’t, we don’t care. We’ve got this one on repeat.


All Pigs Must Die – God Is War

Let’s cleanse the palette with something that is essentially the opposite of mall-punk: God Is War, the first full-length from extreme music supergroup All Pigs Must Die. This is crushing, uncompromising hardcore from veterans of two of heavy music’s greatest bands – Converge and The Hope Conspiracy. All Pigs Must Die delivers a straight up brand of all out intensity that is not for the faint of heart. This record will beat the crap out of the part of you that admitted to liking the new Simple Plan album.


Active Child – You Are All I See

Nothing guilty about this pleasure. Active Child absolutely knocked our socks off with You Are All I See. The brainchild of electronic musician and singer Pat Grossi, Active Child has dug deep to produce an expansive collection of songs drawing from a variety of influences. The songs are both accessible and challenging, a miracle mixture of components that makes every track simultaneously fresh and familiar. There’s an ethereal element here, but one that never lacks energy. Perhaps it’s the scope of this record that compels us to describe it in conflicting terms. This is an album of inspired musicianship from an artist taking his craft to the next level.


Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital

The rise of indie synthpop has been welcomed by any listener who remembers the best of ‘80s pop, even though Handsome Furs are very clear to tell us that “nostalgia never meant much” to them. Be that as it may, Sound Kapital serves up the best of a genre that still carries a stigma of the generation of excess. The tracks here are catchy, but still edgy, continuing the Montreal duo’s tradition of top shelf songwriting and quirk. Recommended.


40 Watt Sun – The Inside Room

If you’re looking for another toe-tapper, look elsewhere. This is depressive, down tempo, doom-influenced rock at its most challenging. What makes 40 Watt Sun so compelling in spite of (or perhaps as well as) its oppressive pace and mood are vocals unique in both voice and melody. At times achingly beautiful, at other times just aching, this is a record best saved for a long, lonely night.


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The Hope Conspiracy crushing it in the early days.
Last modified on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 17:12

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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