I didn't have time this past weekend to get in the needed music roundup, but better late than never. This week was somewhat slow in new acquisitions, mostly because I'm still digesting the deluge from the weeks before. But not to worry, on my way home from Philly today, I made a detour at Princeton Record Exchange and picked up some key wishlist items that will be on here next weekend. But enough of the future, I need to focus on the present.
Elizabeth and the Catapult - taller children: So I'm cheating a bit here because this is one I actually got at the record exchange, but I'm really loving it as I listen to it. This feels very much like a '70s soul folk record but still very modern. Great voice (ala Amiee Mann) and a groovy beat. Plus, the cover art is amazing at LP size.
Natural Snow Buildings - Shadow Kingdom: This is the "new" one I spoke of last week and it's fantastic. Clocking in at around 2 hours, this is another drone folk masterpiece. It's somewhat of a mix of my two favorite NSB albums, combining the kind of drone of Daughter of Darkness with the folk of The Dance of the Moon and the Sun. Could drag for some, but a great record to listen to while writing.
Brendan Benson - My Old, Familiar Friend: Part of the $9.99 mall blitz, the new one from Brendan is a solid effort. After leaving his solo career behind for a few years to be with the Raconteurs, he returns to "familiar" territory. It covers the same range of his previous solo albums and satisfies. I'm hoping to discover further listenings will reveal more depth to this album, compared to the previous. Even if it doesn't, this still a good set of indie pop.
Andrew Bird - Noble Beast: The newest album from one of the smartest song writers today. What I love about Andrew Bird is the way he combines brilliant, innovative lyrics with brilliant innovative musical compositions. It sets him apart from the pack and makes his albums consistently feel like your listening to something special.
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges: For some reason, I always want to like this band more than I do. Again, picked this up during the big sale because I'd wanted to hear it for some time. I really liked the video that was on heavy rotation last spring. I was hoping this would be their album that reached me. And though it certainly wasn't, it is still rather good. It reminded me of The Flaming Lips in pieces. I liked it, I just didn't love it even though I wanted to.
Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt II: I was far from excited when I saw this one announced some months ago. I'd heard the latest Chef mixtape and found it only okay. In my NYC late teens and early 20's, I heard the call of Wu as members of the Clan released classic after classic. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was among those classics. The shine on the flying W has waned on this decades releases and this Part II felt like an attempt to cash in on former glory. Then I started reading about others like me who were unconvinced being won over. So I got it...and yeah, it's tight. As good as the first? Never. But still the best to come of the Clan in nearly a decade for sure.
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elswhere: This was one of those albums that has been sitting on the wishlist for about two years. I never committed for whatever reason. I bought the second one before this one, and loved it. I sort of always felt that this one couldn't be as good. It isn't. The great thing about Gnarls Barkley is their unique sound. However they were still finding their sound on this album, so it's hit and miss, unlike the second album which is all hit. That said, there are still a handful of tracks on here that are fantastic.
The Beatles - Meet the Beatles: This is the Beatles at their earliest. Of course, I know most of the songs on here (though some were new to me), but I bought it on vinyl because I sort of wanted some Beatles on record and this is one of the few albums I don't have already on CD. I've always liked the raw garage sound of the early Beatles and that's what this is. The songs "Little Child" and "Hold Me Tight" were good additions to my Beatles catalog.
TWO FIVE STAR ALBUMS FROM THE VAULT
O'Death - Broken Hymns, Limbs & Skin: One of my favorite albums from last year, this one came out a few months before I started doing this blog, so it never made it on. O'Death are one of the best bands around, playing their peculiar brand of death folk (or gothic country if you prefer that term). "Home", "On An Aching Sea", and "Angeline" are some of the stand-out tracks that showcase this album...howling vocals, bone rattles, and furious pace. This ain't your parents folk.
The Family of Apostolic: This is a psychedelic folk album from 1968 that I adore. A lot like The United States of America only there is no intention on here to ever make this a commercial album. While listening to this lo-fi gem, you can sort of hear the roots of the kind of indie lo-fi of The Microphones, Neutral Milk Hotel and Guided By Voices. This album is available for free by the band here.