#NewMusicFriday, Nov. 18, 2016: Dragonette, Bruno Mars, DNCE, Metallica

We would’ve hoped for a gayer lineup to blast off our maiden musical voyage this week, yet we’ll have to make do with some gay-friendly electro and pop, and the sweet musk of middle-aged testosterone. Hats off to new releases from Dragonette, Bruno Mars, DNCE, and Metallica, who top off this week’s best new releases. 

Dragonette – Royal Blues

Sometimes we can’t tell what separates great electro from the vast majority of average product, but in the case of Canadian trio Dragonette (pictured above), it’s easy: pop hooks for days, a sense of fun as sharp as their mellow melancholy, and the clarion tones of vocalist Martina Sorbara. Their fourth full-length (digital last week; CD today) also comes with a cogent narrative – the dissolution of Sorbara’s relationship with bassist Dan Kurtz. So for every synthtabulous blast of sheer fun like “Secret Stash feat Mike Mago,” there’s an underpinning of lost possibilities and what could have been’s (“Royal Blues”). Over and over they hit that sweet spot of pop perfection as masterfully as Robyn does, in one example, on “Call Your Girlfriend.” And if Sorbara’s boyfriend woes are too much for you during your post-election blues, then just immerse in the jumpy rhythms and the finely-toned dancers of the video for “Body 2 Body.” You’ll feel better in no time at all.

Bruno Mars – 24K Magic

If he isn’t quite yet the new Michael Jackson it’s not for lack of trying on the part of Peter Gene Hernandez aka Bruno Mars. Album three is short with little fat on it – 9 tunes as fetching as your lover’s smile. No doubt much of 24K Magic will be inescapable over the next few months and we’ll all be sick of it come 2017, but Mars is a master showman who delivers high-grade pop without ever seeming to break a sweat. Love him or hate him, his bling is real. (“24K Magic,” “Versace on the Floor”)


Hmmm. So what do we have here? Yet another Jonas brother currying favor with gay tastemakers by coopting disco-funk swagger? Sure is, and good for Joe Jonas and his swinging band of fun-makers. While they frontload their debut with good-time grooves (including last year’s “Cake by the Ocean”), their pony pulls more than one trick – some garage blues (“Truthfully”); gospel pop (“Good Day”); even the requisite ballad (“Almost”) is good. Yet you’ll return to it most for what it inspires which is – in their own words – “Body Moves.”

Metallica – Hardwired…to Self-Destruct

33 years on from their debut and you know what to expect from heavy metal’s front rank combo: riffs, crunch, screams, and more crunch. Yet after one of the most divisive elections in our history – with more, much more, to come – their steadfast pummeling and righteous anger were the only things to make any sense this month. So along with all your hand-wringing you can add your head-banging now. (“Now That We’re Dead,” “Atlas, Rise!”)


Justice – Woman

French EDM and c’est ci bon, non? (“Randy”)

Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings

That nasty public divorce from Blake Shelton is in this sprawling double album, but so is her rebound with Anderson East. On balance, it’s the perfect mix of sweet and sour for the country set. (“Vice”)

E-40 – The D-Boy Diary (Book 1 & Book 2)

His 23rd and 24th release simultaneously makes him the hardest working living rapper since…Tupac? (“Savage feat. Jazzy Pha & B-Legit”)

Palace – So Long Forever

Debut from UK Americana act; not Mumford & Sons and all the better for it. (“Holy Smoke”)

Bry – Bry

Irish YouTube sensation’s debut release and let’s say this for him: he’s sure one catchy son of a bitch and, truth be told, pretty darn cute. (“You’re Alright”)