Queens of the Stone Age
Josh Homme is the coolest guy with a guitar on the radio right now and Queens of the Stone Age are that band. Homme is a badass, and rightfully so. He makes original rock n roll that has always been left of center, heavy, groovy, and just damn good. Anyone who can have Dave Grohl play drums on an entire record, write a song with Billy Gibbons, and co-write and produce an album and tour with Iggy Pop gets my vote.
QOTSA’s brand of music is not a brand, it doesn’t have to be. The band, with Homme as their rat-pack leader, slink through their music in crooner fashion with old school rock star charisma. In fact, Homme might be one of the last bastions of actual rock stardom, and he knows it. Which makes the new Queens record, Villains that much better.
As I’m sure you have heard from multiple media sites, Villains was produced by none other than the current king of the radio, Mark Ronson. Yes, “Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson. And while you ponder that notion for a minute, keep in mind that Ronson’s stepfather is Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones. So, while pop swagger is his meal ticket, rock music is in his veins, and a QOTSA / Ronson partnership makes a lot more sense than you may think.
The whole record is solid. You can hear the Ronson influence on the first two songs “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” and “The Way You Used to Do” with a guitar boogie, memorable chorus, and danceable rhythm. The chorus of “Domestic Animals” will be in your head the rest of the day with perfectly placed synths. “Fortress” slows it down with Homme’s croon put front and center. “Head Like a Haunted House” has a 60s rock feel filtered through punk rock purity. “The Evil Has Landed” is the most full throttle rock song on the record, with an instant signature QOTSA style riff.
Homme has teased that get up and dance boogie on a number of occasions. Think “No One Knows”, and “Monster in Your Parasol” among others. There is something embedded in those songs that brings out the hip shaking along with the head banging. There is something on this record though that feels as if it needs to be defensive right out of the gate, whether it be Ronson’s presence, or the flag bearing rock band that QOTSA are. Make no mistake this is a QOTSA album, but this one might incite some twerking.