Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Music Roundup

This past week produced a good crop of new and old albums that I imagine will get some frequent spin time in the old fuzzy warbles player. In other music related news, I took the plunge and decided to reorganize my 2500 cds. For the past five years, I've had them alphabetical and I've always hated it. Though practical, I find the ABCs to be drab and often tend to skip entire letters due to unfound prejudice. I'm attempting to arrange them by "sound" which is a modification of my previous structure of "mood" that they were organized by before the dreaded alpha. It's been a daunting task, especially when I'm staring at something for a few minutes before I realize, "I have no idea what this sounds like."

Graham Coxon - The Spinning Top: This is Graham's (formally and furturly of Blur) seventh solo album and the first that I've really loved since the first (The Sky is Too High). It recaptures the Syd Barrett feeling of that first album, which has been missing in the 5 in between. Those leaned toward a lo-fi punk sound. That's okay, but sort of boring. This album is once again dynamic, lyrical, and beautifully odd. 

A Hawk and a Hacksaw - Deliverance:  The newest release the from Budapest folk band is a strong effort in my opinion. I'm familiar with them from other releases and from their connection to Neutral Milk Hotel. They play a variation of traditional instrumental Balkan folk which I find very great play when I'm working. 

Stinking Lizaveta - Sacrifice and Bliss: This didn't blow me away. It's standard stoner drone ala Kyuss (though without singing). I gave it a shot because they're from hometown Philly. I only list it here because I think I'd have enjoyed it a ton more if it wasn't something I felt like I'd already heard a million times. But if you're not proficient in stoner rock, check it out and you might really like it. 

Joker's Daughter - The Last Laugh: I really liked this one. It starts off pretty tame, female singer/songwriter with a eerie pop/folk but the album builds into something great. It reminds me a little of Sunfighter (the Grace Slick/ Paul Kantner album) but more melodic in a 2009 sort of way. 

Low - I Could Live in Hope: I've been a fan of Low's slowcore sound for years, but never got my hands on this one, their first album. It's not as if they've ever departed very far from the sound created here, but there's definitely something special going on in this record. Just beautiful, sound, expansive music created in the most minimal of ways. 

Au Pairs - Playing With a Different Sex: I've had this album from 1981 sitting around in my stack since the Fall and somehow never played it. I realized this when I put it on this week. From the first song, I knew I hadn't listened to it before...I knew because it was really damned good. Female lead post-punk outfit that gets it right. Similar to Gang of Four and other contemporaries. Smart lyrics, great sound.

Bonnie Prince Billy - Beware: Bonnie (aka Will Oldman) has been a legend in my mind since 1997 when I first heard a Palace Brothers release (his former incarnation). His voice is like something out of time and suits his brand of alt. country/folk to perfection. Though since his 1999 release of I See A Darkness, (one my 20 favorite albums of all time), there's been some hits and misses. Well, none have really been misses, but just less impressive outings. I'm glad to report this one feels like one of the top tier Bonnie releases.  

Songs: Ohia - Axxess & Ace / Songs Ohia: Didn't It Rain: Got my hands on two releases from one of my favorite bands over the last 5 years. I have around 20 releases of Jason Molina's work (Songs:Ohia changed names to Magnolia Electric Co. a few years back) and every release never fails to blow me away. A sort Neil Young inspired slowcore that always gives me the feeling of a dark star-filled night in some Kansas of the mind. 

Tiny Masters of Today - Skeletons: The second album from brother & sister Kidcore garage outfit in Brooklyn keeps the same sort of vibe as their previous release from two years back. But as the siblings move from being preteens into teenagers, their playing has gotten more dynamic and they've moved beyond the 3 chord garage rock to create a more complex sound. I liked it...long live Kidcore!

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