Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend Music Roundup

I'm back in the glut of new music this week and I like it. Some great finds over the long weekend and some disappointments. Some things I've wanted for some time and others I didn't know existed. All in all...a lot to be thankful for as is always the case with music.

Karen O and The Kids - Where the Wild Things Are: I bought this because I remembered really enjoying the music while watching the film. This is one of those rare soundtracks that when removed from the film is still an amazing listen. Karen O sounds fantastic and the kid choir mixes well. The songs are dreamy and frantic and beautiful. I wish the last Yeah Yeah Yeahs album sounded more like this than that horrible '80s disco that it did resemble. I love this album.

Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Doomsday EP: I've had this for weeks and have been loving it for weeks, but realized I neglected to include it in the roundup before. Now, I fully admit to being biased as Elvis Perkins is probably my favorite songwriter to emerge in the last five years, but this is a great EP. It's a departure from the two albums, a little more fun and loose but equally as beautiful. Stay, Zombie, Stay and the slow version of Doomsday are incredible. 

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park: Lucero plays alt country rock and when they are on, they are better than anyone. That Much Further West is one of my favorite southern rock albums of all time. This album is not nearly that good, but it's decent. I found it to be up and down. Some songs were great and others were kind of same-same. This album was more on par with Nobody's Darling. Worthwhile if you like the band or the genre, but if you are unfamiliar, then I definitely recommend That Much Further West

Portugal. The Man - The Majestic Majesty: A few weeks ago, I falsely reported on this blog that this album was the same as The Satanic Satanist. Thankfully, my friend set me straight, informing me that this is an acoustic version of that album. WHAT? I had to hear it right away and by god, it's unbelievably good. Two songs into it, I replaced The Satanist with The Majesty on my ipod. 5 Stars...easily.

Porcupine Tree - The Incident: I've been into this band for a half a decade now, and though I've always preferred their mid-90's work best (The Sky Moves Sideways is a must have album) I still enjoy their recent prog-metal inspired work. This new album has been much talked about mainly for the 55 minute title track that takes up Disc 1. Personally, I wasn't too blown away with that. It was kind of a mess and something Mars Volta does much better. But surprisingly, I really enjoyed the 4 tracks on Disc 2 that many seem to see as toss-on tracks. This album is a solid OK, but the band is capable of much better. We'll see though. Their albums tend to grow on me.

Noah and the Whale - Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down: This album surprised me in a good way. The missus and I had seen their prior video and weren't thrilled. But she was brave enough to give it a listen at the listening station and we both agreed it seemed worth a shot at its sale price. I really enjoyed it. It's sort of a cross between Okkervil River and Peter, Bjorn, & John. Definitely a little on the pretentious side of folk-pop, but smartly done. 

Dead Confederate - Dead Confederate EP: I've been listening to this band's debut for most of the fall and am still impressed by it. This is the earlier EP that most likely got them their record deal and it's easy to see why. Much less produced, this is one of those sad sounding heavy rock albums and it's fantastic.

Stars - Heart: This early album was the only one I was missing by Stars, a indie-pop band from Canada, so I picked it up. It fits seamlessly in with the rest of the band's catalog. Though Stars is definitely more poppy that I usually go for, I've always liked them. They remind me a little bit of the Smiths, if the Smiths were from North America in 00's. 

Raised by Swans - Codes and Secret Longings: I fully admit to getting this because of the cover (the image is from the film Grave of the Fireflies which is one of the best animated films ever made). The album was a decent moody piece. It's a melancholy shoegazer album that wallows in the darkness...basically, the kind of album I would have loved in college and still appreciate now, though certainly don't love.

The Famous Jug Band - Sunshine Possibilities: A little back story here. I'm one of these people that thinks most any band can be improved if they had someone on the jug. I frequently make this observation, in earnest, while listening to things with the missus. So, she spotted this in the record store and showed it to me. I had to get it, even before I realized that Clive Palmer (of The Incredible String Band and C.O.B.) was in the band. Not surprisingly, it's very much in that line of folk, but also different in many ways as it is indeed a jug band. The result: Brilliant. This is one of those albums that I'd have expected to see all over the freak-folk blog world. It's an absolute must for any fan of '60s avant-folk. I can imagine I'll be listening to this album a lot over the winter...I'm looking forward to it. 

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