Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend Music Roundup

My pace of digesting new music has been down a little the last few weeks as I try to give more careful listens to some other things I've raved about in the past. Part of me misses the days when I was a broke student, buying one CD a week and playing the daylights out of it until it became a part of being. On the other hand, there's always something to be said about new discoveries. Thankfully, I still managed to find some amazing things this past week. Without further ado, allow me to share:

A Singer of Songs - Old Happiness: A very nice melancholy folk album that reminds me Palace's more lo-fi conventional offerings, or Bright Eyes when Conner Oberst isn't being pretentious. Sure, it's familiar ground, but beautiful nonetheless.

Do You Know the Way to Blue? (Ondadrops Vol. 1): This is a compilation of unsung singer/songwriters and folk outfits that an online friend helped compile and alerted me to. Two discs of some very fine music with bands I'd never heard of...and that's saying something especially since I love the genre. The above album (A Singer of Songs) was a band I discovered from here. It's available for legal FREE download here

Woody Pines - Counting Alligators: This band plays a bluegrass style of country folk jug band, and I do love me some jug band. Some great tunes on here. Reminded me a lot of Old Crow Medicine Show (which I discussed a a few roundups ago). Not quite as grabbing as OCMS, but still toe-tapping good. 

Scout Niblett - The Calcination of Scout Niblett: Scout's last album, 2007's This Fool Can Die Now, was one of the best albums I heard last year. So, this was one of my most highly anticipated albums for 2010. Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as This Fool...but it's still pretty great and I didn't expect it to match since Bonnie Prince Billy's contribution is what put the last album in the next stratosphere. Still though, Scout has one of those haunting voices that stays with you. A definite for fans, but if you don't know her work, I recommend going for This Fool Can Die Now instead. But I will say, this album growing on me with each listen. As for style...think stripped down moody indie rock. 

Shout Out Louds - Work: Sweden's Shout Out Louds are known for catchy indie-pop...remember 2007's irresistible single "Impossible". Like their previous two albums, this one is more a collection of songs than an album. And like their other albums, some songs stand out above the rest. "Fall Hard" is the super catchy track on this one. I do think as a whole though, it doesn't match the last one. But maybe it's just the awful cover that makes me say that.

Black to Comm - Alphabet 1968: Despite what the title may suggest, this album is from last November. This is the kind of album I've been enjoying while I work. It's a combination of field recordings and a kind of ambient drone. It creates a nice mood without requiring much attention...or commanding much either. If this is your thing, it's worth a shot. 

Buddy Holly - For the First Time Anywhere: A collection of early Buddy Holly recordings that sound as good as everything else he did. It contains great version of "Maybe Baby" (my favorite Buddy tune). The whole album has a more back room bar feel than some of the more polished Holly. Great stuff.
Pink Floyd - The Massed Gadgets of Auximenies: A 1969 bootleg of the treasured "The Man" and "The Journey" story concerts that Floyd played that year as they tried to discover who they were without Syd. To non-bootleg fans of Floyd, the track titles will make you drool and wonder why you've never heard of these songs before. The truth is, though these are unreleased songs, most of the six-to-ten minute tracks would later be reworked into other songs. But the strength of The Man and The Journey is the story nature of it when played this way. WARNING: the quality of this boot is pretty close to terrible. There are better ones out there. But this is the one I listened to this week. 

Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs & Englishman: A live at the Fillmore album from 1970. The deluxe edition contains all three concert sets and captures Joe at his best. I've always thought Cocker was a better live album person, which is pretty rare. But his voice just works better without being mixed or dubbed. Just raw power. Hits and covers galore...great classic rock album.

Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones: I've purposely not bought this album a few times simply because it was the last Waits album I still wanted and by god, I wanted it on vinyl. I just felt I needed some Tom on vinyl and this is a good one for that. Thankfully, I got it for my birthday, 180g pressing and it sounds amazing. Tom's children's nightmare voice with a bit of booze jazz in the background...fantastic stuff this. 

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