Another mix of old and new this week. Looking at the selections, I must also admit to there being no theme or connection between most of the albums. I spent the week editing, which unlike actual writing, doesn't really require me to set the mood as specifically. In addition, I blame the weather. The end of August around these parts is the climate of a place on the verge. Two seasons are colliding. It was one of those weeks where it would be summer one day, autumn the next, back to summer. Thankfully, autumn is slowly winning out...so be warned, the days of dreary folk lists are on the horizon.
Holly Miranda - Choose to See EP: I've been loving Holly's full-length album The Magician's Private Library (previously reviewed). It's been one of my favorites of the year so far. I saw her perform in my town two weekends ago on the front porch of a store, just her with an acoustic guitar and no microphone. She played mostly songs from this EP (which was a promo given away with the album at Rough Trade stores in London). Composed of five covers, it has the same electro-folk feel as the album. The acoustic cover of Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor" is fantastic. A good companion to a great album.
J. Tillman - Singing Ax: I discovered Tillman from the two great sessions he did for Daytrotter.com and was excited to check out this, his newest album (he has several others that I still need to track down). This is very minimal acoustic singer-songwriter folk, but absolutely beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Songs:Ohia. Probably will remain in heavy rotation as the Fall weather continues.
Korn - Korn III: Remember Who You Are: Okay, I know...but whatever, I like this band. Their first few albums were groundbreaking and introduced a wealth of horrible music that followed them, but that's not their fault. This new album is kind of awesome. Like much of their recent work, it has more heavy grooves than the band's original sound. It reminds me, as most of their music does, of some of the more industrial tracks on the Use Your Illusion albums.
I Am Kloot - Sky at Night: The new album from the Manchester outfit is a bit of a departure from the earlier material. There's a grander sound to this than the Indie-Brit they're known for. There's elements of cabaret and a Big Band hugeness to the songs. But at the same time, there's a later Beatles vibe on songs like "Lately" and acoustic lullabies like "Still Do". A very varied and enjoyable album.
The Rosewood Thieves - From the Decker House: This 2006 EP from the Brooklyn based band has been my favorite album of the past two weeks. I've been playing this like crazy. This has been on my wishlist for ages and I can't believe I waited so long. "Los Angeles" and "Back Home to Harlem" are incredibly. They have a sound that fits the gap between the Beatles and Oasis.
Fischerspooner - Odyssey: I listened to this, along with their fist album (#1) this week and they are okay. This falls into that genre known as electro-clash, which is basically just evolved techno, beats with dream pop vocals. Though these were okay listens, I just can't get into the genre at all. It just feels so hallow. The voices are swallowed by the machines and become nothing more than the echo of ghosts.
Stina Nordenstam - This is Stina Nordenstam: I bought this when it came out back in 2001 and liked it a lot, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. I rediscovered it again while reorganizing my collection a few months back. She has such a beautiful childlike voice that blends well with the electronic dream pop and acoustic guitar strumming. It's sort of Mazzy Star-esque, though a little more experimental. I've recently picked up another of her albums but have yet to listen to it. I'm curious.
Melvins - Bullhead: The trio's 1991 release is seen as the turn in their progression into the sludge metal pioneers they were to become. On this album we see the development of their slow heavy sound that resembles Black Sabbath played at wrong speed. Not my favorite of theirs, but this one is great when you just need something heavier than lead.
Spacemen 3 - Sound of Confusion: The 1986 debut from the space rock titans still sounds amazing. Being a huge Spiritualized fan (J. Pierce's post Spacemen 3 band), I'd of course heard this album way back when, but for whatever reason always hesitated to get any of their albums. Mostly because of the consistent high import price of the albums, but also because I was worried they would be disappointing. They aren't. They're different than Spiritualized, but still amazing. The 17 minute mix of "Rollercoaster" is dynamite.
AC/DC - Powerage: By 1978, when this album was released, I think the Australian rockers were beginning to lose their edge a bit. This album has the standard all-out rock blitz that the band, and then lead singer Bon Scott were known for, however to me it feels a little like they're not giving the full effort. It's certainly no High Voltage, that's for sure. But I'd still take this over any the band's Brian Johnson albums.