Been on a bit of binge lately, but what else is new. Always after finishing a huge project and finding myself with all of the time and mental energy, I usually sink it into musical discoveries and appreciation. I've built up quite a catalog of music to be listed here in the coming weeks. I've also begun to reorganize my swelling collection, trying to consolidate some CDs into booklets. As I started that project yesterday, I realized there was so much good stuff that I hadn't listened to in quite a while. I've decided to spend some time in the next few weeks reaquainting myself with them. But that's for the future, here's this week's roundup of fuzzy warbles.
efterklang - Under Giant Trees: This amazing EP is the first of the gems I unearthed in my reorganization. Dating from long ago 2007, I loved it then, but admit that I sort of forgot what it sounded like...so much so that it was misplaced on my shelves which are organized into mood. This is a beautiful, slow kind of mood record that I had placed on the instrumental metal shelf...way off. It's hard to define, it has very rich transporting sound. Great summer evening kind of record.
The Stills-Young Band - Providence, RI: My renewed Neil Young phase shows no signs of receding anytime soon (this is one of several Young albums to come). Now, I confess to being a huge fan of the Stills-Young LP Long May You Run, even the Stephen Stills tracks (gasp!). So I was really eager to hear this live bootleg. It's top quality for sure. A tremendous setlist of greats by both artists and CSNY classics.
Brenda Lee - All Alone Am I: A few weekends ago when I rummaged through a dark dusty record shop, this was the prize find of the 10 vinyl LPs I purchased. A first pressing DECCA mono in mint condition. Now, it should be noted, I'm total fanatic for early Brenda Lee. This album is superb. It's more traditional pop and less of the country twang of her work that came before this, but her voice is unbelievable. 5 stars.
The Banana Splits - We're the Banana Splits: The dANIMAL passed this on to me upon my request. I thought there would be a nostalgic appeal, having grooved the show on USA's Cartoon Express in my childhood. What I didn't expect was that this is actually very good musically. It sounds like The Animals, if they wore giant mascot outfits. "You're the Lovin' End" is fantastic.
Donovan - Barabajagal: Another vinyl buy, I picked this up because I have a unhealthy love for Donovan even though it seems each album has some duds. This is no exception. "I Love My Shirt" might be most annoying song he's ever done. But then there's the brilliant side of Donovan, like the title track, "Superlungs My Supergirl" and "Atlantis." A decent effort, but not his best, that's reserved for the amazing double album A Gift From a Flower to a Garden. Also, related is Mark Fry's Dreaming with Alice that copies the cover art from this album and is actually a better album of hippy folk.
Bonzo Dog Band - Let's Make Up and Be Friendly: A contractual throw-away album recorded by a band that had already broken up, this is one of those records for music geeks only. Though there is a tongue cheek style to the band's music, there is also a Captain Beefheart seriousness as well. If you're in the right mood, it's really entertaining.
Country Joe & The Fish - He We Are Again: Their fourth album in a two year span, this is easily the weakest of the four, but that's okay, it's still top notch psychedelic rock. "Here I Go Again" is one of my favorite songs of theirs. Also, it completed my vinyl collection of Country Joe & The Fish albums. Any fan of San Fran late '60s rock needs these four albums...all of them.
A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone...: The bands first album from 2000 is definitely more minimal than their 2010 release, which I love. Now, I certainly like me some slowcore, but this is just a little too slow to be exceptional. Still a solid mood record and I'll certainly listen to it, especially while writing.
Fleetwood Mac - Future Games: One of those bands that I completely wrote off early on in my musical development despite the fact that in early childhood I had an affinity to them as my elementary school was named Fleetwood School. But I can't be to blame, knowing only the horrible Stevie Nicks version of the band. However, I recently learned that they were more of a British Blues band once upon a time. I'd been meaning to check them out for months when I picked this earlier album up on vinyl and was pleasantly surprised. It's a bluesy pop album, and though from England, there's a California sound to it that I dig. I can't wait to check out the albums prior to this one, which are supposedly even more traditional blues rock.
Guided by Voices - Sunfish Holy Breakfast: Recorded in the band's mid-90's heyday of Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, this is vintage GBV lo-fi indie bliss. This period of the band's catalog is certainly one of the dominant influences on indie-rock of the last decade. If you are unfamiliar, by all means, dive in and be prepared to be blown away by the sheer wonder.