Interesting collection this week of things I never knew existed and things that I've wanted for quite some time. As is usually the case this time of year, my tastes tend to drift to the woodsy sort of folk that seems the surround my brain in the winter months. Though, given the sometimes surreal nature of the novel I'm working on, some of this crosses over into freak territory. The mood of my current writing is typically reflected in the music I choose to listen to at the time of conception. So...enjoy.
The Parade Schedule - Seeds to be Planted, Trees to Be Cut: A Midwestern folk album that is beautiful in its simplicity. There's a alt-country to feel to the songs, but still more folk than that. Just a lovely, lo-fi album that I could listen a million times.
A Silver Mt. Zion - Kollapse Tradixionales: This is one of those frantic sort of experimental rock albums that normally annoys me. However, the experiment works on this album. It pulls together to make a very surrealist kind of story album, like a heavier Sunset Rubdown circa Snakes Got a Leg era. I'm absolutely loving this album. "There's trumpets in Heaven, six feet under ground."
Cold War Kids - Behave Yourself EP: It's fashionable to hate this band in many indie circles. Then again, in many indie circles it's fashionable to hate any band that has more than four fans. I like these guys. I like their California brand of beach groove. Hopefully this new ep is a sign of more good things to come.
Ned Collette - Over the Stones, Under the Stars: Newish album (came out last fall) from Australian singer/songwriter is pretty fantastic. I think this album expands on his previous album's themes and really touches on the sad absurdity of so many things in our culture.
Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum - Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head: Yes, as you can tell by the album title and cover, there is an obvious intent to be bizarre. And this album is very much of the freak lo-fi genre, but I give them credit for truly embracing it. They don't skirt around it, they go full on. The result is something along the lines of early Neutral Milk Hotel meets the Microphones. I actually like this album a lot, but can certainly see people despising it.
Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens - What Have You Done, My Brother?: I've been infatuated with the title track off this album for well over a year, after it's inclusion on a MOJO compilation. Even though the album was all over a lot of "Best Of" lists for 2009, I didn't manage to hear it until the other week. It's certainly solid gospel soul that sounds authentic to it's '70s influences. But, a little to heavy on the religious side in a lot of songs for my tastes. There are a few songs though that are fantastic. Title track is a must.
Samantha Crain - The Confiscation (A Musical Novella): Any reader here knows that I've been in love Samantha Crain's music since August. This is the first EP she did, which in my opinion is the best of her releases that I've heard yet. Just six absolutely perfect songs. A little darker and sadder than the full length. Terrific, terrific stuff.
The Beatles with Tony Sheridan: The prize piece in the vinyl Christmas treasure, the actually German release (first pressing) that still didn't distinguish the "with Tony Sheridan" on the cover. This is the early, early Beatles with some bloke named Tony singing. It actually sounds more like Elvis than the Beatles, but hey, that's still pretty good to me.
Brenda Lee - Une Explosion!: I actually managed to get my hands on all of Brenda's early EPs and singles this week and it only cemented my belief that she's one of most underrated early rock 'n' roll legends. This 1958 EP should be enough for anyone to agree. "Bigelow 6-200" and "One Teenage to Another" are so amazing. The other two tracks, well they're merely perfect.
NASA Voyager Recordings - Symphonies of the Planets Volumes 1-5: The sounds of space as recorded by the Voyager probe as it made its way through the solar system. NASA collected these sounds, adjusted them to human hearing frequencies and the results are truly mind-blowing in that the sound of space is musical, rhythmic and soothing. Each volume is a half-hour long and moves out farther and farther into the solar system. Just out of pure curiosity, everyone should listen to this at least once.