As another week draws to a close on a cool and dreary Sunday, I find myself listening to the comforting sounds of drone folk and reflecting back on the music of the last several days. This was one of those weeks where I gathered a bunch odds and ends together, hoping for something spectacular to emerge. None of the albums on this week's list were ones I'd been particularly waiting for or anticipating, which always leaves the door open for surprise. However all the artists were familiar to me, so it was a lot of safe bets. Enjoy.
Robert Pollard - Faulty Superheroes: The Guided By Voices, Boston Spaceships, Circus Devils, et al, frontman released his millionth solo album in April, the first in two years under his name. Like the aforementioned projects, the songs on here are brief lo-fi pieces. What I love about his music is how the songs feel like fragments of William Burroughs novels, full of surreal imagery and the hint of some bigger story. Probably not essential, but as always, it's a quality album. Fans won't go wrong with this one.
Riff Raff - Hologram Panda: This mixtape from the Florida dope boy came out in 2012 and is available for free on datpiff.com. One of his most consistent efforts, there really aren't any true "skip" tracks on here, and the beats are trippy brilliant. Like all mixtapes, there's a repetitive feel to some of the songs as artists try to work out rhymes, playing with them in a variety of ways. Great for the summer and definitely worth picking up.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Live in Paris: It's hard to believe the San Fran rock band has been around for over a decade, and though they've consistently released quality albums, they are still relatively unknown. I saw them live way back during their debut album and to hear them on this record proves how much they've grown over their career. This double album contains their last album played live in order, while the second disc is a career spanning set. Most surprising is how great the last album sounds, because while I liked it, I didn't love it until I heard it here.
The View - Which Bitch?: Released back in 2009, this is the second album the Scottish band and one of the greatly overlooked gems of the British indie revival of the past decade. While The Libertines and The Arctic Monkeys are constantly acknowledged for bringing youth angst back to UK rock, The View are just as creative and inventive. If anything, this album shows them to be far more creative than their contemporaries at the time, fusing many different elements and influences into this collection of outstanding tracks. I've been a fan of this album since it came out and recently broke down and ordered it on vinyl. Definitely one that shouldn't be overlooked.
Ryan Adams - Jacksonville: This single came out last fall in the wave of releases from the singer songwriter that preceded and followed the release of his self-titled album. None of these three tracks are found on the album, but the title track would certainly have fit. It's a classic Ryan Adams sound, a sort of Neil Young inspired piece of nostalgia about time passing. "I Keep Running" is another solid effort, and the last song is more of gag kind of song, playing with old blues themes and styles. More of curiosity track than anything else.
The Jayhawks - Live at the Belly Up: In the mid-80's this Minneapolis quartet pretty much re-invented the alt-country genre, reaching the height of their success with 1995's Tomorrow the Green Grass. With all the core original members back in place since 2008, they are once again making the rounds and recently released this live set featuring a career spanning set list. I'm a sucker for their Neil Young inspired sound and they really nail it here. A must for fans.