Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Music Roundup

Two of my favorite weekends of the year over the past few years have been Memorial Day and Labor Day thanks in large part to guy in a nearby town who holds a huge vinyl and CD sale in his yard. The guy is one of these of trade show people who travels to Record Fairs and has quite wide collection of vinyl and CDs for sale in all genres. I typically spend two hours going through the goods and make my selections. Many of this past weekends are here, some are from other sources, and there will be more come. It's been one of those weeks of sketching out a new story, which always means lots of music in the air.

The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream: This the third album from the psychedelic Texas band and like the previous two albums, it's full on fuzzed out retro '60s psychedelic rock. It's ripe with heavy grooves and and an obvious 13th Floor Elevators influence. This one is a step-up from a solid, but slightly repetitive second album and is probably as good as the first, which is to say, pretty good indeed.

Miniature Tigers - Fortress: I'd read good things about this album which came out two months ago and was excited to hear it. At times, it has a Monkee's pop-weirdness from their great period the culminated with Head. I love those bits. At other times, it reminds me more of Animal Collective's more minimal period, which is okay but nothing that grabbed me. Overall, a solid OK.

Manchester Orchestra - Live at Park Ave.: I always find this band to be quite good and was excited to see this live EP that I hadn't been aware of. It's seven previously released tracks, but the acoustic arrangements make each song sound completely new. A nice slice of indie heaven.

Goldfrapp - Head First: The new album sees the former electronica-dream pop artist move into the ever popular '80s retro thing that is going on. I'm still not quite sure why there is so much emulation of bad early '80s going on, it rarely sounds good. There are few songs on here where she nails it. But as a whole it sounds like a bad Olivia Newton John movie soundtrack and a handful of catchy songs don't make up for it.

Gossip - Music For Men: Another 80's inspired album, but this time it works great. Gossip chose a heavy disco sound that just grooves. It doesn't hurt that Beth Ditto has an amazing voice. Certainly not an album for every occasion, but when your in the mood for it, it's super catchy.

Tapes 'N Tapes - Walk It Off: This is a holdover from 2008 wishlist that I finally picked up this past weekend. It's face paced indie rock that reminds me a bit of Arcade Fire only with more fuzz. Nothing earth shattering by any means, but a fun album that I'm really enjoying.

Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse: This one is a holdover from the late great 2007 wishlist. Last year, their second album made it on my best-of list, but I think this one might be more intriquing. It's less polished and has a carnival folk feel. It sounds like a lounge singer in a dusty saloon of other times, out of place and beautiful.

Odetta sings Dylan: I found this LP on mono in the bins and was pretty thrilled. In fact, it was first album I listened to from the haul. Odetta is a fantastic blues singer and she has this really deep and beautiful voice. I couldn't wait to hear how her voice would transform Dylan's songs. The end result is that she takes these songs and makes them spiritualized. Amazing.

Stina Nordenstam - And She Closed Her Eyes: A few weeks ago I reviewed one of Stina's newer albums and promised to get a hold of some of her older stuff. This 1994 album is her second album and significantly more lo-fi than 2001 album I reveiwed before. This soft folk sound suits her voice perfectly. This is one of those ideal morning albums and I plan on using it to wake up on many occasions of the next few weeks.

The Animals - Animalism: The Animals are one of the truly unsung bands of the British Invasion, in my opinion they deserve to be in the same conversation with the Beatles, Stones, and Kinks. They brought the heavy British blues sound over with them and rocked it. This album came in 1966 (the band's third album of the year) and it's brilliant. This was a nice find on original vinyl.

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