Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend Music Roundup

For a few reasons, not the least of which is the teetering towers of CDs in my office, I haven't listened to that many new things this week. Which has been great in many ways, allowing me to spend more time with some releases I've been neglecting. It's also allowing me to pass along some albums that have been waiting their turn to make the Roundup for months in some cases. Not surprisingly given the melting heat staring me in the face today, the good majority of this list has a summertime feel. Enjoy them with a beer and a BBQ.

Buddy Holly - Buddy Holly: I picked up this Finnish picture disk vinyl the other weekend at the local record shop for a cool $10. Eleven songs of pure heaven. Nearly all my jammy jams are on this. "Everyday", "Oh Boy", "Maybe Baby" "That'll Be the Day" and well you get the point. The sound quality is great too and it's my only Buddy on vinyl, so I have to admit, I'm proud of if.

Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair: An nu-disco album from 2008 that I'd been wanting to hear for a long time after a catching a video back in that bygone year. The thing that makes this record so interesting is Antony's signing (of Antony and the Johnsons). Now, I really hated the Antony and the Johnsons album. I thought he sounded like a dying cricket. But combined with the electronic beats and horns on here, I think his voice works beautifully. A great indie dance album.

The Detroit Cobras - Tied & True: I missed this 2007 release when it came out. I have most of their albums before this one and enjoy them all. Another strong set of garage revival, but I've always felt the Cobras bring something a little different to the genre. Their songs definitely have many nods to Detroit's other legacy, infusing a Motown groove to their garage rock. The mixture is always enjoyable. This is their last album to date, if it remains so, it's a strong way to go out.

James Hunter - People Gonna Talk: British soul man playing his own brand of '60s soul with authenticity. This album is solid, though almost a little too retro for my taste in that it really doesn't bring anything new to the genre. That said, it's always nice to hear good soul being played. "Mollena" is an absolute fantastic song.

J Mascis + Friends - Sing + Chant for Amma: In 2005, Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis made this freak folk album that consists of six 5 minute plus songs. I have to admit to a mild interest when I picked this up but ended up falling in love with it. It strikes me as a experimental extension Green Mind (which I'm not afraid to admit is my favorite Dinosaur Jr. album). One of my favorite finds of the last few months to be sure.

The Spencer Davis Group - Gimme Some Lovin': Steve Winwood's pre-Traffic outfit's fourth and probably best known album. This is '60s British soul and played very well. The album suffers from too many toss off tracks, but the stand outs are dynamite. "Keep on Running" and "Somebody Help Me" are my personal favs. I always find it interesting to hear where certain musicians started before ending up in legendary bands. Definitely pales to Traffic, but good stuff nonetheless.

L7 - Smell the Magic: The 1990 album that proceeded '92s more mainstream Bricks Are Heavy is a raw blitz of riot grrrl rock. Smartly, the album clocks in just around 30 minutes and that's all it needs. Any more would probably take away from the furious pace. This is easily their best album in my opinion and ranks up there with riot grrrl's other top albums from Hole, Bikini Kill, and Babes in Toyland. "Shove" is such an anthem of early '90s angst.

Uriah Heep - Fantasy: With a cover like this, I can't help but have expectations of pure '70s hard rock bliss. Unfortunately, that's only half the story. Certainly at it's best, this 1975 album sounds like a darker Bowie meets Zeppelin and those songs are pretty darn great. At it's worst, it's straight '70s bar blues and the uneven mixture just didn't work for me as a whole. I'd stick to their earlier catalog.

David Bowie - Hunky Dory: Let me start in defending myself (sort of) for not having this album. I have a huge Bowie catalog and this one slipped through mostly because I have versions of the songs in multiple places. However, having listened to this masterpiece, there really is no excuse for not having it before. Every song is amazing from the opener "Changes" to the brilliant closer "The Bewlay Brothers." Easily one of Bowie's three best albums.

Death in Vegas - The Contino Sessions: A British trip-hop band, with the key word being band. A full band playing music that I suppose falls into the trip-hop category for lack of anything else at the time of their inception of the late '90s. This 1999 album is quite awesome. The guesting vocalists shine on many tracks, most notably Bobby Gillespie (of Primal Scream) whose song sounds like it could come off Kasabian's first album. For all you Explosions in the Sky fans out there, check out Death in Vegas.


  1. More new ones for me, though Spencer Davies and Uriah Heap bring back good memories. I've been watching the streams from Glastonbury all weekend. Florence was a big pleasant surprise to me.

  2. Yeah, I really like that Florence and the Machines album. Didn't Paloma Faith play there this year? She's easily been my favorite pop act of the last year.