What a strange week it's been as far as new music. To be honest, I only listened to a handful of new albums this week, mostly because my work time meant reading time which is why you'll see a return of drone folk halfway down the list. But I've also been listening to a lot of old stuff of late. It's been one of those weeks where I spin old favorites, all-time top kind of albums. I think this is a learned behavior leftover from school days. It's nearing that dreaded beginning of school time and the end of summer was always a time of nostalgia. Even the stuff on this list, which is new to me, has an obvious nostalgic feel. Enjoy.
Oasis - Sing Me Something New: Okay, I admit that I've been listening to this for weeks. But that's because it's an 8 disc set chronicling the first performance of every song Oasis played (including rarities and covers). In a word; EPIC! There's so many gems on here, I won't even begin to name them. Best British band of the last 30 years, hands down. I was happy to see that one song was from the time I saw them in '98, the first time they played their cover of Bowie's "Heroes".
Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart: The new album from one of my favorite current bands is due out next week and it's really good. I've seen a lot of negative early reviews for it and that's probably because it's a departure from their previous more straight up Sabbath indie sound, though there is some of that here certainly, especially on the title track. But they've also infused a country folk sound into it, but a heavy country folk sound. And I personally like the increased role of Amber Webber (also of Lightning Dust) but I've always been a sucker for soft female voice with heavy riffs.
The Dolly Rocker Movement - Our Days Mind the Tyme: This is one of those albums that has been sitting on my wishlist, a 2009 release that I just never got around to but really wanted. This '60s retro psychedelic outfit from Australia really impressed me with their last album, Electric Sunshine. This album is more of the same, psych pop perfection. Obviously, there's a heavy "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Layne" Syd Barrett influence (the band title comes from a Barrett song). A great way to end the summer.
Sean Lennon - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead: Another hard to find 2009 release that I finally got. I've been on a huge Sean kick after seeing him live last weekend playing an acoustic set from his new folkish outfit The Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger. This has a similar feel, though instrumental. It's a film score for a movie I haven't seen. It's very pretty music and beautiful. But as with most scores, it's meant to accompany pictures and therefore seems to be lacking something. Still a nice tide-me-over until the album comes out next month.
Natural Snow Buildings - Sung to the North: It's been a while since I've sung the praises of my favorite drone folk band. Known for their epic, 3-8 hour albums, this French band have become a mainstay for me when I'm working. It's perfect for reading because I find it tunes and focuses my mind. Plus, I was lucky enough to have a few rainy days in a row and drone folk is awesome on grey days. This isn't the bands best effort, but still a very engaging hour and half.
The Snowbringer Cult: This nearly three hour album is a combination of three interconnected bands, with Isengrind doing the first third, TwinSisterMoon doing the second third and Natural Snow Buildings closing it out. Having a finely turned ear for drone folk, I could hear the differences between the bands and the NSB set is by far the best, but the TwinSisterMoon is also very good and perhaps the best I've heard from that band. Worth checking out if you're into the genre.
The Thermals - The Body, the Blood, the Machine: This is the indie pop Portland punk band's third album that came out in 2006. I remember being into the single, "Returning to the Fold" a lot that year, but never picked up the album until recently. This is a concept album that's very much about Bush era America and very good. It reminds me a lot of Bad Religion and rougher, and much better Green Day. Their new album just came out recently, I haven't listened to it yet, but I really have a feeling this band is going to get bigger.
Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids - White Trash: A bootleg of the earliest Manson recordings from the early '90s. I'm definitely a Manson fan, I think he really knows how to make industrial music that's heavy and catchy and intelligent. It's interesting to see where the band that was formed as a way to test the limits actually began. Musically, the beats are very early '90s industrial and not very interesting, sort of Front 242 and early Skinny Puppy. But there are moments when you hear the potential. "Son of Man" is one them, using "Iron Man" to create an anthem. Of course, there's also a lot of a showmanship that is fun...titles like "Bitchy Beginnings of an Oversexed Twelve Year Old", a song poem with a childlike voice singing "Jesus is my boyfriend" hint at his future inclination to provoke.
Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain: This is Goldfrapp's first album from 2000 and it's definitely more Portishead than anything else, which is a good thing. There's eerie beats, dream cabaret vocals and the a touch of trip-hop. It's a solid album and certainly good when you're in that mood. It's much better than the sort of '80s retro thing that she's got going on now. Solid effort.