New Records - Kings of Leon, The Drams

I downloaded 2 records from iTunes this weekend, both of which I highly recommend.

Because of the Times by Kings of Leon is a great follow-up to their previous 2 records. I haven't read any reviews, but I suspect that they'll all describe how their sound has "matured" and that this record illustrates a greater lyrical and musical depth than the previous adrenaline-driven records.

I like that much of Because is completely different than anything they've ever done. I've always preferred bands that recreate themselves to those that release the same record over and over and over. Plus - though the texture of the songs departs from their past - they all still contain the angular rhythms, sloppy guitar, and the raspy, screeching vocals that, in my opinion, make them great. Even better still - the record is named after an annual Pentecostal minister's convention.

You can hear a couple songs from the record on their MySpace page. Unfortunately, they don't include Charmer and Camaro on the page - they're my faves after listening through a few times.

If you were to take the members of Wilco, DBT, and Weezer and randomly shuffle the players to create a new 5-piece band, that band would probably sound a lot like The Drams. Their debut record Jubilee Dive is outstanding. They actually released it in 2006 - and I'm miffed that I just now bought it.

The tunes are all largely melodic, sing-able, and feature piano/keys prominently, but have the rough edge, raunchy guitar, and vocal quality that keeps 'em country and keeps 'em rawk. (It is no coincidence that they toured with DBT...and that three of their members were formerly of Slobberbone, a mid-90s alt country stalwart.)

Again - you can hear a handful of songs on their MySpace page. Check out You Won't Forget.