The role of lead guitarist will be played by Josh Klinghoffer. The lead guitarist spot in RHCP has been a rotating cast of character, and this is the first album with newest edition Klinghoffer. The core of the band (Keidis, Flea, and Smith) are back again and have combine with their new guitarist to create one of their three best albums (the others being "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" and "Californication"). The album is funky and bridges all eras of RHCP music from their early days in the 80's as funk rockers to their 90's era lyrical alternative to their most recent pop-edged releases of the last decade. They showcase how fun and intensity mix well together and how the message of a song sometimes isn't in the lyrics but in the music itself. There is hit after hit on this album from the debut single of "The Adventures Of Raindance Maggie" to "Factory Of Faith" and "Monarchy Of Roses." Songs like "Police Station" and "Meet Me At The Corner" are the lyrical standouts of the bunch and "Ethiopia" is just straight up funky. After having been a band in some form or another for thirty years, it's nice to see that they are essentially the same as they have always been. Despite the losses and turnovers in their musical personnel, Red Hot Chili Pepper have proven that they are rock royalty and can still make some of the best alternative rock music around. This album proves that the new chapter in their existence is going to be exciting.
With age and experience come maturity and what Incubus has proven is that maturity is what rock bands need to survive a long career. Their latest album is their most mature to date. While the subject matter and the passion has been top notch through their entire career, having come this far and having the individual experiences that each member bring to the table, lead to an all new idea of what musicality can be. "If Not Now, When?" is a collection of heartfelt and musical tracks that mix Incubus' signature cutting edge alt-rock with a gentler delivery. By no means is this band any different, but songs like "Promises, Promises" and "Friends And Lovers" are a graduation from the high school roots of the band that formed almost 20 years ago to a PhD in lyric driven and musical alternative rock. "Adolescents" and "Isadore" are two more prime examples of how the band has grown over the course of the last decade, showing off the necessity of synergy between music, lyrics, delivery, and content. This album may signal a reinvention of the band and broaden their fanbase much further than once imaginable.
311 continue to put out solid albums and their latest is no exception. The difference here is that the album only consists of eight tracks and leave true fans wanting more. Regardless, it features a couple of killer tracks that should translate well to 311's amazing live show. The song "Sunset In July" is an instant classic with singable lyrics and their signature hard-rock-meets-reggae vibe. The album doesn't feature any real slow or mellow tunes (like "Amber" or "Love Song") but rather shows of a throwback to their earlier independent days and the mid-nineties alternative rock feel of their debut self titled album. Rock bands come and go but 311 have proven that not only do they have staying power but they continue to write, record, release, and perform at the top of their game. The new music is a welcome addition to an incredibly expansive and influential catalogue.
With the death of Bradley Nowell at the height of success of Sublime, the world was left at a disadvantage. The world would never get new music (not previously recorded) from Sublime. Fortunately, the surviving members of the band felt that they should continue Nowell's legacy and find themselves a new lead singer, not to take Brad's place, but to continue his legacy. Enter, Rome Ramirez. This youngster could have been successful all on his own, but his love for the music of Sublime, and his creative energy was perfect for the reincarnation of Sublime as Sublime With Rome. Their new album is not a copycat rendition of years past, but a new take on what it would be like if Sublime came around about two decades after they formed. If Sublime was a new band these days they would have most likely been influenced by all of their original influences, and with all of the pop and punk and hip hop that has come out since they originally formed. This album is at times mellow and loud, and is incredibly tight. It features stuff you might not have heard with the Nowell fronted version and the highlights include the lead single "Panic," and the acoustic rocker "PCH." Sublime With Rome is both a throwback and a new take on the sunshine and angst of 90's era Sublime, and their new/debut album shows that what is old is new and you really can go home again.