I did something this week that I haven't done in a long time, I bought a bunch of CDs at the mall. Now, living in the sticks as I do, my mall is some forty minutes away and is one of the strangest malls I've ever inhabited. Growing up in Dirty Jersey as I did, where hanging out at the mall is pretty much the favored past time between the ages of 11 years old and 18 years old, trust me when I saw I know malls and I know this mall is bizarre. But I digress...the point is, I was there to do some necessary shopping and see a flick, when I passed the F.Y.E. Now as far as mall record shops go, it's not horrible. I'll stop in on occasion, but not religiously. But as I passed by, I noticed the banner "All CDs $9.99 or Less" and did a double take. Certainly worth a breeze through. Some made it on this list, but some I'm saving for next week.
Langhorne Slim - Be Set Free: The newest by Slim is another great set of songs in the best Cat Stevens, Jim Croce style of songwriting. An amazing voice, great plucking, what more could you ask. You can't wrong with any of his three albums.
The Raveonettes - In and Out of Control: The Raveonettes are one of those bands that I've always liked, but never really got way into. Their earlier greaser inspired rock is fun, but never stuck too much. Then came their last album, Lust Lust Lust and I loved the shoegazer appeal of it. This album seemed a mix of the old and new sound. On first listen, I wasn't too thrilled. But after the third listen, I realized I really enjoyed this. Not as profound as Lust, but very good. Like a milder Lush which I always thought Lush needed to be a bit clearer and milder.
Amelie - Dina Dinah: Very much a Joanna Newsome imitation, but not in a bad way. This was a very enjoyable listen of a old tyme ren-folk. I was attracted to it by the catgirl motif (CatKid forces me to check out anything Nekko) Plus, I couldn't help but think there was an Alice reference as Dinah is Alice's cat's name. Not sure that there was, but an enjoyable listen nonetheless.
Nightmare of You - infomaniac: This is the follow-up to the band's 2006 debut which made a minor splash in the world. I never heard that entire album, but enjoyed the few songs that I had listened to. This was one of $9.99 purchases and it was well worth it. This is a soft sound, along the lines of the Portland bands around, but very expansive in its own way.
Florence and the Machine - Lungs: The voice is the star of this album. It soars and leaves a trail of emotion behind. In a lot of ways, it's very Bjork in her controlled moments (think Selma Songs) but with more depth. Whereas Bjork's voice comes out her head, Florence's aptly comes from the lungs. Musically, it's catchy, which is nice change. I feel like most bands with a such a powerful singer would hide the music is very simple rhythms.
Hourglass - Oblivious to the Obvious: This album belongs to new school of prog-metal albums that seem to be everywhere these days. I do love me some prog-metal, which usually depends on the voice and lyrics as to whether it falls under great or corny. Hourglass has all the right components. This album never bored me, but at the same time, it kind of felt like an average Porcupine Tree album. Still though, an average Porcupine Tree album is still better than a lot of the prog metal out there.
Brand New - Daisy: Unfairly categorized as 'emo' which has become a terrible tag, Brand New is a very interesting band. I enjoyed their last album (though not as much as the demo bootleg that preceded it). In my opinion, this album shows a leap forward to the band. Sure, that makes them more commercial, but at the same time, they've gotten more ambitious and experimental. This is the best that power rock gets these days.
Natural Snow Buildings - The Winter Ray: This is older album by my favorite drone folk band. Though surely not their best, this is great soundscape record. Over two hours of winter sounds. There's more of a Boards of Canada sound on here (not turntables but more ambient) and I love the mixture of field recordings. It should hold me over until I pick up their new album.
Cage the Elephant: I became intrigued by this band after seeing their rather odd video on Subterranean last week. There was something very '90s Seattle about them, but in a real way, not in a industry "you should try this sound" sort of way. It was natural. And that's sort of what it is, like the Vines or others. If that's your thing, it's a solid effort. I enjoyed it.
Seatrain: A late '60s progressive folk outfit, Seatrain was a band recommended to me by my mom a few months ago. While in the city two weeks ago, I came across this '69 debut used on vinyl and picked it up. I like it a lot. There's kind of an early Jethro Tull feel to it. Good stuff and a sound there is never enough of out there.
Sebedoh - Harmacy: I was never a big Sebedoh fan back in the day (ie. the first half of the '90s), but I've always respected Lou Barlow's other projects (Dinosaur Jr., Folk Explosion, solo). My roommate had most of the Sebedoh albums, so there was no need to ever buy them and I never replaced them as I had many other things from his collection. But recently been interested in revisiting. I picked this one up and of course, loved the Lou Barlow songs. Not so into the others which are more or less toss-off punk songs. But then again, that's what makes Sebedoh different from a Lou Barlow solo album.