Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Music Roundup

This past week has been one of many hours sitting in front of various projects in various stages and trying to figure out what in the world needs to be done with them. In some cases, I have the lucky guidance of a talented editor and in others that job of editing is being entrusted to me. Naturally this leads to immense amounts of music intake. I listened to enough new music this week to fill a few Weekend Roundups, however, much of it will fit into a planned themed roundup planned for the future. Most of these are new to this week while a few are hold overs from the summer when my tastes were more sunny. They should be easy to pick out.

Clinic - Bubblegum: Just released this week, the new album is the sixth album from the Liverpool band. This album is less frantic and experimental than their previous two, but even with softer instruments and melodies, they still manage to evoke the same sense of a paranoid fairy tale playing out before you. There's definite similarities between Clinic and fellow Liverpool band The Coral. A downright good listen.

The Rosewood Thieves - Lonesome EP: Readers will remember my praise for the band's other two releases a few weeks back. At the same time as those, I got this 2007 EP, the band's second EP before their first full length a year later. The band uses the same blend of Beatles power pop and NYC influenced Britpop to create sing-along indie rock, but for some reason, this EP is less memorable than From the Decker House and Rise & Shine. Still very good though, but should be the last in line to seek out.

Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree: Over the past few weeks, I've listened to all of Goldfrapp's catalog. Some of it ranges from decent moody electronic to the more recent horrid Olivia Newton John revival. I'm happy to report that THIS is the album I kept hoping for. By far the best in my opinion, Seventh Tree finds the singer experimenting with folk-pop and creates a beautifully moody album perfect for rainy days.

The Jealous Girlfriends - Comfortably Uncomfortable: After discovering the amazingness that is Holly Miranda, I've started going back to explore her previous band's, The Jealous Girlfriends, catalog. This 2005 EP is where I begin and it's a great piece of soft indie that really happened to fit the death of summer. There's a cover of The Smiths "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want" that is fantastic. I saw Holly Miranda perform that song at a porch concert in my town and is probably what led me to start here instead of the bands full length album (which will certainly be next).

Elvis - 30 #1 Hits: I saw this and realized my gaping lack of Elvis. Minus one greatest hits cassette tape, there was no Elvis in my collection. I figured this was a decent place to start as the King has so many different periods and incarnations, this would be a good place to guide my future interest (most likely on vinyl). Of course, the songs aren't new to me. There isn't a single song here that I haven't heard any number of times. The earliest stuff is awesome and I expected that, but I didn't expect the later stuff to be just as stellar. I still prefer Buddy Holly to the King, but the King certainly earned his title I suppose.

Death in Vegas - Scorpio Rising: The London electronic band's fourth album from 2002 is a very decent piece of melodic dream electronic. Dot Allison's vocal tracks sound great. They remind me of a band called Scala, which in my mind will always be the best electronic band. The title track on this album is sung by Liam Gallagher and basically just rocks. But the great think about Death in Vegas is that it's an band playing electronic music, not samples and synthesizers.

John Fahey - The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death: This is my second venture into the world of John Fahey, a pioneer in American roots folk revival of the '60s and '70s. This is one of his earliest albums and features a handful of short instrumental guitar picking tracks. It a wonderful piece of old time americana music. Later in his career, he moves into longer pieces which really set the course for modern drone folk. Very interesting guy and highly recommended for any fans of roots folk music.

Marillon - Misplaced Childhood: I try not to post too many negative reviews. Most albums that I don't care for, I don't bother to review. However, sometimes I feel compelled and that's case for this 1985 disaster. Marillon is the poster band for '80s prog rock. Now, I'm huge fan of '70s prog but 80's prog is really just another term for horrible soft metal. That said, I'd always wanted to give this band a try because they have a lot of respect in the music listening community and the have intriguing cover art. Plus, I inadvertently named a character in my new book Kayliegh after a girl who then informed me she was named after the Marillon song on this album. All of that seemed like I was fated to give this album a shot. Well, I did and I'm sorry for it. It reminds me of the absolute worst of late Pink Floyd, but seasoned with over the top righteousness. Easily the worst album I've heard in a long, long time.

The Flaming Lips - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart: The Flaming Lips early period is extremely uneven in my opinion, but this 1993 album is certainly one of the high points. On here the band does it's best Guided By Voices imitation and does it very successfully. "Plastic Jesus," "Superhumans," and "She Don't Use Jelly" could all be outtakes from GBV's "Bee Thousand" or "Alien Lanes" albums. This is really the band's move into it's more listenable work.

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (30th Anniversary Edition): This isn't a review of the album, which I've loved since my early college days, but rather the bonus disc included in the 2002 re-release which features unreleased tracks and completely different takes on familiar songs. The demos of "Moonage Daydream", "Lady Stardust" and "Hang Onto Yourself" are must listens. Bowie has always been one of those musicians who can make the same song sound completely new every time he plays it. To hear these glam rock classics in a mellowed out tempo is really extraordinary. If you don't have the album, I recommend searching out the one with the bonus disc. It's worth it.

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